(FAKE) Alaskan Adventure Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Z_HARSH, May 3, 2011.

  1. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    After a long and slow trek up the shore, we made it to the first remnants.


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    Then the trail headed into the forest and up a hill, gaining a couple hundred feet f elevation providing some more million- dollar views.




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    Soon we were at the old bunker. I happened to have my flashlight and we went exploring. It was not very big, maybe 4 rooms and some hallways, but walking around it felt like walking around in a video game. I felt like I was in a Halo map.





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    From the outside there was not too much to see.





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    It was built into the hill top and covered in vegetation with only a couple cement patches at the top.





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    But, there was a nice area to sit and look over the bay on one side.





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    Behind a little ledge, up on top of the barracks, I stumbled across a geocache, so we opened it up for a peek inside, nothing too exciting though.



    We were taking our time and relaxing, eating our packed food and letting our feet cool down. We had to wait for the next low tide before we could hike out (12.5 hours after the first) so we had some time.


    After a long rest, we decided to head to the South Beach. It was cool how close the trail got the sheer cliff; with the thick vegetation, you could hardly tell it was right there.




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    We came out on South Beach and sat down for a little while.





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    Then took the loop back, cutting inland. It was really cool hiking back there. You could tell that few people took the path by how overgrown with moss it was. There were sections where you simply followed the orange ribbons tied in trees. There were also several log bridges, made of one or two laid over lengthwise and flattened on the top with a few grooves cut in for traction. Some didn’t look too sturdy, I gave a couple a bit of a test bounce, if you will, to check the strength. It is hard to describe the feeling back there; it felt like hiking through an enchanted forest, or almost like another world, with the moss glowing green.





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    Chuwe, the Rat was having a blast, scurrying right across the logs but was happy to get a chance to relax here and there too.




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    After a long day on the feet, we headed back up the beach, with the sunrise on the way out and sunset on the way back. The creek crossing on the way back wasn’t a problem though, we weren’t too worried about wet feet at that point.




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    20 miles is a lot of hiking for one day. (32k)

  2. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    On our way into Seward a couple days prior, I rolled down my window and the switch broke, just the up side, and automatically retracted the driver’s side window back into the door. The switch just popped out of the door, I didn’t have to pull off the panel, so I pulled it out and called up the Ford dealership in Soldotna to see if they could order one in. Sure enough, they could have one in shipped in a day or two. So, after the hike we pulled off the Exit Glacier road and crashed out, then woke up and headed down to Homer again, after a quick stop in Soldotna to see the Ford dealership.



    In the mean time, Dad was getting his 220k mile (350,000 km) transmission replaced in Anchorage. He found a guy that was branching off from his farter’s transition shop and starting his own, with all the set-up to hoist up my pop’s Ford E350 15-passenger van converted into a camper and time to fit it in. The guy happened to have a perfect match for the trany laying around and worked till eight that night to get it replaced the next day. After the test drive they headed down to Homer to meet up.



    They met up with Val and I at the dealership in Soldotna, we all stocked up on some more supplies, and then headed south to set up camp back at my favorite spot, Whiskey Gulch. Val decided she wanted to go halibut fishing too, so we called and made reservations with Bob again. She paid for me this time, for being the nice brother and carting her around like that.



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    This time on the charter, a dad and kid on the boat decided they didn’t want to keep their fish, so I was quick to volunteer to help take some of the extra. Val doesn’t really like fish either so I came out with 30 lbs or so. Rather than paying to ship it back, I decided to just pack it in dry ice and keep it with me, after giving some to my parents of course. This became somewhat of an issue later on.


    After the charter, the four of us went out to lunch and then headed back to camp, after showing them the Salty Dog. Val wanted to do a bit more fishing, we had the licenses for the day, so we headed over to The Bait Shop. Its little hole-in-the- wall fishing store right off the road, and we asked the guy what the hot set-up was on the Anchor River. Unfortunately, the owner was out, running his own charter, but his buddy there knew a whole lot more than we did and was more than willing to help. He was a great guy. He set us up with some Super Bait, some yellow mesh to tie the bait in, a few weights, and another lure for good measure. After teaching me how to tie on the bate sack, we set off. I was determined to catch a Silver Salmon.



