Female Grizzly and her 2 Cubs!


Mom and 2 cubs

 

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Chasing the Sun–Kathleen Lake, Haines Junction to Skagway (328.7 KM) ** Videos in post


July 30th 2011

We were prepared for pests of all sorts! Leslie has her bug terminator arsenal, and we pulled out the  bear spray for the first time on the trip. We slept with it inside the tent, but fortunately we were not visited by any angry grizzly bears during the night. Cheryl considered scaring off some very noisy camper neighbours who were partying late into the evening, but she refrained ;o).

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We woke up and SURPRISE AGAIN, it was RAINING! The picture below is Cheryl’s tank bag map holder underneath her (well used) rain cover.July 29 11  Haines Junction to Skagway (102)

We ate breakfast at a little cafe at Kathleen Lake lodge which was about 1/2 kilometer away from our campsite. As we sat down, the owner lady tells us how it hardly EVER rains here and that she was so thankful for the rain so she could finally turn off the sprinkler to her garden. We informed her that she could thank US for the rainfall as it has seemed to follow us around wherever we go.

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After breakfast we hopped on the bikes once again and headed towards Haines. Approximately 3 miles into our ride, we observed a grizzly bear meandering across the road in front of us about 25 feet away! We then saw that the grizzly bear was travelling with a friend …. right behind the grizzly was a black bear who decided he was not going to chance his luck by crossing the road in front of two crazy motorcyclists. We sat and watched the bears for about 5 minutes until they both wandered away.

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Rain and more rain but we had a surprise once we got closer to Haines.

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We are really beginning to learn how to envision what we should be seeing other than low clouds!

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Million Dollar Falls about 90 KM from Haines Junction and they have a great campsite there too!

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Million Dollar Falls

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This was after we got into BC for just a bit after the Yukon and right before we entered Alaska again.  The BC road was under construction and we got stuck behind cars and RV’s and got the mud and crap all over the bikes and us yet again.  I tell you we will not miss this cement like glue that makes it almost impossible to get cleaned.

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As we got closer to Haines the skies were beginning to look promising.  Yet, as the title of this post says, Chasing the Sun, that is what it felt like.  Kept raining on us but we could see sunny skies.  I was picking up the pace to see if we could out run some of the rain and Cheryl kept saying we are “Chasing the Sun.”  We caught it by the end of the day.

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The border guy dude YELLED at Leslie from the little booth thinger “NO PICTURES!” but she managed to snap a couple before getting scolded.

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Had to stop and take a look for eagles.  Way too soon in the season but worth a shot.  Bald Eagles migrate here for the salmon spawn and it can get quite busy in October, November through December with thousands of eagles all here.

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See the day we rode into?  Welcome to Sunny Haines!Surprised smile

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A fiddler coming back from the Haines Fair … he was pretty good! The whole town was shut down, closed for the fair.  It was SATURDAY and nothing was really open!

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Just trying to get some of that BC road off our bikes, familiar to us are car power wash stations.

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We had about 6 hours to kill before our ferry ride to Skagway so we went out to the Chilkoot River and got to see all sorts of Fishermen and gals and some bears!

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This is where they count the salmon daily and they count everyone that passes through the hole in the gate.

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One lucky guy who actually caught a Salmon.

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Then these grizzlies shows up and surprised us!  Gorgeous!

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We will be posting a Grizzly page because we took so many pictures!  Just amazing to see in real life, up close and personal!

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Cheryl’s boots. DIRTY!

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The bikes looking oh so pretty while waiting for the ferry to arrive and take us to Skagway.

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This is Mark from Richmond, BC.  He made the ride up to the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway on his Harley.  He feels great about his accomplishments and seems to have really enjoyed himself as a solo rider even though he was supposed to have a group.  All his riding buddies bailed at the last moment.  Good for you Mark and nice to have met you!

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Getting ready to board the ferry for the one hour ride to Skagway which would get us there at 2130 hrs.

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Where are we?

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A Holland America cruise ship we passed on our ferry ride to Skagway.

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Good Evening Skagway!

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This is when my bikes stalled coming off the ship and stalled up to the motel.  But not even a stalling bike would stop us from getting some beer!

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Day 31 was a great day even though our tent is soaked and started out cold and raining.  In the end we got some sun, a little warmth, we got see Grizzly bears, eagles, met some nice people and had a smooth ride over to Skagway.  The bike stalling did put a kink but we can work with it and will make the rest of our trip.

Tok to Haines Junction ( 495 KM ) ** Videos in post


July 29th 2011

Woke up in the cozy room of the Young Motel in Tok … looked outside and SURPRISE … it was raining! Oh well …. we got ourselves dressed and ready and headed into Fast Eddy’s for some caffeine and breakfast and saw THIS guy! Cheryl loved the sideburns and snapped a covert photo.

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After breakfast we got on the bikes and headed towards Haines Junction, Yukon. Even with the clouds the views were outstanding.

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Just before we crossed the Canadian border, we happened across the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Centre.

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700,000 Acres BIG!

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Through a scope they had at the visitors centre.

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Some cool exhibits they had inside the Visitors Centre.

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Sylvia and Teddy – Run the visitors center and live about 20 minutes away from the Visitor Centre. Sylvia agreed to have her photo taken, but had to approve the final shot before allowing it to be posted on the blog.

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Amazing once we crossed over into the Yukon the paved road disappeared and the road from the border to Destruction Bay was how we say, a disaster of a road.  Fun for our type of bikes, not so much for cars, RV’s or cruisers.  The frost heaves were out of control, loose gravel patches everywhere, pot holes and some could eat up a small car went on and on.  The Tiger’s sucked up all the bumps and loose stuff like a champion. It was super fun! In fact at one point, Leslie let out a “wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee” when flying over one of the frost heaves.

