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Old 07-11-2012, 11:16 AM   #31
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Thanks Kimball! We all seem to originate from different backgrounds here on ADV/in the general motorcycling community but in the end we all have a mutual understanding/affinity for travel on two wheels. Hopefully the thread helped her get a small taste of it for her!

I'll be doing a write-up on the gear and how it held up etc but likely not until I get back home to Seattle Overall I'm pleased but I do have some comments about the set-up and changes that would be desired.

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Originally Posted by Kimball76 View Post
Fantastic report so far! I made my wife read it so she can hopefully 'understand me better'! (I know... fat chance!)

I wouldn't mind hearing about your riding equipment (boots, jacket, pants) and how they're holding up thus far.

Keep it up!
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:17 AM   #32
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Thanks man, you as well, hopefully I'll be putting several more thousand (shiny side up) miles through the ol' helmet. Awesome event, thanks for helping put it on!

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Pleasure meeting you two in Dawson!
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:08 PM   #33
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Sean, DonnyO and I enjoyed meeting you and Koshal today. Sorry we lost you after the ferry in Skagway. We checked in to our hotel and went straight to the Red Onion in hopes you two were there. You weren't. We saw you a block away as we walked back to our bikes, but we couldn't get your attention as you headed down State Street.

Hope you guys have a great ride the remainder of this week! Take care, Sean
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:23 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by theofam View Post
Sean, DonnyO and I enjoyed meeting you and Koshal today. Sorry we lost you after the ferry in Skagway. We checked in to our hotel and went straight to the Red Onion in hopes you two were there. You weren't. We saw you a block away as we walked back to our bikes, but we couldn't get your attention as you headed down State Street.

Hope you guys have a great ride the remainder of this week! Take care, Sean
Hey Sean sorry we missed you guys at the Red Onion! Hope you guys have a great rest of your trip and look forward to reading your Father + Son + Arctic Circle = Bliss Pat Duex ride report. Maybe catch you guys out on the road again.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:45 PM   #35
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13: Tagging in

My dad's work responsibilities were beckoning so he had flown back home to the real world and left his bike. It was time for my friend Koshal to tag in and ride the rest of the trip back down to Seattle.



I hadn’t had a working phone since I left Seattle, WA (Seattle pictured here before Kosh left) so coordinating the pick-up of said person was left up to email transfers via stolen wifi and intermittent cafe use in Fairbanks. Although it’s been great to disconnect from all the digital plugs we are constantly hooked up to during our normal daily activities, not having these basic electronic connections, such as a cell phone, make it slightly more cumbersome to plan logistics. Luckily though the air-drop went fine and we eventually connected up, Kosh had arrived. Here he is trying to be a gangster at the airport.




We spent the next day going over the bikes together and hashing out what we needed to do before we got back out on the road again. We wanted to bump up my Dad’s (for the next couple weeks Koshal’s) bike’s gearing so it cruised at slightly lower RPM while running at highway speeds. I had been using a 16-tooth front sprocket since I left Seattle and was pleased with it overall. Even in the slick stuff and loaded up with gear it seemed to truck on just fine. His bike was running a 14-tooth sprocket up front which added up to about a 1,500 rpm difference between my bike and his at speed. Seeing as both bikes could use new sprockets we ended up putting new 16-tooth front sprockets on both bikes along with new chains and new rear sprockets as well (good to change the chain when you replace the sprockets and vice versa). Both of our chains were riveted rather than set up with a handy quick-connect master-link so we commandeered Dan out at ADV Cycle Works to grind the pop-rivets off with an angle grinder. Once we had both chains off we could do the swaps.







My clutch has also started to slip a bit and seeing as I was at the end of both my barrel adjusters up on the handlebars and down on the case I figured I would replace my clutch pack as well rather than risk another 3,000+ miles on one that may-or-may-not be wearing.





After getting the side of the motor opened up and pulling the clutch plates, the plates themselves looked to probably still have a few thousand miles left in them. Since I already had the whole thing opened up I just went ahead and finished the job and packed new plates and springs into the clutch basket and bagged up the older plates to keep as a spares.



While we were putting things back together we ran into a few Brazilians who were just starting out on a vacation ride from Oregon to…well, wherever they could get in 4-6 weeks. They had flown into Oregon from Brazil, purchased several new KLRs, and had been burning up the coast for a week or so before getting into Fairbanks. They would continue riding for several more weeks until their vacation time was up, store the bikes in Anchorage (or wherever they ended up), and then fly back home. Then the next time they all got vacation they would fly back to wherever they stored the bikes and continue on the next part of their trip heading elsewhere. By the next leg they wanted to finish somewhere on the East coast of the US so they could then ship the bikes to Europe where the bikes would sit and wait for them to return to later. Sounded like quite the plan to me and it’s surprising how often I now hear about people doing this. Sounds like a ton of fun. If you only have a couple weeks at a time to travel this is the way to do it.



