Remainder

TheRestoftheTrip

Well.

It’s been a while. I sort of lost track after I headed for the Arctic Ocean. It’s been nearly two years, and I’ve done a poor job of keeping track of everything that happened since.

 

I’d like to start reviving this blog by a single entry briefly reviving the second half of my trip.

 

We left off at 4738 miles completed.

 

From Fairbanks I left to the Arctic. Multi day trip; two nights to complete to make it back to Fairbanks.

Fairbanks to Willow Alaska where I spent several days with a lovely couple in their BnB. Lots of fishing.

 

Fairbanks to Soldotna, where I once again stayed in a “BnB” / fishing lodge. More fishing. Lots of salmon…

 

Soldotna back to Anchorage to pick up Mom for a nice 10 days getaway in an RV. I don’t count those miles.

 

Anchorage to Tok. Broke down in town for a few days; took a while, but we figured out it was just an issue with chain wear. Fixed. On my way South…

 

Tok to Prince George. This leg was harrowing to say the least. Constantly in fear of my bike breaking down simply because I wasn’t able to find a proper chain / sprocket set to replace the worn gear that I rode up with. Stayed in town for a few days to change out the parts, including tires.

 

Prince George to Fox Island. Made it. Back in the USA. Safe! Left my motorcycle here and took a friend’s 98′ Harley Davidson Road King down to California to deliver to his son.

 

The end.  9463 Miles from the “start” of my trip to the finish. I don’t think I included the mileage starting from Sacramento. If you do, it rounds out to a nice, even, 10,000 miles. What a trip.

 

I’ll recount more some day if I get the opportunity to. Lost most of the photos over the last year unfortunately…

 

Cheers.

 

Travis

On Top of the World

Day 15 – Fort Nelson, BC to Muncho Lake, B.C. – 150 miles

Day 16 – Muncho Lake, B.C. to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory – 442 miles

Day 17 – Whitehorse, YT to Dawson City, YT – 331 miles

Day 18 – Dawson City, YT to Fairbanks, Alaska – 387 miles

Day 19 – Fairbanks, Alaska

Map

4738 Miles completed

 

There’s so much beauty up here, it’s getting hard to figure out when to pull off and take a picture. That- and I’ve been pretty bad at it…

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The above picture is from Northwest Territory. The pic is mostly bike… but I’m just so happy with how well it’s been holding up to the miles I’ve been putting on it. No major issues aside from the fact that it’s now filthy, and I don’t really see the point in cleaning it quite yet. Heck, I clean the windshield every time I stop for gas; 200 miles later, it’s coated with bugs again.

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Those are mosquitoes, caked to the part of my saddlebag exposed to the wind….

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The day I left Fort Nelson, I had intended on going much, much further. I ended up stopping about 150 miles on at Muncho Lake at… I think it was called “Northern Rockies Lodge”, or something to that effect. Very neat little place with some amazing scenery- and they had amphibious planes flying people in and out of remote lakes in the area.

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These were both somewhere along the road on the way up to Whitehorse. B.C.? Yukon? I honestly don’t remember- the road weaves in and out of the two areas for a while. It’s been great to have hills and mountains again as part of the scenery. Northwest Territory is beautiful in its own way, but it was so very, very flat…

Whitehorse is probably one of my favorite towns I’ve been to so far. It’s got a much younger crowd than most of the places I’ve been into, also, great food and decent lodging. It’s also the largest town I’ve been through since Yellowknife- I guess that makes sense, since they’re both capitols of their respective territories.

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And then there’s Dawson City. What a funky, little town. It’s set up like an old western gold-mining town, and unlike some other similar places, (like Old Town Sacramento), this place feels a bit more authentic.

Maybe it’s fact that it’s so very, very far from anything else resembling civilization. Maybe it’s the hotel, with the swinging saloon doors leading into the bar.

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Or hey, maybe it’s this. A real, preserved human toe… which is kept in the bar… and used as part of a cocktail. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, it’s a real human toe. If anyone cares to research it- google, “Sourtoe Cocktail”. There are some pretty hilarious articles on it, including one regarding a recent theft of the toe. It was returned (although, the bartender noted that they do have extras on hand…)

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Back to dirt roads… darn. So, to continue west from Dawson City, you have to take a tiny little vehicle ferry across the river to the start of the “Top of the World Highway”. It was… awesome, and really makes me wish I was a better photographer. I can’t quite capture the sort of views I had from the road during the 70 or so miles it took to cross the border, but believe me- it’s breathtaking.

