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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Parepin, Feb 13, 2011.
Please keep this up, I am enjoying it!
Still here and waitin' !
Parepin ... we're dyin here bud ... :huh
People gotta work for a living, and RR's take a lot of time. I'm sure he'll be back soon, I hope
and we will be here waitin.
I'm still here, and have every intention on continuing this story. I hesitate to say "finish", because... well, I don't want it to end. With my departure on my next great adventure a couple of days away, I've been putting my all into getting ready. That on top of 12hr/day shifts, 7 days a week doesn't give me time to relax long enough for any real writing. No worries you guys.
I know how it goes. Good luck with the new trip, and please continue! I wish I could tag along in actuality, but family obligations make it impossible. So instead, I follow along vicariously, thank you for taking the time to do this. Looking forward to more.
must be heading south? please be south of the border.. please!
Nooooooooooooooooooo! This can't be all of it!
Great read, really connecting with this report - thanks for sharing and keep going.
Can't wait to see the new trip.
Relax, it's not. To be honest, there's still a good four or so months left on this trip, plus a coast to coast 5 day run. Plenty to write, just gotta get to it! Hang in there.
Parepin, I know you have heard this a million times already but my hat is off to you! I found the RR yesterday and like a good book, I CAN'T STOP READING! The last place you stopped heading north was at the Coldfoot camp just before you saw the overturned car and I must say you have quite the eye for a photo! The way you captured the landscape shows the vastness of the place and I've never been there! Once again, KUDOS on a fantastic adventure! You have just added fuel to the fire my friend! I'M GOIN'!
I've got some teaser pics for you guy's... I'll try to post 'em up 2mro... Parepin and his sidekick Ian stopped in a couple day's back to rest up and do some maintenance an their way to BAJA Mehiho.
Both sporting fresh 705 kits curtesy of Schnitz Racing, and some of the finest gear garbling I've ever seen. Parepins bike is as svelt as it's EVER been he IS packing light!
He plans to work on finishing this RR and then tag the Baja ride on the end...I figure they'll still be there next summer and plan to ride down and drag 'em both to SA then across to Afriiiica! Their try'n to get me to ride down now buuut I got a leeetle more to do before stetting out. You should have seen the smiles on their faces... heading down the BRP to Outer Banks as we speak then some TAT action...
They said to tell you all....:fyyff
Just finished page 1 and poured another drink. This may be a long night. On to page 2.
Gimme, gimme, gimme
Your eyes do not deceive you. This is an update. Please stay seated and remain calm...
I awoke the next morning just as Billy and Rae were heading out for work. I packed my crap and stepped out into the morning dew, going toe to toe with their not-so-friendly wolf mix as I idled to temp. I donned my helmet, double checked the luggage and clicked into first. I was headed towards Homer. I remember the town from the year before, and to be honest there wasn't much to report. A great sight, don't get me wrong on that. The spit of land seemed to be surrounded on three sides by a distant mountain landscape, but with the weather the way it was I didn't hold out much hope of actually seeing much this time around.
The ride in remained uneventful, as I'd expected. At least the weather was holding off. Coming around one bend, off the main highway and well into this leg towards Homer, I encountered a dense wall of fog looming ahead of my. With a smirk on my face, I pinned the throttle and gave a hell of a war cry as I rocketed into the mist. It... well, it just seemed appropriate.
The entire time south of Anchorage, I kept my eye out for a place where I could score a replacement inner tube. I'm not a big fan of riding unprepared. Even sans luggage, I've usually got tools, replacement hardware, tools, parts, and an assortment of tools strategically mounted to the bike here and there. Being short a tube weighed heavy on my shoulders, but I never did have much luck finding a replacement. Oh well, it'd hafta wait until I returned to Anchorage. At least I had my patch kit.
Anywho, back in Homer I ran the road to the very end. This little piece of land stretches way out into the water, known as Homer Spit. I hit the end of the spit and tooled around a bit, scoping out some of the tourist attractions but never actually entering any of them, really. I took the time to snap a panorama then just headed back. The air still had a bit of a chill to it even in the afternoon light, so I stopped in at a local Cafe for 45 minutes or so to mooch some WiFi and get my caffeine fix. I wish I could report more, but there just wasn't much of anything exciting going on. It was just a fishing town at the end of the road, a place to drive to and from.
