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Alaska Trip Report

  1. #1
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Alaska Trip Report

    The Beginning of a Great Adventure….a little about me!


    My name is Dave Michaud, (AKA DucDave) and I’m a motorcycle rider. I’m not a racer – though I’ve tried it and have been an instructor for a couple of track day organizations – (AKA BatMan but thats another story!)

    I’m not a gear head. In fact, my mechanical aptitude is probably one notch above other primates with opposable thumbs.

    I don’t have a lot of off road experience though on the rides I’ve been leading for Seacoast Sport Cycle in Derry NH the past 6 years it’s said that any ride that doesn’t include a dirt road isn’t a ‘DucDave’ ride!

    Mostly though I’m a rider. I’ve had a variety of motorcycles over the years but the past 12 years or so I’ve been a Ducatista. I’ve had an ST2, Multistrada 1100, Multistrada 1200, and I still have a 1999 750 (800 now) Ducati Supersport that I use for track days! I’ve done a solo ride of the Gaspe, PEI, Cape Breton and Nova Scotia and have led 7 or 8 groups on tours of the Canadian Maritimes, Labrador, Newfoundland, West Virginia, and last year my friend Tom and I did an epic tour that included Estes Park Co, Moab, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, Jasper, Banff, Deadwood, and then a long ride back to New Hampshire! You can see some pictures of that tour here!



    My first Ducati - ST2

    This Blog will be about a trip to Alaska, including – if all goes well – the Dalton Hwy or Haul Road through Coldfoot to Deadhorse with and a dip of the toe in the Arctic Ocean. While this is projected to be the ‘I’ve done that’ moment of the trip, my guess is the highlight may well be in any number of other places we plan to visit. I’ll include some of the thinking that goes into preparation and decision making in deciding where to go and what to see! Hope you enjoy following along and I look forward to your questions and comments!

    Tagged Alaska, Deadhorse, DucDave

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  2. #2
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    Who else…!?

    I’ve been slow to update this as I was waiting to see which plan would end up being the final version. The version I’ve ended up with is I’ll be flying to Anchorage and renting a KLR650 from MotoQuest.

    The other three members of this tour are Bruce Tessier and Alex and Ann Frick.

    Bruce and I have been riding together for, what, 8 years? More? He’s been on at least 5 Maritime rides with me and was with Dave McBride and myself when we did the Trans Lab in 2011.



    It was on that ride that we met Ann and Alex Frick. They were finishing a tour they had started the year before when a Hurricane sent Ann off the road into a broken leg(?) and a long term relationship with Labradoreans and Newfies! We dined together one night in Port Hope Simpson where Alex turned me on to the Aerostich Transit Suit.

    Alaska Trip Report-alexandann-jpg

    Bruce is in the Coast Guard and we transferred to Kodiak Island a little over a year ago. When he put it out there about this ride I was immediately on board! And although we haven’t seen each other since that night in Labrador, we’ve kept in touch with the Fricks via FaceBook and when I put feelers out to a few folks to join this tour they were on board too! It’s worth noting that Bruce is the youngest and I’m counting on him to pick me up when I fall! And Alex and Ann are as robust a pair of retiree’s as you’d want to meet. We’re all riders but the Fricks put more miles on a variety of motorcycles than anyone I know. Their completed bucket list is like a who’s who of great motorcycle rides!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Alaska Trip Report-alexandann-jpg  

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    Last edited by DucDave; 09-12-14 at 04:16 AM.
    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
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  3. #3
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    Long day…



    I arrived in Anchorage at 9:30pm local time. I left my house at 5:30am. Minneapolis/St. Paul is a wonderful airport but 5 hours at any airport is plenty. Followed by a 5 hour flight makes for a long day!



    I have to admit thought, Bruce’s day would seem to be even longer. My impression is he arrived in Homer on the Ferry sometime late Friday night or early Sunday morning. He rode straight to Anchorage in the wee hours. He had plans to have a buddy fly to Anchorage today and ride his other motorcycle (Honda VFR) back to Homer where he’d catch the ferry to Kodiak. Apparently the flight was cancelled so his friend took the ferry from Kodiak to Homer. Bruce rented a pick up truck, loaded the bike in the back, and drove all the way to Homer. The last I heard from him he had delivered the bike and was about half way back to Anchorage. I really gotta find out if he’s had any sleep the past 24 hours!

    Tomorrow morning I get to MotoQuest and sort the KLR650 out for the rest of the trip…starting with a ride to Fairbanks to meet up with Alex and Ann!

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    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
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  4. #4
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    Sunday – Anchorage to Fairbanks

    Monday morning we woke early, had breakfast, and took Bruce’s rented truck back to Enterprise at the airport. Cab back to the hotel, checked out, and I grabbed my carry on and walked the two blocks to Motoquest arriving just as the opened. Chrissy sorted out the paper work while James did a great job wiring up my Garmin and Gerbing heated gear. And Chief just kept his eye on everything! Friendly and helpful folks!




    Once I proved i could ride the KLR 650 safely around the parking lot we were on our way. All told it took a little more than an hour and we were on the road by 10:30.

    Not far out of Anchorage Bruce stopped. I pulled up next to him, (we had no comms as Bruce’s Chatterbox didn’t make it), and he asked me if I saw the ‘BatMobile’ I didn’t so we turned back and snapped this picture. For those who don’t know my nickname is Batman and are interested in why you can go here..



    The last time i was in Alaska we never really saw McKinley. Today was different. We had some magnificent views of the mountain as we headed toward Fairbanks.






    We pulled into the Pikes Lodge at about 6:00 and Ann was outside by her bike. I gave here a hug and went into the bar to find Alex. I then walked back to registration as as I approached, still wearing my black Aerostich Transit Suit, a girl behind the counter exclaimed, “Hey look. It’s BatMan!” Seriously….!

    After a shower we met up and ate out on the deck at Pikes Landing. It was great to see them and we are looking forward to a great 10 days!


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  5. #5
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    Great stuff Dave. Thanks for sharing your trip. Love the Batmobile!

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  6. #6
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 11 – Fairbanks to Coldfoot

    After a great dinner Sunday night at Pikes River Landing we checked out of our cabin and set our sights on Coldfoot and The Dalton Highway, or as it’s called locally’ “The Haul Road”.