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Waiting at this not so busy border.  We think the guard must have been on his lunch break.  When we went through the guard looked like he was 10.  Nice young man but young looking!

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I think we were only supposed to be doing 50 KM per hour.  Hmmmmm.

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We made a quick pit stop at a place called White River to munch on a few snacks and lube our chains. Interesting little campground.

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The following chain lubing technique originated on the (very narrow) gravel shoulder of the Top of The World Highway and has been perfected over the course of approximately 5500 kilometers.

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Very reasonable signage!

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Destruction Bay

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While riding down the main highway in Destruction Bay we came across this one dimensional plywood RCMP cruiser! From a distance it really looked like the real thing and it likely serves as a deterrent for speeding vehicles!

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Destruction Bay continued

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Raining and completely fogged in

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The road around Destruction Bay was very smooth and views all around.  I know I have said this before but every area we go to seems to have a beauty that we have never seen before.  Although we have seen many mountains and glaciers, the weather, timing and our moods makes each place special and different.  Not sure if that makes any sense.

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When we got to Haines Junction the rain let up a bit but not for too long.  We headed to the visitors center and decided to not go to Whitehorse just yet but to head down to Haines and then Skagway.  Our plans are always changing at this point. By the way, that is a real mushroom!

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Went over to the bakery near the visitors centre in Haines Junction and had a quick bite to eat and use their WIFI. Mmmmmmmm …. rhubarb pie.

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Me looking tired as always and hard at work on the updateWinking smile

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Birch trees are all over the Junction.

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After Destruction Bay we headed into Kluane National Forest

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Headed towards Kathleen Lake campground for the night.  At this point the rain had stopped but it was really overcast and looking like it would rain again.

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The above is the view from our camp site

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Went to hear a nature talk about Bears and how to be safe.  The First Nation’s gal had many stories about her people and their respect for bears.  Cheryl did not find her too interesting and at the break we both took off to go down to Kathleen Lake for a walk.

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The mosquitoes at this campground were really annoying but at soon as it got to be around 2100 hrs they all disappeared after trying to drive us nuts.

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Kathleen Lake allows little boats and Jet Ski’s

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Had a great camp fire going, ate some marshmallow’s and went to bed.  All in a days work.

Stalling is back for Leslie’s Bike


Unfortunately, after a GREAT day it has ended poorly.  My stalling issue has come back.  We have been carrying on with our trip riding all the roads we want to and knew that maybe this problem would come back.  It has and too soon.  My bike is very hard to start and again I have to keep it above about 1500 RPM’s to keep it from stalling.  Our options are not good right now.  Whitehorse is not far but tomorrow is Sunday and shops are closed most Monday’s.  Also, there is the problem that will a shop know what to do with my bike since it is a Triumph?
Doubt it. What a shame to be real.  We had such an awesome day and to come into Skagway limping is such a bummer to me.  If this problem can not be fixed quickly enough to get us home then we might need to get home sooner than later.  We have 2 weeks left of exploring. It is a safety issue for us not to ride a bike that can not be ridden at low speeds or if I need to suddenly stop the stalling is risky.

Hmmmmmm…not a good way to end and we do not have access to WIFI here only this motel computer.  Not a happy camper right now.

Reflections


July 28th 2011

Today I put the camera away and just rode the heck out of the bike.  It was raining, not a real long ride, Liberty Falls, Chitina to Tok.  I gave myself the day off from worrying about taking pics and just listened to music and pushed the bikes on the crazy frost heaves they have up here and of course unexpected, where did the pavement go moments!” Surprised smile

We just had fun going fast, slow, playing with the Tiger’s because they are one fun, versatile and comfortable bike!

My so called refection!

Adventure motorcycling … why do it?  We work and work so we can try to get away from the mundane routine of everyday life.  How?  We ride dual sport motorcycles.  Not an easy way to vacation and not for everyone.  Why do it? It’s a freaking blast! 

There are many ups and downs and the real common denominator is the weather.  Weather is key when traveling for anyone, but on a bike?  It’s one of the most important factors that tells us where we can go at times or how we are going to plan our day.  Weather can mean a days ride going from 6 hours to much more than expected.  That is why we always are referring to the temperature and climate. 

We have been on the road for 30 days.  24 have been actually riding days. Out of the 24 days we have had only 2 days without some sort of rain.  The temperatures have gone as low as 3 degrees Celsius, about 36 F and we have had one day when the thermometer reached 30 C/90F.  Average temperature has been between 3 – 9 C in the mornings and 8 – 18 C average afternoons. 

Summer in Alaska for 2011 has been one in which we are so psyched we have come prepared.  We are managing to stay warm and dry everyday.  Our gear, KLIM Traverse and Gerbing Heated liner and gloves have been used daily at one time or another.  Our Triumph boots have kept our feet completely dry and our socks nice and toasty.  We have learned to stay warm even in our tent when the temperature often gets below 6 C/42 F.  Despite all the wet weather, British Columbia,Yukon and Alaska still have a charm about them and a beauty that is really hard to describe.  Even pictures do not show off these 3 beautiful places on earth. 