Although we had squared up the bikes and gotten a lot of maintenance done we still had one further issue that needed to be remedied. A couple weeks back my dad’s aftermarket muffler had snapped one of it’s mounting brackets while we were clicking on down the road and the muffler had rattled off. When it came loose it hit the ground and got kicked up in the air like a whirling tomahawk. I pulled out my Mario Kart skills and dodged it like a ninja. After circling back to pick it up with my hands. I failed to grasp that it would likely be searing hot since it just fell off a running motorcycle and it melted the tips of my winter gloves right off. We cooled the muffler with some water and strapped it to his bike. We carried on down the road with his bike now sounding like a drag chopper. Eventually I had to pass him and ride in front as that 650 motor wound out at down the road was unbearable. We ended up getting a welder to weld the two broken pieces of the bracket together but inevitably it rattled loose again a few thousand miles later while we were punishing the bikes on the road up to Deadhorse. When we got back to Fairbanks I did some interweb sloothing and found another muffler from flea-bay that would work and overnighted it up to Fairbanks. Of course though everything takes longer to get up here in Alaska and seeing as the 4th of July was this week we knew we had some time to kill.

We spent the 4th hanging out at Sophie and Thaddaeus’s cabin with friends and dinning on homemade caribou sausage, moose burgers, and delicious beverages. Just as Americans of the far North should.






A moose arrived late to the party, I guess when the sun never sets it’s hard to judge time and be punctual.



Sadly the time had come for us to get ready to leave Fairbanks and head onward. It’s been a blast getting to see Sophie and Thaddaeus again, hopefully we’ll be seeing them sooner than later now that they’ll be moving down to Portland for more grad school adventures. But until then, stay classy you two.

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Old 07-26-2012, 02:11 PM   #36
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14: Red-dog and Brown-bear ride again

We have been waiting for a part to be overnighted to us for several days now and it has finally arrived. We were getting it shipped to our friend’s University of Alaska PO Box. Since it was July 4th holiday mixed with funky campus hours the package arrived a few days later than we had intended. Having that time though did allow us to kick back, eat some great food, tour around Fairbanks a bit, and spend a couple more days with Sophie and Thaddaeus.

But now a new day had come, the muffler had arrived!





We put the muffler on right in the parking lot of the UA-Fairbanks parking lot. In two shakes of a lamb’s tail we were ready to roll and get on the road.



We said our good-bye’s and bombed on down the road heading South towards Anchorage. We had 6-8 hours of riding to do so we figured we would break it up and have a stop-over in Denali National Park along the way.







After Denali we headed on down the road passing through more and more great scenery…



…helping another rider find his son who disappeared after hitting this old caribou carcass strewn across the road…





…and shooting the shit with other riders at rural gas stations. When there’s only one spot to fill up for many miles gas stations become common watering holes for people passing.



We made it into Anchorage around 11pm and had made plans to meet up with one of Kosh’s friends from undergrad, Ali, who’s family lives in Anchorage. We pulled the bikes in through the back gate to park them for the night. We scoped out her little brother’s sweet backyard play-land complete with giant trampoline, enclosed fort with climbing holds surrounding it, and a sand pit. He was rocking quite the set-up. We stayed up for a couple hours talking and catching up before sleep beckoned and we passed out.




In the morning, Ali was kind enough to feed us a ton of food before we headed out. I dig milk and will never pass up a tall glass o' the good stuff. I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff in my short few years on this earth and have yet to brake a single bone. I believe it's the milk shield I keep well fortified.







When we were back in Fairbanks Kosh and I were thinking about what we wanted to do for the next couple weeks and mapping out where we wanted to go. Our buddy Jacob was working for his dads fishing boat for the summer up in Kenai. This sounded like the perfect excuse to go surprise him and ride around the Kenai Peninsula, so that was our plan. Before that though, I had a new front and rear tire waiting for me to get picked up in Anchorage so that was our first stop. We mounted the front in the parking lot in Anchorage and stashed the rear at Ali's house. We are gonna be back in Anchorage later so I'll swap the rear then. Before heading to the Kenai Peninsula we had been warned by Ali’s parents that the road was notorious for fatal accidents due to the road conditions, small lanes, and distractingly gorgeous scenery. So we put our game-faces on and headed out with caution.





After several hours we made it to Kenai and the town docks where our buddy Jacob "Poppa" Perkins said we could find him if we were in the area. If of course he wasn’t out on the boats catching shit-tons of salmon. We hadn’t solidified any plans and instead just decided to show up and surprise him. A few quick questions to some people walking around the docks and we were directed to where we could find the one and only, “Poppa-Perkins”.




He had no idea if/when we would be coming aside from a brief “Wait…are you guys riding your motorcycles around Alaska?? You should come to Kenai!” message sent to us a week earlier so he was pretty surprised for us to just roll on in to his camp. We shot the shit for a bit and met some of the other fisherman in the camp. We started talking with Poppa-perk’ and his Dad (who’s boat he was working on for the summer) about our next few days of riding and where we were planning on going. Initially we had planned to hit Kenai, say hey, then push on to Anchor Point and then stay in Homer, which is down on the far tip of the peninsula. After that we would head back to Anchorage, pick up my stashed rear tire and then make a two day ride to Valdez on the Southeast coast. After running it over with them they suggested a great alternative. Take the ferry from Wittier, which is on the Kenai Peninsula a couple hours from where we were, directly to Valdez. This would save us half a day of riding and allow us to see a lot of the coast. The only problem being that the boat only has one sailing a day around noon out of Wittier. To get to Wittier you have to pass through the longest railway-highway tunnel in North America, which is only open one direction at a time and it cycles directions throughout the day. The alternative route would only pan out if we could get to Wittier in time, otherwise we would lose an entire day. Seeing as we had less than 2 weeks left, a day is a lot to us.