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Anyway, I dropped down from “Top of the World” into Alaska, and put in a few extra hours to get into Fairbanks. I can’t imagine that animals care at all about country borders, but I’ve started seeing a lot more animals on the road while riding; dozens of caribou (or elk maybe?) and moose. No grizzly bears. Yet…

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The Long Way Around

Day 9 – Miette Hot Springs, A.B., to Grande Prairie, A.B., 230 miles

Day 10 – Grande Prarie A.B. to Enterprise, NWT 450 miles

Day 11 – Enterprise, NWT to Yellowknife, NWT 275 miles

Day 12 – Resting. Yellowknife, NWT

Day 13 – Yellowknife, NWT to Sambaa Deh Falls, NWT 297 miles

Day 14 Sambaa Deh Falls, NWT to Fort Nelson, B.C. 394 miles

Long Way Around

3428 miles completed

 

Well. Lots of ground covered these last few days.

 

Day 9 was fairly uneventful. I had stayed up at a little motel across the way from Miette Hot Springs in Alberta, and had to ride out about 10 miles to get back to the main road to continue on North. I continued North (slowly) until I arrived in Grande Prarie, A.B., which would prove to be the last semblance of civilization as I’m used to it until I reached Yellowknife.

I had a nice set of tires on my motorcycle upon leaving Sacramento; Michelin Anakee III’s- good tires that focus mostly on the road. Great; they’ve been fantastic so far, only I was (and am still) facing some rather rough roads coming up.

Anyway, I took the time in Grande Prairie to upgrade to a nice set of German tires; Heidenau K60’s. They have big, gnarly knobs all over them, and they’re better suited to the roads and gravel up North.

I ended up staying in Grande Prairie for the night.

Day 10, I resolved to cover as much ground as possible, and boy, did I ever… 450 miles, which I think is a personnel “best” for me. I managed to make it North of the A.B. border, into the Northwest Territory, and was finally able to find lodging for the night in Enterprise, NWT.

The Northwest Territory is fascinating to me. NWT covers an area over three times the size of California, and yet has a population roughly the size of the town of El Dorado Hills that I grew up in.

NWT is big. I mean, really, really big, and empty. And flat. And… beautiful, actually. Day 10 was all canola fields and wheat, as well as oil industry. Day 11 and the NWT gave way to forests that stretched for miles and miles. Forests, and streams, rivers and lakes and wetlands.

Finally, at the end of the day today I arrived in Yellowknife. What a shock, running into a city this size in, seemingly, the middle of nowhere!

I decided to take an extra day in Yellowknife to rest up a bit for the upcoming ride, and to wait out the weather. I didn’t do much, really- I walked around town, attempted to shop for fishing supplies, sampled the local brewery, stuff like that. It was a nice day; I enjoy riding my motorcycle, but it was good to have a free day to just be lazy.

Day 13 was a fair amount of backtracking. I had to ride back down the highway about 150 miles to Fort Providence, NWT before I could turn West on the Mackenzie Highway. I had thought that the previous several days somewhat “quiet” with the few vehicles and motorcycles I passed on the way up to Yellowknife. My travel along the Mackenzie highway offered even more solitude.

Over the 400 mile stretch of road,  from Fort Providence to Fort Nelson, I saw perhaps thirty vehicles (not counting my stops in Fort Simpson, and Fort Liard. Once West of Fort Providence, the road quickly turns into dirt and gravel of varying quality, which made things even more interesting. I don’t have any experience offroad, and as such I took it very easy until I could build up confidence off-pavement.

I stayed at a small campsite at Sambaa Deh Falls, along the Mackenzie; I had decided to pull in after getting caught out in a thunder storm along the road. It was a good thing I did too; conditions didn’t let up for the rest of the night.

Day 14 ended up being a long, long day. I had to make my way up North and cross a river by ferry to get to Fort Simpson to fuel up. I then backtracked several miles to the Mackenzie, continued on my way and more or less repeated the process (sans the ferry) when i got to Fort Liard. Up here, several of the fuel opportunities involve getting off the highway, and getting deep into the communities in which they’re located. I’ve got a range of nearly 200 miles, up to over 350 with the extra gasoline I carry on the back of the bike, but even then I don’t have enough fuel to skip stops when the opportunities to get gas are so far apart.

I ended up in Fort Nelson for the night; it’s by far the largest community I’ve seen since Yellowknife, complete with normal chain hotels, fast food, etc. I’m officially on the Alaska Highway!

 

I will have pictures at some point here… I promise!

 

 

Day 8 – Canada’s National Parks

Radium Hot Springs, B.C., Canada to Miette Hot Springs, A.B., Canada

262 miles, 1782 miles completed

 

Well, today was just fantastic. I can only hope that the rest of Canada is half as spectacular as this part of the country. Pretty much the entire day consisted of National Parks- Banff National Park followed by Jasper National Park.

Both were beautiful- the riding was fairly bland, but the scenery was so sublime as to cause a hazard to my motorcycle riding; it was very, very difficult to tear my eyes away from the scenery to concentrate on the road. I must have pulled off a dozen times at least, not counting my fuel stops and lunch stop at Lake Louise.

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Okay, those first two were Glacier National Park in Montana (from the other day)

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Day 7 – Oh, Canada!

Whitefish, Montana to Radium Hot Springs, B.C.