    We headed out the little path, by the Anchor River campground, and followed it ‘till we were right by where it let out into the sea. I set up Val’s fishing rod like the guy at the shop told me and then set up mine. We were there for a while, watching the fly-fishermen pull them in quite regularly, casting and casting out our bait repeatedly. At one point, Val cast it over, across the river and up on the bank on the other side. One of the other anglers noticed and came over, saying: “What’s this? A damsel in distress!!! let me help”. He then untangled the lour and reeled it in. He took one look at the set-up, saw the weights, and laughed: “What are you trying to do? Knock the fish out?” Then went over to his tackle box and changed her line up. After Val came up with nothing several times, he changed it up for her again, and again, and again. She said she would have given up a long time before she did but he was so excited to help, she couldn’t.



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    He was awesome, so into helping the lil sis catch a salmon. But, she never did. I actually caught something though, a steelhead, there was a ban on catching them unfortunately so I had to promptly throw it back though. Bruce, our new buddy, ended up giving us the silver he caught though, that was nice of him. He said he lived right by the bridge and came there every day, plus, his freezer was already full he noted. I stayed late, well past dark, pushing 10 or 11 I think, but could never catch one of my own. I kept thinking about the definition of insanity, casting and casting and casting some more, bate on one fishing pole and the lure on the other. Doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting different results.



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    At least the sunset was another amazing one.
  3. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    After a long day of fishing, we hung out by the ocean for a while. We packed up the truck moseyed around the beach, but the Rat decided that a rotting bird carcass smelled like the perfect thing to roll in. So, I decided that the perfect rewarded was a bath in the sea. While he was jumping into the ocean and swimming back to me, trying to get the suds off, I heard what I thought sounded like a KLR ride up. After we were done, I took the Rat back and locked him in the truck.


    Sure enough, an old KLR with full luggage, looking like it had been on the road for months was parked in the beach parking lot, with the owner sitting back propped on the kickstand with his feet on the handlebars. I’d like to see a KTM owner try that one. I went over and we started bs’n, more than anything I was stoked to see another rider, my age, who looked like they could hang. It is always better to have a riding buddy, and not just anybody will do. I talked him into meeting up at Clam Gulch, maybe 60 miles (100k) north. We arranged to meet up, down on the beach and I shared my plan to scout out to the north.


    We pulled out and headed north a ways. Then pulled onto the beach, staying on the hard-pack and found a little spot right next to the path onto the beach, just big and flat enough to park my truck. There wasn’t much room to maneuver without getting into the deep sand, which I didn’t want to risk with the truck. I popped the top on the camper and unloaded the bike, and then he rode through.

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    Apparently he had already been there for a bit, he stopped for a quick second, then gunned it through the super soft sand at the top, he looked like he knew what he was doing. Then he made way for an old single-wide left out there for decades, rotting and rusting away, perched up on pylons above the beach. After he put down his panniers and set up his tent, we went for a bit of a ride.

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    I gunned it and quickly sped up to a good cursing speed, maybe 50 mph (80 kmh), there weren&#8217;t any real obstacles in the way and the rocks were small and consistent. It took him a little bit, but soon he got the hang of it and off we went. Standing up and slamming all your weight on one peg, then the next, while blurpping the throttle, weaving back and forth over the virgin beach is about as cool of a feeling as you can get on a bike. Although, I have to say it is definitely much more fun on the DRZ (E of course).


    We stopped a few times, I warned him about the salt water and told him about the little starting in 2nd trick, keeping the butt on the far back of the seat, and just getting up speed quickly, and we had a blast railing it down the beach.


