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TOM & ELEANOR’S ALASKA TRIP

SUMMER 2002

5/10/02 - Got off  to a late start.  Left our house at 8:30.  We were packed way too heavy.  When Tom & I started out in the driveway, we were so heavy that instead of making the curve in the driveway, we darted off thru the trees.  I thought we would fall, but managed to stay  upright.  Since we had to go to his mother’s to pick up a camera, we discussed what we could leave at her house to lighten the load.  When we got there 10 minutes later, we lightened the load considerably.  The camp stove, some clothes, the camp chairs, the camera tripod were all dumped.  After eating a delicious meal which  Tom’s mother cooked, we were off
on our big adventure.  It was 10:30 PM much to our dismay, we discovered that our camcorder bag had gotten  against  the muffler on the bike and there was a big hole melted in the side of it.  The strap had also broken.    Other than that, everything else was intact.  We stopped at 2:30 AM and camped at a KOA in Milton.


5/11 - KOA campground in Milton

5/11 - Old home in historical dist. of Biloxi

5/11 - Tom & Gordon in Biloxi

5/11/02 - We got underway about 10:30 this morning from Milton, Florida.  We realized we did not have the power cords to charge the battery on our communication devices, so we spend a good deal of the day looking for a Radio Shack, going to motorcycle dealerships, etc.  We finally found a Shack that had what we needed, so  we were good to go.  While Tom and Gordon were in Radio Shack, I went next door and got a good hair cut.  We were in Daphane, Alabama, then and so went on to Biloxi, Ms. We had gotten off of I-10 because it was so unbearably hot and on to Hwy. 90.  There seemed to be a cooler breeze on 90, but it was still very hot, and we were stopping every few minutes at traffic lights.  Finally we stopped and ate at a nice seafood restaurant around 4:30 and stayed there until 6:30.  By the time we got out of there, the weather had  cooled down and we were ready to travel again.  We left the restaurant with a heavy heart, because Gordon has decided to return home.  We will miss him, but will plan another ride when the weather cools in the fall and Kathy, his wife will be able to come along.  Tonight we are camping in Slidel, LA.  Tomorrow our goal is to get to or beyond Houston.


 

 

 

5/12/02 - Today we left Slidel loaded for bear.  The weather was hot & humid and windy, but we had a good ride.  We gassed up in Mandeville, LA at 8:30 and were on our way.  We stopped at a Radio Shack  and Wal-Mart for a couple of items.  I waited with the bike while Tom did some shopping.  We had just pulled into the parking lot when a man drove up and wanted to know all about our bike.  He had been wanting one jus tlike it for a long time.  This bike is like a magnet.  Everytime we stop, someone will come and start an interesting conversation.  After we left there we headed back on the interstate for Lake Charles.  About 30 miles east of Lake Charles, we were passing a truck when I heard a loud noise.  It turned out to be a Harley cycle.  I waved to the guy, & he waved back as we were passing the truck and him.  A few miles later, the traffic came to a sudden halt, and it was clear that the line was long.  The Harley guy pulled up beside us, said he knew a way around and motioned for us to follow him.  We did.  He exited the interstate and went all around the traffic to the head of the line.  There had been a wreck on the bridge crossing Lake Charles.  When we got to the head of the line, the police were just letting the traffic thru.  We rode with that guy for the next 80 miles.  We stopped just outside of Houston for gas and parted company.  He was really nice and helpful. 

We continued on and after while came to a Restaurant called Mikesto's Barbecue.  I've never seen anything like it.  The food was delicious, but the dining room, which was huge, was like a museum of stuffed game animals.  Every available inch of wall space from floor to ceiling was covered with stuffed (dusty) animals.  There must have been 3 moose, many, many deer, turkey, squirrels, bison, water buffalo, even two polar bears.  The waiter told us the owner had killed about a dozen of these animals, and then bought the rest from collectors. 

We traveled on and camped at San Antonio, TX. at a KOA.  Tomorrow we will visit the Alamo.

 

 

5/13/02 - We packed our bike and took a city bus to the Alamo.  The weather changed during the night and it rained and turned much cooler.  We visited the Alamo.  It was quite impressive.  The building was built in the early 1700’s.  We got back to the campground and left around 3:00.  Tom decided to take Hwy. 90 to El Paso, so we got on it.  The scenery is very agricultural and beautiful.  Lots of corn and wheat.  The green corn makes a nice contrast to the golden amber waves of grain.  We went as far as Del Rio.    Since there was no campground there, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express.  It is great to sleep in a real bed.


5/14 - Bridge over Pekos River in Tx

5/14 - Info on Pekos River Bridge in TX

 5/14 - Court house of Judge Roy Bean, Langtree,TX

5/14 - Interior of Judge Roy Bean Court house

5/14 - Eleanor after lunch in Langtree, TX

5/14 - Tom after lunch in Langtree TX

 

 

5/14/02 - After doing some frame shop work by phone we left Del Rio around 11:00 central time.  The scenery around Del Rio is very dry and desert like.  There are goats, cattle and lots of scrubby trees.  We had gone a few miles and came to a lookout.  It was a very impressive canyon and the highest river bridge in Texas.  I will publish the photos later this week.  We had been told that the road between Del Rio and El Paso on Hwy 90 has very few towns and to gas up at every opportunity.  The next town after Del Rio was Langtry.  This is fameous because Judge Roy Bean lived here.  The town has a population of 5.  We visited the museum and ate at the local Wagon Wheel Restaurant.  The weather was very cool and windy.  After we had lunch I was mounting the bike.  We were at an incline in gravel, and the bike fell over.  It took a while to get it back up, because we had to unload everything.

We left there and stopped for the night at Van Horn, TX.  I-10 is accessible here, and we will get on it in the AM.  Our goal for tomorrow is Tuscon.


 

5/15/02 - After doing some laundry  we finally got on the road.  It was 11:00 central time.  The weather was very windy and cool last night, so we wore a liner under our summer jackets when we started out this morning.  The wind was so bad on I-10 that it felt like we were going to be blown off the bike.  The scenery was very diverse today.  We went from desert to farmland.  There were miles of pecan groves.  They are all irrigated and quite beautiful.  None are as tall or as mature as the ones around South Georgia and North Florida.  This must be a new agricultural enterprise.  Saw lots of dairies, alfalfa fields, and just plain desert.  We had to stop a lot because the wind and heat was making us very thirsty.  We stopped for supper at Wilcox, AZ.  When we came out to get on the bike, the sun had set, and the sky was clear and beautiful.  The ride from Wilcox to Tuscon was the most beautiful and comfortable of the day.  The wind had died down and it was a great ride.  We stopped at Tuscon at 10:00 (1:00 AM Eastern Time).  We stayed at a Comfort Inn so we can get a very early start in the morning.  Our goal is to get through the heat and desert between here and San Diego before it gets too hot. 


 

5/16/02 - Since we stayed in a motel last night, we got the earliest start thus far on our trip.  We were on the road by 7:00 AM mountain time.  The sun was up and the weather was very comfortable.  We took I-8 just outside of Tuscon and headed west.  The land is very flat and desert -like.  There is a lot of agriculture.  Beautiful bright green fields of alfalfa, wheat, pecan groves and other types of fruit trees.  There were also a lot of dairy farms.  Big dairy farms with hundreds of cows.  We stopped for breakfast at 10:00.  It was probably an hour before we were on our way again.  By that time the weather was really heating up.  We stopped about every 50 miles to drink water and cool off.  As long as we were moving, the riding was pretty comfortable, but as the day wore on it was getting hotter and hotter.  We crossed the California line around 1:30 Pacific time with about 168 mi to go to San Diego.  By that time I was suggesting to Tom that we get a motel and sleep during the heat and then travel on in to San Diego at night. He said, however, that if I could hang in there for a hundred more miles, it would start to get cooler.  Sure enough, after a few more stops, we started climbing.  As we got to 2000 feet, the air was much cooler.  When we got to 4000 ft, we pulled over and I put on the jacket liner.  It was so refreshing to feel the cool air. 