Heading north again I took as many back roads as I could. I just hadta mix it up. This whole up and down shit is bullshit I commented later into my voice recorder. I happened to stumble down onto a somewhat remote beach where I parked the bike and just layed back against the dry bag, feet up on my bars and tunes rockin. It wasn't too long, however, before a guy about my age wanders over from just around the brush. He introduced himself as Zach and invited me over to his campsite to talk bike and some of the rides we'd done. As it turns out, Zach had a pretty nice setup. I recall there being an F-150 with a popup camper in the bed, a trailer in tow with a next gen KLR carefully strapped to the back. He was touring Alaska a bit, visiting with his sister who soon stuck her head out of the camper for introductions. I believe his parents were in the state as well, though I forget where he said he was originally from. They had just packed up camp after spending the night in the area and were about to head out as I came in.
So we bullshitted around a bit, checking out each others rides. Zach ended up handing off a few frozen filets of some fresh caught fish of some sort to me, to which I haphazardly wrapped in a T-shirt and stuck in my side box. Just before pulling out, he informed me of a beach just up the road towards Anchorage known as Clam Gulch. This was apparently the place to be when it comes to beach riding and he seemed eager to have me join in for a night of rooster tails. I hesitated for a moment, but agreed in the end. I don't seem to have any pictures of either Zach or his sister. I guess I'm just not too cool with shoving cameras in peoples faces. With that, Zach pulled away and I just kinda mulled around. He would later get ahold of me through Adventure Rider and this very ride report. HEY BUDDY!
Alrighty. Back on the road again after a nice break to contemplate my next move. It was still early, and while the previous beach would have been an awesome campsite there was just too much daylight left to pitch camp. It wasn't long, maybe an hour or so if that, before I would pull off once again and find myself bombing down an embankment at unfortunate speeds and cratering into the soft sand. There was no sign of Zach or the rig, so I just kinda tooled around a bit. This would be my first real encounter with sand, and with a fully loaded KLR with highway gearing it made for a different kind of experience. I roostered around, down around a lagoon and up the far side. Down the beach a ways I stumbled upon what looked to be a trailer on piers, well into a state of disrepair. I poked around a bit and declared this my camp for the night. As I pitched the tent and took some photos Zach happened down onto the beach at the far end. A welcome sight for sure.
After settling in a bit and unloading some gear I doubled back towards the camping rig just as he unloaded the KLR. Mounting up we headed out. The tide receded quite a bit by this time and we were left with a wide open expanse of nicely moistened sand to rip and tear through. I struggled for a bit while Zach seemed to just float along. We pulled aside where I got some pointers on sand riding that really improved my control. Before long we were both flying along at highway speeds chasing every minute of the quickly fading evening light. We had to have run 10 or 12 miles of beach before we hit a feeder stream which forced us back to the highway for a return trip. The bikes were hosed off, somewhat stealthily behind a deserted bar where, minutes later, we would both find ourselves seated for a round or two of Alaskan lager. I can't believe I've no pictures of the ride.
Back at camp, we exchanged info and shot the shit a bit more. Still amped over the ride, I was eagerly invited to join Zach once he got back towards Anchorage. I really had no idea what my schedule was looking like, and to be honest I was looking forward to just spending some time mulling around the AK Rider shop and layin some miles with Ariel. I told him to keep me posted when he got back into town and we'd take it from there. With that, I said my farewells and trudged back in the night air to my trailer, my home away from home. And that was that.
I had kind of a weird night that night. I remember waking up several times throughout the night to... something. It couldn't have been animals or anything like that. I had marked all entrances to the trailer as my territory, and there's nothin on god's green earth that's gonna mess with that. It was the ocean. The ocean was just so goddamn loud. The next morning, when I finally rolled out of the tent well after breakfast, I would notice the mark the tide had left in the sand, ending a few yards from where I'd had the bike parked and right up to the piers. That what if's still make me cringe to this day. Just a pair of handlebars sticking out of the sand... yeesh.
