Alaska 1996, not a typo

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by djroszina, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    Here is my ride report from August 1996. I’m doing this off of “best I can remember” memories and please forgive the pictures, they are photos of my photos.
    My name is Dave and I was 35 years old in 96 and the bike I rode up was a 1995 BMW K1100 LTA and was bought new the year before. I put on about 17k in its first year without problem and so in Augaust I left Milwaukee, WI and headed to Sturgis for the Black Hills Rally. I rode to The Badlands and camped at Sage Creek Campground. The next couple days were spent in and around the Rally camped at Glenco Campground. Then it was off to Alaska.
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  2. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    I rode to Glacier NP but only camped at St Mary’s Campground. After leaving Sturgis it was straight up to Highway 2 and Montana had rescinded the speed limits on main roads. Here I was doing over a 100 mph without a care and even passed a cop who was headed the other way, crazy. It was only a year or two later they modified their speed limit laws.

    From Glacier it was north through Banff and the Icefields then left to Prince George after taking a lap around Jasper. I arrived at the Cassair and headed north to Stewart/ Hyder .

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    Bear Glacier on 37A


    image.jpg

    Entering Hyder
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  3. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    image.jpg I must have missed the British Columbia sign...and a few other landmark signs, but hey, I was green as could be and was a little “uninformed “

    But I did get some.

    image.jpg image.jpg
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  4. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny Super Supporter

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    Looking at the glacier in 1996 compared to today you can see the difference.

    Loving the idea of posting an old trip - looking forward to seeing the rest of your report.
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  5. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer Supporter

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    Awesome! I love dis stuff :thumb
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  6. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    Thanks, here are a few from British Columbia, Banff and the Icefields
    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
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  7. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    The Cassair was only paver to Hyway 37A and graded dirt north to Watson Lake. The BMW on it’s Metzler 888s didn’t care a bit and the ride was awesome. I had a great sense of accomplishment as this was my first time taking a street bike a long distance on dirt. Maybe someone will recognize this place

    image.jpg
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  8. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer Supporter

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  9. Mossy87

    Mossy87 Irish inside!

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    Looks great, I'm sure writing about it will bring back some good memories.
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  10. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    Continuing north I made a beeline to Alaska and wasn’t stopping to smell the roses. I looked at my map and decided to stop in North Pole...but Santa was busy.

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  11. Sleepyc

    Sleepyc We can't stop here, THIS IS BAT COUNTRY!

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    This is awesome.
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  12. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    Fantastic! I turned 19 in 1996 and also was on the highway that August - but I wasn't on a bike :(

    Instead, I was in my girlfriend's recently deceased grandfather's Chrysler Laser (with the rear seat removed to accommodate all my worldly possessions, as I) headed to college in Sitka by way of Haines.

    Loving the pictures of pictures! I bought my first "touring" bike (R60/7) the next summer and have a lot of pictures of signs and buildings that look just like yours but with a little older BMW taken over the next two summers. Awesome!
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  13. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    It was the middle of August and after getting dissed by Santa I made the decision to attempt the Dalton Haul Road. It was dry and sunny and I was hoping to make it to the Arctic Circle. Now here is a kid from the Midwest who’s parents never left Wisconsin...at least with me...but they told me the Bahamas and Vegas were awesome...pffft, I’m in Alaska on my damn motorcycle. The start of the Dalton was rough and at the last gas stop when I paid for fuel the clerk told me “the trucks own the road”. It’s advice I didn’t take lightly. After getting a feel for the road I settled on a speed that seemed the smoothest. Airing down the tires, never heard of it. The grades were exciting and soon the Yukon river appeared with that long bridge. I made sure no other vehicles were approaching and made my move. Next stop after refueling was the Arctic Circle.

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    Attached Files:

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  14. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    Your going to like the “trip home”.
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  15. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    335CB261-40B4-44AF-AEB8-8F0EBCAAA5FB.jpeg 3CFDDEE9-C0D5-46BD-B135-B50BD88D25D4.jpeg C37AAE2D-FD7E-4E1E-90E4-C4F800A4E2B9.jpeg image.jpg 335CB261-40B4-44AF-AEB8-8F0EBCAAA5FB.jpeg After The Arctic Circle it was North to Coldfoot for gas and decision making. I camped in the junkyard and moseyed into the motel for a drink. There were a couple guys playing pool and we were the only ones in the joint. I come to find out they are from Wisconsin and are getting flown out to some place on the tundra to install a communications tower, small world. Even in August it was light out at 11pm, it felt like 8pm, anyways the bar was closing so out to the tent. I forgot the bear and wolf spray, like I said, young and dumb.

