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Old 05-27-2011, 07:06 AM   #46
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Spartandude - I don't know exactly what I was expecting but it truly blew my mind, but no, no, no...thank you for coming along
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:26 AM   #47
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‘In the Garden of Eden’

We pulled up to the bus station frozen and shivering, not really knowing what to expect. They say around 1 in 4 visitors actually see the mountain, it had rained most of the night and it looked like it could be rainy again. We hung out at the back of the line, were the last on the bus trying to shorten the time captive as much as possible and picked a seat in the second to back row.



Those buses are slow…but it is all part of the experience I suppose, or that is what I am told. I just wanted to get there and hike around and pet the bears but they kept wanting to stop for every caribou in sight and it didn’t matter if they were a half mile+ away; Tina is good for me, she helps keeps me patient.

















With each mile the clouds lightened, there looked like there was hope.







And then, finally after hours of over-annunciated commentary, there it was in the distance……















The biggest thing that is different at Denali, other than the mountain, is that unlike everything I am used to here in Colorado, they advertise that there are no trails….go wherever you want, that’s right GO WHEREVER YOU WANT!!! It’s a big difference from stick to the boardwalk. Really, it is like that in all of Alaska in a way, but especially there it seems. Personally, between you and I, I think that is because they know that 98% of their customer base, Cruse Ship Tour Bus types (and not that there is anything wrong with that of course), don’t mind hiking around a bit but would never dream of straying from the flock. This means that if you feel up to it, have a few skills and adventure in your soul…everything is at your finger tips. It is not my thing but it would be fun to a multi-day backpacking trip.















As the wheels on the bus went round and round, I just sat there and stared searching for the right line, the right ridge and the right route, for a short mid-day hike with my baby-doll.







Finally we were there, Eielson Visitors Center. After a few bites of food and topping off our water we set off, straying from the flock.

Now, I am not a hiker, or a golfer (inside joke), and it has been a long time since I have been excited about hiking, unless it is with a snowboard on my back. My sister is into it, she got Tina into it, and now I hike. But, I love the feeling of exploration more than most anything.







We decided to try to get to the first ridge you see above. Yea, like I said, was not much of a hiker. On a dirt bike that ridge is maybe an hour or two away…if the switchbacks are tight and they throw in a few big rocks. But not on foot.


We didn’t care, we had nowhere to be and all the time to get there…well as long as we didn’t miss the last bus.







We set off down the hill to the river valley.























There were some nice and wide bear paths to follow… just make a lot of noise…


Then we were there, our first water crossing.







Now crossing these little streams, all 79 of them, is not a small task. At least if you want to stay as dry as possible and not go for a swim. They keep splitting and splitting and splitting again with more power than you would think, you just need to walk up and down till you find the narrowest and shallowest option.



The bear didn’t seem to have any trouble though.








The little dot dead center, yea I know, my animal photography is highly-sub-par, not even sure that one is worth posting, but anyways…
We made it through the river(s).















After some hunting and pecking around for a path up we made it up the other bank and decided to just bask in the glory.







































Words cannot describe how we felt there in the tundra…just a spec in the creation.































But we couldn’t stay for near long enough…we still had to make it back to the bus.























But first, we had to cross back through.















The river didn’t take as long the second time as it did the first time to cross; we didn’t care nearly as much about keeping dry.


But we still have to make it back up the hill to the road.















We decided to go straight through the giggle-bushes, I’m still not sure that is the proper term but at least this time they didn’t have spikes. Too bad there weren’t any bear paths or goat trails to follow. It was a bit of a struggle getting back to the road, I’m not going to lie.























But we made it back and waited around for the last bus back.

We were exhausted, wet and hungry, and feeling on top of the world. This bus driver was awesome, the middle-aged-plus orange bearded and orange haired intellect wouldn’t even stop for a full-racked Caribou if you asked, he did pause for the Dall on the road though.



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Old 05-27-2011, 09:59 AM   #48
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Awsome write up. I was up in Kodiak for a wedding a few years ago, unforntunately not much time for sight seeing. Now I want to go back. Pictures are great, what kind of equipment are you usisng?
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:10 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z_HARSH View Post




As the wheels on the bus went round and round, I just sat there and stared searching for the right line, the right ridge and the right route, for a short mid-day hike with my baby-doll.
Many great pictures, but this one is truly awesome. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:28 AM   #50
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Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend, well at least my fellow American Comrades, and happy Tuesday to the rest.




I know Tina had a good weekend:









As did I:












ggrjr – I was using an old Panasonic Lumix for the pics. Yea, it is just mind blowing how big the place is and how much there is to see. It is pretty amazing to think maybe 5% of the land is accessible from the 10 or so roads in the state. Good luck getting up there and give yourself as much time as possible, it won’t be enough.