I had apparently missed seeing Zach and his sister off that morning, which is kinda typical me. Slept in way too late. I packed up and tractored up the sandy embankment and back to the highway. I stopped in Soldotna on the way back through still on the hunt for an inner tube. I also poked around a few of the pawnshops, too. Lookin at handguns of all things. Goddamn bears. Anyway, after a disappointing hunt I ended up at a fancy restaurant, scribbling in my journal:
Skipping around a bit here. I'm getting tired of this constant game of catch-up. (In regards to the journal entries.) Thought I'd jot down some immediate thoughts and observations rather than thinking back on events and such.
So I'm sitting here in The Bear's Den in some town between Homer and the junction (Soldotna), eating a $14 sandwich and I think I've picked up a thousand-yard stare. No thought, nothing going on. I lock on to something in the distance and that's it. I don't know if it's the cold playing tricks on me or what. I just feel exhausted, as usual. I hate sounding like a hypochondriac, but this shit can't be
normal. I'm on my third cup of fancy coffee and I've barely picked at my sandwich in front of me. I didn't even roll out of that suspended trailer on the beach until 12:30, which should be something like 12 or 13 hours of sleep but might as well have been 3. And I find myself wondering if I'm really cut out for this wandering, but my stubbornness won't let me answer with anything other than a quick DON'T BE A PUSSY It's not like I have any other options at this point, I'm in Alaska for Christ's sake.
I don't even really want to be around people anymore, shocker! I keep thinking back to The Lodge with Billy and Rae, when that cute girl tucked right up next to me at the empty bar. She was just looking to be friendly, piping into the conversation every now and then, and I almost completely ignored her. I practically put my back to her, never even got a name. And now, I feel like shit about it. I thought having Jim around might change that, maybe some of that openness and social attitude would rub off on me, but it's apparent now that it hasn't. If anything, with him jumping the gun on every social interaction and conversation, I just sat back and let it happen. The Quiet One. I'm not blaming him, but I should have put some effort into it. Instead, I hear the words I'm burn out coming from my mouth ever frequently. Burnt out from what? I'm lucky if I do 150-200 miles a day now, and often I'm just staying put. Laying around, napping, chilling, It doesn't make sense and only manages to fill my head with doubt and questions. Maybe I need to lay off the dope for awhile.
Okay, so I was kinda down. The weather was a big factor here. If there's one thing about living out of a tent that I've never gotten used to is when you've had a bad ride. You're wet, cold, and your gloves have picked up The funk, and you've no better conditions at the end of that last mile. No warm room or dry bed. There's no drying gear and all you can hope is that your dry bag held up and your down sleeping bag isn't damp. The weather was always overcast, which for some reason really bummed me out. I like a colorful countryside, not 37 shades of gray. And rain. Speaking of which, I believe it began to rain as I left the restaurant.
Back on the highway and heading north. I don't remember much of the ride. More than likely I just tucked in and let the miles pass beneath me. Just north of the Homer and Seward roads junction, I pulled over to, er... bleed the sea serpent. I picked up a text from Ariel here, too, and spent the next twenty minutes reclined back in a soaked sheepskin seat with a big grin on my face exchanging messages. What a pick me up.
We would meet up at the gas station just out of Girdwood, south of Anchorage. I followed the company van back into the mountains a bit as she dropped her co-worker Jason off, then doubed back to her place. We settled in, grabbed a few beers and watch a movie, Shutter Island. Jason stopped back out shortly thereafter, which I guess is an unheard of occurance, and hung out for a few as well. Egg scrambles were thrown together as we went through a stack of Nitro Circus DVDs, all while enjoying the greener side of life. Night fell, Jason wondered off, and Ariel and I settled back in for another round of movies. And all was right with the world.
Damn Jim, you just telling the story of your old buddy dying has my eyes all watered up! You cats are first class people and some of the greatest story tellers of ALL time. It's really cool that you flew all the way home and I KNOW your buddy knew you were there with him! KEEP IT UP MAN! YOU RULE!
Alex your back...
Great post there man, puts us right in the mood you we're feel'n and then ya hit us with... "maybe I need to give up the dope" I almost choked on that one
Thanx dude... Alex told me to get the hell outta AK and go help at home or he'd kick my ass sooo I went! :eek1
I'd hav'ta say Alex is one of the greater story tellers...I'm just learning