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Old 03-16-2010, 07:30 PM   #31
bisbonian OP
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
Oddometer: 967
I woke up this morning and swore I could hear rain falling on the tent. I stared for awhile and decided it was just bits of trees. I got out of the tent to find everything was uniformly wet.

It turns out that the guy who came over and started my fire last night is an Oregon Strongman competitor named Albie Mushaney.

I took off knowing I had a long day, especially if Hwy 101 yesterday was any indication. 101 gradually swept inland but in Oregon was still mighty slow. My front tire was really showing its age and I finally found a place in Coos Bay where I could get a replacement.

As the morning wore on the clouds disappeared and the sun came out.

I crossed into California and had to go through some sort of checkpoint. I'm not sure what it was all about but the only other time I've come across something like this was while traveling in Mexico. Hwy 101 started moving along faster in California and before long I was in the redwood forest. There really was almost too much to see but I still made good time.

When I saw the sign for the Chandelier Tree I couldn't help myself and pulled off to take a picture. As I came out I realized that I had reached my turnoff to Ft. Bragg.

The road was so tight and twisty that I had quite the time; it was a lot of work to aim the bike through the turns and keep it upright. As I made my way the low fuel warning light began to flash, signs indicated that the next fuel was only 28 miles so I didn't worry about it.

I finally came out of the woods and regained the shoreline. It was really beautiful up here!

I finally got to the services indicated on the sign but they evidently close before 8. I knew Ft. Bragg was another 20 miles and it was getting cold.

I managed to get gas in Cleone, I pumped 5.5 gallons into what is advertised as a 5.8 gallon tank so I was really close to the edge. I finally rolled into Ft. Bragg sometime after 9, it was dark. I ended up at the Sandpiper Lodge, stayed up too late watching bad TV and eating even worse pizza. I saw part of a program on the History Channel about driving trucks on the Dalton Highway in winter where one guy about lost it on the Beaver Slide; I knew exactly how he felt.

9 ˝ hours riding today.
My 2009 Alaska Adventure

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Old 03-17-2010, 05:58 PM   #32
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Location: Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
Oddometer: 967
I woke up early after way too little sleep, sometimes I'm glad we don't have TV as I imagine this would be a more common occurrence. I got rolling just before 9 and decided to go against my directions which would've led me back up the twisty road from last night. I rode abit down the shore on Hwy 1 then took Hwy 128 back toward Hwy 101, I like the redwoods. Unfortunately this was the last I was to see of the redwoods; it was quite challenging and woke me up.

I got back on the 101 and while there were some nice things to see it was quite boring as a rule.

Coming into San Francisco I went across the biggest bridge I've ever seen! I couldn't really enjoy it much because there was such a strong wind blowing in; I had to hold on for dear life and grit my teeth just to stay in my lane.

My campground for the night was Sunset Beach, I'd imagined that it would be sort of a touristy community leading up to it with kitschy stuff to see. Instead I was treated to field upon field of...something filled with what I believe to be mostly migrant workers.

I made it to my campsite, I'm about 1/8 mile from the ocean but have to climb this monstrous sand dune to get to it. I was lucky that I'd reserved this spot in advance as people were being turned away in droves when I arrived.

Although the picture doesn't really show it you have to imagine that this boardwalk is near vertical, or at least it felt that way after about the first 20 steps.

Making to the top was definitely worth it as there was a good view!

The trek down the other side of the dune was a bit more challenging as it involved something that was really more like a ladder than a boardwalk, it was still easier than the climb but why do they always space the rungs so they're exactly wrong for me?

Directly at the base of the dune trail is evidently a nesting area for the Snowy Plover. I looked hard but I didn't see anything, of course I didn't really know what to look for.

This sign made it much clearer what I was supposed to look for so I paid much closer attention

The beach is smaller than the one I walked along in Oregon and there's not as much wildlife on it, well at least not as much unfamiliar wildlife. I saw one jellyfish, the shells of 3 of those little digging things and some sand dollars. I think I found a live sand dollar, at least it hadn't been broken into yet, so I rolled it back into the ocean. There were tons of seagulls as well as something that looked similar but was much bigger.

This one guy had only one leg but he seemed to get along okay. I also saw a bunch of pelicans.

