Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Conclusion of Leg 1. The Dalton Hwy, Denali, Kenai and Anchorage

I realizes it has been over 10 days since I have last posted. I am sorry. I will try to do better. In the mean time, feel free to find me on Facebook or email me if you don't already.
Maybe I am somewhere you know and have some travel tips for me. I have an open mind and open ears for places/people/food/beer/activities I should try and see.

May 17. Day 42 Whitehorse Yukon to Tok AK (Moon Lake). 650 km/ 404 miles
Back in travel mode after sitting in Whitehorse for 3 days. The sky cleared up and the sun came out. I did not stop for many picture going toward AK. I was just enjoying the ride. Crossing the boarder in to AK was quick an painless. Switching back to miles in my head is a different story. I prefer kilometers better then miles after being in Canada for about 3 weeks. 650 kilometers sounds more impressive then 404 miles. Ether way, I was ready for a good sleep. I met some 2 woman from Switzerland who are traveling for 2 months in a rented F350 with a camper. They invited me to pitch a tent at their campsite so I wouldn't have to pay. We were the only people at the Moon lake camp ground and it was the first time on the whole trip I had to brake out the DEET. I seemed to have traded Snow/cold for mosquitoes. There was supposed to be a solar flare that night so I set my alarm for 2 AM. At 2 am It was so light I thought if I left my tent I would have a shadow. Back to bed.. I guess there will be no northern lights in AK for me this trip.

Lunch in Haines Junction

Lost a screw

Cracked sharks fin

Don't get radared by the cops!

The ladies from Switzerland 

Sunset over moon lake
May 18. Day 43 Tok AK to Fairbanks AK. 326 km/ 202 miles
The ladies packed up and left around 8. I sat around the at the picnic table drinking coffee, cooking eggs and writing in my journal. Discipline. I need to work on that. I am beginning to realize I have way to many cotton cloths. I started the trip with 5 shirts, 5 boxer briefs, 5 pair of cotton socks. I don't wear any of these cloths riding and when I get into a town, 2 shirts will do just fine. The extra cloths are getting shipped back to MN with a bottle of Vodka from the Yukon brewery/distillery. In Delta Junction I found a sports store that sold fishing licences as well as flies. The lady behind the counter with a baby on her hip showed me all the right flies to use on greylings. "my husband always buys these flies out.. you are lucky we have some in stock" All the rivers on the way to Fairbanks looked to blown out so I didn't fish any that day. It was good to see my friend Elise from Bozeman. She just quit her job and took a contract on the north slope (see Yukon to Deadhorse below). That night we went to the Howling Dog saloon in Fox AK. It is quite weird to me to play volleyball outside of a bar at midnight and not need lights. For those of you who have never been this far north, its like its always just about to get dark, or just about to get light. It never gets dark.

Just for you Dad

If I see a Mila Lake or a Kathy Lake I'm going to freak out. 

Cool doggy and cool Ensfield. I wish I could have met the owner. 

May 20. Day 45 Fairbanks Chena Hotsprings to Yukon River. 240 miles
We did a whole lot of nothing on the 19th. Played some cribbage and hydrated. Sunday seems like a good day to ride to the Chena hot springs. It is the closest hotsprings to Fairbanks and not a bad ride. The China river winds down the valley and crosses under the road countless times. The road ends at the China hotsprings resort. 10 bucks and you can soak all day. On the way back, we stopped and caught some Arctic Greyling. They are catch and release in the Chena river. After catching 8 fish in 15 mintues I decided to teach Elise how to flyfish. Within 5 minutes she landed one. Elise has a freezer most men would be jealous of and after an amazing dinner of fried moose steaks it was time to head north. I rode until 10:30 and the sun was still up. Time to camp. Long day ahead.

Trying to catch Fishies

My first Arctic Greyling

Elise's Huge fish

Probably my favorite picture so far. Just south of the Yukon river. 

Rain and sunset over the Yukon river
May 21. Day 46 Yukon River to Deadhorse AK (Dalton HWY) 360 miles
The Dalton Highway is the only road to Deadhorse AK. Alaska Route 11 is 414 miles and begins at the Eliot Hwy and ends in Deadhorse. It will take you to the arctic circle, Coldfoot AK, the Brooks range, the north slope, Deadhorse and Prudoe Bay. The road is shitty but after pounding pavement from BC, I welcome a change in pace. The only traffic I see is trucks bringing supplies to the north slope oil fields and construction workers trying to take advantage of the short summer. The "north slope" is just tundra and gradually slopes into the arctic ocean from the Brooks range for about 100 miles. There are more bears then voters on the north slope. 35 miles from Deadhorse a wall of fog hits me and the temperature drops below freezing. My headed jacket liner didn't work when I plugged it 100 miles earlier. My bike froze over. My helmet froze over. Everything was covered in a layer of ice from the fog. I had no problem shelling out $125 for a warm room to stay in that night. Food was included.

The bridge over the Yukon 

Just north of Cold Foot

In the Brooks Range

Large Wetslide that covered the road. It was mostly cleaned up when I got there but they were still working on it. 

Front end loader cleaning the wetslide

Caribou on the north slope

Nasty cold fog crap.

Booties so you don't track in mud. Mandatory. 

How to keep it dark so you can sleep. 

