I have cell coverage and I Lost my Phone

July  6, 2012

I left the hotel rather late, about 9am.

The scenery was the same at first; forests of pine and spruce in a mountainous terrain. It changed to high deserts with sage brush.  The only trees growing along the streams in the valleys.  The farmers were irrigating the grass to produce hay.  I am starting to see a lot more domestic animals, cows and horses.   Then it changed to valleys that are irrigated for fruit trees, and lot of apples, grapes and cherries before I make it to the US border.  Washington was a lot like the upper BC, at least where I was.  Forest, mountains and mosquitoes.  The roads today were very winding and fun.

I was traveling again with Steve.  We caught up with the Dennis and Mark after about 150 miles.  They were about to leave the gas station as we pulled into it.  Strange we  both chose that station since there were 3 in town.  We talked for a while and they left on their way and we on ours. We had no problem clearing customs.

I stopped for water after clearing customs, the weather was getting warmer.  It started the day at 42 F and was 92F at the border.  This is the 2nd day in a row without rain since leaving the ferry.

I stopped in a little town of Republic, WA.  I got groceries for supper, breakfast and lunch.  Made a call to Karen, and watched Steve drop his bike when it fell off the kick stand.  I helped him get it back up.  No major damage.  In the excitement I set my phone down and left it there.  We left for the next campground.  We stayed at Canyon Creek in the Colville Nation Forest.  It was only $6 for the site, but no running water.  I went to see what time it is and this is when I notice my phone missing.  The last time I used it was 3 hours ago.

We  set camp cooked supper and built a fire.  It was fun to sit around a blazing fire while listening to the stream nearby.  The  nicest thing about the night was “it is dark”, there are stars in the sky.  This may seem like a little thing, but it helping to get my internal clock back together.

Sorry no Pictures, the camera is acting up.

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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.

Bears, Bears everywhere

July 2, 2012

I am writing a little early today since I have a hot spot now and might not later.

A wood pecker woke me this morning banging on a metal sign.  The young one was.  The older woodpecker was on a tree. As you read I woke up to bear scat in the camp site. The packs were still hanging from there pole.  After packing everything I went to the local bakery/espresso bar for WIFI and spent a couple of hours there posting pictures.

While I was there I met a couple of the guides from last night’s party that where headed out to sea kayak the fjord. They recommended I head up stream to the lake to see wildlife.  The first run of the Sockeye salmon was about over and there would probably be some bears there.

So I headed that way, I had to go get my ferry ticket anyways and it was on the way.  I first spotted a balked eagle setting on a rock in the river.  So I stop my bike at one of the turn outs and start to get off it.  I am ½ way off the boot over the seat and I look right into a grizzly bear about 15 ft away.  He was feeding in the bush along the road, but stood up to see what the noise was.  I did not get a picture of him.  I stopped getting off the bike and got back on. Started it back up and left.  He had went back to feeding before I left, I was watching the whole time.  A little to close for me.  So I didn’t get a picture of that eagle or that bear.

Further up the road I got a picture of an eagle further up the road. He was setting high in a tree above the stream watching to catch a fish.   I watch a couple of yearling bears play in the meadow down the stream.

Dangerous Fishing

I also found fishing to be a hazardous sport around here.  The bear wanted to fish where the fisherman were.  So the fisherman moved.  There are signs posted to watch for bear while fishing and move away from them.

I saw a total of 9 bears.  Some close and some farther off.

I bought some groceries, the price is about the same as home on most things.  Eggs are really high at $8.95 a dozen. I guess chickens don’t do well up here. Then back to the little espresso shop and met some more riders that will be getting on the ferry.  They are going all the way to Washington, where I get off in Canada.  There from Montana up here on a 2 week run.

I will be getting on the ferry later today for Juno and then Prince Rupert.

Link here to some more pictures ,

It Snowed, there are Bears in Camp

Fresh Snow Cap

I just uploaded several days of Journal (since June 27). I finally found a hot spot that will do more than email.  It is not free, but it works.

July 1, 2012

The day started as like yesterday ended.  It was raining, and not a light shower.  I check the weather, and it is not suppose to get any better.

So I pack the bike and take off into the rain.  After about 20 miles of rain, it lightens up a little and starts to snow with the rain.  I look at the thermometer on the bike and it says 2 C (I think that is like 34 or 35 F).  Anyways it is cold.  I turn the grip heater to high, but it is to hot on the hands and low is to cold, so I keep moving it from high to low and back.  It is hard to see, because the snow sticks to the wet visor.  I slow down to about 50 mph.  It keeps this up the rain with intermittent snow for 120 miles more.