Exploring the North has been such an awesome experience.  Cheryl pointed out that we have been on almost all the major roads in the North except the Glenn Highway between Wasilla and Glenallen.  On pavement or off road I think we have done it or will do it.  The big one’s, The Robert Campbell Highway, many told us not to ride this road but we loved the secluded feeling, no traffic but a lot of dust until we got near Ross River when it rained.  The Dempster, made it to the Arctic Circle but decided due to really bad weather in Inuvik to turn around at that point.  Still got poured on for 360 KM heading out.  Top of the World, spectacular day to ride this road and you really feel like you are riding a ridge with panoramic views from all sides.  The Dalton to Deadhorse, more rain but we did it.  Even rode from Deadhorse all the way back to Fairbanks in one day.  800 KM with our new friend Ray Jardine.  He is famous don’t you know.Winking smile  Denali Highway even in the rain beautiful and such a great road to be on a bike.  We got view of McKinley from there.  The last one to date was the McCarthy Highway to McCarthy.  This was seriously fun road to ride, dusty, rocky, dirty and ton’s of pot holes and craters.  Oh and don’t forget the major paved one’s too, we’ve done them too.

I think we have some more dirt to tackle on our way home but that is it for now. The Triumph Tiger’s?  What do we have to say about these bikes now?  We LOVE them.  At this point we now have a little over 10,000 KM (6213 miles)  on the bikes and they have made the paved portion of this trip extremely comfortable which has been a blessing on these rough roads.  The power of these bikes never fails going up steep mountains or passing a truck in 5th gear.  The gel seats Triumph loaned us are absolutely in our books top notch and super comfy. 

Off road?  Don’t let anyone tell you they are not good off road.  See the roads we have done?  The Tiger’s did great, almost flawless except that little stalling issue.  A problem that was fixed and in a very timely manner by the guys at The Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage.  Also, thanks for Triumph getting us back on to road too. 

If you ride like us, the Triumph Tiger is in a league of it’s own.  We call it a great street touring bike that LOVES being off the pavement.  Get the right tire, we are using the Heidenau K60 Scouts and they have also been a part of the off road experience.  Still have plenty of tread and life and reliable as always.

Everything about this bike screams take me anywhere and I will get you there. Comfort, power, good looks, decent gas mileage, not great but decent, really good suspension that makes this bike #1 dual sport bike in our books.

The scenery is beautiful and at times breath taking and overwhelming.  Hard sometime to focus on riding too. I have only posted some of the pictures I have taken there are too many. The people we have met are amazing.  The other ADV riders, always nice to hear their story or plight.  The partnership Cheryl and I have works.  Yeah we annoy one another but we love each other and got one another’s back.  Ying and Yang. 

We both highly recommend getting up here and challenge yourself.  Ride every where and one word of advise, if you wait for better weather to ride a road like the Dempster or Dalton, don’t.  They are too long and weather changes daily on these roads.  Go for it!

Only a few weeks left and we both feel we could stay away for another 6 months at least.  Tired but looking forward to seeing places we have never seen before.  It has been really interesting having so many people follow us virtually.  I am especially enjoying keeping everyone updated. 

So, 1 month check in…Thumbs up and will savour these last few weeks because it will be over before we know it.

Valdez to Chitina (397 KM)


July 27th 2011

It was a good thing we decided to motel it last night.  It poured in Valdez all night.  As for Cheryl and myself we do not feel the need to camp in the rain on a holiday because, well, it just makes us miserable and not worth it.  Our trucker neighbour finally settled down in his room around 12.  Motel walls are so thin!  When we woke up it was really foggy but you could see the sun.  Had a bite to eat at the motel restaurant and headed out to the Salmon Hatchery about 5 miles out of Valdez to see if there were any bears or otters around.

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Ms. Peggy at the Salmon Hatchery. She wanted one of us to get in the picture with her,  but Leslie was holding the camera and Cheryl was a wee bit tentative of her!

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Ton’s or REDS (Sockeye), have arrived this season but no bears for us to see, only one or two sea otters, no sea lions and only 3 Bald Eagles.  The tide was coming in and I guess if we waited longer we might have been able to catch a bear or two but we had to get going.

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Cheryl July 27 11 (15)

Cheryl July 27 11 (12)

Fancy outhouses at the Hatchery

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The ride through the Thompson Pass to get to the interior was beautiful.  Nice twisty roads, views to die for as usual and great weather.

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (16)

Waterfalls are a dime a dozen up here.  All coming down from the 100’s if not thousands of glaciers Alaska has to offer.  Glaciers are everywhere.

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Cheryl July 27 11 (1)

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It looks like rain but it never amounted to anything!

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Cheryl July 27 11 (3)

We love this picture!

Cheryl July 27 11 (4)

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a very lonely alpine flower

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getting better with the on the fly shots.  Keeping the camera more level.

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (45)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (46)

The owner of the gas station was cute, came out an offered to fill our tanks but when I said no thanks we can do it, he looked relieved.  When I went in to pay the smell of cinnamon buns was amazing.  We still have not had any buns up here yet.

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (48)

Blue skies!!

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (51)

This is the little store and burger shack right at the turn off for the McCarthy road. 

Cheryl July 27 11 (8)

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (53)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (54)

McCarthy is also the gateway to America’s largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias, an untamed wilderness of 17,000-foot peaks and Dall sheep-covered mountainsides. We did not see any though.  One of the many glaciers, Root Glacier, spills over a 6,000-foot headwall into the heart of town.

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (55)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (56)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (57)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (58)

The McCarthy road is a great 60 miles of a mixture of dirt, clay, crushed gravel, large rocks, tons of small, medium and  large pot holes and lot’s of fun.  The first 5 miles or so there was very deep crushed and large gravel laid down.  It was quite deep in some areas and I thought to myself if all 60/120 miles round trip were going to be like this it could make for a very long day.  Luckily the gravel was not so deep all the way up to the town.  But, if anyone likes dust on dry days and some decent off pavement riding, ride this road.  We went up and back in one day easily.