I cannot believe the diversity of terrain and weather we have experienced today.  San Diego is just beautiful.  The temperature is in the high 60’s and the sky is very clear.  There is no haze, there is a nice breeze, and the vegetation is so green.  The bourganvillea are in full bloom, and the bushes are huge.  The architecture reflects the spanish past in many of the old buildings, and there are groves of avocado trees planted on the side of the mountains. 

We arrived at the home of Tom’s brother Conrad at 5:30 Pacific time.  We’ll be staying here for a couple of days and then going on.  Tomorrow we will be seeing the sites around San Diego and running errands.

5/17 - Conrad & Sarah at Seafood Rest.

 

 

5/17/02 - Today I stayed at the house with Sara.  Conrad went to work and Tom went to the BMW shop to have some adjustments made on the bike.  I took a walk on this street and could not believe the beautiful yards and flowers.  I will be taking pictures of some of them and posting them.  Words cannot even describe how they look.  You’ll have to see for yourself when I post the pictures.  We went to a seafood restaurant for supper called “Rockin Baja Lobster.”  They serve seafood in a bucket.  Tom & I split a bucket.  It was filled with lobster, shrimp, beef, & chicken. There was refried beans and rice on the side.  Tomorrow we’re going for a motorcycle ride into the mountains.


5/18 - Conrad on his Backhoe

 

5/18 - Tom & Eleanor at Observatory

 

5/18 - Motorcycles on road to Palamar

 

5/18 - Lake Henshaw on Road to Idyllwild

 

5/18 - Tom, Conrad, & Sarah - Road to Idyllwild

 

5/18 -Down town Idyllwild

 

5/18-Street fair & festival in Idyllwild

 

5/18 - Totumpole in Idyllwild

5/18/02 - We left this AM around 8:30 and went to Pala Casino for breakfast at their buffet.  It is a huge casino and the dining room was spacious.  The casino opened August, 2001.  It’s located on an indian reservation on the way to Palamar Mountain.  From there we left for the Palamar Mountain Observatory.  What a treat that was.  The drive up there was through fruit groves, pasture lands, cattle and dairy farms as well as rocky and barren terrain.  The words “long and winding road” took on a  brand new meaning today.  We went around switch-backs all through the mountains on the way to the observatory.  When we got to it, we were over 5000 feet high.  There were lots of motorcyclists either already up there or on their way.  The observatory has a 200” telescope.  The project was started in 1936 and completed in 1949.  We, of course, couldn’t see anything in space.  In fact the scientists themselves do all their observing through data collected from cameras, not from their own eye’s view.

After leaving the observatory we went to a German village called Idyllwild.  It’s one of the quaintest villages we’ve been to so far.  They were having a strawberry festival and street fair.  Coming back home the weather changed and got much cooler.  We were glad to get back home to hot showers and hot drinks.  We traveled 280 miles round trip.

Tomorrow we will do some site seeing right here in San Diego.  Perhaps the zoo and the historic district.


5/19 - Conrad mowing the lawn

 

5/19 - Tom & Conrad - San Diego Bay

 

5/19 - San Diego Bay

 

 

5/19/02 - Today we did our site seeing with a car.  We had breakfast at an outdoor taco place, then went to San Diego Beach.  We saw seals on the beach.  They were so interesting.  They just swam up to the beach and lay there sunning themselves.  There were probably 50 to 100 of them swimming around and laying on the beach.  There were hundreds of people around watching them.  It did not bother the seals.  They just do their thing. 

We left there and went to Mission Beach where Tom, Conrad & Sara rode the roller coaster.  After that we had lunch at an outdoor cafe.  It was the best guacamole I’ve ever had.  The waiter made it fresh at our table.  See the photo on this.  Tomorrow  we are getting the Bike serviced. 


 

5/20/02 - We were up early programming the GPS to take us to the BMW shop.  This is a different one than Tom went to on Friday.  We’ve had this GPS instrument the whole trip, but Tom has just now learned how to program it correctly and really get good use out of it.  It performed beautifully today in getting us to our destination.  While the bike was being serviced for it’s 6000 mi check up, we went to a movie—“Changing Lanes”.  Good movie, I highly recommend it. The weather was windy and cool.  We had about  1/10 inch rain last night.  We plan to leave San Diego in the morning to continue our trip.  Going to Pasadena first and then to Victorville.  From there, we’ll go over to the Pacific Coast Hwy and start north.  We’re having some problems with the camera, so can’t get the pictures to download from yesterday.  Maybe it will work later, cause we got some really good shots.


5/21-Tree lined street in Pasadena

 

5/21-Travis in front of his school

 

5/21-Tom & Travis at cafe in Pasadena

 

5/21-Travis' artwork project at school gallery

 

5/21 -Tom loading maps in GPS

 

 

 

5/21/02 - Today we left San Diego at 10:30 AM.  Our destination Pasadena to visit Travis, Tom’s brother, who is attending the Art Center College of Design.  Tom packed the bike and we took off up a steep hill, out onto the street.  There were some people on the street who waved as we passed - we thought they were just waving & saying goodbye.  However about a block down the street, I looked back to check our luggage, and it had come loose off the platform and was dragging on the street around the back wheel.  Thank goodness we didn’t lose anything.  After we had mailed some cards, we got on I-5 and headed for Pasadena.  What an experience!  What traffic!  No wonder so many people are stressed out.  There was heavy traffic, and everyone going about 80 mph.  We were able to be in the carpool lane most of the time, and even though we were going about 80, cars were right on our tail.  We stopped about 11:30 for coffee, then went on.  We arrived in Pasadena about 12:45.  We were to meet Travis at 1:00 at his school.  We got there at 1:01.  Once again the trusty GPS did its job.  Travis showed us all through the school.  We were very impressed.  He’s  in his second year with two more to go.  It was so refreshing to see how excited he is about his coursework.  The facilities and equipment there are superb.  He’s majoring in photography and design.  We had a brief lunch downtown, went to a camera shop where we purchased another digital camera, and then set off for Barstow.  Tom had programmed the GPS to get us there the quickest way.  However, it took us 2 hrs to go 50 miles in stop & go traffic.  We got to I-15 around 6:30.  From there we went to Victorville where we spent the night with Tom’s sister, Michelle. Tomorrow we will visit Tom’s brother, Billy, and then leave Thursday to get back over on the Pacific Coast Hwy.

 

5/22-Tom's nephew Toby (on right) & his friend

 

5/22-Toby

 

5/22-Tom traded BMW for this?

 

5/22- Travis & Michelle

 

5/22 -Billy & children at new home

 

 

5/22/02 – Today we rested at Michelle’s house. Later in the afternoon Travis and his girlfriend, also named Michelle, drove over from Pasadena to visit. Once again, we were so impressed with these two young people and how hard they are working to achieve their goals. Michelle is working and going to school. She has recently applied to a special effects makeup school. Graduates from this school usually work in the motion picture industry. We visited for awhile then went to Barstow to see Billy and his family. He has two adorable children. His son, William is 5 and his daughter, Katie, will soon be 7. We returned for a special delicious dinner prepared by Mike, our host. What a treat! Tomorrow we leave for the Pacific Coast Highway to continue our journey.

 

5/23/02 – Today was an incredible day. Get out your maps boys & girls. We left Victorville at 2:45 PM Pacific Time and traveled west on Hwy 138 to I-5. The scenery at first was high desert. Now high desert is about 2,000 ft. altitude, very arid, clumps of shrubs or greasewood and Joshua trees. After we got on I-5 the scenery began to change and all at once we were going through Tejon Pass. The mountains were very very high on each side of us, and it looked like a green carpet was stretched as tight as could be over them. When we entered the pass, the sun actually was behind the mountains, and the light was very dim. We were up to 4435 ft when we came through the pass. We came down a 6% grade for over 5 miles. You could smell the hot brakes on the big trucks as they were going down the hill. We, of course, were just gliding down the pass as if on a carpet of air. We could barely hear the motor—very little wind noise, very smooth. When we came down to the foot of the mountains from the pass, we scenery changed immediately. We were in a huge valley with row crops as far as the eye could see. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like sensory overload. You could smell the crops, and the rows were so long---going on for miles and miles, you could not see to the end of the rows. All kinds of crops were growing. Grapes, carrots, corn, oranges, pecans. This has to be the bread basket of the nation. The valley is called “Grapevine”. My brother would love it. We traveled all through Texas and never saw an oil well. However interspersed throughout these crops were lots of oil wells just pumping away. We stopped for the night at 8:30 PM Pacific Time at Lost Hills at the KOA. When we drove into our campsite, our headlights caught the sight of at least 30 rabbits. They were right in the campground bordering a large field. The sky is clear, and the moon is beautiful. You can see the mountains in a distance. We will be crossing them tomorrow to get to the coast.

