2 Texans to Alaska (and back)...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jglow, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,971
    Location:
    Fly over zone
    Took me a few visits, but I am finally caught up.
    This is a great Alaska trip.. (I'm hoping for 2012)
    Also, the jumping stuff can be learned.. The happy to spend three weeks on a bike trip (camping) to Alaska and back, has to come from within.. You sir, are a very lucky guy..

    Jeff
  2. THogland

    THogland Back in Alaska!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    70
    Location:
    Wasilla-ish, Alaska
    Actually, not quite true. If you get some good, high-Deet stuff, it's very effective. About 90% of the mosquitoes don't like it and stay away, the other 10% will eat it instead of biting you, which gives you time to hit them with the bottle :lol3
  3. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    Ferry Ride South - Haines, AK to Bellingham, WA


    Days 22-26 - June 21- 25, 2010

    Today is the day that we board the The Alaska Marine Highway Ferry and head South for 4 days. We basically had a whole extra day to kill here in Haines because we had wanted a travel time buffer in case something went wrong and we were delayed while making our way to Haines (that way we wouldn't miss the boat). Of course we had no issues, so we had a bunch of time to waste. We started the morning off with a Breakfast Bear-ritto and biscuits & gravy for breakfast at the local bakery. The food was good, and it helped waste a bit of the morning. Afterwords we went back and loitered around our campsite, doing laundry, showering, and generally wearing out our welcome.

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    Then finally loaded up the bike and headed to the local grocery store.

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    *Note:
    :dg
    Grocery shopping while hungry is a dangerous thing. Grocery shopping while hungry with the knowledge that you are going to be on a boat for four (4) days is down right insane.:eek1 You have totally forgotten the fact that you are on a motorcycle that is already packed to the max with your current livelihood bungeed to all horizontal surfaces. Storage and transportation is not an issue for you at the moment - you just really need to find the aerosol cheese. :evil The end result is a grocery bag full of way too much food for 2 people (considering the length of time you will be on the ship). But, this is not just any grocery bag full. No, it’s a full bag of one of those big eco-reusable bags because you are sort-of an eco-conscious hipster (if you disregard the fact that in your daily working life (coatings applications) you probably release more V.O.C. a day than you could make up for in a lifetime of using said eco-reusable bags). :norton

    The Result:


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    (this isn't counting all the food already stuffed in the side cases)

    We figured we better go ahead and get a head start on eating some of this stuff, so we made a little picnic overlooking the water, while poaching some wi-fi.

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    After the wi-fi signal ran out, we wandered over to the ferry terminal place a mere 5.5 hours early. To our surprise, we weren't the only folks there way too early!

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    We met Brad on his GS from Maryland who rode up and back solo - I don't know why though, he wasn't that hard to get along with :evil. :freaky

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    And then there was John & Ruth Ann, and Harley guy & Son (we didn’t actually get these guys names, and after a certain length of time of talking to these people, it kind of becomes awkward to ask their names - sorry).

    It was however nice to have that instant conversation piece, that similar link that we all shared. No, not the fact that we were humans, or Americans, or anything like that. It was the simple fact that we were all on two wheels. We all suffered through the same shitty weather, similar roads, and traveled similar distances. At that point it doesn't really matter if you are a squid, pirate, power ranger, or whatever - you can rest easily while bull-shitting with each other. Which we did, for a great length of time until the ferry finally arrived...

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    ...and we were allowed to board.

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    One of the first Ride Reports I ever read on advrider was Sly's 6 month trip around the US and up to Alaska on his Oldwing. On the return leg of his Alaska trip he took a ferry, and I remember that he set his tent up on the deck of the boat. I thought that was so cool, and couldn't wait to get to do that myself. First thing we did when we got on the boat was to set-up our tent, and securely duct tape it to the deck.

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    I was the only one setting up a tent on the solarium deck, and as I watched everyone else scurry to claim their plastic paradise beach chair, I couldn't help think to myself how nice it was gonna be in my tent, not having to listen to all the folks snoring and whatnot.

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    We departed Haines.

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    and began our 4 days at sea.

