Alaska bound


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Alaska Bound blog now in Word Doc format

If you'd like a copy of my Alaska Bound blog in an easier to read word doc format, simply send me an email requesting it and I'll email it right to you.....

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More stuff to look at

Lots of folks are asking about my motorcycle collection. You can see them here

Also lots of motorcycle projects here


Saturday, October 14, 2006

How to Read this BLOG........

Start at the end, which is really the beginning...........And read from there.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Oh, Oh..."This is going to leave a mark!"

Well.......It WAS a great trip. We got up early on Saturday morning and prepared for a 400 mile day, across the US / Canada border, across the top of Washington State and through Idaho, into Montana. After we crossed the border I called Tom and Carol to inform them that we would be showing up on their door step a few days early. It was brutally hot! I stopped to change my face shield out to a tinted one and used the restroom at the US Customs office to soak my shirt and pants so I'd be cool for at least a few minutes on the bike. The temperature was hovering around 100 degrees and it hit 102 as we crossed the Columbia River bridge.......
Off we go........
The roads were great and we hooked up on some roads that rose 3-4000 feet. A bit cooler at altitude, but still hot. As we came down the backside of a mountain, the road surface was recently chip sealed and they had just sprayed the surface with tar. It was shining in the sunlight like fresh oil, and it felt like it under the tires. Every 1/2 mile or so there was a sign saying "Motorcycles Use Extreme Caution"
I was in the lead and Bob was about a 1/4 mile behind me. We were just about to cross over to the Idaho border and we were using "Extreme Caution".
Ahead of me was a little blue Ford Ranger pickup truck. We were traveling no more than 40 MPH. At one point the road straightened out and the pickup pulled over to the right, putting its two right wheels into the gravel on the side of the road. I thought it was pulling over to let me pass, so I pulled out to pass.
The next thing I see is the pickup make an abrupt left hand turn directly into my path..........I had zero time to react and impacted the pickup directly into the side of the rear fender.........Tell me this is a bad dream and this isn't really happening! The woman driving the pickup says she was making a U-Turn to go back to a yard sale she just passed.
The rear fenders of these Ranger Pickups are made of Fiberglass, The fender shattered upon impact. I nailed the brakes and immediately went down and slammed into the truck.
Amazingly I wasn't hurt. Not a scratch except for the bike landing on my foot and bruising my instep. The bike is totaled.......Forks bent in, fairing destroyed, saddle bags all cracked........
As Bob comes upon the scene he can't believe I'm sitting there shaking my head. He jumps off his bike and runs over to see if I'm OK. I'm fine I tell him. I get up and walk over to the bike laying in the middle of the street to get it out of the way of oncoming traffic. Bob the woman and her boy friend are very concerned about me, but I'm perfectly OK.......We lift the bike up and move it out of the way, call the police and then I call Tom and Carol to see if they can get my truck and trailer and come get us.
We are 300 miles from the end of a 7500+ mile motorcycle trip. And up till now it was a PERFECT trip......
Tom and Carol say they will be right about 4 hours. A few miles up the road is a gas station with a small cafe. I ask the cop if he can give me a ride there to wait for my friends, as it's 100 degrees where we are on the side of the road. We load all our gear into the gals pickup and I get into the back of the patrol car.......which by the way is a first time experience for me! That is one nasty feeling! Our gear is brought to the gas station and Bob and I wait for Tom and Carol. 3.5 hours later, they show up, we go get the bike loaded up, put Bob's bike in the trailer with mine and head back to Montana.
We stopped in Sandpoint Idaho for a fantastic Italian dinner and got to Tom and Carol's house by 2:30am........
What a freakin day!!!!!!!!!!

As Bob said, if we were going to have a crash on this trip.....this was a "perfect" way to do it......The trip was over, no one got hurt, and we were close enough for a relatively easy rescue.........

So Tomorrow (After I go to church and say a TON of prayers!!) Tom is going to take us up to the National Bison Range and to do some other sight seeing......And then Monday AM we are back on the road heading home...........

Just a quick word of thanks to all of you that sent emails, and left comments on this Blog......It was a great part of the total experience!

At this point if you want to leave a comment, please leave it on my email address..



Today is Friday and the GPS is telling us we have about 800 miles to go to get back to my friend's Tom and Carol's house in Montana. We decided to ride hard to get as much of this done today. The plan is to make it to Kamloops BC and then ride on Saturday through the rest of BC and through Washington State, Idaho and into Montana.
On the way we stopped at a couple of museums. Fraser Lake and Quesnel. The stop at Fraser lake was take picture of "The World's Largest Fly Rod"!...But it wasn't there. It was in Houston...100 miles back! Darn, this would have been the highlight of the trip.......
Nothing else really eventful to report. Great roads in BC with spectacular scenery. We made it to Kamloops around dark and found a great motel right on the river....The "real" bed felt good this evening.....

Friday, July 21, 2006


We left Moose Meadows and headed down the Cassiar……..About 300 miles of dirt and chip seal road. First the good news…The views are simply amazing. Take your breath away kind of stuff. We saw two bears right off the bat. One of them was the most beautiful bear I’d ever seen. Although it was a Black Bear, it had a dark brown head and front legs with the rest of the body covered with Cinnamon colored grizzly type fur…..Beautiful!
We saw no less than five moose, and a few deer. Wildlife everywhere……
About 25 miles into the trip, we are stopped for road construction. At times the wait can be up to a half hour so we usually demount and chat with other folks in the line. When they see the Massachusetts license plates they freak out………”Hey Maude, these guys are from Massachusetts!!!”…” and on MOTORCYCLES”…..And sometimes we hear…..”Why do you people up there elect folks like Ted Kennedy…” (But I digress..) And of course my “accent ” ALWAYS comes up for a bit of ribbing…..
While we are standing around talking, I glance at my rear tire………and my heart falls into my groin! I can see threads showing through the worn rubber on the tire!!! We just checked our tires yesterday and although they were worn, we both felt we could easily make it the 2000 miles back to Montana. We both started with brand new Metzler Tourance tires……But I put about 1000 miles on mine before we left on a trip up to New Hampshire……..Bad move!
So here I am witrh a time bomb on the rear wheel of my bike and over 400 miles to go to get to anything on a map that even looks like a city, never mind having a motorcycle dealership and the chance that they have a tire that will fit my bike………This BLOWS!
So I let 10 pounds of air out of the tire so the tire will ride on the edges rather than the center and we ride on………I check the wear patch every 100 miles and it is growing at an alarming rate………So I keep it under 50 mph and muscle on……sphincter tighter than a Bull Froggs………At one point I’m convinced I’m not going to make it. I see a Helicopter warming up to take some miners out to the mines and I actually thought about hiring it to take me to town to get a tire……..But on we went…I played a little game…..I had 300 miles to go at one point so I cut it up into 50 mile blocks…….after each 50 miles I said….”one more fifty”…..And after 422 miles, we made it to the only motorcycle shop for hundreds of miles around……A HARLEY dealership……..really great1 What’s the odds that they will have a tire for a Suzuki V-Strom……..As it turns out they had a sport type tire that would fit. This bike uses a semi knobby type, off road tire. But since our dirt riding was done, and beggers can’t be choosers, I bought the tire and had it mounted. They charged me $264 for a tire that I can buy back home for $92……And I had to remove the wheel myself....I don't think they were comfortable working on something other than HD...No big deal, in ten minutes I had it off and their tech was mounting up the new skin
..I asked them if there was another motorcycle dealer in the area that might have the same tire I was replacing…..They said “no”…..They were the only dealer around. So tire mounted, price paid…off we go. About a ¼ mile down the road we ride by a HONDA DEALERSHIP ……….. It’s a good thing Canada won’t allow me to carry a handgun!!!! Sons of bitches!!!!
But what the heck…..I’m on vacation! The weather is fantastic……The bike is like a new bike with the new rubber (much more sporty………really leans into the corners now………..Hey Bob…..I’ll see ya down the road… )
I treated us to a reasonable motel tonight. Actually, it was a dump…But for $35 what do you want….The Ritz! As far as I could tell, the sheets were clean………
We ate at the A&W RootBeer restaurant……..really good! Bob when to bed early and I put my pants back on and walked back over to the A&W and had a Root Beer float! Hey, after this day…I deserve it……….No?