We stopped for gas about 10 miles into the valley & talked to a family from Los Angeles. They had a little girl 8 years old. As we were telling them where we were going, she knew all about the geography of our trip. She asked if we were going to take the hwy to Alaska or the ferry. She talked about Miami, Florida and lots of cities in between. She’s just in the 2nd grade. Take note, all you home schoolers out there. Teach your kids geography.

 

5/24-Oil wells on HWY 46 west of Lost Hills CA

 

5/24-Pistachio tree grove HWY 46

 

5/24 -Barren mountainous fields - HWY 46

 

5/24 - More barren mountains - HWY 46

 

5/24 - More rainfall on these mountains - HWY 46

 

5/24 -First view of Pacific Ocean on PCH

 

5/24 - Zebras in field along PCH

 

5/24 -Hurst Memorial Beach - PCH

 

5/24 - Whale jawbone at Whale Watcher's Cafe

 

5/24 -Rock formation along PCH

 

5/24 - Gorgeous ocean view PCH

 

5/24 - World Travellers on cliff - PCH

 

5/24 - Eleanor - PCH cliff

 

5/24 - Tom - PCH cliff

 

5/24 - Photo of the Day

 

 

 

 

 

5/24/02 – We got an early start this morning on Hwy. 46 out of Lost Hills. It was dark when we got to the campground last night and the weather was cool. It got even cooler during the night. In fact, I was cold. However, this morning as soon as the sun was up, the air really heated up fast. I don’t know what time it came up, but by the time we left at 8:30 it had been up for sometime. Afraid of getting cold like yesterday while riding, I wore the winter liner and the summer jacket. Tom said it would get cooler as we went into the mountains. Boy, he was right. We had a fast food breakfast at a Carl Jr’s and started on our way. We are now paying $2.15 per gal for gasoline. As we drove west on Hwy. 46 we saw miles and miles of pistachio nut trees. You can see them in the photos. Then we saw what must have been hundreds & hundreds of oil wells with new ones being drilled. It looked like the mineral company had taken over farmland and they were drilling on a huge expanse of land for oil. There are photos of this too on the photo part of this site. As we drove west on Hwy 46 we saw some huge dairy farms, wheat fields, almond groves, grape vinyards, and then just plain barren land. It is very dry and arid here and all of these crops are irrigated. Every so many miles we will cross a huge cement lined water-filled ditch – The California Aquaduct—where water is drawn to irrigate all of these crops. As we got into the mountains, there was just a lot of very very short grass that had been grazed clean. There were a few cattle ranches and we even saw some herds of bison. We passed through Paso Robles, a city with lots of wineries. They had signs up at all of these wineries for wine tasting. We did not partake, however. We finally came to the end of Hwy 46 and at 12:15 we were on the Pacific Coast Hwy. The mountains looked greener, there were more trees, and then all at once there was the Pacific Ocean. We even saw a field with several Zebra running across it. You can see them in the pictures. We soon came to the Hurst Castle. We had planned to tour this castle, but you can only go there on a tour bus, and we could not leave the bike (with all of our possessions) unattended for that long and that far away from it. So we had to be happy with just looking at it from the highway. It is perched upon the top of a mountain. The Hurst family donated the castle along with miles and miles and miles of land to the State of California. Therefore all those miles of land along the Pacific Coast are undeveloped. There are no homes or businesses or anything. Just vacant coastline. It is really beautiful. There are lots of tight turns at 20 to 30 miles an hour. Every turn reveals more spectacular views that cannot even be captured with mere photographs.

As we drove along the coast, we came to a very nice restaurant in Gorda called the Whale Watcher’s Café. We had lunch there. Inside the restaurant is a huge jaw bone of a sperm whale. You can see it in our pictures. The weather was quite cold riding along the coast. We also stopped at the Hurst State Beach Park and took some pictures. This is a beautiful beach with large pine trees and huge eucalyptus trees. The fragrance of the trees was quite a treat. In fact, all along the PCH we kept smelling the pines, flowers, and sea. Although we did not see any sea creatures today, it is not uncommon to see killer whales, seals, sea lions, and sea otters. The seals and sea lions like to come ashore to sun themselves. They have their young on the beach and the young do not leave the land until they have learned how to swim. The killer whales stay close to the beach to feed on the seals and sea lions. The otters do not have that much of a tie to the land, but can be seen in the kelp feeding on the sea urchins and other small creatures.

We continued on toward our destination of Monterey. We passed through a beautiful alpine town – Big Sur. What a beautiful place. We were hoping to camp there, but since this is a holiday weekend, we gave up that idea and continued on our way. We decided to try the KOA at Monterey. However the cost of tent camping there was $45, so we decided to continue on to Watsonsville and stay in a Motel 6 for $55. That’s where we are tonight. Tomorrow we are going to a Honda Motorcycle show to look at motorcycle trailers. It may take the whole day, or we may only be there for a short time. We will then be heading east to Yosemite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5/26 - Switchbacks on HWY 1

 

5/26 - Memaw trying to stay warm

 

5/26 - Eucalyptis Trees

 

5/26 - Artifully trimmed cedar trees

 

5/26 - Photo of the Day

 

 

 

5/25/02 – A very special graduation wish to Casey, who graduated from the 8th grade last night, and to Lindsey and Ramsey who graduated from high school today. Also, Happy Birthday to Edna and Sandy.

We left Motel 6 around 10:45 this morning and had breakfast at a local restaurant. While we were there we talked to another BMW Biker who was at the restaurant. He told us that the BMW place was right around the corner, so we went there after breakfast. We bought another communication system for our helmets. The “Chatterbox” we have has not been working properly for the past several days. We also got some more straps to make sure our luggage stays secure. It turns out that there was not a Honda show in the area after all, so we decided to go on toa San Francisco where we needed to pick up another part for our new communication device. We took Hwy 101 to SF. It was slow going and the traffic was quite heavy. We also decided to get out of California as soon as we can and forego going to Yosemite this time. Everyone in the world is out and about this weekend and either on the hwy or camping. We went to the BMW shop in SF, got our part, and then started for the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though we were only a few miles from it, it took nearly 2 hrs. to get there in bumper to bumper traffic. Tom was exhausted by the time we got across the bridge from trying to hold the bike balanced in the heavy traffic. We called ahead to Petaluma to the KOA and made a reservation. After we crossed the bridge, it was only about 12 miles to Petaluma. However, once again we encountered bumper to bumper traffic. This time we were in the country. Tom got on the right paved shoulder of the road and passed all of the waiting cars until we made it to the front of the line, which was at least 7 miles. He was really worn out by the time we got to the KOA. The campground is the biggest KOA we’ve ever been to. There must be at least 3000 people here. The owners turned their farm into a campground and their animals into a petting zoo. It’s really quite beautiful. I will try to take some pictures of it tomorrow. There are chickens, peacocks, roosters and goats. The roosters will be crowing in the morning bright & early, I’m sure. Tomorrow our destination is to get back over on the PCH and head for Oregon. We did not take any photos today, so will try to get some tomorrow to post. It is also quite cold. The weather is in the low 50’s and it’s windy. We walked about a mile into town to Denny’s for supper. It felt good to walk and get some exercise.