    I wish I would have taken some pictures of the ride, but we were riding in the twilight so the light was bad and we were having too much fun to stop.


    In too little time, we were at Kasilof, cut off by the river. We played around on the sandy 2-tracks down by the beach and then headed into the little town. We found a bar, who, also just so happened to have a hose out back. After a quick rinse of the bikes, we went in and got a couple drinks. After sharing notes and chatted about this and that, he told me he was Running from Root-beer, looking for the Sun at Night, and Missing Adventures, or something like that. He was a cool cat, a true rambler indeed, not real sure what his next move was going to be. I think he was talking about some cute redhead in Anchorage too. If I recall correctly I told him he should go to Mexico. Not sure though, that&#8217;s what I thought I remembered, but either way, after a bit we headed back to camp and called it a night.


    The tide came up pretty far that nigh and I was glad I parked where I did. I was a little worried about Alex, but his bike looked fine in the morning. You could definitely see that the water was only a foot away form tis tires though.


    I don&#8217;t think he was up when Val and I headed out. We discussed our options and she decided she wanted to go see Lake Tustumena, I guess she had seen it on a map.


    We wondered up one dirt road, and then the next, and figured out that they were all just a dead ends to some houses. We stopped and asked a couple people and they kind of gave us a funny look. Looking back, I probably should have inquired more, but they pointed us back saying they thought you could get there up the road a little ways. But a little ways is 30 miles in Alaska.


    Finally we stumbled onto Tunstumena Lake Road, out of Kasilaf, and found a boat ramp on a big river. But the lake was still 20 miles (32k) up river. There were a few decent little camp sights and we decided to park it up and go for a little hike.


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    And then my trusty little camera decided to start acting up.

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    So I turned it off and back on again, and it started working again. There was just a little, overgrown path and the damp undergrowth was soaking our legs so we didn&#8217;t hike for too long.


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    Then we headed back to the truck and drove twords the beach. I wanted to try and find as many beach access points as I could, for future exploration.


    We went into Kalifornsky.


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    Then into The City of Kenai, and stumbled around a bit, but it looked a little too hoytie toytie. Then we headed up to Salamatof, across Texico Lane and Conoco Road, and stumbled into the Captain Cook National Recreation Area. We were haning out in the parking lot, putting together some food and a local came up so we started chatting. We talked about this and that, how people run away up here to get away from their rap sheet, and then she mentioned she had an ATV. She proceeded to tell me about a cool ride they do out of there, where you have to check the tide and if you hit it right you can make a 35 mile one way ride up the beach, before it dead ends. You had to watch it though, because in the summer there are no other ways out. So I took notes and then snapped a few pictures of just another Alaskan sunset.


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  4. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    Mom wanted to do the 14 Glacier Tour, or something like that, for a family outing so Val and I headed up to Whittier to meet up with the parents. We had to wait in line for a while so the train could go through. The tunnel is actually owned by the railroad and so you had to pay them a toll and they only open it up in each direction for the cars a couple times a day.

    The trip through the tunnel was drippy with little rocks falling off the ceiling without warning. It’s probably a good thing they require motorcycles to wear helmets. Personally, I have never been one for making people wear helmets; I mean our planet just overtook 7 billion people, if someone wants to volunteer for a higher probability in participating in population control, then more power to ‘em I say, but it is probably a good thing in this instance. It would be a little bit of an exciting ride through on a bike I suspect, with the wet slick train tracks, potholes, and rocks on the ground and drips form the ceiling throughout the tunnel, following a long line of traffic.

    When Val and I met up with the parents and Mom was pretty down. Like the local saying goes, it was definitely $h!ttier in Whittier. All rainy and overcast, we were kind of bummed thinking the tour may be a bust. But the tickets were already paid for, so we herded into line and walked the plank down to the boat. I was pretty apprehensive about the whole ordeal at first, but, Ranger Rick was pretty cool. He was talking about all kinds of different facts and trivia while we set out. Then they served fish and chips for dinner (halibut of course) as we motored through the Price William Sound. The bar was good too.