We thought about it briefly, realized if we made it to Homer and then back to Kenai tonight (about a 3hr round trip), we could maybe make the turnaround happen. We would have to get up really early tomorrow to make it up to anchorage then back down to Wittier in time for the fairy though. It would be close.

"Fuck-it, let’s do it", and booked the nonrefundable tickets over the phone. People were BBQ'n so we grubbed down and then pushed on down the coast Southwest to Homer. On the way we stopped by Anchor Point which is the most westerly highway point in North America.




Growing up on an island in the Pacific Northwest I am quite fond of the coast and couldn’t pass up the chance to ride my bike down the beach for a bit.



We eventually made it to Homer which sits out on the very tip of the Kenai Peninsula. Jacobs dad said we had to grab a drink at The Salty Dog Saloon so that was our destination. As always we snapped a few opportunistic photos along the way.





As the peninsula thinned and we headed further and further out into the water we knew we were getting close.




At the end of the peninsula sits a very humbling place built to commemorate the sea for the prosperity it brings to some, as well as to pay it respect for the lives of others that it keeps at it’s depths.



A sea bell memorial: “This Bell Tolls For The Souls Set Free Upon The Sea”



There was a placard with this poem on it.

The sea tells a story.
It tells of the life it brings,
And the lives it claims.
Its deep dark waters are home to some,
A final resting place for others.

The sea tells a story.
It tells of the cycle of life
Running through its waters.
Fish, spawning, dying, sinking to the ocean floor,
Returning to the circle that engulfs all life.

The sea tells a story.
It tells of prosperity,
Yet how that prosperity can be unforgiving.
Nearly everyone will experience its vastness.
But some will remain there forever.

- Ryan Bundy
1996



Close to the memorial we found The Salty Dog Saloon and had our drink.







We caught one last picture before leaving Homer. I wish we had more time at this special edge of Alaska, but we had places to go, and more things to see.



We got back on the road, the same road we had far to recently been just coming the other direction on. We were now headed back north, back up the coast en route to Kenai. After a soberingly close encounter with a large moose running across the road, we were reminded just how careful and alert you must always be when riding, especially on these roads as the 'deer' in alaska can weigh over half a ton. Aside from the near moose collision the ride back up to Kenai was nice and the weather a nice crisp 52 degrees . We made it back into our friends boatyard camp in Kenai shortly before midnight. Upon which time a large fire was just getting going, subsequent -runs and merriment were had, and the long early ride to be had in just a short few hours was all but forgotten about.





Of course, Poppa-perk threw two giant fillets of fresh caught salmon onto the fire. With nothing more than a few lemons, couple turns of pepper, and splash of olive oil, that salmon was some of the best I had ever had.





We stayed up late into the morning getting salty, swapping stories, and listening to the decades of experience that these men had out on the open ocean.







Eventually the morning caught us and we called it a night. We needed to get at least a few hours of sleep. With any luck, in 11 hrs we would be boarding a ferry in Wittier, and on our way to Valdez.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:04 PM   #37
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15: Up and at'em

Not long after we shut our eyes to get some sleep my alarm woke me up. The inside of my tent was bright with early morning sun. I had purposefully not unpacked my bike, with the exception of my tent and sleeping bag, so that I could sleep as much as possible before we needed to head out. Kosh had played it smart and crashed in one of the campers that Poppa-perk was staying in. I like to think I have become attached to my tent, but it could also easily be attributed to stubbornness.

It took us 30 minutes from the time my alarm went off to when the bikes were packed, warmed up, and ready to ride. This was about 30-45 minutes faster than we usually take, even if we weren’t cooking breakfast.

I’ve noticed when you get on the road this early in the morning that you kind of operate in auto-pilot for a bit. It isn’t until a few miles into the ride that your brain starts to boot-up and do more than just the basic functions that are necessary for navigation and staying upright. The previous night didn’t help with this mental frost layer either. We had a great time last night. Once our brains shook off the early morning stale I think we were both feeling the repercussions of yesterday evening’s chosen form of re-hydration.



It could always be worse though and as long as there isn’t any major downpours of rain this morning we’ll be just fine. Lucky for us though the weather was looking promising as we headed onto the Old Seward Hwy.



Our goal was to ride back up the Old Seward Hwy, avoid having any accidents on the notoriously accident prone road, make it to Anchorage to pick up my new rear tire that we had stashed at our friend Ali’s place, spoon the new tire on, double back onto the Old Seward Hwy, again avoid having any accidents, and make it to the Wittier Tunnel at the right time when traffic is flowing in the right direction of Wittier.