    At some point during the first evening it started to rain, and continued to rain for the remainder of our trip South. I think this had a whole lot to do on my overall opinion of the Ferry Ride. We spent a lot of time just killing time, bored out of our minds because there was nothing to look at outside -- just low hanging clouds that blocked everything.

    At least we had the food to entertain us:

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    And our new friend Brad brought some refreshments as well :freaky, which we partook of discreetly in our paper cups.

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    You can see behind me, the plastic beach chair paradise that I mentioned earlier. Well after 2 days of rain, (and the fact that the metal boat deck was concave and held water directly under my tent), the floor of my tent eventually soaked through and we had to flea our tent and hang among the masses in the lawn chairs.

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    I guess I know why I was the only one setting up a tent on the deck :lol3.

    We got to see quite a performance from a group of Humpback whales. We watched off the rear of the boat as they were jumping out of the water and blowing water out of their blowhole thingy's. It was a bit surreal to be seeing that. Apparently I was so mesmerized by it that I neglected to get my camera until we had moved on a good bit. By the time I got the camera out and on, this is what I ended up with:

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    One flipping flipper, that's it. I have seen better pictures of a Sasquatch :baldy.

    The remainder of the days on the boat were spent about the same way. We would eat a lot of junk, Nikki would read, and Brad and I would do some people watching and make sarcastic, somewhat cynical comments :evil. Throw in a few ports that we stopped in, where we did silly tourist things...

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    and add some of the sites that we saw (when the weather allowed)....

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    and you have a pretty good snapshot of our ferry ride.



  4. Ivanhoe-2001

    Ivanhoe-2001 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    Clinton, MS
    You were bored on the ferry. Was hoping that would be a highlight. My trip on the ferry begins at Haines and ends at Prince Rupert. Tell me about the tie downs, how many, which size did you use? Did you put the bike on the center stand? Great report, I love to see the two of you together. Leave July 1 2011 for Anchorage. My wife is flying in then out again. Keep up the report, I look forward to it everyday. ic
  5. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    Believe me, we were expecting the ferry trip to be awesome as well. In hindsight, there were several factors that contributed to it being a bit of a let down...

    1. Weather (as I mentioned earlier) - it seriously rained 80% of the time for the 4 days we were on the boat.

    2. We had also been on the road and on our own schedule for several weeks. I think it was quite a shock to suddenly be confined to one area with no options.

    3. Duration - we took one of the longer Ferry rides. I think 2 days would have been the ideal length of time.

    Overall I wouldn't recommend against taking the ferry. Heck, it's the only was to see, and access, a lot of those areas. We did get to see Humpbacks and Orcas, and made some new friends while aboard. For us, it was just bad luck with the weather really. It was nice to be off the bike for those days to rest, but by the end of it we were ready to ride! :ricky


    Jordan
  6. soph9

    soph9 Would Love to ride ALL the TIME

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,630
    Location:
    Stony Brook. NY
    we plan on taking the Skagway ferry to Prince Rupert...2.5 days I believe....I figured after 2 days or so I would see enough of the inside passage and be ready to ride home to Maple Ridge, BC....looking forward to it...and thanks for your great RR.
  7. 1200gsceej

    1200gsceej Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
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    1,440
    Location:
    San Francisco Peninsula
    Lives take different turns for different people.
    After my wife and I got married, and before we 'settled down', we flew to Germany, bought a VW camper van, and lived it in for the next 18 months - 9 in Europe and 9 back in the States. A part of my life that I'll never regret. Then we had kids; other folks have made appropriate comments about that. Though that did not lock us in our house, for the next 20 years my motorcycling dropped to maybe 5% of what it had been before. Your focus changes. On the other hand, some people strap their kids on their backs and backpack the world. It is all your own personal journey - one that (if things are as they appear) we only get to do once. So enjoy yours.
    -ceej

  8. GoMotor

    GoMotor Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    67
    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=4 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=4 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>Originally Posted by presto88 [​IMG]
    Jordan - thanks again for this great report!

    You mention several times about the mosquitoes being a bit of a problem. Did you use any type of repellent? Any details would be appreciated.