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (59)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (60)

Cheryl July 27 11 (9)

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (64)

This stuff makes for an interesting ride.

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (67)

 

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (68)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (69)

Little worried about the dust and our past bike issues.  We will keep an eye out for any hints of stalling.  So far so good since Anchorage.  Not one stall for either of us.  The Tigers are really an amazing bike!

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (70)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (71)

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (86)

As you can see from the pictures, this bridge has a nice big rut straight down the center. There are no warning signs for motorcyclists and it could be potentially disastrous if one got a tire stuck in that rut!

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (87)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (88)

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (93)

Pedestrian bridge that takes you to the McCarthy side.  No vehicles can cross over this other than ATV and motorcycles.  The “town” is a pretty long walk after you even get over this bridge so there is a shuttle service than can help cager’s out.  Kennicott is 4.5 miles from McCarthy to the left and the attraction is a once-staid mining camp and is now Alaska’s most fascinating ghost town.

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (94)

Root Glacier!

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (96)

The Town of McCarthy.  Very, Very small.  Weird vibe, almost like a movie set but there are people who love it here and run businesses.

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (98)

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (100)

Inside the General Store and it is very cute and looks new.

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (104)

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July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (117)

Heading back over the pedestrian bridge from our short visit to McCarthy. 

Now pay attention!  If you are ever up this way do not do what we did.  We did not gas up before we headed up the McCarthy road.  We got up top, there is NO gas and it was only 4.5 miles to Kennicott and we did not go because of fear of running out of gas.  We had a little over 100 KM’s to do before gas in Chitina, going to Kennicott would have added another 9 miles to our tanks and we only had 129 KM’s left according to our gauge. Not willing to risk running out of gas and having to rely on others we skipped the mine. Boo!

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (118)

Cheryl July 27 11 (10)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (119)

Then we were going to stay at the Glacier View campsite but also decided to pass and head out of the McCarthy road and find camping down in the valley somewhere. 

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (120)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (121)

This is the Glacier View camp ground’s outhouse.  Another real literal stinker.  You also felt like you were going to tip into the river it was leaning so much.  Next to the toilet is a shower.  At least the owner has provided indoor plumbing of sorts.

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (123)

Not many pictures on our way out because my battery for my camera was running low.  I had a feeling we would not have electricity this night so I wanted to spare the battery until I knew where we would end up for the night.

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (124)

In the above picture is Sunshine.  She and I think her husband live on this 1 1/4 acre property and opened up a Trading Post store about a year ago.  She is located about 30 miles in on the McCarthy road after it turns to dirt.  They have no electricity or indoor plumbing/running water.  They get their water from the river and use a generator.  Great little store and Sunshine has a little of everything from tire repair stuff to food.

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (126)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (125)

Stop by her store if you are in this neck of the woods. Sunshine was very sweet and even offered us a free beverage.

After we got out of the road we were told of free camping by the mining bridge.  We first got gas and some snacks in Chitina and then were told the free camping is full of fishermen who like to party after their day out.  We were not into that even if it was free.  Then we headed to a RV camping site by the “airport”.  That did not have a good feel either.  Cheryl took a walkabout this seedy little campground and saw a bunch of broken beer and liquor bottles and said “NO way are we staying here.”  Off we went yet again in search for a place to camp and by this time it was about 1900 hrs.  We stumbled across the State Park Liberty Falls and it was perfect.  Running stream and small.  Only a few campers and even platforms for our tent.

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (127)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (128)

Liberty campground (1)

Liberty campground (6)

Liberty campground (7)

Liberty campground (3)

No electricity but they have a pump for fresh water!

Liberty campground (2)

Throughout the trip every  once in awhile I need to use our invertor to charge things like our headsets and camera or even the computer.  I have been using this off both bikes battery and being mindful not to drain the batteries as well.  So far it has been working out great.  No issues with starting the bikes and we get things charged enough for the day.

Liberty campground (4)

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (130)

Liberty campground (5)

Thanks to the freezing cold stream our beer was able to be chilled for us by the time we were ready to drink it. Natures refrigerator!

July 27 11 Valdez to Chitina (131)

We met a really nice family from Kanas City and Texas.  They asked about our bikes, we told them we were riding with Triumph and to raise awareness for Autism.  They offered cold beers and were just genuinely interested in where we have been and where we were going.  Nice folks.  The Patriarch Tom said this campground was flooded years ago and the landscape has changed a lot since then.  He and his wife have been coming up here for 30 years from Kansas City.  I was supposed to take their picture but never did.

Cheryl July 27 11 (2)

Whittier Tunnel HD video


Wicked 2.5 miles to ride

 

Our Decal Collection


Seward to Valdez (717.8KM) MEGA Picture Update


July 26th 2011

MEGA Post!

Congratulations!!!  Anyone who wished for a better riding weather day we got it.  Still got some rain on us but not nearly like since we left Anchorage!  We actually got to see some of the views we missed on the way out of Seward this morning riding to Whittier.  So, we thank you all!

Got a late start this morning on purpose.  Cheryl needed to try to sleep in because I kept her up all night snoring quite badly according to Cheryl.  Not sure why some nights she kills me with her snoring and then I kill her.  As if we take turns trying to disrupt a good nights sleep.  Another reason not to leave too early was that the ride to Whittier was only about 160 KM and our ferry if we got on left at 1445.  I said if we got on because you are supposed to make reservations and we did not. 