It would be tight, but we were making good time so we took a pit-stop to coffee up.Coffee truck pooch greeted us with a stick expecting us to play. We obliged





We got to Anchorage and rolled into Ali’s parent’s place. I had pulled my bike up onto the center-stand and begun removing the rear tire assuming we would have time to mount my new tire in her parent’s driveway. Ali’s dad scoped out the scheduled openings online and saw that the next opening in our direction was coming up quickly. There was no time to replace my tire if we wanted to get to Whittier and not miss our boat. With this new information I strapped my tire on the back of the bike for later and we said our good-byes to the ever hospitable Chard family.

This time the sun was shinning so we had to stop for at least one photo on the gorgeous Old Seward Highway.



Luckily we didn’t stop for any longer than we did because by the time we got to the tunnel we were the last people to be let in just before it closed. We even had to wait to get clearance to since they were so close to closing it.



They had a speed limit in the tunnel....



...but we were the only ones so tunnel blasting was a must, the sound is just too good.



We got into Wittier, confirmed our tickets…


…and scoped out the town for a few minutes before we boarded our new floating home for the next 7.5 hrs.







Kosh and his bike almost lost a battle of physics involving slick wet steel and a heavy bike vs. gravity. Gravity almost won but Kosh managed to keep it together. The deck hand helping people load didn’t appreciate the miracle on ice Kosh had just performed to avoid running him over. The rest of the boat then loaded up and we got our bikes strapped down before heading upstairs.



The boat was pretty big and there was ample space to walk around the various decks.







‘Merica



After eating some food and getting a lay of the land I passed out for a while to regain some sleep that we hadn’t been getting much of the last few days. After a good rest I woke up and saw this kid killing his boredom by spitting on his hand, letting it drip onto the window sill, and then catching it back in his mouth after it slid off the edge.



Parent’s didn’t seem to notice/care as they had 4 other little munchkins that they were trying to keep from jumping overboard. Whatever though, he’ll probably survive the next super-bug when we all get sick. After a few hours of gorgeous scenery, whale sightings, and beautiful icebergs we were slowing down and entering into the Valdez. Along the way we saw a few of the now famous Alaskan crab fishing boats from the Discovery channel hit “The Deadliest Catch”. They were headed out of port to go get some crabs.


Once we got to shore the first order of business was some food, the ferry food wasn’t anything to write home about. We had heard that The Fat Mermaid was the place to go for some good grub and a pint so we sniffed it out.





After eating some bomb pizza and relaxing for a bit we asked the waitress where people such as ourselves could crash for the night on the cheap. She said that there is a spot just out of town where the local teenagers go to party by a river. She said we could probably throw up our tents there and not be bothered by the local rozzers. Cheap and hassle-free, perfect.



After a short windy trail we found the river bank that the waitress had spoken of. There were a lot of birds swarming over the water feeding close by. This meant there must have been a lot of fish in the area. In light of this we did a quick once-around on the banks to look for bear tracks that would indicate if our chosen tent spots doubled as the local bears breakfast table. Not seeing any, we decided to set up shop right on the bank and get some rest.



I love falling asleep hearing flowing water and waking up to the fresh cool breeze that it brings. Tomorrow we were heading Northeast towards Tok Alaska where we will then turn Southeast and try to make it over the border and into Canada. After that….? Well we’ll see how far we get tomorrow.



Onward
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:50 PM   #38
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Loving this RR, and the pictures are awesome! Keep up the good work!

If you wind up coming through Prince George before the 10th of August (when my wife and I depart for a 10-day trip of our own) let me know - we've got over an acre of lawn for free tenting, a spare bedroom if you need a break from the great outdoors, and an ample supply of cold beer always on hand.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:02 PM   #39
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Thanks GISdood, I'm having a blast writing it

I would totally take you up on the camp spot and beer but I'm already past Prince George. I didn't have time/internet to go through pictures and post so I'm just now getting to it. If you are ever in the Seattle area I have space for bikes and camping. Probably could even scrounge up a couple cold brewskies too.
Have a blast with the wife on your trip!

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Loving this RR, and the pictures are awesome! Keep up the good work!

If you wind up coming through Prince George before the 10th of August (when my wife and I depart for a 10-day trip of our own) let me know - we've got over an acre of lawn for free tenting, a spare bedroom if you need a break from the great outdoors, and an ample supply of cold beer always on hand.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:35 PM   #40
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I've been MIA on updating this ride report but I am now getting to it, hopefully late is better than never.

More coming...
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:02 PM   #41
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eagerly awaiting more....I've been in the far north via moto and it is great! At least I had good weather with a minimum of rain!

ride safe,
steve
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:41 AM   #42
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16: Catching up

Wow, so I have been teeerrribbblle about updating this since I got back home. For anyone reading this my apologies. I have now been back in Seattle for a while and as may be obvious from my lack of posts I have put writing/follow-up on the back burner. I don’t have any real excuse so I won’t feign a relevant one. In any case being back in Sea-town has been good and as always, I am pushing to be in the saddle and on the road again. First though, let’s get caught up on this previous leg of the trip before moving on to what’s next.