    Alex and Ann had met a fellow in Whitehorse who was just off the Dalton and he sent them this report:

    From: “Robert E. Higdon”
    Date: August 7, 2014 at 9:50:26 PM PDT
    To: ann.frick@mac.com
    Subject: Dalton highway conditions

    I posted this last night to a list of riders who have completed the Iron Butt Rally. Good luck to you guys. You won’t need it, but it’s nice to have anyway. 8-)

    And when it’s over, you must promise to tell me how it went. I mean it.

    —————————–

    This is from recollections of the past four days. Don’t sue me if you don’t see what I’ve described. The road changes about every five minutes.

    The road is paved entirely from Fairbanks to the entrance of the Dalton highway just past Livengood, a distance of about 80 miles.

    Miles 0-5 northbound are hilly, dry, and corrugated by trucks braking in every corner.

    Miles 6-26 are wide, beautifully scraped, and provide the highest unpaved speed section on the entire highway. This area looks as if it will be paved next year.

    Miles 27-32 are paved with interspersed gravel sections.

    Miles 33-37 are under construction, but there is no pilot car. I didn’t have any problem when I went through there early last Sunday morning, possibly because the road crew wasn’t working on the weekend. When I returned through this area in mid-afternoon today (Wednesday), it was terrifying. They had soaked the road and had piled on a bunch of new gravel. When I heard of Rex’s accident, I thought this is where he would have gone down.

    Miles 38-50 are magnificently paved.

    Miles 51-55 are similar to the first section of the highway. This is where Rex bought it. Mile 56 is the Yukon river. It is very hilly on the approach to the river. When I went through it was clean and dry, though I took it carefully because of the steep slopes. Conditions apparently had changed within hours of my passage because Rex may have run into wet conditions that contributed to his accident. I repeat: you cannot trust any report of road conditions on this highway, even those that come from a single day.

    Miles 56-65 are under construction without pilot cars. The Yukon river gas station/restaurant/motel is at mile marker 56. To the north they have soaked the road for at least the past four days. I saw three Harleys northbound this afternoon riding as if they were on thin ice. In truth the road is not that bad, but after becoming accustomed to the drier parts of the highway south of the Yukon, it comes as a bit of a shock.

    Miles 66-89 are basically hard-pan and gravel. If you want to break something on your bike, you can do it here without any effort.

    Miles 90-209 are paved with a few interrupted sections of gravel. This begins 25 miles below the Arctic circle (MM 115) and carries you blissfully to beyond the Dietrich river north of Coldfoot and Wiseman. You could get used to a road like this, but you shouldn’t.

    Beyond MM 209 there is no pavement until you reach Prudhoe Bay (MM 414) but for two small sections of a few miles each beginning just south of Happy Valley (MM 334). Last Sunday the road through Atigun pass was capable of being traversed at any speed you deemed desirable (despite some low-lying fog); yesterday afternoon a road grader and a water truck had rendered the south slope into something quite different. Things happen on this highway that fast.

    North of Atigun pass the road is in significant part under construction but in excellent shape to Galbraith Lake at MM 275. Here is where the serious road work is underway with a pilot car taking you through the next 15 miles up to Toolik river. On Sunday it was, for me, positively a scary experience. I was so frightened of auguring in because of the endless mud and gravel furrows that the driver of the pilot car stopped and asked me if I were capable of continuing. I told him that I was going to do whatever I could to keep both my bike and myself in one piece and that beyond that I could do no more. Somehow we all got through it. At the end of the section I told the pilot car driver, “I’m coming back through here tomorrow, but I won’t be any faster.” I dreaded the very thought of it.

    I dreamed fretfully about those miserable miles that night in Deadhorse. My goal for the return trip, I decided, was to avoid ending the day’s ride in a hospital; my secondary goal would be not to soil myself, at least not more than once. Or twice.

    And it shall be recorded that in fact I came back through that same area with the same pilot car the next day at noon and could not have had a more pleasant experience. The road had completely dried out. I stood on the pegs, sang a few tunes, and waltzed through the zone in 32 minutes. It was as if I’d been transported to some other place on a magic carpet. It had not been a happy trip for me to that point, but I was actually laughing my way through what had simply baffled me the day before. That’s the story of the Dalton highway. You never know what’s coming next, not day to day, sometimes not hour to hour.

    There is nothing noteworthy going on north of the construction zone but for a short stretch beginning at Gustafson Gulch, though I don’t think it’s named after our Jack Gustafson. On Sunday the water truck had made the road for about two or three miles a thing of malicious wetness (there being a lake to the left of the road where the truck can refuel, as it were); but the following day the truck was nowhere in sight, the road had dried out, and my terrors had mercifully fled.

    The last 30 miles into Prudhoe were soaked by water trucks both coming and going. I’d seen a Go Pro video of a rider making at least 45 mph in those final miles a couple of months ago. I was struggling to do 25 or 30 through the slop Monday.

    And I will say once again and finally: the only thing that remains the same on the haul road is change. It is a different world up there. And typing this report in a Super 8 in Fairbanks, I am constrained to admit that I don’t miss that world one little bit.

    If someone wants to cross-post this to the LDR list, I give my permission. I’m not on that list.

    Bob Higdon
    #228
    Fairbanks AK

    I had been chewing on this quite a bit but Alex and Ann filled in the ‘rest of the story’ and explained that he was a pretty old guy and he was on a Honda Cruiser of some sort with street tires. It was very wet when Bob was there. Also, a friend of his on a Gold Wing with his son on board crashed earlier resulting in pretty serious injuries to the boy.

    Most of the advice I had read suggested that rain was what impacted the road more than anything and the weather when we set out was glorious.

    By the time we reached the start spirits were high and riding was fantastic.





    The road surface was dry and mostly smooth, hard packed and clay like, Traction was great and, because of the calcium chloride they spray to control dust, we stayed fairly clean.



    We made great time and soon crossed the Yukon River, stopped at ‘Finger Rock’ and another 50 miles brought us to the Arctic Circle!







    By now the pipeline which starts in Prudhoe Bay and ends in Valdez was a familiar site.



    We arrived at Coldfoot Camp late afternoon, fueled up and checked in. Coldfoot Camp is basically a truck stop servicing the oil and road companies on the Haul Road. The food was great and the lodging primitive but clean and reasonably comfortable!







    Some chain cleaning and showers and then a sound sleep in spite of the fact that it was still broad daylight at 11:00pm!

