Another Alaskan Winter Ride, Longer and Colder

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AKDuc, Nov 23, 2006.

  1. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

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    It's not very often that we get to go out on frozen lakes up here except on a snow machine, skis, or snowshoes, because it usually snows about the same time it freezes. This year has been clear and cold so the lakes are like glass.

    Today's destination was Portage Lake located about 65mi south of Anchorage near the end of Turnagain Arm. I had hoped to ride across the 3mi long Portage Lk to the glacier. I was imagining what fantastic backdrop that would be for a photo! Plus maybe I could get a photo for the 'Watercrossing' thread (albeit frozen). :wink:

    The temp is always a lot colder back in Portage Valley than the surrounding area so I was curious if I'd be able to keep comfortable. Look at these temps from today:

    Portage: The table I had on here has been deleted. Temps back in Portage Valley got below -20f!

    Yeah baby, THAT'S cold!

    I almost didn't go because I've been a tad "under the weather" and wondered if I should just rest up and take Comet for a nice leisurely Thanksgiving Day walk. But since I work the next couple days and there's snow in the forecast I was afraid it was now or never or at least till some other year anyway.

    So on with the trip down the Arm! You heard of "black ice?" Well the road was full of it for the first 37mi down to Girdwood. Man is that scary on a bike! I'm so glad I have dirt riding in my background to be a LITTLE more at ease with the bike getting loose under me! Down and back I actually caught up to and PASSED a few cagers!! Goofy drivers.

    Let's start here just a little past Girdwood. Notice the Arm's full of sea ice.

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    Into the shaded and oh so very cold valley we go.

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    That's the Visitor's Center on the right.

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    I was surprised how many people there were out ice skating on the lake with the temp being so cold. A truly hardy bunch up here I guess! Plus, like I said, we don't get to skate on the lakes up here that often.

    When I pulled into the parking lot there was a rental car with a few people in it that took notice of goofy me on a motorbike. Turns out they were with the cast of The Nutcracker out of Portland, OR! Of course they thought I was nuts. I had one of them shoot this shot of me. After all, as usual, I was traveling alone and shots with me and the bike are a bit harder to get in these conditions! :ricky :lol2 This shot has since been used on Scorpion Helmets website as Barb @ www.alaskaleather.com told them how much I liked their Winterhawk helmet with heated visor. :brow

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    Well, I had a problem. The only way down to the lake was a snowy and steep set of stairs that I could get down ok but no way get back up! It's a relatively newly remodeled area so there's big rip-rap rocks surrounding the parking lot and the handicap access ramp doesn't get plowed. I was bummed. I walked and rode around the area looking for an access point. The creek draining the lake had overflow and open water so it wasn't an option either. I took a side road that leads to a tour boat operation in the summer but it was gated. I decided to do some " "single tracking" past the gate as some 4wd rigs had "broken trail." I couldn't get anywhere near the boat operation area. I also ran into a cow moose with 2 calves standing in the middle of the road. I got this pic before they walked away. Shortly afterward the mother came charging back around the corner towards me. I started revving the mighty KLR w/Big Gun exhaust and honking the feeble little horn which thankfully made her stop and turn around! You can barely see the moose up in the right hand corner of this photo. Remember this IS a wide angle lens.

    [​IMG]

    People in the parking lot had commented on how frosty my face had gotten. It was so cold at speed back in the valley that when I got near the end of the road my breath deflector was hurting my delicate little face! :lol3 I think I may put this shot into the 'Self Portrait' thread. :wink: The Scorpion heated visor worked perfectly throughout the day. I took this when I got back out of the valley and back into some sun.

    [​IMG]

    I decided to stop on the way back and photograph some more of the icefalls that are really "thick" this year. Somethin just a little different for many of you viewing here probably. :D

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    And this is the road leading home to Anchorage. Well that's all folks. Believe me, today I was truly thankful for making it home w/o having any serious issues with the slippery conditions. And yes my toes hurt as they thawed out! Just another glorious day in the "Last Frontier." Take care, Mark H.

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    #1
  2. bavaria_boy

    bavaria_boy Got Milch?

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    John Rambo lives here!
    Very cool! And I mean coooool!
    #2
  3. Sevoman

    Sevoman Ever Vigilant

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    Wow. Its a brisk 54 degrees for the overnight LOW here tonight. Nice ride into work. Didn't even need to use the heated grips.:lol3

    Excellent pictures and report.

