Virginia to Alaska and back on an '86 Yamaha Radian

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

  1. TLR_Mart

    TLR_Mart Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Sherbrooke, Quebec
    I've gone over the border a few times in my past, but there was a (roughly) 15yr gap that held me up at the Stanhope border crossing just south of Coaticook, QC. I just loved the look on the face of the border guard when I said 15yrs.. It went from a smile to dead serious in about half a second! "And why is that sir? Have any prison history? Prior offences?". "No sir, just didn't travel this way for quite some time!" He went into his office, and about 10 mins later came back and said all is OK, and to have a nice ride.

    Of course, since I was contracted to do some computer work at the Plattsburg, VT border crossing, I've never had any problems at all :roflI even got some heartfelt thanks from the guard when I zipped by on my TLR during the summer months!
  2. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    I've crossed into Canada a few times at the post above Plattsburgh. Usually treated fairly, but once in a while an officer will get a nasty tone asking me what my purpose is in coming to Canada, perhaps thinking that I am on my way to Montreal to spend some money on hookers and drugs. Coming back to the US has been pretty easy the past few years. They've only searched the vehicle one time....I carried no contraband, so no probs. The truly aggravating thing was that for a few years post 9/11 there was a special "surprise" border checkpoint on a desolate part of I-87 Southbound (placed so there was no exit once it was in view and it was not visible from the Northbound lanes) about 20 miles SOUTH of the border. You had to stop and be bombarded with questions like: are you an American citizen? Is this your vehicle? Where have you come from? etc etc etc. Sometimes this was done courteously and sometimes they were rude. Always it was a huge PITA.
  3. atokad

    atokad wan⋅der⋅lust

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    Colorado
    I am assuming you meant the crackers, but this came to mind anyway and made me laugh. :lol3 Thanks for the update, will be watching for the next one!

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  4. aDave

    aDave Lovin' Life!

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    the Ozark suburbs
    Finally caught up... Very nice report. Thank you for your courage & time to post this.

    Dave
  5. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

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    :deal :clap
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3pOQW_7VMQ
  6. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    Part 2: Day 3
    San Juan Island to Orcas Island to Port Angeles, WA: 165 miles
    July 2, 2012

    As I laid in my tent, listening for orcas, I heard some rustling outside. Peeping out with my headlamp I saw two glowing eyes glaring back at me from the top of the picnic table. My food bag was open and contents spread across the table.

    The raccoon didn’t seem too concerned with me, even after I got out of my tent and threatened to chase it. It just casually wandered off to another campsite, sulking while scrounging for more scraps.

    It was a warm clear night and I suddenly had the desire to sleep under the stars closer to the water. I put my food in my tent, hoping the coon wouldn’t try to break in, and moved my sleeping bag down to the edge of the water.

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    It was a beautiful night, but I never heard any orcas.

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    I got up early intending to catch the 8:30 ferry to Orcas Island and made it back to Friday Harbor with just enough time to get breakfast. I went to the Hungry Clam, another place Billy told me about, assuring me it would be the best greasy breakfast ever. And it was. I had fried eggs with crispy bacon. Oh the glory and goodness of greasy food.

    The skies were overcast and the air was cool. I loaded the bike onto the ferry, this time parked in the front row with the cars. Usually bikes are parked to the side at an angle in their own narrow bike lane. It made me a little nervous, but the ride over to Orcas was short and smooth.

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    I grabbed a map of Orcas Island on the ferry and picked the windiest road I could find. Mount Constitution is the highest Mountain of the islands at 2400 feet and it looked like the road going up it was full of switchbacks and steep grades.

    Brady had told me about a fun dirt road to check out; assuring me it was in good enough condition for a motorcycle. He told me to turn right coming off the ferry heading towards Dolphin Bay instead of turning left with the rest of the thru traffic onto Orcas Road.

    It was peaceful and quiet with no traffic winding through lush forest along the East Sound. It was hard to follow at times with lots of turnoffs and I constantly found myself pulling over to refer to my map.

