The Fool's Progress: Onwards-Upwards-Global on a 650gs

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Hunter-Douglas, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    So part of my job up here involves guiding some whitewater. I don't mind getting paid a bit to fly out on bush planes and row through spots like the Nizina river:

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  2. systemsfarm

    systemsfarm Adventurer

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    Sweet Summer....
    Keep the updates coming.
  3. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    I keep meeting fellow travelers on bikes here in McCarthy. Even saw a 650gs parked along the trail out to the glacier I walk for work. It's pretty rad being a small town where 4th of July just means ridiculous costumes, a parade and guys firing shells into the river bank. This town is off the grid, but definitely a place that is not even close to boring. There's some pretty great and also some pretty messed up stories from the locals out here.

    McCarthy is about 8 hours East from Anchorage into the Wrangell wild. The last 60 miles is dirt road from the town of Chitna to the "end of the road". A footbridge is the only real way into town after that, but it's wide enough for ATV's and bikes. Locals have cars they bring across the ice or the private bridge but the only out of town vehicles are people like us riding through AK. I've met a few crews from the midwest so far and love seeing you other guys riding out here and hearing your stories.

    I will warn you though- Everyone knows everyone and your bike might be the only unknown vehicle in the entire town at any given time. If you ride around faster than 10-20 mph through town or blow by the Miller's place on the way up to Kennicott you will get definitely some dirty looks from the locals and they'll know exactly where to find you to give you some shit.

    Figured I would toss that out there since I would have had zero idea and probably would have mobbed around with a grin on my face if I had rode right on into town without knowing how they did things here.

    But this is a rad place. Come check it out.
  4. mceee

    mceee Welcome to the dark side!

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    Really cool bro, I hope the summer brings you everything that you are looking for. Will be a cool story to tell for years to come regardless :)
  5. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    I sure hope so! If nothing else it should fund six months of riding every year in the off season. I'd love to hit the road for a few years straight, but I'm definitely not in a financial place to do that.

    Actually come to think of it I think I like the idea of six months on, six months off. The company I'm working for is great and with the money I make here should fund a solid 6 months on the roada year if I can keep to a 1k/ month lowish budget and travel the cheap direction. It would mean I would have to mostly spend my time in the southern hemisphere or equatorial regions November to April, but I think I can make that work. South America will be this off season, hopefully 6 months in Africa after next season. Work 6 months, play 6 months. Maybe I can circle the globe in for or so off seasons?
  6. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    I shot this video on a raft trip the other day. Icebergs be moving around up here.

    <iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/100072086" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/100072086">Iceberg Timelapse</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user27265141">Hunter Petersen</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
  7. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    A few more photos from a local climb here yesterday. Too much to do here to sit around on your days off, so I went and climbed fireweed mountain. It's the closest peak to my tarp and it's been taunting me for a while.

    The climb up involved about two thousand vertical feet of bush whacking. I'm hoping it's good training for South America, because if dense alder, bears and swarms of Mosquitos don't count for experience, I don't know what does.
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    After shouting into the brush to run the bears off for three hours you finally get to some open ridge line.
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    Another three thousand vertical of whacky ridge line and dinner plate scree takes you closer to the top.[​IMG]

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    But no matter how beat down you get in Alaska, she will always make up for it with views from the top.
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  8. Merlin III

    Merlin III Long timer

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    Very nice!
  9. LawMur

    LawMur Adventurer

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    Amazing pics!
  10. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    Thanks! And thanks for following along.
  11. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    Things are happening fast out here. I'm two months into the season and feels like the September finish is coming up real quick. We don't really get a lot of days off, which is fine by me as long as I keep making money for the off season.

    It's been hard to stay current on here when you're working 10-12 hour days that transition into immediate socialization with 20 other guides right after. I spent some time getting caught up on news and events here and it seems like a lot's been going on. Finally got current with Ed's thread only to see that it looks like he went rogue and got shut down. Interesting...
    Then there's Harry Devert. I'm never one to dwell on the bad possibilities, but it hits close to home when someone bites the dust doing the same thing in the same place you're planning on going. It won't deter me, but I'm definitely going to hit the language lessons as hard I can before heading across the border to Mexico this November. I've also gotten a few clients from Mexico City up here and pried them for all the advice I could.

