Two Swedes, two Germans, a Chicken and a bear (AK to CA)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bjorn240, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. bjorn240

    bjorn240 Good with a map!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    786
    Location:
    Westchester County, NY
    My dad and I scored a Motoquest transporter deal a few weeks ago to shuttle two rental BMW F800GSs from Anchorage to Los Angeles. We’d been hoping to do a longer tour together for a couple of years and figured there’d be no cheaper way to see Alaska, so despite a few challenges getting away from work and family, and with the mindset of, “there’ll never be a better time,” we packed our electric vests, helmets, and Roadcrafter suits, and bought some tickets to Anchorage.

    Day 1: Thursday, September 12

    We arrived in Anchorage late Wednesday. My dad flew in from Los Angeles, while I flew from New York, by way of Minneapolis. Thursday morning, we awoke to overcast skies and the occasional sprinkle, while we got ready, ate a quick hotel breakfast, and walked the 300 meters from the hotel to the Motoquest offices.

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    When we arrived, the bikes - two F800GSs - were ready to go. We strapped on our seat packs, added RAM mounts for our cell phones, loaded the panniers with the rest of our stuff, got a couple of spare tubes in case of any punctures. I stopped at NAPA to get a folding Torx wrench (the F800GS requires a T30 to remove the front wheel), and off we went.

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    Rolling out of Anchorage, we headed first for the Independence Mine in Palmer. Our plan was to visit there, then take the road across Hatcher Pass down to Willow, and get on the Parks Highway at Willow and head up toward the Denali Highway. The ride to Independence Mine was smooth. Just north of Knik Arm, we had some whipping crosswinds, but otherwise, it was the perfect ride to ease into riding a new bike, figuring out the perfect temperature for the heated vest, and getting ready for the days ahead.

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    Once on the Parks Highway, we spooled up to 70 mph and rode to Talkeetna Junction, where we decided to head to Talkeetna and have some lunch.

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    Thus fortified with reindeer chili, we pressed on to the Denali viewpoint (result: lots of clouds, some shrouded foothills), then to gas in Cantwell, and down the Denali Highway toward the banks of the Susitna, where we were staying.

    The Denali Highway was great - 130-some miles of dirt, with views of endless tundra and snow-capped mountains in the distance. There was more than what I suspect is the usual traffic, with lots of caribou hunters parked along the road.

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    After about 45 minutes riding along the highway, we started to see the Susitna, flowing south in the distance ahead, and we soon pulled up to the Clearwater Mountain Lodge. Sean, one of the proprietors, met us, served us chicken and pesto pasta, and after the daily ritual ablution and plugging in of electronics ceremonies, we were off to bed.

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