Across Americas - Discovering the New World on a motorcycle

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by AnjinSan, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Enjoying reading about your adventures, keep it coming...
    #41
  2. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Wow! I am so glad you are following. I imagined that for you guys, a trip here is just a trip in your "backyard" so nothing too special. But let me just tell you that we are amazed by these places. Incredible.

    So let's go on...

    What’s the big deal with this mountain? Well it is the tallest in America. North America that is. Hmm and they say it is very hard to spot it’s peak as most of the time it is surrounded by clouds. For example in 2012 a guide told us that there were only 6 clear days when you could see it. Hmmm I am thinking this might be just a “marketing” tactic coming from all the tour operators. If you see the mountain then you feel very special, and if you don’t (of course there are also som cloudy days) then at least you console yourself with the idea that it is very very hard to see it.
    When we start from Fairbanks the sun shining and the sky is clear. Surely, 150 miles South it will be the same. Or not. As we approach the Moutain Range things get gray.
    [​IMG]
    Hmm, maybe all the story with the Denali weather is not mambo-jambo. And as indifferent as I might want to look, I know inside that I would be very sorry to come all the way from Romania to here and not see Denali. Not even the monsters we see on the road do not cheer us up.
    [​IMG]
    Of course there is a national park around the Mountain. And you could spend there days doing all the activities they have prepared for you. For the right time and money. Or at lest you could take the bus tour and see the animals. Unfortunately we do not have the time to do that. Also sitting for 6-8 hours in a bus is not that appealing. Why do that when you could ride for 6-8 hours? [​IMG]
    We press on but we see that the situation on the sky remains gloomy
    [​IMG]
    But as we haven’t stopped in Denali Park we have time for goofing around. Can you spot Gunnar in this picture?[​IMG]We reach the Southern observation point. Very nice place, for viewing the mountain. if the weather permits. But in our case…[​IMG]
    It was kind of funny as where we were it was nice and sunny. But still over the Denali a big cloud. [​IMG]
    We wait around for about an hour, changing impressions with some Chinese tourists which just got of from a bus, everybody hopping for the same thing. Which it did not happen. Feeling also out of place there and under-dressed, we decide to leave. We did see part of the mountain but not the peak. And we settled for that.​
    That night we were supposed to reach Talkeetna, which is a very small and VERY touristy town. Luckly for us, we didn’t had to play tourist as we had a host waiting for us. He was very nice and relaxed. Living outsite the town in the woods, he showed us around. At some point he said I can take you to a place from where you could see Denali. Really, you can still see it from here, even if we are 150 miles away from it? OK, let’s go. Probably it will still be in the clouds like 2 hours ago but we might as well see the view. And we go. And then, we see this. we see IT!​
    [​IMG]
    Wow! We are speechless. For minutes we just stare silently. We are more than 150 miles away but still we get this view. I do not think any photo could do it justice. More than 20 000 feet tall, Denali, “The High One” is indeed impressive. Tallest mountain in North America. More than 1000 people try to climb it each year. About half of them summit it. But figures are not so important. The view is spectacular.​
    This place should be on the list of “Places to see in your lifetime”. Bogus or not, we are happy that the story with “not so many days of clear weather” worked out for us in the end. We spend there a good deal of time just gazing to the horizon. This mountain pushes you to dream high.​
    I’ll let our Nikon to finish the story. It will do it much better that I would. So here it is…​
    Voi lasa Nikon-ul nostru sa incheie aceasta poveste. O face cu siguranta mult mai bine decat as putea sa o fac eu.​
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I wish you high dreams! And then go fulfill them!​
    #42
  3. Dash2

    Dash2 Always Learning

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    subscribed, thanks for sharing
    #43
  4. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    Good writing, great pics! Subscribed...
    #44
  5. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Beautiful! Keep it going! Great pictures of the mountain. :clap:clap
    #45
  6. bajubaru

    bajubaru Adventurer

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    Great photo :clap:clap
    #46
  7. Hevy Kevy

    Hevy Kevy ADDRider

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    Just found your adventure. Totally in!
    #47
  8. Motoman_AZ

    Motoman_AZ Long time lurker....