We stopped at  a local internet cafe for some coffee, upload the new update and of course check our emails.

Cool little cafe

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (108)

with a very interesting bathroom

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (107)

Right out of the gate from Seward we stopped at the local Chevron for gas.  We have noticed many gas stations when using a credit card at the pump ask for a zip code.  Since we are from Canada we only have a postal code.

Anyway, I went inside like always to actually guess the amount we need and literally prepay that amount.  The lady behind the counter said “if you can’t use your card at the pump I can not take it in here, security reasons.”  I said, “it’s not taking it because we do not have a zip code the card is good to use.”  She said, “OH NO, you not being able to use the card outside tells me I can not and should not take the card in here.  Cash only please.” I said, “I do not want to use cash.”  She said “there is another gas station down the street.” What attitude.  So, off we went to Shell and paid at the pump no problems.  We hate attitudes.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (2)

Despite the low cloud coverage we still got to see a lot that we missed on the way into Seward.  The bigger plus was that it was not raining.  Still having to use our heated gear though.  It was about 14 degrees C, around 58 F when we left and it did not warm up that much either.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (3)

Our moods and spirits are so much better when I can take pictures.  Winking smile

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (4)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (5)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (6)

I can imagine the tops of the mountains when you can see where they are leading up too.  The road didn’t even look familiar to me because last time we road this it was so crappy out that all we did was ride.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (7)

The Turquoise glacier fed lakes remind me at times of the one’s I saw in New Zealand.  Just a really interesting colour.  I heard if you drink glacier water you will get the “runs” forever. Surprised smile

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (9)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (10)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (11)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (12)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (15)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (16)

The road had some nice curves but who cares it’s the scenery once again that wins.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (17)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (18)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (20)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (21)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (22)

No words just pics. Enjoy.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (23)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (24)

Oh, here is how I communicate with my SPOT Connect via my iPhone.  So far it has been working pretty well as long as I pay attention to the red lights and change the batteries when needed.  It gets about 60 hrs per 2 AA batteries.  Lithium batteries that is.  SPOT needs to come out with a rechargeable SPOT.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (25)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (26)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (27)

Can you tell who the kid is in this relationship?

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Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (30)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (31)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (32)

White water rafting would also be a good diversion.  Why does everything have to cost so much $$?

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (33)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (34)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (35)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (36)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (37)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (38)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (39)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (41)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (44)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (45)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (47)

Portage Glacier right outside the tunnel we took to Whittier.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (48)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (49)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (50)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (51)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (52)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (53)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (54)

The tunnel to Whittier, which we hope we got some HD helmet cam video of is only about   2.5 miles long and you have to pay $12 to go through it.  Motorcyclists go last after cars and all other traffic for safety reasons.  The toll booth lady gives you a speech about how to ride inside this tunnel which is in between rails for the train that uses this tunnel as well.  the trains get their turn too.  It is all rock, dark, has 2 BIG blower fans that they warn you could blow you off your bike.  You stay right in the middle, no deviation and you will be fine.  Needless to say no one handed riding for me while in the tunnel, hence no still pics.

It was worth the $12 because of it’s uniqueness and sense of adventure.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (56)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (61)

We got to the tunnel and had to wait about an hour until it was our turn to go.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (57)

That “A” framed building off in the distance is the tunnel entry.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (58)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (59)

On a slightly different note we changed our configuration for our rotopax and dry bag.  For the longest time the latches on the Jesse bags were not closing all that well.  We figured it out about a week ago that the pax and then pulling the dry bag down onto the lids using the Jesse mounts and our roxstraps were screwing with the mounts just enough to make the latches not want to really lock.  So, we did this and now there is no undo strain on the Jesse mounts and everything works great.

Lesson?  Just watch how much weight you put on the top of the panniers and make sure you distribute the weight as well.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (60)

Got into Whittier a little after 1300 and went to buy our ferry tickets to Valdez.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (62)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (63)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (64)

Nothing really in Whittier but some cute food joints and outdoor activities like sea kayaking, fishing and tours.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (65)

This is Cheryl trying to be patient with the guy writing the tickets.  We also were trying to find out if the ferry had straps on board or rope and NO one could answer us.  I know that many riders bring their own tie downs but we were confident to some degree that the boat would have something to secure our bikes.  We really did not want to spend about $80 on tie down for just 5 1/2 hours. 

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (67)

 

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (68)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (69)

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Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (73)

Just some of the shops in Whittier

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Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (75)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (76)

This is our Ferry the Aurora coming in

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (77)

Whittier Harbour

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Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (79)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (81)

Our friend that Cheryl calls a rat with wings, a juvie Raven

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Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (84)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (85)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (86)

the ferry had a lot of rope on board for us to use.

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (87)

Leaving port for Valdez

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Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (91)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (92)

Portage glacier from the water

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Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (96)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (97)

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Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (100)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (101)

Now I will promise to shut up and jus take a look at the sensory overload this ferry ride is providing us, or me.  Cheryl fell asleep.Winking smile

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (102)

Alaska July 26 11Seward to Valdez (103)

Glacier July 26 11 (2)

Glacier July 26 11 (1)

July 26 11 Ferry (1)

Sea Lions.  Hard to see them as my other camera is on the deck with the bikes.  Not allowed to go back to the bikes after we leave port.

July 26 11 Ferry (4)

July 26 11 Ferry (5)

July 26 11 Ferry (6)

July 26 11 Ferry (7)

July 26 11 Ferry (8)

July 26 11 Ferry (9)

Ferry Part II (7)

Ferry Part II (9)

Ferry Part II (2)

Ferry Part II (3)

Now that is a sky we would love to see more often than not!

