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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AnjinSan, Jul 19, 2012.
Great up date.Those pics are really good.
Thank you, Anjin.
We're starting off from Barcelona, thru Alps to Milan, then to Innsbruck and Munich, up to Prague, than down to Vienna Budapest and Balkans, Then ferry to Italy from Split and up to Genoa, then back to Barcelona. Hope it is doable in 3 weeks or we may skip Prague.
Any suggestion you can give since you're from the "area" :) ?
@2WheelieADV: you could easily spend 3 weeks just in the Alps. But yeah, your schedule should be OK. If you feel rushed and that you are running out of time then try to avoid maybe the big cities. I wish for you the weather will be good too! You will have great fun!
@ben2go and Jake: good to have you along. Hope you will enjoy also the next ones :)
We were thinking that after Valdez we will head straight and return to Whitehorse Canada and from there to start our descent South. But hey, plans are good as long as they are flexible. So following a tip got while on the road, we decided to make another detour and check out Haines first.
Haines was still 2 days riding away though so we stop in Tok in a motorcyclists campground. It was nice to meet other long-travel riders. Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Romania, Canada and Alaska, sitting around the fire and sharing a grilled salmon.
In the morning, one has to have his priorities straight. First check for bears then brush your teeth.
For the next 2 days we will have a new riding partner. Dylan is on the road for more than 2 years, so he has lots of experience. South America trip is going to be probably his last leg of his journey before he returns home. For a while at least. From the mountains slopes rain is also riding with us. And it is a hide and seek game. We are trying not to get wet. At some point my rain pants have their last stand. If I think about the things Ive put them through in Yukon and Alaska, it might be understandably. I think the designers had in mind rides on Amalfi Cost in Italy, not the rugged rides of Alaska. Left without rain paints, I can only hope that the rains will go past us. And mostly they do. We settle for the night near a lake in a place called Destruction Bay (good name)
and we find out the benefits of solo riding is that you get a lot of space for food and a kitchen Next day we part ways. Dylan was going directly to Whitehorse. We instead were turning South and start our detour towards Haines. A new mountain pass to ride on, new amazing views. Then, just before Haines, we need to mind the local traffic
Talking with a bartender in Haines, we find out that this kind of traffic can often be found right in the town center. Just the other night she had to turn around in the bar, when she found a bear just outside the back door. And still, we like Haines. Well not for the bears but for all the other things around. For example the views are like this: And in the small marina you may find wooden boats with classic lines Our hosts Alexandra and her husband Bud, live some miles away from the town, in the forest. We liked them and their place so much! First of all, the place is quite remote already. But then, when you reach it, you leave your car (or your bike) in the forest, away from the house. And then we head over a wooden bridge and further on a small dirt trail You thread carefully so you could spot any bear or moos that sometimes are around. And then you see the house. It looks big, but it is very functional. And what is even more amazing is that Alexandra designed it and built it by herself. With a little help from Bud here nad there but most of the things she did with her own hands. Now that must be a good feeling to live in a house built by you. And it is not all. She designed it so that it will integrate with the surroundings and be as less intrusive as possible. They have tanks that gather rain water and that is used for showers and watering the garden. And almost nothing goes to waste, everything gets reused or recycled or returns to nature. We had an awesome time with them. And we found out that there are people living even more off the grid. No power from the grid, no dependency to anyone. In order to reach some houses, you have to even wait for the low tide in order to cross the golf with rubber boots. For so many of us, city people its hard to imagine even how it is not to be able to park your car in front of the house (or garage?), let alone to.. hmm wait for the low tide to go home. It is an entirely different way of life. One that we liked very much. And it makes you think how much of the stuff we consider necessary is really
needed. And most of the people there, live this way because they chose to, nobody is forcing them.
And the things we found out made us think. Good thoughts! Next time we will find out how we spend our last day in Alaska and who came to visit us. Stay tuned! Written from Rock Creek, Canada. With a view to the hills and crickets sounds as background. Good morning!
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Great update.Good the hear the weather is mostly holding out for your adventure.Good luck with rain gear.I have yet to find anything that lasts many miles before soaking through.
