Set Fazers to Suicide, We're going to the Arctic Circle!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by inmate-n00b, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    Hello!
    I went with my buddy novasquid on a 5 week trip. We went as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as Death Valley. We hit the road Saturday, July 31, and returned Wednesday, September 1. We did 12388 miles.
    I had my trusty Yamaha FZ6 and novasquid had his Yamaha FZ1. Both are referred to as "Fazers," hence the cheesy title and Star Trek reference. :puke1 :lol3

    Some stats...
    mileage: 12,388.92 (gps)
    tire changes: 1 set (pilot road 2's kick ass)
    states visited: 21
    border crossings (us/canada): 8
    number of days traveling: 33
    number of days riding: 30
    average miles per day: 412
    most miles in one day: 850
    speeding tickets: 0 :clap

    Ready for adventure? Here we go!!!

    ***PART ONE: GETTING TO THE FERRY***


    First, we went through the northern states like Minnesota and Montana, into British Columbia and the ferry through south eastern Alaska (yellow line). The ferry took us into Haines, AK. After central Alaska we backtracked using the ferry, and then went down Washington state, Oregon, Cali, etc.




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    day 1: point of rocks, md
    that's a historic train station in the background.
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    i'm wearing a one piece textile riding suit from teiz. it's very versatile in hot, cold and wet weather. i do look sexy i must say so myself. i strapped a spare 2 gallon gas canister to my seat as cheap insurance. i never needed it on the entire trip. the fz1 has only a 130 mile range, it still did fine.
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    first campsite in ohio, near a lake
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    freezer bag cooking 101: just add almost boiling water.
    ramen noodles, beef jerky, string cheese.
    tastes pretty good actually.
    here's more info:
    Freezer Bag Cooking 101 | Trail Cooking

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    i use a jet boil to boil the water. it can boil 2 cups in 90 seconds. sweet. it's also nice to get a quick cup of earl grey tea in the morning.
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    breaking camp in the morning. time to hit the road
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    i killed a pretty butterfly.
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    north dakota. no clouds. i hate riding in a straight line. so boring. i have a sportbike dammit!!!!!!!!
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    sometimes all you could see were these farms of bright yellow sunflowers
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    #1
  2. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    the roads are so straight here that i was able to lock my throttle open, take a glove off, and snap this photo with my iphone. i also changed the playlist for the music i was listening to. towards the end of the trip, enough sweat had seeped through my gloves so that i didnt need to take them off to use my iphone!!

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    the scenery started to change as we got towards montana. the scenery was fantastic! the roads were still incredibly boring....
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    one man's crappy home is another man's nice, rustic photograph. hahaha!
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    it's obvious why they call mt "big sky country"
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    it's just a HUGE cloud!!!
    never seen anything like this before.
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    some nice lady gave us butt waxx. i never used mine. honest. maybe novaquid did, but he aint tellin'.

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    campsite in idaho. it was a nice one. i got a good night's sleep. the smell of pine and cedars was very soothing.
    here's me setting up camp. i ended up hating my tent during the trip. i need a bigger rain fly and a vestibule. it was the rei campdome 2, i believe. i plan on returning it. i barely had room for me and my gear. i was always sleeping up against my boots, helmet and riding suit. that sucked. i wasn't exactly smelling like that old spice guy at the end of the day. i wanted to keep my gear in my tent so i didn't get any dew on them in the morning.

    rei is a great store because it's very hands on. if you want a sleeping bag and are curious about how it packs down, you can just grab one and put it into a compression bag. you can set up tents there, too. the rei-branded gear tend to have good value for your money. rei is a cult, really.....

    this campsite was funny because we saw a few people who had a few too many drinks. obviously camping is just another excuse to drink for a lot of people. not a bad idea, really. novasquid figured out during the trip planning that most state parks have flush toilets and showers while most national parks do not. most of the showers were free, but the further north and west we went the more we came across pay showers (usually ~$0.25/minute).