Well, we’re on our way back to Haines Junction. Lots of highways in Alaska “Dead End” at the various oceans. So you need to backtrack to get somewhere else. In this case the “Haines Highway” goes back up through Alaska, through British Columbia and through the Yukon to hook back up with the Alaskan Highway. From there we will run across the Alaskan Highway , through Whitehorse (Capital of the Yukon) and over to one of the most anticipated roads of the entire trip……The Cassiar Highway. By the way, this little “jaunt” to get to the Cassiar is about 603 MILES!!!
On our way back to Haines Junction we decided to try our hand at some salmon fishing. We stopped in a little town called "Copper" and ate at a turn of the century roadhouse and had a wonderful breakfast. Maybe the best of the trip so far. It was fun eavesdropping on all the conversations going on around us from the locals. Talk about bears, wolves, sled dogs, gardens, hunting, fishing......same kind of stuff folks talk about in Boston....
Before we left I struck up a conversation with a few of the folks about the fishing. I asked, wheres a good place to catch a salmon (what a freak'n tourist!)
The answer was..."Where ever it's wet...". They suggested an outfitter just down the road over a bridge. Bob and I rode over there, rented a couple of rods with salmon flies and tried our luck. You have to picture this.....a couple of yahoos standing on the side of the stream in full motorcycle gear, trying to catch a salmon. As it turns out, I hooked one, but lost it at the bank.........and at one point, while standing on said bank, it collapsed sending me about 3 feet down the bank into the rushing waters! My boots and pants got soaked and in trying to stop my fall to certain death, I wrenched my back....This will be with me for a few days I'm sure..... Bob had no luck and lost one of his flies.
Just like EVERY time I go fishing, we heard from the locals..."You should have been here last week will be better!"
Enough of this.......let's ride!
The Cassiar is reported to be one of the most beautiful rides in the world! Mountains, Glaciers, forests, bluffs, and lots of animals. Over its 344 miles, it consists of chip seal, hard packed gravel and plain dirt. It is roughly 28 feet wide and doesn’t have a center stripe, guard rails, few gas stations or other services. FANTASTIC!!
We made amazing time on the Haines Highway……..That little V-Strom 650cc Twin beat it’s brains out moving me and all the luggage at many times triple digit speeds. But the road is just about perfect with huge expanses of tundra on each side so you can see critters running up to the road from miles away, and there was zero traffic on the road. In over 200 miles we saw no other vehicles, none, nada, zip! Sometimes there is just absolutely nothing better than being on a motorcycle……….As we crossed over the mountains we left the clouds behind and the sun came out and all was right with the world………
We headed over to the beginning of the Cassiar and decided to go to Jade City to spend the night. This part of BC is known worldwide for the high quality of Jade that is mined here. Bob and I bought some gifts for the ladies in our lives (Man, I got a lot of ladies in my life now, what with a wonderful wife, two daughters, three daughter in-laws and two grand daughters………This is gonna leave a mark!)
Once in Jade city we inquired about camping accommodations and the owner of the Jade store told us to just set up our tents out back and use the bathrooms to wash up in. Pretty nice offer, but we needed showers and something to eat and there was no food available in Jade City. I saw a sign on the road advertising “Moose Meadows” campground so I went back to read the sign……It said “Showers” and a “Camp Store”……Even if this meant a dinner of Snickers Bars and Coke, It’s better than eating rocks! So off we go to Moose Meadows…………What a pleasant surprise! The place is a dream…..Instead of camping we took a renovated trappers log cabin right on the water (Moose Lake) for only $40. The store had Dinty Moore Beef Stew and some kind of Bag Rice thing……..The cabin had pots and pans and a propane stove………Bob whipped us up an amazing meal and we ate it looking out over the lake as two mother moose and two calves were feeding in the water and a beaver swam by. Right out of freakin Norman Rockwell……..I kid you not! I guarantee I’ll return to Moose Meadows at some point and spend a week here. The fishing is supposed to be fantastic………….
Well , it’s off to bed………It was a long day with lots of riding………I’m loving it!

Let’s see , where did we leave off……..

Here I am. 7:15 AM on July 19th and I’m sitting next to the Canadian Customs office, in the grass, with my lap-top plugged into an outlet on the side of the building, writing this in MS Word because I can’t log on…….Why am I doing this you ask?......Because freak’n Canadian customs on the Haines Road doesn’t open until 8am!!!!! We got up early to make some time today, as we need to cover about 600 miles……….and here we are waiting for over an hour for customs to open. We have an option. The motorcycles WILL fit through the opening in the locked gate, but I think I feel a machine gun trained on us just waiting for us to “make a break”…..So not to cause an international incident, we wait…..

…I believe we left off with us making it to Haines Alaska. We spent two nights in a coastal Grizzly Bear (the biggest kind) infected campsite. I have never seen so much bear poop! All over the road in front of the campground, and even IN the campground. This is the place where once we had set up out tents and got settled in, the campground owner informed us that there was a Grizz in the campground the night before……nice touch!
The first night wasn’t too bad. There were two groups of other folks in tents that had been fishing, so we figured they would draw the bears away from us if they showed up again. But last night, they had all left and WE were the bait……….Got to go…Customs agent just showed up………I’ll get back to this later.