When it was time to go back to the campground I looked up the dune face and those laddery stairs and decided to walk back along the beach until I came to the public entrance, it was a lot longer than I'd thought.

I stopped at the guard shack on my way back to the campsite and asked where I could find an atlas or a map. Evidently I stopped planning the trip before I was finished as I had no route planned to get out of Watsonville in the morning. Watsonville is the only place around so I headed there to see what I could find.

Talk about a town that caters to its migrant workers! This area is all vegetable fields and from what I saw most of the workers are Mexicans. I finally found a map and have a good idea how to go in the morning, maybe I'll stay up for the sunset over the ocean tonight.

As it started to get dark I made the trek back up over the dune to get some pictures. With a name like Sunset Beach I had really high expectations; I'm really glad I stopped at the top to take this picture because it was a real letdown once I got down to the shore. I took a couple of pictures but the sun set over a spit of land instead of gloriously over the ocean as I'd expected. This time I climbed back up the dune face to get back, it was just as tough as I'd expected.

My 2009 Alaska Adventure

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Old 03-17-2010, 07:14 PM   #33
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Location: Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
Oddometer: 967
I got a fairly early start in the morning but nothing really special. I've got my map and have a route marked out on it so I should be set.
It's chilly when I leave and I soon stop to put on my electric jacket; none too soon as I'm soon riding back up a mountain and into the clouds where it gets even colder. Soon enough I'm back down the other side and it's getting warm again.

I get through Fresno and Bakersfield and I'm on Route 58 going through the Mojave Desert toward Barstow and Needles. At one point I stop for a drink and get a decent cloud picture of a guy with a bow and arrow.

Evidently wind power is pretty popular out here, I saw quite a few of these wind farms on my way through.

Now I live in what some consider the desert but even going through Phoenix I've not felt conditions like I did going across this desert. I have no idea how hot it is because my thermometer has completely given up the ghost and isn't readable. Normally I don't get too uncomfortable on the bike, the wind tends to cool me off a bit but this is just unbelievable. I'm sweating like a maniac, I can tell when I stop and take off my jacket, but there is no cooling effect.

I've decided not to try for Vegas but need to go through a bit of Nevada so I can count it in my states ridden for the trip, I elect for Laughlin. At first I'd thought I'd spend the night here but once I got here I found that I really wasn't comfortable so I just picked up some dinner and headed out; I've decided I'll try for Kingman, AZ for the night.

As the sun starts to set my thermometer wakes back up and I watch disbelievingly as it registers 107 degrees.

I'd called Karen while I was in Laughlin and she clued me in to some different hotels that I might find in Kingman. It's only supposed to be 31 miles from Laughlin to Kingman so I wasn't too worried about it. Finally I came across the Motel 6 that I'd decided was my best bet for a cheap motel and dragged myself inside. Online we'd seen a fate of $36 but their sign was showing $50. After some tense moments inside I discovered there were 2 Motel 6's in Kingman, who would've thought it? I quickly headed to the other side of town where I found a room for $35! Unfortunately there was basically nothing on TV although I didn't let that stop me from staying up until midnight watching crap. 599 miles today and around 8-1/2 hours on the bike.

I'm heading to Flagstaff today and meeting up with Karen! I'm just under 150 miles away and need to stop for gas once.

I got going fairly early once again and arrived in Seligman just before 10. I called Karen to let her know when to expect me and realized there was an ear laying in the next parking space.

As I took the picture I looked over and noticed another ear in the spot on the other side of me, WTF?

I got out of there quickly before someone decided human ears might be okay as well. Looking ahead I saw what was obviously a thunderstorm cell, I had to chuckle a bit as it was in Flagstaff on day 1 where I ran into my first thunderstorm; my only hope is that I'm able to stay up on 2 wheels this time as I also haven't crashed since day one.

Just as I roll into town the skies open up and I'm drenched. I don't worry about it as I've gone through way worse in the past twenty-some days.

I find the hotel Karen has chosen fairly easily and am soon reunited with my lovely wife. She braves the rain to come out and give me a big hug; Karen looks up at me with shining and eyes and says, “you smell like a homeless person.” I begin to object and tell her that it can't be true as I just washed my clothes...I count on my fingers and realize that it was 8 days ago while I was in Hyder. I'm quickly banished to the shower so that we can go look around in Flagstaff, a town I've not spent a lot of time in.

