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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DYNOBOB, Oct 10, 2016.
Awesome... Thanks for all the great advise.
Wow, I'm glad I spotted this report. Great pics and just the right amount of words. Alaska has been on the list for some time but is now quite a bit higher on that list! Thanks for taking the time to document and share. It can be a lot of work but is always worth it. Now I need to follow my own advice a little more.
Thanks guys! Seeing that so many enjoyed it is rewarding.
As I have time I'm working on creating a 2-week loop ride in the Northwest (Forever Northwest? ) that connects the ID, WA, and OR BDRs + the Lost Coast. These are tracks I've collected that I'm sorting thru.
Hey Dean, glad you popped in! You're due for another big ride and we'd all enjoy another @Deanman ride report.
When you get done, could you please post a GPX file here. I would truly appreciate it. I'm seriously considering returning there, for a trip, thanks, bro'
Let me echo what the others have said... Thanks!! Thanks for the report and wow.... the pictures speak I think.
Would be curious to read some of your pops words on his thoughts/observations from the trip?
I will dawgg.
Dad is following the RR but isn't much on forums... Judging from the number of update emails he was sending his circle of friends, I know he was having a good time. Talking to the locals and the Denali flight were highlights for him. Realistically, most folks his age (73) cant conceive of driving to Prudhoe Bay and I'm tickled he got to do it. This was our 7th major trip together so he knows how I research/plan/prepare and that reduces the load on him. After I got him into motorcycling at 62, he did several solo trips on his FJR and got the medical evac insurance (MASA). He gifted me a policy before we left for this trip. Like I said in the first post, it was a concern of mine that at some point the distances we were covering might stop being fun for him. This was never the case though and he never showed any more fatigue than a normal day at home. When we drove to Montana in Feb for the camper we got simultaneous food poisoning, you worry about stuff like that. We were exceptionally blessed that we both felt great the whole time (I have Crohn's disease). Given the sheer quantity of moving parts in this operation (trailer wheel bearings, etc, etc, etc), I'm still amazed that all we had was three flat tires. The last thing I'll mention is this... It's often said "every day is a gift". In the two months since we returned my moms health has declined badly (Parkinson's/Alzheimer's), I don't think she could be left alone now. Don't put off doing this stuff if you can pull it off folks!
Bob, like others I really enjoyed the RR. Shocked to see how pretty it was there for you. Most pics I see are long, straight boring roads and tree's that all look the same, and under cloudy skies. Your weather was awesome. I think September could be THE month, especially with no mosquitos. Now I want to go.
So cool that your dad went too. My dad died when I was a lil kid so no experiences like that. One more thing you are right about is the time IS NOW for people considering a trip. If you wait until you have time, money, or vacation you will never go. The main thing is that you and your family are healthy enough to travel or be left alone without care. I'm at that point where it's looking better for me to go but Mom's health is declining. She's ok but has had some issues, (stroke, heart, etc..) but is good now, for now. Y'all go now when you can get away and don't wait for the perfect time cuz there is no perfect time!
Def post those north west links up when you string together a route, please and thank you.
Will be thinking about your mom and stuff and hope you have a nice holiday. As the cliche goes: every day is a gift!
Excellent RR very informative and great pics!
Bob, would you mind sharing what camera and lenses you were using? Thanks!
(These are my photo equip comments from Expedition Portal...If you're not a photog this will prob sound like blah, blah, blah... )
Between us, Dad and I are blessed to have some nice Sony equip. I've had a first-gen Sony A7 for a couple years and really like it. Full-frame sensor performance in such a small package is amazing. Dad saw my A7 and bought the A7ii and a 16-35/f4 Zeiss last year. He carried my A7 with the 16-35 in the truck with him. He also had his A7ii with a Samyang 135/f2 (amazing lens) on the seat next to him. Both of those combos give image stabilization.
Knowing this would be a trip of a lifetime, I justified the (painful) purchase of a A7Rii and the new Sony 24-70/f2.8 shortly before we left. This combo is just mind boggling and accounts for 90% of the shots you see. Between the 42mp sensor and G Master resolution it's easy to get 200mm crops which eliminates the need for lens swapping and dirty sensors. It was in the trunk of whichever bike I was on and came out frequently (an advantage to motorcycling is you can pull a quick U turn and go back for a scene you "saw").
I had my 1st gen Sony RX100 in a zip-loc in my jacket pocket to hopefully get quick critter shots and Dad had his NEX6 for snaps (not sure we really needed it..).
Every night I'd download the pics and back them up to secondary storage as well. I've never had the time/patience to learn RAW, Lightroom, etc, so all shots are in-camera jpegs. I've fixed shadows/highlights with Photoshop on a few shots and cropped as needed. Most of the time I shoot on Auto mode. If the lighting is tricky, I switch to Prog and use a mild HDR setting (2-3) to help things. The camera saves both the HDR and regular exposure, so combined with the "Auto" shot you get three versions of a scene quickly.
If all the above is too much deal with...buy any version of the RX100 (They're up to 5th gen now). 1st gen models like mine can be had for $399 on B&H Photo and will deliver 85-90% of the quality needed for internet sharing. Honestly, you don't need to spend a bunch to bring back great pics. Here are two of my trips with only the DSC-RX100.
Diminishing returns are an undeniable fact, the camera I shot this trip was over 10 times the cost, you judge if the results are 10x better... Even so, I've never regretted having the best cam I can with me.