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    #2
  3. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    in washington state and idaho we had fun on some nice twisty roads finally.
    pretty lakes in wa state
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    they don't care about motorcyclists, obviously. their lawyers just told them to put up this sign.
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    campsite in wa state
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    everything is so expensive in canada. gas, food, water. everything but healthcare.
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    "what seems to be the officer, problem?"
    i think he was telling me to be careful about forest fires. sure, whatev.
    we had a total of 8 border crossings for this trip.
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    #3
  4. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    british columbia. this is wine country. nice towns around blue lakes. every lake we see is a different shade of blue. twisty roads in the mountains.
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    damn rich folks
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    yo dawg.
    i hear you like mirrors.
    so i put a mirror on your mirror.
    so you can look at yourself while you look at yourself.
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    lots of blue lakes here. quite stunning.
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    let me rant about bc drivers. omg. they are the worst drivers i've ever had to deal with in the entire trip. they drive so fast.
    i'm going 85-90mph and i was too slow for people.
    i was being passed by old trucks and chevy caveliers.
    they'd pass me and the 2 RVs in front of me.
    they are not afraid of any law enforcement. i think i saw a mountie once.
    cars would pass and the oncoming traffic wouldn't even slow down. i saw cars from the opposite lane coming at me and i'd have to slow down and move close to shoulder. turns out i was just a scaredy cat.
    worst drivers ever. nice people though :D
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    novasquid needed his rain gear. i treated my teiz lombard suit with some silicon waterproofing. eventually the suit lost all of its waterproofing. towards the end of the trip i started using a plastic rain jacket. it worked well but was clammy, uncomfy, heavy, and took up a lot of space.

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    kamloops lake campsite. we always met friendly people every time we stopped at a campsite, for gas, food etc. we learn a lot about the weather, road conditions and places to stay from just talking to people. they told us about a good hostel in prince rupert, where we wanted to catch the ferry.
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    having tags from the east coast of the usa generates interest, apparently.
    some campers offered us their canoe to use, i declined because i was too tired.
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    #4
  5. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    across the lake there were train tracks. the train would come by and blow its whistle. the train was a mile long or so. i saw a lot of trains in bc. they were full of lumber mostly.
    i was able to sleep at night, though. i was told that it came by 4 times at night. how did i sleep through it? ear plugs and benadryl.
    benadryl just knocks me right out! never go on a trip without it. seriously folks, do whatever it takes to get a good night's sleep.
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    the midwest is harley country, but over here all you see are those bmw/adv rider types. they're pretty cool, if you ask me....

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    i'm probably giving myself a baby wipe bath here. some times this is the best i could do. hey, i survived.
    see how small my tent is? i'd put my gear in my tent too. so my helmet, boots and suit would go in there to prevent the morning dew from getting them wet. i dont want to ride with wet gear.
    i hate my tent. i bought it from REI so i'll just return it someday. :D
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    fraser lake
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    Skeena River i believe. very pretty. parts of british columbia were better than alaska. i know it's hard to compare and that it's all unique and beautiful and all that. but i saw so much in 5 weeks that i couldn't help myself.
    so british columbia is a pretty cool place.
    there's a lot of golf courses and plenty of booze (wine).
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    #5
  6. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    pioneer hostel in prince rupert. some nice campers told us about the place.
    the ferry will pick us up in here.
    we had a lot of rain lately so it was good to not camp in it for a change.
    check it out if you're waiting for the ferry!
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    cheap rates. hot showers. clean rooms.

    southern bc is very dry.
    in western bc, it's so wet.
    remember the tv show: "The X-Files"?
    it was filmed in vancouver during the early (and best) seasons.
    having it be in canada gave the show a more spooky feel because canada is like the usa, except slightly "out of phase". things are kinda different, but you don't know why. that and everything has this wet glaze on it.
    basically, i felt like i was in an X-Files episode.


    here's novasquid and the fazers.

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    were you expecting the ritz?

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    amen.
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    some folks told us that there are a lot of bald eagles in prince rupert.
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    so we walked around the dock area looking for eagles.
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    didnt see any there. then someone said to go towards the cannery.
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    didnt see any at the cannery either
    later someone at the hostel said to go to the town dump.
    we never went.