OklaRider – Thank you kindly, glad you are enjoying it. Sometimes I wonder if I should put those fancy little water marks on them but really, who wants to see that.











Next destination…..the beaches above Homer.
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:21 PM   #51
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Whiskey in the Gulch

After an amazing day in Denali we packed up and headed South. We drove and drove, finally we pulled into Anchorage, it is a great place mainly because it is only 20 minutes from Alaska you know. We hunted around for a good restaurant, Tina has a good nose for this from growing up in the biz, and we chose Phyllis’s Café & Salmon Bake. All you can eat Snow Crab, awesome! Tina smoked me too, she cracks them legs like you wouldn’t believe, after I was done she kept going. After shutting down the place, we continued south, looking for a place to spend the night.



Driving south on the Seward Highway was amazing in the twilight, well anytime really, but especially for the first time in the twilight of the moon. It was getting late so we decided to turn off and head to Girdwood, figuring we should be able to find a spot to camp.



I usually look for brown signs in this type of a situation; they typically lead to good things. We saw the sign for Crow Creek and decided to check it out. After a while, the road turned to dirt, we found a wide spot, and called it a night. The next day we kept heading south for Homer.




And finally we made it, blown away by the beauty once again:












It was amazing staring across the bay. It made me feel like I was in Baja for some reason but there was something different too. Staring into the clouds trying to figure out if it is a snow capped volcano or another cloud while watching them blend together was breathtaking.
















I have a friend who was headed home to CO as we were heading up and I called him once we got to Tok a few days prior, he told me that there were some cool beach access points above Homer that you can drive down on to the beach and camp for free. Like I have mentioned, I don’t like paying for camping, but that isn’t want got the wheels in my head turning……




We decided to check out Whiskey Gulch, it happened to be a perfect place to call home for a few days. There were several nice little spots sheltered in a grove of trees right off the beach. They also had a couple port-a-potties there so that was a bonus too.






We even had a neighbor that kept singing to us.









After parking it up, we decided to hop on the bike and check out the sights.




















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Old 06-04-2011, 11:36 AM   #52
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Beaches

So I had an inmate, and with absolutely no disrespect to him, tell me that it was illegal to ride the beaches in Baja, honestly I don’t know if that is true or not. I find it hard to believe considering we watched a Federales humvee sink in surf, buuuuuut you never know. Maybe they just have bigger issues to deal with and maybe I just have never been slapped and especially not with a provocation. Well, now that I think about it, my little sis and I did get speeding tickets on our bikes down there one time but that’s different.



His other point was that it is abrasive on the bike, and sure I’ll give you that. Personally, the joy of wide-open on virgin sand, the deeper and the more it wallows the better, has always outweighed any hesitation over topical corrosion. But for me, I LOVE BEACH RIDING, riding in sand feels like carving Colorado powder and is about as good as it gets in my opinion, call me crazy. All I know is that it darn sure is not illegal in Alaska, at least on the Kenai. I had just never done it on my slug of a KLR and didn’t know what to expect, so after dinner I decided to go test it out.



Now, when looking at dual sports it is hard to make a decision, it’s completely riddled with compromises. Not like dirt bikes where you have either a trail bike or a MX bike, then you just need to decide size and let your taste in brand take over from there. When evaluating dual sports you have to decided how technical and rough you like it v.s. how much slab and how many miles you are going to do.



For me any BMW is just out of the question now, I need to be able to pick mine up upside down on the side of a hill in the mud by myself if I have to, plus, how much does a luxury car brand know about off-road? Sure, they have the Paris to Dakar factory race heritage but I need a production bike meant for more than graded gravel roads. Plus, I'm not sure how much I trust their suspension and anti-lock brakes are a little overkill if you ask me but don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind having one in the stable one day either, just not if I can only choose one, or two I suppose.



Then you have KTM, sleek, sexy, expensive, and high maintenance; I don’t prefer my women that way and I don’t need my bikes that way either (not that I don’t think my love is good looking of course). Maybe one day when I have a ton of money to burn and carry the towing coverage needed and can trade bikes every year or two I might consider it. Don’t get me wrong, I would love a 950SE but having to hack the pipes to fit extra gas so you can do more than a hundred miles is a bit too much expense for me at this stage.



So for now my KLR will do just fine, although if I did it over again I might go with the DR650. I describe my KLR as absolutely not good at anything, but, and a very big but indeed, it is extremely decent at everything, and especially for the price. The less I spend on bikes the more I can designate to the travel fund I figure.



