Virginia to Alaska and back on an '86 Yamaha Radian

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ruffntuff, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. Dirigo

    Dirigo Curious

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    Thanks Anna, beautiful pics and a great report!
    :clap
  2. EffinNewGuy

    EffinNewGuy Adventurer

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    Always worth the wait.
  3. repeters

    repeters Adventurer

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    Anna, you have a gift ... many thanks for sharing it with us. I've smiled often and even shed a tear or two while reliving my own 2006 Alaska trip through your eyes. It is indeed a special experience and you have my deepest admiration--for completing it and living to tell us about it, too! All the best to you in your present and your future adventures :-) Write more!!! repeters
  4. rico2072

    rico2072 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the next installment! lol
    Wondering, what time of year were you at san juan island, you seem to be very bundled up for it to be June 30th.
    Then again I am in Florida and even wearing a hat can make you melt in June.
  5. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

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    We're still here.. :clap
  6. InDenial

    InDenial Been here awhile

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    Always nice for an update. Did you see any orcas?
  7. doc4216

    doc4216 Chronic High Fiver

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    Anna, the way you write it's like there is no waiting. We just pick up the book where we left off and escape into this magical trip.


    "Altitude is determined by you Attitude"
    '08 FJR
  8. atokad

    atokad wan⋅der⋅lust

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    :clap - Thanks for the update, patiently waiting for the rest if you choose to finish it. Even if you don't I have still enjoyed it and at least we know you got back to VA safely.
  9. trail717

    trail717 Adventurer

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    ahhh---Ride reports are destructive to my work habits…but cannot resist……so I am getting a new 690 (to me) bike from an inmate and started reading RoninMoto rtw RR for 690 bike info with a similar set up—but got sucked into his great RR--- and his report got me here—but hey, thinking I would just read a short RR in one day and be done as it was an old report—only to find this one still going—<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    ok I’m in even at this late date…<o:p></o:p>

    Ruffntuff, great writing, I will probably pass a link to my son, he might relate and enjoy it, (like I have) well beyond the usual adv ride details, having suffered a similar loss…….
    <o:p></o:p>
    Cheers <o:p></o:p>
  10. zoomzu

    zoomzu Been here awhile

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    That's how I found this awesome thread. I want to go. Just not in the cards right now. Hope to in 2-3 years. Props to you Anna.:clap
  11. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

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    Part 2: Day 2
    San Juan Island: 74 miles
    July 1st, 2012

    I woke up early from the top bunk in the hostel with bright sun shining through the window warming my face. I smiled and sighed.

    I tried to force myself to fall back asleep, but was too giddy to enjoy a beautiful day exploring the island. I finally got up, took an emergen-C, and brewed some mate while helping myself to some bagels and cream cheese in the kitchen someone had left up for grabs. I love that about hostels, there’s almost always free food.

    Working on the bike took all of ten minutes. I pulled the side cases off, lifted the tank and propped it up with my leatherman so I could access the broken hose. It was still a little tedious getting to it even with my small hands. I trimmed the end of the hose with the scissors on my swiss army knife and placed it snugly back on the carburetor. Voila! J’ai fini!

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    The bike ran great all day, pas de probleme. First I rode up to Roche Harbor which looked like a fancy yacht club village that didn’t interest me in the slightest, so I didn’t wander there. There was however a beautiful sculpture garden that caught my eye outside of town. I stopped to take some pictures but there was a $5 entrance fee to walk through so I admired the art from a distance.

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    I rode on to English Camp and went into the park to find a hiking trail to stretch my legs and investigate a historical landmark. I spoke with a kind ranger there and he suggested I go up Young Hill, a two mile hike up the 650 foot mountain to a great view of Vancouver Island over the Juan de Fuca and Haro Straights. If it’s clear enough, he said I may see the Olympic Mountains to the South.

    About a quarter of the way up, I stopped at the Royal Marine Cemetery. There are beautiful original headstones in memory of five marines and one civilian killed during boundary negotiations between Great Britain and the US from 1860 to 1872. Sadly, they were all young, aged from 26-34.