We last left off with Kosh and I camping out in Valdez. We had no midnight bears in our campsite that needed to be wrestled so with the next morning we awoke refreshed and rested.

Such good photographers.


We had been putting off taking the time to change our oil because we were in a bind to catch the ferry from Wittier to Valdez. We were now pretty far past due for a fluid swap. It seemed fitting to change our oil here, but also was a sobering reminder of the infamous history Valdez shares with oil. We picked up a turkey pan from the local grocer and rode out to find a dump where we knew there would be a transfer station as well. Spoke to a couple people working the machines and asked if we could do the job there and dump our oil in their oil drums to which they kindly obliged.







We swung by a glacier on our way out, or at least what’s left of it. There has been a remarkable reduction in these glaciers over the years and it is evident when comparing photos from a couple decades ago to the present..

Kosh was less than impressed.


Most signs that we see are laden with bullet holes. Shooting shit full of holes seems to be a common way to pass the time up north. The info-board to describe the glacier and show it’s fun-facts resembled Swiss cheese.



We pushed out of the port of Valdez heading Northeast with our next destination being Tok Alaska. Tok is a place I had been a few weeks earlier as it is the main junction for heading North to Fairbanks, West to Anchorage, Southwest to Valdez, or in our case, Southeast back into the Yukon. We started climbing up into the mountains to get over the range that socks the Port of Valdez in geographically.





Things started to get cold, but as always, Kosh was game and the scenery more than compensated for the inevitable cold it brought with it.



A few hours later we were cresting the pass. We had to wait for a bit at the top due to construction. This man had his driving attire on lock-down. Dragging on a cig with a big-gulp sized coffee he was stylin for sure. Of course, he was also accompanied by his finest Ugg Slips and flannel jammy-jams.



The further we got from the pass the warmer the temperature became. After a few hours of riding we were sitting comfortably again. With the warmer weather we decided to stop for our first real bit of food for the day and make some road-side breakfast.



With a full nights sleep and a belly full o’ oatmeal I was feeling spry and ready to boogey. I told Kosh we probably had another 5+ hours of riding until we got to Tok, after that we would just ride until we couldn’t anymore. My new-found energy was a little much for Kosh though and he decided he had had enough, it was better to just walk than endure my cheeky one-liners and terrible voice impersonations over out intercoms for the next 5+ hours.




After remembering that we were in the middle of nowhere he came back around.

We powered through the afternoon and into the evening. We made it to Tok, ate some crazy delicious Thai food out of a truck on the side of the road, finally changed my tire that I had been carrying around since Anchorage, and just so happen to run across a tire-only waste-bin. Convenient.


Before leaving Tok we gassed up and asked the clerk how far it was to the Alaska/Yukon border. He checked his clock, looked at us confused, and said “Are you trying to get their tonight?” We were familiar with this response though and he needed to have been much more taken aback by our intentions for us to doubt our resolve to make it. We were used to riding 13+ hour days on the regular by this point. No matter how firm our saddle-buts were though the night was coming and with night, came the cold. So we saddled up and got to moving, hoping we could race the dropping temps to the border.



We made it through the border and out of Alaska customs but then we oddly had another 20 klicks until we would cross the Yukon border into Canada. This put us riding in what appeared to be a no-mans-land along a wide dirt road cutting through what appeared to be an open expanse of nothingness. A place where, in my mind, neither Alaska or the Yukon were in charge. It gave me one of those feelings you get when you are left home alone as a kid. The feeling that you should really make good use of the time and do stuff you aren’t supposed to. Unfortunately there’s nothing to do out here aside from breaking the meager speed limit.

A few minutes later and we were clicking on down the road. Something in my mirror caught my eye. It appeared to be reflecting something on fire. I turned my head around and saw the scene over my shoulder for myself. It was the most vibrant and in-your-face sunset I had ever been present for, I paged Kosh on the intercoms and told him to slow-down and look behind him





We were riding due east at that point which put the sunset directly behind us with nothing in front of us to indicate the momentary beauty that was transpiring out of view. We could have easily never seen it. Funny how you could miss something like that and just never know. It pays to look around you outside of your bubble every now and then.

We rolled up to the Yukon border shortly after the sunset and just a hair before midnight. We were greeted by two border staff who seemed bored out of their minds. Both were kicked back in their chairs, work boots up on the desk, staring at an overhead monitor which I’m pretty sure was playing an episode of 30 Rock. After riding all day I was loopy as shit and in full form for cheeky late night jokery – of which the female guard was not amused in the slightest. After clearing both of us she did let us go back across the border to grab a victory shot with their maple leaf. The dulteration of said maple leaf was not approved of either so we promptly left the border.



It was late and we were tired so we found the first suitable place to pull off the road and throw our tents up.

The next morning we set-out heading Southeast again. Our goal was to make it back down to the coast to the sea port of Haines. This would entail another border crossing back into Alaska but much further south than where we were crossing today. When in places where the vast majority of the land is wide open expanses of country with small pockets of people sprinkled in between it becomes important to get gas whenever you can.



