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Old 09-25-2013, 08:15 AM   #31
jwolff OP
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco
Oddometer: 32
Day 17: Motorcycle the Alaska Marine Highway

Originally posted here.


Haines Alaska

A new day, a new adventure! We pack up, head into town, and wait for the Ferry. Day 17. Lets rock and roll!

Daily report:

Total distance traveled: ~24 miles

The Route:

Day 17 - Alaska In 3 Weeks

Click to view in Google Maps.

We woke up around 10:00 PST. We ate some breakfast and gradually took the campsite down. We would have a whole day of waiting ahead of us so there was no rush.

Once camp had been dismantled, we shot back into town. We decided to peruse the grocery store and purchase any last minute items to get us through the ferry ride. I ended up buying (most importantly) a microwaveable Pyrex dish to cook the canned soup we had acquired along our trip. (I ended up making several trips to the store that day so I'll leave the silly details out)

Gregg and I also spent the morning touring the town and all the little shops. We both wanted to get some nice things to give to Robin and Sarah on our return. One could definitely spend a bunch of dough on nick nacks but we both ended up finding some moderately priced stuff that didn't break the bank.

Once we got bored of town we decided to head back toward the ferry terminal. Instead of stopping though we kept going. We actually continued across a bridge, down the street until the road stopped and then we turned around. ( dead end roads are not so much fun for us motorcyclists ). We did find a comical sign that was worthy of a picture just past the bridge:

Old Man at Play Sign

Watch out for the old man at play.

We arrived at the bridge and decided to pull off. Only moments after stopping a bald eagle soared above us and perched at the top of the adjacent tree! Gregg hastily set up his camera and long-range lens.

Bald Eagle Haines Alaska

Bald Eagle Haines Alaska

Bald Eagle Haines Alaska

It turns out that if you want to see a bald eagle this is where you need to go. We proceeded to see several more (different) bald eagles float around, land, and squawk. Their call seemed to be halfway between a seagull and a crow. Weird.

We spent much of our time here by the bridge. There was wild life everywhere! We even watched a man and his wife fish humpies from the river.

Fishing by the Bridge of the Lutak Inlet Haines Alaska

And then I saw them. There they were pouncing around in the water. It was a bear cub and its mother foraging for food!

Grizzly Bears Feeding in the Lutak Inlet Haines Alaska

Gregg, at first, got some far off shots but we knew we had to get closer. There was a state campground near by so we rode over there to get a better vantage point.

Grizzly Bears Feeding in the Lutak Inlet Haines Alaska

Grizzly Bears Feeding in the Lutak Inlet Haines Alaska

Grizzly Bears Feeding in the Lutak Inlet Haines Alaska

As you can see Gregg got pretty darn close to those bears. The bears started shifting up towards the road to the point where Gregg was uncomfortable enough to relocate (down the road). We motored back to the other side of the bridge to hang out. It was fun to watch the bears displace the fishermen as they cast out along the riverbank. It was cool to see live bears in action in an uncontrolled setting (since we had been looking for them all trip long!!).

We futzed around some more and then headed back into town to get some cell phone coverage. It was time to make some phone calls and update our families. We did take some more pictures though:

Beat Up But Not Defeated! Motorcycle Alaska 2013

Motorcycling From Downtown Haines Alaska

Parked Motorcycles Overlooking Haines Alaska

It felt good to check off some of the remaining boxes we had from our Alaska todo list. All that was left was to get on the darn ferry and back to San Francisco in one piece.

Finally, after all the phone calls were made we rode back to the ferry terminal and got in line. We happened to meet up with another Advrider inmate, Steve, and struck up a conversation. He had been riding around since June!(!!!) He was sporting a 2012 1200GS and hiked up all the way from LA. He aptly named his motorcycle Miss Adventure and even had a decal made and stuck it on the windshield. You can see it in the picture below:

Motorcycle Line for the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry

As we chatted with Steve, Gregg and I proceeded to make our final penny stove dinner in the parking lot. Pasta and sauce. It would be nice to have real food again soon..