I’m back…..seems they just came out of their house to walk the dog…….

So anyways….didn’t sleep all that good last night. It didn’t help that I was reading a tour guide about the area we are in just before I went to sleep that said about 2 miles up the road was one of the largest concentrations of Coastal Grizz in the world!

Yesterday was the first day we did not ride…..we took a fast ferry over to Skagway so we could ride the White Pass narrow guage railroad train up into the mountains, just like the gold rush folks did 100 years ago. This whole Gold Rush thing is extremely interesting. To see how hard they worked to get into the interior of the Yukon, and out of an estimated 100,000 men that attempted, only 30-40,000 made it to Dawson City, and of those only a few hundred actually struck gold and a handful became rich.

Skagway is a really neat town. But there were four huge cruise ships in port at the time we were there. Way too many people for a little 1890s town like this……..we took an earlier ferry back to Haines……Went looking for more bears. Didn’t see any because they were most likely all sitting in MY TENT! Did see a bunch of Bald Eagles….

Looks like the Customs Agent just showed up……or is this a Canadian Mountain……..Without a doubt, this is the fattest customs agent I ever saw! He’d make a great snack for one of those costal Grizzlys……….sorry….

Once we get through Customs, were heading over to a little town called “Copper” on the Copper River. The Copper River is world known as the numero uno river for Alaska King Salmon……….We are going to attempt to remove a few with hook and rod…..More later.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Valdez to Haines Junction.........

Dateline Monday July 17, 2006. Bob Ain’t Stoppin’ your reporter.

Well, we took a boat tour out of Valdez on Saturday to see the Columbia glacier as it dumps major ice into the ocean. Weather was light rain most of the day, and the clouds were hanging just a few feet off the ground. We did get to see bald eagles, sea lions, and sea otters, but the big whales and bears were all avoiding the bad weather. Actually, most of the bears have gone up river now following the salmon for a free meal. At the glacier, we saw massive ice flow leaving the moraine deposits at the foot of the glacier, but we couldn’t get through to the glacier itself because of poor visibility and too much ice in the water. Will try to put up some pics of this later.

On Sunday, we left Valdez in almost rain conditions, and headed over the Thompson pass (Richardson Highway). At the top of the pass, we crossed into thinning clouds and sunshine. Coming down off the pass, we had our first good weather in a few days and turned up the Tok cutoff towards Tok. This road takes the prize for the most under construction path of our trip so far. Miles of construction going from loose gravel as we’ve seen before and then into orange sized smooth stones with no hard track to follow. Very difficult going. We saw one white car that had left the road and rolled several times. A few minutes later the police and ambulances went by in response. At one point we were following a pilot quide car through an active work area when we came upon a bid gravel ditch with several options for tracks to follow on the bike. I quick picked one, and Roy behind me picked another. I lucked out. But Roy got to the point that the rut was deeper than the ground clearance on the bike so he simply stood up and got off. Help came from the cars in line and got him out before I could even stop.

Through Tok, we then headed for the Canadian border and crossed into the Yukon. I hope Roy can post a picture of the ‘Hostel’ we stayed in last night. The bedding was SO bad we both slept in our sleeping bags……… Pretty funny! Now Monday, and we are at Haines Junction, about to turn south for Haines, AK. This ‘Haines Road’ should offer bears feeding, and eagle sightings as we work our way south to Haines. As I write this, Roy is yakking on the phone doing executive stuff that we are not allowed to understand. Me, I’m on vacation. See you in a coupla weeks!

Oh! One final item. Time for an animal count. So far we’ve:
-Grinned down 2 Grizzlies
-Done doughnuts around 5 or 6 deer
-Been entertained by about 26 Elk
-Soared by about 6 bald eagles
-Morphed next to 4 or 5 Moose
-Regarded countless Richardson Ground Squirrels
-Jacked repeated Rabbits
-Prairie dogs. Oh my, perhaps a zillion.

Very Truly Yours,

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Well, all this great weather had to come to an end.......We left Anchorage for Valdez over the Glenn Highway.........Amazing sights, but the weather wasn't cooperating. It rained on an off for the total 303 miles. Temperatures up at Thompson pass were down to the 40s. We got up close and personal with the Worthington Glacier. This bad boy comes right down to the road. Although it has receded quite a bit in the last few years, it's still very impressive. From there it was on to the Valdez glacier. Not as impressive, but better than any glaciers we have in New England.....

Saw this truck that took a wrong turn......most likely rubber necking and missed the turn....No one was around the crash so I'm guessing they were taken to the hospital before we got there.

Tonight we are staying at the Best Western in Valdez and on Saturday we are taking a tour boat out to the Columbia Glacier to see calving icebergs and hopefully a few whales........

"Ain't Does the Dalton"

Dateline: Tuesday, July 11, 2006 . . . Or ‘Ain’t Does Dalton . . . Both Ways’
It’s Friday as I write this, but it was Tuesday morning at 0530 when I started the adventure. As Roy explained, he was out for the count with the sore wrist. I didn’t try to talk him into completing this part of the ride. Too much at stake for him, personally, with the wrist. He had to make this decision on his own. The official breakfast time at Coldfoot is 0700. So I planned to have a candy bar breakfast and head out. But walking into the dining area, I found people eating, and the full buffet in operation. Turns out they open early for the truckers and pipe line workers. This $6.50 buffet puts any YB breakfast to shame! All we are used to plus several fruits, cereals (hot and cold), breads, and so on. All to the highest standard. Simply amazing considering where we were. After eating, I’m on the road at 0630. Out of the driveway, there is a sign ‘243 miles to Deadhorse’. Also another saying next services 243 miles. You’re on your own with this trip. The weather is good, with temps around 55 degrees. At mile 28 the road is undulating up and down slightly. At a crest I see a bicyclist about a half mile ahead. That dude is crazy! At the next rise, he’s gone. One more rise and I get the rest of the story. It’s a grizzly at the side of the road. Much bigger than the other day. You may know that bears have good hearing and smell, but not such great vision. Well, this guy hears a Beemer Boxer closing fast, and he knows he’s got a problem. I pull up about 75 feet short and he stands up, looks me in the eye, and heads for the bushes. Don’t mess with a YB if you don’t have backup! As usual, I didn’t get the camera out fast enough. The whole thing lasted about 5 seconds. Another 10 miles and a jack rabbit crosses the road. These guys, and the million or so Richardson ground squirrels, are all the wild life I will see today. Looking ahead, I can see the mountains of the Brooks Range ahead. And there is rain up there. Roy and I had made the agreement that if it was raining, we would not do this ride. So I’m a bit nervous, but the rain stays just to the east and I keep on. Up over Atigun pass is very steep, with big peaks rising right beside the road. Stunning views. I take just a couple of pictures, planning to take more on the way back when the light might be better.

