Dear God No, Not another Alaska Ride Report: Los Angeles to Alaska 2019

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AllSeasonRider, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

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    Famous ADVRider quote: “KOA - where camping goes to die.”

    Some are ok, others not so much.

    I swear I saw more F-250/350’s in that area than I saw people. At one hotel we stayed at, our bikes were the only vehicles that were not F-250/350’s. Didn’t really see a lot of semi trucks. The new pipeline up there was driving a lot of construction activity.
    bobw, Ginger Beard and AllSeasonRider like this.
  2. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Lots of HD pickups and semis today. You're right - more of them than people!

    Good news, folks:
    15668813652032048455607828277497.jpg
    CavReconSGT, gpfan, B10Dave and 7 others like this.
  3. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    Hey , a camp fire! Looks like everything is coming up Milhouse!
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  4. earthmover

    earthmover Opinionated, me? Supporter

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    Does he still make you take your boots off? Enjoying the report, thank you.
    Mark
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  5. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    I remember all the big truck traffic around that area. Lots of passing and lots of dust.
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  6. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Please remove your shoes, and don't take ones nicer than you left.
  7. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

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    There is a discretely placed sign that says you can leave your shoes on if you agree to clean all the floors.

    While I understand the concept, I have a thing against removing my shoes. The underlying message of the requirement to remove my shoes is that the carpet and floor is more important than me as a person. People are more important than things. Floors are meant to get dirty, be cleaned, and wear from use. Preserving them is a bit pedantic IMO.

    I'm sure Mike gets a lot of dirty, grimy rider boots. And his parking area is not paved so even if you show up with clean shoes from being inside a vehicle, ten steps across the muddy parking lot and they won't be clean anymore.

    So I get it. And I went along with it. To me, it is the only negative of the Air Force Lodge but Mike makes up for it with his warm reception, great service, and reasonable price.
    Amphib, AllSeasonRider and earthmover like this.
  8. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Lack of update due to lack of any cell reception last night, but I'm back in business now.

    Having breakfast in Seely Lake, MT!
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  9. Rider1807

    Rider1807 Love To Ride

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    Seattle
    "Wait... does that say mile 0? I thought this was the end! You mean I gotta I ride all the way to Fairbanks, now? Damn it - ok, I'll be back in a few days..."


    The end of the Alaska Highway is actually at Delta Junction. Not sure if you drove by the sign or not, it's at the Visitors center.
    AllSeasonRider likes this.
  10. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    I must have drove right by it. Good to know I don't need to go back!
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  11. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Picking up from the other night in Hinton, I managed to find a campfire going after walking around for a bit. People were wandering in and out, but I had a nice conversation with a mother and daughter from Grand Prairie, and a couple from Manitoba.

    The daughter said, "I've never met anyone from L.A. before!"

    "I've never met anyone from Grand Prairie before!"

    It wasn't a great night's sleep. The temps dropped more than expected and everything got a coating of frozen dew. I also had to get up to pee multiple times. The upshot is I saw some glorious views of the night sky and the Milky Way.

    There's no upshot for the cold.

    When I awoke, the sun ducked behind some clouds and I realized my stuff wasn't going to dry anytime soon. So I warmed up with some coffee, packed up a wet tent, and headed for Jasper.

    I turned onto the Icefields Parkway, and despite playing leapfrog with a few RVs (including and old one running poorly enough to be solely responsible for the melting of the glaciers, here), I had a really nice ride.

    I guess the scenery here is OK - they got a little of this:
    20190829_070020.jpg

    and a little of that:
    20190829_070050.jpg

    And some stuff over here:
    20190829_070114.jpg

    This is a must see route if you're anywhere near the area. Plenty worth the price of admission.

    No, really - it's a Canadian Parc de Nationale and it's $9 and change CAD to get in. I think that's about $1.12 USD.

    It was suggested to me that I skip Lake Louise and instead go see Moraine Lake.

    Bad news bears - there are signs everywhere that the parking is full, the road is closed to traffic, and you have to take a shuttle... I'm not sure I need to see it that badly. But I've got an idea.

    I roll up to the fine folks guarding the road to the lake. They've just finished telling a sweet a old woman to get the hell out of here, no room for geezers and go to the overflow parking and take the shuttle like the sheeple they are.

    I lift the chain bar, retract the sunshade, and let my glacier-blue eyes sparkle in the Alberta sun. I smile, and hope that my dimples (my wife says I've got great dimples) distracts from my dirty biker face. I sweetly and bashfully ask, "Any room for little ol' me up there?"

    "Of course! Enjoy the views."

    The lake is packed with people, but insanely pretty.
    20190829_070216.jpg

    The color of the water when the sun hits it is almost indescribable.
    20190829_070248.jpg

    Actually, it's very describable - it tuquoise.

    I sat for a bit to try and soak it in, but there's just too much activity around to get a 'moment', so I suit up and roll out.

    No photos, but even the freeways in the area are scenic.

    My GPS routes me through what feels the whole of Calgary. This city has sprawl that would make L.A. proud!

    Moving through fields and farmland, I finally end up at the border, and like that, a "Welcome back" from the guard.

    I'm in Montana.
    20190829_070311.jpg

    As the end of this trip draws nearer, a number of accomplishments hit me - finishing Alaska, getting to Tuk, finishing the Dempster, and now crossing back in the U.S. for the last time.