    Eventually the road looped back around to Orcas road before going through the cute town of Eastsound. I kind of wanted to stop and explore for a quaint coffee shop to melt into temporarily, but I felt more anxious to ride up Mount Constitution. I hadn’t been on many technical roads in a while and was eager to giddy up.

    I headed down Olga road and entered Moran State Park before riding along Cascade Lake. It was crystal clear as glass reminding me of Beautiful British Columbia.

    Mount Constitution was just as fun and challenging as it appeared on the map. It felt good to lean the bike and accelerate around the steep turns switching back and forth all the way up the mountain. There’s something about that focus and precision in every moment that makes me feel one with the bike and pavement all together. The feeling grounds me and makes me calm.

    I guess this is why riding motorcycles can be so therapeutic. People ask me all the time, “Aren’t you afraid?” And I know I am, because I know injury and fatality is a very realistic possibility. In fact, I think I feel more fear when I think about riding somewhere, and I’m planning the journey. But, once I’m on the bike, there’s no turning back. I’m going, it’s done. I’m just in the moment focusing on the next turn and can no longer be concerned with the possibilities lying ahead. I leave fear behind.

    When I got to the top of the mountain I was surprised no one else was there. It looked like there was a closed office and gift shop where you’re supposed to pay to enter the park. I saw there was a stone tower resembling a medieval watchtower with open gates. So I took advantage and climbed up with a 360 degree view of the islands. It was too overcast to see the Cascades, however it was still an impressive view.

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    As I stood gazing I felt a few drops tickle my nose. By the time I got back to the bike, there was a cool misty rain. I decided it wasn’t a good day for kayaking, and would ride back to the ferry to head towards the mainland.
    By the time I got back to Anacortes the rain was resting. I wanted to head towards Olympic National Park and it looked like I would have to take another ferry from Keystone Harbor by Fort Casey State Park to Port Townsend. That would make three ferry rides in one day. I was starting to get a little ferried out.

    So, I rode south on 20 towards Deception Pass. I crossed the long bridge connecting tiny pieces of land towering over the foggy water. I wanted to stop and take a picture but there were so many tourists already I pressed on. It was 4th of July weekend and the roads were getting crowded.

    I got to the ferry terminal a little early so I parked the bike in line after purchasing my ticket and walked up the road to a little café for some coffee. I searched the Droid for places to stay and found Thor Town hostel in Port Angeles just off 101.

    The ferry was a quick ride over. I continued on 20 for several miles through Anderson State Park until I reached 101. I headed up the Washington peninsula riding just north of Olympic National Park. It rained off and on the rest of the way but I got to the hostel just in time to avoid a major downpour.

    It was a cute house shaped like a big red barn with lovely gardens in the front surrounded by a white picket fence. The owner lived downstairs and rented the top floor out as a hostel. There were several bedrooms with bunks plus a community kitchen and bathroom to share. It was a small space and tight to get around in but cozy and quaint with all necessities.

    I met a nice girl, Sara, from England. She had just driven up form California on her holiday. We found a local pub and enjoyed some heavy porters together. She had lots of suggestions on routes to take on my way down south.

    I was hoping the rain would clear up tomorrow to ride through Olympic before heading to Portland. My Dad, Aunt, and cousin would be there to celebrate the 4th of July. So far the weather forecast wasn’t looking so good. Washington may be beautiful, but it sure is wet.
    ONandOFF likes this.
  7. Dirigo

    Dirigo Curious

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    Jan 31, 2012
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    Birmingham, AL
    Awesome! You stayed at Thor's house!!

    Thanks for the update, always happy to read a new dispatch, good on you!
    :clap
  8. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
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    1,987
    Location:
    Fly over zone
    RuffnTuff said, "I guess this is why riding motorcycles can be so therapeutic. People ask me all the time, “Aren’t you afraid?” And I know I am, because I know injury and fatality is a very realistic possibility. In fact, I think I feel more fear when I think about riding somewhere, and I’m planning the journey. But, once I’m on the bike, there’s no turning back. I’m going, it’s done. I’m just in the moment focusing on the next turn and can no longer be concerned with the possibilities lying ahead. I leave fear behind."

