Operation Moto Dog | Girl, Dog, Hack - Alaska & Beyond

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mallorypaige, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. BELSTAFF

    BELSTAFF ADV NOMAD

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    Mallory, It is with a heavy hearts that Casey & I send our condolences. I know that Baylor meant as much to you as Casey does to me DSC_0494.JPG
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  2. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    Mallory -
    I don't believe I've posted here, though I may have posted in your thread back before this began - the one about maybe renting a hack. We followed along with your posts up to Alaska and back south, and then got busy with our own lives and planning and travel. Tonight we are in Weeki Wachee, heading south, staying in the Motel 6 across the street from the park with the mermaids, and someone posted, in our ride thread, a link to your post here:
    http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...k-alaska-beyond.1074315/page-45#post-28564815

    ...and I started reading again there. And then I got to the part where you lost Baylor. And now I'm tearing up a bit. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and for being an ambassador for people putting animals into their lives the way that you have. I'm glad the two of you got to be together as long as you did, and that you lived as much as you did in that time. I'm sure Baylor couldn't have been happier.

    We've got our two dogs with us - one of whom is older than we expected already - and I'll take this as another reminder to appreciate the time we get to share.
    josh
  3. mallorypaige

    mallorypaige Been here awhile

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    Thank you so much for the beautiful stories, replies and support. I am so grateful to have you in my life!
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  4. mallorypaige

    mallorypaige Been here awhile

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    Overland Expo West

    Is anyone going to the Overland Expo this weekend? I'll be there presenting the Operation Moto Dog Short Film on Saturday night. Even though I won't be on the motorcycle I'd love to meet as many of the ADVRider family there as possible. Hope to see you soon!

    (And someone just sent me this picture - looks like we made it in the brochure.)

    [​IMG]
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  5. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    I wish. Sunday Mother's Day so bad timing for me. Are you by chance thinking about the HU meeting near Yosemite in September??????
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  6. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Nice to hear from you Mallory! Sorry I'm not going to make it either. It is a little too far for me! Hope you have a good time, I am sure there will be lots of ADV inmates there!:jkam:dukegirl:freaky:beer:happay:raindance:drums:kat:bubba:*sip*:ricky:kumbaya....JJ
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  7. Hoodcounty

    Hoodcounty Been here awhile

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    Hey Mallory,

    Great to see you posting here again.

    You have positively affected so many lives by sharing your stories that a simple thank you does not seem adequate.
    The high part of many days was coming home, logging in and waiting to see what you had accomplished today.


    Along with so many others I was saddened by the loss of your faithful traveling companion, but in reading your blog, I noticed you may have picked up another?? :clap

    All the best for a long and happy future.
    Mike
    Granbury, Tx
  8. mallorypaige

    mallorypaige Been here awhile

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    Hadn't thought ahead to September yet, but that's definitely a possibility.




  9. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

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    Any chance you'll be at the east overland expo in September /October?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  10. mallorypaige

    mallorypaige Been here awhile

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    Definitely possible. I'll let ya'll know as soon as I get plans settled.
  11. mallorypaige

    mallorypaige Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]

    In case you missed the May issue of Alaska Magazine, you can now read my feature article online! Thought you might enjoy this as it involves the start of the trip and some bonafide moto lengends :)

    Read article on Alaska Magazine Here>>

    Or here:

    Alaska by Sidecar

    Head on a swivel, I tried to take it all in. Clear blue water tumbling over rocks, winding through emerald green underbrush, cutting a path across the massive valley floor. The hills and mountains piling up, creating a domino mosaic of rugged land. Snapping pictures at first, I eventually gave in to the reality that my images can’t do it justice. A place that vibrates pure wildness seemed sadly flat and one-dimensional on my camera screen. Staring in wonder, I vowed to simply remember it all.

    Applying the brakes, I slowed down. Carefully turned off the pavement, immediately began driving straight up. Slowly weaving, bouncing, jostling over the uneven gravel. Reaching 3,886 feet on the top of Alaska’s renowned Hatcher Pass, I pulled off. Made a beeline for the edge of the mountain to see as far as possible. Sky awash in a riot of pink and orange, I checked my watch, smiled in amazement. It was already nine o’clock at night. The locals weren’t kidding. The sun works overtime in the short summer months. The days are long, the nights nonexistent.