After Atigun, the land flattens out into tundra, and goes on forever. We are following the pipeline, and there are pumping stations every few miles, but that’s about it. I get to Prudhoe at 1130 hours. It’s cold and quite windy. A visit to the ‘hotel’ finds that the next tour to the Arctic Ocean isn’t until 3:30pm. Not good. That would put me way past bed time getting back to Coldfoot. So I skip the tour (the only way to actually get to the real ocean), and dip my toe in the lake at the end of the public road. The ride back starts at 2:30pm.

A note about the road conditions. Roy explained a bit about the road, but that’s not the whole story. The road base is hard packed gravel with a high clay content. It really works quite well. But rain mixes with the clay to make slippery conditions for two wheeled vehicles. When they regrade the road, they mix up new gravel, and add calcium chloride to the mix, which ends up like concrete when water is added. They grade this out with large blades and water it down from tanker trucks. During this operation, we have to pass by, going through this slurry on the bike. It’s really touch and go, and a bunch of guys go down. I go through several miles of this in first gear and feel lucky to stay upright. That’s the construction zones. On either side of that are sections with hard pack, hard pack with rocks sticking out, hard pack with one layer of pea stone that works like marbles for us bikers, or thicker pea stone that you worry about sinking in to. So you have to figure out the road conditions on a second by second basis. All day. Plus, you want to look at the views, and I have to do Roy’s job of scouting for animals too.

So, as I’m riding back along the tundra, there is no wild life, and the mountains are coming into view again. This time there are some serious clouds up there. I know I’m going to get wet. Going into the hills, the rain starts. And it’s heavy. Fortunately, there is no construction here, so the road does not get muddy. But I’m down to about 20 mph dealing with the rocks, visibility, ruts and so on. Let’s see, 140 miles to go, at 20 mph . . . This could be a problem! Going over the pass again, I can’t do pictures. Can barely turn my head, and neck and shoulder muscles are tightening up from the strain of concentrating for so long. Fortunately, as I exit the pass, the rain lets up, and I can get back up to 45 mph in spots. Every mile, I recalculate arrival time. Looks like anything from 9:30 to 11:00 should do it. Turns out the time is 10:00pm when I roll in. We all have a beer and I get a grilled ham and cheese for supper. Turn in is at 11:00pm. Still fully light out.

What a great ride. Total miles were 482, of which 430 was dirt. (There is a 30 mile paved section). I was 303 miles north of the Arctic Circle!

Now on to Wednesday, July 12th. We are up at our usual 0530, get breakfast, and head south towards Fairbanks. We have the lower section of the Dalton to do again. Conditions are much better than on the way up and we make good progress. At Fairbanks, we call the BMW guy to see if I can change my oil. No dice, he’s busy and won’t let me work on the bike myself. So we continue on to the Denali area and camp at a really poor site for the night. Waking up the next morning, (now Thursday July 13th) we find steady rain. No reason to stick around, so we are off to Anchorage. Roy already told you about seeing Denali Mountain through the clouds. Really cool. Continuing south, the weather is getting better every mile. We arrive at Anchorage to warm temps and full sun. First stop is Alaska Leathers for a sheep skin seat pad for the GS. These are great people! I tell them about my need for an oil change and pressure wash for my bike. Do the oil in their driveway, no problems. They have everything all set up for the traveler. The pressure wash is two blocks away.

Meanwhile, Roy is showing his farkels to every biker that comes to the store. He has a great time, and has yet to be out farkeled on this trip! He also confirms that every motel is booked solid. So Barb (AK Leather’s owner and a real cool gal) says ‘Why don’t you camp for free at the Harley dealer?’ Sure enough, they have a grass area set aside for travelers, regardless of the bike they ride. You get the combination to a dedicated bath and shower room too! I can’t help but wonder what reception a HD rider would get at the BMW dealer when he asked for the same courtesy.

We wake up Friday morning, after a great sleep and head over to Gwennie’s, a restaurant dating form the gold rush days. I’ll let Roy fill you in on the rest of this story tomorrow.

You’re faithful reporter - Bob Ain’t Stoppin’

Friday, July 14, 2006

Where are we now....?