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    Last edited by DucDave; 09-15-14 at 07:31 PM.
    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
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  7. #7
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 12 – Coldfoot to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay

    Today is the day we check the ‘Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay’ box. This is a classic ‘ADVRider’ destination as it represents the most northern point in the United States that can be reached by road. I don’t post up in the ADVRider Forum since I don’t really consider the rides I do to measure up to what I consider the real ADVRiders do regularly. I’m not talking about the ‘Iron Butt Crowd’ either. That’s something completely different. I’m talking about the two kids we saw who were riding 50cc Chinese Scooters to Deadhorse as part of their effort to ride from the tip of South America to the top of North America. That’s an adventure. (At the end of this trip I did consider this to be an ‘Adventure’…at least to me! More on that later!)

    The route from Coldfoot to Deadhorse is pretty straight forward. Turn right out of Coldfoot Camp and keep going until you can’t go any further.



    After a hearty breakfast at Coldfoot Camp, (it’s a truck stop – the food is good and plentiful!) we headed north under a fair sky.



    The road to Deadhorse is the same mixture of clay/dirt/gravel as the earlier leg. Surprisingly, there are long stretches of paved road too. Today the riding was excellent as the road was dry yet the dust was kept to a minimum as a result of the Calcium Chloride the spray.

    About 70 miles north of Coldfoot lies the Atigun Pass. At 4739 feet bikers are often turned back here due to snow, fog and/or high winds. We stopped at the top and Alex brewed coffee using his handy ‘Storm Kettle‘!







    Luck was certainly with us weather wise!

    The scenery was stark and the views long as we continued north. We began to see largish compounds associated with the ‘Pump Stations’ that are a regular intervals.





    As we pulled into Deadhorse my GPS indicated that the Deadhorse camp was to our left but there was no sign or anything that suggested that there was anything resembling lodging. We continued another mile to the heart of Deadhorse searching for fuel. I eventually stopped and asked someone and he said something like, “Turn left at the AIC then drive around until you find it.” It turns out that ‘IT’ isn’t anything like a gas station. “It” was a small island with a ‘cabinet door’ behind which was a gas handle. However, to turn it on you had to climb a set of steps and open another cabinet door where your credit card was inserted.

    In the meantime, we had separated somehow from Bruce who found fuel at another, equally obscure’ site. Back together we followed the GPS back to Deadhorse Camp which was exacly where it said it was. We later saw that the sigh was face down in a ditch. There were a bunch of long ‘trailer like’ buildings on stilts with no indication of where to enter. Eventually we parked the bikes behind one of these and walked around the front to a set of stairs and a door – which opened onto a pantry! Someone was there and greeted me and told me to come on in!



    This was the main building including the dining hall and some rooms upstairs. Our rooms were in a similar, one story version behind this. Two beds and shower and bathrooms down a long hall!



    All the lodging facilities on the Dalton have something similar to this as you enter the building -



    Anything to try and keep the dirt at the entrance!

    After a shower and another filling meal we went to bed, happy and tired!

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  8. #8
    Day late, dollar short carsick's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by DucDave View Post


    I'm guessing the sign is made like that because regular signs can't stand up to the weather. When I was in Alaska in '98 I saw a lot of bare aluminum signs, paint couldn't hang on. Man I wish I could go back, thanks for the great trip report Dave!

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  9. #9
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 13 – Deadhorse to Coldfoot

    We rose Weds morning to a foggy drizzle. After breakfast next door we boarded a bus for the Prudhoe Bay tour. We had sent in our application for this in April. For obvious reasons, security is very tight all along the pipeline and we had to be vetted by Homeland Security in order to tour the site.

    Because of the fog, it really wasn’t a very interesting tour – the high point being stepping into the Arctic Ocean. I ‘d harbored a vague fantasy of taking a brief swim. My one opportunity to swim above the Arctic Circle in Iceland was dampened by the high cliffs and big surf on Grimsy Island. My opportunity to swim in Prudhoe Bay was dampened by off shore sonic mapping which, we were told, could result in severe injury or death if we were underwater when charge was set off. It really wasn’t that attractive anyway!



    I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of these two items….



    I suppose this was actually highlighting the beginning of the pipeline and not suggesting that the PortaPotty was the start of something important. (Though, at a certain age….!)

    After the tour we returned to our barracks, loaded our gear, checked out and headed back to Coldfoot. By now the weather had cleared and we stopped to eat the boxed lunch from Deadhorse Camp…



    …and brewed our Storm Kettle coffee! (Alex is fanning the flame here and not, as it would appear, praying to Mecca!)



    It was a beautiful day as we once again cleared the Atigun Pass and descended to Coldfoot.




    Back at Coldfoot Camp we saw just a taste of what just a little bit of mud we saw early that morning does to the bikes!



    We took a few more pictures, had another hearty dinner, and hit the sac in broad daylight at 11:00pm…!




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  10. #10
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 14 – Coldfoot to Fairbanks

    Last night I cleaned and lubed my chain. It was loose so I adjusted it at the same time. It seemed to me the rear sprocket was noticeably wearing as well. I knew I’d have to keep an eye on things….

    We left Coldfoot Camp in fog and a light drizzle. It must have rained a bit during the night as the road was already muddy and slippery.

    This was to be the most difficult day or riding so far. As long as we stayed on the main part of the road it was merely slick and the tires we were running were more than up to the task of keeping everything straight and upright! However, as we were approached by several ‘wide load’ pilot cars we were motioned to move well to the side or, in one case, to stop. Here the mud was deep and the road was off camber. And there is no shoulder – most of the time it simply drops several feet off the gravel base on to the tundra.

    I had a minor tank slapper at one point but Bruce had a serious 1 – 2 – 3 stop to stop as his GS tried to rid itself it’s burden. I didn’t see it but Alex and Ann both did and were certain he was going down. On the third stop Bruce gunned the GS and it jumped out of the deep mud and back on to the main track. My understanding is they all took a moment. Alex and Ann, who share the same religious belief as me, simply had grateful thoughts. Bruce, who’s religious beliefs are of the “I don’t know and don’t really care to discuss it” school probably sent thanks to some higher power!

    We stopped at the Yukon River Crossing Camp for fuel and lunch. After looking at our bikes Alex and Ann decided a visit to Dan Armstrong at Adventure Cycle Works when we got to Fairbanks was in order. They had heard about him somewhere in Canada as they rode to meet Bruce and I in Fairbank. He sold them tires in preparation for the Dalton. Oil Change and a pressure wash is what they had planned when we got to Fairbanks!







    As muddy as it was outside, it was warm and clean inside! And as is typical, the food was excellent!



    All three of these facilities, Deadhorse Camp, Coldfoot Camp and Yukon River Crossing Camp are owned by the same company. If a summer job in remote Alaskan areas is for you check this page out!