    Due to the consistent rain and lack of visibility they changed up the plan and decided short change us a few glaciers since we wouldn’t be able to get a glimpse of them, and get a bit more up close and personal than usual with another instead.

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    I was a bit surprised at how they motored through all the ice chunks, like they were nothing.

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    We sat there in the bay, watching the glacier calving (chunks break off) and observed the harbor seals, tourist, and golden eagles frolic in their natural habitat.

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    (the little white dots are golden eagles, or actually, maybe they were just the golden eagle food, I forgot)

    Then, on the way back we couldn’t resist a few family pics for the Christmas cards.

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    We headed back up to Anchorage; I dropped off the sis, took one of my few showers of the trip, restocked on supplies, and then I evaluated my options. I had several days until Tina flew back into Anchorage; I just had to figure out how to spend them, hmmmmm. What to do, hmmmmm indeed.
  5. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    not quite there yet
  6. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    OK, the question was never what, the only question was where. I had already been on the Kenai for a while and wanted some mountains to change it up a little, so the rat and I headed up to the Denali Highway.


    I picked up another hitchhiker on the way out of town, he was cool, a bit hippy but didn’t stink too much like pachouli. He worked at the Park and was headed back after a weekend in Anchorage. He grew up in the mid-west but had spent a few summers in Alaska and was talking about heading down to South America for the winter. He didn’t need to be back till the next day and hinted that he wanted a little more time away from his crew, so I offered him dinner and a ride to the main road in the AM. He took me up on it, so we headed up to Cantwell and turned in on the Denali Highway.


    There was already someone parked in the spot I had last time so we went back and forth a bit trying to find a suitable spot I could drag the trailer into. By then in the trip, I figured out my halibut recipe, making a little aluminum foil “boat” and throwing it on my little propane grill, it was darn tasty. Nothing special, just a clove or more of garlic, smashed up with the back of a knife or a tire iron, some sliced onion or onion powder, black pepper, and a good bit of butter. That and vegetables cooked in an aluminum foil pouch made for another excellent meal and no pans to clean.


    He set up his tent and I crashed out in the camper. Then next morning after some coffee and oatmeal, he hopped on the back of my bike and I dropped him off a couple miles up at the intersection so he could hitch a ride to the Park.


    I cruised back to the camp, loaded up a lunch and threw some extra layers in the tail bag, filled my camel-back, bungee-corded a windshield washer fluid container filled with gas on the backrest, and headed out. I knew there were some old mining roads leading into the hills somewhere, but wasn’t sure where exactly. So I first decided to scout it out and blast over to Paxson.


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    It felt good to be on the bike again, I was beginning to miss it. Hiking was fine and all, but I would much rather be riding.


    But, this time it wasn’t the same place as I had been before; now it was fall. In just the 175 miles (280k) from Anchorage to Denali I had traveled into a new season, with two days left in August.


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    I didn’t really stop or slow down much until I made it to Paxson. The road was pretty rough with a lot of washboards in sections, but it really didn’t matter, at 75 (120) they all smooth out nicely. It didn’t take too long to get to there, it was only 130 miles (210k) or so from the truck and nothing too exciting as far as the road was concerned. Mostly straight and I didn’t even notice I was going over a pass until I saw a sign for Maclaren Summit. The road was nothing special, but the scenery was spectacularly amazing on all sides, or something like that.

    In Paxson I dumped my extra gas into the tank and topped it off at the pump, ate a little snack and then headed back, watching for the turnoffs I blasted by on my first run through. For the entire day, the sky couldn’t decide what it wanted to do. Rainy over there and sunny over here, it kind of reminded me of home in the Colorado Rockies. The rain was sure nice for traction though.


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    Then I came across a little turnoff that looked promising, so I gave it a shot.