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    Apparently this whole dispute started over the slaughter of a pig by an American farmer in 1859. He shot and killed the wild animal that was rooting in his garden which turned out to belong to a local Irishman. The Irishman demanded compensation for his dead pig, but when the farmer refused, British authorities threatened to arrest and the American settlers called for military protection.

    The situation escalated to a standoff between 14 American cannons opposed by five British war ships. No shots were fired and eventually the British landed their ships deciding “two great nations in a war over a squabble about a pig” was foolish.

    The crisis was resolved with negotiations agreeing to joint military occupation of the island until further settlement was determined. Over the next twelve years the “British Camp” remained on the North side of the island while the “American Camp” settled the South side. Eventually the two forces became friendly and shared visits, holidays, and events together.

    It wasn’t until 1872 The Treaty of Washington was signed defining the island to be US territory with its marine boundary to the west on the Haro Straight. The British withdrew their Royal Marines, and eventually both camps were deserted.

    I got to the top of Young Hill with a clear crisp view of Vancouver Island. I could even see Victoria, houses and buildings clumped together on the edge of the Haro Straight. To the south I could see some massive peaks tipping over the Salish Sea. I could only assume it was Olympic, my next destination.

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    I left English Camp intending to make my way south to San Juan County Park and reserve a camping spot. Somehow I missed my turn to stay on the west coast and ended up back at Friday Harbor where I started.

    I decided to just head south along the east side of the island and make my way back around. I rode through open prairie of red and yellow grasses over-looking the ocean until stopping at South beach. Massive piles of logs littered the beach stripped of their bark and bleached white from the sun and salt. It was very similar to Vancouver Island. I had to skip over the logs to reach the water. I sat listening to the peaceful rhythm of the waves scanning the horizon for orcas.

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    I continued to the very southern tip of the island, all the way to Cattle Point Lighthouse. I stopped there and stood still on a rock looking across the Juan de Fuca Straight. The Olympic Mountains towered in the distance. I felt calm. I felt peace. I smiled thinking of Dan.

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    As I headed back to the bike I saw a man in the parking lot checking out the Radian. He was tall with dark hair and half a goatee; the sides grown in like a handlebar mustache but not the chin. He was wearing an American flag helmet and large round sunglasses reminding me of Fonda in Easy Rider. His ride was a gold ’83 Yamaha scooter with a custom made wooden crate on back carrying his belongings.

    He stood there with dirty feet in chacos watching me approach while eating cherries from a bag.

    “You like my bike?” I said.

    He offered me some cherries and we chatted for a bit. His name is Brady and he is from Orcas Island just traveling around on his scooter for the weekend. He told me he leads kayaking trips there but is currently injured in the shoulder so he was taking a little time off. He was an interesting dude.

    When I said I was planning on riding to Orcas tomorrow, he was happy to offer hooking me up with a kayaking adventure. I got his info and hoped the weather would still be nice enough to take him up on the offer. We shook hands and parted ways.

    I headed back up the west side of the island toward Lime Kiln Point State Park. I parked on the side of the road outside the entrance to avoid parking fees and got off to hike around. I walked to Deadman Bay, where there are supposed to be a lot of orcas. Unfortunately I saw more people than wildlife but found my own piece of turf tucked away to eat my lunch and scan the water. I ate an apple with cheese and saw nothing.

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    Disappointed I still hadn’t seen any orcas I continued up to San Juan County Park. When I got there the sign said it was full. I rolled in anyways hoping there could always be more room for a little girl and her bike.

    I saw a crowd gathered at the edge of the water with cameras and binoculars as soon as I pulled in to the campground. I hurried to join the spectators and squinted at the water. There was a pod of three orcas far in the distance. I could see their steep dorsal fins protruding above the water. I tried to take some pictures but they were so far away it almost wasn’t worth it. Still, I was happy I got to see them.