Ferry Part II (4)

Ferry Part II (6)

Glacier Ice

ICE

glacier ice (10)

glacier ice (9)

glacier ice (8)

glacier ice (7)

Looks like Valdez is in the rain….well, at least this is our pit stop for the day.  Still about an hour away.

glacier ice (12)

Look at that sky!

glacier ice (4)

glacier ice (5)

glacier ice (3)

Final pics July 26 11 (2)

Final pics July 26 11 (4)

Final pics July 26 11 (5)

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Final pics July 26 11 (11)

Coming into Valdez and it started to rain. Surprise!  We got off the ferry and went for a local hotel.  We need showers by now and it is raining after all.  I do hate spending the money on hotels, I really like camping but it’s late and we took the easy way out.  My credit card is going to hate me for this day!  Surprised smile

Final pics July 26 11 (12)

refinery outside Valdez

Final pics July 26 11 (13)

Final pics July 26 11 (15)

The beauty that surrounded us today was so incredible I could not take a nap.  It’s so hard to capture in pictures how large this state feels in more ways than one.  I hope you are getting the idea.

First we had to go to Safeway Foods to get beer and stuff.  There we met Bobby and Lynn from North Carolina.  All three of their kids are in the military and they were having a reunion it sounded like for one of their boys who just got back from Afghanistan.  Nice to meet you guys and thanks to your boys!

Final pics July 26 11 (17)

Our dump of hotel that cost too much but we have a roof over our heads for tonight.

Final pics July 26 11 (20)

Final pics July 26 11 (19)

We can hear the trucker dude next to us blow his nose and jut make white trashy noises.  Why is it that these hotels attract loud people? 

And finally this is how Cheryl looked on the boat.  A little sea sick but mainly tired.

Final pics July 26 11 (24)

Not sure what exactly is our destination tomorrow but as soon as we know I am sure I will post it.  Sorry for all the pics.  I got carried away but today was a great day!

Homer Spit to Seward (271 KM)


July 25th 2011

We thought about staying at Homer Spit for another night but the forecast was not good.  As we packed up the tent the winds really began to blow and the rain started to fall.  Seems that way for us, the rain just follows us while we are riding.  The tent almost blew away because I took the stakes out while Cheryl was doing something else.

Today like yesterday was not an eventful day picture wise.  It was too wet to really stop and take pictures no less try to while riding.  I know we missed the beautiful views once again on the way of Homer to Seward and this disappoints us.  We know it is all part of ADV but when you know you might never be up this way again sure stings when you can’t see what everyone brags about. 

Enough complaining, the ride was not as bad as yesterday.  The rain was on and off and gave us a chance to dry out in between down pours.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (1)

This is what we practically saw the entire way to Seward unfortunately.  Too bad for us and the update.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (35)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (2)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (3)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (34)

Good news is that we stayed warm last night in Homer with temperatures dipping down to 38 degree F or 4 degrees C.  The Mutha Hubba tent we have really kept it together with all the wind that blew up over night and we actually felt insulated for the first time.  Could be that the bikes helped as we positioned the tent strategically. 

Alaska July 24 11 Anch to Homer Spit (64)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (4)

I tried to get some shots in but to be honest the mood was low so taking more pictures was not really on my mind during the ride.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (5)

The lightened sky in the above picture is actually towards Seward and we were thinking how cool would it be if it dried out by the time we got there and could camp?  We hate setting up camp in the rain.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (6)

Sure enough we arrive in Seward, light drizzle only and then clears up with some thick clouds around the mountains.  Good enough for us.  Got a bite to eat and off to a $10 tent site on the water. 

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (7)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (8)

Cute town Seward is, there is sort of a town by where the cruise ships come in and then the older part of town by where we are camping.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (9)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (10)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (11)

We thought about staying at this famous historic hotel but the “discounted” rate was $149 US.  $10 for our camp site much better.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (12)

Greek pizza for dinner.  Not bad, almost like NY pizza.  We should have only ordered one but at least now we have breakfast.Winking smile

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (13)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (14)

I think this is the same hip we saw in Homer last night.  Leaving port here in Seward as we got in.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (15)

Here’s our water view site although we do have close neighbours like the Spit.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (16)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (22)

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Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (17)

Shows you how much we do not research where we are going.  I was surprised to see this sign.  Who knew?  I bet many readers of this post knew! But then I found out that this was the original mile “0” and now they start just north of Anchorage.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (18)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (19)

Had to run to the store to get firewood.  $6 for wood that Cheryl could not really get going and it was dry too.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (21)

I knew the top box was meant for something

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (20)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (23)

Our view

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Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (26)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (27)

Not bad for $10

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We have such style when traveling it kills us.Surprised smile

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (30)

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (31)

This woman has been living out of her Toyota Sienna for over a month here and is just traveling around by herself.  Nice enough lady.  Kept Cheryl company with some Rye while tending to the fire and I am doing my homework, the update.

Alaska July 25 11 Homer to Seward (32)

While sitting here check out what has popped out of the clouds.  Not to dwell on what we are not seeing while riding on these amazing roads but when you see this you know we are missing something spectacular.  We need everyone to send good weather vibes again!

glacier (1)

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This glacier is right across the water way from our tent.  Amazing isn’t it?  That makes me happy!  So far no wind tonight but getting cold again.  Expected lows to be high 30’s F or 4 or 5 C.  We are sooooooooooooo prepared now.  No more cold feet or hands.  Socks for the hands and PJ’s and our riding underwear for the legs.  Covered from head to toe.

