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Old 08-25-2013, 05:15 PM   #76
curlesw
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Enjoying your ride report, good pictures and narrative. No doubt your are eating well..your report makes me hungry and want to go on a ride...keep it coming!

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Old 08-30-2013, 01:58 PM   #77
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Day 25 & 26

NomadGal sent me a PM saying she's be darned impressed if I was able to stick to my schedule. It was a 35 day trip and so far so good.

After having done 5 multi-country/state rides over 3-6 weeks each time, I can say that my level of success and enjoyment is directly proportional to the effort I put into research and planning ahead of time.

Adventure riding is not a vacation. It's work.
It can be minimal if you aren't bothered by missing something historical or beautiful or sleeping in a tent behind a gas station or missing your flight home if your bike breaks down.
It can take months if you want riding partners, see important things along the way and enjoy good accommodations and food and have back up plans for emergencies.
This ride to Alaska as you all know was my first long distance solo ride. I did it because of special considerations like, US speaking, USD and CAD currency (simple and easy to get), I knew people about halfway there, I had a base camp in Anchorage with Mark and also some homestays from people on ADV along the way. I had a solid back up plan with points of exit (places to store the bike and access a bus or flight home all along the way) so whatever could go wrong, I had options.

But enough about that....time to talk about one of those wonderful home stays in Wasilla with J&K on ADV.

Their massive house.



Got to wash the Tiger. It was incredible how much mud came off my bike and I hardly rode in any rain!



My room downstairs with my own private bath.





Met the in-laws who were excellent hosts and we ate delicious homemade dumplings.





And meet Jade and Kelly

Kelly's baby.





Jade's baby.





and meet Stella. The sweetest dog I've met yet.



She was very shy but I eventually got her to relax enough to let me scratch her tummy.



They had a really good washing machine so I threw in everything including my boots because the zipper was so packed with dirt and mud that I was worried about breaking the darned thing if I kept forcing it.

I had a great night of sleep, avoiding going into Anchorage and had plans to meet up with Russ at Sheep Lodge for one last serving of that 3 berry crisp.
We agreed to ride from Anchorage all the way to Beaver Creek in Yukon and skip Tok to get as much miles as possible covered. We had a ferry to catch in 2 days time and no room for error.

It was mostly uneventful. No cool animal sightings. Some good food again at Fast Eddy's. A light rain just before the border. The same 5 miles of dirt right after crossing then arrived at a campground and pitched camp.



The thing I was pushing for was to make Kroschel's the next day.

Get ready for some amazing photos.....
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:29 PM   #78
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Sure enjoyed your trip report so far...
I attempted a trip in that direction more than 30 years ago..... keep telling myself..... must do it again!
Thanks Nancy for great write up!
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Old 08-31-2013, 02:55 PM   #79
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Great report. I'm sure it takes a lot of time to write and upload all the pics - but that's what makes it such a great travel log. Looking forward to reading and seeing the rest of your trip.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:08 PM   #80
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Day 27

By this time, I had Russ equally excited about Kroschels and happy to wake up early to get on the road and get to Haines as quickly as possible.

Steve Kroschel told me he had an organized tour for 11:45 and 1:45 and it would cost $50. If we didn't make it, the cost for just the two of us would be too expensive. We had about 300 miles to go from Beaver Creek to his special place, some of it under construction....where I got my flat. We made it to destruction bay pretty quickly and once past the dirt sections, stopped for breakfast at the gas station/hotel/restaurant.

The unfriendly girl at the register had a funny accent that I thought might be from my home of Quebec...turns out I was right and in her defense, I'd be pretty cranky too if I had a gas station job in the middle of nowhere with a population of under a hundred.

We made good time to Haines Junction and went through the high elevation pass in some heavy fog with only a few cars going the other direction. Passed the border back into Alaska and found the turn off for Kroschel easy enough. There was a small group of people waiting out front and we parked the bikes and grabbed the cameras and made the first tour.

