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Old 01-28-2013, 04:27 AM   #256
drdubb
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Möbius

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If you've not done so, check out the möbius thread. The riders are a couple on New Yorkers and they have an annual adv party.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:01 AM   #257
old fart bob
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So what's next? Round the world?
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:28 AM   #258
RoninMoto
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Originally Posted by old fart bob View Post
So what's next? Round the world?
I've been trying to put this bug in her ear... Maybe with help from the comunity it will become a reality.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:18 AM   #259
Irish John
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Your RR brings back a lot of memories about my first trips. Traveling solo is a two edged sword isn't it. Keep writing and sharing your experiences. Shared memories teach us all.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:43 AM   #260
ruffntuff OP
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Day 21: Denali - Valdez, AK

Day 21:
June 10, 2012
Denali – Valdez, AK: 370 miles

“The sky was blue and the sun was shining. My spirits were lifted and I was pumped to head for the Denali Highway, 130 miles of gravel road through one of the most scenic remote areas in Alaska.” (Journal excerpt)



I was up early, eager to enjoy the nice weather. I made coffee and ate oatmeal in the hostel kitchen while writing postcards for everyone back home. The excitement I felt, contrary to my depression yesterday, was almost unbearable. I felt like a child that could hardy sit still in anticipation of riding a roller coaster before exploding with thrill. I knew the weather could change fast and I was fervent to enjoy the little bit of blue sky and sunshine I finally had.

I packed up the bike and headed to the post office down the road before realizing it was Sunday. I had lost track of the days from traveling. They were all starting to blur together, not to mention, my mind was fogged with dreams of riding the epic road ahead. I stowed the cards away safe in a zip-lock, so they would stay dry if it decided to rain later.

I headed back to Cantwell to fuel up the bike and RotoPax. I knew I’d be stretching it thin to get to the next gas station in Paxton on the other side of the Denali Highway. All was ready and I headed down the gravel road.

“The scenery was unbelievable. I felt like I was riding through a painting from some fantasy enchanted land. It was unreal. There was open tundra with streams and ponds surrounded with lush grasses and snow tipped peaks in the background. The mountains were so massive a photograph couldn’t even capture it.” (Journal excerpt)





The condition of the road was worse than I imagined. Heavy rains made sections soft and muddy causing my tires to slip and fish side to side. I stayed in the tire tracks made by other drivers avoiding the deep mess while averaging 5mph.

Other sections consisted of hard packed gravel similar to the Top of the World Highway that made cruising a bit easier and less stressful. However, the gravel often included large rocks that would grab my tires and jerk my handle bars around. I had to ride with strong arms but soft joints to bare the impact and keep the bike straight.



Pot holes scattered the road everywhere. They were impossible to miss. I crossed a bridge at one point with a lip on the end to meet the road. As I came off the bridge I went straight down into a deep pot hole hidden on the other side. I felt the forks bottom out hard and suddenly heard a loud dragging sound on the tire.

The edge of the road had thick gravel rimming a deep ditch. I stopped in the middle of the road to avoid possible disaster while preparing myself for a disappointing halt to my adventure. I walked around to the front of the bike wincing as I barely squinted a look. The fender was fractured on one side hanging half way off, lying on the tire.

I was relieved it seemed trivial. I can ride without a fender. It didn’t look repairable so I helped finish the job and ripped it off the other side, freeing it from the forks. I chuckled thinking how naked the front of the bike looked now. It almost looked like a dirt bike, which it may as well have been for this ride.

I felt it was my endowment to Denali, a piece of armor sacrificed as a contribution in humble respect for the epic road. It was my token for passing through the untamed territory on two wheels unscathed. I carried it with me the rest of my journey.

I realized at this moment my side cases were getting caught in the shocks and ripped from the bottom seam. I had already duct taped them when I noticed the holes but now that was failing as well on the bumpy road. There wasn’t much I could do about it, other than raise the cases a bit higher. However, I was unwilling to unload all my gear to make that adjustment in the middle of the Denali Highway. They would just have to do.

I continued on averaging 15-30mph. I wanted to find a place to hike around but there was never a good place to park the bike safely. I hardly saw a soul and continued stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures.

I knew there was no way I could capture its beauty thoroughly enough to serve it justice. Around every bend in the road and over every hill my eyes were stunned with such exquisite magnificence I wanted to record every image in my mind forever.