Tomorrow we think we will go Whittier and try to catch a ferry to Valdez.  We have no reservation for the ferry and we think it leaves at 1445.  We will find out when we get there.  We did not get a phone package for the US and we are too cheap to call using the roaming feature.  We will take our chances and see if what we read when we had WIFI was correct info.

July 26th 2011 in the morning

I woke up to hearing Bald Eagles trilling and some juvies crying out for food.  The seagulls and Ravens were going nuts towards the Harbor off I went.  Not only to see what all the fuss was about about but in search for my morning real coffee.

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Good morning Seward as the sun did actually rise.  It’s about low 40’s now and there are clouds but you can also see some blue sky.

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Forgot to change the setting on my camera but here are the eagles I was hearing.

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No matter how many times I see these raptors, still feels new to me.  Not so much Cheryl but for me every Bald Eagle sighting is a pleasure and privilege.

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On my way to town there were tons of visitors heading to the boats for their fishing tours.  Cheryl and I thought about going out but what would we do if we caught the fish?  Cheryl sort of eats fish but I don’t. 

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Here is why the gulls and Ravens were making such a ruckus.  They were having breakfast from all the left over guts and heads of the fish caught later in the day.  There is a cleaning station right about this feeding orgy. 

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It’s was only 0600 and the harbor was full of life.

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Just amazing how a day can make in what we get to see.  Such a beautiful tranquil harbour surrounded by snowy mountains.  This range is called the Chugach Mountains.

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Fishing here as in many Alaskan ports is a must for not only food for the fisherman but for the economy.  The signs says commercial fishing up here is the largest privately owned industry.  I did not know that it was privately owned.

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How about this next picture and a bit of Trivia.

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I have noticed what seems to be hundreds of miles of bike and pedestrian pathways running all over the place since Fairbanks.  I do not think they all link together but they sure seem to have an extensive system for people to use other than roads. No matter where you are every once in awhile you see this info plaques.

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Got my coffee by the way.  Really good when it is cool out and the sun is almost shining.  Cheryl is sleeping because I was really annoying her with my snoring last night.  Weird how when she lovingly taps me I feel like I am not even sleeping, so I must NOT be snoring right?

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Can still hear those juvie eagles calling out.  Now that is an awesome way to end this post.

Anchorage to Homer Spit–356 KM


We knew the day would come we would have to leave our cushy lay over digs.  We are so fortunate that Gary & Deb offered their house to us for longer than anticipated.  We were fed well, great bedroom, they drove us back and forth to the dealer to check on our bikes, they took us on tours and just offered  unconditional friendship to two lost ADV riders without their bikes.  We owe you guys big time.  I mean look at the hearty breakfast Gary made us this morning.

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and of course Deb has to have her choices of yogurt for us!Winking smile

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One last good bye to Duke and our hosts a hug and off we went into the rain.

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Not many pictures of the scenic Seward Highway because of the really cold rain but when we got to Homer the skies cleared for us to even camp on the beach.

I know we must have missed some beautiful scenery but I am hopeful that on our way out to Whittier we will see what we missed today.

Before the rain we got to see this…

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The foreshadow being the clouds.

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Made a quick stop at Beluga Viewing area.

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Did not see any whales and the water was really choppy.

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There is something about train tracks away from home that appeal to us.

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The road would have been really fun to ride but the fishing and tourist traffic slowed things down quite a bit.  The traffic heading to Anchorage was ridiculous as it seemed the whole city was heading home after a weekend.

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Taking a snack break and eating Deb’s prepared goodies.  Loved the hard boiled egg!

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Back on the road and it was only a little while before the camera like always has to be put away because Mother Nature felt it was time to rain.

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Can anyone tell me why gas stations have to have such gross bathrooms?  We had to use this because our bladders gave us no choice.  Too much traffic to pee on the side of the road too.

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Cheryl managed to get this pic of the Peninsula sign in the pouring rain.

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me waiting for her because as usual I past the sign

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Got to Homer and no more rain and before we got to the Spit we saw a Bald Eagles nest with one adult feeding two juvies.  Now that is totally up my alley!  I LOVE Bald Eagles.

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It’s beautiful here.  You have the ocean and the mountains/glaciers all around you.  Panoramic view of beauty from our camp site.  Quite cold though, must be around low 50’s F and I bet it gets down to 30 something tonight.

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I hopefully have some video with much better zoom.  Won’t know until I load the clips.

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Sure pack us in like sardines on the Spit.

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Cheryl is not happy that we have too close of camping neighbours.  We were thinking of staying an extra day but now we might reconsider.

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Took a walk around town, saw many Bald Eagles pairs and some juvies flying all around.  I am in heaven.  The town is cute, typical tourist attraction for fishing, bear and boat tours.

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The above picture is the view right from our site.

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Saw this note on the ground and thought WOW this was a really nice message!

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The famous Salty Dawg

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The inside of the Saloon is covered with about $35,000 in one dollar bills.

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Eagles once again

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Fresh catches of the day, the largest Halibut being 93 pounds!

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getting cold out, need to get near the fire.

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That’s about it for today.  Not much to tell other than it’s good to be back on the road.  And speaking of the road, so far so good with the Tiger’s.  Both did not stall once and felt really good today.  Great job The Motorcycle Shop!

