Alaska 2014: Hotel Budget Zero

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jfman, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. RiderRick

    RiderRick Been here awhile

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    Southeast Minnesota
    Great pics and writing, Thank you for posting your adventures:clap:clap
    #21
  2. BOBaloo22

    BOBaloo22 Tony & Catnis

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    Keep it coming, very nice!

    Bob
    #22
  3. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer Supporter

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    I too ate at the log Cabin Cafe after I did the Beartooth. I don't know if it was the food at the cafe or something else but I had food poisoning for three days. Glad the KOA in Red Lodge had a Camping Cabin available!
    #23
  4. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    FWIW I had the fish and eggs. Little pricey for breakfast but tasted great and no issues. :1drink
    #24
  5. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

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    Some really excellent pictures. Thanks.

    I like your traveling style, very similar to mine. Kindred spirits I reckon.
    #25
  6. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Fanastic RR! You are seeing Alaska the right way, in my opinion. I look forward to reading more...:D
    #26
  7. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    I like the way you do things. :lurk
    #27
  8. jfman

    jfman Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Montreal (traveling Americas June '17 to May '18)
    DAY 12 (Archangel road stayover)

    Travel tip for this part: Inquire about Hatcher Pass before going to avoid closures

    Woke up with plans to go to Valdez but Mother Nature had the last word on that. Just a lot of rain that day. Cold and nonstop rain will get to you. For the first time I broke out the heated gear.

    I was riding at around 70 kmh in the rain and that 94 mile stretch of road I had done the day befored seemed to be 5 times as long as the day before.

    About 20 miles from Chitina I spotted the truck that had slid off the road.
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    Stopped to make sure no one was in there needing help but they had left the scene of the accident already. Got back on the bike and went to crank the bike over and: tictictictic... The battery had gone dead from riding slow and having too much stuff on(Aux lights, heated chaps and vest and grips) After a 20 minute wait a nice couple from Pennsylvania gave me a jump and then handed me a piece of christian literature.
    Soken wet and miserable, I stopped at Gilpatrick's in Chitina for a really nice cobbler and a warm cup of coffee. At the restaurant I decided it would be best if skipped Valdez for now because of the rain and I headed towards Anchorage where the weather seemed decent.

    After another hour in the rain my change of direction paid off. In the span of 2 miles the weather went from pouring rain to bright skies ahead.

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    I then rode by Matanuska Glacier. I stopped to have a quick look.

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    I took this picture of the glacier and the overlook in my rearview miror thinking I would never see it again: You will see in a few days that I was very wrong about that.

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    While riding over a bridge I spotted this couple in the river. From afar I tought they were prospecting for gold but turns out they were gutting their catches of the day.

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    Maybe 40 miles away from Palmer I spotted this area where I saw a lot of atv's were being unloaded. Sweet trails must be near!

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    I rode up a hill then got on the trail. 100 feet into the trail there is a hill you must climb that is so steep and so long I had to backtrack. You gotta pick your battles.

    It does not look like much in the video but it's very steep.
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BgrK8riTuj8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    I pulled into Safeway for supplies (alcohol, food and firewood) While there I lost the key to my bike and wasted 40 minutes looking for it (it was in aisle 10) The fatigue was really getting to me.

    Rode to Hatcher Pass with my mind set on camping there but the gate was closed (I was a few days too early). What a bummer!

    Rode up to the top of the main road there.

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    Then back down some.

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    I then spotted this dirt road that I later found was Archangel rd.

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    It too was closed a few miles in. I later learned that the bridge was deemed unsafe for the weight of cars. It's okay to ride over it on your bike apparently.

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    A silver lining: there was a pretty sweet camping spot just on the other side of the bridge.

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    I was cold and all my stuff was wet. Took a while (and most of my Jim Bean) for my bag and tent to be dry enough to sleep.

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    #28
  9. slammer218

    slammer218 Slammer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Hatchers Pass is worth the ride. My son lives a few miles from there and I always find time to make at least one trip across..
    #29
  10. NCMtns

    NCMtns Adventurer

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    Morganton, NC
    It looks like you are having an awesome trip so far! Im envious of this trip for sure!
    #30
  11. FongMan

    FongMan Been here awhile

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    Free State Wyoming
    2nd the motion!! :deal
    #31
  12. fuhgawee

    fuhgawee Thats a road?

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    :nod:

    Enjoying the RR, and traveling style, my kind ride.
    #32
  13. jacklanto

    jacklanto Adventurer

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    Livermore Ca.
    I am enjoying every bit of your ride report. Thanks.
    #33
  14. LTRyder

    LTRyder Been here awhile

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    May 16, 2014
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    I have a simalar trip planned for a couple years down the road with a few of my best. And I'm enjoying your style. Filing a lot of your data away. Keep it up and don't leave us hangin. Thanks.
    #34
  15. rick danger

    rick danger The further adventures of

    Joined:
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    Great report! I'm still planning on heading out there in a couple of weeks. So ,do you think it would be goldwing friendly getting up to Alaska? Or should I stay around the Canadian rockies and call it good? I'll have a 5 gallon can on the passenger seat, but no camping gear/tent/ sleeping bag. I did two trips on my 1200GS, but this time I'm looking to make the slab a little more bearable. And just hotel it. Guess I'm getting old and lazy. :lol3Look forward to the rest!
    #35
  16. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    You can do 90% of what has been done so far with a goldwing. Skip the trails, avoid the dirt road when its raining and youll be just fine. The roads up in Yukon and AK are in better shape that what most people will complain about. In my experience traveling around Alaska is cheaper than BC so if you have the time and the will to put the miles, go for it.<!--?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /--><o:p></o:p>
    #36
  17. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 13 and 14 (Rest and chat in Anchorage)