July 9 (PM)
Well it's been a few days since we have been able to update the BLOG. Bob and I have been in the Arctic Circle for cripes sakes! Not alot of internet access up there!
So....we left off where we were heading to Tok Alaska.....Uneventful ride, except that we are on one of the most fantastic roads I've ever been on. The "Top of the World Highway" is a dirt road that unlike most roads through mountains, doesn't travel around the bases of the mountains, it goes right over the top! This "highway" is only open a few months a year. The winters are just too brutal to keep it open.....and dangerous, as there are no guard rails and in some places it is hundreds of feet off drop off if you miss a turn....Not fun! We had perfect weather...but I wouldn't want to do this road in the rain. Up here they spread some kind of calcium mixture on the roads to keep the dust down. This works well when things are dry, but God help you if you are on the road during rain. This mixture turns to a grease and 20 mph is pushing it on two wheels........
We get to Tok, about 500 miles from Dawson City, and see a sign for a campground that is advertising "Free Showgirls".......The Sourdough Campground and RV Park. Sounds like a plan! We head on over and instead of Free Showgirls, the local highschool kids fooled with the letters and it should have read "Free Showers"....Whatever...The showers were great and they were free!
We met a nice couple from Arizona and invited them to join us at a local food feast called the "Salmon Bake"...This place is world known for a great woodfired salmon steak and all the fixings......nothing like it! Great meal.........We stopped and picked up a six pack on the way back to the campsite and sat outside talking for a few hours before we turned in.
July 10
This is the big day! The whole reason this trip existed for us was to get to the Arctic Circle......I've been close on a few big game hunting trips, but no cigar. Today we will ride 458 miles from Tok to Coldfoot....75 miles of which will be dirt, mud and ROCKS!
Between Tok and Fairbanks is Delta Junction, the official end of the Alaskan Highway. We stopped, took pictures and received our certificates for completing the Alaskan Highway........
We stopped in Fairbanks to get road conditions for the Dalton Highway, also known as the "Haul Road". This road was built to supply the building of the Alaska Pipeline and to resupply Prudhoe Bay. Until a few years ago it was not open to the public. I'm here to tell you...this is one tough road! The paved sections are like some roads in Bagdad...Huge potholes, uneven surfaces and just a real good time......Now throw in sections where they simply come along, tear out the roadbed and lay down about 4" of 1/2" size gravel and it really gets your interest! Luckily we had dry weather..I can't imagine this road in the rain.....But the washboard effect was taking it's toll on my wrist......Construction zones are another interesting part of the roads up here. You'll be driving along and see a sign saying "Road Construction Ahead"...There will be a flag person stopping you. Motorcycles go to the head of the line...a "Pilot" car shows up and you all get into a single file line and follow the pilot car...which goes so slow you can barely keep the bike upright! And they take you through a war zone! Some times in mud 6" deep, or a boulder field with rocks the size of apples.....always and interesting event! We made it to the Arctic Circle and Bob needed to convince me to not turn back and do the next 60 miles to Coldfoot where we had a "room" (and I use the term loosely) for the night. It was six of one, half a dozen of the other.....60 miles forward or 60 miles back. We were under the impression that the remainder of the road to Coldfoot was in much better repair...NOT!
But we went on and I made it without too much issue, but my wrist was smarting pretty good. This is unfortunate because for the whole 3000 miles we had traveled thus far, it didn't give me a moment of complaint. But then again, I wasn't riding 120 plus miles on washboard........But I'm glad we made it to Coldfoot. It was a great experience and it gave me time to rest my wrist for the return trip. Coldfoot was a blast! Lots of motorcycles, lots of stories, a few broken motorcycles, a few sad stories....fortunatly while we were there, although bikes were "put down", no one was injured.
You might ask why we were taking a room in the Coldfoot Inn rather than camping....Although a concern has been bears throughout this trip, it turns out that bears are a piece of cake.....WOLVES are the big issue! All kinds of stories of wolves trying to get onto tents while occupied and then the story about a gal at the Artic Circle rest area being attacked (which was front page news back in Anchorage and on all the TV stations) and a motorcyclist being chased by wolves is all I needed to put real lumber between me and the elements while in the Arctic! Check out the photograph of the sign that was posted at the Artic Circle pull out.......
So we make it to Coldfoot (By the way, it's called Coldfoot because folks heading for the Artic would get cold feet at this point and head back).........But I couldn't go to Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay.........I figured I had about 6000 miles to go on this trip and if I screwed up my wrist bad, I'd be in real trouble.....But "Bob Ain't Stoppin" decided to do the Deadhorse run solo...IN ONE DAY!!! 243 miles each way...through the Brooks Mountain Range and untold miles of Tundra!!! I'll let him fill you in on the details.......
Bob returned from Deadhorse.........and you want to talk about a "Deadhorse!" ...Man, was he beat! But he was a hero! The rest of the bikers and truck drivers at the Coldfoot Inn gave him a standing ovation when he pulled it for doing that run in one day..Solo!
We spent that second night at the Inn and then headed for Denali Park early on Thursday, July 13.....This would take us by Mt McKinley (Which the natives still call Denali "The Great One"). But our chances of seeing the 20,000+ foot mountain were nil as it was pouring rain! The guide books tell us you have about a 20% chance of seeing Denali because the mountain makes its own weather and is usually shielded in clouds. So we decided to just high tail it to Anchorage and leave "The Great One" for another we are riding along I see a break in the clouds, and something told me to pull off the highway and look back...we did , and the picture tells the rest of the story! Talk about luck! In a driving rain storm....we beat the odds and saw Denali!
On to Anchorage and Alaskan Leathers so Bob can change his engine oil.........More to come!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bob's got the BLOG....

Bob has the BLOG this evening…….

Sunday - July 9th. I awake at about 0430 as is usual for this trip. Apparently it never got dark last night. Read in the tent until about 1030 without using the flash light. Pretty cool. Oh! Did I tell you Roy got lost yesterday? We pulled off the road to look at Fox Lake. Got a couple of pics and we both started to pull out. Me in front. But Roy has this problem of overactive eye syndrome. He sees everything! So he stops to see these eagles flying in for a fishing session as I pull away. No biggie. He looks for animals and I do my thing looking for lakes and stuff like that. Ever wonder what’s down that road that turns off your route? Well there are lots of those dirt roads turning off up here. I pick one that looks like it goes down to a lake off to the left. The track isn’t dry yet from the last rain, and it’s a slippery ride, but I make it. At the pond is a camp site, fire pit, and a great view. Talk about all alone! Back up the trail in good shape and on to Stewart Crossing, where I wait for Roy for 40 minutes. Man, he must have found something really good to be this late! The destination is Dawson City, so he’ll just have to catch up as best he can. I get to Dawson and wait for 100 minutes at the welcome sign. No Roy. In to town, I park the bike on the main drag in front of Sourdough Joe’s and have some supper. As the food arrives, I see the German guys drive up in their Iveco huge machine. A quick run over to them and I learn that they didn’t see Roy or any accident on the way up. We learn later that Roy was about 50 feet away at this instant, reading a book on the board walk. Guess he didn’t hear me cruise the main drag about 4 times! Oh! He parked his bike on 2nd Ave. Not to worry, I found him in the morning and he’s fine. It’s not a case of being lost, merely a bit confused.

After a breakfast at the hotel this morning, we head out to see Dredge #4. Check out the picture. The thing is huge. It was used to dig out the river bottom and pan for gold. The thing that amazes me is how they got these things up some very small creeks. This #4 is about 2 miles from the main river, and is about the size of two houses. Back to down town, we see the old buildings and such. Most everything is closed because it’s Sunday morning. So we head for Chicken. This involves going across the river by ferry, and then along the ‘Top of the World Highway’, or route 9 on the map. Much construction and gravel, but it’s very well done and we move right along. One way to explain is that we pass everything we see, without exception. Well, except the bear. I’m in front (this really doesn’t happen all that often), and at the side of the road is this brown bear . . . WHAT!!! . . . That’s a Grizzly! Stop Quick! Roy says it crossed the road, but as usual I didn’t see that. What a sight, and as close as a car parked at the side of the road. I come to a stop about 5 feet past him and Roy pulls up behind. Since I can’t turn around enough with the camera, I do a quick ‘U’ turn and pull back up for a shot. Meanwhile, Mr. Bear is thinking it’s time to leave. My shot turns out to be a tree trunk as the bear is in the bush by the time the camera is ready. Sorry you don’t get to see him this time. Will try again, just for the club! The Top of the World Highway is simply one of the greatest rides you can imagine. We had about the perfect weather with unlimited visibility to the horizon. The bluest sky I’ve ever seen. And drop offs at the road edge to take your breath away. Here’s a pic, which doesn’t even begin to convey this experience.

OK - So we cross the border and arrive at Chicken for lunch. Finally in Alaska! Three buildings, a burger, and that’s about it for Chicken. On to Tok via routes 5 (Taylor Highway) and 2. We’re here camping for the night. Today’s miles are 220, of which about 100 plus was dirt. Great day, and more to come.

Where's Bob!

This is going to start to sound like bragging! But, man…..this is to much fun!