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    I have found that any repellent with DEET in it works great. While up there on my KLR I kept a small bottle of 98% DEET in my tank bag. I would just squirt a few shots on my hands and wipe it on my forehead, shoulders, sides and legs and the mosquitoes would never come closer than 12 to 18 inches. You can use a big bottle of 10% DEET or a small bottle of 98% DEET. It does not matter what the brand is. It is the DEET in the bottle that does the trick.
  9. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    Bellingham, WA to Kalaloch, WA


    Day 27 - June 26, 2010
    Mileage Today: 245
    Total Trip Mileage: 7,061


    We were up with the sun, anxious to get off of the boat.

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    We got into port, and ready to unload by about 7:30am or so. The off loading was a pretty hectic time. They don't let you down to the parking area until about 10 mins. before they start the off load. Not a problem if you are in a car and you can just throw your stuff in the back, but remember, we are defying the laws of physics with how we have attached things to our bikes - this stuff takes time.:hmmmmm

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    (Notice the aura that surrounds Brad. :norton)

    Shortly after this pic, they started offloading from our line. There was some sort of issue where Brad apparently (allegedly) tried to run over one of the traffic attendants :lol3. I think that GS is ready to run! Anyhow, some choice words and suggestions were exchanged between the two, and it seemed to be the proper ending for our time on the boat.

    We stopped for gas, and waived good-bye to our new friends. Then it was back on the road. :ricky:ricky:ricky:ricky

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    What are all the strange things on the road? :eek1 It had been quite some time since we had experienced more than one car pass us within 5 miles.

    We are headed out to the Olympic National Park, but to get there, we have to get on another ferry :baldy to cross some body of water, and dump us off in Port Townsend.

    [​IMG](Jeez, I am starting to look a bit frazzled)

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    Back on the road, heading West.

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    This was the first time either of us had been up to this area, and it did not disappoint!

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    The sun had come out, and it was turning into a fantastic day.

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    I was demonstrating the current state of my equilibrium, which had been more than slightly disturbed from be a float at sea...

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    And a little diversion to see something that I didn't even know existed in the area:

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    A rainforest? Really? I thought you need an equator for that, or something... :dunno

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    Oh yeah, forgot to mention the phobia of the creepy/crawlys :norton.

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    Big trees:

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    And lazy creeks:

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    Heading back out to find our camp tonight...

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    We didn’t make very many reservations on this trip at campgrounds, as we didn’t want to feel like we “had” to make to a certain point on a certain day. However, we knew we would be in Washington today because of the ferry, and we knew we could easily make the miles. Plus the fact that we wanted ocean side camping on a Friday night in the summer made it pretty necessary to have a site reserved.

    Good thing…


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    We setup camp.

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    I flame-seared (burned) our sausage for dinner.

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    And we had a race out to touch the Pacific Ocean.

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    Jordan
  10. RUOK

    RUOK no, no I guess not

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    320
    Location:
    Salem OR
    You gave Nikki a hard time about jumping, but it looks like she can levitate just fine :lol3
    Love your pics of the road from Haines Junction to Haines, it really is a beautiful stretch of road, I was so fixed on getting to the ferry on time I didn't get any good pics. Interesting everybody has different views of the ferry ride, I enjoyed not slogging the rain for a couple days and getting warm again.
  11. No False Enthusiasm

    No False Enthusiasm a quiet adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,114
    Location:
    Small Town, Texas
    One word of advice:

    1. Make two copies of the photo of the two of you running to the Pacific.

    2. Frame each, and exchange them with each other.

    3. 35 years from now, you will understand...
  12. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,119
    Location:
    Over the rear wheel
    Agreed. After numerous ferry trips between Haines and Prince Rupert, in '03 I decided to check out the ride all the way to Bellingham. Shortly after passing Prince Rupert I realized that I was ready to get back on the road, and was tired of riding the ferry at its blistering 16 knot pace. The Inside Passage down through the islands off the B.C. coast is beautiful in sunny weather, but so is the scenery along the Skeena River and down through the Thompson and Fraser canyons.
  13. cleanair

    cleanair Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    just past resume speed
    Enjoying the RR. Great pic's.
    Wish I could do it someday.
  14. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    Kalaloch, WA to Cascade Locks, OR


    Day 27 - June 26, 2010
    Mileage Today: 391
    Total Trip Mileage: 7,452



    We had camped at Kalaloch Campground in the Olympic National Park last night. I remember it being fairly difficult to sleep last night do to the rocking/swaying sensation I was feeling. I guess this was left over from the 4 day ferry ride, but I thought after a full day back on dry land it would have been gone. Maybe listening to the waves crash last night didn't help?

