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Old 10-03-2004, 10:26 PM   #76
AntWare OP
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Sunday 01/08/04

This sunrise at 4am bullshit is going to take some getting used to

I wake early to the sound of rain. The pine trees are doing such a good job of shielding the tent that I'm not completely aware of exactly how hard it's raining until I finally stick my head out of the tent around 9am.

Not sure why, maybe it's the rain washing the residue from the needles, but the scent of pine is so strong in the air I can almost taste it as it's carried on the same winds that whistles through the oscillating tree tops...it's time to make tracks.


Despite the weather i'm still looking to run the old Denali Highway. From Tok, I opt to take the southern route towards Anchorage on the Richardson Hwy. Map wise the road looks a lot twistier than the Alaska Hwy that runs north west, plus, the last section skirts the Wrangell-St Elias National Preserve. From Gakona junction It's north on the Richardson following the Gulkana River towards Paxon.

I stop for fuel and lunch at the Denali Hwy cutoff where I'm assured, that with all this rain, I would have to be completely off my rocker to try and ride it. I generally trust local knowledge but I'm thinking the last thing this lady threw a legover was a rocking horse...about 60 years ago. Besides, riding the Denali Hwy was on my must do list.

The first twenty miles or so are paved. The rains stopped, the suns breaking out, and the road is beginning to dry.
To the left...



...to the right...



...and what lies ahead.





By the time I get to the gravel section things are starting to look up. The roads relatively dry, having had just enough liquid sunshine to keep the dust down.

The breath taking scenery is made all the sweeter by the fact that I haven't seen a soul since lunch






Wanna know how fun and spectacular the first 80 miles is?...
...I was having such a laugh powersliding the KTM through left-right transitions while stealing glances of some of the most beautiful scenery the country has to offer that I didn't stop to snap any photo's


Somewhat of a milestone is the bridge over the Susitna river (Any of you Alaska folks know who owns the huge house overlooking the river just before you get to the bridge?)

Link to full size panoramic




I still haven't ran across anybody else yet, it's as though the world has come to and end and I didn't get the memo


I pull over at what looks like somebody's favourite camping spot (lucky bastards ) and watch the rain soak the valley below...



...pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, metaphorically speaking of course






There's something soothingly hypnotic about watching mother nature do her thing. If she's gone to all this trouble to put on a show, the least I can do is stop, shut off the bike, take off my helmet and savour it.
The temperature drops about 10 degrees as the natural smell of the valley is replaced by the fresh smell of rain carried on the wind that drives it.
When you see, hear, smell & feel changes like this, you can't help but feel sorry for people that live their life behind the wheel of a cage.



It's not long before i'm off the gravel and back on the blacktop heading to Cantwell. After refueling and stocking up with food I point the KTM northbound on the Gerorge Parks Highway for the last leg of the day.
For the last 60 miles the snow capped mountains of Denali loom large to my left as I pass RV after RV on my way to the park. By the time I get to the entrance the RV's have morphed into one long freight train of excess and over indulgence.
The car park is cram packed full, after riding around in circles for 15 minutes I finally say "fuck it" and park in one of those little yellow hatched off areas. Inside the information centre it's a cluster fuck. It's too late in the day to be running around looking for somewhere else to camp, so I hand over my money and grab one of the last remaining spots in the crowded campground....after spending the day in isolation on the Denali this is depressing...nowt a couple of beers won't fix

375 miles


...and the radio played...English Rose - Paul Weller

No matter where I roam
I will return to my English rose
For no bonds can ever tempt me from she
I've sailed the seven seas,
Flown the whole blue sky.
But I've returned with haste to where my
Love does lie.
No matter where I go I will return to my English Rose
For nothing can ever tempt me from she.
I've searched the secret mists -
I've climbed the highest peaks
Caught the wild wind home
To hear her soft voice speak
No matter where I roam
I will come back to my English Rose
For no bonds can ever keep me from she.

I've been to ancient worlds
I've scoured the whole universe
And caught the first train home
To be at her side.
No matter where I go
I will return to my English Rose
For no bonds, nothing and no-one can ever keep me from she



..thanks for listening.
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AntWare screwed with this post 10-04-2004 at 11:02 PM
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Old 10-03-2004, 10:39 PM   #77
Wayne Weber
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Nice report Ant. Keep typing!!!
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Old 10-05-2004, 12:49 AM   #78
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pssst, Ant, I don't think that's the Su. Maybe the Tanana?... Yukon? The Susitna is between Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley (Palmer and Wasilla). Might be another Susitna somewhere else but I don't think I've noticed it. Bummer about the campground sitch. Wish I'd have known.
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Old 10-05-2004, 01:02 AM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legion
pssst, Ant, I don't think that's the Su. Maybe the Tanana?... Yukon? The Susitna is between Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley (Palmer and Wasilla). Might be another Susitna somewhere else but I don't think I've noticed it. Bummer about the campground sitch. Wish I'd have known.