We walked around town for a bit and soaked up the atmosphere. We stopped for lunch, I can't even remember the name of the place, and I just reveled in being back close to home.

Just some pictures:

Later that night we went over to the NAU (Northern Arizona University?) theatre to see the Odd Couple, it was quite entertaining although I got a bit sleepy near the end. It was put on by a local theatre group who have a deal with the University.

We stayed an extra day in Flagstaff and among other things we headed up to the Observatory. I don't remember what everything was but I do remember that it was quite interesting. The closest to this I've come is the Adler Planetarium in Chicago but I never got the feeling that they actually did work there. A lot of stuff around here felt sort of...homemade and I liked it.

When I die I wouldn't object to having some place like this to while away the hours of eternity. I remember there was some sort of controversy surrounding this but again, I can't remember what it was; I really need to take better notes.

This guy is pointing us toward a map of the solar system, well a representation anyway.

The first sign there is the sun and then every sign after that is a planet, I think they even have the asteroid belt represented in there as well; Karen is standing next to Earth. The “map” is made so that the distances between the signs are in scale to the actual distances between the celestial features. I'm going with they whole “scale” thing because actual distances would be difficult to represent and well, there was a sign.

Notice in the previous picture you couldn't see this building, that last blue sign in it represents Pluto. Now how many of you knew that Pluto was discovered at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff? I sure didn't. In fact the placement of this sign is particularly meaningful as it's right outside the telescope that was used to discover Pluto!

We stopped at a few other things around town that I forgot to take my camera out for but really made it an early night; Flagstaff is still quite a distance from Bisbee and it was going to be a long ride in the morning!

My 2009 Alaska Adventure

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Old 03-17-2010, 07:24 PM   #34
bisbonian OP
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Location: Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
Oddometer: 967
Come morning I loaded up the bike for the final push home. I'd thought about loading up the car with my saddlebags and such but then figured that they'd come this far they should make it the whole way.

The vistas of the desert are much different that what I'd been seeing for the majority of the trip.

I had a bit of fun taking self portraits in tanker trailers while cruising down the highway.

Passing Picacho Peak I reminisced about climbing it with Karen the first time I came out to Arizona, the top is the point to the left and yes we made it the whole way.

I passed the exit for Fort Huachuca, happy that I didn't have to return to work for another couple of days.

Should I take the east road and continue the adventure or head on home through Tombstone to Bisbee?

I'd better get back home.

As I exit Tombstone the weather is still beautiful, it was hot riding through Phoenix but really not that bad.

I can tell I'm getting close to home as the mountains start reappearing.

I decided to head up over the Divide rather than go through the tunnel; we'd had a fire earlier in the year and it takes quite a while for the area to recover around here.

I stopped once more to take a picture overlooking Old Bisbee and then it was back on the road.

When I make that left up ahead I'll be heading into downtown, what most tourists think of when they're talking about Old Biz.

And there you go.

As I exit Old Biz I ride past the Lavendar Pit, those things that look like hills on the left are what came out of the pit. Sorry, no pictures of the Pit itself, if you want some you can always come out and take your own.

As I exit the traffic circle Warren comes into view.

Loma Linda coming up on the left and I'm almost home. J.A. Jance wrote about Loma Linda in one of her earlier books, can't remember the title but she called it by a different name; if you've read the book you'll remember Joanna Brady climbing the slag heap behind the house, you can see it there. This too came out of the Lavendar Pit, the slag not the house.

Hey! They paved the street while I was away! WooHoo!

Well they paved it up until it reached our street anyway; Doh!

I finally pull back into my driveway some 27 days and 10,000 miles after I left.

As I look down over the town I think a little bit about my journey. I rode through 9 states and 3 provinces in 3 countries. I saw 10 bears but no moose. There was too much to dwell on, it was a bit overwhelming, so I unpacked and went in the house.

My 2009 Alaska Adventure

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Old 03-21-2010, 12:33 PM   #35
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Gouverneur, NY
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Thanks for the pics!

