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Old 03-19-2011, 05:20 AM   #1
GaryAK OP
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These two lanes will take us anywhere...Paxson, Alaska 2010

While waiting for riding season again here in Alaska, I thought I would post up a trip from last summer to contribute and pay respect for all the great ride reports on here that have inspired Deb and myself. And if you find your way to these parts - give us a shout!

The Ride: Anchorage to Paxson, Alaska
July 27/28, 2010

The Bikes:
2008 DR650 - Gary
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2009 KL250 Super Sherpa - Deb
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We managed to clear our commitments and had some sun - which was very rare last summer - that set records for cool temps, clouds, and rain. After escaping the metropolitan city of Anchorage, we had about 50 miles to the city of Palmer for a gas stop and equipment check.
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After gassing up, we pulled around back and munched some sandwiches.


I noticed my chain was too tight, so an adjustment was in order


Back on the road again.


Coming into some mountains.


The road started getting fairly empty.


Break time - we followed a dirt road for a few miles and wound up at Bonnie Lake




Really nice lake - the only problem I see with it is that overnight camping is not allowed.


Deb waiting for me on the way back to the highway.


Further up the highway, we found these colorfully stained mountains. The sign said that it was not copper that produced these stains, but rather other chemicals in the volcanic process.
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Deb checking out the views.
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Me stuffing my face.
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As we come up out of Chickaloon Pass, the terrain flattens out - we're now in the Eureka area. Gunsight Mountain behind Deb.
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I'm not complaining about the empty roads and the great vistas.
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Not many gas stations out here - we better stop and gas up.
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Full tanks and on the road again. Those are markers for the winter snow crews - must get a lot of snow here.


Roadside rest break.
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As the miles slipped behind us, I noticed it was getting "less sunny."
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The fireweed are in bloom. The roads had become straighter, and the sign was the only indication that we were getting near civilization - next stop - Glennallen.
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Once through the town of Glennallen, the road "Tees" - right to Valdez, left to Fairbanks and Canada.
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We've covered over 200 miles so far today, we find the only gas station around - and it's closing in a few minutes. Deb's a trooper - even though she is getting tired, no complaints. Deb scores us a couple of apples to munch. There were a couple of riders from Minnesota that we talked with when we first pulled in - on loaded down Concourses. Nice guys - were getting ready to burn miles on the way home before their vacations ended.
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At the gas station, we discussed the fact that we had no idea where we would eat our next meal or spend the night. We weren't worried. With nearly 24 hours of daylight, and the whole state practically a campground - anywhere would be fine. It was now about 7 pm. - let's see what's up the road another hour or two.
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See those dark clouds behind us? They would visit us soon.
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We pulled over for a break at 8:30 pm. at a pull-off that turned out to be the entrance to the Paxson Lake campground. So we followed the gravel road for awhile and cruised the campground. It looked great, so we decided to stay. We chose our spot in the middle of the campground - we're in bear country, so we figured we'd get better warning as the bear passed other campers first.
Our camp:
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Our only real indulgence beyond the minimalist gear was the Kermit chairs.
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The mosquitos were frisky, so I used a micro fiber towel to keep them off my neck. Notice the diffused light behind me? That's the rain cell we dodged earlier sneaking up on us.


Heating up some water in the JetBoil.


Just as our freeze dried food was "cooking", the rain cell started letting loose.


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We parked our chairs under the spruce trees that actually kept most of the rain off of us.
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Dinner - freeze dried chili-mac, not bad. Or we were just hungry. Either way - we were glad to eat.
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After 20 minutes of rain, the cell passed and rewarded us with a double rainbow.
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Later, a chocolate Lab from another camp came by to visit and mooch some pets.
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We both slept great. The morning sun drove us out of the tent around 8 am.
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After an oatmeal breakfast, we hit the road. We had originally thought we would head North to the Denali Hwy., but we had reports from other campers that it was raining heavily. Can't win them all. So we decided to back track yesterday's route and head back to Anchorage via the Glenn Hwy.
Nice twisty roads on this part.
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Break time.
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Basically retraced yesterday's ride - fueling up in Eureka.
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The Harleys were out.
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As we neared the pass - it was apparent that the rains from up North had moved down - and we would soon be riding in it.
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Aha - there is the rain up ahead.
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Last pic of the trip. The next 80 miles were in the rain all the way home.
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Deb stayed dry, and the only part of me that got wet were my hands - gloves soaked through, but I countered them with heated grips, and my inner elbows. Upon further checking when we got home - it was operator error - I had neglected to fully close the arm vents on my jacket.