However up until this time I had never ridden beaches on it, or really sand for that matter so I didn’t know what to expect.












































But that cheap slug impresses me more and more every day.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:59 AM   #53
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Amazing pictures...thanks a lot for sharing....
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:00 AM   #54
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littleDONKEY – Thank you thank you, glad you are enjoying it. I do wish my quality was little better and some didn’t come out so grainy and have so much disturbance, but that is what you get with a basic point and shoot. Especially in low light, but I was able to get the most out of it. After playing with my new Cannon s95 a bit, it seems like a good middle ground and is pretty sharp. But, I will hesitate a bit more to take pictures while riding.


By the way, any legal beach riding you know of in Greece? I'm guessing not, maybe in Bulgaria on the Black Sea?
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:07 AM   #55
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Homer and the Spit

For my little test ride the night before, I went south from Whiskey Gulch making it maybe a couple miles before getting cut off by the Anchor River.



The next day Tina wanted to hang out on the beach for a while, so I went for a little ride. I decided to go around to Anchor point and see how close to Homer I could get. I fumbled around a little trying to find the beach access point, missing the turn by the bridge but it wasn’t too hard to find.



I gunned it through the loose stuff at the top, sat back, kept on the gas as it wobbled, and headed for the hard pack to gain speed. Most of it is perfect for riding. Mainly course sand that stays moist and compact with marble sized multi-colored rock thrown in. Really, it is quite easy to ride in once you get out there. The tide fluctuations are drastic too, so that helps.






























What blew me away is that I started seeing houses, and there aren’t any roads out the back. The only way they can get in or out is up the beach during low tide.











A couple miles after this is where I shot the video I posted on #44. It started getting rockier and rockier. But I saw fresh tracks so I knew that if something happened there were at least people around. If I had to guess I would say I was about 10 miles south on the beach. Far enough to where you need to be careful when riding solo. I found the guy making the tracks and chatted with him for a while. He said there was a river but you could keep going. By that time the beach had turned to nothing but marble+ sized roly poly rocks that were getting worse, they are the type that will put you down and snap your leg in the blink of an eye so I only went a bit further. I would love to come back one day with a buddy and see how far we could get, but at that point it wasn’t worth pushing on. So I headed back out and decided to check out Homer.



On the way I tried to stay close to the coast and found a nice overlook.


















Was looped back around and took a pic of the bridge.










Played around with the camera.











Saw a kiteboarder.











Then checked out the end of the Homer Spit, I have to say it took me a second to realize how it got its name.



















































And then headed back.





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Old 06-09-2011, 10:14 PM   #56
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Absolutely Amazing

I arrived at camp and Tina said she thought chartering a half day halibut expedition sounded like a good idea for the next day. We were in Homer, right? Halibut capitol of the world I heard.



I let her choose who, we went with Bob, not sure why exactly but Bob’s Charters sounded like a good choice.



That left us the rest of the evening to linger on the beach. It was absolutely amazing.

































































































































Just absolutely amazing.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:46 PM   #57
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Nice write-up and great photos.

Glad you had such a wonderful time.

Thank you for sharing.

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:56 PM   #58
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AKDuc, thanks, I love your state!!!









OK, I need to pick up the pace again, it is going to be tough to get this done before the wedding in 2 months but you need to finish one before starting the next I'm told.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:01 PM   #59
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Just for the Halibut

So I’m not a golfer or a fisherman, my grandpa was and he did what he could to get me into it but I guess when you grow up riding motorcycles other activities seem less exciting. Now looking back, I really do wish I had fished more with my grandpa. He loved fishing in Alaska and would have taken me in a heartbeat if I wanted to go. Up until this point in my life, I can really only think of one regret and that is not fishing and hunting more with him. Fishing and hunting just aren’t something most of us ‘city folk’ think about, but one thing that really set in on this trip is what it means to live off the land. Truly live off the land and depend on the fish, berries, moose, mushrooms, ptarmigan and not the supermarket. You hear people say it, “live off the land” but it never really meant anything before. But that is enough philosophical-ness for now, pretty sure that is not a word though.





The next morning we woke up early to catch the charter. We heard that it was good to dress appropriately for the stinky bate sloping around so we packed the rain-gear and cruised in on the bike. We had a bit of trouble finding the place because the big sign on the building was facing the wrong way for us. We rushed through the paperwork, decided to get a two-day fishing license and scurried to the boat.





We sat there and sat there and sat there. People were getting a little antsy and finally these two guys in their 70s come shuffling in arguing back and forth. So we have all seen The Bucket List right? Picture Morgan Freeman and instead of the Grumpy Old Men guy picture a little cruder blondish grey Texan with the same personality. They had a little trouble boarding then came over ask if they could join Tina and I and we happily agreed.