    Looking to the left I stared in wonder. A flock of paragliders silently danced through the sky. Floating up, circling round, losing elevation and doing it all again. A silent skyward ballet free for anyone willing to venture up the mountain to enjoy.

    Climbing onto a rock, I patted the spot next to me. Wrapped an arm around my best friend and copilot, a joyful, downyfurred Labrador retriever named Baylor. Sun lowering in the sky, I thought back to the unlikely journey that led us here. After all, starting out just two months ago I was being told my plan was sure to fail. With little camping experience, no mechanical know-how, or even a motorcycle license, I was simply a routine-loving homebody hoping to become an adventurer. Just a woman with a dream—to drive a motorcycle-sidecar to Alaska, with only my dog for company.

    [​IMG]

    I had a hope of leaving my home in Bend, Oregon, and seeing beautiful places, an expectation it would be challenging at times, but I never imagined the people, the kind and generous strangers-turned-friends. Without them it would’ve been a lonely and difficult journey, without them we never would have made it out of the Yukon and on from there—traveling the continent for more than 400 days, crossing countless borders and logging more than 30,000 miles. I’d gotten my motorcycle license, learned to weld, attached the sidecar to the motorcycle, loaded my furry copilot into the sidecar and made it more than 2,000 miles north, but I was in trouble.[​IMG]

    Just two weeks into the trip and we were stranded. Having experienced major engine damage, a mechanical rattle had become louder and louder. Less than 400 miles from the Alaska border, a persistent audio alarm warned me to cease driving for fear of sudden engine failure.

    Learning the local Whitehorse mechanic had a backlog that would take weeks to work through—and knowing I couldn’t just sit around waiting—I started looking for other options. I didn’t know anyone in the area, lacked the mechanical expertise to quickly diagnose and fix the issue, had completely run out of ideas or solutions. But I wasn’t alone.

    Armed with a weak and intermittent internet connection, I posted on forums, asked for advice on Facebook, and wrote a blog and sent it into the ethers of the world wide web. And then, shockingly and perhaps for the first time ever, I witnessed the internet at its full potential as a tool for education, connection, and good. Which is how I found myself emailing a complete stranger, “If I could cover gas would you have any interest or availability to come get us and tow us to Alaska?”

    It was a long shot. I wasn’t even sure how often he checked his messages, let alone that he—a total stranger who had been recommended through the motorcycle forum—would be interested in driving more than 1,000 miles to pick us up in Whitehorse, haul this motley crew across the Alaska–Canada border, and carry us on to the waiting mechanic in Anchorage. I was on the verge of giving up when I got a reply that showed this was the type of person who not only had the tools to make things happen, but the positive attitude to make it fun.


    Grinning at the glow of my screen, I read a message—from a complete and total stranger—that went like this, “All right, operation rescue moto dog is about to get underway. It’s roughly ten hours from my place to Whitehorse. We should have you to the mechanic in Anchorage in two days time if all goes well. Regarding ‘thanks’—this is Alaska. We look out for each other. Just pass it on when the opportunity presents itself.”

    It was a theme I would hear over and over—Alaskans look out for each other. It’s less about payback, more about simply doing what’s right.

    Motorcycle-sidecar loaded onto the trailer, I settled Baylor into the back seat and hopped up front with Alaska motorcycle icon, Jack. Gray hair the only sign of Jack’s age, his eyes shined bright with knowledge and mischief. Something of a legend in the motorcycle community, he’s known for riding the roughest mountain passes—in the winter, on a Goldwing no less. He’s covered more miles than most of us can even imagine, but you’d never hear him brag about it. He simply travels for the love of it.

    After a pit stop for some of the best homemade pie I’ve ever enjoyed, we headed southwest from Tok en route to Anchorage. The road was rough, full of potholes and unexpected dips, but I hardly noticed as I stared at the mountains to my right. Turning to the left I gasped, the water sparkled magically against the lowering sun. Rugged mountains ran up to the edges of the bay and gave way suddenly to endless ocean views. Surely one of the most beautiful sites I’d ever seen.