The boat soon arrived and we started organizing our things. We ended up making a checklist of all the things we needed to bring up. (not really necessary. See below.)

Tips: Here's what we didn't know about the ferry system and I hope to enlighten anyone that has any questions about their processes:
  • It's a crap shoot whether you will be put on the boat first or last. It's really up to the crew. For us, we were some of the first vehicles on once they had loaded some trailers.
  • The moment they start loading cars you can ask the attendant at the end of the ramp if you can board. I had no problem here just make sure you have your ticket!
  • Because Haines is the second stop you shouldn't be too worried about getting a spot on the solarium or on the deck if you're camping. We had no problems.
  • Park and tape your tents as close to the "No Tent Area" as possible. The open deck gets windy and if you don't tape your tent down good enough it will shift or even fly off!
  • With that said make sure you bring a whole roll of duct tape. You will use the whole thing. (we shared. if you are a grumpy guss and don't like sharing you should have plenty left over)
  • If you want to get off and ride anywhere during the layovers you need to purchase separate tickets otherwise you get stuck in the bowels of the boat not to move until Bellingham.
  • Once your on the boat, you have plenty of time to bring stuff upstairs. There is no reason to freak out and rush.
  • Ratchet straps are a must. They have some but not nearly enough if there are more than 2 bikes. We are glad we brought our own.
  • Any flamable gas/liquid must be stored in the paint locker for the duration of the trip.

Tents Taped to the Deck of the M/V Columbia - Alaska Marine Highway

Tip: I'm particularly sensitive to diesel exhaust. (even after working around ambulances and fire trucks for a good portion of my life) If you are too you may want to consider sleeping inside as the exhaust blows down across the top deck. The M/V Columbia will be undergoing some surgery over the winter (she's getting new engines) which will help with this issue in the future. But be warned!

After a whirl of activity we were finally on the top deck under the solarium. I chose to stay under the solarium while Gregg decided to stay in the tent. We pulled out some beers (shhh not usually allowed) and drank to the next part of our journey.

M/V Columbia Lit Up in Haines Alaska

jwolff screwed with this post 12-29-2013 at 06:54 PM
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:48 AM   #32
jwolff OP
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco
Oddometer: 32
Day 18: Alaska Marine Highway Day 1

Originally posted here.


Oh, that's where we are!

The boat was underway and all we could do at this point was wait. We may have been stuck but we managed to make the most out of our time. More about what we did after the break..

Daily report:

Total distance traveled: ~381 miles

The Route:

Day 1 Route -- Alaska Marine Highway

I woke up to this:

Good morning solarium! -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Need I say more?

It was another beautiful day. Gregg and Steve somehow managed to survive the crazy winds and the torrents of rain that came down the night before. As you can see below, this is where we initially taped everything down. (Not exactly the most optimal tent location) We were bummed about missing Juneau during the night but there's always next time!

Original tent location on the M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

The boat had stopped in Juneau overnight. Some people got on and some people got off. The solarium looked stuffed with fellow passengers at this point. It was a good thing we claimed our spots when we did!

Anyway, it was time for breakfast, exploring and some book reading. After breakfast I explored all the decks. During my mini explorations I had discovered the deck below ours also was open and had tent camping. (seemed a bit more shielded from the wind) We probably could have set up there but our commitment to the upper deck was strong. (sounds like a sunk cost to me.) After the brief tour (the boat is only so big) I went and found Gregg editing photos.

Gregg editing photos -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

After pestering him for a while I went back to read some more.

I could repeat these steps a couple more times but I will spare you. (The boat wasn't that interesting.)

The biggest takeaway from this portion of this trip was that we were smack dab in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness on a boat. We couldn't really ask for anything more at that point! As we floated along Gregg and I managed some more pictures:

Scenery off the stern of the M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Gregg aft on the upper deck of the M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Before lunch Steve had come by and asked about relocating the tents a bit closer to the solarium. I thought it was a good idea and so did Gregg. So, after lunch, we moved the tents up against the yellow line painted on the floor indicating the "No Tent Zone." The theory was that it would help with the wind. (And after another 2.5 more days on the boat it did seem to help.)