Our first experience, meet Isis the wolf.



What a pretty face!





As you can tell from the blury image, she was very active and didn't sit still long. Russ told me later that when I left the group to go get my second camera because the battery was drained from my Sony NEX that Isis got very agitated and Steve commented that she knew I was leaving and was not happy about that. I got back in time to get a few photos and participate in the group howl that eventually got a $2 howl out of her.

Next, a gorgeous hawk.



He explained how their actual eyeball isn't a ball at all, it's more of a wiener like a hot dog that burrows to the back of their head. That's why they have to turn their heads so much to see as their vision is limited to what is directly in front. Someone look that one up....

My father is always saying this to me. In fact all of the buildings had important life messages written on them.



Next was the foxes. I did see one fox just outside of Whitehorse on my way to Haines Junction but here we had a couple. Poorly posed again. Friggin digital cameras and their stupid delay. Still kicking myself for draining my battery on the Sony NEX overnight.





And let me tell you that the smells emanating from these different animals so far was so thick you could taste it. Sure added something to the overall experience. Zoo's are sterile and the animals lethargic. Not at Kroschel's. This was to be a common theme with Steve, lots of kissing.



Next the bobcat. Look at those hind legs. Seems they only hunt snowshoe rabbits so their legs are proportionally as strong to jump in hot pursuit.



Sooooo sneaky looking.



Meet Kitty. A ton of gorgeous grizzly behind a rickety fence.





Now this little thing was about as cute as my grindle teddy but not nearly as cuddly....unless you touch her belly, which was in fact quite soft.







When he gave her this leaf, instead of eating it, she propped it up in front of her face as if to hide behind it then frozen perfectly still until he nudged her gently to let he know it was ok to move again.



Contrary to popular belief, porcupines can't project their quills.

This was a mink.







AND here friends is where the "Moose" part of my title comes in. I kissed a moose!

The one on the right is the lucky recipient of my lips.



Look at those long legs, they come up to my shoulders!





BTW moose love banana's just like the minions in despicable me.

I think this was a stoat, and there was no kissing, in fact this little bugger moved so fast that I could hardly photograph him.





The second to last beauty was this silver fox. Companion to polar bears.







Now get ready....a real live wolverine!



Looked like he was being attacked doesn't it. Nope....Steve kissed this monster right on the mouth over and over and wrestled playfully with it. He even massages the gums with his fingers! That's right, he puts his fingers in that fanged mouth. It was so clear to everyone that not only was he a very special person but he'd spent his life cultivating these very important relationships.

That's right folks, killer on a leash.





I've got some video of Steve playing with this one....but not sure how to get this up on ADV. PM me your personal email if you want the clip. It's quite a sight!

This is the main area of Kroschel's.



The overall place was probably much bigger and the way I understood it, we only saw about 20% of the total animals housed there. If you go to Alaska, this is the one MUST SEE. I can't stress it enough, everything else on my trip just pales in comparison. It was a magical 2 hours that I will never forget.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:13 PM   #81
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Now that's what I would call an adventure!!! You are correct, the zoos & wild animal parks pale by comparison. Great trip, I'm following along for this one too.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:30 AM   #82
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Great pics...
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:12 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by gunnerbuck View Post
Great pics...
Thanks for saying that....still kicking myself for not taking these photos with the good camera but hey, at least there was some ok ones.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:20 AM   #84
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Question

And I have to thank Nancy again for 'making' me go to Kroschel's. When she was planning the logistics for making it there, I really didn't care one way or the other. But once we started the tour, I was IN! I agree that this is a must if you are anywhere near Haines!
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:22 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by McRuss View Post
And I have to thank Nancy again for 'making' me go to Kroschel's. When she was planning the logistics for making it there, I really didn't care one way or the other. But once we started the tour, I was IN! I agree that this is a must if you are anywhere near Haines!
For the record, Russ is the most flexible, accommodating easy going guy I've ever had the pleasure to ride with.