We pulled off at this little place to fuel up but unfortunately it was dry and completely out of gas. I did however see the unmistakable green and ruby-red stems of a rhubarb plant.



For a moment I thought Kosh and I just might score what would llikely be some amazing homemade rhubarb pie that would logically be being sold inside. All grandmothers make good pie right? Just like they were out of gas though, I was out of cash. With no ATM machine likely to apparate to our location, we left not only without the much needed fuel, but also unfed.

Kosh had a memorable moment with the dog though.



The nearest gas station was another 50+ miles down the road so we emptied a Gatorade bottle to drain some gas from my bigger tank if Kosh ran out before I did. We dropped the speed back and eased up on the throttle to milk out as many miles as we could from what was left in our tanks. We made it to the next gas station and stopped for breakfast to put something warm in our bones. The wind had started to pick up gradually as we rode further South and we were noticing how gusty it had become. The name of the restaurant adjoining the gas station seemed to be fitting for the weather conditions.



The waitress informed us that the area was prone to be windy, hence the restaurant name, but she did not enlighten us to the fact that a windstorm was rolling in. Not having any internet, TV, or radio made us none the wiser to any sort of warnings about weather conditions…or anything really for that matter. When we went back out to the bikes the wind had picked up even more and it was fairly ridiculous now. We tried to snap a photo and right at that moment the wind blew the camera off the back of my bike. The picture clicked and captured this lovely bit.



We chocked the extra wind up to the area norm and got on down the road. If you were able to ignore the heavy winds the road was great.



Eventually though the wind got too erratic to be taking any photos. The last one I snapped was an accidental shot of my tankbag as the wind violently chucked my bike into the other lane forcing me to drop the camera onto the tether, one hand on the throttle, the other attempting to get back to the handlebar. After being glad I wasn’t off the road in a ditch (or the lake) I promptly put the camera away.


My picture taking took a toll on pace and I had fallen back quite a wase. When I caught up to Kosh he had pulled over to take a look at the lake and recoup after he himself had almost been blown off the road. My “ooohh, buddy’ face was indicative of how close we came to biting the dust.


Camera placed firmly on the ground this time for a lake pic.


We didn’t take notice of it at the time but looking back there wasn’t a single other person on the road but us. We maybe should have taken note and done the same but only hindsight is 20-20. Shits weird up here, besides, we had just eaten at a restaurant called “She’ll breeze”. Aside from a spot when some trees buffered us from the winds furry I didn’t take any more photos until we got to the Alaska border later that evening.





We later heard that a semi had been blown over onto its side and off of the road where we had been that very same day and that whole towns had also lost power due to the intense winds. Next time we’ll read the conditions better, but not much else to do but push on as we had.

We were under the impression that the border closed at 8pm and we had a ferry booked the next day. Realizing we may not make it in time we spent the last hour and half before the border bombing through winding alpine roads, tucking behind our windscreens to reduce drag and eek out every MPH we could as our motors gulped for non-existent air up high in the pass. We were stoked when we made it before 8pm but only to find out that the border was actually open until midnight, just like the previous one. I had been scanning the side of the road for good tent spots in case we didn’t make it to the border and had to sleep somewhere overnight.



We crossed the border just before 8 and after that we were in much less of a hurry. We continued our descent in elevation down from the border towards the sea port of Haines.

Kosh’s moody shot, I think he’s having a love moment with the bike.



It was a pretty beautiful spot though, in a wet dreary sort of way.




Ladies take note, if you marry me, as part of the honeymoon I promise to book an all inclusive night at this party-palace.



We got into Haines just in time to grab a drink and some food at the local bar, make a couple phone calls to check in, and even found a cheap bed and breakfast with one room left to crash in. Of course when we got there they said they made a mistake and only had the master suite available. We were done looking for a place to stay and could use a warm spot so we caved.



I drew straws for the pullout but it was still like sleeping on a cloud compared to the ground. It was the first night in the whole trip that we had paid to sleep inside and the second night that I had been in a bed since I left home 3 1/2 weeks earlier. I was reluctant at first to drop the coin but man-o-man was it nice to have a hot shower and a warm bed to sleep in. Breakfast the next morning was pretty damn good as well. I know I ate my money’s worth that’s for sure.
__________________
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
No-Moto-Boundaries, Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip, '04 KLR 688

SeanPNW screwed with this post 08-20-2013 at 05:30 PM
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:50 AM   #43
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17: Catching up (continued)

In the morning we woke up to an amazing sunny day which was a nice change to the previous days winds and looming clouds. We headed to the ferry terminal first thing in the morning to confirm our tickets for the early afternoon ferry to Skagway.



After getting the tickets we had time to burn so we checked out the town. It’s a popular town for tourists and there was a large cruise ship that had pulled in that morning, flooding the town with people.



We played the part and snapped some pictures.











Had drinks and food at this place the night before, definitely felt like an old saloon.



We heard that there was a family of bears out by a nearby lake so we went to go check it out. The road out there was nice.





There were lots of people out fishing for salmon.