May 22. Day 47 Deadhorse AK to Yukon River (Dalton HWY) 360 miles
I didn't actually get to see the Arctic Ocean. When I woke up, the fog was still looming, it was 5 degrees colder and it was snowing some. There are a few companies who offer tours through the oil fields to see the arctic ociean but I am over it and want to get back to the warmth. At 10 am the weather showed no signs of changing. I put on every layer I could, gassed up and tried to outrun the weather. The wall of fog stopped just as fast as it started the day before. The sun was nice but it took a while to warm up. By the time I got to Cold foot the temp was 70 F. Over a 40 degree swing in 250 miles. In the Jim river I cough my first and only fish north of the arctic circle. Most of the streams loose 80 percent of the water by the time winter comes so the fish stay in the lakes that don't freeze. The Jim river is large enough to keep the little fishies alive. I camped that night next to the Yukon river the same place I did 2 nights ago.
Not much to Deadhorse

This guy doesn't like the cold either. 




Katy M hit 10k miles! North of the Arctic Circle. 

A 10! a fk'n 10!

Nasty road. Lots of fun though. 

My first fish north of the arctic circle. 

When does it have a name? When some one refers to it as "no name creek"?.. or maybe when the put up a sign...

The campsite

Shes a dirty girl

May 23. Day 48 Yukon River to Denali AK 290 miles
It rained from the Yukon river to Fairbanks. I promised Elise I would give her a ride to Anchorage by Thursday evening to get trained in for her new job. Some how we managed to load all of my crap and all her huge bag on the back of my poor ktm and start down the road. We found a place on the Denali hwy to camp next to an old floatplane landing. The views of Denali and the surrounding mountains were amazing.

Whiskey? Yes please. 

Not having any fun.



It's not that big really. 
May 24. Day 49 Denali to Anchorage AK 247 miles
Breakfast was supposed to be in Talkeetna but we didn't make it there until afternoon. Breakfast was still available. From Talkeetna to Anchorage it rained. We were miserable and cold. I made it to Shannon's house around 7 and we went to the Moose's Tooth Brewery and Pizza. It rivals the Thirsty Pegan Brewery in Superior Wisconsin.

Katy M is not happy with the weight. 

May 25. Day 50 Bike maintenance
Oil change, check valves, and change tires. Oh wait. They sent the wrong size rear tire. I still have a couple hundred miles left to burn off on the back. My friend Clayton from Montana used to work for the same company but he just took a contract working on a 11 turbine wind project near Anchorage on Fire Island. Since the wind industry is small, I know some of the guys he works with and they invited me to a boat trip leaving out of Seward to see the Kenai Fjords National park.

May 26. Day 51 Anchorage AK to Seward AK 127 Miles
I am not sure where the day goes. Clayton and I had breakfast at noon at the Snowcity Cafe. And we got an early start of 8:30 PM to ride down to Seward. It was cold (Duh?) so the hot totties were amazing at the hotel bar when we finally rolled in at midnight thirty.
Clayton and his X-Arrg.. I mean XR

May 27. Day 52 Kenai Fjords boat tour
This was a gaper fest but it was pretty awesome. If you can get over the "I'm such a f*cking tourist" block and have fun, you see some cool stuff. Killer whales, humpback whales, bear, mountain goats, seals, sea otters, porpoise, puffins, bald eagles and other birds. If you get lucky like we did, you will get a boat captain female who sounds like a late night adult chat line operator. We were afraid to ask for her number because we thought it would start with 1-900. That night we went out and found the Yukon bar where local music talent "Hobo Jim" was playing. I feel like my Alaska trip in nearly complete. I heard rumors about Hobo Jim and it was pretty amazing. A rowdy crowd and a great time. The marine biologist who fed us nachos at 3 in the morning were quite fun also. Thanks girls.

Yay! free coffee on a boat with Clayton

Killer Whale

Ice from the Glacier

Apparently this glacier is a mile across. 

Dinner at Fox Island. 

Killer whale skull

May 28. Day 53 Seward AK to Homer AK. 168 miles.
Clayton and I split and he went back to Anchorage and I rode the 168 miles to Homer. If you have never been close to a Bald eagle you should go to Homer. I think there are more Eagle then seagulls there. Of course I had to stop at the "Salty Dog Saloon" and have some King crab. A pound of King crab at the Fresh Catch Cafe will set you back about $50 but its worth it right? Right. Totally worth it. That's only 1 night camping instead of sleeping in a hotel. I camped on the Homer Spit near a family who were fishing for salmon in the morning.

In Seward 

The Salty Dog. 

In the salty dog. 

1 pound of crab. 

Immature bald eagle

Camping on the spit

May 29. Day 54 Homer to Anchorage
Rain in the morning and I left to get back to Anchorage. I said good by to my camping neighbors and headed out on the road. I stopped into a fly shop looking for a few patterns and ended up walking out with $60 worth of flies. I now have an arsenal and I should be able to catch fish for every meal in the Yukon. This basically concludes Leg 1 of my trip. Mojave California to Anchorage Alaska. After 9000 miles I am just getting the itch to see more. Leg 2 of the trip will start tomorrow. Anchorage to Tofte Minnesota via Valdez, Chicken, Dawson city, Banff, Big hole MT, Bozeman and Minneapolis. Once again, please feel free to get a hold of me. I love advice, stories, feedback or a couch to crash on if I am in your area.

Apparently roading a crane is no big deal in AK. 


Lots of Ammo!