    In Anchorage we unloaded the motorcyclesidecar into another stranger’s driveway. Tom is known for being able to fix any and all KLR650 problems. And what’s more, he was willing to teach a novice like me a thing or two about fixing bikes. Which is how I found myself spending days in the Anchorage metropolis diagnosing, wrenching, taking apart, and putting back together. He was the wise master and I was the willing grasshopper. Bolt on, bolt off.[​IMG]

    Now if I were you reading this, I’d be tempted to think this kindness and connection was a fluke or perhaps an anomaly of the motorcycle community. Truth be told, that’s what I thought as I left behind the big city and rode south into the Kenai Peninsula. I thought surely my friendly good luck had been used up. Until I arrived in the tiny town of Hope, which is made up primarily of the Seaview Cafe with its large wooden deck and ability to seamlessly shift from morning cafe to nighttime bar. Live bands transform the sleepy town of Hope each weekend. Guides from upriver came to town, Anchorage city folk filled the patio, motorhomes lined the streets, and locals mixed and mingled.

    Cruising slowly down the packed dirt road, I looked at the Seaview on my right, the glistening bay and towering mountains up ahead and I just knew. I needed to spend a few nights here.

    Camp spot secured, tent erected, I chatted with passersby. Within minutes, Baylor and I became enveloped into the community with offers of meals, whitewater-rafting adventures, and a place on the community softball team. Most memorable of all, though, was a chance encounter with a true Klondike character.

    Seeing the rusted pickup truck pull in next to me, I looked up. A man climbed out and pointed as a dog leapt out behind him. “This is Jake the snake. He’s half coyote,” he said.

    Tools spread about, I took a break from my mechanical chores to smile, say hello. He nodded quickly and turned back to the truck, cracked open two beers, handed me one, and started setting up his camp chair. “Can’t say I’ve ever sat and watched a lady work on her motorcycle before,” he said as he settled in to do just that.

    [​IMG]

    Gray beard, gold-mining history, a sporadic cough that belied years of packing and smoking an antler pipe, Curtis was the real deal. We entertained each other for the morning—him with his quick wit and endless array of old-time stories, me with my wrenching and motorcycle-problem solving.

    Had I purposefully planned it all out, I never could’ve organized meeting so many interesting people, but that’s the magical thing about road tripping. The open road brings an unmatched freedom and connection.

    A fact that’s doubly true in Alaska. As I would continue to be learn time and time again. Heading farther south “to the end of the road” I was met with welcome arms while staying at the familyoperated Camp Homer, fishing for salmon, hiking to glaciers, and soaring high above the wilds in a tiny two-person airplane.

    I think about all this as I sit with my faithful canine companion at the top of Hatcher Pass. As I remember the meals shared and the stories told. The laughter and the friendship.

    Starting out I knew Alaska would be filled with wild places and rugged views, fully expected to see some of the most breathtaking wilderness North America has to offer. But I never imagined the people of Alaska would become my most beloved memory of the Great Land. Their kindness, generosity, and good-natured ease changed the entire scope of not only this journey, but also my life.

    Resting my chin on the top of Baylor’s head, I watched a bright orange sky dancer dip down, float out of site. Filled with an unexpected longing, I looked around. I hadn’t even left yet and already I couldn’t wait to return.

    Alaska grabs you by the heart strings. Tugs at you to settle in and discover more. Someday I’ll be back, but in the meantime I take Alaska with me everywhere I go, each time I interact with someone new. As my wise Alaskan friend Jack once said, “We’re not strangers, just friends who hadn’t met yet.”
  12. 1UglyBastard

    1UglyBastard Been here awhile

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    "“Can’t say I’ve ever sat and watched a lady work on her motorcycle before,” he said as he settled in to do just that."

    hahaha
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  13. v4play

    v4play Throttlephile

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    Awe nuts...

    Feeling your pain and wishing you peace.
  14. Southtxwingman

    Southtxwingman Adventurer

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    May 1, 2013
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    Mallory Its been a while, sorry for your loss, but have to say he was blessed to have you too. Do you think you will do the motorcycle thing again? Any way from a ol broken down fan would love to see you out there putting a smile on everyone face. Don't wait to long getting old sucks. God bless and take care.......