A bit down the road I saw one bear come out and cross the road with a freshly caught salmon in its mouth. I stopped and waited to see if it would cross again but to no avail. When I went to leave I looked to my immediate left and saw the same bear had come around down the side of the path in the woods and was watching me through the trees. Once I noticed him he turned and left.



We scoped out the lake for a bit then headed back.



Again we ran into the same bear, he seemed interested in the bikes when they were off and quiet (or more likely the potential food we may have). Kept coming out of the woods and up to us out when we stopped. Unfortunate that this bear was so used to humans.



He was definitely more interested in stealing freshly caught fish from the fisherman though.



Bear thought these two little kids fishing with their dad had something on their line. He came up behind this rock and surprised them and they dropped their gear and scampered further back. No luck though, they hadn’t caught anything yet. Dad high-fived the kids after the bear left.



It was time to get to the ferry to line up so we left the bear to its food hunt.





We loaded up the bikes into the ferry and strapped them down. That’s Sean and DonnyO with the BMW GSAs strapping down their bikes as well. We then saw this beast parked a few rows away. I’ve looked into them since and they are fucking awesome. If you want to see more check outActionMobil.com







Kosh and I checked out the new ferry digs that would take us to Skagway.







Kosh decided he couldn’t put up with my shitty jokes anymore. It was best to throw me overboard and carry on solo.



This was a relatively quick ferry in relation to the ferry to Valdez and in a couple hours we were pulling into Skagway. Skagway is a whole other beast compared to Haines. It’s the same concept, historically relevant town for Alaska, but there were currently 3…yes 3 cruise ships in port.



We said bye to Sean and DonnyO – a father + son duo riding around Alaska as well. Check out their great ride-report here called“Father + Son + Arctic Circle = Bliss Part Deux”.



Our ferry unloaded and we looked around town for a bit.









Kosh went to investigate the legitimacy of the brothel.





Local baller rolling in a ‘Limo’.



Noticed a saloon who’s windows were filled with this liquid gold.





I guess Rainier Beer was shipped up here back in the day from Seattle. It reminded me that no matter how hard you try you’re really not that far from home. When we get back to Seattle we’ll be kicking a couple cold ones of these back.

With the cruise ships continuing to unload their passengers we could see the small town was going to turn into a shit-show real quick.



We made the choice to get out of town and see where the road takes us for the rest of the day.



We set out of Skagway burning up the road and gaining elevation. The skies were opening up and we were headed Northeast for another border that would take us into BC.



We crossed the border with no issues and pulled over to put on a couple more layers as it was deceptively cold at that elevation.





We rode for a while and dropped back down in elevation. My excessive water drinking from my CamelBak took its toll on my bladder and we had to pull over. While here we had a moment to reflect. The road ahead looked good.



Where we currently were was great.



But with Skagway being our last ‘real’ destination, for the first time since the trip began, I had the feeling that we were now heading home. Until now I was always so excited about where we were going that never found myself looking behind us at where we had come from.

But as we were getting back on our bikes I was seeing the road behind us in a way that I simply hadn’t seen it before. The road behind us was not just a road back to Skagway, or back to Alaska, it was a road that lead back to the unknown. For the first time since we left home I now had the feeling that rather than riding too something, we were instead now riding away from something.



We got back on the road and for me the conversations over our intercoms were quiet for a while. Although Seattle was several long days and many miles away it was a weird feeling to have our ‘next up’ destination be a place that I had already been. A place that I had a job, house that I called home, and a warm bed to come back to at night. A place that I felt I had so recently just left. For the last couple months I had been looking forward to being on my bike with nothing but the open road in front of me to go ride and explore. With every turn bringing new scenery and places I had never been. Now that I had been doing just that for the past several weeks…it seemed weird that I wouldn’t be doing it anymore. Four weeks is only 4 weeks, as far as trips go it’s pretty damn short. For me though it was 4 weeks of doing exactlywhat I wanted to be doing. Riding my motorcycle to places I hadn’t seen or been to before, with nothing else on the agenda but enjoying ourselves, the people we were with, and the places we were in.

I remembered what Jeane told me a few weeks earlier about “not wasting the time you have”. I turned my mindset around and got back to enjoying the ride home. It was a brief moment of reflection and I’m glad I had it, because if I hadn’t, I would have spent the rest of the ride to Seattle dwelling on the timer that was slowly clicking down to zero.

We kept riding for hours and with the sun beginning to set behind us we chased our shadows down the road.





With the sun now beginning to set we pulled off the road for a dinner of champions, Cheez-Whiz and Triscuts.



The sun was now gone and we set out to find a place to camp for the night.



With the sun gone it was now getting cold quickly and we were wanting to call it a day. We were ticking along scanning the sides of the road for places to pull off the road and stealth camp but we hadn’t seen anything decent now for 20 miles. There were a couple of possibilities but when stealth camping by a road you want to think about where drunk drivers or sleeping big-riggers will potentially conk out and run off the road. A renegade big-rig will turn your peaceful tent-sleep into an eternal slumber pretty fast. This means not pitching your tent in the woods on the outside of slow bends or next to a long boring straight stretch. As we came up to a bridge our lights bounced off the reflective striping of some tents off to the left. We slowed down and doubled back. Sure enough there were 3 tents and a gaggle of bicycles piled together on the underside of the bridge. We pulled in as quiet as we could and gingerly set-up our tents trying to not wake the neighbors.

