Hatcher Pass Alaska -or- "Why did I sell my dual sport bike???"

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by themocksta, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. themocksta

    themocksta Lost in this place

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    91
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    First, a little background.

    I am in the last year of my schooling to become a pharmacist. We have to do a certain amount of hours (in blocks called "rotations") at different facilities in order to graduate. At my school in Omaha, Nebraska, 1/2 of those rotations (so 4 five week blocks) can be done outside of the area (the "area" stretches from roughly Lincoln, NE to Des Moines, IA...not the most interesting country.) So I chose to do 2 of these "rotations" in Alaska, one in Colorado, one in Oregon. All great places to ride.

    I didn't think about how much it would cost to get the bike I had (a Suzuki DRZ400s) to Alaska because I assumed I'd be riding it there. When it became apparent that wouldn't happen due to time constraints, I looked into having it shipped and realized shipping it there and back would cost significantly more than I paid for the bike. :huh

    I was not too hot on the DRZ anyway, having rode it out to colorado last october with a couple of guys. It had the deathwings still on it and pretty much sucked to ride between the crap tires, the handling issues and the seat. (The trip was a great time in spite of the bike.) So I sold it.

    Fast forward to now, I have been in Anchorage for a little over 7 weeks, with only a bicycle as transportation. I don't want to see a bicycle for a very long time after this summer. They are terrible as a source of transportation.

    One very nice ADVer (AlaskaSolstice) who works at the hospital I am currently at asked me if I wanted to go riding with him to Hatcher Pass and of course I was not going to turn that down.

    By now you are thinking - get on with it - I dont care about this other crap I want to see pics of riding!!! :deal

    OK......If you insist...
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    So....AlaskaSolstice lent me his KLR 650 and he used his son's KLR.
    I had never been on a KLR before then...I ride mostly street with my Z1000 and so I haven't been on a lot of dual sport bikes. But the KLR :eek1 It was like riding a cloud compared to the DRZ I had. And it had....HANDLING! :clap
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    We left Anchorage at 11 ish, rode the 1 up to Palmer (a fairly uneventful 35 or so miles of slab...it is pretty but definitely not as good as going south out of Anchorage IMHO). You take Fish hook Rd which is a paved road but is much more twisty than the road we were on before. A couple of almost hairpin turns, but mostly just curvy.

    Then at the end of this road is a mining operation place and a lodge that you can stay at. Very scandinavian looking. I expected to see someone on the side of the road yodeling. Then the fun began...turned on to hatcher pass road. This road was gravel in most sections, dirt in others and was steep in places. After stopping a few times we get to the top.

    You want pics??
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    A cool little lake at the top

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    A photo of my ugly mug...:wave

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    It was pretty decently windy at the top

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    Stopped to watch a paraglider try to get going ... he was having a little bit of performance anxiety with the two of us watching... (he couldn't get it up...the glider, you sick bastard.:evil)

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    Went down the other side of the pass and then rode all the way till the road turns back to pavement, which is a decent ways. Saw a lot of ATVs and trucks down there. We decided to come back the way we came in, back up over the pass. (Hatcher Pass is 3850 ish feet, Palmer is about 250 ish for reference.) Decided to check out a side road this time up to an old abandoned mine shaft. I say road in the loosest way possible. By road I mean "group of medium sized rocks randomly put together to resemble a semi-straight line." It was a fun section, had to take it a little bit slower than we were taking the rest, but got up to the mine shaft.

    The end of this road - actually looks like a real road. Don't be fooled, the rest of it is rocks and mud puddles. (Mud puddles :tb)

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    Upon arriving at the mine shaft, I promptly stepped in dog crap. My first thought is - who went to all the trouble to bring their dog all the way up here :huh.
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    And here is the man (AlaskaSolstice) himself.

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    Got down the pass and had a pretty uneventful ride back down the 1. Trip took about 5 hours total...we were lolly gagging around though, time was not an issue.

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    In conclusion: "Hatcher Pass....so easy, themocksta could do it!" :rofl

    In related news, I'm looking for a KLR when I get back to the oppressively hot Midwest. (KLR...:tb)
    Thanks to AlaskaSolstice for showing me a good time!!
    #1
  2. eemsreno

    eemsreno Super Tenere Rider.

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,766
    Location:
    On your way to everywhere, Batavia, IA.
    Thanks for the pictures. I hope to be up there in a couple weeks riding that road.
    #2
  3. west bound

    west bound Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Colorado
    Lookin good! That klr looks like it means business, as for the the glider dude :eek1
    #3
  4. themocksta

    themocksta Lost in this place

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    91
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    Ok added some pics that AlaskaSolstice gave me today. They are edited in to the previous post

    Yeah haha...I always wondered what happens when you get up there in the clouds and there is no more wind??
    #4