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    Great trip report guys!! Love the pictures! Catch myself just sitting and staring too! Wish I was there in person! :clap
    #48
  9. wegimex

    wegimex Adventurer

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    Great report, great attitude. When in Mexico City let me know ! Drinks and stories :freaky
    #49
  10. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Thank you for all your kind appreciation! I will try to bring the story up to date this week so then we can talk about the future plans as well:evil

    -------------------
    Well this trip is supposed to happen in Americas right? Right! The New World, Alaska, Latin America. Then what’s the story with the Russians? They were not supposed to be in the picture of this Journey. Well, in the day we visited Kenai Peninsula, we were to be surprized again.
    So the idea was to make a run for 2 days to Homer to the end of Kenai peninsula and back. Quick in, quick out! The day starts in Anchorage with the usual nonsense about checking gas, checking oil, air pressure, then getting ready to go. Ups, low on gas, let’s find a gas station. And so on until close to mid day when we finally find the town exit. Almost all the areas where we will pass today belong to some sort of National Park, National Forest or some reservation. And the the weather helps us liking the views eve more.
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    The landscape reminds me of Lofoten Islands in Norway.
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    As it is a beautiful day, Alaskans are all out to play. Some of them even almost convince us that the water is nice and hot. Almost…
    [​IMG]

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    We make a small detour from the main road to see, for our first time in our lives, glaciers.
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    It is one thing to see them on TV. But seeing them in real life, and especially feeling their coldness coming from ice and snow packed away millions of years before, that was something to remember. Although sunny and hot until then, close to them, it was quite cold. Andreea misses another opportunity to have a sun tan.
    [​IMG]
    As we were gettting close to the end of the road, we turn right on a private property. Purely by chance, just in search for a nice place to eat. They had little huts to rent but we just wanted to sit on the green grass and enjoy a nice meal from the supermarket [​IMG] We get the permission from the owner and when we get close to the edge… we are without words again.
    [​IMG]
    We are somewhere high on a cliff and below us white clouds move between the sea and the sky. On the background, white snow covered mountains remain silent and still to the great spectacle of nature. I’ll just add that Andreea postponed her lunch to admire the view. And who knows Andreea, knows that this is a big deal.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    But Homer was close and we proceed to our final destination for the day. Or so we thought. The plan was to get there, see the end of the road, find a place to camp, find a cheap place to eat, smile and be happy.
    Well, we did find the end of the road. It was on a piece of land ,stretching into the Ocean, which the Alaskans lovely named it “the spit”.
    [​IMG]
    We also see the beach with a lot of places good for camping. Good. That is also solved.
    [​IMG]
    Now, let’s find a place to eat. Hmm maybe we can ask this gentleman here if he knows something reasonable. Well we go and ask him. But something is wrong, there is a communication problem. Quickly a mental check. yes I’ve asked correctly the question. Oh, I see, he is not American. There was nothing wrong with the question, just that the answer was not 100% in English. Hehe, he is Russian. Ok OK, do not worry, I know some Russian.
    Panimaiu panimaiu, gavarite pa ruski!
    [​IMG]
    Oh, and his face is full of happiness. Now he can speak, fast and with a lot of words. Waaa wait a second friend. I understand Russian even worse than you can speak English. So please, slow and simple words. I am Sasha (Russian version of Alex). She is my wife Andreea. We were wondering if you know a place where to eat?” OK, I understand, you are Feodor, you are Russian and you suggest us a place which I almost understand where it is. Hmm and the Feodor says something else. I am not sure I understand correctly. Does he say that we can stay with him? O no no, we have a place to stay, here on the beach, in our tent. He draws a map on the sand. He lives in a village close by. We can stay with him for the night he says. “No problem. Free bed, food and steam house. Come!”
    Oh Feodor… what can we say? I talk with Andreea. We were planning to stay here for the night. But wasn’t this trip about people? Then should we refuse an invitation which seems honest? we will have other days when we will camp alone. Today, let’s meet a Russian living in Alaska. We will come!
    [​IMG]
    Our new friend has to go ahead to solve some business and we remain for a while to visit Homer on fast forward as we only had half an hour to do it. Then we follow the map that Feodor scheched on the sand (in the mean time also copied on a notebook page) and manage to find his place.
    His house is invaded by flowers.
    [​IMG]
    And the hole village is invaded by the sunset light.
    [​IMG]
    We fell asleep with stories about Russians, beautiful women, dozens of kids and passionate breakups. We feel we are just a few hundred miles to the West, across the Barents Sea.
    [​IMG]
    Spasiba gaspadin Feodor.
    Written from a very wet place, surrounded by rain.
    Next time we will find out how we are adapting to city life for a few days. Stay tuned!
    #50
  11. duncanmac

