Meandering north to Alaska

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jwc, May 24, 2019.

  1. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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  2. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    Back in Stewart as part of the Canada Day celebration there were buskers playing around the town and at the community park. We enjoyed listening to the various groups.
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    Later there was an open mike session that we could hear from the campground. You’ve got to admire the folks that are willing to publicly display why their day job doesn’t involve singing. Of course there may have been a small amount of liquid courage involved. Regardless, everyone was having a good time.
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  3. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    No photos today as we either had already taken pics of what we thought photo worthy or it just wasn’t interesting enough to take a photo of. That is unless you want to see the rock that rolled under my front tire as I pulled into the campsite and caused me to perform a trick dismount as my tiger took an unexpected nap.

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    As we left Stewart the scenery on 37A was just as awesome as it was when we came in. It’s certainly worth the time to visit not only for the nature but you will almost certainly meet interesting people along the way. Locals like Caroline the fudge lady in Hyder that when asked about the dulcimer hanging on the wall behind the register may grace you with a short session that is infused with a lifetime of love for the instrument that goes beyond a few notes on a resonating string.
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    Perhaps you will also meet others traveling through like yourself such as Fuzzy74 of “3 old guys to Alaska-Goldwings and a 300 verses” fame, and your life will be richer for it.


    We made it to Kitwanga where 37 and 16 intersect and we planned on getting fuel and coffee. I was half way through this rather simple plan and sitting on my faithful steed at the gas pumps it refused to start. Lights on, dash active but No click, no nothing. About this time land yachts started rolling in along with harried people who obviously had no time for such tomfoolery as crowded fueling stations as evidenced by angry shouts in the parking lot. So I push my now silent Tiger to a more appropriate parking space to investigate. It’s every nook and cranny is covered in dust from our glacier visit the day before so I suspect a “mother knows best” safety switch. As the bike is in neutral I figure it’s not the side stand. The clutch switch maybe? A judicious squirt of WD-40 (never leave home without it) in the switch and voila, this time when I press the start switch she starts purring away. Don’t you love it when it’s something simple.

    Leaving the land yachts and other very busy people to sort out their conflicting priorities we headed down Hwy 16 toward Prince George. Making to Houston we pull in, gas up, and yes go in for more coffee. Inside we meet two more advrider inmates Phideaux and Land who are on their way to Alaska. We linger over our coffee and swap ride stories and talk bikes. They are both experienced riders and the conversation is interesting but soon it’s time to go. We wish then safe travels and continue on to Prince George.

    The trip and scenery on 16 is both uninspiring and uneventful. Entering Prince George many businesses and some restaurants are closed due to it being a holiday weekend. Then we see the Bon Voyage Inn like an oasis in a dry desert. Well not really all that but it had a Hotel, restaurant, gas, laundromat, and car wash all which we needed and all in the same shopping center. So we pull in for the night and take care of the bikes and ourselves with very little fuss.
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  4. nuke65

    nuke65 Adventurer

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    Sorry we missed you. We’ve been in Prince George a couple of days. Fuzzy and I are leaving today after new tires and an oil change.
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  5. boristhebold

    boristhebold Been here awhile

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    A great sentiment.
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  6. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    PM sent
  7. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    7/1/2019


    The rain had just quit on a 45deg morning as we were leaving Prince George, though we soon caught up with it and it stayed with us the rest of the day.

    We met a group of Swedes that had rented some Harley Davidsons and were riding from the port at Prince Rupert to Lake Louise then back to Vancouver. They seemed to be having a great time and were undaunted by the weather. We chatted as best as the language barrier allowed but some things are universal. The fellow that appeared to be their spokesman mentioned that one of them had a Ducati at home to which I replied “an Italian Princess”, he agreed and motioned toward one of the gals in the group and laughed.


    I had thought to make it as far as Golden but after hours of riding the rain had found it’s way into every nook and cranny in our riding gear and we were both wet. Cold and wet do not make for fun in Ted’s riding manual so we stopped in Jasper where we had intended to ride on by.

    As it was Canada day Jasper was in full swing with crowds of people in attendance. The majority of the hotels were sporting no vacancy signs so we headed out from the city center and stumbled on the Jasper Inn. Standing, dripping on their lobby floor they quickly found us a room.

    Getting out of soggy riding gear and warming up makes Ted happy again.


    Walking to the city center was uneventful - excepting the moment where a motorist that obviously had places to be tried to run us down while we were in a cross walk. I literally had to jump out of the way not to be struck by his car. Fun times.

    After a visit to Tim Hortons that was the most part standing room only, and a few of the shops we returned to the hotel to rest up.