July 8th…Today we left for the “Klondike Loop”…This is a side trip that takes us off the Alaskan Highway and up over the top to Dawson City, Yukon Territories (YT) The trip up to Dawson City is just a bit over 300 miles. Out here, this is like going around the block back home. All the distances are in “hunerd miles”……Big Country!
The road to Dawson City was in great shape except for a few areas of construction where they spread ball bearings all over the road and then cover them with baby sh-t, just to make it interesting for motorcyclists….Actually, I’m making it out to be worse than what it was. The two bikes, both shod with Tourance tires did great. We could keep our speeds at around 45 mph……but don’t lose your concentration for a second………it could hurt!
To make matters a bit more interesting, it started to rain for about 20 minutes….and then just as quickly, cleared up.
We met this really neat German couple with two wee children who have been traveling around the world for four years in this really neat four wheel drive "Paris-Dakar" type motorhome. Great folks! They told us they spent the previous four years on a motorcycle before the kids were born......Amazing!
I stopped to take a picture of two bald eagles fishing in a lake by the side of the road and Bob continued on ahead of me and decided to take a ride down a dort two track. He thought he would be back on the main road to intercept me, but I caught up with and passed his side road before he exited. That’s the last we saw of each other till this morning! Bob was MIA……
I got to Dawson City a few hours later and expected to see Bob’s bike parked at the entrance to the town. This is how we deal with this situation. Although we mostly ride together, at time we want to ride our own ride and we get separated. But since there is only one road, it’s pretty hard to get separated, even though we might be hundreds of miles apart…Big Country (did I say that already?)
But Bob’s bike was not anywhere to be seen. I rode around the town, but no Bob…..I parked my bike on the side of the road and waited…nothing.
I decided I would get a hotel room this evening as it was Saturday night and Dawson City has a great night life on the weekends. I went to the “Downtown Hotel” which is owned and operated by Dick, who is a fellow BMW motorcycle owner (R1150GS). I got a great room with two beds figuring Bob would show up at any time. I parked my bike right outside the hotel door and went to take a nap……..I awoke at around 7pm, called Bob’s wife, Kathy, to see if Bob had called in…He hadn’t….Kathy wasn’t concerned (she did mention something about the life insurance being paid up) But she was upset that he didn’t see Dawson City as Kathy thought it was the best part of Alaska when she visited last summer…….I wasn’t worried, but a little concerned. I figured he had proceeded across the river (via ferry) and was camping on the other side. I had no reason to believe he would have gotten off the main road, and since I was “positive” I was behind him, and I didn’t see a crashed R1200GS anywhere on the side of the road, I figured he was OK……..
This morning my phone in the hotel room rings and it’s Bob……He’s in the lobby. As I had thought he went across the river and took a campsite…….Too bad, because the hot tub in the hotel was great!

Next installment I’ll tell you how Bob got within 15’ of a real live Grizzly bear…..I kid you not!

Friday, July 07, 2006

We're in Whitehorse

Thursday, June 6th..... Awoke at 3:30, answered some emails, but didn't have time to write in the BLOG. We wanted to get on the road early to see if we could add to the "animal count"...Nothing to report except very heavy fog and a bit of smoke at times. We couldn't see 200 feet in front of us, nevermind seeing animals. I can't even tell you if we rode through nice countryside or not. A very uneventful ride. But we did make it to Fort Nelson, and still had "riding light" so we decided to press on. We looked on the map and found a place called Liard Hot Springs, just before Watson Lake ........Sounds like a plan! We pulled into the Liard Hot Springs Campground and we told there were only four sites left. Everything was sold out! We've found that you need to get up early, put in your 400-500 mile day and find a place to sleep by no later than 4pm. Otherwise you are pitching tent on the side of the road....with the bears. When we get to campground I like to ride around an put my tent where otherfolks are tenting....I figure the odds that they have something in their tent that the bear will like better than what I have is very good.....And if that doesn't work, putting a little honey on their tent guarantees the bears will leave us alone....:-)
This "light out till midnight" thing takes a bit of getting used to. I almost took a pair of sox and cut them into a sleeping mask so I could fall asleep! But after a nice long soak in that mineral laden hot spring I slept like a baby........until it started to pour!
Friday, July 7th....We woke at 5:30 to rain. First real rain of the trip. Packed our stuff in record time and planned to leave. But we couldn't get out of the campsite. They lock the gates at 10pm and don't unlock them until 7am....We tried to find another way out and went through the park rangers yard. He must have heard us and came out and unlocked the gates.....Away we go!
We don't get thirty feet outside the park gates and we see our first bear. A black bear is ambling across the road, coming right from the campground.....
Two Bears, Two Bison and Two Moose..........sounds like the "Hungry Hunter" selection for breakfast at Denny's......But this is what we saw on the side of the road in the first two a blinding rain storm! I had to stop and reset my gear. I was using a tinted face shield, but with the rain I couldn't see where I was going......I found a closed motel that had a bit of an overhand and pulled in to make the adjustment.......much better! The Yukon lies ahead!
We made it to Watson Lake, Yukon Territories for breakfast and a visit to the world famous Alaskan Highway Sign Forest. The rain has stopped, but it's still the 50s up in the mountains. Seems back during World War II, a homesick GI put a sign with his home town's name painted on it in a tree. Other GIs followed suit and it hasn't stopped with GIs. The sign forest now has over 50,000 signs from everywhere in the world. It's great fun walking around and seeing what folks posted.
From there it was a long ride over to Teslin YT for fuel and to have a look at some amazing taxidermy at a wildlife museum.....A quick three hours later we're in Whitehorse. Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon, and with a population of 23,000 folks, it has two thirds of the population of the entire Yukon. So if my math is correct...there are only 34,000 folks living in the whole YT....Lots of land for so few folks.......
Tonight we are not camping. We splurged on a motel room. A nice shower and a good bed after a very long day in the saddle will feel great. Tomorrow we hit the "Klondike Loop" to Dawson City and the "Top of the World Highway" to Chicken Alaska!