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    I didn’t think it went to the mining roads I was looking for; I thought I had already figured that out, instead, I just wanted to dink around on something a little more fun to ride than the Highway. That is probably my favorite type of riding on the KLR; just go and look out for little turnoffs, then go until they dead-end or you have to turn around. It’s nice to not have a destination and just explore.


    This one didn’t go too far before it decided to cross a stream that I didn’t want to tempt fate on out there by myself, so I headed back out to see what else I could find.
  7. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    I headed out to the highway and up the road, at a much slower pace, with my eyes peeled for any side-road or path. I passed a one or two, but I didn’t get the feeling they went anywhere and just looked like camping spots or far too boggy for me to even think about. Really, the bogs are the biggest problem with 2-wheel travel up there, but who knows; maybe that is why all the dirtbikers ride ‘85 Yamaha Big Wheels. At least from all the videos I have seen. But for the roads, I didn’t exactly expect anything I found to go much of anywhere, they are all dead-ends in Alaska, and sooner more usually than later. But up the road a ways I remembered seeing a sign that looked to be well worth checking out too.



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    Just a small little 2-track type but it was beautiful, with everything glistening in the sun from the recent shower and beams of sun light shining on the red tundra surrounding ponds of deep blue.




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    But like all the rest, it deadened waaaaaay before I wanted it to.





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    At least there were some Y’s, or perhaps T’s that I passed on the way in, so I obviously had to see them dead-end too.




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    However, the rain looked like it was coming for me again and I was getting a little nipply, so I threw on my extra layer and snapped a quick shot of my beloved slug.




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    And I even had another dead-end to see still too.




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  8. AK Smitty

    AK Smitty Self life coach

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    474
    Location:
    Somewhere in South America
    Yo I think that is my good buddies dog that lives in Girdwood. Chewy is everywhere haha. I live in AK I am currently riding from Portland OR to Phoenix via PCH. Good story look forward to getting further into it when I get off the road.:ricky
  9. EJ_92606

    EJ_92606 Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,792
    Lemme guess, is that a Zumo that is showing PCH taking you to Phoenix? :-):huh:lol3
    just kidding, have a great ride...wish I were doing it!
  10. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    That is hilarious, I definitely never saw anything even slightly resembling the ugliness of the little Rat.

    Thanks! Have a blast, the Oregon Coast is amazing and check out the dirt road from Tortilla Flats out of PHX if you get a chance. The Superstition Mountains are nice, happy travels!
  11. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    ha!
  12. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    After the last dead-end on the Maclaren River Road, I moseyed back to the highway and the blue skies came to greet me.



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    Then I motored up to the mighty Malaren Pass.



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    It is kind of easy to miss if you are not paying attention to the signs, and after a quick shot for proof, or something, I rolled on in search for something more.

    I pulled off a couple places, looking for the good stuff but again they were either too boggy or didn’t look like they went anywhere. But then, after some searching, I found something that looked good. The only problem was there was a big stream crossing right out of the gate just a hundred yards (m) or so after it left the road. And it looked deep and rocky.

    I suppose if I was a real ADVrider I might have gotten off, walked across checking the depth to set up cameras on the other side to record the river crossing. Although compared to everything else in Alaska, it was much more of a stream crossing, but I didn’t even take a picture. I had other things to worry about instead.

    Riding alone, you cannot take on risks the same way you otherwise would. It looked like it could be good on the other side, more of an ATV trail than the graded type I had been on for most of the day. But I didn’t exactly have oil with me if I needed a quick change due to a mishap on the crossing. And I didn’t want to do anything dumb out there by myself. But I looked up and there was a camp with a couple guys cooking dinner just up the hill. I could see they had an ATV or something and seemed to be watching me ponder the crossing. The thing that made it a go was that there were tracks through, and they looked like ATV tracks, so I figured if an ATV can make it so can my squatty KLR.