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  8. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    We waited a little on the weather to clear before leaving Jasper though we might as well have left early as we soon caught up with the front anyway. The rain stayed with us the rest of the day. Today we had no definite plans on how far to ride just as long as it was in West Glacier’s general direction.

    For us it included another trip down the icefield Parkway. The rain and low cloud ceiling was just enough to add a dramatic effect to the mountain top views. There were times that a bit of blue sky would emerge.

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  9. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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  10. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    The border crossing was one of the easiest yet with no obtuse questions or other tomfoolery. Crossing into the US we found this gem: Riverstone Lodge just across the border.

    Our ‘cabin’
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    Our sunset view

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  11. nuke65

    nuke65 Adventurer

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    Didn’t receive PM. Glad you’re still enjoying the trip.
  12. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    It was an intentional late start today, as we suspected we would be more comfortable in our new digs at the RiverStone Lodge than on our bikes in the brisk, wet morning. Well we didn’t have far to go today anyway. The Glacier Campground just outside the National Park was holding a site for us.
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    The hostess at the Riverstone lodge told us the bank in Eureka would exchange the thirty Canadian dollars we had for US currency. FYI they will not. But I met a Canadian couple from Alberta that were riding a Wing who swapped me USD for my CAD. Many thanks.

    I found these cracks today in my Motoz GPS after 9,500 miles. The same tire on the back of the CBX is not cracking - both tires installed at the same time and ridden the same roads and number of miles. Though the Tiger is heavier, more hp and has carried more weight in luggage.

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    The Sunflower Cafe in the Glacier Campground has coffee and a fireplace !

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    We rode into West Glacier but it was too overcast with slight rain to ride the Going to the Sun Road. Visibility would be very limited so we decided to wait till tomorrow.

    Here is a photo of Ted waiting for tomorrow.
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  13. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Cracks aside, I'm happy to see you're getting that kind of mileage out of the GPSs. I have a set ready to go in for my AK trip in about a month, expecting 9500-10,000 miles round trip.
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  14. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    I have them mounted in the 50/50 rotation. I've heard that in the mostly offroad direction they will wear faster. The GPSs handled road duty well and gave us no problems in the rain. After I switched the Tiger's ride mode to offroad mode did very well in the washboard gravel.
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  15. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    We woke up eager to ride the Going to the Sun Road. We had been too early in the season the first two times and Logan’s Pass was still being plowed from the winters snow. “Three times a charm” right? Not necessarily, on the way to the entrance of the park Ted’s bike showed it’s ignition electrical glitch three times in 10 min. All we could do was let her coast to the shoulder until she found the sweet spot wriggling the key and restored electrical power.

    We decided to get a cup of coffee West Glacier cafe at the parks entrance and consider our options. While mulling over our latest development we met Dan and Cindy who were sitting at an adjacent table. They had ridden a 650 scooter two up from Kansas, Dan praised his scooter’s comfortable ride and said it was quite capable of going interstate speeds when required. We finished our coffee and went outside to compare rides.

    Realizing that a narrow curvy mountain road with small to nonexistent shoulders is not the place for a bike that likes to increase the fun factor by switching itself off we decided not to ride the pernicious machine to Logan’s Pass but leave it in the Apgar Visitors Center parking lot and take the hikers shuttle up to the Pass.

    On the shuttle ride we met an 84yo retired Lutheran pastor and his wife who over the last 15 years had hiked many of the trails in Glacier. They had travelled to 6 of the 7 continents missing only Antarctica. He possessed a genial, easygoing manner and was a pleasure to talk to. Of course riding up would have been better but even in the shuttle the views were spectacular.
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  16. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    Walking around Logan's Pass Visitors Center.

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    Back at the campground we could hear the occasional fireworks going off as people celebrated the 4th of July. Needing to be at the dealership in Kalispell for 8:30 we will try to make it an early night
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  17. Rider351

    Rider351 Dude Supporter

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    Hey Alaska pros!! Great thread! Thanks for sharing. I am looking at this ride for 2020 leaving out of MI. I retired and re-tried camping but just not for me anymore. Is is possible to do the May/june trip and hotel it all the way? Thanks
    Tom


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  18. Rider351

    Rider351 Dude Supporter

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    those look like flying alaskan rabbits the jump into flight and attack,,,usually going for the throat..watch them!!!
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  19. rtcoker

    rtcoker Adventurer

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    Just be aware. Many of the best roads are mountain passes. They usually aren't plowed or open until about the second week of June. Even in the CONUS> Going to the Sun, Beartooth, Chief Joseph. Worse in Yukon. Even after June 20th i have experienced deep snow in the Yukon
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  20. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    You should have no problem hoteling it the entire time. Just remember when you are in the Yukon and similar locations hotel does not equal The Hilton.
    I would bring a small tent anyway - just in case everything is filled up you still have options
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