No Tent Area -- M/V Columbia -- Alaska Marine Highway

Relocating our tents closer to the solarium -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

By 2:45 PST we had a stop over in Sitka. It appeared that nothing was around and I assumed we were far away from town. There were some shuttles that cost $1 but the layover was not long enough to really see or do anything. So we stuck it out on the boat as we sat tethered to the dock. About 2 hours and 20 minutes later we heard the now familiar message over the loud speaker:

"All visitors ashore. All visitors ashore. This vessel is departing shortly."

Soon enough all the lines were cast and we were on our way again. Only four more stops until Bellingham!

Here are some more pictures that we took once the boat got moving again:

Upper deck Gregg and his tent. -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

View within the solarium -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Off the stern of the M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Original tent location on the M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Life ring -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

For good measure we additionally got a group picture with Steve. Turned out he was a cool guy with lots of stories to share. It was great to have such company and it made the trip that much more awesome.

Steve Gregg and Jared -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Towards the end of the day we migrated back to the upper deck and took some pictures of the sunset through the clouds.

Sunset through the clouds -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Sunset through the clouds -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Sunset through the clouds -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

As we were taking pictures of the sunset, I was taking some pictures of myself with my phone. Gregg chimes in "You know, I can take those for you. You're like a 14 year old girl." Reluctantly I let him take a couple snaps with the SLR and I did the same for him. The pictures came out awesome:

Jared and the sunset through the clouds -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Gregg and the sunset through the clouds -- M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

As you can tell from the picture below we were ready for the night. Our secret beer stash was chilling and we had nowhere to be but on that boat looking out at the beautiful scenery.

Our super secret beer stash.

Good thing we kept it a secret.

No Alcohol in Solarium. Whoops.

jwolff screwed with this post 12-29-2013 at 07:02 PM
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:42 PM   #33
jwolff OP
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco
Oddometer: 32
Day 19: AMH Day 2

Originally posted here.


Welcome to Ketchikan

Another day on the boat. The weather goes sour, we get soggy, and we get to visit the brothels of Ketchikan. Day 19, your time has come!

Daily report:

Total distance traveled: ~368 miles

The Route:

Day 19 - Alaska In 3 Weeks

Click to view in Google Maps.

We had stopped through Petersburg and Wrangell during the night. The layovers were short and we really didn't miss much. We put our bets on Ketchikan and hoped that there would be something interesting to do while we were there. As we inched closer to Ketchikan it began to get cloudier and more moist.

Tip: It rains an inordinate amount in Ketchikan. Be forewarned and be ready!

Once we were within sight of the town lots of people congregated on the top deck to watch us dock up. Just before we hit the dock a gentleman asked me for a favor. Turned out his name was Mike:

Mike asked, "Do you know what Duck Dynasty is?"

I replied, "Sure ya."

"Do you mind wearing a costume that looks like one of the guys from Duck Dynasty? I'm trying to convince my brother that one of the guys is on the boat."

We continued the conversation and I told him I could find him later to get the stuff. Sounded like something to do to me!

As we were docking Gregg got some pictures of the planes landing and taking off. The sea planes seemed to be landing and taking off every minute. Even more interesting was the fact that they were landing and taking off in the area of water between the cruise ship docks and the Alaska ferry docks. They were flying right above us!

Conair Flight Landing at Ketchikan Airport

Sea Plane Landing

As we stood there watching planes fly by and the boat dock I resolved to go downstairs and get my riding jacket. It was starting to rain and if we were walking it wouldn't be very fun without a rain gear of any kind. In retrospect I wish I wore my pants and boots. We got soaked.

I met Gregg and Steve by the end of the ramp and we walked into town. About 15 minutes down the road we found a Safeway and decided to waltz in and grab some food. Steve and Gregg acquired something a little more substantial while I ended up getting some juice and greek yogurt.

