Tag Archives: motorcycling

The Final Alaska Motorcycle Post

It has been an epic journey, covering 9,000 miles over the course of a month. I met incredible people along the way to the Arctic Ocean, received all forms of kindness, and drove more hours in the rain than I hope to ever again. After riding the familiar twisties of Highway 1 and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, I was greeted by Katie holding a welcome home sign in front of the garage. It is hard to summarize the trip in words, and so I am closing with 20 pictures.

Thanks everyone for following.

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Day 26: The Lost Coast (175miles Prairie Creek Redwood State Park to Sinkyone Wilderness State Park 09-Sep-13)

The Lost Coast is a magic stretch of the Pacific where Highway 1/101 cuts in from the coast and a network of small paved and dirt roads remain faithful to the ocean. The route starts in Ferndale, just south of Eureka, and goes through Honey Dew, a tiny town with only a general store, and Shelter Cove, a great place for fresh fish and chips.

It could not have been better riding conditions. The temperature was between 70-95F depending on whether you were on the coast or one ridge inland. Usal road is the dirt section, and I only saw 3 adventure motorcycles and a fire crew putting out a small brush fire.

I drove the road once before and had my eye on the remote beach that is 6 miles from the southern end. I decided to return, and spend an extra day relaxing at the beach as a perfect way to spend the penultimate 2 days of the trip.

In the evening, I met Berhard and Michelle Leitner and their dog Atlas, who are traveling in a 6 wheel, Austrian Pinzgauer. He designed and built the offroad trailer himself, which is an absolute work of art with every conceivable amenity. They were extremely kind and invited me to a pork chop, broccoli, and quinoa feast.
While reading on the beach the next day, entertainment arrived in the form of a Subaru Outback that foolishly attempted to drive in the deep sand and needed to be pulled out by Berhard’s Pinzgauer and later a VW van that met the same fate. I also had a fascinating conversation with Bob, who metal detects and filled me in on the history of the spot as a large logging settlement in the late 1800s.

The start of Usal road. Note 12 cans of 21st Amendment beer strapped to top

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The first ruts are the ones that I dropped my bike in when it was muddy the prior trip

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Berhard’s Pinzgauer and home built trailer

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The Beach

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The campsite

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Day 24: Fresh Picked Rainbows for Sale (Eugene, 07-Sep-13)

Who would have thought you could sell a rainbow and how do you ensure they are picked fresh? Dreams and unicorns are next.

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Also I had to buy an Etch-A-Sketch for $1. They are beyond awesome and I used to give them to analysts at work when they asked for a second computer monitor.

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Thank you Eberlys for a great time in Eugene.

Day 21: Fresh Caught Fish for Dinner (Horse Lake, BC 04-Sep-13)

Having been on the move every day but one, I wanted to spend two nights in a few places to relax on the return home. I really liked Horse Lake, near 100 Mile House, and so came back. The day was spent drying out my gear, sitting in the sun, reading a book, and chatting with people.

I was chatting with Doug, who used to work in a Canadian prison and has his cat Thom on a leash, when Rick came by and asked if we wanted two 2lb Lake Trout. We cleaned them and cooked them with lemon and onion over the fire, drank beer, and watched the stars. What a phenomenal way to spend my last night in Canada. Thank you Rick and Doug.

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Day 19: The Much Awaited Sun (Liard River Hot Springs, Yukon, to Hudson’s Hope, BC 02-Sep-13)

After 6 straight days of riding most of the day in the rain, pitching the tent in the rain, and taking it down in the rain, this morning I finally had sun in the afternoon and tonight a clear sky. It is much needed as I experienced a total sense of humor breakdown yesterday about the rain. The fly of my tent still resembles a soaking wet mop.

Today was a record for animal sighting – apparently they like rain and lows of 38F. I saw buffalo, caribou, fox, moose, and owls. I felt a little akward as two owls serenaded each other 40ft on either side of my camp site – 3 is a crowd. The buffalo picture is blurry because I took it while rolling by them as I sure was not going to stop to take it.

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Day 15: The Saga Continues (335 miles from Tok to Anchorage 29-Aug-13)

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After bending my front wheel rim 3 days ago, it looked like the tire was holding air … until I woke up this morning, and it was completely flat. With much apprehension, I decided to press on 335 miles to Anchorage motorcycle dealership to replace the wheel. It was only a slow leak for the first half of the ride; but, for the second half, I stopped every 10 miles to check the increasingly rapid leak and had to fill it 8 times. A continuous leak is no fun when you only have two tires.

The Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage has incredible service. They are taking a front wheel off a new 2013 GSA on the showroom floor and putting it on my bike. In talking to others who needed new parts, I was stealing myself to wait 4-5 days for a wheel to be delivered. The shop even offered to drive my bag to the motel so I would not have to carry it.

On the plus side, I get to see glaciers up close a second time on the return ride to Tok.