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    "I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crossed the bar."
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    #6
  7. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    prince rupert has kind of an annapolis vibe to it. there's real fishermen here and a cannery and not as many yuppies
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    prince rupert is also a terminal on the alaska marine highway. none of the cities like ketchican or skagway in alaska are connected by roads. everybody takes the marine highway. i'm going from prince rupert to haines. then riding north.
    waiting for the ferry and customs. the ferry will take us through southeastern alaska.
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    our ferry was the matanuska. it was built in the 1960's. kinda old. it wasnt so bad.
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    all the motorcycles are moved aside. we were all talking about our trips. we met some one from virginia (a neighboring state to maryland).
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    we had to bring tie-downs for the ferry
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    this is the solarium. i just slept on those white deck chairs. i took my sleeping bag and air matress. there were heat lamps that kept us warm. i got some good sleep here. no need for a cabin. public restrooms and showers onboard too.
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    it felt good to just chill on the ferry, meet all the characters on board,
    and check out the scenery. i love being on the water.
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    we met a lot of tourists from germany, they were very friendly. some tourists set up camp on the deck of the ship. there were plenty of canadians, australians and english. besides tourists, there were seasonal workers and ordinary alaskans.
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    #7
  8. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    ***PART 2: NORTHERN EXPOSURE ***
    lighthouse
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    dont disturb the germans and dont mention the war.
    we met a lot of germans on this trip. they were so friendly. almost like they feel kinda bad about something......
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    this is some other port, i forget. as we got closer to each town/port in alaska, i would get reception on my iphone. i am an addict, i know. but still, it was nice to let my friends and family know i am still alive.....
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    clouds and fog. surreal.
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    america HELL yeah!!!
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    mustang ranch? :eek:
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    bald eagle, finally
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    the ferry has to navigate through the Wrangell Narrows.
    it has to make more than 50 course changes in like 20 miles or so.
    we pass by some small islands really close.
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    #8
  9. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
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    he's being chased by kayakers
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    this ship is docking. we all lined up to watch the action. everyone but the alaskans, they didnt care.
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    the sea is like glass. the whole point of the inside passage is that the islands protect ships from the strong seas and bad weather of the open ocean
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    keep looking at your shoes there, buddy
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    #9
  10. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    there's a whale jumping out of the water on the lower right
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    juvenile humpback. i was so happy to get a photo.
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    this is close to haines.
    the ship docked at haines at 5:00 am.
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    so you're probably wondering where i am now in the trip report.
    i'm at the northern part of the yellow line, in haines, alaska.
    i have to ride through the yukon to get back into alaska.

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    we are off the ferry. it's like 5:30am alaska time.
    also, the time zones are weird.
    british columbia is on pacific time. when we hit south eastern alaska we were on alaska time. wtf? why not pacific? then we rode through the yukon so it was back to pacific st. take a look at a time zone map.

    we met a lot of cool cats on the ferry. this is lance and shannon. they live in utah and were trying to get to prudhoe bay. they never made it.
    check out their website:
    MotoTour - Motorcycle Touring
    big south park fans too.:clap

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    i got my heated gear on.
    we were all nervous about weather, road conditions, border crossings, gas, etc.
    lots of unknowns.
    i hate waking up early
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    novasquid getting ready. he had motoport kevlar riding gear on.
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    we said goodbye to lance and shannon and headed out to the yukon.
    thumbs up!
    i'm riding in alaska bishes!
    i always did a 2 thumbs up/ borat pose for some reason.
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    novasquid at attention.
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    #10
  11. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    we're going to be riding pretty close to those mountains on the haines highway
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    it really was breathtaking.
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    the haines highway was a path the prospectors used in the klondike gold rush. they were charged a toll, so it was not very popular
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    dang french again
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    #11
  12. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
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    crappy roads. not the crappiest though. i wasnt able to get the camera out for those lol! i was too busy trying to stay alive.
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    yuck! my poor sidis.
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    Kluane Lake/ Destruction Bay
    there's a canadian lesbian couple and their baby living near here, lol.
    we met them on the ferry. they gave us a lot of good advice.
    nice peeps.
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    back in alaska. border checkpoint.
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    alaska is just a big friggin wilderness.
    there are no powerlines, no telephone poles.
    just trees and mountains and lakes.
    i remember seeing lakes and no way of ever getting to them. no roads, nothing.
    pretty cool.
    it reminded me of the dioramas i used to see in the smithsonian natural history museum in dc. i almost expected a dinosaur to pop his head out of the tree line.
    the landscape gave me a sense of being back in time.
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    lots of people warned us about the moose. they just jump right out at cars. i saw a truck almost hit a moose. that would've killed me, no question about it.
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    this is Fast Eddy's Restaurant in tok, alaska.
    i like the food here. i had the halibut burger.
    kinda overpriced.
    it must be real gourmet stuff for the alaskans here. hahaha.
    this place is popular among motorcyclists.
    mostly bmw types.
    that explains why it's so overpriced! zing!
    here's me and my borat pose.
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    #12
  13. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    we eventually got to fairbanks very late in the evening and camped in the rain. we stayed at the go north hostel & campground. i hated this place. i don't think i can properly express my rage, so i will just use these emoticons instead: :mad? :puke1 :(: :asshat :waysad :boid :boid :boid :turkish :fight :hair :defend:defend:defend:defend:gun2 :gun2 :2guns :2guns :2guns :shoot :shoot:gun1
    whew...that was cathartic.........