After lunch we decided to keep walking and return to Safeway on our way back to get food for the ferry and (secret) booze. We walked toward downtown and were impressed by the size of the cruise ships. Those things are massive!

Cruise Ships in Ketchikan Alaska

They definitely made the Columbia seem miniscule.

Even though we were getting rained on, we walked every hundred feet it seemed to take pictures. We even walked past a rain meter describing that Ketchikan gets, on average, 154 inches of rain each year. We dodged into shops when we could to get out of the rain and dry off a bit. We also came across some people fishing at the small road bridge looking over the marina. The water was literally jumping with fish and those fishermen (and women) were catching them left and right. Crazy!

One of my favorite parts about Ketchikan though was the firehouse. They had a dedicated touristy museum housing an old restored engine and even a fire pole. (which, i'm doubtful, is used for any good purpose these days) We all took some pictures. Looks like they've kept it in good shape!

Restored Engine - Ketchikan Fire Department, Alaska

Restored Engine - Ketchikan Fire Department, Alaska

Restored Engine - Ketchikan Fire Department, Alaska

We walked all the way down Stedman to the IGA on the other side of town only to decide to walk back. We also had missed the walking portion of the famous Creek Street so it gave us all the more reason to turn around.

Sopping and a little cold we made our way over to Creek Street. This part of town was known to be the place to party back in prohibition times. They had "served" the community until the late 1950's when they finally got driven out of town by the law. The most famous of the houses was Dolly's house which we had a chance to walk by while taking our little self guided tour. Now, in modern times, all these houses have been converted into tourist traps. We walked in to a couple of the shops. There was even a shop selling all kinds of meats and fish where Steve ended up getting some reindeer sausage.

We said goodbye to Creek Street and headed back. We stopped in a few more places. Most interestingly, we stopped into some of the fur places. Gregg wanted a bear pelt to wear at work. Turns out bear pelts are quite expensive. I guess you just have to hunt your own..

We also found a comical wood carving of a bear. Gregg decided to pose with it.

Googly Eyes Bear

Finally we got back to the Safeway where we purchased our supplies. The rain had died down by this point so the walk back to the boat was at least dry. As we walked back onto the boat I took a picture of the grand entrance.

Embarking for Bellingham - M/V Columbia Alaska Marine Highway

Soon enough we set course for Bellingham. As we floated along I got one final shot of Ketchikan.

Ketchikan Alaska

See you later you old soppy mess.

I ended up meeting Mike later to grab the costume. The plan was to walk around the boat long enough for his brother to notice and to get a few chuckles from our fellow passengers and crew.

Lights, camera, action! My future acting career awaits on Day 20..

jwolff screwed with this post 12-29-2013 at 07:06 PM
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:55 PM   #34
jwolff OP
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco
Oddometer: 32
Day 20: AMH Day 3

Originally posted here.


Mountain and water views -- Alaska Marine Highway

When life gives you Alaskan ferries, take pictures.

More about day 20 right below!

Daily report:

Total distance traveled: ~480 miles

The Route:

Day 3 Route -- Alaska Marine Highway

Since I neglected to give a tour of the ship/boat/vessel lets do that now:

Lets start at the cafe. This is where we spent most of our time convening with each other. It was a good place to plug in and edit photos as well:

Gregg editing photos in the cafe. -- Alaska Marine Highway

If you took a right out of the cafe you would see something like this:

Deck 6 port side of the M/V Columbia -- Alaska Marine Highway

Forward of the cafe was one of the observation lounges. You could chill, read a book, and watch the wildlife pass you by. A good place if you don't want to get cold.

Here's an example of one of the seats. Movie theater quality.

Observation Area -- Alaska Marine Highway

To top it all off you could look forward through the windows to see the bow and anything that lay beyond. It's an excellent place to chill and knit some sweaters if I do say so myself.