UPDATE:  It’s July 25th 2011 and we are at an Internet Cafe.  It’s pouring out, our spirits are a bit low even after managing to stay warm all night and got a good night sleep.  Weather is supposed to be like this for a few days in and around the area we are riding to and from.  This weather makes all riding a bit tiresome and somewhat boring.  Not complaining just calling it as we see it.  So, we are trying to figure out our next move.  More on that later.

Salty Dawg, Homer Spit


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Camping on the beach but having a beer first at the Salty Dawg! No real Wifi here so update when we get somewhere with good wifi.

Cheryl & Deb’s Day of Geocaching!


While I stayed at the house doing BLOG stuff, Deb and Cheryl went on a Geocaching trek!  They found three near the house!  Enjoy the Geocaching pictures.  They had a great time together! So, a post for all you Geocaching freaks out there here you go!  I mean that in a very nice way!

On the hunt!

One of our GREAT Hosts!  Deb & Gary literally fed us to the point I think we gain weight, housed us while we waited for the bikes and just offered unconditional friendship.   Not sure how two ADV riders could ever repay these guys for what they have done.

This puddle = BUGS!

The goods!

We just love seeing cars up here all shot up!

The search for another cache

Gotcha!

Logging in!

Pretty flower!

 

Diagnosis and Hopeful Fix for the Tigers


July 23rd 2011

IF ANYONE READING THIS FINDS THE SERVICE DONE AND INFO USEFUL PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COPY AND PASTE THE INFO ON YOUR OWN FORUMS.  THANKS!

We got the call this morning from The Motorcycle Shop here in Anchorage that our bikes were ready for pick up.  After about 5 hours of labour on each bike the report on the street was that they appear to be fixed and have no stalling issues after the bikes were tested at the shop.

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While waiting for the paperwork we met Richard from South Dakota.  Richard is a solo rider heading up the Dempster on his BMW 1200GSA.  Nice guy for sure.  We gave him some info about camping and lodging and he told us about his bad knees and wearing out his Sargent seat because he is a “big” guy.  Just a real cutie! Hopefully his kids who know computers will show him our BLOG!

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OK, now for the paperwork and what it says about our problem and what the shop did to fix the bikes stalling problems.  The advise they got was from the Triumph USA tech guy back in Georgia, USA.

[JOB: Stalling, Suspect Air Filter

Resolution

Replaced Air Filter

Thoroughly Cleaned Throttle bodies

Balanced + Synchronization Throttle bodies

Exchanged Computer Data with Triumph North America, Made Adjustments Accordingly

Performed 15 min Idle Calibration, Test Rode Thoroughly

Result:

No Stalling or Running Issues]

Both bikes had exactly the same service done.  My bike needed to go briefly back to the shop after I rode it for about 10 miles and it stalled.  I noticed the idle may have been set too low and sure enough the shop hooked my bike up to the computer to readjust the idle.  Apparently the computer needs to read other settings on the bike to make the adjustment.  This is not something we can do on the road.  Once this was complete my bike did not stall once doing the same route to our new friends house.

Cheryl says her bike feels like it did when we first started out on this trip, GREAT!

I am still being conservative and will wait to make my assessment after we ride down to Homer tomorrow, Sunday. 

So, there it is for now.  Problem seems to be solved.  Not sure if this is what all Tigers need to have done but we believe this might be an issue for Triumph to come up with a fix to prevent something like this happening again.  We might be wrong but the shop did say this was not a rider related problem. 

Some pictures that our new friend Deb took of us when riding to their home, Leslie Silver helmet and Cheryl Black helmet

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In the end all we really want are the bikes back to we can continue to our adventure and that is what we have.  Tigers in the driveway ready to head out on our second leg.

After we got the bikes back this is what we did all afternoon.

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Team work, Gary loves to have clean bikes and really wanted to help us do a good job

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Cheryl is soooooooooooooooooooo happy to have the bikes cleaned and the signs of the calcium Chloride for now are not so prominent

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There is dirt even in my signals.  Did not take them apart can live with it for now

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Cheryl cut herself on her Swiss Army knife.  Yep, she tried to grab it while it was falling off her seat.  Just instincts but got a nice slice which Deb played Doc and took care of Cheryl’s wound.

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One thing about Deb is that she has many choices for her guests, not only when it comes to Maple Syrups, jams, hot sauces, etc…..but also bad aids too!Winking smile

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The Tiger’s “almost” look showroom worthy….well, not really but a lot better!

Once again we feel we owe a huge thanks to The Motorcycle Shop, Zack and his gang for not only fitting us in when they are so busy all ready, but hopefully fixing our stalling problems.  Thanks to both Triumph Canada and USA for helping with the diagnosis and resolution.  So, I am hopeful this might the last of this issue and we can now focus on the final leg.

My thank you hug for Zack.  I wonder if we were guys would we hug the service manager????Smile with tongue out

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A video from the Day we left on June 29th 2011(Western Powersports Removed the video from YouTube)


***UPDATE:  April 10th 2012  WESTERN  POWERSPORTS FOR WHATEVER REASON HAS REMOVED THIS VIDEO FROM YOUTUBE.  They took it down a long time ago.  THAT SAYS A LOT ABOUT HOW THEY MUST FEEL ABOUT THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN OUR SUMMER 2011 ALASKA TRIP AND ABOUT US.  I GUESS THAT IS THE PRICE OF DOING BUSINESS WITH A DEALER THAT WAS NOT INTERESTED IN THIS TRIP TO BEGIN WITH and WE ARE VERY DISAPPOINTED.

 

Forgot about this video.  Since I have some down time thought I would share the video that was made at Western Powersports with Marq the owner the day we left in the rain for this trip.