Alaska bound

WELCOME TO MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT A BLOG. I PLAN ON USING THIS SPACE TO SEND "REPORTS FROM THE ROAD" FOR A MOTORCYCLE TRIP MY FRIEND BOB AND I ARE TAKING THIS SUMMER. MASSACHUSETTS TO ALASKA! A FIVE WEEK ODYSSEY THROUGH BRITISH COLUMBIA, ALBERTA, The YUKON And ALASKA....ALL THE WAY TO THE ARTIC OCEAN. If you would like to be notified when we update this blog, simply drop me an email or send me a "comment" and I'll add you to the notify list......... THANKS FOR COMING ALONG FOR THE RIDE!

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 hours....in 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 cold..in 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 gravel...no 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 great....no 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.......

4 Comments:

At Fri Jul 07, 09:50:00 PM, Anonymous C2W? said...

Go Roy. . . . !

And Bob!

(I'm sure you're getting plenty of Pix & keeping detailed records for the "Ride Report" I just know you'll be doing when you get back)

 
At Sat Jul 08, 06:14:00 AM, Anonymous jefe said...

Before we see the Striking Viking, we'll be looking for the "Bob'Roy Take Alaska" show at MAX BMW this fall!

 
At Sat Jul 08, 01:33:00 PM, Anonymous YBLee said...

Great writing Roy - another career in the making? When How long is the trip and when do you actually return to MA for the coming home party?
Ride-on!

 
At Sun Jul 09, 06:00:00 PM, Blogger RoyB said...

The trip officially ends on August 4th........Maybe..:-)

 

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