Trip Summary (kinda)

End of trip Summary and Notes

June 15- July 13, 2012

I would do it again if I had the chance.  The weather was not perfect, but I could not expect a month of perfect weather.  There are just too many highlights to put them in the summary.  Just read back through the blog.

Paid Camping: 14 Night-, Highest $28, Lowest $5

Motels: 6 Nights- Highest $110 for ½ room, Lowest $43 for ½ a room

Free Camping: 6 nights

Travel On Motorcycle: 10190 Miles,-Unpaved 1989 Miles

Travel On Ferry: 521 Miles

Travel On Foot:  49 Miles

Total Miles Traveled : 10760 Miles

Longest Day: 780 Miles

Shortest Day: 8 Miles

Gas Prices: Highest $8.08 per Gallon in BC, lowest $3.29 in Kansas

Motorcycle Problems beyond maintenance and normal wear and tear: 1- Stator was replaced.

After covering 10760 miles and approximately 1989 miles of those on none paved roads/trails, traveling by ferry and walking some, I would only change a few things.

Clothing:

  • I would take wicking pants that the legs zip on and off rather than both cotton blue jeans and cotton shorts.
  • I would take socks that wick rather than plain cotton socks.  The winter socks worked well (fleece lined wool).
  • I would take a pair of comfortable easy on/off walking shoes.  I only had my boots. These would work so much better around the campground and to the shower.

Food and Cooking:

  • I would carry less food.  When covering so much ground, you will pass a place that sells food somewhere along the way.
  • Mechanical water filter system I would not take. ( I would get chemical, much smaller)

Items I would not take again:

  • Inverter
  • As much cash. Almost all places take Visa or Mastercard. I would still take cash, just a smaller amount.
  • Winter coat, I used my riding gear so much, I never needed a winter coat.

Items I did not use but would still take:

  • 2nd camera – pictures are very important to me
  • Winter base layer – some other riders around me used theirs
  • Jet boil stove – I used someone else’s that was already out and going rather than mine.

Items I would like to change, but the change is not necessary:

  • Lens on camera.  It would be nice to have one lens to cover the full range rather than switching back and forth.  I missed a couple of shots while trying to get the correct lens on.
  • Heated jacket or vest.  I could layer up and stay warm, but when riding the distances the temperature changes and I would have to stop and unlayer and layer.  Turning a knob off and on is a lot easier.
  • Heated glove liners or heated gloves.  The heated grips worked most of the time, but there were a couple of times my fingers got very cold in the rain/snow mixture coming down.
  • Smaller sleeping bag and smaller sleeping pad when rolled up. Ones more suited for backpacking would work nicely. This way I could get them in one dry bag rather than 2 dry bags.
  • Riding gear that have the rain gear built on the outside.  This way  I wouldn’t have to stop and put it on ride a ways and then stop and take it off.

The motorcycle:

  • Possibly different tires.  Hiendau K60 outperformed the Anakee I had on. Both traction in gravel/dirt and tire life. The Hiendau also have good traction on the road.  Down side is the noise they produce.
  • I would go back to the stock 15 tooth front sprocket.  The 16 tooth was nice in the plains, but the 15 would work better in the mountains.
  • I would still carry a spare chain and master link.  I used them on this trip.
  • I would buy a big can of chain lube that I like before leaving, I couldn’t find what I wanted along the way.

The Biggest change if it was possible would be to take my wife with me. But she would not be comfortable on the motorcycle for that long, so that is I change that would not be possible.  Maybe someday I will take the trip again in an Jeep Wrangle or something similar with my wife.

Trip into the Night, now that the Motorcycle is Fixed

July 12-13, 2012

I woke up in the motel this morning with high hopes that my motorcycle would be fixed today and I could be on my way again.  My original plan would have put me home this afternoon, but I built in a couple of extra days in case something like this happened.

Since I had walked to the dealership and picked up my dirty clothes yesterday, I decided to do laundry this morning.  It  is early and no one is using the machines.  I only have one load, and really it is about ½ a load.  On this trip, I have found out how little one really needs.  Not Wants.

I get a call from another ADV rider that offers me his camper to stay in if I am still there tonight.  I thank him and hope to not be here.

After the laundry is done, I check out of the motel room but have them store all my bags.  I don’t want to carry them to the dealership.  I take off walking for the dealership.  At a little before noon I get a call that my bike is fixed and ready to go.  I am only 2 blocks away.  That is good timing.  I get there and it is not ready to go, the owner thought is should be washed before I get it back.  I wait for them to finish the job.  They cleaned it very nice.  It has more power, I think I had been having problems for a couple of days, since it was losing power since the desert in Wyoming.  I had thought it was because I was raising in altitude, but I guess it was the lack of electrical.