Pleasant. Experienced. Considerate.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:19 PM   #86
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Talking

This has been a great story with good pics........thanks for taking the time to share your adventure in Alaska!
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:57 PM   #87
1200gsceej
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Map?

I can't remember if you were asked, but do you have a map of your travels?
The route you planned to take? The track that you did take?
Is either available somewhere to look at on line? It helps me a lot, seein' where you are or were.
Thanks,
-ceej (AK in 2011, no ... 2012? no, nor 2013 either; maybe 2014)

PS - thanks for the info on Kroschels. Your's is the first I've heard about it.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:10 AM   #88
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is it over???

... more please
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Old 09-16-2013, 11:13 AM   #89
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Nope sorry....just trying to get time for the last 12 days.
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:41 PM   #90
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The final days....

Today we rode over 300 miles, visited Kroschel's, an extraordinary place and it was only 2 pm! Russ and I were catching the ferry from Haines early the next morning and so we headed into town hoping to see a bald eagle along the reserve....no luck.

In spite of a confused GPS found Bear Creek Cabins all right.





My cozy bunk in the female dorm room (had it all to myself).Chilly enough to use my 'old lady' hot water bottle. On my list of items to make this trip go well, i'd say it was #3.



We dropped our gear and rode into town for a bite to eat. Yep, you guessed it...wings. And let me just say that Alaska could use some Hooters restaurants. These wings were just awful again, they look good but they tasted funny.



After we finished eating we decided to ride to the ferry terminal just to be sure we knew where it was and how long it would take to get there. We also hoped to see a bald eagle but no luck...

This was my last night on Alaskian soil and I was feeling glad to be headed home but I was also a bit melancholy. Course, the dark clouds, heavy with rain made me grateful that the next two days would be on a dry, warm ship. This was the end of the vacation so to speak and I'd made it. Not only had I succeeded in going 4000+ miles alone but I had a blast doing it!

We woke up early the next morning to a light drizzle. Just as we were heading out of the parking lot, I noticed a thick nylon strap hanging loose from Russ's side bag and caught it before he took off. Riding with someone is worth the hassle it sometimes brings. Imagine if that got caught in the rear wheel?

Made it to the terminal and finally did see a bald eagle, waited the requisite 2 hours in a light rain and then finally boarded. Since we didn't have a cabin and agreed to sleep under the solarium, as soon as we got the bikes on board, I grabbed our bags and high-tailed it to the top deck.



There was plenty of room. Nothing to worry about! Found out after we cast off that Captain Rudini was not on board and a substitute captain was at the helm.

This time I just lounged about watching the scenery go by and kept to myself mostly. Gosh, the Alaskian coast is just so beautiful. Can't recommend the Alaska Marine Highway enough!

Made it to Prince Rupert late the following night and right on time. Checked back into the Pioneer Hostel again and woke up to more rain the following morning. The road to Prince George is twisty, follows lakes for quite a ways and mountain ranges on both sides. Just gorgeous.
After about an hour, rode out of the rain and once in Prince George, found a campsite with a pool just outside of town and got the unholy smell out of my gear. Can't believe I didn't get a photo of the pool. The weather was getting hot and the spring fed water a welcome refreshment.





This would be our last night together. We were going to split the next day. I was headed back West towards Whistler and Russ was going to start angling towards Texas. It only got hotter for him. We stopped for one last meal in 100 mile house, shook hands and wished each other well.

I took the back road 99 from the 97. It was super twisty, steep, narrow, potholed and with sheer cliff drop offs. Oh and boy was it HOT. Remember, I'm wearing non-vented, weather gortex gear. Doesn't matter how fast I went, I was drowning in my own sweat. If I'd been more rested or properly geared, probably would have loved that road but I just wanted to get to Whistler.

My hostel was super cute and clean. Neat cafe at the entrance.