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    dalton highway going to the arctic circle.
    trucks rule the road here and they dont slow down!
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    omg! wtf?
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    pipeline. big deal in alaska. i think it's the largest thing in their economy. then it's fishing and tourism.
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    pump station near the yukon river.
    gas was like $5 a gallon here.
    i talked to some one who works for a helicopter company contracted to help fight the forest fires up north. his truck took more than $100 in gas, lol. he's from new mexico. he had to fly in the helicopter he maintains all the way up to alaska!
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    i ended up scratching my tank trying to take the magnetic tank bag off to get to the fuel cap. i felt really bad for doing that.
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    this is the cheapest thing they had to eat at the pump station. for $5, it costs the same as a tank of gasoline.
    the cynical side of me suspects that they got some campbell's soup and marked it up. it was good soup, though.

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    yukon river bridge
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    we made it! the PRIMARY MAIN OBJECTIVE has been achieved.
    we took a lot of photos of this sign.
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    the fz1. nice angle.
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    borat pose
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    #13
  14. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    we headed back to fairbanks, then headed down to valdez via the richardson highway the next day.
    on the way to valdez
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    thompson pass
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    in valdez we camped at the eagles rest rv park. hot showers and wifi, ftw!
    I met someone with an r1200gs and his friend with a f650gs thumper.
    they were pretty hardcore. i think he said he spent 20 days above the arctic. i think he liked how we were on sportbikes instead of enduros.
    one of his panniers had a sticker with his website on it. he's raising money for charity:

    http://www.atltothearctic.com/


    the next day we did a glacier kayaking tour of the columbia glacier.
    the tour was done by anadyr adventures.
    we took the water taxi to the glacier.
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    this is where the pipeline ends.
    the oil tankers receive the oil here.
    i followed the pipeline almost the entire way down, so it was nice to see the end of the line!
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    waterfall formed by the melting glacier.
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    you can see how big the waterfall is, using the ship at the bottom as perspective.
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    we were hanging on for dear life.
    we all had to wear kayaking gear. also, i wore this loaner cap to keep warm.
    ewwwww.......
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    #14
  15. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    icebergs from the glacier floating out from the tide
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    the ice from the glacier had veins.
    glacier ice is much more compact than ice in your freezer.
    there is a lot less oxygen in it as well
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    cool stone
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    best iceberg ever!
    it looks like a face in agony.
    like someone put a big stone on jabba the hutt.
    do you see it? none of the other tourist did.
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    #15
  16. ColininKodiak

    ColininKodiak (not in Kodiak)

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    714
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    Keep it up! Not too often you see sport bikes do this kind of trip. When I was crossing the border on the Alcan I met a guy on a Ninja 250 who had just ridden from Colorado. I had just come from Utah and he was a day ahead of me til we hit the border. Turns out we were headed to the same place. I'm interested to see how the fizzys held up to the trip. :clap
    #16
  17. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,681
    Location:
    Florida Keys
    Good job. Nice to see something other than the usual ride on that trip. My favorite line "dang french again."
    #17
  18. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    cup of tea with a nice view of the columbia glacier (to the right of me, near the mountains).
    this is a place where the ice, sea and land all meet to create an element of its own.
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    no photo-op would be complete without the borat pose
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    canadian geese, eh?
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    i kayak, apparently....this was a workout! i am so out of shape, and i drink waaaay too much alcohol. i vowed to get more exercise when i returned home. guess what? it's been a few months and i still haven't done anything. jeeez......
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    the bottom of this beach is silt or something.
    the tide goes out and the silt takes in air and the air gets trapped. when the tide comes in the air leaks out.
    so you seen these air bubbles.
    kinda neat.
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    the german tourists were hardcore! the guy worked for mercedes. he said he gets 20% off msrp for a new car. nice.
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    sea otter. he was big.
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    my macro setting works, apparently
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    we saw some tanker ships while heading back to valdez
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    the kayaking trip was great! i highly recommend anadyr adventures. they want you to tip the tour guides, which is weird. after paying $300 for a kayaking trip, would you tip the tour guide? no one did. not even the rich german guy who worked for mercedes.