    Shortly after lunch as the weather cleared and we returned to pavement, I was ‘powering’ around a bend when my chain started slipping. I pulled off to a safe spot and re-adjusted it but by now the sprocket was definitely ‘hooked’ and I knew I’d have to get that sorted out before we left Fairbanks.

    In the meantime, Bruce started pestering us about making a side trip to Chena Hot Springs. The rest of us were preoccupied with sorting out our various issues with our bikes so he wasn’t getting much traction as it would have been another 100 miles round trip added to the day. Bruce decided to go ahead on his own which was awesome.

    The three of us went directly to Dan’s Adventure Cycleworks outside of Fairbanks. This guy has a really nice shop in the suburbs where he specializes on BMW’s. He’s also a genuine ‘character’ who tends to be a bit obtuse when asked a question. He also had no love for the KLR, MotoQuest, BMW Dealers, President O’bama, small talk, taxes, and I assume, cats. But he has a beautiful little shop in his garage and if you ever need anything BMW related near Fairbanks he’s a great resource.

    Since Alex and Ann were having their oil changed we were there quite a while. Eventually Bruce showed up fresh from his Hot Spring adventure and we waited for our turns. And waited. Dan became quite the chatterbox in explaining to Ann how to turn, why her bike was going to burst into flames, and God knows what else. Finally, he turned them loose and turned to Bruce. ‘Uh uh’ I said. ‘Me first.’

    Even though he couldn’t understand why I’d want to pressure wash the KLR, especially as it was a rental, he reluctantly cleaned it off.




    It must have been close to 7:00 by the time I left and Bruce and I met up with Ann and Alex at Pikes Landing where we checked in and then had a terrific dinner on the deck overlooking the Chena River.



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  11. #11
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 15 – Some Repairs then Fairbanks to Tangle Lakes



    So, yesterday after my chain slipped and I noticed the ‘hooking’ on the rear sprocket, I called MotoQuest while waiting for the KLR to be pressure washed by Dan the Libertarian. Although they were perplexed that a chain and sprocket set with only 1500 miles (now closer to 2500 miles) should have failed, they called ‘Alaska Fun Center’ and made me an appointment for 9:15 this morning.

    I joined the others for breakfast then rode a mile downstream to the Riverboat Discovery site. My wife and I did a riverboat tour here when we took our cruise to Alaska a couple years ago and they provided samples of their canned salmon. It was so great I ordered a case and had it shipped home!



    So I made a quick stop here, ordered another case, and found my way in the light drizzle to the Kawasaki Dealer for my appointment!



    The folks here seemed a bit unhappy to be there and a bit surprised that I had an appointment. Then they discovered that the tech they had scheduled for my job had called in hung over. Eventually they assigned another tech who was friendly and competent and after some juggling with parts, had me sorted out by noonish.

    I don’t really know much about running a motorcycle dealership, (or anything else come to think of it…!), but Alex and Ann had a similar experience with the BMW dealership in Fairbanks. Both these operations seemed to resent what they refer to as ‘travelers’ and the ‘priority interrupts’ that we seem to create. It occurs to me that, if I were running a motorcycle dealerships at the start/finish of a ride like the Dalton, I would count on travelers for their business. We have money and the need to spend it. Why not take it with enthusiasm ala Dandy Dan from Adventure Cycleworks? Seems to me you could set aside 1 or 2 hours each morning for travelers on a schedule and if no one shows up go ahead with your regular customers. Just a thought, eh!

    By now I had called the rest of the crew to meet me at ‘Fun Center’ but before we could leave, the tech took a few minutes to point out something interesting with my chain and sprocket. The ‘hash marks’ on the swing-arms which are designed to help you align the tire and wheel assembly when adjusting the chain as it stretches, were completely out of synch. That is, there was no apparent relationship to the marks on the left to the marks on the right. They were off at least a full mark. He explained that he aligned the set by shining a flashlight between the wheel and the cush drive and suggested that if I needed to adjust it in the future to simply ‘count flats’ on the adjustment screws. I think that was what caused the unusual wear. Of course, according to “Dan the Debater, “It’s impossible to adjust the chain on a KLR”, so I guess it’s just an something one does to stay busy and look knowledgeable! (Turns out there was no adjustment needed for the next 1800 miles anyway!)

    Our original plan was to ride directly to McCarthy today and spend two days. But Brandon Anders from MotoQuest was kind enough to review our itinerary and suggested that we stop at the Tangle River Lodge instead of trying to make McCarthy in one day. Turns out to be a stroke of luck because leaving Fun World at noon would have put us into McCarthy way late.

    We passed through the town of North Pole where this giant Santa stands inviting travelers to stop in the shop! We passed and in fact, didn’t even stop for a photo. I lifted this picture from the interwebs!



    Kind of reminds me of the Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemijdi that my wife and I visited on a midwest tour a couple years ago! (BTW, if you were watching ‘Fargo’ the HBO Series, they never showed these. They showed a much smaller version a few times!)



    As we approached Delta Junction the wind picked up considerably and we began to see what looked like smoke in the air. It turns out that the Delta River, fed by glaciers, was fairly low and the wind was picking up the fine glacial silt from the bed and spreading it like a low cloud over the road and town.



    The rest of the ride was beautiful and when we turned on to the Denali Highway the scenery was different from anything we’d seen thus far. Rolling hills covered with low bushes. (A lot of blueberrys as it turns out.) The first 20 miles west bound of the Denali Highway are paved and the Tangle River in on Tangle Lake just before the road turns to dirt. Sweet…!




    The Tangle River Inn was a terrific. Gas, lodging, food, and drink. And cozy cabins. Bruce and I were in ‘Bear’ and Ann and Alex were in, fittingly enough, Looney Bin!

    We were early enough for some nice down time, chatting with locals, and cleaning up a bit before more dirt to McCarthy.




    During dinner there was an interesting discussion about size. I forget what point Ann was making here…



    All told it was great day once we got underway…!

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    Last edited by DucDave; 11-11-14 at 09:58 AM.
    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
    Muhammad Ali.

  12. #12
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 16 – Tangle River to McCarthy



    After breakfast we packed up and got a reasonably early start for McCarthy. I think it was a friend of Alex’s who recommended that we plan on spending a couple of days there but because the rest of the schedule was packed, we had to give up the extra day when we stopped in Tangle River. I had also talked with Brandon at Motoquest and he recommended staying in McCarthy as a more ‘authentic’ experience than staying at the Kennicut Mines.