Well built wood bunkbeds with mini closets and a private bath.



I could even see my bike from the window!



I felt like a proud parent that night. My Tiger is a new bike so not much could go wrong mechanically but I will say that I'm completely satisfied with that bike now that I've ridden it for about 15K. It was a tough choice between the F 800 GS and my Gossamer but I chose wisely.

Whistler is a cute, cute place! Hot but cute. I'd gotten a breakfast place recommendation and had to only get to Seattle that day. Not too far but plenty of congestion and traffic as well as some toll roads with maniac drivers.

Crossed the border at Sumas on the 11. Took the twisty, single lane country back roads to my final destination of Issaquah. It was warm but didn't have any stop and go and with all the irrigated fields, the air was a bit cooler.
I'd have to say, that this day (once I got back onto US soil) was one of the best scenic rides ever.

I was staying with my friend Tyson and we went for a steak dinner. Also one of the best steaks I have ever eaten!





I had a king size, pillow top bed with super soft cotton sheets. I could have slept there a week. The exhaustion was starting to ooze out of me.



My own private bath too, with a shower about 2 feet higher than the floor.



And this big guy to keep me company.



Tyson has a great sound system and we enjoyed relaxing in his living room to classic rock.



That little guy on her lap is called Moose so I kissed him too just for luck.

When I first arrived, I was tired, dripping in sweat, the GPS was confused and there were 3 places that could have been his place. Unfortunately each place was a steep, gravel path up. Glad I chose the right one!

The next morning Tyson made some scary looking green shake for Jenn and I opted for some black coffee instead.



Today I was going to get to Portland and visit Danny, a friend from Phoenix I used to hang with. He's a mutual friend of Courtnay (in Skagway) and she suggested we meet up. I practically invited myself to stay the night...you'll see why after the photos I'm about to show you.

But first the ride that day...I got to finally ride the 25. Remember that was the road that was closed that I warned the other riders to not take a month earlier. Wound my way around Mount St Helens



Creepy





Got to Portland in the late afternoon and Danny took me to a food truck court for dinner.





There were a lot of food options. We both decided on the Mediterranean place but after some bizarre stressed out exchange with the lady behind the counter, decided on some fried chicken instead. Boy was it delicious! Back to the land of coleslaw made with vinegar and mayo. yahoo!



Their very cool arts and craft house but wait till you see inside....



My room. Super soft, comfy bed again. I had an AC unit in the window and thick drapes over the windows. It was pitch black in that room and I loved it.



Don't see these everyday.



Curios heaven.



Bad ass African stuff.



BTW, this is still only my room!!!!



It looked real....



The front living room



Massive weird masks





More cool, weird stuff







The next morning we went to Arleta Cafe. For me this was a special event because back in March when I was visiting my mom in Quebec we watched a foodie road show that highlighted this place.



I couldn't decide what I wanted so I got 3 things: eggs with meat. bacon and sausage biscuit sauce.





Yep I ate it all.

Danny posed by my bike and sent me off smiling and stuffed.



I got a late start that day and rode about as fast as I could down the 97, through Bend, in scorching heat. I had to stop for oil since the level was a bit low the night before when I checked it. I passed Crater Lake and stopped at the same BBQ joint in Klamath Falls and told the gals there that I had been there exactly a month before on my way to Alaska. Their jaws dropped.

Stable frenzy had now officially set in. I was doing everything I could to avoid going on the I-5 but I wanted to get as close to home as possible and California is a long state. After taking another single lane road around Mt Shasta and missing a lightening storm by mere minutes settled in a KOA campsite complete with blaring trains all night long every 40 minutes like clockwork.



It was a miserable night. Followed by a miserable last day of riding through some really hot weather but I arrived home, made myself 3 margaritas in a row and celebrated.

This is my last post. Thanks for sharing the adventure. Get out there and have your own adventure, you only live once.
I'll leave you with my favorite photo from the bizarre curio house in Portland.

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