 

5/26/02 – We left Petaluma today at 9:00 AM. After a breakfast at Denny’s, we started west on Hwy. 116 to Hwy. 1. While we were on 116, we started going through farmland, ranch land, dairies, vineyards, and then some redwoods. It was the redwoods that captured our hearts. They are absolutely awesome. Soon after we got on Hwy 1, the mountains had fewer trees, more grassland and we saw a good many cattle grazing on the hillsides clear down to the Pacific Ocean. Now that is really something to see. Cattle going all the way to the ocean. The weather was very cold and overcast. The wind coming off the ocean is quite strong as well as cold, especially on the bike. We were bundled in our winter gear, but after about 50 miles we pulled over for gas and hot hot coffee. After a brief rest, we went on through some more scenic vistas. We took several pictures of the views. The first 20 miles were what Tom called 2nd gear twisties---very tight switchbacks. Then we went into gear switchbacks. Even tighter turns. The views were spectacular. We were in and out of redwood, eucalyptus, pine forests and grassy mountainsides. After about 100 miles the road veered off the coastline and immediately we were in the redwood and fir forests. Very tight turns were the norm for the next 30 miles with high altitudes and beautiful views at every turn; and lots of ancient huge redwoods. We stopped at a redwood grove and took some pictures. There was a sign in front of one of the trees that said that this tree was “old growth”—which means that it was probably at least 1500 to 2000 years old. We took pictures of it, which we will load on the site at the first opportunity. We could not see the top of the tree, it was so tall. We continued on to where hwy 1 merges with hwy 101 near Leggett, CA. That’s where we are tonight. We are camping at Redwood River Resort campground. There are redwoods all through the campground. The smoke from the campfires curls up toward the top of the redwoods and is very aromatic. This is a very beautiful place. We drove to Leggett for supper and had a great steak dinner, which we split, for just $10.00. We met some really nice shop owners. One of them is a wood carver. We went to his shop and picked out a carving to have sent home. The weather here, inland, is much warmer and very pleasant. It feels like a summer evening in Ohio. Cool but very comfortable. Perfect camping weather. We will be loading pictures on the website when we get to an electrical outlet as well as internet access that will allow us the time we need to load the pictures. Tomorrow our destination is Oregon. Maybe. California is a long state, especially on the hwy. 1 – the PCH.

 

5/27 -Redwood Trail along Avenue of the Giants

 

5/27 -Giant old growth redwood

 

 

 

5/27/02 – This morning we hiked down to the river through the redwoods before leaving the campground. We have learned a great deal about these redwoods. They are very prolific. Naturally genetically programmed to reproduce. When a redwood is chopped down, or when it is uprooted, within a very short time new redwoods will sprout up from the part that is left. Also if you took a slice of wood from a recently cut redwood and put it on the ground, it would root, and also sprouts would spring up from the bark.

After leaving the campground we took hwy 101 to the Avenue of the Giants which parallels 101. It is a 32- mile drive through groves of redwoods, some of them are old growth. There are designated stops along the way, which afford the tourist some trail hiking through these magnificent giants. It was very enjoyable. About midway through the tour it began to rain. We traveled 180 miles today, and at least 130 of those miles were in rain. This was our first bike travel in rain since we’ve been away from Florida. It was not comfortable. It was very cold. We got to Crescent City, CA, got a motel room, and that’s where we are tonight. We couldn’t wait to warm up with a good hot shower. Also we turned on the heat to around 80 degrees in the room. The outdoor temperature is 52 degrees. We may be here for a couple of days, because the rain has set in for awhile.

 

 

5/28/02 - We had breakfast this morning at the local Subway in Crescent City and then left at 10:45 heading North on 101. The weather was clear and cool. It seemed to warm up as we went on, but then the further north we got, the more overcast it became. We traveled 200 miles. The last 70 miles were in a light rain. We stopped at Florence, Oregan for the night at an Economy Inn Motel. It was 3:00 PM, and it was raining quite heavily by that time. Tomorrow we hope to get an early start, weather permitting, and our goal will be as near to Seattle as we can go. We did not take any pictures today. Most of the towns we traveled through on the Oregon coast are small with timber- related industries.

 

5/29 -Tillamook Creamery Building

 

5/29 - Morning Star built to take cheese to market

 

5/29 - Cheese Packaging Room

 

5/29 - Bridge over Columbia River

 

5/29 - Carving of Capt. Grey - 1792

 

5/29 - Loose Caboose Restaurant

 

 

 

5/29/02 - Today we waited to see if the rain would stop. It rained all night and finally let up late in the morning. We got started at the crack of noon – 11:30 AM. After a delicious breakfast, we set out again on Hwy 101 heading north. The weather was very overcast and very cool. Most of the towns we went through along the oceanside were small fishing villages and timber towns. Later in the morning the hwy turned more easterly and we began to see farmland. We came to a river valley with lots of dairy farms. There was one dairy farm right after another. They went on for miles and miles. There were jersey cows, holsteins, gurnseys and brown swiss. The farms were so neat and well kept, and the fields were very green. No lack of rain or need for irrigation here. Then we came to a county and town called Tillamook. The main industry in this town is cheesemaking. They have a large creamery, which is open to the public, and is run by the Tillamook Cooperative Association, which is made up of 150 members – dairy farmers – each with an average herd size of 200 cows. The creamery is quite large and a major asset and employer for the community. They got started back in the late 1890’s when they decided to try to market their dairy products. They built a ship from the scraps of other wrecked ships and used the ship to take their products to market. They are now known throughout the world and ship their products to many countries. They are known for their delicious cheeses as well as ice cream. We had the opportunity of sampling the cheeses and ice cream. This is an ideal place for children to go for a field trip. They must have at least a 10 to 15 acre parking lot to accommodate the many visitors.

After leaving there, we continued on up the coast. As we got out of the farming area, we stopped to get gas and saw an advertisement for motorcycle trailers. Tom made a phone call and arranged for an appointment in the morning to see about getting a trailer in Federal Way, Washington. It was beginning to mist rain again by that time and we were afraid we would have to stop early, but as we continued, the rain abated. We soon came to the Columbia River and crossed the longest and highest bridge we’ve been on so far. The bridge is 7.5 mi long. This put us in Washington State. The scenery here is very rugged and beautiful. Everything is so green. The average rainfall in this area is 113” a year. We traveled through mountains covered with, pine and alder trees. Many of the mountainsides had been clear cut and then replanted. We were in such a remote area that for several miles we were the only ones on the highway. We had supper in a little fishing village along the coast called Long Beach, at a restaurant called the “Loose Kaboose”. The seafood was very good, and everything was “homemade”. From there we continued on to Olympia, the capital of Washington. We traveled 350 miles today. Pretty good for such a late start. We are spending the night at a Super 8. Will get started early in the morning and hopefully get the trailer before 10:00 and have it installed. We have to see a special welder who will fabricate a hitch for the motorcycle. Our goal for tomorrow is to get that trailer and then head for the Canadian border.

 

 

5/30/02– We left the motel and headed for the Chevrolet place where the trailer is. When we got there we found that the man who does the trailer hitches was located about 10 miles away, so we went on to his place. He told us it would take about 10 hours to do the hitch and we would have to leave our motorcycle there. By that time it was about 1:30 in the afternoon. We left there, went to a nearby town, rented a car, unloaded the bike into the car, then took the bike back to him to work on. We then went to a nearby KOA. It is called the KOA of South Seattle. It is the nicest one we’ve been in so far. Has the nicest showers and bathrooms. There is a beautiful shade tree on every campsite. We later went to a Fred Meyer store, which is smiliar to Wal Mart, and got a camp stove and some cooking supplies & utensels. Now we will have room for those things since we will have the trailer.

This area of Seattle is so nice. We are on the south end of it. The trees and shrubs are stunning. I will take some pictures of the flowers and trees tomorrow to post on the site. When we were coming up here, we noticed that the mountainsides are covered with yellow flowers. Some of them are goldenrod bushes and others are another kind of small yellow flower, all growing wild. It makes for a spectacular sight. Tomorrow our goal is to pick up the bike and trailer, probably in the afternoon, and stay another night here at the campground. Saturday, we will be on our way to Canada

5/31 - KOA Campground - South Seattle

 

 

5/31/02 – We wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate Kristen for graduating from the 8th grade, and also for all of the achievement awards she received at graduation. We salute you Kristen. We’re so proud of you. Next year it will be Aurora’s turn to shine.