It took me seven hours to get to the other side of the Denali Highway. I was surprised I almost made it without pulling out the RotoPax. It’s amazing how much gas you save when you slow down. I finally refueled just ten miles or so from Paxton. It’s a good thing I had it too, because when I got to Paxton, the gas station was closed. I’m glad I wasn’t relying on it.

I headed South on the Richardson Highway until Gakona Junction at the Tok Cutoff 56 miles away. When I got there I was exhausted and starving. I realized I was so excited on the Denali Highway I hardly ate or even rested in the last seven hours. All I did was ride and take pictures from the middle of the road.

It was starting to sprinkle, but I could still see blue sky in the direction of Valdez which kept me optimistic. I pondered going back up to Tok to the motorcycle campground 125 miles away. But I had heard Valdez was a beautiful “must see” town to visit in Alaska. It was another 130 miles, but if I could get a second wind, I wanted to take advantage of the little time I had left riding in Alaska. My time was passing too quickly.

I was sick of my trail mix and peanut butter but my options in the store were limited. I bought a loaf of white bread, pack of sliced cheese, and bologna. I made my sandwiches on the porch out of the rain while I contemplated what to do.

I had never enjoyed white bread and bologna so much as I did then. I think I ate four sandwiches. I would never have thought to eat such a thing in “normal” life. But it gave me the energy I needed. Plus, anything different from what I had been eating was far superior.

I decided to head for Valdez keeping my fingers crossed that I’d ride out of the rain. I settled back onto the highway at a comfortable cruising speed thankful to be on smooth pavement. Every now and then, I’d catch a glimpse of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline all the way to Valdez.

Just 50 miles before getting to Valdez, I stopped for gas at Tiekel River Lodge. The rain had stopped and the sky was still blue. When I went inside to pay, the gentleman there was very friendly and seemed just as excited as I was about the weather. I told him I was headed to Valdez. He said I was a lucky girl to have a clear day and to hurry up and get there before anything changed. It was rare to see the mountains on the coast of Valdez.

The next 25 miles of the Richardson Highway were gorgeous winding between the Chugach Mountains. After passing Mount Billy Mitchell the highway began a steep twisty climb perfect for any motorcycle enthusiast. The hairpin turns spiraled around the mountain passing Worthington Glacier all the way to Thompson Pass.







This is where I felt I was on the top of the world. When I summited the pass I felt my heart lift and I smiled and laughed thinking of Dan. I could feel his face in my face and imagine his expressions in my expressions. I knew he was there and felt giddy being there with him.

The elevation is only 2,678 feet, however it’s above treeline showing bare-bone peaks of the snowy Chugach Mountains as far as the eye can see. It was breathtaking. Snow poles marked the edge of the highway for snow plows and the road looked as if it would fall off the edge of the world.







The next 7 miles descended the mountain with steep switch-back turns and dropped me back to sea level in just a quick fifteen minute ride. The change of environment was amazing. I went from an arctic wintry terrain to a lush canyon following a river winding along steep rocky cliffs blanketed with emerald moss laden rocks and waterfalls trickling down to the road. It was just as majestic as any fairy tale setting.





I came into town and headed to Valdez Glacier Campground. It was a cheap $10/night so I got settled with my site and wandered around the campground. There was a beautiful waterfall close by and nesting bald eagles I could hear from my tent. They were nesting above one of the campsites that were blocked off to not disturb them.





I talked to the camp host about trails to the Glacier, and he offered to take me up there tomorrow since the trail was hard to find and follow. I asked if I should worry about bears and my bike overnight. He said the bears recently got into someone’s cooler and he couldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t be intrigued by a motorcycle with food in the cases. He let me borrow a blow horn just in case I had a problem.

It was good to be in the tent again, although sleeping was a bit difficult worrying about bears. Eventually I fell asleep. It was the first time sleeping in my tent in Alaska.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:18 PM   #261
mrbreeze
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This is an outstanding story! Anna, I admire your boldness and courage to take on such a challenge.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:09 PM   #262
old fart bob
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Do it now!

