A bike trip to Alaska!
Now that is the thing of which dreams are made. Wayne & I first talked about the possibility of such a trip in Nov. 2006. As time progressed, the realization that this was possible began to set in. Wayne was in good shape as he has a newer BMW GS. My ride is a 22 year old Harley FXRS. It has been a great bike that has never let me down. However, for a trip such as this, I needed to have a few things checked out. Good thing I did! New battery & new rear tire started the list. I had both pulleys replaced & new belt. While inside the primary, we found a couple other items that needed to be replaced as well. Nothing like knowing that you have done all that can be done to be sure that you will have a trouble free trip. I felt confident & almost ready to go. I needed to come up with a solution to road/rain water & rocks being kicked up by the front tire. The solution was to use kevlar belting. I made a mud flap that hung from the front fender to within 1.5" of the ground. In addition I made a rock guard that protected the electrics & the under side of the engine area. The next problem to solve was to decide what to carry on the bike. Figuring a 9000 mile trip that would include much camping/road siding, we needed to be prepared for everything. In retrospect, we were over prepared! The need to stay warm & dry is really the only concern one must have. Tarp, tent, sleeping bag, mattress, stove, GI canteen & cup, & rain gear take care of the basic. Personal items, a change of cloths, & extra socks to suit your needs. We are ready!
Click on all thumbnails to see the real deal!
We planned to leave home @ 4:30 in the morning. We live in the in El Centro, CA. Just a few short 9 miles from the Mexican border town of Mexicali. This time of year one can expect temperatures to reach 110 or more. We wanted out of here & to get north before the sun was too high. Our route was to go north over Cajon Pass, pick up hwy 395, get to Bishop & beyond this first day. All went well. We made Bishop, took hwy 6 to Benton, into NV for about 25 miles, where we spent our 1st evening. Note our guests for the evening.
Second day out. Heading east to Tonapah & Ely. Pick up hwy 93 & run
to Jackpot & beyond. Another hot day! Weather is hanging around 100 now that
we are in the high desert. Had a good run & made Twin Falls ID in good time.
Took several photos of the Snake River Gorge & continued a bit past
Shoshone. Wayne found a great gravel pit for our camp. It is located: N
43*00.553' : W 114*14.141'. No photos as I relaxed with a couple brews in the
evening, overslept in the morning & forgot. Below are some photos of the
Snake River Gorge. Click on all thumbnails
to see the real deal!
Up with the sun & ready for another day in the saddle. While fueling in the town of Arco, a rider went by on a GS. Waved, made a "U" turn & stopped for a visit. He was on his way home from AK! Picked his brain for a bit & enjoyed the visit of another rider. It was good to meet you Zinger!
Fuel, breakfast & on to Salmon & Hamilton MT. Needing to take care of
laundry & a shower for myself, stayed @ Angler's Roost in Hamilton MT. Nice
campground. Good people. We stayed in Hamilton for a couple days as we needed a
little rest. Wayne had ordered/bought tires in Missoula before leaving. I needed
a new front tire as well. We knew we needed the tires before leaving but wanted
to get the most out of what we had. Wayne had a bit of difficulty with the
Beemer shop in Missoula in that they didn't think they could get his work done
till the following Monday! :( Wayne had prepaid for the tires & labor. He
was not a happy camper. I was looking for a Dunlop & couldn't find 1 @ home
as there had been a strike & dealers were out. Lucked out & found one
right in Hamilton. 40 minutes later, I was on my way. Wayne too got his
situation resolved with a little communication with the manager of the Missoula
shop. All ended well. In case you've never seen the underside of a Beemer, note
the photos below. Nice to do such things in the campground with everyone
Those Beemer's sure are clean down there!
Staying @ the Roost was Roy Milligan. Great guy with a wealth of information. Not only that but he can cook a T-Bone just right. Roy is one of those guys that rides whenever he gets a chance. Had many photos of his AK trips of the past.
This was the first cool day. Continued up hwy 93 through Missoula, the west
side of Flathead Lk, on to Eureka. We did several things in Eureka. We looked
for a place to roadside but found only elk.
Found a great place to eat. Met some riders from the Bay area of CA. I don't remember exactly but there must have been 9 +/-. 1 rider was on an F6, the others were on GS's of some sort. They were riding the Continental Divide from the Canadian border to Mexico. Nice to meet new people with similar interests. They took pictures, talked tech stuff, & shared a brew or 2. Not finding what we wanted as roadside, we continued to & crossed the Canadian border. Crossing was easy but the border guard was a bit of a jerk. Hey, he was the ONLY person we encountered on the whole journey that was anything but pleasant, courteous, & helpful.
On to pg.2 & Alberta!