Two guys, two bikes, and 11,000 miles from VA to AK and back.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by phreakingeek, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,942
    Location:
    VA
    Day 15 7/6/2019
    Start: 9:30am Dease Lake BC
    Stop: 7pm Old Hazleton, BC
    Total: 425mi

    Rode a lot more of Hwy 37 and 37A to Hyder AK (if the NJ guys said it was a must ride, I'm not going to argue). 37A through the mountains and along the water was truly stunning. We passed glaciers, clear blue lakes and ponds, and rode a bunch of fun curves. It started out cool, but got up to 87F and pretty steamy with humidity.

    We stopped at the Bell 2 Lodge for lunch...(had the beef sandwich of course 6/10 score. It wasn't bad but it was a little overpriced and had some trendy micro greens or something on it, too up-town for me.) While we were there we met another couple riders from the UK who were making their way around the world. They'd already ridden through Asia and were now treking through Canada heading South. Pete Foley and Caroline Nunn (I think that's the correct spelling) were a lot of fun to chat with and hearing their stories. But we had to keep rolling so we said our good-bye's and hit the road. We were both pretty humbled hearing about Pete and Caroline's travels. They are some hardcore ADV riders. I friended Pete on facebook and I see he made his way down Baja and is now in Central America.

    We passed through Stewart on our way to Hyder. There is still some logging going on using the water to move the trees. It was like we went back 100 years seeing them floating and the little barge boats they use to move them around.

    We lucked out and found a really nice campground. Ksan Campground in Old Hazleton, BC was fairly inexpensive and had nice amenities. Only drawback was that they had pay showers which only took loonies. We had to ask our neighbors to make change for us to get more than a 5min shower. It started raining right as we were making dinner and it was cozy with Eric and I sharing an umbrella.

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    #41
  2. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,942
    Location:
    VA
    Day 16 7/7/2019
    Start: 10:30am Old Hazleton, BC
    Stop: 5pm Prince George, BC
    Total: 446mi

    Started out the day a little overcast and our tents were wet from overnight rains. We took out time getting packed up so the sun could dry the tarp and rainfly's. We enjoyed the laid back atmosphere around the campground...lots of people but all quiet and easy going. There appeared to be a large church youth group staying there as well. I overheard some conversation and it sounded like they were doing some sort of mission trip nearby. All of the kids were nice and polite...but when they ran out of shower money they were using the sinks to wash up. LOL

    The ride was more excellent curves on nice pavement. We opted to take back roads and see as much as we could since we still had plenty of time before we got to Seattle. After battling the flies and mosquitoes for a couple weeks, we decided to stop and pick up a ThermoCell. Eric's brother is an avid hunter/camper and said it's the best. So we made our first stop at a Canada Tire. We thought it would be like Walmart...but there were some differences...but the people were very similar to what we're used to.

    We stopped for lunch in a tiny town where the options were pretty limited. We thought it was a diner, but turned out it was a Chinese food restaurant. I don't usually have any issues with regular Chinese food, but this was pretty greasy and not good.

    Eric found us a hotel in Prince George and when we got there, it was very nice. We were going to eat at the lobby restaurant, but it was some sort of gastro pub with stuff that sounded awful. Luckily the hotel next door had a couple very nice restaurants and we opted for the sushi place. Man o man, that was a good call. We ate a lot and had a great time til we shut the place down.

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    #42
  3. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,942
    Location:
    VA
    Day 17 7/8/2019
    Start: 8:30am Prince George, BC
    Stop: 7:30pm Vancouver, BC
    Total: 525

    After a nice meal and sleeping in real beds, we were up and going fairly early. It was overcast and looked like it rained a little overnight. We normally park pretty close together so we can use my Kelty tarp to cover both bikes in case of rain

    While packing our stuff on the bikes, we noticed some odd stuff. Eric's GSA storage pocket on his gas tank was open and empty and the flip up tab on my tank key hole was up. After folding up the Kelty and looking for the storage bag, I realized it was missing. That was the only thing that was left unsecured on my bike. Looks like during the night someone had reached up under the tarp and tried to open and steal anything they could get their hands on. Luckily my GPS and hard cases were all locked and we had removed all of the other bags and put them in the room. It was a bit shocking since we were parked behind the hotel, but less than 20 feet from the door. In the last 4 years, I've been on a lot of ride trips and clocked at least 60k miles...this was the first time I've had any stolen off my bike. So, if you stop overnight in Prince George BC...make sure you secure your stuff and park in a place with plenty of visibility.

    On to the ride...
    We left town and rode almost directly south on Highway 97 through a lot of scenic forest and countryside. The terrain changes a few times from heavy trees to grassland and there's a bit of elevation change throughout the day. We noticed right away that the temps were a lot warmer than up north. The temps would rise warmer much earlier in the morning and stayed hot til after sundown.

    We stumbled into a little town called Quesnel and decided to get gas. We were having some difficulty with the card locks for a few days...they seemed to be hit or miss with different cards we were using. We also had to try a couple different stations to find anything above 87 octane. While filling the tank, we saw signs for a coffee shop that sounded interesting. So we decided that since we had plenty of time, we'd check it out. We wandered around the old dowtown area for a bit and parked in a lot with a tiny sign for the shop...and ajoining the lot for a Tim Hortons. I was pretty tired of Tims so we wandered to the sketchy looking door for Granville Coffee. There was a dude unloading boxes so we asked if we could go in and he walked us inside. Turns out, that was a the back door and he was the owner Ted...he escorted us through a bustling kitchen filled with fresh baked pastry's and bread with a kitchen full of people making eggs/bacon/sandwiches and everything else. Once we got to the restaurant, we were blown away. We opted to walk around and move our bikes to the parking spot in front. Once we ordered (and Eric found some tasty non-gluten stuff) we both were in love with this shop. The ambiance, friendly staff, amazing food, and customers was great. Wish we had a place like this back home.