    Somewhere between Tangle RIver and Glennallen Ann’s bike suddenly stopped running. Dead. She managed to get to a pull off and Alex went to work. He removed the gas tank and seat and started probing the nest of wiring while the rest of us tried to help without getting in the way!




    Eventually he found a connector that had worked its way loose, reconnected and maybe zip tied it so it wouldn’t come loose again and we were on our way.

    At Glennallen we stopped for gas and I caught these two cats providing security for the owner of this motor home while he fueled up!



    By the time we got to Chitina we were all ready for a cup of coffee. Then they saw the menu and decided they were ready to eat too! I wasn’t hungry and wanted to get to McCarthy early enough to do a little exploring so I went off on my own!



    As soon as I left Chitina the road became loose gravel for about 8 miles or so. In some ways it was a little trickier than most of the Dalton but eventually it turned to hard pack and was great riding. About 20 miles in I came across a couple off in the grass working on one of their bikes. Apparently she had broken a chain and they needed a chain tool. I had none to offer but assured them that others following me might be able to help and proceeded the rest of the way to McCarthy.



    The apparent end of the road is a foot bridge that leads into town. It turns out that motorcycles are allowed across – at least according to some. (Others take offense even though there is another ‘private’ bridge which businesses and Guide Services use.) McCarthy is a strange little town with a full time population of something like 50. It’s interesting enough to head to Wiki to read about the history and some of the infamous people that have been there!

    As I rode on to the main dirt drag of McCarthy I was greeted by a half a dozen happy go lucky mutts. All of them were friendly and after a little scratching from me and some sniffing from them, they went about their business smelling and pissing! I had a couple hours to explore while rest of the gang had lunch in Chitina. It turns out that they also stopped and spent about an hour trying to help the couple with the broken chain. Alex had a chain tool which they tried but the replacement link they had was rusted solid and was of no use. They asked to buy Alex’s chain but he refused, concerned Ann might need it herself. Prescient Alex, that’s what I say!

    I liked this Cairn and the warning poster that greeted you at the ‘shuttle stop’ on the McCarthy side of the footbridge.



    And some random pictures I took while waiting for the rest of the gang to show up…!






    Ma Johnsons Hotel. The room Bruce and I shared was big enough for 2 twin beds and a sink. No outlets, closets, and only a hook or two to hang things. Bathroom down the hall. Ann and Alex’s room on the second floor barely held a double bed and not much else. Tight quarters but clean enough!




    Eventually they rode into town and we all had a couple hours before dinner.



    We ate at ‘The Bistro’ which was the ‘fancier’ of the two places available. Bruce was understandably nervous as there wasn’t a dog or burger anywhere on the menu and the ‘Frog Legs’ appetizer wasn’t something he found appetizing! Shades of ‘Haus Truburg’ in Port Hood NS!



    After a pretty good meal we had time to walk around and visit McCarthy air to discuss the possibility of a FlightSeeing tour tomorrow morning. They had an opening at 8:30 but the weather report was pretty iffy. We’d see in the morning…!

    We walked around a bit, took a few more pictures, and retired after a day that was mostly cloudy but offered no rain!




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    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
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  13. #13
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 17 – McCarthy to Valdez (The day this trip turned from a ‘ride’ to an ‘adventure’!)



    Last night we talked with Wrangell Mountain Air about a Flight Seeing tour this morning. As Alex prepared our Storm Kettle Coffee it was pretty cloudy and looked like it could start raining any minute.



    When the Bistro opened we headed over for breakfast and talked about our options. We still hadn’t visited ‘Kennecott Mines’ which was just another 4 miles up the dirt road. As we wrapped up and paid our checks, Natalie Bay, Owner and Chief Pilot found us in the street and turned us around and pointed at the mountains. The Ice Fall of the Kennecott Glacier was cleary visible! We quickly sorted ourselves out and jumped in the shuttle van that took us to the small strip where we met out Pilot, Kelly Bay. He’s been flying in Alaska over 26 years so clearly, he’s not a ‘bold’ pilot!



    We were joined by a former Air Force Pilot who was suffering from early stage Alzheimer’s. His daughter arranged the flight and he was clearly very appreciative. Nice to see!

    I took these pictures with my iPhone and this was really the only time I was unhappy with the results. Alex took a bunch of far better pictures even though he was on the ‘weaker’ side of the plain as far as vistas. If Alex publishes them I’ll try and get a link somewhere in this Blog. In the meantime, here’s a few…






    This flight was one of the highlights of the trip and we were really glad the weather cleared off enough to make it worthwhile!

    Back in McCarthy we packed up and made a short stop at Kennecott Mines. If I ever find myself back in this area I’d plan to stay at least two days and I’d stay at the Kennecott Glacier Lodge. We took a few pictures and then turned back aiming for Valdez.

    I didn’t take this picture but it shows the 14 story mine as it was a few years ago - apparently the tallest wooden structure ever built in North America. There has been some pretty significant progress in restoring this building as a museum. Another reason to spend some time here…



    This picture shows the changes that have come about as a result of this restoration.



    OK. If you’ve been following this Blog you might recall earlier when I explained that I don’t really consider the tours I do to be ‘Adventure Tours’ ala ADVRider. I am usually well prepared for the trip, have the right equipment and gear, and don’t do anything that hasn’t been done plenty before. The Dalton is a ride unless you do it after 4 days of rain on a Harley with street tires. Then it’s an adventure. That’s my POV anyway!

    As we crossed the foot bridge and started toward the paved road in Chitina, it started to rain. Not hard, but on top of the rain from last night it turned much of the road into a slightly muddy trek.

    This is the scene where I was separated (consciously uncoupled) from my motorcycle. See that groove in the middle of the bridge? Well, I didn’t because my shield was covered with mud and wiping it only smeared it. My front tire dropped into the groove and the bike simply tipped over. Scariest was the yellow streak on my helmet where I slid along the upper rail. Evidently I was sitting up other wise my head would have gone in between which could have ended really badly!



    I went to The Elliott Hospital in Manchester when I got back 5 days later and they determined I had fractured my 3rd metacarpal!



    This was the moment the ride turned into an adventure for me. I was pretty sure I’d done some damage but didn’t want to have it looked at because I feared a splint that would keep me from finishing the ride.

    It got pretty colorful as the trip progressed but the good news was I rode another 4 days and 1000 miles.







    Lots of little things changed this from an fairly ordinary ride to a challenge. Putting on gloves, Using the front brake. Eating left handed. Doing other things left handed. Strapping and unstrapping my gear. If an adventure requires one to be challenged, breaking my hand made this an adventure!