    Travel tips for this part: House of Harley Davidson offers free motorcycle camping and Motoquest has sweet deals on used tires

    Coming into Anchorage from Palmer I was in need of a few small fixes and a few items. First thing was my 10 year old boots which did not survive thru the night in Palmer. Since they were soaken wet, I had kept them too close to the fire and I forgot to remove them before falling asleep.

    The result:
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    (I also had spare riding boots but I did not like them much)

    My front right blinker bulb was also out so I went to the kawasaki/BMW dealership in Anchorage to buy a bulb and a fresh pair of gloves. Over there I met a rider who told me that the Harley dealership offers free camping to motorcycle riders. Thank you to House of Harley Davidson of Anchorage for providing this great environment for all riders to connect in Anchorage.


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    Talking to of motocampers gives you a good opportunity to learn about the places you may want to visit next. They also have a full bathroom (do not forget to throw a few bucks in the tip box)

    Across the street from House of Harley there's a restaurant where we went to eat in the morning.

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    This is the kind of art I can appreciate.

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    In the evening, AKduc, a local board member on ADV, came to check on the tourists. He sure is hard to miss in that skeleton suit but I did not get his picture. Lucie and Pol, a sweet couple of motorcycle travelers offered a parking spot for my bike in BC if I needed it. At that point I had decided that I wanted to stay a little longer in Alaska than expected abandon my bike and fly home. If you plan to visit Alaska, make sure you plan extra time; you will need it once you fall in love with this place.

    edit: Thank you Frederico and Lucie for sending me this picture.

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    In a sense these two days were kind of wasted days as I did not ride anywhere but I felt like resting and enjoyed the company of other riders at the House of Harley Davidson campground. Everyone has a different traveling style and you can often learn from other riders who spend a lot of time on the road.
    #37
  18. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 15 (Crown Point Mine Road)

    Travel tips for this part: Bring a camera

    Time to hit the road again. I was told that Seward was the place to be for the 4th of July so this day being the 3rd I had time to go check out Crown Point Mine Road. I had seen pictures of it online and it was on my do not miss list.

    This particular post is a picture overdose. I got no excuse; there was just too many opportunities for good shots that day.

    Just outside of Anchorage

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    This is a lake on the Kenai Peninsula maybe an hour or so south of Anchorage. I do not know its name but I highly recommend it as a camping spot. It's also right off the main road on your left you cant really miss it.

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    In Crown Point this is the sign you got to look for. Kind of easy to miss so look for it hard on your left (if heading south).

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    I first took a wrong turn to the right on Mine rd and wound up here at this prospecting operation.

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    Back on the right track.

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    At first it is wide and not too steep.

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    There are a few muddy and wet areas you gotta cross. It would not be too bad but the ATV guys have thrown a bunch of logs in the mud holes and you got to ride over small logs in the mud.
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    Things then get a little steeper.

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    Little rocky areas too.

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    Trees now behind, it begins to open up a little.

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    You start hitting the switchbacks

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    Sometimes big bikes get tired climbing steep terrain and they need a rest.

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    I always take many pics of crash sites to make sure I can properly defend my case in pride court.

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    A dozen switchbacks later the bike started to run hot(first time ever) from a combination of slow steep climbing, small loss of coolant and a muddy radiator. I took a breather to let things cool down. It did not help that my bike has a plus one front gear for the highway and a taller rear tire.


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    No big deal: more picture breaks I can live with up here.

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    Another issue I had on this trail is that as the water runs down the mountain is creates these little gouges in the middle of the road and when I rode thru these mini ditches, my exhaust manifold and converter would catch the ground. I had to carry enough speed and throttle the front of the bike up to make sure I would not high center on them.

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    The vegetation turns tundra-like when you near the top.

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    If you look closely you can see the roads up above crisscrossing.

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    The end is near.

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    There is snow here but it is not very cold. 17 degrees: Perfect weather to sleep well.

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    This is gonna be my background for my laptop I think.

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    Time to setup camp.

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    My wine was a little warm so first I had to put it in the fridge.

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    Also hiked down to the glacier to get some fresh water.

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    It is farther than it looks.

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    I reckon these are the remnants of a prehistoric adventure rider who did not survive the trip.

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    From 20ft away I thought I struck gold but turns out I am a poor geologist.

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    Grabbed some stray wood and started a little campfire to satisfy my pyromaniac side.

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    Life is good.

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    At around 10pm I had some visitors. This family had seen me leave up the trail but not come back down. They were a little bit worried so they ran up to check things out. Great folks!

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    #38
    RJ44, Ghettored1, eemsreno and 2 others like this.
  19. LTRyder

    LTRyder Been here awhile

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    The best damn campsite I've ever scene!
    #39
  20. sandgroper

    sandgroper Long timer

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    what a great camping spot
    #40