Then it is just low clouds and warms to 4 C.  I decide to stop at a restaurant and get some coffee.  There I talk with some bikers coming from the south, and I decide not put on my winter gear.  After about 20 miles it warms to 8 C.  You can see fresh snow on the mountains.  I know because it wasn’t there when I came though about a week ago.

I stop in Haines Junction at the bakery.  I get a Elk hotdog with a cheese wrap like a pig in a blanket.  I talk to a couple from Australia about our new health care system pros and cons.  They are traveling for 9 months and started in Florida 3 months ago.

I turn toward Haines and the road is in very good shape, it is hard to keep slow around the speed limit.  I have been running on bad roads since entering Canada and the road really keeps you close to the speed limit.  Of course the scenery is terrific. The road is lined with wild flowers like someone planted them.  I run through another pass.  This one is different in looks than the one to Valdez.  The ground is covered in rock that is covered in Lykens .  The temp goes down to 2 C and the wind is about 20mph.

As I drop out of the pass on Haines side, I notice that the trees are much bigger and the ground plants have much larger leaves and more lush.  It reminds me of one of the lost valley movies with the dinosaurs.  It is such a contract.  The temperature changed to 14 C when I dropped off the mountain into the valley.  I saw a some fish wheels, but the salmon are running yet.

I am camping at the Portage Cove Campground in Haines.  It is a tent only campground and suppose to be only for hikers and bicyclist. But the locals said there was no problem with a motorcyclist.  I was warned that there is bears in the area and the campground furnishes a pole with ropes to hang your food so the bears don’t get it.  It is right on the bay and looking across the bay is more mountains.  An eagle is soaring over head as I write this. And I have the ThermaCell going to keep the mosquitoes away from me.

The campground happened to be a celebration point for a bunch of wilderness guides that had just finished the Wilderness First Responder course.  And you wouldn’t expect wilderness guides to stay a motels, so the campground was there home for the last 2 weeks.  We sat around the fire and talked, played Frisbee with the dog and had fun.  The party ended about 11:30 since most had planned trips to kayak or hike or bike or something starting in the morning.  It was a diverse group.  From Canada, Alaska, Japan, Austria and Switzerland.

I had seen a grizzly about 2 blocks from camp.  I was walking and didn’t have my camera with me  There is fresh bear scat in the campground and on the trail from the campground to the beach this morning (July 2).  So the bears were close.  They are mainly grizzlies in this area.

A few More Pictures Here.

Changed a tire then a short ride in the rain.

June 30, 2012

I spent most of the day in the entrance city of Tok.  All roads from Canada run through Tok. Today was rainy.  It rained all night.  I liked it on the tin roof of the bunk house I slept in.  I talked with the owner of the campground for a while and ask her where I could get a tire changed.  I didn’t want to change it in the rain and even though they have tools they didn’t have a garage. She recommended CJ.  I called him and he was busy in the morning.  I tried to use the WIFI in town and it worked for email and browsing, but I couldn’t get any pictures loaded.  So I was unable to update.

I went to the restaurant and called CJ.  I bought his meal and followed him out to his house.  I put the bike in his garage and he helped me change the tire.  Of course it didn’t rain while I was there.  I looked at his dogs, he races dog sleds in the winter.  He is a teacher during the school year and a general do it all person the rest of the time.  He didn’t want to any money for use of his place.

I headed to a different WIFI place in town and still had the same problem with it being to slow to even view images on the net.  I stopped by the gas station to ask them about a charge on my card that looked strange and got it straightened out.  I talked with 5 different riders while there.  One was from Arkansas, it was almost like meeting someone from home.  2 were from Alaska,  It stopped raining and looked like the sky was going to clear up, So I started for Beaver Creek in Canada.  The rain stoppage lasted for about 20 miles and it started again.  It pretty much rained all day.

As I stopped to put on my rain gear, One of the riders, John, caught up with me.  We then traveled together to Beaver Creek where we both planned to camp.  Since it was still raining and was colder, we decided to split a hotel room.  He is removes asbestos for a living and hasn’t been out of Alaska in 4 years.  He is now on a 30 day trip to the lower 48 states.

I have MREs for supper.  It is good, but would be easier to eat with a plate.

It is still raining  as I write this tonight.  Hope it lets up some tomorrow.  Because it has been a hard rain.  The locals around Tok stated it was unusual since they only get an average of 13 inches of precipitation a year.  And they got a couple of inches today.