    It is kind of like standing atop a cliff, with a snowboard (or skis) strapped to your feet, looking down and checking the landing before leaping. It gets your adrenaline pumping and the longer you think about it the harder it is to just go for it. So after I decided it was doable I didn’t hesitate too much and went for it. On river crossings, the key is never too fast and never too slow, feet on the pegs and just go. And about half way through my front found a large bolder, bouncing my front to the left a foot or two. So I dabbed my foot, kept on the gas, made a slight adjustment and continued on to the other side. I was definitely wondering if I was going to make it that time.

    Once on the far bank, with a soaked boot and toes sloshing around, the riding got goooood. It was beautiful with blue skies in most directions.



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    The trail went up and skirted around a little pond.



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    Then it headed through a little saddle, or more of a small valley. It was nice to be riding on something where you actually had to pick a line on again.



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    But it was short lived, barely a mile or two before it ended in a boulder field half constructed, so I turned around and headed back.



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    I have to admit, after the near mishap on the way through the stream the first time, I was sweating crossing back a little, but it went smooth as butter, albeit completely submerging my front in the process.

    On the other side the guys at the camp, just up the little rise from the river, were still out so I pulled over to chat. They seemed to be pretty surprised I survived the crossings. Apparently it wasn’t an ATV track I saw, rather a side-by-side with a snorkel. I really should have caught that one. But they said they were ready to give me a hand if I needed it. Super cool guys they were, like all the rest of the Alaskans I met on the trip; the types to drop everything and give you a hand if you need it, no matter what the inconvenience to them.

    Apparently they were building the trail back there and that is why it just ended in the middle of the boulder field. They said there was a lake back there the trail will eventually go to. I thanked them for helping make AK more rideable and headed out before it got too dark.

    I pulled over after a bit, to take a quick picture of yet another amazing sunset, and warm my hands on the engine cases for a moment or two.



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    Then motored back towards Cantwell, and kept my eyes peeled for my next day’s adventure. The reason I came back up here in the first place. Then snapped one more pick on the long wooden bridge and pulled into camp in the dark.



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    Maybe I was just a FAKE, but having a furnace to dry out your soaked boots at night and a warm dry bed without any set-up or searching is pretty nice. The Rat roamed around for a while as I cooked up some quick food, then I hit the sack excited for the next day’s adventure.
  13. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    I laid In bed for a while the next morning, listening to truck after truck head up the highway out of Cantwell. There was a lot more traffic than I had seen before. After a while I got up out of the warm bed and checked out my boots, luckily they were mostly dry. I had put them up in front of the furnace for quite some time the night before and it had worked. I wasn’t in too much of a rush, letting it warm up a bit before I hopped on the bike. After breakfast I grabbed my typical extra layers, rain gear, and a pack lunch and headed into Cantwell to get some gas before heading out.



    At the gas station there was an old KLR and a new BMW 800 gassing up as well. They were headed into the restraint for breakfast and invited me to join; I decided I wasn’t in too much of a rush so I decided to sit for a minute. The one on the KLR was from the Midwest or something like that and the older fellow was German. They had met up on the road and had been traveling for a while together. We had chatted about our trips; the German had shipped his new GS 800 to Toronto and was headed back and the other was on his way back home too. I mentioned something about what I was about to ride, but they didn’t look like the off-road types and had distance to cover. After they ate and I had my coffee, we bid farewell and headed out the same direction.



    Just a little ways past the truck I saw a little path off to the right, so I turned around to investigate. It was a little ATV trail that went for a bit then turned up a steep hill. It looked like it would go for a ways and may be worth continuing on. The only problem was the turn right before the little hill didn’t give way for much of an in-run to gain speed. And actually the hill was not that little, a couple hundred feet, unrelenting. But, the main problem was the KLR doesn’t have much suspension. You have to be careful to not let it launch you of a bump hurling off the trail, momentum is everything but you have to control it. I made it up half way or more before I lost my momentum and stopped on the steep grade. I put her in gear and stood her up on the kickstand then set off on foot to see what I could find. The little path went up a ways then circled back to the right and paralleled the highway on the hill. I wanted to see if it was something worth trying to get up, but after a short ways it seemed to turn back down and loop back to the highway.