    I make my way to St. Mary and get a room - it's been a long day.
    OV10, Clarkman, Frey Bentos and 19 others like this.
  12. poppawheelie

    poppawheelie Long timer

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    I've told several would be travelers who don't have the time/ money (excuses) to get to Alaska to at least see the Icefields Parkway. One of the highlights of the trip, eh? IMHO, you'll see landscape to rival Alaska, excepting the tundra. Agree?
    AwDang and AllSeasonRider like this.
  13. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    Canada
    Here's one for you with a 1090 in it and everything! And this one was from as I was heading up; Tuk and Deadhorse on the same trip. IMG_20180816_111833.jpg
  14. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    I get an early start to ride Going-To-The-Sun Road, and right from my motel room I'm able to capture a few moments of the first light.
    20190829_072905.jpg

    As we all know, though, this light doesn't last long and it will soon fall flat. In fact, it's even worse than that as the sun eventually his behind some overcast clouds.
    20190829_072925.jpg

    I'm feeling... underwhelmed by what I'm looking at.
    20190829_072950.jpg

    The photos feel lazy.
    20190829_073022.jpg

    I'm nearly reluctant in pressing the shutter button.
    20190829_073044.jpg

    I'm in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and I'm alarmingly indifferent to it.

    I'm sure it's painfully obvious to all of you reading along, but it took me a few more miles for it to hit me.

    My trip is over.

    I've seen things so fantastic in such a short time that nothing else can compete, not even Glacier. Maybe it was the flat light, maybe it was the fact that this place is easy to get to. More likely, it's the fact that I'm just burnt out.

    I pull up to this lake, take off my helmet and sit on a rock.
    20190829_073103.jpg

    And mourn.

    I'm mourning an epic trip that's now over. There are no more majestic snow-capped peaks to see, interesting food to eat, new people to meet, accomplishments to achieve. The grief sits on me like a mountain. It's hard to get moving again. What's the point.

    Maybe I needed this trip more than I realized.

    But I hate being sad, and I think I can salvage the day. What I need is a new road - a road which doesn't compete with all of these other roads on scenery, or difficulty, or remoteness. I just need a good riding road - one which if you picked it up and placed it down anywhere in the world, it would still be a great road.

    I wonder what I can find around here...
    20190829_073122.jpg

    That'll do.

    When it comes to motorcycling, you can ask two people about something and get 3 answers. Whether it's a bike, or gear, or a road, everything is either complete crap or God's gift to motorcycling man.

    But not Lolo. Everything everyone says about Lolo is good. And everyone is right.

    Is there anything better than a full belly, a full tank, and 99 miles of fast sweepers on a sunny day?

    No, there is not.

    It doesn't hurt that it's also pretty to look at.
    20190829_073147.jpg

    By the way, I nearly smashed my head and bled out on a rock climbing back up the road from that spot. All this fear over bears and tripping over my own feet almost did me in.

    As I approached the west side of Lolo, the temps started creeping up. 70s...80s...90s...

    Once heading south on US95, the land dried out considerably and the scenery was great.
    20190829_073217.jpg

    And it got HOT. 106 degrees is what we topped out at, but it hung around a more reasonable low-100s for a few hours.

    I was feeling good, and decided to keep pressing... and pressing... I crossed the mountains south of Nampa, ID at twilight. It was eerie and beautiful. I like this time of night - not quite dark, and as the sun fades away - with light just reaching the tops of the clouds ahead - I think about how what I'm looking at is untouched by man, and the sun has set on it like this for millennia... eons, even.

    Then it's dark, and I've got hours to go. Riding at night like this is ok so long as there's no oncoming traffic or bugs to keep mucking up your visor and headlight.

    I struck out on both.

    It was a relatively stressful ride in, but I managed to tail a couple of trucks for a while to let them lead the way.

    By 11:00pm, I rolled into Winnemucca, NV.

    I'm exhausted, so I dump everything in the motel room and pass out.
    OV10, lvscrvs, CavReconSGT and 20 others like this.
  15. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    I would, and bonus points if you can go a time of year when there's more snow.

    In fact, linking Icefields with Glacier and Rocky Mountain NPs would be an epic few days of scenery, with plenty to see in between.
    gpfan, poppawheelie and ScotsFire like this.
  16. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Tuk AND Prudhoe bay in one trip? You're an animal!

    Which did you find more challenging? More rewarding? It's too late for me to do anything about it now, but I'm curious if I made the right choice.
    Ginger Beard and gpfan like this.
  17. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    Yeah, THAT sign. Did you happen to notice how it’s bolted onto the posts?
    Maybe just taking a chainsaw would be better. Remove the stumps back home.

    Still working on how to get a four foot long slab of aluminum on my bike. Also worried about what the border agents will think.
  18. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Just had breakfast at the slowest McDonald's in existence, and listened to the homeless guy talk about his collectible Harley he has, a 500cc single with a 8 or 10 inch piston, and how he got paid $250k by a Bond film for his helmet cam footage of doing 300mph wheelies.

    I've exaggerated nothing he said.

    Tires are good. Chain is good. Bike is packed up for the last time, and I've punched "Home" into the GPS.
  19. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter

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    Guy from Georgia beat you to it:
    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the hijack.

    Mike
  20. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    As long as HE gets it to Watson Lake, I support his initiative.