The scenery in Alaska is just awe-inspiring! And it seems you are fortunate with the weather, too. Are you warm/cold/just right?
WOW!!!! great RR...thank you for sharing
Thanks for taking us along on your journey....It is really refreshing to see our country through new eyes! If your travels take you through Phoenix, Arizona, you have a place to stay....the Grand Canyon should not be missed!
Its been a while since the last writing but so much happened in the mean time. The important thing is that we are all OK, bike seems to be in good shape now and we are ready to go on. But in order to get to this story we need to go back a bit, back in Alaska, for the last time in this trip. It will be a long post so I hope it was worth the wait.
We left our story back in Haines, surrounded by mountains and fjords. To get back to Whitehorse one has two options. One is just track back around 140 miles on the same road we came in. Second is just take a ferry to Skagway just across the fjord and then ride the White Pass to Carcross and Whitehorse. Hmm of course we will go with number two.
One hour and 90 dollars later we arrive in Skagway. Very similar to Haines but then so different. And thats because Skagway is visited by lots and lots of tourists. And with them, all the typical businesses for the tourists masses. Overpriced jewelery shops, clothes shops, souvenirs and so on. And everything is so crowded. And if you are wondering where are these tourists coming from. Well they get there with cruise ships. When we arrived there, there were four of them docked. Surprisingly for us, two of them were Scandinavian. Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jewel. Hmm thats so
It was funny that when Ive asked someone in Haines how come they do not get so many tourists there she answered: Well we dont want them boat tourists here. They make a mess. I do not know about that. But what I to believe is that seeing Alaska is worth it. Even if you do it only on a cruise ship. But if you just do that, and then just take some 5 stars buss around and go only from shop to shop in touristy places
then most probably you would miss a lot of Alaska. The real Alaska. yeah you can say youve been there but somehow
Weve spent around 3 weeks there and still we felt like we are rushing so much, and passing by places and people that we would really have liked to get to know much better.
We were not very sorry that we were rushing out of Skagway though. Especially since in front of us was the White Pass.
This pass was build for the same reasons as so many projects here: acute and urgent need. Back in 1890 when Klondike Gold Rush boomed, there was an accute need for a link between Skagway (and the marine way) and Whitehorse.
The road was hard and only the natives knew the way. The railroad has only 170 kilometers and has been built from scratch only in 24 months and is one of the most scenic narrow gauge tracks.
Its now used only for tourism. We are heading our way winding around the railroad and enjoying the great views.
We are again grateful for being on this trip. Its sunny outside, the motorcycle is in good condition, gas in the tank, blue sky, high mountains, windy road. Were smiling. For a while we are not listening to the music, we are not taking pictures. Were silent and we can only hear the engine and the tires taking each curve. We dont know how long the road was but it seemed too short for us. We are close to Whitehorse and its almost dark. As we enter the city we see a blue motorcycle heading out. Its getting closer and it looks familiar. Hey, its Rodney! Hit the brakes! He saw us also and he is turning back. We are really happy to meet him again. Last time we saw each other was in Fairbanks and then exchanged emails. We knew he was going towards Vancouver, his trip finale, but we thought he was few days behind us. Now here he is, smiling us, in Whitehorse. Ha! photo courtesy of Rodney
We part ways but we will meet again for sure.
I rode 500 kilometers back on Alaska Highway (did I tell you how much I hate going back on the same road?). Ive been there before and the road was not that interesting so I just switched on the auto pilot. Andreea was sleeping in the back, I was listening to Spanish lessons and riding on not without paying attention to the wildlife.
Therefore we dont have pictures of this part of the road. Actually, we have something:
Its a tradition to leave your name in the
. ground. There are hundreds of inscriptions along the way. Some bring paint from home to make the message more visible. Heres a Kawasaki fan.