Great pictures. Trip of a lifetime. Hope to do it soon.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:56 PM   #36
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Location: Central Illinois
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Thanks for the RR. I really enjoyed it. I'm heading up that way myself in a couple of years. Can't wait.
2013 BMW 700GS, 2009 BMW 1200GS Adventure,
2009 Vstar 950, 2009 Honda Rebel,
2000 Goldwing SE, 1977 CB750A,
Needs: new garage (in planning) Need more room for more bikes.
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:15 PM   #37
Joined: Aug 2009
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Great RR

I thouroughly enjoyed your RR...I hope to do my trip next year with 2 of my buddies. I have read several RR on here ande yours is one of the best, your pics are great as is the narrative. Why didnt you go all the way to Prudoe?
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:12 PM   #38
bisbonian OP
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Location: Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
Oddometer: 967
Originally Posted by LVRider
I thouroughly enjoyed your RR...I hope to do my trip next year with 2 of my buddies. I have read several RR on here ande yours is one of the best, your pics are great as is the narrative. Why didnt you go all the way to Prudoe?
I really needed a rear tire, one of the mistakes on my trip was that I'd left no room for a day off to fix the bike if it was necessary. Rather than continue on to Prudhoe I elected to try to get the bike working properly again. The issue turned out to be that the Suzuki dealer wasn't open on Monday so finding specific parts was difficult. I got the tire and managed to get the rear sprocket ( totally wasted) and that pretty much took care of me for awhile.

If I learned anything on this trip it was:

1. Choose your riding partners carefully, they can drag you down instead of sharing in the adventure.

2. Take everything you read with a grain of salt, I expected a Tourance to last at least 8k miles with hopes of 10k, instead I was happy to get 5k out of mine and it needed replacement at a bad time.

3. Take less than what you think you need. My trunk was full of food and cooking gear, this lasted me the whole trip and was great. My issue was that I took way too many clothes, I don't know what I was thinking.

4. Try to make your schedule flexible, granted it's difficult to get 4 weeks off work and I don't know when it will happen again, but I had my trip set up in such a way that delaying one day would screw up everything that came after. I made reservations whenever possible and this worked well as some places were full when I arrived and I'd have been turned away without a reservation but it also locked me in to that schedule.

The first trip's for learning, the second time is to do it right. I wouldn't trade my trip for anything, I had a great time. Sure I'd do some things different, hopefully I'll get the chance to do it again soon enough.
My 2009 Alaska Adventure

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Old 04-22-2010, 02:28 PM   #39
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bravo!! this RR got me through a whole day at work! thank you very much, it was a very interesting read, and am hoping to make a similiar trip in the near future.

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Old 04-27-2010, 12:21 PM   #40
Joined: Apr 2010
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great ride!

I have read numerous trip reports and I consider yours one of, if not the best I have read.I am preparing for my Alaska trip now and hope to leave about the 2nd week in June.I also like tent camping when possible and that was one of the areas I found most interesting,however I hadn't planed on cooking as the extra bulk and weight of doing so didn't seem to be worth the effort also it is an attractant for the bears.Looking back could you have succesfully camped as much and avoided starvation without cooking?
I ride an FJR 1300 and pack pretty well as I have over the years taken several trips cross country and to Newfoundland on a Harley.I loved every day of it although like you;some days were better than others.I live in SE Alabama and if anyone might be interested in going about the same time please contact me.I am retired(not dead) and I can make as many or as few miles per day as most riders can.Thanks again for a very informative account of a great trip!
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:39 PM   #41
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I think I would have been fine without cooking although in some places it would have taken some planning ahead or being okay with a bit of a ride to get some food.

I'm one of those people who likes to stay around the campsite once I get set up and cooking a bit of dinner was a decent way to finish the day. Most of what I brought only involved boiling water so it wasn't a big deal and it helped keep my budget in check.

My biggest thing was remembering to fill my water bottles while I was on the road; it never failed that I'd get to the campground only to be low on water for drinking and cooking, not all campgrounds had water available.

If I were to do it again I wouldn't change the cooking part, it added to the adventure.
My 2009 Alaska Adventure

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Old 10-23-2012, 12:42 PM   #42
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Western Manitoba
Oddometer: 86
Excellent RR

I really enjoyed your road report. I hope to tour the Yukon and Alaska in the next few years. I have been following AnjinSan's "Across Americas" RR and that's how I came across yours. We hosted them early in their trip.
Great read. Thanks. Will have to take a ride out your way sometime when we are down in Phoenix.
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