The boat left the dock and the first mate went into his speech. Picture a slightly more discernable Boomhauer (King of the Hill) from Alabama, going into how we need to listen to him and follow instructions, go where he tells you, and move when he says move, “cus ya don’t wana be tangl’n lies ya her. Dat der last boat was just tangl’n dem der lines over and over ya her. You don’t wanna be tangl’n dem der lines cus ya spent darn good money on dis der trip ya her n ya bes be fix’n to catch ya two fish ya her.” Then he went on about how not to expect to catch a 200 pounder here on a half-day charter. You could tell he was practiced at the speech and done it a thousand times, emphasizing things and covering and recovering how to not lose the hook and huge weight by letting it settle on the bottom.





After the speech from the first mate, we started chatting with The Bucket List guys. The Texan, was joking around and telling us about how he likes burping the lid on his colostomy bag and clearing out rooms…..yea. In the meantime, Morgan Freeman’s lookalike was telling Tina about his daughter that passed away and chatted about life in general. They ware great company and made the ride out to the chicken-hole go by fast.





Then we finally made it, the currents were strong that day so they couldn’t anchor up, we had to make passes. The whistle blew and it was no, we started fishing fast and furiously. Then we all pulled up and they motored back to make another pass over the hole. Just about everybody had their limit of 2 before it was time to head in. The whole thing was a blur. After we figured out how to feel for the bottom it was a piece of cake, other than the physical strength it takes to real them suckers in.





Then we headed back and the guys got to work.











The seagulls definitely knew how to get an easy meal.











Then we took some pictures of the evidence.





















I took a couple shots of the harbor as we pulled in.





















We had them package and flash-freeze the take for us and mail it to Tina’s sister and then we went and checked out the Salty Dog.





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Old 06-18-2011, 06:57 PM   #60
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A Bit More Fish’n

After the halibut charter we headed back, packed up, stopped by the local fishing store, bought some fishing poles, bate, and lures then headed to Seward. After cursing through town we headed towards Exit Glacier and found a number of nice pull-offs for camping inconspicuously cut out from the side of the road. They we plenty long and flat and made a perfect place to call it a night. The next morning I walked around a bit and found some cool mushrooms.























Then we headed into Seward to eat breakfast. Sorry, you’re not going to find any food pictures here, but we went to the Train Wreck and had a good meal. It was rainy and they were full, but eventually we got a seat and invited the Fish and Game Officer who was also sitting outside under the awning to come join us.







He just so happened to ride and so we started talking about places to go. His main suggestion was just the Haul Road. He had a 650 Dakar and told his story about the bugs and how long and not incredibly exciting it was. We also asked him about fishing. He told us he liked Carter Lake, apparently Pres. Jimmy came and they wanted to give him a sure-fire way to catch a fish when they flew him in on the chopper so they stocked this unnamed lake and named it after him.





The Officer told us he likes to use regular shrimp cocktail on a hook and it works like a charm so we headed to the supermarket in town to get some. We looked and we looked and we looked. Finally we asked the guy working at the store where they kept the shrimp cocktail. He looked at us like we were dumb, and we probably were I’m not going to lie. He said, trying to be polite, “we usually catch most all of our fish around here, people don’t really buy that stuff” knowing were obviously dumb tourists and not from around these parts. So we decided to settle for canned shrimp cocktail and give her a shot. We had to use the second day up on our fishing licenses right?






So off we headed, for Carter Lake. It was quite a hike up with our new fishing poles, lures, bate, and shrimp cocktail. Finally we got there and started fishing. We never found the hole he described so we settled down and started casting and casting and casting. Tina ended up catching a reed and losing the new lure, this didn’t make her happy. What made her the maddest was that it was right there just smiling at her, glistening in the sun less than 10 yards out. So, she stripped down, waded in and got that sucker back.





After that she was done and over it. But I was still determined to catch one. The problem was the shrimp were too small and the fell apart when I tried to cast them out. My bate and lures weren’t working either. I just kept thinking to myself about the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. But I was determined, it was almost like my grandpa was there too. By this time Tina had been back at the truck for a while, but I kept casting and casting. But I have to say, it was beautiful out there.

















































Finally, I caught one. A nice Rainbow, the only problem was I had maybe gutted one once and it was a looooong time ago. I knew the basic idea and decided to try to fillet it off the skeleton too. That was probably not a good idea. By the time I was done, it was dark so I headed back happy I wasn’t defeated. I also remembered why I don’t like fishing that much, I’m not the most patient person but when I decide to do something I don’t stop until it has been done. The thing is though, I love eating them and I am always up for a free meal and a bit of living off the land.
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