    The rest of the ride to Valdez was uneventful and I wasn’t paying much attention to anything other than getting there! It was still a misty day but we did stop and take a picture of this waterfall!


    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
    Muhammad Ali.

  14. #14
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 18 – Valdez to Whittier



    Last night, when we arrived at the Best Western in Valdez, the first thing I did, with Bruce’s help, was to find a hose and a rag and wash off from head to foot. My Transit Suit was covered with mud from my slide earlier on the bridge. And the bike along with my load was rinsed as well. It was rainy and foggy and last night was a ‘laundry night’ so we basically hunkered down and ate dinner at the restaurant at the best Western.

    It was foggy and misty this morning as we suited up and rode the 1/2 mile to the ferry. As you can see by the map, today’s travel would be handled by a captain as we cruised down Prince William Sound, past Bligh Reef where the Exxon Valdez ran aground.

    We checked in at the ticket box and after we explained that our gas cans were empty were given ‘Hazard’ stickers and waved aboard. We had been told that there would be no tie downs for motorcycles which was, of course, incorrect. I have never taken a ferry where there wasn’t a big box of straps and tie down anchor points.

    We secured a seats looking over the bow and also a table in the cafeteria. And since most of us hadn’t eaten yet coffee and a pretty good omelet hit the spot.

    While I had my hand in a bucket of ice water, Alex and Ann caught a few winks, and Bruce, ever on duty, kept an eye on our progress!





    As the morning progressed the weather began to lift and soon we had wonderful views of the mountains, glaciers, and islands that grace this magnificent setting.





    Whittier is a strange town. The year round full time population is less than 200. There is a huge apartment building that I can only imagine is mostly empty. Certainly in the winter. There is another really large building which is what is left of Camp Sullivan – an Army facility built during WW2. The Tunnel and railroad terminus was also built for the war effort because Whittier is a deep water port.

    Cruise Ships visit Whittier several times a week but the passengers don’t spend any time here. As my wife and I did 3 years ago, passengers generally board a train and depart for either a longer land based trip or simply to get to Anchorage and the airport.

    I was amazed to learn that from an economic and geographic standpoint, Whittier represents the Alaska Railroad’s only viable freight interchange point for its barge service connecting Alaska with the lower 48 states and Canada. Seward and Anchorage are not viable port alternatives for barge interline service. Anchorage is not free of ice year-round and Seward requires traveling over a mountain pass at a 3% grade (it would take six locomotives to haul a heavy load from Seward versus two from Whittier). Whittier is a year-round, ice-free, deep-water port. It is located only 50 miles from Anchorage and has slight grades for trains and engines. For these reasons, all the Alaska Railroad’s rail cars, locomotives, and rail-borne freight must enter and depart via Whittier. This translates to something like 80% of all goods enter Alaska through this tunnel.



    We rode off the Ferry and 4 blocks later pulled into the parking lot of the Inn at Whittier. What a site for sore hands! Bruce and I decided to upgrade to the ‘Suite’ which was fantastic. The main floor was a large living area with it’s own fireplace and full bath. Upstairs was a King bed,, fireplace, and a huge bathroom with a large standalone shower and a jacuzzi tub. Both rooms had beautiful views of the harbor.





    We stopped at the bar and had coffee and drinks and mapped out our plan for the rest of the day. We decided we’d walk the mile to the tunnel and the start of the Porter Pass trail which leads to great views of the Portage Glacier and Lake.

    Ann and I decided that the mile to the trailhead was far enough for our knees and Alex and Bruce marched on!



    As Ann and I sat on a bench overlooking the harbor a guy stopped his pick-up truck, jumped out, and walked to the edge of the cliff overlooking the harbor, and tossed a line out into the silty green blue water!



    He was a local and was just testing the waters of one of his favorite fishing spots. Apparently it’s not always silty and sometimes he is able to see Salmon from the vantage high above the water.

    Ann and I walked back to the Inn and chatted it up with another couple! It was so nice out we pulled a couple more chairs out to the sidewalk and had a very pleasant hour or so hearing about the trail and views that Alex and Bruce had on their little excursion.



    After taking full advantage of the facilities in the Suite – shower, shave and jacuzzi, we met for a fine dinner in the Inn.

    As I drifted off to sleep my thoughts were on the 2 1/2 mile ride through the Portage Tunnel. I had reason to be concerned…!

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    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
    Muhammad Ali.

  15. #15
    Lifer Rosco61's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    Sweet trip. I am envious as hell but wonder would I have the balls to do a trip like that?
    That's really kind of hanging it out there. WOW! Congratulations and safe Journeys Dave.

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  16. #16
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 19 – Whittier to Homer via Seward



    I awoke this morning to Bruce yelling from downstairs, “Dave. Dave. Get up. Look out the window.” I crawled out of bed and pulled up the shade and grabbed my iPhone. It was one of those sunrises where you think, “Yep, this is it.” and snap a picture. Then, literally, 5 seconds later its, “Oh wait. THIS is it!” Truly a ‘Kodak’ moment. Meaning, a series of moments that would get you to shoot an entire roll of Kodachrome in less than two minutes!

    Then you get home and pick one…!



    In spite of the ‘red sky in morning’ business, today was shaping up to be perfect for touring the Kenai Peninsula. Once we got through the 2 1/2 mile tunnel that is.

    Alex took lead and I took sweep as I didn’t want to be in front of anyone. We rode right up to the entrance expecting a gate and toll booth. There was neither so I had no chance for a break or a discussion. We just dove right in…



    What’s the big deal you might ask?

    See, the Portage Tunnel, (officially the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel), is basically a railroad tunnel where the ties in the center are actually 8 foot slightly textured concrete slabs butted together to create a ‘bed’ between the rails. The rails, of course, are in their own ‘grooves’ allowing trains to pass. Are you starting to see the problem?



    Well, the problem for me was those grooves. I am perfectly capable of keeping a motorcycle on a line less than 6 inches wide. I’ve done a little road racing and I’ve been in instructor for a couple of different track day organizations and tracking a line through a complex series of turns is second nature to me. However, my throbbing hand was a constant reminder of my recent episode with a ‘groove’ AND tracking a straight line is different somehow. I stayed a good 5 bike lengths behind Ann and sooner than I expected I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It turns out that the tunnel is pretty damn straight so the light was visible from a long way off!

    We all got through safely and stopped at Portage Lake which is the lake Alex and Bruce had seen on their hike yesterday!