I'm nothing great as a photographer and it's not magic. I just take a lot of pics - keep the sun behind me when possible - keep the horizon level (or level it in Photoshop) - use HDR where appropriate - but mainly, I stop and take pics!!!! Also, I don't care how good camera phones are, they're not cameras
Thanks for the pics, dialogue and bits of information, very well documented and written.
Thanks you Chris, we'll have a good thought for your mom too.
Regarding timing, I think you're safe from mid-Aug to mid-Sept. Much after that could get iffy. Jack informed me they caught light snow north of the Brooks Range about 12 days after we were there (Sept 15th?).
Thanks Bammer and Macdogg!
Added a few panos to the report. (get larger when clicked)
Glacial silt blowing into Destruction Bay on Kluane Lake.
Dalton Hwy just south of Atigun Pass.
Dalton, looking south at Brooks Range/Galbraith Lakes.
100mi south of Deadhorse.
Mclaren Summit on Denali Hwy.
For you history buffs considering this trip...
@Promach 1 suggestion (thank you!), I got Dad this book for Christmas. I just finished it and dearly wish I had read it before the trip. Worth noting, Klondike Fever's author grew up in Dawson and wrote the book in the 1950's. His dad was a "rusher" that traveled from New Brunswick in the main group of 30-40,000 that arrived in 1898. The author came as close as you can to living the story and got a lot of the content firsthand from those involved.
The story of Dawson City and the Klondike gold rush is absolutely amazing. Everybody's heard of "the Klondike" but it had completely escaped me that it was a few square mile area right next to Dawson City (I guess I thought is was a large regional area). Indeed, in the little valley on the south of town is the legendary Eldorado Creek and Bonanza Creek where it all began. What's amazing are the stories of what it took to reach this area back in 1897-98, the difficulty and suffering was unreal. Alaska and the Yukon were hardly on anyone's radar beforehand, gold sparked a world wide rush of adventurers and there are many places we traveled thru on this trip that have connections to the story.
A few examples...
One of the several routes taken was to steam up from Seattle, thru the Aleutians to the entrance of the Yukon River, and then 1700 miles up the Yukon to Dawson. All those little steam river boats would have gone under the Yukon River bridge on the Dalton. Many didn't make it before the freeze up and ended up locked in ice for many months somewhere on the river with almost no supplies.
The very spot we camped across from Dawson (West Dawson) would have been covered in a tent city in 1898.
Both sides of the river at Dawson were six deep in small boats tied up.
Where I stood on the river bank to get the aurora borealis shots was no doubt covered in boats and people, what did they think of those crazy lights in the sky?
The valley beyond the flag is "The Klondike".
Google earth shows the remains of the Klondike mining just south of town.
This view of the Pelly River (at Pelly Crossing) would have seen a flotilla of 7000+ small homemade boats go by in June/July 1898.
Additionally, it's believed that miners attempting to reach Dawson from Valdez (nearly a suicide mission) may have been the first to notice the copper in the Kennicott mine region.
It occurs to me there's a likelihood that crazy motorcyclists who want to ride to Alaska could have been among those adventurous souls 115yrs ago who attempted this adventure . That sounds kind of cool until you read this book. One paragraph in particular from Klondike Fever sticks with me: Of all the thousands who left Edmonton in '97-'98 and pursued the various routes to the Klondike, not a single one, as far as can be determined, found any gold at all. Most of the sorry-looking creatures who arrived destitute in Dawson in the summers of '98-'99 did not even bother to go out to the goldfields, but headed back to civilization a few days after arriving. William Ford Langworthy, the Cambridge law graduate who celebrated New Year's Eve so nostalgically on the shores of Great Slave Lake, was one of these. His diary scarcely mentions Dawson, and it's later entries never refer to gold, but reflect the strange lassitude that fell over those few dozen men who succeeded in getting through to the end of the Edmonton Trail. To those, gold no longer meant anything; survival had taken its place. For Langworthy and his fellows were the fortunate ones on "the easy route to the Klondike". Others there were who never found what they were seeking - as the two partners who were discovered in a cabin on the Porcupine River. They had come almost four thousand miles, buffeting the rapids and scaling the mountains and hacking their way through the forests; but when they were found, they were frozen rock-solid beside a stew kettle hanging above a long-dead fire. The pot contained a pair of partially cooked moccasins embedded in a cake of ice.
What a fantastic trip and report. The photography is fabulous! Thanks for sharing and for all of the effort you put into it. Not only is it entertaining, but it will surely help others put together trips of their own.
Anybody that has been to Dawson, should read "Klondike Fever" by Pierre Berton. I've read it 3 times since my last trip and have passed it on to several friends. Every one that has read it was amazed!
Bob...like everyone else, I was awestruck by the beauty of Alaska captured in your stunning photographs. I mostly appreciate the work and thought you put into sharing your experience and advice to brother-riders. What an awesome way and setting to share quality time between father and son... truly priceless!
I've been putting the "Ultimate Coast To Coast" (Deadhorse to Key West in 30 days) in to planning for a couple of whiles now. All told, for me, that trip will be about 14k miles, my front door out and then home again...
I used to live in Alaska back in the early 70's, as a wee lad of 3-4. I still remember some things quite vividly, always wanting to go back and see more.
I'm thinking that I may forgo this now, and simply tour Alaska for a month...
What a great report - I've shamelessly pulled some of these pictures down and have them cycling in my desktop background... (personal use only)
Maybe I'll be able to talk my dad in to going with me. I know he'd like to go back and see things.