I head back to motel to pick up my gear.  It is all loaded and I head out.  I decide to continue to Hwy 50 to go across.  I continue south to Pueblo and then get on 50 and head east.

It is 2 pm and the temperature is 100 F.  I stop in some little town and get some more water.  I continue on the scenery is dry, almost like the desert, but not quite.  Most of the abandon building are stucco and very thick walls.  There are a lot of old vehicles from the past, it appears that nothing rusts away here.  It is very dry.  There is a few cows and some horses.  The fields are irrigated.

I stop in Holly CO, almost to the Kansas Line.  I get gas, then I fill myself up at Porkys Palace.  They have an open face cheese burger that is smothered in homemade green chili sauce that is just incredibly good.  It is one of those things that tastes go good, but you know it will get you later.  I would recommend it to anyone that likes semi hot spicy food.  It was absolutely delicious.  As I come out of Porkys, I see a bunch of bikes across the street at the gas station.  I find out that one of them is in trouble, the fuel injection is not working on it.  I can’t help, so I talk a while and move on down the road.

I cross into Kansas and everything is getting greener the farther east I go.  I pass by many road side vegetable stands.  There are large vegetable fields, of course they are irrigated.  As I keep going I see many cattle feed lots.  You can smell them long before you see them.  At about dark, I pass through a huge windmill farm.  It is about 10 miles long and I would guess 5 or 6 miles wide.  Of course it is windy, but not real strong.  Now that it is dark, I can’t really see what is off the road.  The sky is dark, partly cloudy and there is no moon out.  This is good, with it being dark, there will not be as much animal movement, hence no deer in the road.  I only saw 3 deer and 1 coyote all the way across Kansas.

I stop for gas for the bike and water for me a couple of times.  I am getting tired and I am about to Emporia. .  I am so close to home I don’t want to stop.  It is less than 2 hours to home.  I stop and the Flying J for about 25 minutes even though I don’t need gas.  I get a couple of Jalapeno hot dog to help me wake up.  It was that or find a place to set up the tent. If they didn’t wake me up, I was going to camp here.  But they did the trick.  I continue on into the darkness.  The road is wet  north of Burlington and there is lighting off the west just a little ways.  I am thinking I might get wet.  But it doesn’t rain on me.

I pull into the house at just a smidgen before 3 am.  I lost an hour somewhere.  I had figured around 1:30 to 2:00 am.  It must have been going from Mountain to Central Time Zone.  I am happily  greeted by my loving wife and 2 rowdy dogs.  I will unload the bike later.

From time to time I will miss the road, but It is good to be home again.

A little walk for laundry and Meet-Greet in Manitou Springs

July 11, 2012

I woke up in a hotel room this morning.  I didn’t sleep as well as normal.  I don’t know if it was the bed vs the ground pad or me wanting to get home and being stuck waiting on my bike to get repaired.  The  weather is nice, sunny and cool.

A little before 9am I get a call from Josa at  Rocky Mountain Cycle.  They have looked at the bike and the problem is the Stator.  It is ordered by next day air and should arrive between 9 and 10 am tomorrow.  That means I could be on my way tomorrow afternoon again (july 12).

There is not much to do when you are stuck in a motel except watch TV.  I haven’t been doing that for the last month so I see no reason to start now. I wonder around the motel and find that they have a laundry mat.  My dirty clothes is in my panniers on my bike at the dealership.

I decide a little walk will not hurt me.  The dealership is only 4 or 5 miles away.  I take off walking. I go past Peterson air force base.  I watch different jets coming into it.  I can’t see the landing strip so I can’t watch them land.  As I continue along, I have to walk on the shoulder of the 4 lane highway to cross a stream of some kind.  It could be a irrigation channel or maybe a creek.  The rest of the time I can walk along a path or road (dirt and gravel) that is beside the interstate highway.  I get to cross a dry stream bed.  When I get thirsty there is a 7-11 just up a little ways and I stop in for water.  But I also get 2 hotdogs, a bag of chips and a small Icee for only $0.89.  It appears they are having a birthday party.  How can I refuse an 89 cent lunch.  I finally get to dealership and get my laundry, then start back.

I get a little sunburn on my legs.  I know I must be quite the site to see.  I am carrying 4 small dry bags and a pair of jeans down the side of the road.  I am wearing a tee shirt, shorts and combat boots.  This is not what you are used to seeing walking down the sidewalk.  I got a lot of honks and waves along the short trip.