    I walked back to the bike and turned it around, laying it over, turning the bars hard, and backing it around perpendicular to the hill. The trail was small enough to where the rear was off in the bushes and I lost my footing, dropping it to the up-hill side. I remember thinking it was a shame, to have let my handlebars touch the ground for the first time like that. But I figured I couldn’t complain since I had almost 19,000 miles (30,500K) on it. But, little did I know how well acquainted they would be getting the next day.



    I picked the slug back up and headed back down the hill to the highway, figuring that it wasn’t worth another try. It didn’t take too long to pass the other guys again. As I was flying down the road all the sudden some young buck tried to race me. I decided to let him win; the race went on for a while and I didn’t trust that he would stay in his lane for some reason so I yielded.


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    Then I noticed on the right a big trailer setting up on a hill, overlooking the valley, attaching a mounted gun. It looked like an over-sized sniper rifle from a video game, but I kept rolling to the big wooden bridge. Just a little ways from the bridge, on the Paxson side I believe, there the back of a stop sign for the people turning onto the highway. I turned off in search of what I had gone there for.



    I kept going and going, a lot further than I thought, following the river for a while then turning up a valley. Then I saw a some no trespassing signs and one saying no admittance without a guide, but that was only if you took the right fork so I took the left. It started climbing then I knew I had found it. The road had turned to more of a jeep trail with a rock or two here and there and kept climbing up some switchbacks. Happy that I had found it, I then looked for a good place to stop for a bite of food. I set down the helmet and then looked up, it appeared I had a guest.




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    After lunch with the caribou, I snapped a shot of the bike in the grandeur, and had some fun.



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  14. EJ_92606

    EJ_92606 Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,792
    Loving this....:lurk
  15. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    Panama Highlands
    OK, it has been said before, but I'd like a little clarification. Your pics are amazingly sharp, detailed, and colorful, the best I have seen from a mid-range P&S! Can you tell me about your post processing? Is there a "Vivid" setting on the camera? How much do you sharpen, and boost saturation? With this kind of results, we might as well leave the DSLR's at home!
  16. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    EJ_92606 &#8211; Thank you kindly good Sir!



    Chiriqui Charlie &#8211; I can share a bit. I have tried a few things but Tina has a Mac and I have found that iPhoto is my favorite. I messed around with Picasa a little and Cannon Digital Photo Pro but they are missing the &#8220;definition&#8221; tool. That brings it out the best. I don&#8217;t use PhotoShop or anything like that.

    Sharpness just adds a bunch of white and makes things look fake I have found, but the definition tool is what I go heavy on. I try to not use the other adjustments much, minimal saturation, and contrast is the only other one I put on heavy occasionally. That is my secret.












    I was a little held up on the report this weekend by some mechanic&#8217;n. I got suckered into the Doohickey replacement, but maybe I shouldn&#8217;t say that, Mike and his friends may beat me up. Although I do admire his entrepreneurialism, mine was in perfect condition and in no need of a replacement. I hammer on that engine too. It was sounding a little looser than it used to and with 25k (40,220 km) it needed a good once through. I can&#8217;t say the Doohickey was a complete waste in my situation, the new spring did tighten up the second balancer chain a bit, it will be interesting to see if I can tell the difference. The $12 additional spring was a definite waste though, but that is just my 2 cents.

    I also took two-thousandths of an inch (.05 mm) off all the valve shims to get them off the minimum thresholds. I was planning on throwing in a new cam chain too, since I had it in my hands, but it was still in factory new tolerances. But, enough of that, back to the irregularly scheduled program now.
  17. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    It must have been fun to be the old miner driving the backhoe to make the trails back there. Heading up the valley and pointing at a hill. A switchback here and a hill climb there, another hill there, oops, too steep there better turn around here, going from one hill to the next and the next. I didn’t see any holes in the ground; it looked like he never dug down up there. Not sure if he found gold on the hills, but he made a good little bit of outstanding dualsport riding though. Not sure I would want to do it on a GS, some of it is a little steep and rocky for a street bike, not that you couldn’t do it I’m sure, but perfect on a squatty KLR.