With that Trip Report out of the way....Let's talk about this entire trip in general....
So far we've traveled 2348 miles in six days (229, 421, 319, 492, 477, 410) and the riding and the roads are fantastic.....In the whole 2300 miles the traffic has been so light, we estimate we've passed 50 vehicles.....and only one guy in a suped up Camaro has passed us..:-) The Alaskan Highway is a great road....but it can go for hundreds of miles with zero scenery. I couldn't imagine doing this trip in a car or a motorhome.....Being on the bikes turns it into a quest.....and the camping adds a sense of adventure. You will have hours of the same view, and then break out into an area that will just take your breath away...then back to trees, trees, and more trees.......Now that we've hit the Klondike area, the history part of the trip is unfolding. We just visited a great museum about the Klondike gold rush and the building of the Alaskan Highway.....Amazing what those folks went through to stake a claim for some gold and the Army guys that built this whole road in under 9 months to help the country defend itself from Japanese invation.
I'm surprised we are not seeing more wildlife.....
I would guess that half of the motels and resturants in the little towns we are going through are boarded up. I would guess this road had it's hey day in the 80s. And considering that every other vehicle we do see is some type of motorhome or travel trailer, there just isn't the need for motels or resturants.....It's kind of sad...
There are LOTS of bikes on the road. The number one brand is a toss up between Harley Davidson and Honda Goldwing, number two would be BMW, and believe it or not I believe number three would be Suzuki V-Strom....everyone that ever got sold in the states must be up here! A few sport bikes here and there, but very few other makes and models than the four I've listed. All the bike folks are VERY friendly....Even the Harley guys wave!!!!At every gas stop there is lots of "bike talk"....
Road conditions have been excellent. The horror stories you hear about construction sites, pace cars, gravel, etc has not existed thus far. We've hit one area of construction that lasted about a 1/2 mile....and we had to ride through some big deal. I believe if we were a month earlier it would be a different story...
The mosquitos ARE as bad as folks said they would be.......If you don't douce yourself in DEET, you are dead meat!
The gear Bob and I chose for the trip is working better than expected. The Tecnic Spyder jacket that I bought just for this trip is perfect. It's a two piece jacket that has an outer rain shield over an air mesh jacket with lots of armor. It has worked great in 95 degrees, 47 degrees and pouring rain........couldn't be more pleased. I start out in the cool AM with the over jacket in place, remove oit once the sun is up and stuff it in the saddle bag. Takes about 30 seconds.
I didn't bring my Gerrbing electic liner...error. I'm using a polar fleese liner in the morning and it's just a bit too hot once the sun gets overhead. And a little too cool once I remove it. Bob and I just went to an outfitter supply store and I bought a medium weight poly longsleeve undershirt that should be just the ticket.
Bikes are running issues to speak of. The DL-650 V-Strom is a great bike.......very smooth, comfortable, excellent gas milage and range......
That's it for now.......More in a day or two.......

Thursday, July 06, 2006

ON THE ROAD..........

FANTASTIC................The trip in one word!

This post will go back two days as I haven't had time to update the BLOG in that length of time.

The night before last we spent in Revelstock BC. A neat little town in the Canadian Rockies. And then it was off to Lake Louise, Alberta. Some folks have called Lake Louise the most beautiful spot on earth. I wouls agree, but way too mant tourists for me..........I treated Bob to breakfast at the fancy dining room in the Lake Louise hotel. When we asked for a table, we were asked to "sit over there and wait"...........I can't understand why! Two guys, dressed in black motorcycle clothing, unshaven, and covered in bugs want to sit with the upper crust and we are asked to wait.....jeeze.....But finally they gave us a table by the window and we had a great breakfast........

From Lake Louise we traveled the Ice Field Parkway up to Jasper, Alberta.........Let me tell you. This is a MUST DO trip. I've been a bunch of places and nothing compares to the sites on this road as it snakes its way between mountains, glaciers and the deepest green/blue lakes you ever saw. I took no pictures as the last time I was through here I shot a bunch and they just do not do it justice. It's one of those places you need to experience to "get it"........

Jasper is where we spent the night. As I was checking into the campsite, the gal asked if we were using tents....when I suggested we were, she informed me that there was "elevated bear activity" in the campground...and added "Good Luck!". As we went to set up our tents I pointed out to Bob a nice pile of bear poop right where our campsite was...........Darn, I love adventure!

After setting up our tents we went into town for dinner. I love Jasper! A very hip, slightly 1960s throwback hippy kind of place. As we were leaving a bull elk decided to stroll right down main street. Stopping to nibble on the grass on the sidewalk. Bob was within 30 feet of him on his bike and the Elk paid him no mind...........Wildlife everywhere around Jasper.

We left Jasper at 5am and headed for Dawson Creek, which is "Mile 0" on the Alaskan Highway. About twenty miles outside of Jasper I had what will most likely be the highlight of my trip. On the side of the road were two grey Wolves. A male and a female. I got within 20 feet of them and they didn't seem concerned in the least. Unfortunately the only picture I got was very poor as the sun was directly behind them. But who cares........seeing wolves in the wild is an amazing treat! and to get "within there space"............well it just don't get any better!

Halfway to Dawson Creek we stopped for breakfast...............this is the routine. Wake at 4AM, on the bike by 4:30..........Ride for a few hours to see wildlife, eat...repeat.
While having breakfast we heard about forest fires in the area where we were headed and possible road closures. We'll find out more this AM as we head up the ALCAN.

We got to Dawson Creek and met up with some folks whom I've talked to on the internet on the Suzuki V-Strom forum. Great folks! We all had dinner together, great conversation, and then Bob and I snuck into their campsite for the night.

Dawson Creek is like a dream for me. I've wanted to do this Alaskan Highway since I was a kid. To stand infront if that "Mile 0" market was surreal........can't explain it..........guess I'm just weird! To travel over 1500 miles by bike and 2700 miles by truck to be here is well worth it.

But the journey is just beginning! By tonight we will be in Fort Nelson.........and then on to the Yukon!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"You call THIS a highway!!!"

July 4th, 5am...Weather - PERFECT!

Yesterday was interesting to say the least. Awoke early, and headed out. A fellow we met over the internet suggested a route to take from Waterton Park over to Lake Louise in Banff. Part of this route is BC Route 31. On a map it looked like any other road in BC..........BUT.....

Everything started out all right, great road, good is good. Then all at once the pavement just stops and we are riding on marbles size gravel! But wait, it gets better. This gravel gives way to what I would call an improved "two track"...and it lasts for about 50 miles! Actually it was great fun and excellent preparation for the Haul Road in Alaska.

Today also was a ferry day.....We needed to cross two lakes and up here the BC government runs free ferry services in many locations. We met a trio of rides from Alberta that were touring around Canada and I told them I would put them in the BLOG.......So here goes guys, your fifteen minutes of fame! Actually they were really nice folks, like everyone we run into up here!

Last night at dinner, which was fantastic by the way, we met two retired Canadian government types. They have been on the road for weeks. Touring the American southwest and parts of Canada. They sat with us at dinner and then presented Bob and I with the neatest hat pin you ever saw. Seems one of the fellows was employed with the Canadian government in Indian Affairs and the pin symbolizes the cooperation between the tribes..........

Other than the dirt Highway 31, the roads up here in BC and Alberta are amazing. No frost heaves, no pot holes, almost race track quality..........And they have heavier trucks using them and just as bad weather as we get back home...What's up with this?