Today was a beautiful day in Seattle. We stayed at the campground until around 12:15 and then went over & picked up the bike, then took back the rental car, and from there we picked up the trailer. We had left all of our stuff back at the campground in the tent and only had one bag with us, which made for really nice traveling. After picking up the trailer, we went back to the hitch manufacturer for him to work out a few bugs in the connections, then we were all set. We’re really going to like this trailer. Feels like real camping now because we don’t have to eat fast food. We can cook our own, and we actually now have room for bread & peanut butter. Wow! Tom has another person to see tomorrow, and then we will be on our way. Probably in the afternoon we’ll get started. Will post some pictures of the trailer before we leave tomorrow.

 

6/1 - Trailer Hitch

 

6/1 -Motorcycle & trailer

 

 

 

6/1/02 – A very special salute to Sara Ann who has learned to swim. We’re very proud of you, Sara Ann, and look forward to your showing us how well you swim when we get back home.

We got a very late start today. There was a very nice young couple camped next to us from Pennsylvania. They are on an extended vacation. They left Philadelphia in February and have been touring the country. They, too, are going to Alaska. However, unlike us, they have an SUV instead of a motorcycle. We had a very enjoyable visit with them before we left. Packing the trailer proved to be a challenge. It holds 18 cubic feet. Now that did not mean anything to me, but believe me now it does. With careful placement and compression we were able to get everything in. Well, almost everything. The sleeping bags had to be strapped to the back of the bike. We went to Bellingham where Tom got a haircut, then headed for the Canadian Border. Since it was getting late, we stopped at Birch Bay State Park for the night to camp. It was only $16.00 for the night. We asked if they had showers, and the answer was affirmative. Guess what? The showers are $.50 for 3 minutes, and they are cold. I mean really COLD! Tom took his first. When I found out they were cold, I decided to wait until we stop tomorrow---at a private campground—with HOT SHOWERS. This is a beautiful place, however. We are in a secluded spot, and the trees are tall and beautiful. There are many ferns and large leafed low growing plants. It’s very peaceful, and also close to the ocean. I’m amazed that the plant life is so large being as close to the ocean as it is. We’re ready to turn in for the night, and it’s 9:10 and still daylight. The sun has set, but it’s still daylight. I was told today that the days just keep getting longer and longer. It gets daylight here around 4:00 AM. Imagine that. Anyway, tomorrow we will cross the border and be heading for more adventure. We took pictures of the trailer today, but it will be a day or two before these can be posted, as I do not have an internet connection here at the State Park.

 

6/2 - Tom Thompson - Blaine WA

 

6/2 - Beautiful Scenery near Hope BC

 

 

6/2/02 - Today was an absolutely gorgeous beautiful day. We awoke to the songbirds, chirping, went back to sleep, then finally crawled out of the tent around 9:00. We must be getting accustomed to this pacific time. We had a pancake breakfast, I had a good 30 minute walk and we finally left at the crack of noon 30. On the way out of the park we rode down to the shoreline. This park was one of the prettiest I’ve seen. We left through the town of Birch Bay, which is such a quaint colorful little town. It looks like they cater to the tourist trade. There are a good many cottages being built near the waterfront. Everyone is wearing shorts and tank tops, and I’m all bundeled up in a sweat suit. The temperature was in the low to mid 60’s and there was a strong ocean breeze which made it seem colder. The Washingtonians and Canadians think this is really hot. If it gets up to 70, that’s a heat wave for them. We left there and drove up to Blaine. A man stopped us & we ended up talking with him for quite a while. We made a new friend. His name is Tom Thompson, and he was a wealth of experience and information. We’ll be posting his picture the next time we upload pictures. From there we drove to Abbotsford. The drive was through hilly wooded farm areas. There were a few dairy farms and freshly mowed hay on the ground. The air was so fragrant from the hay. There was a large flat valley of farmland surrounded in the distance with snow-capped mountain peaks. It was a very beautiful view. We crossed the border at Abbotsford, BC where we got on Hwy 1 and headed east and north to Hope and then on up to Cache Creek where we are spending the night at Brookside Campground equipped with laundry, internet access and, yes, HOT SHOWERS. A beautiful fast rushing creek runs right by our tent. The sound is so relaxing. It’s the view and vistas around Hope that I must tell you about. That’s when we began to get into those snow-capped mountains. This part of Hwy 1 is referred to as the Fraser Canyon Road. It parallels the Fraser River. The river is named after an explorer by the same name, who passed through the area in 1804 searching for a pass & river passage to the Pacific. Anyway the mountains in this area are so extremely vast, huge, and high, it looks like God took flat land and stood it on edge. The cars along the highway looked like toys against the backdrop of the mountains. There were times that the sheer rocky sides of the mountains rose straight up from the highway for thousands of feet. Hwy 1 is mostly 4 lane, so the drive was very comfortable. There were waterfalls gushing down the mountainside through heavily wooded forests. We also went through lots of tunnels.

As we continued on, the trees began to thin out and the landscape took on a whole different look. We could sense a change in the humidity. The air was much dryer, and the land and mountains had a high desert look. We began to see fields that were planted with hay, and there were huge irrigation systems to water them. We passed through an area called Lytton, which is where there was a gold rush back in the 1860’s. Hwy 1 then became the “gold rush trail” for many miles. Cache Creek, where we are camped tonight, was part of the supply route for the gold rush. We passed through a few communities that are almost ghost towns now. Each of them had one building that is still standing, and which must have been established to handle the population from the gold rush. They are churches. Just small very old churches. Little brown weathered churches with a steeple and about 2 windows on each side and a door in the front, We were too far away from them to take any pictures.

Tomorrow our goal is Prince George, BC. That’s about a 277 mile drive. We should be able to make that, no problem. Today we traveled 220 miles. Everything up here is listed as km instead of miles; and gas is sold by the litre instead of gallon.

 

 

6/3 - Between Cache Creek & St. George HWY 97

 

6/3 - Helga & Henry

 

6/3 - Helga & Henry's Restaurant

 

 

 

6/3/02 – Today we left the campground at Cache Creek at 9:00 AM. That’s the earliest we’ve left in a long time. The weather got down in the 40’s during the night, and it was cold in the tent. However, as soon as it started to get light, you could feel the air warming up. By the time we left the sun was shining brightly and it was much warmer. We dressed in our winter gear and took off. About 50 miles down the road we came to a restaurant called “The Corral”. It had a sign “Fresh Apple Struedel”. By that time we were ready for a cup of coffee, so we stopped. The restaurant was decorated in a western theme with a pot belly stove and a picture painted on the whole back wall of a log cabin, log fences, mountains in the background, and cattle. It was very well done. Since we were the only customers, we had a nice visit with the owners, Henry and Helga. They immigrated from Germany to BC 7 years ago. They could not speak English at that time and had never been in business for themselves. They have quite a story. They selected this part of Canada because they wanted a business of their own, but also because it was remote. You can see their picture when we post them again. We had breakfast and fresh apple strudel. It was delicious. From there we continued our journey to Prince George, where we are spending the night. The scenery today was mountainous and there are a few farms, mostly cattle ranches, and lots of trees. It looks like the large fir trees were harvested sometime ago and never replanted. Aspen trees have grown up in their place. You can look out over the mountainside and see huge patches of aspen. The fall is probably a beautiful time when the leaves are changing. The fir trees that are left are kind of scrubby looking. After awhile the sameness of the scenery can be a challenge. There is a lot of truck traffic on Hwy. 97---everything from log trucks to freight. We saw signs to watch for deer, but did not see any. Also signs to watch for moose. Tom saw one, but I missed it.

Tomorrow we will continue on Hwy 97 to Dawson Creek where the Alcan Hwy starts. We traveled 298 miles today.