    Heated visor. I can't fathom the need. That is RFC. As in Real Cold.

    Ride Safe.

    Sevoman
    #3
  4. legion

    legion Honking the Horn

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    Nice report, Mark. I need to check into getting a helmet like you're sporting there.
    #4
  5. Wheeldog

    Wheeldog Long timer

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    Hey Mark......looks like a fun ride!!!:clap Your right about that black ice......pretty spooky stuff.:eek1 Usually the wind is howling down in Portage.....looks like you lucked out.:D
    #5
  6. MooseKiller

    MooseKiller Tripod

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    Sweet report Mark!! Glad you enjoyed your Thanksgiving on two wheels... Thanks for the pictures, keep up the great work, and ride safe!! :clap
    #6
  7. vegasphotog

    vegasphotog Las Vegas Cheechako

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    Yo AKDUC...great report DOOD...you da man...I wish I could have gone with you but I am too sketched with Knik bridge crossing right now. I hope to get out this weekend sometime...be nice if we could get another group ride somehow....:ear
    #7
  8. Mikimoto

    Mikimoto Banned

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    Mark,

    that first pic is absolutely STUNNING!!!

    Sea ice? Wow................really cooool!!!!

    Pic #4, giving the thumbs up, in spite of being
    knee deep in snow (hope you were shooting some
    serious snow roosters!!!!) is adventerously exciting.

    but the one where you've actually got
    ice on your eyebrows.....................ooooooo,
    only one word comes to mind

    BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

    you live such an exciting life,
    you're such a fortunate and wonderfully exciting man!

    Miki
    #8
  9. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

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    A good idea, to be sure.

    Don't let this happen to you! :lol3

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

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    I found that once you got used to the black ice, it was better on the bike than in the cage, the Pegaso always felt fairly planted. What I don't like is watching the cages skitter around right next to you, riding back and forth in the ruts (yes, in Alaska our pavement has ruts :huh ).
    And it does get cold back in Portage Valley. i made an early season trip there and like to have froze up nicely-had to stop for coffee at Girdwood (where i made the acquaintance of Northrider).
    Great pictures-but watch those moose. :D
    #10
  11. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

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    OMG, the great Mikimoto has posted! :clap (She's been a "secret cyber sweetie" to me for a couple years on other mc msg boards!) :evil

    Thanks, all.

    As I've said before, I enjoy sharing the piccys of the lovely land we live in. :D

    KL5A, that DID happen to me before! On the Eklutna ride. I was over at Alaska Leather the next day! :wink:

    Warm Happy Holiday hugs for all!

    Mark H.


    #11
  12. LoneWolf-IT

    LoneWolf-IT fantasy traveller

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    :clap good it's a very "hot" trip :evil
    #12
  13. einnar

    einnar Been here awhile

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    http://www.scorpionusa.com/products/snow.html

    You can see the helmet line in its entirety there. They do say that just the heated faceshield can be retrofitted to their line if you already own one. The 'snow' EXO and the 'street' exo are pretty much the same helmet.
    #13
  14. richc

    richc Long timer

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    Wow. Nice pictures.
    #14
  15. duckrider

    duckrider Been here awhile

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    Nice pics. Seems like studs could be a great winter option. A lot of the guys I ride dirt with run them in the winter.
    #15
  16. idea man

    idea man Plate Spinner

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    Very cool (cold) report. The road down to Portage is spectacular.
    #16
  17. clearcut

    clearcut Adventurer

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    Juneau, Alaska
    hey I have been on that same stretch, but not like THAT! Excellent pics...

    -Clearcut
    #17
  18. VIVID1

    VIVID1 Ducatistanna

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    Come on Mark, for the sourdoughs it’s not really cold until it gets to 40 below :deal

    Great ride report and pictures as always :thumb

    I'll try not to rub it in too much, but it’s been in the low 60’s here all weekend :rayof it will be in the 30's in a few days though.
    #18
  19. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    WOW! Fantastic!! Thanks for the great pics :thumb
    #19
  20. longtallsally

    longtallsally Yeah I'm a chick

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    And I got my first taste of heated grips yesterday in the low 50s or high 40s coming down from Alice's. Dude, you are my hero.
    #20