The funny part is that it all started with a simple and innocent message P-Time. We dont waste too much time here. We were impatient to get to Watson Lake and get on Cassiar Highway to British Columbia. We really wanted to get to new places so we just fuel up at Junction 37 and hit Cassiar Highway, although it was 6 pm. This road is considered one of the most isolated in British Columbia. We are heading South (to civilization) but we find ourselves thrown back into a deserted area, few cars around. But we like what we see.
We are again alone on the road to
somewhere. To our left the shadows go East. But the sun is up so we should be fine. As we were getting used to the depressing scenery, we see in the distance a weird cloud. But the sky is so clear. Oh, wait, thats not a cloud
its smoke. And you know the saying Theres no smoke without fire. And thats not a small one. Its only forest around so its not hard to figure out whats burning. And our road goes there. We werent sure if we should worry or not. We heard about forest fires that spread really fast.Weve seen the signs. And now we see this. And, as they say, this is not a drill. We count our options. We cannot go around, there is no side road. There is forest all around us. We can go back, of course. But where? We didnt want to go back to Watson Lake. We were supposed to head South, not North. Im thinking that if it is really serious we would meet cars, people, animals, running the opposite direction. We decide to keep going. We see rock sheep on the side of the road and they seem relaxed. Lets keep going. We manage to avoid the fire. We stop in Dease lake in a camping not worth mentioning and the second day we get ready to enter Alaska for the last time on this trip, its Southern limit, in a small city called Hyder. The place is famous for being the closest to mainland USA. Ah, and for one more thing: bears. Lets see. First one
And there were some more but didnt stop taking pictures.We are convinced there are bears around. We get to Hyder and we are told that it is not really safe to camp
. we are advised to take a motel room. We follow the advice and take the last free and not very expensive motel room, we appreciate having a safe place to sleep and we go to the view point. What view point? For the bears, of course. And so we meet the mighty grizzly. Theoretically, we were safe on a wooden bridge. Practically, I think we were safe because there was lots of salmon around (and salmon tastes better than humans do, I think). It was indeed a great experience to watch a free grizzly so close. Unbelievable! And we stop here for today, with a last picture of our hairy friend. What an appropriate way of saying goodbye to wild, vast and free Alaska. We hope we will be back up there again. But for now it is time to move on. See you soon Alaska! Next time we discover British Columbia and get to attend for the first time a motorcyclists meeting. Stay tuned! Written from Kevs porch, after a day dedicated to the motorcycle.
There were occasions when we were cold or very cold. But we do not have heated vests or heated grips or anything. When we were cold we just stopped, put some more clothes on us and when on our way. Although... a little bit slower to easy up the wind though.
But indeed we are not complaining. I think we had excellent weather until now and hope we will continue in the same way. We are optimists
Hey, thank you so much for the generous invite. I think we will be passing near you somewhere at the end of September and we would be glad to accept your invitation.. I will give you a heads up and see if we can synchronize and make it happen.
NIce ride report and pictures!
Loving it! Keep it coming.
Love the RR....Bears can be very dangerous and must be treated with respect at all times
Love the RR. I checked out your route map and hope you will add Monterey to your route. There is a comfy room waiting for you. Just hosted a couple of crazy Aussies for 5 nights, and are looking forward to our next weary travelers. Your spirit shines through your RR and we would love to meet you.
Excellent photos and a great story. There is an innocence on first approaching North America from the outside that is refreshing and comes out in the RR. Looking forward to more.
If you make it to Hood River, we have lots of room for a tent and motorcycle!
Craig & Natalie
@Craig: nice meeting you, even though we did not made it to spend the night. Good luck with the fruits :)
@Milestugeau: we would love to visit also Monterey. Let's see how we will progress towards California as now we are quite slow :) Keep in touch!
This post marks the beginning of a new chapter in our journey. The first part of our trip, crossing North America from Est to West all the way to Alaska is completed. Now we look forward to make some serious progress towards South.
We wake up with a strange feeling. The Autumn is following us closely in our foot steps. You dont see it for sure yet. But you can feel it. In the few yellow leaves in a sea of still green trees. In the Fireweed flowers. We found out that this beautiful flower takes its name from the fact that usually it springs in areas which had recently been under forest fires. But the wind takes the seeds to far places so one can find Fireweeds all over Alaska and Yukon.