 

6/4 - HWY 97 50 mi North of Prince George

 

6/4 - Tom & Eleanor at Bijoux Falls

 

6/4 -Tom at Bijoux Falls

 

6/4 -Bijoux Falls

 

6/4 - This is where we had picnic lunch today

 

6/4 - Mountains we left behind approaching plains

 

6/4 - Patchwork quilt farmland near Dawson Creek

 

6/4 -Dawson Creek surrounded by farmland

 

 

6/4/02 – Tonight I we are at the Mile 0 campground in Dawson Creek, BC. Mile 0 is where the mileage begins for Alaska. Tomorrow we will post a picture of the Ground 0 sign.

We finally left Prince George today around 12:30. We had spent a good deal of time trying to find a place where we could get online and download this web page information. There was an internet café there, but they would not let me use a floppy disk in their computers, and they would not allow me to hook up the laptop, so we had to wait until we could find a place with a modem hookup. That has been a problem for the past several days. Anyway before we left Prince George we went to an outfitter store & I got some more warm clothing to sleep in. Last night I did not get cold, but we know there are cooler nights ahead. It rained last night and everything got damp. We also found out that a movie had been filmed at the place where we camped. It was called “Reindeer Games” with Ben Afleck. On our way out of town we stopped at a muffin/coffee shop & had breakfast. They had great homemade cinnamon rolls there and the best coffee we’ve had in a long time.

We took 97 North out of Prince George. The scenery began to change into more steep mountains. They had a healthy growth of pines that came right out to the road. We could see snow capped mountains in the distance, and after about 70 miles were in those mountains. We were also in and out of scattered showers. The air is so clear here that they don’t even have air monitoring for pollution. You can see for miles and miles without anything to interfere. We found out that a good many of the forests here in BC have been attacked by pine beetles. They weaken and render the trees useless for lumber/building products. It’s been a devastating blow to the lumber industry economically. The best way to get rid of the beetle is the natural way – the temperature must get below 40 degrees Celsius for several days before it will kill the beetle. The past couple of years they’ve only had 2 days of that type of temperature during the year. They do have quite a replanting program for the trees. In fact, we saw some crews headed to do just that while on the way to Dawson Creek.

We had gone about 100 miles when we came to Bijoux Falls. This was a huge waterfall gushing down the side of the mountain. We will post a picture of it today. From there we meandered on through the snowcapped mountains. The only description that comes to mind is “C’est magnifique”. It is also very remote in that area. You can go almost a hundred miles and not see any homes or towns. About 50 miles outside of Dawson Creek the landscape began to change. We started noticing cleared areas with lots of green grass and some cattle. Then we noticed that we were more on a plateau and the land took on a look of the plains. There were huge fields of rolling hills planted in alfalfa, wheat, and pasture grass. The fields go on for several miles and usually are bounded by aspen trees, which provide a windbreak. The highway became much straighter and there were large areas fenced and cross- fenced. We began to see more farm buildings—prosperous looking farm buildings. Looking out over the rolling hills of Dawson Creek is like looking at a patchwork quilt. The fields are so picturesque. The weather is much more windy here. There was a really strong cross wind on the highway for the last 50 miles.

Tomorrow we head for Ft. Nelson. We are 1500 km from Alaska.

 

 

6/5 -Eleanor at Mile 0

 

6/5 -Tom at Mile 0

 

 

6/5/02 - This morning we awoke to the not-so-welcome sound of the pitter-patter of rain drops on the tent top. It was a light rain, and the weather seemed mild, so we packed up and left. We went to the Mile 0 sign, took our pictures, and headed north on Hwy 97 – the Alcan Highway. The rain increased and so did the wind, so we stopped in the next town – Ft. St. John and got a motel. It continued to rain most of the day. It finally cleared up late this afternoon. We walked downtown and had dinner at a Greek restaurant. Ft. St. John used to be a trading post and hub for fur trappers. There was a Hudson Bay Co. located here. The original Hudson Bay Co. building is gone, and another was built in 1960. It is now the cultural center. This is a growing thriving city. The main industries are lumber and oil. There are new oil wells being drilled all the time. There is a new plywood plant being built to produce oriented strand board (OSB). It is almost completed and will employ 600 people. There is also a new Wal-Mart under construction, which is scheduled to be completed in October, 2002. Walking back from town we noticed a large sports complex, which covered 2 city blocks. It consisted of large gymnasiums for curling, indoor hockey, swimming, and a water park. There was a ball field outside and tennis courts.

If you have been trying to view the photos on the website, they should now be available. We had a very hard time uploading the photos last night, but finally got them uploaded today.

We met a new friend at the Mile 0 Campground last night. His name is Gary and he manages the campground for Dawson City. Thanks to him, we were able to get online and upload some information on the website. He entertained us with some very interesting stories. He has driven across the Northwest territories with a regular pick-up truck in the winter, driving across frozen lakes. He’s had many unique experiences with the First Nation People (Native American).

Tomorrow, if there is no more rain, we will continue with our goal being Ft. Nelson.

 

 

6/6/02 – Still in Ft. St. John. This morning we awoke to more rain. The temperature was 41 with lots of wind. You can guess where we spent our day. It wasn’t on the motorcycle. This afternoon it cleared enough for us to walk to the local Safeway grocery store where we stocked up on a few items. For your information, they rent the grocery carts to wheel around the store. They rent for $.25.

6/7 -Emergency shelter

6/7/02 - It was cloudy, but not raining when we awoke this am, so off we went. It was about 10:30 by the time we left town and we had probably gone only about 10 miles when we hit rain. It was 38 degrees. Now you haven’t lived until you’ve ridden in 38 degree weather on a motorcycle in the rain. We went about 50 miles, stopped for hot coffee and bought a fleece long sleeve shirt for Tom, and a wool sock hat for me. I had left Ft. St. John with 4 shirts on, long underwear, jeans, sweat pants, 3 short sleeve shirts and a sweat shirt, then the riding gear on top of all of that. The sock hat was too thick to wear under the helmet, so I saved it to wear to bed tonight. Well, we made it to Ft. Nelson, and then to Steamboat. The rain got harder and harder around Steamboat. We had also gotten into some high mountains and it was very foggy in the mountains, so we knew we had to stop. We stopped at an outfitter/RV campground/bed and breakfast about 30 miles from Steamboat. They have a log building that contains a store and mess hall. They serve breakfast of homemade sour dough pancakes and coffee. We were told that all of the heated rooms were taken, but they did have “emergency” beds in the emergency shelter---no heat—no water—no electricity—no bathrooms. It’s like tentcamping, but with a roof & bed. We will post a picture. They do have hot showers and a bathroom in a different building, but we had no dry towels, so had to forego the shower. They put a padlock on the bathroom building at night from 10:00 PM until 7:00 AM. You’ve got to see this. The weather is supposed to clear up tomorrow and warm up. There was snow & mudslides further up the road from here yesterday. Last night they were packed with people in the “emergency shelters”. When we got here there were two helicopter crews stranded here together with their craft. They do geological surveys for the gas & oil company.

We traveled 350 miles today--300 of it in the rain. The trip today was through some of the most remote wilderness area we’ve been in so far. I don’t think you understand remote. Remote is when you are the only one on the highway for 50 miles, and there are no houses, no gas stations, no telephone lines, only the highway with forests for hundreds of miles on each side of the road. What an adventure! Tomorrow our goal is to reach Watson Lake in the Yukon Territory and hopefully beyond.