And that my friends is the brief tour of my life for those days on the ferry. There were other things like the restaurant, the showers/laundry machines and of course the ever important outdoor areas but if you choose to take the ferry these places will become familiar to you as well. (I can't give all of it away!)

Anyway it's time to start the day. I resolved to make it my mission to walk around in the costume Mike had given me the night before.

Duck Dynasty -- Alaska Marine Highway

I made my way down to one of the lesser used bathrooms and suited up. I. Was. Ready. As I emerged from seclusion I managed a few chuckles and comments from several passengers. Interestingly enough as I was walking the hall by the cafe, Gregg and Steve were talking how I was still asleep. (A+ for timing on my part.) Most importantly though I got Mike's brother all riled up. He seemed somewhat convinced that it was fake; nevertheless he was excited. He was even postulating who I could have been. "Is he a crew member!?"

I walked down back into the labyrinth of the boat to change back. Once I got back to the top deck I then realized I had a problem: I didn't get any good pictures! (and neither did Mike) We would have to fix this later.

In the meantime we took lots of pictures and enjoyed the day. No unfavorable weather in sight.

M/V Columbia Bow -- Alaska Marine Highway

Gregg taking a picture. -- Alaska Marine Highway

Green mountains -- Alaska Marine Highway

I even got a picture of Gregg taking pictures of beluga whales:

Gregg getting a picture. -- Alaska Marine Highway

Beluga Whales -- Alaska Marine Highway

Beluga Whales -- Alaska Marine Highway

Beluga Whales -- Alaska Marine Highway

We also encountered several different groups of pacific white-sided dolphin. It was pretty amazing to watch them hop in and out of the water in droves. They were so fast though that we couldn't get any good pictures. It's a downright bummer I know.

One thing we missed out on was orcas. We didn't see any at all!

We got plenty more pictures of the scenery though:

Mountain views -- Alaska Marine Highway

Mountain views -- Alaska Marine Highway

Mountain and water views -- Alaska Marine Highway

Glaciers in the distance -- Alaska Marine Highway

Sunset off the stern of the M/V Columbia -- Alaska Marine Highway

Sunset off the stern of the M/V Columbia -- Alaska Marine Highway

Sunset off the stern of the M/V Columbia -- Alaska Marine Highway

We finally said goodbye to the beautiful waterscape as the sun went down. It was getter darker earlier and we knew that we would be back in Bellingham soon.

Late after dinner I made my last appearance as a member of the Duck Dynasty clan. This time though we got some pictures. I even got a picture with Mike!

Mike and Jared -- Duck Dynasty -- Alaska Marine Highway

I'm glad I was able to help Mike mess with his brother. After I gave him back the costume, he proclaimed he was going to keep the gag going for the remainder of their trip. Undoubtedly it will provide a few more laughs for them.

The day was done and the debate about our plans for the morning were still in the air. Do we ride all the way to SF? That's 900+ miles. (i.e. a loooooonnng day) Soon enough we would answer that question. Day 21 was just around the corner.

jwolff screwed with this post 12-29-2013 at 07:17 PM
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:35 PM   #35
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Great and also very informative report.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:53 AM   #36
Dan Diego
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Joined: Dec 2010
Location: San Diego, CA
Oddometer: 1,091
I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed this ride report. OK, I'll try:

The writing style, the humor, the photos...everything about this RR has been A1. Thanks for posting it.

(BTW: I'm a DD fan who appreciate the digs at the show's characters.)