    duncanmac Been here awhile

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    Awe-inspiring pics of Denali! Wow...... Worth traveling a few miles to see that!
    #51
  12. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Yes, Denali was really inspirational for us. Never seen anything like that in our life. But to extend the scope, hole Alaska is amazing so Denali is in a right place :evil
    #52
  13. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    We wake up rested and ready to go. Just before leaving, Feodor surprises us again. He comes to the motorcycle with 4 cans of salmon. “Davai, you take it!” We explain that we have very little space, traveling two up and with a lot of luggage. He would have nothing of it. I try to negotiate to take only two cans but he shows me that when it comes to food, you can always find space. Spasiba Feodor!
    [​IMG]
    And so it begins a long tradition of fish cans on our journey. They’ve been with us since then. Even now, as I write this, we have 3 or 4 stashed away on the bike, just for “emergency”.
    After so many posts about wilderness and remote places, I think it is about time to switch gears and check the concrete joungle of a big city.
    [​IMG]
    And when I say a big city I refer of course to Anchorage. With a population of around 350000, Anchorage has almost half of all the people living in Alaska. To put things in perspective, Alaska is 7 times larger than Romania but has 25 times fewer people then Romania. So than Anchorage for sure is a metropolis in this area.
    [​IMG]
    We were going to stay a few days here. We had to change the oil and the oil filter for the motorcycle. And also some rest wouldn’t hurt. I did the maintenance work by myself so no pictures of that but the guys from Yamaha store were so nice to let me use their back yard, some tools and oil pan!
    It’s a boem life the one we find in Anchorage.
    [​IMG]
    And it might be the largest city in the area but “big city life” here is for sure still very much connected with the nature. If you dig fishing (and who doesn’t?) you just have to pick up your rod and go on the river just in the middle of the town.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    During winter you may have moose in your backyard, and during summer you just need to take your camera a few minutes out of town.
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    We like Anchorage. Andreea takes advantage of the city and tries a new hair style.[​IMG]
    For some time we were looking for some tank side paniers without much success. What we found was either too expensive or it didn’t fit our bike. We entered also Alaska Leather store and long story short we end up with free second hand side paniers from Barb, the owner. She was incredible and we are amazed by Alaskan generosity. Yeah, now we have more space for food. Thank you so much Barb!​
    [​IMG]
    And right before leaving from Anchorage we stop at Urban Prints shop in order to have 2 T-shirts printed. When the guys hear about our trip and all the details they just decide to make the prints pro bono for us. So here we go:​
    [​IMG]
    We left Anchorage with a warm feeling. Yes it is a big city, yes there is traffic, yes there are lights, and concrete buildings. But the people male up for the low temperatures that are typical for the area. And to be honest Anchorage is a place where I see myself living for a longer period.​
    [​IMG]
    Next time we will go up high and very close to snow! Stay tuned!
    Written just before H.U. meeting in Canada. My first international motorcyclists meeting. Yey!
    #53
  14. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

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    Frumos! Multa bafta si daca aveti drum prin Chicago, e loc in garaj de inca unul:)

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pribeagu/7848431114/" title="DSC00596 by pribeagu, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7268/7848431114_707ec4837d.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC00596"></a>
    #54
  15. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Hehe, thanks for the invite :) Your Vstrom looks really good. And I see you also have Pelican cases. We would not go near Chicago though so maybe we will meet somewhere on the road :)
    #55
  16. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    Wow! Loving your Ride Report. Your photos and writings portray a wonderment as big as a kid at Christmas. I'm in for the long haul here! Subscribed!