200 miles, 1520 miles completed
Okay, I finally made it North of the border. It’s really beautiful up here, all mountains and valleys and rivers.

I got in some more camping tonight, right above the town. The state run campsites are in pretty fantastic shape- and to that the fact that town was one mile away… I’m not exactly “roughing it”.

Cruising through Banff and Jasper National Parks today.

Day 4. And 5. And.. 6?

Day 4 -Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Gardiner, Montana – 160 miles, 1320 miles completed

Day 5 – Gardiner, Montana to Great Falls, Montana – 222 miles, 1544 miles completed

Day 6 – Great Falls, Montana to Whitefish, Montana – 250 miles, 1794 miles completed

 

Okay, so it’s been a few days since my last update.

I’m trying to not make this the norm, but I’ll tell you what- after a long days ride, and fitting in sightseeing, finding lodging, camping, whatever, it can get a bit tough.

Anyway, Day 4 was fantastic! Jackson Hole was “okay”, but everything North of the resort town was beautiful. It started out with a ride towards Grand Teton National Park, which is really, really close. Now, this ride has been full of learning experiences so far. I learned this on the beginning of day 4 – if you’re going to ride your motorcycle helmet face shield partially opened, be prepared to deal with the consequences.

I must have been ten minutes North of Jackson Hole. What a great day. The sun is shining. The weather is perfect. I’ve got my ‘tunes blasting. Fantastic.

And then, suddenly, I’m accosted by a dragonfly. No, not one of those little dragonflys. One of the big ones. A dragonfly the size of your open palm. That sucker somehow got sucked into my helmet and ended up lodged in the pocket between the chin air intake on my helmet and my lips. I’m not going to lie. I had one hell of a time keeping it together as I waited for an appropriate place to pull off and rip my helmet off, dislodging the little bugger. He – or it was still alive the entire time, squirming around on my face and flew off like nothing odd had occurred once I was able to get the helmet off.

Anyway.

The rest of the day was just great. Cruising through Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone, neither of which I’d ever visited before. The views were all quite spectacular, and I even made it by Old Faithful at just the right time to see it do its thing.DSC_7140

Both parks are great, and I’m sure I’d like to revisit them both given more time, although I will say they were both swamped with tourists like no other park I’ve been to. Yes, even Yosemite.

I wasn’t surprised when it turned out there was no camping available in either of the parks. It was the weekend, during the middle of the summer, in possibly the most popular nature parks in the United States. I actually felt like I lucked out; I ended up dropping down out of the park on the Northern side into Gardner. I pulled off at a little riverside campsite that turned out to be very pretty great. DSC_7154The campsite, located along the Yellowstone River, had all the amenities one could want from a $20-per-night campground. There was even a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the other side of the highway, “The Lighthouse” which I would highly recommend to anyone passing through- Who knew you could find truffled macaroni and cheese and escargot in a sleepy little town like Gardener?20170721_211219

Day five was mostly unremarkable. Lots of farms. Lots of wheat, and cows, and horses, and perfectly straight highways that stretch on and on. Part of the trip included the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, which was nice. Not spectacular, but nice. Probably a decent place to camp, but I didn’t stop. I pulled in to Great Falls in the afternoon. I don’t have much to say about Great Falls either, except that it’s probably the biggest town I’ve been through since, I don’t know… Salt Lake City, Utah?

Day six (today)  began with more crops, and long boring stretches of highway. I was originally going to ride up and into Canada today but upon reaching the cutoff (and thanks to some advice from my aunt) decided to head West into Glacier National Park.

Boy am I glad I decided to take this side trip. Day six has seen some of the best riding I’ve encountered so far, particularly along highway 49 between East Glacier Park Village and Saint Mary. Glacier National Park offered up some of the most stunning vistas I’ve ever seen, and is probably the only place so far I’ve been truly sorry I couldn’t spend more time. We’re almost into August now; the wildflowers were still blooming, and the waterfalls were still plentiful. I highly recommend the place to anyone that has the time- but plan in advance to visit the park, because even on a Sunday night, there were NO open camps inside the park.

Staying in Whitefish, MT for the night. Onward, finally, to Canada tomorrow.

 

Also, I’ve got video of my trip, from my GoPro. It’s a lot more effort then I had originally imagined, and there’s going to be some lag time between visits to places and actually developing the footage. I may have to wait until this journey is over to get the best stuff up. For the time being, here’s some footage from my ride up to Yosemite / Tioga Pass

Video

Day 3 – Altitude

Park City, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming – 300 Miles, 1160 miles completed
The day started off great! I took highway 150 up through some mountains leading into Wyoming. What a beautiful, exciting ride! And I have pictures and video… which are coming soon.

After I dropped down into Wyoming it was all high desert and country roads- all majestic in their own right.

Jackson Hole is a pretty neat place, although it’s inundated with tourists. I’m guessing the ride in to yellowstone will be beautiful, but slow with all this traffic.