 

6/8 -Summit Lake

 

 

6/8/02 - We awoke early this am to a light rain. The temperature was in the 40’s. It had quit raining by the time we left, which was around 7:15. We got right up, packed, & left. Our clothes were still wet from the day before. The riding was very uncomfortable. The road took us into higher altitudes. We climbed to over 4000 ft. The view & vistas were spectacular. There was fresh snow on the mountains and ice in the mud puddles along the road. We came to Lake Summit which was the most beautiful color of green I’ve seen. We rode for 50 miles and then stopped at an inn for breakfast. By that time we had come into sunny weather, and there was not a cloud in the sky. We were very very cold. Our clothes had not yet dried out, and the wind hitting our suits penetrated that cold to our very bones. The thought occurred to me that we could freeze like this. It took some time to get served for breakfast, which gave us some time to get really warm. By the time we left, we were all tanked up with coffee and homemade bread, and felt much better. We traveled another 75 miles and stopped for gas and more coffee. That’s when we met Gerry. He’s from Chicago and is riding his BMW RT1100 cycle to Alaska We rode with Gerry for the rest of the day to our destination of Watson Lake. During that ride the weather warmed up a lot, and our suits were drying out. We went through about 9 miles of gravel road where they were doing highway construction. It was very bumpy and soft in places, and really tested Tom’s riding & handling skills.

We arrived at Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, around 1:30. This is where they have the sign forest. People coming through here on their way to Alaska have left signs for years. There are thousands of them nailed to posts. It’s really quite interesting. See them in our photos. We rented a motel room at the Air Force Motel. This building was an original building that was built in 1942 during the construction of the Alcan Hwy. The young man who owns it, Michael, is from Germany. He’s been here for 5 years. He has done all of the work on the building himself. He bought the building and had it moved to this site. It’s a hotel in the European tradition with shared bathrooms. It’s the cleanest & nicest hotel/motel we’ve been in in a long time. I highly recommend it. The rates are the best too. We rested, had hot hot hot showers, and then walked to dinner with Gerry at a local restaurant, called Bee Jay’s. Our goal tomorrow is White Horse, or beyond. Gerry is going to travel with us. We’re about 800 miles from Fairbanks.

 

 

6/9 -Michael owner of Air Force Lodge - Watson Lake

 

6/9 -Gerry at Air Force Lodge

 

 

 

6/9 -Tom & I with Michael at Air Force Lodge

 

6/9 -Sign Post Forest at Watson Lake

 

6/9 -More sign posts

 

6/9 -Tom, Gerry & I on deck at Raven Hotel

 

6/9 -St. Elias Mountain view from hotel restaurant

 

6/9/02 - We had breakfast at Bee Jay’s and left on our travels at 9:00. We traveled through several areas of construction. The weather got cooler the further we went. We stopped close to noon at a beautiful restaurant and had soup, hot coffee and homemade bread. The scenery got more and more beautiful. We were soon traveling through a valley with snowcapped mountains straight ahead of us. The road was quite straight with hills. At times it looked like the road was going to drop off to nothingness in front of the snowcapped mountains in the distance. The roadsides were grass on each side for about 40 yards, and then thick tall fir trees. There were yellow flowers blooming in the grass. The whole site was so beautiful. We felt like we were in a postcard. We reached Whitehorse, gassed up and then decided to go another 100 miles to Haines Junction. We made it to Haines Junction around 4:00 PM. It is a small town with a few motels & gas stations. We rented space at a campground, put up our tents, and went to dinner at probably the nicest gourmet restaurant I’ve been to yet. The restaurant is in the Raven Hotel and is owned by a young man from Austria. We made reservations for dinner at 6:30 when we first got to town. The restaurant is on the second floor of the hotel and the large windows overlook the snowcapped St. Elias mountains. They go straight up from the valley with no trees, and are covered with lots of snow. The view was breathtaking. We had drinks on the deck, took some pictures, then had dinner. I had snapper cooked in a champaign cream sauce. Tom had seafood pasta. We got back to the campground around 10:00.

 

6/10 -Road Construction near Haines Junction

 

 

6/10/02 - Gerry is staying at the campground for a couple of days and then going to Anchorage. Tom & I left around 7:15 for Alaska. The weather was perhaps in the 40’s when we left, but dry. As we went on we had about a 15- minute wait due to road construction. We came to a Lake Kluane, nestled in the mountains, which was 48 miles long. The highway ran right along the edge of the lake. We were gaining altitude, and the weather became colder and colder. We passed lots of ice & snow patches. After about 200 miles it began to rain. We had been through numerous road construction places, each several miles long. Tom’s driving skills were superb through these spots, which were gravel, mud, and potholes. We crossed the border around 1:00 Pacific Time, which was 12:00 noon Alaska time. We decided to stop at the next town, which was Tok, about 100 miles from the border. We arrived in Tok around 2:30 and got a motel room. It really felt good to warm up. We stocked up on some groceries, had snacks for supper. Tomorrow our goal is Fairbanks. We traveled 300 miles today. Fairbanks is 200 miles from Tok.

 

6/11/02 - Left Tok this morning at 9:00 AM Alaska time. It was misting rain and the temperature was in the low to mid 50’s. It didn’t feel too cold, then. However as the morning progressed, we got into heavier rain. We got as far as North Pole, about 12 miles south of Fairbanks and stopped for the day. We’re in a motel enjoying Cable TV. The weather forecast is more rain for the next few days. We may be here for awhile. We want to go to Denali, but want to wait until the weather clears. We traveled 200 miles today.

 

 

6/12/02 - Last night we decided to look in the phonebook for Dick, a friend of ours from Tallahassee who lives in the Fairbanks area. I found two listings, and took a chance on the first call. Sure enough, it turned out to be our friend, and he lives here in North Pole. He drove over and took us around to see some points of interest. Today Tom took the bike to the BMW dealer to have it serviced and to get a new back tire. While he was there two guys rode in on BMW’s. They had just gotten back from Prudhoe Bay. They said the road was in pretty good shape. Tom is going to ride there tomorrow morning and come back the following day. I’m going to remain here at the motel. He wants to make a fast trip and he can go faster and easier without me on the back. It will be a 1000 mile roundtrip.

We went to a cookout tonight at Dick’s house. He has invited us to spend a few days with him on his boat, which is located in Valdez. We are planning on doing that when Tom gets back from Prudhoe Bay.

 

6/13/02 - Tom left for Prudhoe Bay at 6:00 AM. He arrived at his destination about 8:30 PM. He drove through some rain, and said the last half of the trip was really brutal. I will post more details when he gets back.

The weather here in North Pole was sunny & windy today. I went for a long walk this afternoon. This area has a lot of spruce trees. However, due to the perma frost, they do not grow very tall. A lot of them have been infested with beetles. There are a lot of poplar, aspen and birch trees so the hills & mountains are very green. All around Fairbanks there is evidence of gold dredging from days gone by. From the early 1900’s until the 1960’s there were large machines used to dredge the area for gold. The aftermath of this dredging was never cleaned up or leveled out, so there are large areas of these dredge tailings, which are large furrows about 4 or 5 ft high made up of rock. Some of them are covered with small bushes, so you don’t see the rough terrain until you’re close enough to walk by it. Alaska is really a young man’s land. It is for people who have the energy to “conquer” the land and deal with the harsh winters. It can get as high as 40 to 60 below zero in the winter. Tucked in among the trees are many partly finished homes with the yards full of junk autos or pick-up trucks, which are used to scavenge parts. Until recent years when transportation got better, it was very hard to get parts in here. Some of these homes have residents and some have been abandoned. Many people stayed after the pipeline project in the 70’s, but there is really no industry here to create good jobs.

There are a lot of creeks around Fairbanks, many of them sloughs that were created by the dredging. There are moose in the area, and I’ve been told it is not unusual to see them in the yards. I’ve not seen any yet. Many people have gardens. Radishes, cabbages, rhubarb, and potatoes grow well because of the many hours of daylight. Most of the gardens are just starting to sprout now, but will probably be producing before the end of the month. A cabbage head will grow large enough to fill up a wheelbarrow because of the amount of sunlight. The woods are full of beautiful wild pink single-pedaled roses.

Fairbanks is the home of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). There is an airport here as well as Home Depot, Office Depot, Denny’s, McDonalds, Radio Shack, and a Fred Meyer Department Store. Of course there is Fedex and UPS. I’ve seen a few horses and even some beef cattle. There is very little farming because of the perma frost and rocky soil.

 

6/14/02 - Happy Birthday to John.  Hope you had a good one.