    the weather was beautiful! it usually rained on us, but we got lucky during the kayaking trip. this august was the rainiest month in anchorage's history. it had been raining for more than 30 days straight. it started to rain on our way back to the rv park.
    we wanted to go flightseeing in talkeetna but the rained prevented any flightseeing.

    went to this walmart near wasiila to stock up on snacks and supplies. this is my http://peo<wbr>pleofwalma<wbr>rt.com photo!


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    eventually, we went back to tok. on the way we stopped by the wrangell glacier
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    you can walk all the way up to the glacier. this is as far as i went. i was sick of glaciers, i didn't care. after a while, i stopped taking photos of them.

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    the lollipop girls wave us up ahead.
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    we were halfway done with the trip. i had a milkshake at fast eddy's restaurant in tok to celebrate. it was very good!
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    we worked our way back through the yukon to haines for the ferry again. the ride from tok through the yukon to haines was cold, wet and miserable. for hours. like all day.
    that's ok. the scenery was unforgetta<wbr>ble. the rain made it even more beautiful. plus, i hauled all that rain gear and heat gear from maryland for a reason. i was mostly dry and mostly warm the whole time. novasquid was not! i don't know how he survived!
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    back in haines, ak, the the same ferry arrives to take us back to prince rupert, bc.
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    #18
  19. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    on the ferry i saw the mv fairweather, another ferry on the alaska marine highway. this is a dual hulled catamaran that can go almost 40 mph!
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    in ketchikan.
    last night in alaska, before we are dropped off in prince rupert, bc.
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    goodbye alaska and the yukon!
    one word to sum you up:
    WILD!!!
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    #19
  20. inmate-n00b

    inmate-n00b Ciao, Marco

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,006
    ***PART 3: SOUTHERN EXPOSURE *****

    so now we're at the southern point on the yellow line, in prince rupert.
    i'm working my way down south along the west coast and into california.
    then i'm heading back east through nevada, arizona, colorado.......
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    i'm working my way to washington state
    from british columbia. there are a lot of forest fires here. the smoke some times is as thick as a fog. most times it's like early morning mist. this photo was taken during the middle of the day. ash falls like snow. my campsite was 60km from the fire.
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    it rained in every valley on the way to vancouver.
    i have my REI overgloves on

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    the last border crossing! hooray.
    we showed up at 5:15pm.
    the signs all said the place closed at 5:00pm.
    we had 4 border crossings going to interior alaska and 4 coming back down. this was my last (8th) border crossing. big milestone.
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    it felt good to be in the lower 48. no offense to those from the other 2. hehehehahaha
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    so at almost every campsite, we talked to people. they are just curious about our east coast license plates. maybe they have a brother-in-law that rides a harley. most times they are drunk. i mean some people could barely stand up. really. we'd talk about bikes and road trips and tell them stories of alaska, but not once did someone offer me alcohol. kinda sucked
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    northern exposure @ roslyn, wa
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    the brick. a restaurant from the show. the sign is suspiciously phallic
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    novasquid is a fan of twin peaks. this was in the show. there is a huge age difference between us.
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    in vancouver, wa, we put on new tires. our plan was to pick up front PR2 tires from cycle gear and walk it over to pro-caliber where they had only PR2 rear tires in stock. despite 4 separate calls to verify the size and availability, cycle gear sold us the wrong tire size. this is novasquid's tribute to cycle gear.
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    we had pro-caliber install our new avon sport touring tires. they cost more than PR2's and last half as long. unfortunately, no one in the area had front PR2's in stock.

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    valley of the rouge, oregon
    a lot of this is smoke from a forest fire.
    some one said that 12 homes were destroyed.
    i asked him how it started and he said that it was probably cigarette butts from homeless people near a gas station.

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    #20