R&T and RoninMoto, If you are going to do a RTW, DO IT NOW! You want me to repeat that? DO IT NOW! Don't be like me. I got out of college in 1965 and thought about roaming around the world for a couple of years. I was brought up on the philosophy of getting a job, working hard, save your money and when you retire, then it's time to play. Only one problem with that thought. Now I'm retired. It's time to play. I have the money but my right knee is gone. I just got out of a total knee replacement surgery a couple of weeks ago and the idea of a long ride anywhere is totally out of the question. The rest of my body is in good condition but standing on the pegs floating over the bumps for extended time is only a dream. Ruff, all I can say is DO IT NOW. The back roads of the world are a magnet you should follow. If this sounds like the ramblings of a cynical old man, the answer is yes.
Yours truly, old fart Bob
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:25 PM   #263
dirtdreamer50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old fart bob View Post
R&T and RoninMoto, If you are going to do a RTW, DO IT NOW! You want me to repeat that? DO IT NOW! Don't be like me. I got out of college in 1965 and thought about roaming around the world for a couple of years. I was brought up on the philosophy of getting a job, working hard, save your money and when you retire, then it's time to play. Only one problem with that thought. Now I'm retired. It's time to play. I have the money but my right knee is gone. I just got out of a total knee replacement surgery a couple of weeks ago and the idea of a long ride anywhere is totally out of the question. The rest of my body is in good condition but standing on the pegs floating over the bumps for extended time is only a dream. Ruff, all I can say is DO IT NOW. The back roads of the world are a magnet you should follow. If this sounds like the ramblings of a cynical old man, the answer is yes.
Yours truly, old fart Bob
A few years younger, but I went the same direction. Make a career, make a family. Today, I can't even get my head around making such a trip as you, R&T. I am loving your write ups and can even feel your thoughts and emotions.

Enjoy while you can, and let us hear about it in your special literary way. tomp dd50
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:31 PM   #264
WhicheverAnyWayCan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old fart bob View Post
R&T and RoninMoto, If you are going to do a RTW, DO IT NOW! You want me to repeat that? DO IT NOW! Don't be like me. I got out of college in 1965 and thought about roaming around the world for a couple of years. I was brought up on the philosophy of getting a job, working hard, save your money and when you retire, then it's time to play. Only one problem with that thought. Now I'm retired. It's time to play. I have the money but my right knee is gone. I just got out of a total knee replacement surgery a couple of weeks ago and the idea of a long ride anywhere is totally out of the question. The rest of my body is in good condition but standing on the pegs floating over the bumps for extended time is only a dream. Ruff, all I can say is DO IT NOW. The back roads of the world are a magnet you should follow. If this sounds like the ramblings of a cynical old man, the answer is yes.
Yours truly, old fart Bob
Old Fart Bob,

You are so wrong! WRONG!!

Where there is a will, there is a way!! I had a friend who have back issue and was not able to ride 2 wheels bike but he was able to ride a sidecar bike so he purchased the BMW and added sidecar with it.. then his wife ride with him up to Alaska, Newfondland, and etc. They had good memories.. I don't see why not you do the same?? At least I am trying to encourage you!!

Why not consider this URAL Bike
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:09 PM   #265
Rambler550
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Anna, fantastic! Your RR is cool in so many ways. First, the inspirational story about your Brother. Second, the fact your riding an old Japanese bike. I'm currently riding an 82 Honda Silverwing and an old 75 XL250. Your writing and pictures have been very entertaining. Your comments on Alaska remind me of my own impressions when I first moved there. Nice work and hats off to you for taking this adventure.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:03 AM   #266
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Thanks for the tip, drdubb...I will definitely do that

Wow, another installment of the journey...Woo Hoo!

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Interloper

If you've not done so, check out the möbius thread. The riders are a couple on New Yorkers and they have an annual adv party.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:29 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by old fart bob View Post
R&T and RoninMoto, If you are going to do a RTW, DO IT NOW!
Uhmmmm......Look here. Noah is the one that convinced Anna to write her RR up and post it here.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:37 AM   #268
RoninMoto
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Uhmmmm......Look here. Noah is the one that convinced Anna to write her RR up and post it here.
She was always going too.. I just gave some encouragement.
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RTW Ride Report --> http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=781893
Blog ------------------> http://rtwwithnoah.blogspot.com/
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:56 AM   #269
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Ahh, potholes and trophy fenders!
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:31 AM   #270
rico2072
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Found your RR about 3 days ago, still reading it when I have time, but so far.....LUBBING IT! LOL
Good writing, but I which you would have taken a camera, there are some pictures I would have loved to see in bigger better detail. I'm planning a trip to the SouthWest in my R1 this year and in a couple years one to Alaska on my KLR. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
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