    :lurk

    :clap
    #56
  17. 2WheelieADV

    2WheelieADV Been here awhile

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    Thank you for sharing your travel with us. I check this first in the morning, and just can't start working without reading it...
    In a week we're heading in the opposite direction - to ride around Europe.
    #57
  18. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Hi 2WheelieADV, good luck on your trip in Europe! Which countries are you planning to visit?
    #58
  19. guitarhack

    guitarhack Long timer

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    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> This has continued to be one of best ride reports I have read in a long time. Thank you so much for posting it. Makes me yearn for Wee greatness. :clap
    #59
  20. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Wow, I wouldn't even dream of thinking that this should place in the top, but thank you for your appreciation! I hope it would only get better. Valdez is next.
    -------------

    Leaving Anchorage we feel that the Alaska leg of our trip is getting to a close. Boy were we wrong. The time was running out but we still had so much more interesting experiences in store for us before leaving Alaska for the last time (this year, as we really hope to return here)
    Our next destination was to be Valdez. Very small town hanged between the mountains and the sea, small but important because the oil pipe is ending here. The petrol is pumped from the far North (we’ve seen it in Dalton Highway) to Valdez terminal and then the big oil tankers take it further.
    But we were not on the road to Valdez for that. But because of this!
    [​IMG]
    And this!
    [​IMG]

    We climb towards Thompson pass. It is not very high (just over 2800 feet) but it is one of the snowiest places in Alaska ( over 500 inches of snow per year). Fortunately during summer the snow can be found only on the mountain slopes, and the road is clean.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Close to summit we see the “strange blue thing” that is called clear sky. I understand from others that it is a rare thing in this parts. So we do not complain about the cold and instead are very happy that it is not raining.
    [​IMG]
    Andreea gets of in one of the parking lots and so I can go and explore a little off-road track. I think I am starting to like this off-roading thing. Hmm….
    [​IMG]
    Unfortunately we do not have a tele lens for our camera so no close-ups from where Andrea was standing. The panoramic views are a very nice trade of though.
    [​IMG]
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    We also find out what is the deal with the strange poles we were seeing on the side of the road. Turns out that they actually are there to help visibility during winter time when it is dark and snowy white or grey sky everywhere. Cool stuff!​
    [​IMG]
    Reaching Valdez, we immediately know it is a fishing town.​
    [​IMG]
    We set up our tent in the middle of a campground and quickly hit the sleeping bags as the degrees were fading away fast into the night. It was cold!
    Next day though we wake up surrounded by blue skies, white and green mountains, waters and fish in different states of…hmm health.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    When we were still up in Fairbanks we were told that we should check out a salmon hatchery where bears are coming to fish and feast. While we are getting close a very helpful sign for motorcycles attracts our attention. Yeah… sure, we will stay inside.​
    [​IMG]
    Well, no bear in sight but we sure did find the fish!​
    [​IMG]
    But as we approached the site it all went South. As you know salmon wants to get upstream to lay their eggs and then die. But here they just hit a human-installed net (for some hydro construction).​
    [​IMG]
    The fish do what nature dictates, they try to go upstream. They hit time and time again the net, until tired or out of luck, they land on stones and are out of water (and air). So they just try desperately to find water again.​
    [​IMG]
    I am sorry if the pictures are too graphic. If you would like to return to “blue skies times” just skip to the next paragraph. This one will remain gray. And no, this is not a plea for the “poor little fish”, those who know me can say that I love my fish into a fry-pan and have nothing against that. But what we were seeing there was just waste. The fish could not lay their eggs, they were not fished for consumption, they just desperately trying to go upstream. Near us, a little girl was equally desperately trying to throw back in the water the fish which landed on the rocks, one by one.​
    [​IMG]
    Only so that they will end up in the same net.​
    [​IMG]
    I am going to stop here with the topic. Maybe I am missing some important aspect and I am interpreting the hole scene wrongfully.​
    We decide to leave. We didn’t want to see any bear anymore. But we did see other animals. A cropped sea-lion​
    [​IMG]
    And some eagles out for hunting​
    [​IMG]
    Must be good to fly up there​
    [​IMG]
    Have a nice Sunday!​
    Next time we continue to explore places away from the main highway and we discover the town we liked the most in Alaska. Stay tuned!​
    Written from H.U. meeting in Canada. Tomorrow we continue our journey! It was so good and such a surprise to meet some of you here!

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    #60