Friggin' well done!
I have no interest in living a balanced life. I want a life of adventure.
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Old 09-29-2013, 12:39 PM   #37
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Joined: Jul 2012
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You got further than I did in Kennecott, Alaska Like you I got to the end of the main road, found some dirt and thought "Ride up to a glacier on a dirt path? Hell yea!" I got to the little footbridge and crossed, but maybe 200 yards from there I came around a corner to find a tour guide (a very very hot tour guide i might add ) and a couple she was showing around- the tour guide gave me a "And just what the hell do you think youre doing?" look. I stopped idling for about 3 seconds, killed the motor and said "Uh oh, im guessing im not supposed to be here huh?" "No youre not. You need to turn around sir." I apologized like 3 times as I turned the bike around. There is no signs that I saw prohibiting motorized vehicles, and I specifically looked. I specifically mentioned that I didnt see any signs like that and wanted to make sure I didnt become a reason motorcyclists werent allowed past McCarthy. Good to see were still free to terrorize the place

I got lucky with the footbridge and didnt crash, but I do seem to recall it being trickier on the way back out then in.. Youve seen some pretty cool stuff and described it well in this report. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:02 PM   #38
jwolff OP
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco
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They really need to put some signs up or something. Glad we're not the only ones that had issues with that path.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:04 PM   #39
jwolff OP
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco
Oddometer: 32
Day 21: Almost Iron Butts

Originally posted here.


M/V Columbia Docked In Bellingham -- Alaska Marine Highway

Everybody out! That's an order!

Day 21 and our (almost) iron butt ride awaits. Lets do this thing!

Daily report:

Water distance traveled: ~150 miles

Land distance traveled: 944.7 miles

Total distance traveled: ~1094.7 miles

The Route:

Day 21 - Alaska In 3 Weeks

Click to view in Google Maps.

We arrived in Bellingham around 08:00 PST. During the hour before we packed up our gear and got it ready to be brought down to the car deck. (Turned out that Gregg had everything packed before I was even awake. Kudos to him!)

Interestingly the way they dock the boat when it reaches the dock is stern in. As you can tell from the above picture everyone disembarked out the stern entrance. There was only one problem, we were in the front of the line.

Once we were tied up I wasted no time getting down to the car deck. Knowing how long it takes to put gear on and pack up the bikes it was going to be a while before we could even move the bikes. We removed the straps from their purchase points and I ran down to the paint locker to get our flammable liquids. Once everything was in order I fired up the bike for the first time in 4 days. (That's a good sign!)

I rode the bike off the boat and to the side while we tidied up our gear. Gregg and I worked out a game plan. It sounded more and more like we were going to go the full 900+ miles to San Francisco.

As soon as we were ready, we said goodbye to Steve and got rolling down the road. We stopped at the Arco to top up and get air. It turns out though that air is not free in Washington. Frustrated, we headed out of the Arco and up to the Shell station where they did have "free" air. Though not required they did have a donation box for the local youth symphony orchestra so I dropped a dollar in the box. (Used to be in one myself.) I filled up my front tire as Gregg checked his.

While we were there we talked to the guys in the shop. One of the guys proclaimed looking at my side boxes, "Are those fish tanks!?" I proceeded to open one to show that they were just luggage. The same guy then informed us about how the state police was giving out tickets for even a few miles per hour over the speed limit. We made a mental note to be careful as we started gearing back up. We also managed to get some more water for our water jugs out of their sink. (People are just so nice up in the North West.)

Finally, we were ready to go. It was about 09:00 PST by the time we got rolling. It was going to be a demanding day.

We rode down I5 staying with the traffic, never going much faster than anyone else. The last thing we needed were tickets. At around 12:00 we made our first stop in Toledo at the Chevron off the highway. We fueled up and also grabbed some, you guessed it, Subway. We ate half of our foot longs and got back on the super slab.

Our goal was at least to make it past 200 miles on each fill up. It would make our stops more efficient rather than stopping every 100 miles.

Tip: Going for the long haul? Every stop you make eats up time on the road and also precious daylight. Always have everything you want to do planned out before stopping.

Our next stop was in Cottage Grove Oregon. We stopped off the highway around 15:51 at the Chevron. Ate the other half of our sandwiches again got back on the road. Thanks to me we ended up riding around in a big circle trying to get back to the highway. I'm surprised Gregg didn't throw something at me as we attempted to navigate back to the onramp. (Thanks buddy.)

Tip: Whenever passing though Oregon remember that it is illegal to pump your own gas (sorta). They have attendants that will come around and pump gas for cars. For motorcycles they will take your credit card and hand you the pump; the rest is up to you.

