Hyder is not Alaska – June 2018

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by akupnt, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Second ride report to pass the off-season (first being Utah, uneventful but decent pictures … RR Here). First to qualify for epic.

    About 7-8 years ago I was doing more 2-3 day trips. Got an invite to ride to Alaska by some people who probably weren’t that serious about it. Not being anywhere near the ADV rider level it seemed ambitious but I tentatively agreed. That trip didn’t happen but over the next few years the ride would still come up and I would throw the idea out to others I rode with.

    Everyone is always initially fired up and wants to go. We are all kind of in the middle of raising families and bailing out for 2-3 weeks isn’t really practical. But we are also all getting to the age where you realize that you have to start making these things happen. And riding to AK is cheaper than a corvette, jean shorts and new balance shoes.

    Started to take the trip more seriously and 3 years ago started settings dates. Hyder became the target destination. Vlogs and youtube videos of the ride up became the filler during my workout regimen … convinced at the time that I was preparing for an excursion to the end of the world.

    2016 was the first maybe … didn’t work for anyone. When 2017 came and went with the same result I saw a pattern and decided to make it happen 2018 even if it meant going solo. Got 1 friend who doesn’t have the domestic commitments who was for sure in with a new KTM 1090. We have done several trips prior and are matched in riding style, speed, distance and preferences. His (Donny, idk his advrider handle) plan was to leave a few days earlier and meet me up in Washington. Everyone else for one reason or another just couldn’t make it. In retrospect it was probably for the better … as they wouldn’t have been ready in terms of gear, bike, distance, etc. Made an itinerary, packed up and split June 14th 2018.

    Route and video of the trip below … RR to follow …




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    #1
  2. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
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    First to qualify the title …

    2017 met a guy named Mark while on a trip up around Idaho / Oregon. Mark from Reno might be how some here know him, per the contact card he hands out when on the Road. Mark and I live in the same town … we stayed in touch and occasionally meet up, bike night etc. Marks a veteran rider with lots of experience so I lean on him for trip info, bike info, etc.

    Mark also likes to crush people’s dreams. And at a casual meal at a local bike night while sharing my plans to do this trip Mark informed me (tongue in cheek) that Hyder wasn’t really Alaska. The statement kind of became a staple of the event, as from a geographical standpoint it has merit. Something we will revisit if / when I ever make it to the Arctic.
    #2
  3. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Day 1. Reno to Silverton

    Weird feeling leaving the driveway on what would be my longest trip to date … you know you are probably going to enjoy it. But its also going to be a lot of miles with a lot of opportunity for a lot of problems. A strange apprehension sets it. Anxious to get going but wondering if you should have just taken a cruise (or bought that corvette) …

    Right out of the gate hit weather with hard rain for the first 100 miles. Got my gear scienced out and the FJR handles the weather well. Cleared up crossing bogard flats east of Mt Lassen … great weather north past Mt Shasta into Oregon. Just putting in the miles to get north. Donny warned me about traffic on i5 past Eugene where he got delayed for an hour 2 days before. Weather in the valley got hot. Pulled off the freeway, changed out to mesh and took farm roads the rest of the way north to Silverton,OR where I stayed with my aunt. Huge cloud formations on the mountains heading into town with a big rainstorm after.

    Silverton is a unique place. Very localized. Restaurants buy from local farms (or that’s what they tell you). Community supports local business. Very unconventional. Lots of murals. Barbie murder art in the shop windows. Not much there but unique appeal as a check-out location. Took my aunt to dinner at a bar on the river that had great food. 600 miles for the day. Donny wasn’t as lucky … he likes to wing-it and day 1 landed in a hotel in the hood of Portland with the gnarliest rat infestation he had ever seen.


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  4. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    Day 2. Silverton to Sequim

    We made the decision to enter Canada via ferry out of Port Angeles instead of dealing with the traffic out of Seattle. So I re-merged on the i5 north of Portland where you finally come out of that boring, monotamous part of central Oregon and headed north along the peninsula at Olympia. Good ride up the 101 along the water. Stopped at a state park. Sent the photo texts to friends / family as the first evidence of being somewhere significant. Park ranger stopped by to check on me … leaving I realized that they were probably dropping a hint to put some money in an envelope – sorry to the park ranger for jipping WA.