In the morning I had posted on posted on advrider forum that I was stuck in Colorado Springs.  Mac responded and offered to give me a ride to a meeting of the CO Springs front ridge riders.  I accepted.  He showed up to pick me up about 5:45 pm, in his dodge pickup.  We went to Savellis Pizza place in Manitou Springs.  There were 17 riders present and most had road their bike there, but one brought the fire engine (he was still on call).  A new person brought the Vermin bike.  It is rather well known in these parts and it is very unique. It has been around since the 70s with various owners adding there touch to it.  The throttle works on both sets of handlebars.  After the meet and greet, I went back to the motel.  I had a good time and the calzones are big and taste great. I brought ½ mine back to the motel.

I have had a couple of offers from riders I don’t know that will let me stay at their place with my tent or in their camper if I have to stay another night.  I will take them up on it, if the bike doesn’t get fixed tomorrow.

Bike Breaks Down, Trip Home Delayed

July 10, 2012

I slept well last night.  Rupos (a 2 year old great daine) only woke me a couple of times last night when he would nudge me.  He is a rather large dog.  I went with Steve to get some tire spoons so I could change the rear tire.  I got one used for cheap.  I think I could have made it home, but if I run into rain, it would be unsafe.  So I changed the rear tire.  I looked at the Moto Guzzi and it was sweeeeet.  But a bit pricy for me since my bike is paid off.  I had lunch and said bye to Steve.  He was a great host, feeding me 2 meals, letting me sleep at his house and use his garage.

I decided that I wanted to go back home on Hwy 50, after I looked at several routes.  And it turns out I was lucky to choose that route, because it kept me in cities.  This is important, because the bike quit running.  In Colorado Springs the electrical warning came on and it quit as I was trying to get to a dealership.  I called Rocky Mountain Cycle and they brought a trailer to pick up my bike.  But it was late in the day and they were unable to diagnose it today.  It is scheduled for tomorrow morning.  If it is the stator, it will have to be ordered in and that will be another day.  The stators are known to go out on these bikes but normally not this soon. I think I may go over budget because of this problem.

The dealership took me to the closest campground, but they did not allow tents or you had to rent a RV space which they charge $69 per night for.  So then Ahren the driver took me to a motel.  I ask the price and it was $99 per night, then I explained my situation and they gave me the government discount (I am a county employee), It was only $69 per night. I am grateful to the hostess at Comfort Inn.  In this case the motel is the same price as the campground.

Something strange I thought was this is the first time I have watched TV since June 14th.  I always had to much I wanted to do or I was talking with some new found acquaintance

Sorry no new pictures.  I could have taken some of the street in Colorado Springs where the bike quit, but I was mainly on the interstate on the front range and the scenery in normal to me. Farmland, cities, populated areas, not great mountains or forest or deserts to see.

Starting Home in BC

July 5,2012

I was awakened this morning by the announcement that we were 15 minutes till port docking.  I was sleeping good also.  Rather rude awakening.  So I climbed out of the sleeping back onto the cold metal deck and but my outer clothing on.  I then proceeded to bag up all my gear for travel again.  It was only about 3 minutes after I was ready till they let us down to our bikes.  We all started packing them for travel again.  We got the OK sign to leave and that we did.  Clearing customs was the same questions as the other times.

Then off into the darkness we traveled.  We had decided that there was no use trying for a hotel or campground since it would be 4am when we got there and them we would be up by 8am.  So we took off into the night.  The road was exceptionally smooth compared to ones I had been on before.  We ended up stopping several times during the day because one of us would get tired.  So we would pull over and walk around and talk or get a cup of coffee.

We made Williams Lake, BC about 4pm and we were ready to call it quits for the day. We went out to a nice supper at a local bar and grill.  I am splitting the cost of a run with 2 other guys tonight.

I plan on many travel with little, if any pictures for the next several days as I am on my way home.  Today started the trip home.  Tomorrow we will split into 2 parties and the day after that I will be traveling alone again.  As Steve will meet his wife and head for Colorado, Mark and Dennis will be on there way to California. 

Happy 4th of July on the Water

July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!!

I awoke this morning around 3am.  We had just pulled into port at St Petersburg.  I think the announcement woke me up.  We were only there for a short time and on the way again.  I got up and looked around, we were going through some narrow passages.  I could see the lodges and houses well as we passed through the passage.  Of course it was light.  The fishermen where out and about.  Several small fishing boats passed the ferry which had slowed to 10mph to navigate the narrows.  After a while I went back to sleep.  I was woke again about 7am when we pulled into port Wrangle.

We are back underway.  We will dock at Ketchikan for 6 hours before heading off to Prince Rupert. The day is cloudy, but I would expect that from a rain forest. I took a shower and the water was forceful and hot.  I feel much better now.  The towels were furnished.  One of the items I would change if I did this trip again is the towel.  I would take one of the highly absorbent fast drying microfiber towels.  The weather has been so moist with rain that the regular towel doesn’t dry before you need to use it again.