As we rode though Oregon, we got to enjoy what the country looked like. It seems like the forest fires were under control and visibility was great. (unlike our trip up!) After hours of riding we finally made it to the California border. We did a celebratory turn signal salute (alternating between left and right blinkers fast) and rode on into California.

We stopped for the third time in Yreka CA for more gas and a bathroom break. It was about 19:00 by the time we got off the bikes. We were losing daylight and it wasn't going to be bright much longer. (Joy..) We knew though that if we could get out of the twisty portions of I5 in upper California we would be set. Why? The reason is that I5, once you leave the mount Shasta area, gets straight and flat. Got to love the central valley sometimes.

We made our final stop together in Anderson CA around 20:41. We had only gone 113 miles but it was long enough so we could get home without stopping anymore. We also had mild hope there was some good food nearby but our hopes were dashed. We had no such luck. We filled up, ate a few snacks and hit the tarmac.

As we got closer I started counting down the minutes and miles until we were home. We finally entered the bay area around 23:00. We were thrilled to be back and also overwhelmed by the amount of traffic that was on the road. There is a night and day difference between the roads in Alaska and the roads in California.

As we inched closer it felt like San Francisco was in our grasp. When you get that feeling you know that something will go wrong. We were about 30 miles away from the bridge when our fuel lights came on. We were around 187 miles in and started worrying if we could make it. I glanced down at those gradually ticking numbers on my dash hoping they would magically reverse. Worst case was that we would have to stop in the middle of the bay bridge to fuel up. No biggie...

There was no stopping us though. Pressing on we made it across the bridge with no problem and found ourselves, for the first time in three weeks, parting ways. We beeped at each other as Gregg took the exit towards his place.

Soon enough I found myself taking my exit too. I stopped to fill up one last time around 00:05 the next day. We had traveled about 217 miles that last stretch using about 4.3 gallons. We still had more range! (Though I wouldn't want to push it any further especially at the higher speeds.)

After fueling, devoid of fatigue, I hastily put on my helmet and gloves. Fifteen hours of riding all for this moment: It was time to go home.

jwolff screwed with this post 12-29-2013 at 07:19 PM
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:05 PM   #40
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco
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Thanks for all the comments guys! You made all this worth writing.

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Old 10-19-2013, 01:25 PM   #41
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Thanks for posting this Jared!
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Old 11-02-2013, 12:09 PM   #42
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Thanks for sharing. Nice RR!
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:49 PM   #43
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Joined: Jan 2012
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You're very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it!
Motorcycle Adventures
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:04 PM   #44
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Location: Canaduh
Oddometer: 24
Great report! You guys seems to get along well.

Hope to do this in the next year or two! Love the mountains and wildlife
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:34 PM   #45
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1200gsceej's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: San Francisco Peninsula
Oddometer: 1,281
Good Show!

Jared, Gregg,
I live 'down the road' from you all and have been thinking (and semi-planning) such a trip for a number of years. But other life events (e.g. buddy unavailable, wedding, CO river rafting, etc) got in the way. I am still hopeful.
Maybe I could meet one or both of you sometime, buy you some beer, pizza or whatever (subway... ?) and chat about the trip. Send me a PM if that might appeal to you.

Two specific questions:
1. If you had more time would you still have taken the ferry or ridden back (say, on the AlCan)?
2. Ignoring the IBA-ride home, most of your daily mileage was still high by my standards. Is that your normal riding mode? Or what was required for your time frame? Or is it just that there is so much light/time up there and the space is so large that you can just "ride on forever"?

Thanks for the wonderful tale!
My bike: Yellow '05 1200GS - on the Spotwalla ADV location page as CJ3.
My solo trips: 2014 Natl Park triangle, SF-Colorado-SF 2011 and 2013, SF-LA loop, Pinnacles and Carmel Valley loop
With Ol'Badger:
And remember: Beauty is in the behind of the holder.
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