    After I followed all his tracks to all the dead-ends, I saw that the only other track was headed down the next valley into the mine. However, it was far from quitting time and it was just too much fun, I had to do it all again.



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    I stopped to admire the view, and take a moment let it digest, and noticed my buddy from lunch had met back up with his friends.



    It was peaceful, as though they knew that it was their last lunch in safety, moving closer and closer to the refuge in Denali, safe from the hunting season that began the following day. Or who knows, maybe not close enough.



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    But I wished them the best of luck and headed for the next hill-climb and vista and then the next and the next…



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    It is amazing how fast the sky can change its mood, I could definitely make a reference here but I might get in trouble. But, I wasn’t too worried about getting a little wet or putting on the old rubber suit, I let the trusty MSR Gore-Tex, or whatever Malcolm uses these days, do its job. Although, after a few trips down to Baja they aren’t as good as they used to be; but I have to keep my mind off that subject this time of year without a trip planned.



    Since there weren’t any ugly signs telling me not to from this side, I cruised through the mine on the way out. One of those explore every road urges I suppose. Now I guess you could say I am a bit hypocritical, I may have given someone a little bit of a hard time, trying to get a point across on his post here the other day. Now, I’m not perfect, and the situation was a bit different, but I putted through, smiling and waving to all the miners. That was after I stopped to take a picture of another pretty rainbow of course.



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    You know when getting there seems to take a whole lot longer than getting back? Well, this time it was completely opposite. It seemed like it took forever to get back to the highway, it was up there a bit further than I had thought. I kept rolling and rolling and finally I came to the stop sign and headed for the pull-off by the bridge for a second before blasting up the dirt highway.



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    On the way back, it seemed like every possible pull-of had a RV and a hunter, all getting ready. I saw the guys with the 50 caliber sniper rifle mounted on a wooden shack built on a trailer again and they gave me a wave. So, I decided to pull over and see what was going on. I felt a little odd asking them for a picture, not that they would have minded I’m sure, but they were the ones that confirmed the caribou hunting season started the next day.



    After a quick chat, I headed back to camp, packed up and rolled south then turned off towards Petersville, stopping in the dark at the first decent looking spot a few miles after the pavement ended.
  18. Tall Mike

    Tall Mike TAT Rookie (planning!)

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    542
    Location:
    Northeast Oregon
    I think timing is also your friend for photographs... Those little passing showers wet things down and make the color pop. The clouds are controlling the light and adding a dynamic element to the sky and the landscape...Most people aren't wandering around in the rain taking photos, but these little squals are helping you out. Awesome work! :evil
  19. NHADV

    NHADV Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    555
    Location:
    Gilford N.H.
    Thanks for sharing pictures they are awesome. It looks like you had a great time. I have always wanted to go. Hope the career end works out for you. If not being laid off doesn't look that bad lol. -Gary
  20. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    Tall Mike &#8211; Thanks! I definitely had a ton of help by the surroundings, the clouds keep changing, the shadows and light are always moving quickly, and the sun stays low in the sky for a lot longer. I just tried to do a halfway decent job of capturing it. I&#8217;m sure I have said it a thousand times but it is truly an amazing place. Good luck getting up there one day, it is only 3,000 miles from Denver and you are a lot closer than me:D.




    NHADV &#8211; Thanks a million, glad you are enjoying it! I love the new career and its freedom, but it is easy to see why it is hard finding a job when you are getting paid about the same as the other jobs out there to not work for up to two-plus years. It is a little too good of a deal perhaps, but forget the politics, I have some more riding to post.