I get to see the gill netters fishing with 1000 ft nets.  We pass any small fishing vessels around and several large cruise ships. I am on this for vessel till 2:30 am on Thursday.

When we pull into Ketchikan, the 4th of July parade is over, but the festive activities are still going on.  They have games for the kids to play and booths selling food to raise money for one organization or another.  I get 2 hotdogs and some fried bread with homemade jam on it.  I continue walking along and meet several people from the first boat I was on.  They are in port also but about to leave.  We say good bye again.  The building are on the side of the mountain with the street built like a dock out over the side of the mountain.  The front to some houses is 3 stories of steps before the front door.  This would keep you in shape carrying groceries.  I stop by the Indian culture building to look at Totem poles.  The walk from the boat to down town and back is only about 5 miles.  I start heading back to boat as time is growing short. And the boat will not wait on me.

I watch the float planes come and go as I wait for the boat to depart.  The scenery is never ending wonderful.  The small houses on the coast where people are just subsisting to the large resorts with private yachts.  It is so diverse and a huge contrast.  Shortly after the ferry departsI settle in to go to sleep. Even though it is only 8:30 pm, we reach Prince Rupert at 2:30 am, so it is going to be a short night.

The Alaska Marine Highway because the motorcycle won’t float

July 3, 2012

I caught the ferry to Juno last night.  Since I was not going all the way to Bellingham, I was not parked with the rest of the motorcycles.  It took quite a while to load.  The boat had 2 floors of autos.  Tying the bike down was an interesting process.  I ended up tying to a forklift.

Once the bike was secure I worked my way up to the solarium.  It is open and heated from overhead heat lamps.  There were many people up there.  I knew a few from the wilderness first responder party.  Some others were motorcyclist I had met earlier.  And some that I talked with were new people I met.

I met high school basket ball coach from Juno.  The format for play is different up here because of the distance travelled to play another team.  They only play tournaments.  The high schoolers may have to travel 1000 miles to play someone and it may take a week off school to do it.

I got a small nap in before I had to depart the ferry.  I got on at about 8pm and got off about 2 am.  So upon getting off, I went to find a campground  to get some more rest.  I went toward Juno and found one 20 minutes later.  But it closed the gates for entry from 10pm to 6am.  I went back to where I started and headed north on the highway.  About 2 miles later I found a campground.  This is a federal campground and quite nice.  I pitch the tent as the sun is coming up.  Oh yah, the sun actually sets here for about 4 hours.  I see darkness again and must use the motorcycle headlight to see.  I have no trouble going to sleep, since I have been sleeping in the light for the last week or so.  I am awakened to a Raven trying to remove the power outlet on the handle bars of the bike.

I pack everything up and go to try find a hot spot.  I go all the way into Juno downtown area.  There are 4 cruise ships setting at the dock.  People are everywhere shopping in the boutique stores. I find a coffee shop that advertises WIFI, but I can’t find a place to park.  So I give up on using that WIFI.  I head out to the ferry to get my boarding passes and along the way is a McDonalds.  I stop into McDonalds and use their WIFI to load pictures.  Then off to get the boarding pass.

After picking up my boarding pass, I have enough time to run over to the Mendonhall Glacier. It is the most impressive I have seen thus far.  There is also a lot people from the cruise ships there.  Back to the ferry dock.  I meet Steve there.  I didn’t even know he was going this way.  We had traveled together up to Prudhoe Bay and split the cost of a room there.  There are 2 other adventure riders there.  We load onto the ferry named TAKU.  It has been in service since 1963.

I pitch my sleeping bag in one of the outdoor lounge chairs and my gear beside it under the solarium.  The other riders do the same.  We talk about family, jobs and politics to pass the time.  The over head heaters keep us warm and the glass top protects us from the rain that is lightly coming down.  Someone pitched a tent on the deck outside the solarium.  We pretty much have it to ourselves except for one backpacker traveling this way also.

I eat supper tonight with 3 other riders. I have Jalapeno Ravioli Cheddar Cheese Soup, and a fruit bow.  It is very good. While at supper, I saw an Orca (killer whale).  But I am unable to get a picture of it as it keeps disappearing.  I see a lot of trees and mountains, a few cruise ships and some fishing vessels along the way.  Come 10:30pm I turn in for the night.  Sleeping in a lounge chair on the deck under the solarium with a light mist coming down (not hard enough to be a sprinkle).  It is quite comfortable with the infrared heaters taking the chill out of the air. The Alaska Marine Highway is a pleasant way to travel.

Here is a link to some more pictures of this day.