    While we admired the view a DOT Dump Truck pulled into the parking lot.
    We were asked. “Are you folks going through the tunnel again?” (“Not in this lifetime”, I thought!)
    “No. We’re not planning to.” said Alex.
    “OK. Good. Because we should have stopped you when you approached the tunnel from Whittier. We just didn’t see you coming until you were already in the tunnel, but we always send motorcycles last.”
    “Ah”, I said. “Is that because the often go down and then you have all the rest of the traffic held up?”
    “Well, partly,” he replied. “But mostly it’s so a motorcyclist who goes down isn’t run over by a driver who was paying attention to everything except the road bed!”
    NICE….

    It was a beautiful day and having gotten safely through the tunnel bolstered my mood significantly. We headed toward Seward on wonderfully maintained roads and beautiful vistas north, south, east and west.




    It was a short ride to the turn to Seward. We arrived in time for lunch at Ray’s Seafood. (Which is behind me in this picture! Right on the harbor!) I had steamers in a fantastic garlic and butter broth. And everyone else had something fresh from the sea!



    After lunch I spent a few minutes mucking about with my chain but, truth be told, it was perfect. A little cleaning and lubing was all that was in order!

    We retraced our route back to Rt.1 (A1) and turned left for Homer. More great roads and scenery. Eventually we stopped at Coopers Landing and watch several Drift Boats launch on to the Kenai River. The river was a lighter shade of glacial green and it was amazing to watch the guys power these drift boats up the current with their long oars. This looks like something to add to the list of things to do if I’m ever back in Alaska.





    We arrived in Homer around 4:00pm and checked in to the Ocean Shores Motel. We had very nice rooms overlooking the harbor and a lovely beach.




    We took an hour or so to relax and clean up then called a cab for a ride down to the ‘Spit’. (Or, as the funny young taxi driver called it, ‘The Schpit!’



    Wiki provides the following info about the Schpit.

    “The Homer Spit is a geographical landmark located in Homer, Alaska on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula. The spit is a 4.5-mile (7.2 km) long piece of land jutting out into Kachemak Bay.[1] The spit is also home to the Homer Boat Harbor. The harbor contains both deep and shallow water docks and serves up to 1500 commercial and pleasure boats at its summer peak.[1] Additional features and attractions include The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, which is an artificial “fishing hole”, campgrounds, hotels, and restaurants and the Salty Dawg Saloon, which is constructed out of several historic buildings from Homer. Hundreds of eagles have gathered there in winter to be fed by Jean Keene, the “Eagle Lady”.[2] The Spit features the longest road into ocean waters in the entire world, taking up 10–15 minutes to cover by car.[3]“



    We were amazed that such a low lying bit of land could survive given the possibility of storm surge and tsunamis.



    Apparently the harbor is well protected and the Schpit is rarely over-washed by storm or tsunami. There are however, huge warning sirens throughout the town and people know to vamoose if they go off!

    There are lots of touristy shops on the Schpit and several terrific looking restaurants. We stopped at Captain Patties and made reservations for dinner before wandering on to the Salty Dog, a landmark on the Schpit. We stayed for a couple of drinks before an amazing meal at Patties!





    This is a real Halibut. Apparently it's common to 'stamp' them with the owners name...kinda like branding!



    We took a taxi back to the hotel and were in bed by 10:30.

    At 11:00 I jumped up, got dressed, and rode my bike the 6 miles back to Captain Patties to retrieve the fleece jacket I had left there after dinner. It took me nearly 45 minutes to get there because of the intense road construction that was underway at night. I got there just as they were locking up! Lucky boy…!

    Another 45 minutes back to Motel and bed. The next morning Ann was the only one who noticed I had left. She said to Alex, “I think Dave just left on his motorcycle.” “Don’t be silly. He’s asleep. Anyway, that was a Harley!” was Alex’s sleepy response. And Bruce heard nothing except my snoring at 4:30am!

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    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
    Muhammad Ali.

  17. #17
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 20 – Homer to Girdwood (Alyeska) via Hope



    We got an early start this morning and since there was no restaurant at our Motel we decided to head northeast and stop at the first place that offered gas and at least coffee! About 5 miles out of town our needs were met. Although Alex was a bit nervous about eating the kind of breakfast sandwich you find basking under a heat lamp in a gas station, it turned out they had a grill and two cooks manning the kitchen. So fueled up, and fresh egg, meat and cheese muffins and a good cup of coffee and off we went.

    For about 10 miles. When Bruce pulled over at “The Moose is Loose”. Now, you need to understand, Bruce has traveled this stretch of road probably 20 times or more and he has always wanted to stop here! So he did!

    Actually, it was an amazing gift shop and bakery with fantastic muffins, pies, donuts and other baked goods! So, we had another cup of coffee, a Moose Track, and Ann bought some gifts for folks back home! Good call Bruce…!



    The day continued to brighten as we headed toward Hope. I’m not sure why I had Hope on the itinerary. I suspect Brandon from MotoQuest might have recommended it as a nice stop.



    About 80 miles out of Homer, as we’re taking in the day, Ann suddenly pulled over. I stopped at a pull out and turned around. Her chain had broken…and not in a great spot. She was between the road and a guard rail and there wasn’t much space so Bruce pushed her bike up hill to the turn out and we all gathered to watch Alex make the repairs.




    Bruce took a little video. The version of WordPress I’m using, (free…!), doesn’t permit video but here’s a link if you’re interested!

    I guess it took less than 1/2 hour and we were on our way again. (I actually don’t think I have the knowledge, skill or tools to replace a chain. Gotta remedy that….)

    Hope is a tiny former gold mining town with less than 200 residents. There’s a wonderful Cafe that is the original Hotel and now serves a terrific Halibut sandwich. There’s also a museum and a couple of other shops. And they still do a little recreational gold panning along with fishing on Salmon Creek.




    After lunch, Alex and Bruce decided they wanted to pull off to the side of the road and fire off a few rounds on Bruce’s new pistol. Given my aching hand, I had no interest shooting so I rode a gorgeous ride on my own, passing mountains, lakes and rivers framed by puffy fair weather clouds. Girdwood came into view sooner than I’d hoped but I refueled, and then rode the last 6 miles to the Alyeska resort.






    I had no idea the Alyaska Ski Area was a year round luxury resort or that the hotel was as magnificent as it is.




    I was the first one there from the Group and since the reservations had been made by Bruce I couldn’t check in. But they were very cool about letting us park our bikes under the awning at the entrance. So I unloaded and relaxed for about an hour until the rest of the gang showed up!