Well, got to go pack up and hit the road......Next stop...Lake Louise and the Columbia Ice Fields on the way to Jasper, Alberta............

Monday, July 03, 2006

Monday July3

Weather: 75 degrees, perfect sunny day..................

Believe it or not I'm sitting in back of some kind of investment agency in Creston BC writing this. In my limited amount of time as a traveling "Blogger", I've found these financial institutions to have all kind of Wi-Fi stuff floating around. So I pull in behind, make myself comfotable next to the dumpster and log great! And it's free.........

We left Waterton at sun-up this morning...............It's hard to imagine, but Bob actually gets up before me! We had all our gear packed and on the bikes in under 20 minutes. This will improve as the trip progresses. (Side bar...a woman sticks her head out of the door where I'm sitting, in full motorcycle get-up I might add and wants to know if "I fixed it?"....I said "I'm working on it!"..She left and said thanks...........)
The ride from Waterton to Creston was uneventful. Save for taking a picture of "The Worlds Biggest Truck"..............But the roads are great! ......The traffic VERY light and I couldn't be having a better time!

On the road........Really!

(Roy's turn)

Up bright and early Sunday AM on a search mission for a tent for Bob......Kinda adds to the adventure.....
We headed on out to Kalispell, absolutely an amazing ride on the western edge of Flathead lake. A huge thunder storm was having it's way with the lake, but we avoided even a drop of water as we rode around it rather than through it. This is one of the nice things about touring in the west. The sky is so wide open you can see weather approaching and just ride around it!
Once in Kalispell we had breakfast as we waited for the stores to open. And talk about stores! It has been three years since I've been in Kalispell and I can't believe the construction. Mall, shopping centers, housing......simply amazing......
We ultimately found a great sporting goods store and the perfect tent for Bob. But it was the last one and he needed to take the floor model...........Had I known this I would have negotiated in Bob's behalf and got him a deal..:-)
So now we are really on our way......An hour ride and we are in Glacier National Park, in just about perfect siteseeing weather...."Going To The Sun Road" is what they call the ride through the part. And entering the park West to East as we did this morning was just that!...WOW!......We weren't two miles into the park and I thought Bob was going to have sensory overload. I bet he shot twenty pictures in the first five miles! This is my third drive through the park but I'm here to tell you it is still something to see. I kept cautioning Bob that we would be going through the Canadian Rockies and although Glacier is great, it's chicken feed compared to Banff and Jasper , Alberta..........He'll soon find out!
After the ride through Glacier we crossed over the Can/American border into Alberta.......We hit a really neat hail storm that lasted about 1/4 mile........I'm glad I wear a full face helmet! I can't imagine what the Harley crowd does in a situation like that..........Next stop Waterton Lakes National Park to find a campsite and settle down for the night.................

(Bob has the BLOG today)

Dateline 1 July. We started the day in Miles City, MT, leaving at 0545. Immediately on the interstate, we spend the day (some 550) miles crossing the state to Polson where we are leaving the truck and beginning the riding experience. I-90 follows the pioneer route across the plains. We past Custers’ last stand, but don’t stop. That’s another trip.

On arrival at the house, it takes only an hour or so to unpack the bikes. A trip to town for supper, and we’re back to do final packing. Roy brought too much stuff, and creates a box to leave behind. Meanwhile, I’m looking at my camping gear bag and saying it looks too small. A ‘proof of life’ opening of the bag shows sleeping bag, thermarest pad, pillow, and Kermit chair. Oops! No tent. That’s back on the dining room table at home. So our schedule is changed to allow a stop in Kalispel, where there are three sporting goods stores. Anyone want to buy one of my four tents?

Yes, Roy does have a lot of stuff on the bike. But it’s fun stuff for sure. Need a spotting scope to see that chipmunk 300 yards away? No problem! We have no internet access here, so Roy will post this later and attach a couple of pics. Probably the first sighting of the mountains from I-90, the view of the mountains with a barn is from right down the street here in Polson (What a place!). And then a shot of the bikes packed and ready to go. We haven’t even started the good stuff yet, and already we’ve seen some beautiful country.

Tomorrow the adventure begins. Glacier Park and maybe crossing into Canada on our first day. We’re off!

Friday, June 30, 2006


I writing this from a motel room in beautiful Miles City Montana. Let me tell you about the trip thus far. We left Bob's house at about 7AM on Thursday, June 29......Bob lives in Western Massachusetts so it seemed like a good idea to head out through upstate New York to Pa and on out west. Sounds easy, except for some major flooding in and around Binghamton NY. Route 88 and Rt 90 (NY State Throughway) were shut down. It took us most of three hours to figure a way west as all the secondary roads were also closed........Once we accomplished that we hit a major traffic jam on the border of NY and PA. An accident that took the life of a fellow driving a new Hummer required Med Flight and created a thirty mile back up and a wait of over an hour. At this point we are over four hours behind schedule so we decided to drive straight through the night, taking four hour turns behind the wheel while the other one slept. We hit more major traffic in Chicago at 1:30 AM and lost another hour. We have spent 36 hours straight in the truck! And we have another ten to twelve tomorrow to get to my friends house in Polson MT.........But we are having a ball. This afternoon we took back roads through Wyoming and Montana to look for animals..........saw tons of Antelop, and a few mule deer.

The plan is to be on the bikes and on the road first thing Monday AM.............Later

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Are We There Yet!!!

Here it is, the night before we leave..........I can't stand it. I have tons of work to do at Tweeter, yet I can't wait to get on the road. I love road trips! Nothing like seeing new things, eating in new places and just being out on the road. I missed my calling. I should buy a big rig and long haul for a living!

Everything is packed..." A place for everything, and everything in it's place".....The bike is ready, and as soon as I finish my budgets at work and take in one more meeting tomorrow, we're on the road. I'm going to spend the night at Bob's house in Western Mass and get a good start early Thursday AM...........

Something that I hadn't really thought about, is that we will be traveling up through Canada during the 4th of July holiday.......Now I know it isn't a holiday in Canada, but I hope we don't have a difficult time getting camping sites during this coming week......We'll see.

So that's it...wish us luck. The next report will come from the road!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

What's in that Pelican Case?

Folks are asking what I'm taking for photographic equipment and how I'm transporting it......I mounted a 100% waterproof, extremely heavy duty Pelican case to the rear luggage rack with a Touratech quick detach mount system.......It's the balls!
In this case I have a Nikon D70 Digital SLR, a second telephoto lens, A Sony Digital Video camera, a bunch of battery chargers that run off 12V to charge batteries for both cameras and flasklights, 16 rechargable AA batteries, various cords to download from the cameras and a couple of CDs to download the programs for the cameras if need be............All veryy safe in the Pelican Case....