Even though we would have ridden another day or two on the road, we did not mind avoiding the big wet system that moved in from the North and stayed. Still an enjoyable couple of days.

Thanks for coming along -

best,

Gary & Deb

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Old 03-19-2011, 10:28 AM   #2
FLARider1
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Great pics and a nice little report to fuel the needs of those of us dying to get up that way!! 102 days till departure, not that I am counting or anything!!
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:20 PM   #3
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Nice photos. Sitting in Fairbanks now getting antsy and waiting for the snow to melt. The pic of the rain on the picnic table was all too typical for last year's AK weather. Looks like y'all caught some great days.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
La Donna Fugata
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryAK View Post




Even though we would have ridden another day or two on the road, we did not mind avoiding the big wet system that moved in from the North and stayed. Still an enjoyable couple of days.

Thanks for coming along -

best,

Gary & Deb
But everything is great rain or shine when Mr Happy Puppets around. Thanks for sharing.

LDF
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
Liberia
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Harley crew

That might have been my brother on one of those Harleys. He lives in Wasilla and has a nice Road King. We try to meet up somewhere once or twice each year to ride. He said last summer was not a great time to ride due to the weather.

I've been along that route in a car when I was visiting him and it was just as beautiful as your pictures show. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. Don't make us wait so long this summer. Start posting as soon as the weather allows you to get out.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:45 AM   #6
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:03 PM   #7
FLARider1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKWrider View Post
Nice photos. Sitting in Fairbanks now getting antsy and waiting for the snow to melt. The pic of the rain on the picnic table was all too typical for last year's AK weather. Looks like y'all caught some great days.
I am putting in my request for you to do a 'no rain' dance for this summer!!!!!
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:41 AM   #8
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Nice RR.

What kind of additional lights are on the Sherpa? Thanks....
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:30 AM   #9
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Great pics friend, thanks for show us...
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:22 AM   #10
GaryAK OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turborob View Post
Nice RR.

What kind of additional lights are on the Sherpa? Thanks....
Thanks

The lights are Twisted Throttle's Denali Lighting Kit http://www.twistedthrottle.com/trade/productview/5224/. They are part of our "be seen" riding strategy in the near 24 hour daylight of Alaskan summers. A little spendy, but they seem to increase the safety factor - we've seen merging traffic ahead from side roads start to pull out and then stop because they've seen us.

Plus, I love the technology of the small LED lights - they only draw 3/4 of an amp per light, yet at night, they out perform the stock headlight.
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I've since added them to my bike as well.
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G-
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:54 PM   #11
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Thanks for the link - bike looks obvious and 'different' enough that I'm sure it would be much safer. Hard to put a price on safety, especially preventative measures.

Last question, the windscreen? Looks like a good fit for the Sherp.

Cheers,

Rob.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:59 PM   #12
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Great Ride report

Good one! Looks like you guys have some excellent scenery and empty roads to keep you amused.
Well done.

Nice lights too!

Cheers.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:48 PM   #13
GaryAK OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turborob View Post
Thanks for the link - bike looks obvious and 'different' enough that I'm sure it would be much safer. Hard to put a price on safety, especially preventative measures.

Last question, the windscreen? Looks like a good fit for the Sherp.

Cheers,

Rob.
Rob -

You bet. The windshield is National Cycle's N2595 Deflector Screen DX™ http://shop.nationalcycle.com/perl/c...el=ka%2d002%22

This particular windshield has flexibility in mounting - it can go either in front of the fly fairing or snug up behind it. We tried it both ways, but Deb liked this way the best - snugged up behind the fly fairing for a clean, almost factory look.
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The other advantage of this windshield is the quick-release mounting hardware - the windshield goes on and off in seconds courtesy of those big knurled knobs.


Proportion-wise, the windshield is nearly perfect for this size of bike - 15 1/2" tall from the headlight cut-out to the top, and 15" wide. Price-wise, it's in the modest zone - around $130 as I recall. I think there is probably ground to be gained in buffeting reduction by mounting it in front of the fly fairing - but the boss wanted it this way.


Gary
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:21 PM   #14
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Nice pics Gary! Hope retirement is treating you well. I can't wait myself!
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:16 AM   #15
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Enjoyed the RR and pictures. I did most of my exploring last summer going south out of Anchorage. The weather was just as cold and wet that way. This year I am heading north for several trips. Hope to meet you on the road!

Ken
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