    The lobby was beautiful with lots of art and comfortable places to chill.



    While waiting I determined that our rate for our rooms included the Cable Car to the summit. And also that there is a 4 star Restaurant at the summit called The Seven Glaciers. So I made a reservation!

    As soon as the others checked in Bruce and I checked out the stunning salt water pool and hot spa. The color was a deep blue, almost purple. The water in the pool was probably 80 degrees, and the hot spa which was an 8×24 foot rectangle that looked out over the slopes and the gondola that went to the summit. We watched para-sailors hovering at the mountains edge and eventually soaring over the hotel to land across the street in a field. It was a much welcomed and relaxing hour!



    Bruce and I met in the bar at about 7:30 planning to have a quick drink before catching the 7:45 tram to the Seven Glaciers. The service was so slow it was a full 5 minutes before we were even recognized. And we were 2 of 4 people in the bar. Eventually I got my virgin Bloody Mary and Bruce got a beer or something just as Ann walked in with Alex in tow. We ran to the Tram and got there just in time.

    It was a lovely evening, with that light that slants in and highlights things it touches and leaves long shadows everywhere.





    We had about a half hour to explore before our dinner reservation so we walked about and took some pictures of this remarkable place!





    Alex describes the dinner well so I think I’ll let him. (Laziness, OK….)

    “Drinks and dinner in a lovely setting! Only two things really spoiled it–slow and indifferent service and meeting two young ladies from New York City on the ride down in cable car. Some quotes: “We’ve been everywhere else–Alaska was the only place left on our list.” “We haven’t had any good fish so far in Alaska–it’s much better in New York.” “The only good pizza comes from New York.” Bruce politely tried to say that you actually could eat good fish in Alaska and they asked were he was from. When he said Massachusetts they said “Well, you should talk, you’re from Massachusetts.” My biggest fear was that the cable car would break down and we would be stuck with those two for eight hours or something. I think any judge in Alaska would rule it justifiable homicide.”

    They were truly the epitome of ‘The Ugly Americans’. I finally spoke up when they said the only good pizza comes from New York and pointed out that pizza is nothing more than a crust of flour, some sauce, vegetables, spices and maybe some meat. It’s not rocket science and there is great pizza everywhere.

    “Yeah, whatever….”

    Back to the base and off to bed.

    Tomorrow will be the last full day together. Feel sad….!

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    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
    Muhammad Ali.

  18. #18
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    August 21 – Girdwood to Anchorage and A Little Geocaching…



    We had a good breakfast at the resort and I was the first to leave, anxious to get the KLR to MotoQuest as early as possible. I got gas in Girdwood and enjoyed the brief 50 miles to Anchorage.



    I pulled into the MotoQuest parking lot around 9:30 and had a very brief and informal discussion about the crash. They charged me $119.00 for a replacement fender and that was it. All without recriminations or drama.



    I stripped my sfuff from the bike – Radar Detector, heated gear electricals, etc. and repacked everything that wouldn’t go in the carry on into the duffel bag. About 45 minutes all told, Then the guy at MotoQuest gave us a ride to the airport where we rented a car, drove back to MotoQuest and loaded my stuff. Then I followed Bruce to the BMW shop where Ann was getting a new sprocket to go with her new chain and Bruce was having some basic stuff done as well. We all piled into the rental car and went for lunch at Jimmy’s New York Style Sushi. (I can just see the ugly Americans from NY rolling their eyes. Maybe someday they’ll get stuck in that position!)

    After lunch We stopped by Alaska Leathers – a well known spot for motorcycle gear. Really neat place. I tried on this helmet but was concerned with the lack of a DOT Approval!



    During lunch Bruce kept selling the idea of trying to chase down Alex’s ‘SPOT’ which appeared to be on the back porch of a house in Eagle River. He wore us down and after dropping Ann at the hotel the three of us drove up to Ivy Home Circle and, sure enough, there was the house just as it appeared in Google Maps.

    KNOCK KNOCK….DING DING….no response. Asked a girl walking down the street if she knew these folks. “Not really”;

    Then a women in a minivan pulled in across the street. “No”, but her son said the they hang out a lot with the people behind them on the circle. So we walked around the circle to a house where a couple kids were hanging out. “Do you know your neighbors there?”

    Oh yes and then their father came to the door.

    We introduced ourselves and asked if their neighbor had been to Whittier recently. “Well, yes. They just got back yesterday.”

    We explained our mission and together we peered over his fence to the back porch of his neighbor. In the meantime, his wife called the women who lived there. She asked if we could tell here where it was lost? “In Whittier”, we said.

    “On a trail, she asked?”

    “YES. YES….on the trail by the tunnel that we hiked for the view of the Glacier!”

    The women gave her neighbor permission to take us in to the dinning room where the SPOT was on the table right next to the porch.

    And here’s the kicker. She had already placed an add in Craigs LIst for the lost SPOT. Very cool!

    We headed back to Anchorage buoyed up by the kind act of an anonymous citizen….and by Bruce’s instance that we chase down the treasure!

    Later that night Bruce insisted on the Moose’s Tooth for dinner. It was packed but we only waited about 20 minutes and the food was terrific.



    Back to the hotel and the sad moment when we said goodnight. I was up at 4:00am for a 6:60 flight and this would be the last we see of each other…until next time!

    A bunch of misc pictures follow…

    Delta Junction


    Town or Hope


    Dinner at Alyeska Summit


    The Inn at Whittier - Searching for the Spot!


    Dogs in McCarthy


    Road Work Stop on Dalton - Behind the PortaPoty was a large wolf print...


    Bruce on the Dalton


    Pipeline


    Arctic Circle


    Ann northbound on Dalton


    Alex northbound on Dalton


    Bruce and I with Denali in the background

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    "A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
    Muhammad Ali.

  19. #19
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    Dave, thanks for posting this!!! Truly awesome. I had a friend who lived on the Kenai for a few years, so it was cool to see all the places she told me about. Fantastic pictures and stories

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    Paul_E_D


  20. #20
    Lifer mycirus's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    This brough back memories. I had a great summer this year. Lots of good memories. Whats on tap for next summer Dave?

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    Bruce
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  21. #21
    Lifer
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    Dave, do you have the entire map in one gpx file?

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  22. #22
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Alaska Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveM View Post
    Dave, do you have the entire map in one gpx file?
    Steve...and anyone else interested...I've posted the routes in GPX and GDB formats in a zip file you should be able to link to here.

    If you're planning a similar trip lets talk...!

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