    This is just so well written. :clap.

    Thanks for the update..
  9. mitko69

    mitko69 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
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    Location:
    Woodridge, IL
    Anna you ROCK, great adventure and great RR.
    Thank you.
    :clap:clap:clap
  10. StickJan

    StickJan Mobilis in mobil

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Thank you. Inspiring writing as always. :)
  11. 10 Man

    10 Man Long timer

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    Feb 22, 2011
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    Location:
    Mississippi
    its good to know you are home safe and sound just up dateing the RR .
    we worrie ...I know your a big girl but we still worrie .
    are you planning another adventure yet ?
  12. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    Location:
    In the mountains?
    *cough* South America *cough*

    :evil
  13. Dirigo

    Dirigo Curious

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    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    :lol3
  14. Hellion

    Hellion getlostboy

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
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    Location:
    Westfield, MA
    Anna, I have been lurking on this site for some time now. Your thread has finally motivated me to register. I have to say how impressed I am with your travels and your writing. I have two daughters who I hope grow up to be independent thinkers and doers who aren't afraid to take on any challenge. Your parents, if they think like me, must be very proud of you. Working through your loss, and your fears, and not running from them will serve you well throughout your life. Hell, it already has! Good luck with whatever adventure awaits, and I can't wait for your next post.
    I too plan to ride to Alaska (from New England and through Canada on dirt) in a few years when my girls are grown a bit. But surely not on a Radian, as fine a steed as it may be. Kudos to you on that too, lol...
  15. Yukon Jon

    Yukon Jon Perma-lurker

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Watson Lake, Yukon Territory
    I'll echo what a lot of others have already said; I spend a fair amount of time on this site, I've lurked for years and only recently even registered. I'll probably only ever amount to a handful of posts. All my travels, the miles and weeks on the road, getting rained on, camping, freezing, baking, sweating, swearing and all the associated troubles, panics, opportunities, chance encounters and unexpected joys that i have been lucky enough to have had, will never amount to a ride report that comes close to this. That said, I had to say thanks. Thanks for sharing, it can't have been easy. Thanks for the time and effort you put into the writing, it shows.

    A ride report is a poor name for what you have done. A report implies that it is a merely collection of data, of facts and experiences, gathered and relayed for dissemination and review.
    You've told a magnificent story. One that has captivated and moved a great many strangers in your wide audience. A good story shares something of the teller, and you have shared much of yourself.

    Thanks for the story.

    - Jon
  16. Jack90210

    Jack90210 quia ego nominor leo

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    Charlottesville REPRESENT! :clap :freaky
  17. Falconx84

    Falconx84 Lurker

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    Martinsburg, WV
    Just read the entire thread, "cover to cover" so to speak.

    Amazing story, wonderful writing... One of the best RR I've seen.


    Put me on the waiting list once the book deal's done.
  18. Kenderkin

    Kenderkin n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
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    Wow.
    Greetings from the holy land on your journey. Love reading it. Thanks you for sharing!
  19. dirtdreamer50

    dirtdreamer50 long time rider

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    Location:
    texas coast
    Almost 259,000 views of this thread. Been a subscriber since the beginning, and know that it is probably close to the end, but I want to say it has been the best thread I have ever been a part of, on any forum.

    Thank you so much for sharing your time, experiences and feelings with me. It has been like you were writing to me and just to me. If I live to 100 I will never forget "CLEAVAGE JUICE". I hope and pray all is well with you and your life. tomp dd50
  20. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,901
    Location:
    New Melbourne, Newfoundland
    I too landed here from RoninMoto's thread and have enjoyed your RR immensely.:thumb

    More years than I care to think about a girlffriend and I rented a big Beemer GS in Gibsons for a little tour in the same neck of the woods. In 5 days we rode 700 km's and rode 9 ferries:lol3

    I'm on the tent thread if you decide to head northeast one day.