Psst....Legion, that IS the Susitna river. really. It starts in the mountains to the north of the Denali and goes through to where you're thinking of. Tanana is up by squarebanks, Yukon is way up north. And that bridge is a bit dodgy when wet, at least it was last time I passed over it.

Anyway, Ant, back to work. Nice to see the country I take for granted through another set of eyeballs. Carry on...
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Old 10-05-2004, 01:09 AM   #80
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And another thing-
That spot you pulled over to watch the weather-it is a nice camp spot, I camped there with some friends on a winter caribou hunting trip. I remember the night was clear and cold, about -10F, we were in the tent, a ten-man army tent with a stoked up woodburning stove, when we heard this weird "clicking" noise. We poked our heads outside and saw a huge herd of caribou in the moonlight, we could hear them breathing, trudging through the snow and the "click" sound of the tendons in their legs as they walk. Ther must have been a 1000 or more, a line of ghostly caribou that stretched out through that little valley. We were entranced.
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Old 10-05-2004, 01:12 AM   #81
legion
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Damnit, 5! You're right again. Gimme another 30 years of crisscrossing this state and I might have it right.
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Old 10-05-2004, 06:30 AM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legion
Bummer about the campground sitch. Wish I'd have known.
Thanks Legion, it was my own fault, I arrived as the park centre was about to close so it was more a case of beggars can't be chosers. There's something that just feels inherently wrong about standing in line for 30 minutes and ordering a campsite from a menu a'la McDonalds
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Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family.
Choose a fucking big television.
Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows,
stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.
Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home,
nothing more than an embarrasment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.
Choose your future. Choose life.
I chose not to choose life, I chose something else instead.
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Old 10-05-2004, 06:37 AM   #83
AntWare OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KL5A
And another thing-
That spot you pulled over to watch the weather-it is a nice camp spot, I camped there with some friends on a winter caribou hunting trip. I remember the night was clear and cold, about -10F, we were in the tent, a ten-man army tent with a stoked up woodburning stove, when we heard this weird "clicking" noise. We poked our heads outside and saw a huge herd of caribou in the moonlight, we could hear them breathing, trudging through the snow and the "click" sound of the tendons in their legs as they walk. Ther must have been a 1000 or more, a line of ghostly caribou that stretched out through that little valley. We were entranced.
I'd love to see that place in the crisp cold of winter. Caribou hunting eh, I've got a story about that I think you'll like a little further up the road

I know what you mean about ghostly, I ran into this fella on the Dalton

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Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family.
Choose a fucking big television.
Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows,
stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.
Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home,
nothing more than an embarrasment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.
Choose your future. Choose life.
I chose not to choose life, I chose something else instead.
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Old 10-05-2004, 09:58 AM   #84
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keep it up Ant - we're all hooked now! This is better than reading a book.
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Old 10-05-2004, 10:17 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legion
Damnit, 5! You're right again. Gimme another 30 years of crisscrossing this state and I might have it right.
You guys need a quick Geography lesson????
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Old 10-05-2004, 11:50 AM   #86
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Ant Man this is one of the most entrancing ride reports I've read. Keep it coming. I took the Inland waterway in 1979 when I was 11 and your pictures brought everything back instantly.
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Old 10-05-2004, 12:24 PM   #87
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Laugh

Great story!

BTW, I think I met that guy Dan on the Africa Twin at a Horizons Unlimited meeting in North Carolina back in June. He was at the beginning of a 4 year trip.
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Old 10-05-2004, 07:23 PM   #88
AntWare OP
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thanks for reading gentlemen.

BrklynDakar, that sounds like the chap, tall, younger, blonde viking looking mofo, real nice fella. We talked for a while we were refueling.

Another thing I was amazed at was the number of bikes, almost every fuel stop was spent in a conversation with other riders
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Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family.
Choose a fucking big television.
Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows,
stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.
Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home,
nothing more than an embarrasment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.
Choose your future. Choose life.
I chose not to choose life, I chose something else instead.
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Old 10-05-2004, 08:28 PM   #89
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Great report Ant - tell me mate,is it possible to go via a Highway from America through Canada to Alaska?
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Old 10-05-2004, 08:42 PM   #90
AntWare OP
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Originally Posted by slowbike smallpenis
Great report Ant - tell me mate,is it possible to go via a Highway from America through Canada to Alaska?
That's the return leg, stop trying to spoil the plot yer tosser
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Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family.
Choose a fucking big television.
Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows,
stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.
Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home,
nothing more than an embarrasment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.
Choose your future. Choose life.
I chose not to choose life, I chose something else instead.
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