    Ride up was a long 100 miles. Not boring, a little slow due to traffic / roads / construction. Had never been on the peninsula.


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  5. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    Met up with Donny in Sequim at some brewery for lunch. He just got back cruising trails to the peak of blue mountain (?). Rolled up in shorts like a tourist on a rental bike. Checked out a few coastal spots, grabbed some drinks and crashed at his brothers place that night. Sequim is a cool town though I am told the clear weather and picturesque views of the Olympia range were an anomaly.


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  6. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    Day 3. Sequim to Lilloot

    This was the day that the trip got going. First ferry crossing, First time riding out of the country. First time on the roads north of Victoria / Vancouver.

    The ferry system was chaos but learned bikes always seem to hold priority in loading / availability. Rode to Port Angeles. Waited in the rain for about an hour. They put us on last and had us tie our bikes to ropes off the hand rail. It was little shady but no problems. 4 ferry rides total this trip … eventually got pretty good with the orange wedges and tie off protocols.

    Landed in Victoria, like other RR … customs fixated on Donny's CCW and any probability that he may have brought a gun into Canada. Seemed weird than I remembered that most my friends w/ CCWs carry all the places they are not supposed to so the shakedown made sense. Cruised Victoria up to Swartz Bay and caught another ferry through the channel to Tsawwassen. Gassed up, rode through Vancouver. GPS routed us through downtown but we eventually found our way back to the 99 north.


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  7. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    Scenery on this route was phenomenal, one of the best days of the trip. We stopped a few places including Lunch in Whistler. We went to a pub where we became fixated on the local accent. I think we determined (my own speculation after getting forensic with a google search) that its some kind of hybrid Australian seasonal ski resort worker / valley girls with rich daddy's thing. Didn’t realize the wealth of the Vancouver area which obviously tricked up to Whistler. The place is beautiful … just doesn’t bode well for getting one of those valley girls pretending to have a job to take your order.


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  8. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    Scenery got even more intense the closer we got to Lilloot. We passed a turnoff that from a glimpse looked like it had a glacier view – lots of cars and apparently a destination along the road. Hope somebody can fill me in on what we missed. Lilloot was a cool town. Not heavy on the dining options but we got a decent hotel and our first taste of the Canadian gas prices that translated to something like $6+ / gallon … which is about what we paid the rest of the time in BC. Glad I wasn’t in an RV with a big block and a carburetor.


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  9. JoeBiker25

    JoeBiker25 Been here awhile

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    spectacular pics!!!
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  10. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    thanks @JoeBiker25 ... switched to a helmet cam this trip. Pawn shop special for $100. A little post editing but it did pretty good.
    #10
  11. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    Day 4. Lilloot to Prince George

    North of Lilloot you leave the mountain ranges into central BC. I had heard this area described as wetlands but didn’t expect it to actually be wetlands. Uneventful day of riding on a straight, mostly flat road north. This is the stretch of this trip where you are just doing miles – the part that’s not featured on the vlogs. We started budgeting less miles in BC to give us time to look around. The area was in a heat wave that week. Temps were 90ish … was still using the mesh gear. Massive cloud formations started forming ahead of us and hit a few rain showers as we approached Prince George.


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  12. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    When we got into Prince George we checked in then rode around the city. Ate at some over the top trendy wing / sports bar. By the time we got back to the hotel the rain started. It tuned into a torrential downpour. Did the routine data dumps, device recharging and phone calls. Didn’t mind the monotony of the days ride … lots of miles so some is expected. Next few days were substantially different (and the entire eastern BC region turned into a post-apocalyptic hell-hole for a day due to a fuel shortage).


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  13. RJ44

    RJ44 Been here awhile

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    Good stuff so far. Great pics.