    But I feel like it makes more sense to worry more about the realities of finances than anything else. I think that as long as I keep rolling along with the same attitude I've had since entering the workforce, I'll be ok.
    And that is: I don't need to make much, just as long as I spend less than I make. I don't care if my net worth is small, just as long as it's above $0.

    I'm really liking my gig up here. I'm pretty positive this will be my summer base to fund riding around Oct-April every year until I can cover the globe, even if it's just in 6-7 month increments. I'll also be up front as possible about the budget and finances, especially since everyone's usually curious (I am too). I think I should have around $6-7k for six months to ride to South America this season. That could be cutting it close with the Darien gap and having to fly back at the end of the season, but worse comes to worse I can buy the ticket on the credit card or dive into my huge nest egg 401k balance of $2200 bucks. Hopefully in future seasons I can save around $10k after I get a little more seniority here.

    It scares me when people say they spend $25k for a year on the road. I can't even fathom having that amount of cash around. My budget will be much closer to the $1k/ month range.
    Hope that works. Either way all I can do is save some bones, try and not go too crazy at the bar here and we'll see how far it gets me.
  12. LawMur

    LawMur Adventurer

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    I really admire those of you that do long-distance adventure riding on a budget (out of necessity). You may not have a massive nest egg, but you go on the ride anyway and things seem to sort themselves out somehow.
    It may be tough with the $1K per month budget, but it looks like it can be done if you minimize time in the touristy areas and free camp mostly. However, I am sure you know this better than I do.

    I have taken the other path. It has been all about career and building wealth for the last 30 years. I haven't gone on any multi-month adventures yet, but I am in a position do just about whatever I want now.

    Would I do it the same way again??? Well.... not exactly. The results are in; Experiences are more important to most people than is stuff & money.

    Keep doin' what yer doin'
  13. dirtykdx

    dirtykdx Adventurer

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    Yeah, this has me hooked as well. I'm a few years older. Staring 30 in the eye, only a month away. Taking my first trip longer than a few days (17) shortly after. Also on BMW 650 single (in husky trim), wanting to see Alaska. I'm already locked into the career and can't see myself being able to take more than 2 weeks at a time unless I get laid off or change companies. Had I realized this could be done back when I was laid off the first time, at the age of 24, I'd have been right there doing the same thing. I can't tell you how jealous I truly am. Not just the riding, the mountain guiding as well. I wanted to do that since back when I was in scouts, but it never worked out. The stories you gain will bring you smiles for years to come. Can't take those away.

    Sent from my LG-LS970 using Tapatalk
  14. Moto One

    Moto One Been here awhile

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    Hey Hunter, there are a few of us that hang at Wild Cheery's and Coffee And that would really like to hear your stores first hand if you happen to pass thru Truckee on your way South. Also you may be a little optimistic with the budget, but you know you best.

    Mark
  15. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    Hunter, Harry's story definatly would freak me out if I was heading south. Trust your instincts.....if an area/person feels wrong...get out of there!

    Glad you're doing well! Thanks for the pics:thumb
  16. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe RN

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    Hey Mark, I was once a "resident" at Wild Cherries every morning. When you go in this morning, tell Peter and the boys I say hello.

    Thanks for taking us along Hunter. PM me if you need a place when passing through the Bay Area.

    Jeff G.
  17. Moto One

    Moto One Been here awhile

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    I'll pass on the message to the boys on Monday morning.

    Mark.
  18. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    Found a quick bit of service here in chitina, AK. One of our long term guides got sick and had to pull out of a raft trip, so I got woken up early one morning and told to pack my bags for a 200 mile, 16 day source to sea expedition from Nizina Lake to Cordova. 7 days in, 8 more to go down the Copper River.
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    One client is doing the whole section. This is Don. Sometimes he goes rogue and makes the guides pancakes.
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  19. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    Mark, Jeff,
    Thanks for the offers and reminding me of my favorite place in Truckee. I'll definitely stop in for a few days to catch up with folks and share some stories.

    I never really did understand what the whole coffee bar craze was about anyway.
  20. Hunter-Douglas

    Hunter-Douglas rube

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    Figured I would throw up a few photos from where I've been the last few weeks. 16 days from Nizina lake to the Chitina river, then the Copper river to Cordova. The Chugach mountains of Alaska are breathtaking, vibrant and harsh all at once. And now, I have to admit there was a better way to see something than on the moto.
    More photos on the way...
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