In the morning we woke up to frost on the bikes, a smoldering campfire, and a pyramid of bicycles.







We made some breakfast and then hung out with the neighbors for a bit. They were in 3 separate groups. A 15y/o kid (left) was riding from Vancouver BC to Anchorage AK on a recumbent bicycle with his Grandpa (second from left) who was riding all the way from New Mexico. He said that he joked about meeting up and doing part of his Grandpa’s trip with him and the next thing he knew his town’s newspaper had caught wind of the idea. After that backing out wasn’t an option, he had to go and do it. Then there were a couple (center and second from center) from Buffalo New York who were riding all across the US on break from college. They had ridden up and down the east coast, across to the west coast via the south, and now were heading all the way to Anchorage before heading back down then cutting back across to the east coast via the northern route. The third ‘group’ was a guy from Mexico City riding solo, trying to get from Anchorage Alaska all the way back home to Mexico before he started college in Mexico City in the middle of September. He had a long way to go but he was chasing his bicycling idol who was on a round-the-world trip. His idol just so happened to be on the very same route and only a few days ahead of him. He was determined to catch him and was peddling crazy amounts of miles each day to achieve this.



We heard all about their wild misadventures. It sure was inspiring seeing people out there going and doing seemingly irrational stuff for the hell of it. Before we packed up and left they told us about a young Italian couple in their 20′s they had passed the day before that were heading north. We were likely to see them at some point while heading south. They said that the couple were walking from New Mexico. Yes that is right, walking from New Mexico. All the way to Anchorage Alaska. They were taking a break after school and had decided it would be a fun thing to do. After we got back on the road sure enough we went buzzing past them. I gave them an encouraging horn blast and an enthusiastic fist-pump to congratulate them on being so close to their goal. They had the biggest shit eating grins on their faces.


A few hours later and we were eating a second breakfast of bomb cinnamon. We fueled up the bikes as well before changing directions again to now head due South via the Cassiar Hwy.




We heard that the Cassiar Hwy was a great alternative to the larger more developed route to Prince George so we decided to take it. Man was I glad we did. That road was great from the minute we turned onto it and opened up the throttle until the minute we turned off some 450 miles later.

Sweeping turns with no traffic.


Rolling hills.


And gorgeous scenery.


After turning off the Cassiar and heading East now towards Prince George we ran into another Action Mobil, damn these things are sweet.


The owner was a French woman, probably in her late 50′s. When I asked her where’s home for her she turned around and pointed at her Action Mobil. She said she got bored, decided to sell her house and buy one of these instead. She was single, retired, kids were all grown up, and she just traveled around the world year-round with her scotty dog in her Action Mobil. She had been traveling for several years now and had been all over Europe, Asia, Africa, and now the Americas. She just followed the warm weather seasons from region to region. She had no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. Amazing lady.

We were now winding down our trip. In the next two days we had 1,000 miles to cover before we would be at our doorstep in Seattle, WA. It was a bit of a tall order but Kosh and I didn’t have any other major stops to make so we started laying down the miles.
Along the way we murdered lots of Alaska’s state bird…


…passed through lots of farmland…



…some super dry arid areas at 93+ degrees…



…and had blue skies all the way.


On the last day we made it to the Canada-US border.


Yep, Kosh, “w” is for Washington.


A little over 100 miles later and we were rolling into Seattle. Crossing over one of the many bridges that link up the city, this one always reminds me of coming home.


We pulled into the driveway, I flicked my kickstand down and then…well I just leaned back and sat on the bike. It felt comfortable to be sitting on it, more comfortable than getting off. It felt like I could just as easily pull out of the driveway and head down the road again but in the other direction for a few more thousand miles. I juggled with the idea for a moment seriously wondering “why not?”. In the end reason won and I reminded myself to have patience, at least for now. All in good time.

4 weeks, 7,500+ miles later and it all went by like it was just another weekend ride. As a test-ride it was a success. No major issues that couldn’t be solved, gear worked as intended, bike performed just as I hoped, and as suspected I had a blast.

In addition to a successful test-ride I picked up a lot from this trip. I met a lot of great people, had a ton of fun with my friends, and saw some pretty amazing places. All while essentially in North America’s own back yard. The main thing that I’m left with though – after the dirt and grime from a few weeks on the road is washed off, after the bike is tidied and put back in order, after it’s all said and done – is a lingering and all encompassing feeling that trumps everything else…

I. Want. More.

__________________
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
No-Moto-Boundaries, Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip, '04 KLR 688

SeanPNW screwed with this post 08-20-2013 at 05:32 PM
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:06 PM   #44
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Awesome, keep it coming!!
I love the front end on y'alls KLRs.
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:49 PM   #45
Kimball76
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About damn time... I've been missing this report! I confess I don't usually read reports, just usually look at the pics and keep moving. But you have a natural and entertaining writing style that's slowed me down. Give us more!
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