It blossoms from the lower parts upwards so during summer it looks like in the above picture. But once it gets to the end, it means that summer is close to an end. So nature provides it own warnings.
For us this means only one thing: head South! We exit Hyder saying good bye to the wonderful and diverse people weve met there.
Good bye Alaska! See you next time! From now on we were not sure what to do exactly. We wanted to be in Nakusp, in lower British Columbia for the Horizons Unlimited motorcyclists meeting. But that was a few good days later. So in the mean time, we just wonder around keeping a general South direction. Taking it slow and enjoying the stops. Lunch near an old train station. Different travelers, maybe same dreams! Time flies by and we soon reach Prince George. I have to say that we found here the fastest internet connection from this trip until now. And it was in a clean and cheap motel. Nice surprise. We press on the next day and we see how when you have too much wood you can have the luxury to burn logs and trees by the side of the road. Coming from crowded, expensive and vastly deforested Europe, this sight is a pure wonder for us. People would pay good money back in our country to have this wood for heating fire, during winter. Here it is not economical to carry it so it is burned on the spot, with no added value. Now, I am not by any means an economist but just a meager traveling Engineer, but still this things make you wonder how our lives are sometimes directed purely by economics. And I wonder if this is a good thing
But I digress. As we had still plenty of time, we decide to take a detour (yes, yet another one) and check out Jasper and Banff, famous Canadian national parks which sit between Alberta and British Columbia. Glaciers Parkway proves to be an amazing route. The valley is carved by the glaciers and the views are spectacular. Andreea notices that her left peg is loose. We stop and sure enough the screw that holds the panier racks is broken. Fortunately it is not stuck so I manage to take it out and swap it with another one. While there we wonder around a bit. Andreea is taking pictures of some flowers in the bushes. And I am looking for a natural bathroom further doan in the woods. After we are ready, we travel a few hundred feet just to find some cars stopped on the side looking at a bear. Great! We are not taking any pictures of it as we are just happy that our screw broke in an area without bears. As far as we know
Better to enjoy the scenery. Snack break is by the side of the glacier.
and rain sneaks up on us
We reach Banff late into the evening. We find a beautiful city but one which is crowded with tourists and utterly overpriced. Too late to move further so we have to take what we hope will be the most expensive room in this trip. Because if we are keeping it like this Argentina will be a very far far away place. Never mind, there will be nights when we will be more frugal. Like the next 4 days tenting in Nakusp. In order to reach Nakusp we had to take a busy road. Trucks, road works, busy traffic, trains by, this place had everything. We make slow progress. And we get some more rain. Not too much though so my shredded rain suit can keep up. Another interesting experience is meeting the nice lady from a Tourist Information Center. We enter and kindly ask her if we could use the wifi for just 2 minutes to check something on the internet. She says bluntly: No, the internet is only for the employees. Hmmm OK, no problem, then could you just help us with directions to a place in town where we could find some free wireless? Or a coffee shop maybe where we can drink a hot tea and surf the net? No, I cannot help you with that, but you can use these PCs for only 1.50 dollars per 10 minutes. Ahaa, thank you so much
1.50 dollars for opening google maps. Nice
We left after wishing her to have a better day from now on. And it is not about the money either. 1.50 dollars is not much at all but just the idea
of not wishing to extend any help. She was from there, she must have known that there was a McDonalds just 1 mile ahead (we found out when we left the city) which of course has free wifi. Eh
no point in keeping our minds busy with that. I guess anybody can have a bad day
And by the time we reach Nakusp some 70 miles and a ferry crossing later we all but forgot about the low points of the day. For the next 4 days we barely moved our bike from where it was parked. More than 200 people attended to H.U. meeting. We had the chance to meet people who traveled in so many places, we got to see presentations, pictures and share ideas about motorcycle traveling. We learned a lot, we helped with what we could, and we made new friends. But details about the time spent in Nakusp will come in the next post. Until then, we wish you good night!
Keep up the great work... loving every minute of it.