    It was a cloudy start this morning, which seems in line with coastal weather.

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    But as soon as we head inland a bit, the weather clears up nicely.

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    Our first destination looms on the horizon...

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    (Mt. St. Helens)

    The 50 mile ride from the interstate into Mt. St. Helens Park is pretty gnarly. You climb up 4,000 feet in elevation on a twisty mountain road, and it isn't long before you could start to see the remnants from the eruption in 1980.

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    After the eruption, the above pictured river valley was filled in with debris from the collapsed peak to a depth of 600ft in some areas, totally burying the river. Over the past 30 years the river has started to cut a new path.


    We reach the official entrance into the Park...

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    And we continued up to the observatory. The view of Mt. St. Helens from here is a familiar one - the huge crater left from the eruption.

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    After the eruption Mt. St. Helens had lost 1,300 feet in elevation.

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    Downed trees that were within the blast zone of the eruption still lay blown down in the direction of the blast:


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    It was a bit surreal being in that close of proximity to something that is capable of causing so much destruction. Not to mention this thing was also actively building lava domes.

    If you have read this report from the beginning, you may remember that on the first stop of the first day of our trip, I dropped the bike in the parking lot of the Fried Pies place off of I-35 in Oklahoma. I assumed that was going to be pretty indicative of how the trip was going to be -- a daily ritual if you will. Anyhow, to my surprise, I hadn't dropped the bike since then, although I had plenty of close calls :deal. Well, the streak ended today.

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    I asked the people next to us that were picnicking in their car if they would be so kind as to take a photo of us and capture this glorious moment. :lol3 Nikki, however, didn't find this situation as amusing as I did. :ddog Apparently I was laughing too hard when the bike fell over to notice the fact the the Pannier had a strangle hold on her ankle. :dunno I was treated to the silent treatment on the way back down into town, but after the anger and pain went away, she agreed that the photo was a necessity, and we have a good laugh when we see it now. :wink:

    We continued heading South, as we crossed in to Oregon.

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    (Pic was actually taken when we were leaving Oregon, but you get the point)

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    We ended up a bit East of Portland, right on the Oregon/Washington border at a campground in Cascade Locks, OR.

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    Under a canopy of tall trees.

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    In the morning we will continue our slightly inland route South toward Crater Lake, and then head back West to the Coast. You would think that after so many miles, and seeing such amazing sights, that we would be burnt out on this stuff. But the truth is, the scenery is all slightly different, and new, and amazing in it's own way that it keeps it very fresh. When Nikki and I talk about our favorite moments of the trip, a lot of them come from the next few days.



    Jordan
  15. Christian RA40XT

    Christian RA40XT Don't Panic!

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    120
    Location:
    Ruhrpott, Germany
    Impressive picture..especially these with the downed trees. :eek1
    Did your bike also fall down in the direction of the blast? :D
  16. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX

    :poser So maybe it wasn't my fault after all :rofl


    jordan
  17. WNDRLST

    WNDRLST Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    43
    Location:
    New Mexico
    awesome. every word of it.
  18. Wildbill650

    Wildbill650 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    Great ride report so far, i am enjoying it
  19. ShanMan

    ShanMan Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    21
    Location:
    Florlanta
    Fantastic ride report and you guys seem like awesome, awesome people. I hope my ride report is as good for my big cross country trip this summer. Cheers!
  20. BikerGeek99

    BikerGeek99 Horizon Chaser

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,366
    Location:
    Marysville, OH
    Still following along with ya, Jordan.

    :lurk

    And I'm with ya - Sly's report was epic.