Salt Lake to Alaska and back

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by pluric, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Salt Lake
    I thought I had better do this before I forget everything. Fortunately my riding companion,
    Greg, had sent some trip emails home and I can refresh my memory with them.
    I had originally planned to take the KLR alone on this
    trip. The family was not amused and Greg stepped up to save the day and
    the trip. Now the problem was I felt that my KLR would not keep
    up on the pavement with his new, bought for this trip, 06 GS1200. I already
    owned a DL1000 V Strom so I started to do a few more farkles on it to be
    ready for our July 5th departure date.
    On a family trip to Moab the end of April I did one of those stupid, dumb, idiot,
    no reason for it to happen crashes on my DR400. Broke my Tib/Fib and cut my arm to the bone.
    My first thought was "Aw shit, I won't be going to
    Alaska" Okay, maybe it was my second thought. I'd broken my other leg on a trials bike and really thought "Not again!"
    I had promised myself I was going this year and did not want such a "minor" set back damper my plans.
    A neighbor lent me one of those "Rascal" electric chairs you see on TV and it allowed me to wheel around
    the Strom to complete my preparations.
    As a shameless plug they really do turn on a dime and made it possible for me to survive in the garage.
    This is the, I thought over loaded until I visited the packed bike thread, Strom just before leaving.

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    #1
  2. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    I had not ridden with Greg for over 10 years. We had gone
    to Canada with a small group and I had turned into this
    Harley bashing as#hole most of the trip. I think I made it
    miserable for all who where there. He and others of course
    were on the Harleys. Furtunately time heals and the fact
    our wifes are best friends. So off we went. We had no set
    itinerary, no reservations just a hi-lited map with a suggested
    route. My favorite way to travel.
    This would be our first night, camped by the Salmon river, there
    was one other bike, we would meet them in the morning, they were
    out cold in their tent.

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    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    This sounds like a great trip :thumb

    :lurk
    #3
  4. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    Location:
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    Beautiful day just motoring through Montana. We stopped in
    White Fish for lunch. While munching away I noticed on the TV
    that a wicked storm was suppose to be coming our way. I thought
    "No way, it's beautiful outside" We talked for awhile and thought time
    to head up the road. We exited into a whole other world. It was like
    Twilight Zone. I could not believe how much the weather had changed,
    unfortunatetly for the worse. I was still in denial and didn't suit up.
    10 minutes later we were treated to Mother Natures best. I had
    never been in marble size hail before. It hurt so bad. Zero visability.
    Some how Greg spotted a home with a carport on the side of the road
    and we splashed our way under it.

    I forgot to mention, my leg had not healed enough so I had to ride with
    the medical boot on. It mainly meant no rear brake and my foot was wet
    for 80% of the ride. A Harley rain gator helped, but it would just come in the back.

    Attached Files:

    #4
  5. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    This is Greg waiting out the worst of the storm.
    It looks like the camera caught some of the
    Monster hail balls!

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    #5
  6. v8turbo

    v8turbo When in Doubt.... Gas it.

    Joined:
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    Location:
    SoCal
    nice pics so far... need more!
    #6
  7. Dread

    Dread Putt-Putt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
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    Location:
    Moscow, ID
    :lurk
    #7
  8. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    The storm lost most of it's momentum and we moved on.
    This time I was hiding in my Kilimanjaro and a widder vest!
    I can't tell you how nice it is to discover your riding with
    someone who has such similar riding style. It didn't matter
    the speed, the distance whatever Greg would always be willling
    to do what was needed to "Go with the flow". It made it so much
    more fun as a ride.
    We arrived at Radium Hot Springs and looking at the BMW's rear tire
    I informed Greg that I felt it's time was up. He spent some quality time
    on the phone that ended up with us back tracking to Cranbrook Motorsports
    for some new BMW rear rubber. Fantastic dealership. I felt they had us in
    and out in a very reasonable amout of time. Back to Radium we head.
    It was a "Had to be there moment" but here Greg and I are feeling we
    are these big "Adventure Tourer" guys going to Alaska. Top of the line
    world class bikes, well the BMW anyway, set up to the max.
    The right clothes, boots, gloves, GPS, maps, Milepost book etc.....
    When into the gas station we were at pulls in a Honda VLX600, the rider is in a grey sweat suit and Moon boots.
    I haven't seen those in years. This poor bike is loaded down with anything that can be strapped to the factory
    chrome rack. I own one of these bikes! I know how crappy it would be for
    a ride like this. Talk about letting the wind out of your sails. I was laughing
    at myself for having the ego to think I needed all this to travel. I got talking
    to the guy, very friendly by the way, he has family in Alaska and had been
    there 30+ times but never on a bike. He knew what he was doing is my point.
    After that I tried not to take myself so serious. It's kinda like when the
    tabloids make a big deal when a celebrity has a baby and act like
    it's never happened before. Oh my god, how are they ever going
    to able to raise the poor child with only three nannies???
    I digress.
    I have been through this area 6 or 7 times in the past. I love it. There
    is a beautiful Provincial campground in Radium so we stayed there.