    Rob
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  14. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    Man!! I love the video and you have some killer pics!!! I will read it all!! Thanks for posting

    Damasovi
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  15. RevyRider

    RevyRider FXD Traveler

    Joined:
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    I am enjoying your ride report and will be following along. I always enjoy viewing pics of highways through BC as over the years I have worked on nearly every road in this Province from new Construction on four lanes, or re-paving miles of existing routes. The pictures on 99 north of Vancouver going north up the Howe Sound remind me of the years I worked for Kiewit on the Sea To Sky Project. Likewise for your pics on the Duffy Lake #99, and the same for the Hwy #97 south of 100 Mile House. Looking forward to future pics that I will recognize.. Anyway, great trip!! Looking forward to more...
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  16. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    Tks @damasovi ... probably came back with 500+.

    @RevyRider ... beautiful area. Roads worked great ... thank you!
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  17. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    Day5. Prince George to South Hazelton

    Weather cleared and we were now heading west on the 16. Wetlands became hills and eventually mountains then ski resort towns … which explained the hotel prices. Post card scenery as we re-approached the western range.


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  18. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    So we were told by hotel staff when we left not to pass gas stations, as many were notorious for running out along this route. After 200 miles of seeing gas every 20 we decided we were in the clear and decided to hold out until we arrived at our destination. We both rolled into New Hazelton almost empty. Both gas stations were out of gas.

    A tow truck pulled in and told us there was a regional shortage and that the nearest town 30 miles east just dried up too. While figuring it out another car pulled in from the west that said the town 30 miles that way was also out … leaving a prospective 60 mile gap with an unquestionable supply at the end. We wouldn’t be going anywhere until we found gas locally. The station attendant said a truck was arriving that night, but also confirmed this has happened before and has lasted 2-3 days.

    During this time you could start to see the desperation of travelers pulling in / out in hopes of beating everyone else to the next town. We talked to another local who tipped us off that the reservation in (old) Hazelton was selling gas out of a tank. We decided not to chance it and headed that way immediately.

    When we got there it was like a scene out of Mad Max. There was about 8-9 cars lined up in front of us, and everyone looked anxious wondering how it was going to go down if the car in front of them got the last gallon (litre). Of coarse when we were about 3-4 cars back some lady opened the hatch of her suburban and started pulling out a bunch of gas cans. People started yelling … she started yelling back. I was looking at Donny and wondering if he really brought his gun in case we had to roll the bitch for a few gallons to get out of town (jokes). Luckily for us (or her) she didn’t take it all and we were able to top off. Good thing because the gas truck scheduled to arrive that night never made it, and still wasn’t there by the next morning.

    Pro-tip; Steward BC holds some kind of emergency checkpoint status and by law cant go more than 24 hours without fuel, assigning a refueling priority whenever these regional shortages occur.


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  19. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

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    Hazelton was a cool town. Metal deck single lane suspension bridge you can ride in the rain. BC mountains. Caught our first glimpse of the Skeena river. Got my first wasp in the helmet riding back from the gas debacle with my visor up. We were finally getting up there in latitude and the sun was out until about 11pm. The hotel manager offered us beers when we got back. There were two women staying down the row who were cycling across BC (Canada) … 1 was late 70s and the other mid 80s. Suddenly I felt a little less cool … I wish I had got a picture with them, it was an impressive achievement.

    Non bike-related tangent; … that night when drinking with the hotel manager … lol (Bulkley Valley Motel) he asked me about my hat – a 210 fitted with no logo. Said he asked because he watched a show called Street Outlaws and that it was the same kind of hat the guys wore on the show. In an extreme twist of irony (and without ever noticing the fashion trend) – but both Donny and I dabbled in the brand of racing and coincidentally I had been invited (but declined) to compete on an episode. So after proving I wasn’t full of shit with some cell phone pics from my garage back home … we got to talk drag racing all night. That aside … great hotel and the owner is stepping it up to make it bike friendly including a bike wash for those traveling through.

    The next day we would make it to our destination in Hyder. Best day on a bike to date.


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  20. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

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    All my years of coming and going from Alaska I have never encountered gas shortages, the odd station every now and then that would be out of gas.
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