    Once back on the road, we travel a while along a river and came up to standstill traffic due to an accident. We opted to bail onto Canada Highway 1 and rode through some more national parks and along the Fraser River.

    We were initially going to stop for the night in Vancouver, but ended up not liking the city too much. Lots of traffic, noise, and it was kind of jarring our senses after a few weeks traveling. We decided that since we still had a lot of daylight, we would cross the border and find something else. We heard there would be a long backup to cross the border, but turned out to be about 15 minutes to cross. We found a campsite at a KOA in Lynden, WA. It was pretty full of RV's and campers, but we had a killer site right down at the shore of a nice pond. We made camp and enjoyed a tasty dinner.

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    #43
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  4. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,942
    Location:
    VA
    Day 18 7/9/2019
    Start: 10am Lynden, WA
    Stop: 8:15pm Winthrop, WA via Seattle and Cascades Park
    Total: 300mi

    So, we got a bit of a late start since we decided to use the water hose at the campground to wash our bikes. We had about 3000 miles of dirt and bugs to remove...so it ended up taking about an hour to get stuff mostly clean. Met a guy who was a rider but camping with the family in an RV. He and his brother both had a couple small 250 dualsports and he wanted to hear all about our adventures. He was from southern California and had dreams of doing some ride trips too.

    We made our way down to Seattle and stopped at BMW of Seattle. It was not quite what I expected...almost looked like someone's house that had big display windows put in the front. But once you go inside, it's three levels of showrooms full of bikes, gear, and the bottom level with the service department. I found my way to the service manager and asked about tires...and if they could fit me it. The tire selection was a little thin, but they did have a set of TKC 70's to fit my bike and he said he could squeeze me into their schedule that morning. So I dropped off the bike and we went up the street to a tiny mom and pop Mexican restaurant for lunch (Senior Villa). After some amazing food and nearly in a coma, we went back to the shop. Eric was trying to get some sort of resolution for damage due to defect on his new helmet while I waited for them to finish up my bike. Didnt take but another 30 minutes and I was ready to roll. Eric was not able to get a new face shield from the shop, but Andrew at Arai Support did offer to send replacements to his house back in VA. Not what he'd hoped for, but still a good outcome. But, the best news Eric had all week was the order for his Beadrider was delivered and he now had his own ass beads for the ride home.

    So, with everything done by noon that we had hoped to accomplish...we had a full afternoon to kill. We decided to take a ride around the Cascade Loop. We got to experience some nice mountains, forest, curves, rain, fog, cold, hot, desert...that ride had it all. Our Mexican lunch was running low, so when we saw signs for Taco Tuesday at a place called Methow Cider house, we knew what we had to do. We stopped in and enjoyed an awesome dinner at the cider house and it was a really cool place. Great staff and the place was packed with people having a good time. We found a campground about 10 miles down the road on Highway 20. We passed a lot of cool shops and stuff in the town of Winthrop but it was fairly late and they were all closed for the night. Looked like a nice place to visit and wander around for a while.

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    I'm sure I have a lot more pics of this day...but this was the only one I see on the card for that day. Weird...
    #44
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  5. Moto-Kafe

    Moto-Kafe Gnarly Entre-manure Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,109
    Location:
    Heart of Dixie........Alabamie
    Prince George thievery...........not the first RR I have read with the same experiences. Seems like I remember someone saying there is a huge drug problem there.........just what I read, no factural data. Winthrop, Wa ..........neat little town with wooden walkways (sidewalks)......I camped at a nearby KOA back in 2003. Leavenworth, Wa is fun too (I may be jumping ahead in your RR....if you went thru there)........Scandinavian Swiss Village style town. Lots of Festivals.

    A++ on your RR here.........short and sweet write-ups, outstanding pics........... :beer
    #45
  6. DukeMButu

    DukeMButu Minister of Culture

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Oddometer:
    262
    Location:
    Coming to a town near you soon!
    Good write!

    It appears we passed one another on the Dalton. I arrived at Prudhoe the night of the 3rd of July after riding through the rain you mentioned. Thanks to a surprise invite from the gang at Colville Fuel I spent another day in Prudhoe celebrating the Fourth of July. All in I spent five days on the Dalton and while it was VERY expensive, was well worth the extra time and money as there is far more to see than a world-class collection of potholes and washboards.

    Did you encounter the Motoquest pack? Great eclectic bunch of riders.

    If anyone is a National Parks Passport stamp collector, the two hardest to get are available at the Yukon RIver camp and at the Gates of the Arctic Centre in Coldfoot.
    #46
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  7. Barry

    Barry Just Beastly

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2002
    Oddometer:
    9,186
    Location:
    Fredericksburg, Va.
    GETTING. IT. DONE. Very nice. Sooooo jealous. Good luck, be safe.
    #47
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  8. GISdood

    GISdood Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    864
    Location:
    Prince George, BC
    Unfortunately, with the rise in the homeless population over recent summers, this is a pretty common problem in the downtown and developed areas of Prince George - which irritates me to no end. Its a huge blemish on the community and a real problem for tourists, residents and business owners alike. Its actually the sole focus of a series of town hall meetings this month that the city has no choice but to address with recent events in the downtown shopping area, specifically.

    That being said, if you ever do come through PG again and need a place to crash, I'm about 10min west of downtown, outside city limits, on acreage, and I've never had anything 'walk away' from my property in the 14 years I've been there... so hit me up and I'll do my best to improve the city's reputation! ;)
    #48
  9. thadf

    thadf Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Missouri
    Great report and cool pics, eh?!!

    #49
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