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    #8
  9. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    This was our first, of many, bear encounters. Coming up the road
    we saw cars pulled over so like the good "sheeple" we are we
    pulled over to see what was the fuss. There was a black bear
    rambling along the left side of the road. I'm struggling in excited
    idiocy to get the camera out of the bag. Greg had pulled in front of me
    to get out of the road. For what ever reason the bear decides to
    cross the street. Keep in mind this is our first bear sighting and it
    is close to us. The bear walks right in front of Greg's bike. Look
    close in his rear view mirror. That is the total look of "Shock and Awe"
    that Bush tried to achieve in Iraq.

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    #9
  10. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    Just up the road we ran into another bear photo opp.
    This big ole black bear was just meandering along the
    side of the road right by my right side. I had this great
    plan to put the camera strap around my neck so that if
    the bear even looked at me I could let the camera go,
    drop it in gear and take off. Yeah, best laid plans. I'm
    sitting there composing the shot and the Strom goes
    sputter, spit, chug and runs out of gas. Worse, out of the
    woods comes three cubs. I have flash backs of the cardinal
    rule of being between a mother bear and her cubs. Shhhiiiit
    Turns out the mother could have cared less. Those cubs were
    so cute. They had so much energy. It was just like National
    Geographic. They were up the tree and down tumbling and
    slapping each other. My photos are a little blurred because
    I was anxious over no escape plan and the fact they were
    so dang fast.

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    #10
  11. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    One of the cubs

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    #11
  12. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    This is Greg, the mother bear and one of the cubs.
    this whole country is a cageless zoo! It's so cool.

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    #12
  13. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    I didn't realize how long legged these guys are.
    You get them out of the tall grass and they have
    some runway model legs going on. Okay, bad analogy
    but they are long.

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    #13
  14. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    Somewhere outside of Banff I got seperated from Greg.
    I figured we would meet again somewhere along the road.
    There is a very nice restaurant right by the train tracks
    near Lake Louise. Mission style furniture and a scenic
    setting. Really, what isn't scenic in this area? Heavy
    traffic in this neighborhood. Big tourist area. I got my
    token Lake Louise photo opp. I speak a little Japanese
    so it was fun to see the expression on the Japanese
    kids face when I asked him to take my picture.
    "Shashin o tote mo yodroshi desu ka" I hope
    thats what I asked. Probably me handing a camera towards
    him and pointing to the lake meant more than all my bad Japanese.

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    #14
  15. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    I'm sorry, number one I'm not terribly great on a computer,
    number two I have not joined a web hosting program so
    it's one photo at a time and I took so many it's a shame
    I can't share more without feeling I've monopolized this site.
    It is a glorious ride up to the Ice fields and glaciers. Animals,
    waterfalls views that go on forever. This has always been a
    favorite of mine right on the side of the road.

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    #15
  16. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    We ran into several herds, small groups?, of different
    animals. These guys seemed to be everywhere. Traffic
    had thinned out too, I was happy about that.

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    #16
  17. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    I don't believe Greg's herding skills are that great.
    As you can see this was a pretty good weather day.
    We had hit some sort of rain or worse everyday
    since leaving Salt Lake. Now that we were in cooler
    country the need for wearing warm dry gear made
    it nice because you didn't have to stop to gear up.
    It was while I was stopped on the side off the road
    to get a photo opp and add the widder vest that Greg
    came up the road after not seeing him for many hours.

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    #17
  18. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    Now that's a big glacier! Up in ice field country now.
    They have these big all wheel drive buses that will take
    you out on the glacier. We passed on the idea. Being from
    the land of "The Greatest Snow On Earth" (Utah) we have
    had the opportunity to walk on frozen water. What I love the
    most about this area and continuing North is coming over
    a rise and seeing ten more mountain ranges. It never stops!
    You ride and ride and ride and it's different yet the same.
    Just huge grins and nothing better to do than try and catch
    the next mountain range. You know how on hot roads you see
    the "water mirage" and try to catch them and they just keep moving
    up the road. That's how the Great North is, just one mountain range
    after another with either a river or a lake on each side of you. Spectacular!

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    #18
  19. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    Whats this?, suddenly I feel like I'm in Yellowstone.
    For some reason I didn't expect buffalo this far North.

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    #19
  20. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    I was starting to become a stupid tourist. After seeing
    several bears walking along the side of the road and not
    giving a second look it at us it seemed that they could care less
    if you are there or not. The new plan became pull over
    when you see a motorhome(s) pulled over further up the
    road and wait for the animal to come to you. Gives you time
    to get the camera stuff out and just enjoy watching the animal
    mosey by, bears anyway. This shot was of two junior size grizzlys
    just out for a stroll. The one ended up so close that I could have
    hit him with a weak spit. Pretty stupid I know, but you get thinking
    about how great a shot this will be and forget what a great dinner
    you might be.

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    #20