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    I went into the camp office and they said there was only one spot for bikers, Elle Hill. It was the spot Billy told me about. They only allowed one bike at a time, something to do with max tires allowed per site. Thankfully no one else was there so I claimed the spot and set up camp.

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    Shortly after, Brady showed up looking for a site. I explained it was full and the camp host told me they would only allow one bike at the spot per night, but if he could talk the guy into it, I was fine with sharing the site with him. Brady had no luck. He would have to camp elsewhere.

    We hung out for a little bit watching for more orcas. Brady even had Alaskan summer ale he shared with me. It’s the one with an orca on the label. I remembered drinking it in Denali. It’s one of my favorites.

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    We decided to head for some food and more beer and rode together back up to Roche Harbor. I was surprised how fast that little scooter could go. He was cruising at 45 mph.

    We went into the one and only grocery mart over-priced with goods for the vacationing yacht clubbers. I managed to find the cheapest food, some bread with hummus, and an Oregon ale to share. We sat at the end of the dock surrounded by fancy boats, feeling slightly out of place, with our feet in the water basking in the sunshine. I wanted to fall asleep.

    Brady and I said our goodbyes, he was thinking of just going back to Orcas Island. I hoped to maybe see him again tomorrow for a possible kayaking adventure.

    I headed back to camp and snacked on some goldfish and beer while scouting the water, still no more orcas. As the sun started setting I made some rice with tuna and parmesan on my alcohol stove while listening to some campers quietly playing guitar. I began to feel a little lonely, wishing Billy was here to ride with me. I’m glad he told me about this place. I can’t wait to meet him again in California.

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    My dinner company

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    Hopefully I’ll hear orcas tonight.

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    Best orca sighting pic yet. I sent this one to Billy
    ONandOFF likes this.
  12. tvbh40a

    tvbh40a PSUViking

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    Still doing a great job girl!
  13. NoVa Rider

    NoVa Rider Long timer

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  14. dnorton

    dnorton Adventurer

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    Yea, another post :clap

    Consider yourself lucky, I lived in the area for 10 years and even went on one of those zodiacs on steroids looking for Orcas, nada.
  15. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Nice update! Thanks!
  16. dksd39

    dksd39 Adventurer

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    always makes for a better day when I get to read one of your updates...thank you for taking the time :)
  17. Dirigo

    Dirigo Curious

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    Thanks for the update!! Just made my Monday a whole lot brighter!!!
  18. rico2072

    rico2072 Been here awhile

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    Good story about the British and American soldiers. Thanks for the next installment!
  19. StickJan

    StickJan Mobilis in mobil

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    Stockholm, Sweden.
    I passed the border from Vermont into Quebec some 13 - 14 years ago on a rented Harley. East of Lake Champlain. Leaving US was smooth but when I hit the canadian border there was this french canadian border guard that refused to speak english and he was not very nice at all. Very grumpy indeed. Until I gave him my passport and he realized that I was from Sweden and not from the States. Then he spoke fluent english all of a sudden and excused himself. -"Oh. Sorry. I thought you where a US citizen since you are on a american bike with US plates. So sorry"! Then he started to talk with me, making jokes and gave me a fridge magnet with the canadian flag on it before he´d let me go. :D Ten days later I took the ferry from Nova Scotia to Main (there was a ferry from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor at that time. I think it´s gone now) and the exact opposite happened. The american border guard was a total arse til he got my passport. -"Shit. Sorry! I thought you were a canadian!!" Then he gave me a handfull of candy before he let me go. :D I don´t know. I think it´s a border guard thing..... Don´t take it personal! :)

    Love your travel story and your way of writing. Splendid. Well done! Thanks for sharing!

    //Jan
  20. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    Those days are gone, my friend.

    After 9/11, the US spent a metric shitload of money on border security.

    The cameras scan your license plate, they run the registration on your vehicle automatically, and if you have a new passport with an RFID chip, they even know your name and border crossing history before you even get to the window.

    The questions they ask are merely to verify your story against the record.