    I woke up to frost on the pumpkin and made my mind up to ride to Deadhorse. I left my camp set up and ditched the tour pack and borrowed a plastic gas can, filled it with gas and strapped it onto the bike.
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  16. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    Here are more pics from the Dalton and Brooks range.

    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
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  17. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    The ride up and down the Dalton was surreal, camping in Coldfoot was without amenities and simply a place to stop, get gas, and stay for a short night...the truckers barely moved over and you could hear them with their foot in throttle when they passed. It was their way of saying this is their road and you don’t belong here. When I would see one coming I would pull to the side and bow my head and wait for the blast and stones and dust to settle. This was 96 and they seem more tolerant now. I made Fairbanks and sprayed the bikedown. I then rode South towards Denali and roadside camped just south of Fairbanks. I woke to rain, nothing heavy, but enough to warrant rain gear and turning up the heated grips. I was headed south towards Anchorage and then “it” happened...
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  18. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    ...somewhere just north of Denali Park I was groovin to the road, riding the frost heaves, and cutting through the rain. The fairing of that K1100 was a marvelous design and protected me like a newborn baby in it’s mother’s arms...then a shotgun blast when off between my legs. A gnashing of gears and the bike shuddered. A hiker a couple hundred yards ahead of me jumped at the noise, she turned and looked at me with both amazement and a scowl. Apparently I broke her harmony with nature...and that made two of us. The bike still running was quiet now, but the battery light was on. I decided to soldier on to the dealer in Anchorage and was riding when a camper pulled out in front of me. The slamming of the brakes caused the abs to engage and with that sucked all the juice from the battery. The motor quit and I glided to the side of the road, now the real adventure begins.

    The bike is dead as a door nail, and I know this is a deal breaker. I gather my bare essentials and irreplaceable items and lock up the bike. I start hitch hiking back north as I had just passed the entrance to Denali Park. I got picked up fairly quick and got a ride to the park entrance. There I found a pay phone and called roadside assistance. They connected me with a tow company that was needed to get me to the closest BMW dealer, Trails End BMW in Fairbanks, 120 miles away. My roadside plan covered the first $100 and I was informed I would have to cover the rest...I was connected to the tow company who told me $500 cash up front, and I could get my $100 back from BMW...I hung up.

    Now I’m hitchen to Fairbanks and I get a ride from a guy in a clapped out Chevy Chevette, the guy is in a rush to make a court appearance there and we are flying up the highway almost literally. Those frost heaves were now ramps and this POS car had only springs for suspension, back then nothing scared me, but this did. By the grace of God we arrived in FB. I thanked the guy and God for my safe arrival. I walked to an auto parts store and borrowed the phone and thumbed the Yellow Pages and found a nearby Rent a Wreck. At first they said they had nothing, but after hearing my plight they rented me a truck promised to someone else first thing the next morning. I drove to the dealer and met Mr. George Rahn, owner, head salesman, head mechanic,and janitor of Trails End BMW. He said he was contacted but thought all I needed was a jump...I got a ramp and tie downs and headed back for the bike hoping it would still be there. Upon arrival there she was, unmolested. As I was setting up a pick up pulls over and this Big (built) dude and his big (built) lady friend approach me. Out of the clear blue they help me load and secure the bike. Let me tell you, these AK people are the nicest you’ll ever meet.

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    I head back and drop off the bike and truck. George picks me up at the rental place and for $120 the bike is at the dealer. George gets my to the Backpacker Hostel a couple blocks from his shop and I meet Billie, the wonderful lady who owns the hostel. I set up my tent and decompress as best I can.
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  19. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

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    Good ole George and his Airedale. Was wonderful stopping in to meet the famous man a little over a decade later here circa September 2007. He died few years ago RIP

    [​IMG]

    He had a great collection and very knowledgeable man.



    Thanks for sharing one from back in the day:clap:clap:clap
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  20. GSAnderson

    GSAnderson Wandering Swede

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    Fantastic RR. :lurk
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