Tom called from Prudhoe Bay this morning and said it would be very late when he got in.  He spent the night there at the only motel and was waiting until 10:30 AM for the store to open so he could get a few souvenirs.  I walked into the town of North Pole and got a few groceries.  At 8:30 Tom called from Coldfoot.  He had been through the hardest part of the journey and had 250 more miles to go.  He said it would probably be 1:30 AM or after before he got in.

 

6/15/02 - Tom arrived muddy and exhausted at 2:30 AM.  He said the trip was probably one of the most challenging he’s ever done.  Click here to read his narrative of the trip.

We woke up around 7:30, packed, and checked out of the motel.  Today was probably the clearest and sunniest day we’ve had since we’ve been in Alaska.  We drove into the town of North Pole, had breakfast and then went to a coin-operated car wash.  Tom washed the motorcycle.  It was covered with mud & dirt from his Prudhoe Bay adventure.  We left around 12:30 PM for Denali National Park on Hwy 3 from Fairbanks.  The drive was very beautiful.  We soon got into mountainous terrain, and in the distance we could see snow capped mountains. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant about 50 miles outside of Fairbanks.

Tom soon got tired, so we pulled over & he took a nap in the grass along the hwy. It was 3:00 when we left there and continued to Denali.  We arrived at the Denali National Park Visitor Center around 4:30.  We bought tickets for a tour leaving at 9:30 AM tomorrow morning.  The tour will take about 6 hrs.  We then went to look for a campground.  All of the campgrounds for tent campers were full in the park so we drove back to Healy and found a space.  The temperature was around 65 today, and there was very little breeze.  In the sun it felt quite hot.  We went to bed around 7:30, and of course it was still daylight.

 

6/16 -Mt. McKinley from Denali Park

 

6/16 -Wild roses in Alaska

 

6/16 -Mt. McKinley

 

6/16-Mountaint at Midnight on Glenellen Hwy

 

6/16 -Tom at Trapper Cabin where we spent night

 

 

6/16/02 - We got up around 7:30.  We packed & repacked the trailer and headed for Denali.  We took the 9:30 bus into the park.  It was absolutely the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen.  The road into the park is paved to mile 15, then it is gravel.  It is carved right into the rock of the mountainsides.  Much of the time we were looking straight down the side of a cliff, as we rounded curves on the mountains.  There are no guard rails, just sheer rock walls.  As we traveled in, we saw Mt. McKinley.  Today was one of the rare days when there were no clouds.  The sky was so blue, we were able to see  Mt. Mckinley in all its glory.  Usually the mountain is surrounded by clouds or fog, and it is impossible to see the top of it.  However, today was a welcome rare exception.  We were so blessed.  The mountain was 70 miles away and towered above everything else in the park.  We will post some pictures. 

Our wildlife sightings consisted of several  caribou, a grizzly bear and her cub, a fox, a moose cow and her calf, and dal sheep.  As we were approaching the place where we were going to stop & picnic for lunch, we could see where wolves had killed one of the dal sheep lambs and drug it across the road.  It had probably happened early in the morning.  We did not see any wolves, however.  The tour lasted until about 3:00.  From there, we left the park and headed south on Hwy 3.  The scenery was some of the most beautiful we’ve witnessed so far.  This is what Alaska is all about.  A great deal of the way we could see Mt. McKinley in the distance.  The sun was shining on it at a different angle, and the view was mesmerizing.  We stopped at a restaurant overlooking the mountain and had supper, then continued our journey.  We took Hwy. 3 to within about 40 miles of Anchorage, then headed east on the Glenn Hwy.  We finally stopped about 150 miles short of Valdez for the night. It was 1:30 AM, when we stopped.  It was very hard to find a motel that was open.  We finally stopped at a store that was open all night on this remote road.  The owner had a cabin with no electricity, but a heater, which he rented to us.  It has two bunk beds and an outhouse bathroom.  The doorway is only 4 ft. high.  It’s an old trapper’s cabin.  Will post pictures.  In the morning we will continue on to Valdez.

6/17 -Worthington Glacier on Rd to Valdez

 

6/17 -Thompson Pass on Rd to Valdez

 

6/17 -Bridal Viel Falls on Rd to Valdez

 

 

6/17/02 - Today we both woke up around 6:30AM.  We had coffee at the store and bought some souvenirs.  Chris, the owner and his wife have a very nice selection of local arts & crafts.  Chris told us some really interesting grizzly stories.  He showed us a picture of one he had to kill that had broken down the kitchen door of his house and come into his kitchen.  It was one hair-raising story.  We left there around 10:30 AM.  The going was slow because Tom was really tired.  We had to stop a few times and rest because he was getting sleepy.  He did not really have time to rest from the trip to Prudhoe Bay.  We took the Glenn Hwy to Glennallen, then the Richardson Hwy to Valdez.  The Richardson Hwy. wound through the St. Elias Mountains.  Everytime we rounded a curve, the scenery awaiting was more and more spectacular.  We will post pictures as soon as we can.  We arrived at Valdez, a beautiful village nestled among the mountains in Prince William Sound.  We found Dick and his boat, the Chinadoll.  After stocking up on some groceries, we retired for the night at 9:30 PM, looking forward to leaving in the morning.

6/18 -Ice burg from Columbia Glacier

 

6/18-Tom pulling in the big one

 

6/18 -Oyster Farm at Eaglet Bay

 

6/18 -Susie with skiff full of oysters

 

6/18 -Susie with one of her big oysters

 

 

6/18/02 - We slept until 9:30 AM.  Tom & Dick got some bait while I went to an internet café to check my email.  We left port at 10:30 AM.  We rode for over 7 hours.  Along the way we saw some sea otters.  These little guys are the cutest animals I’ve seen.  They look like little bears swimming on their backs, bobbing up and down in the water. Soon we came to Glacier Bay, where the ice flows off the Columbia Glacier.  This is such a neat sight.  There are chunks of ice, all sizes and shapes.  Some of the ice is as big as a boat.  As the water erodes away on the icebergs, they form beautiful shapes.  There is blue ice, white ice, and black ice.  We picked up some clear ice from the water to use for our ice chests for the fish and bait.  After a time, we stopped near a rocky shore and Tom & Dick quickly caught some rock fish - enough for supper.  We were near an oyster farm, so we docked just a little ways from it.  Suzzie and her husband own the oyster farm, and she came out to the boat in her skiff to take our order.  Tom went back with her to get the oysters.  They came back with 50 oysters, and we had raw oysters and beer.  They are the best raw oysters I’ve had.  The waters are clean up here, and they don’t have to worry about pollution.

Now this couple lives in almost total isolation.  The only way they can go to town is by boat.  They’ve lived here for 12 years.  They only go to town about 4 times a year.  They live on a house boat on Alaska State Forest land.  Their only contact with the outside is through their cell phone and marine VHF radio.  They work really hard attending to the oyster cages.  She is looking forward to developing a website within a few months as soon as she can get internet access.  Search out their site and order some oysters.  She ships them all over the country by Fedex.  The name of their company is Pristine Products.  You won’t be disappointed.   Suzie has developed a relationship with a cruse ship company.  They pull up into this area twice a week and she goes aboard and tells the passengers about the oyster farm.  The oysters are only worked during the summer months.  During the winter it sometimes ices over and they cannot get to them.  They really don’t need to until the warmer months. 

She has some really interesting stories.   She has had an encounter with a bear and a wolverine.  We’re trying to encourage her to write a book about living in the wilderness.  Suzzie stayed for supper and we retired at 11:00.  It was still daylight, of course.  We are approaching the summer solstice.  The longest day of the year.  

 

6/19/02 - Today when we awoke, the weather was cold, overcast, and misting rain.  The seas were choppy with some swells.  We pulled out of Eaglet Bay and encountered some really rough seas.  We traveled for several hours.  Just about the time I thought I would not be getting seasick, I started to feel a little sick, so Is slept awhile.  By the time I awoke, the seas had calmed down and I got up. We pulled into Galino Bay, a beautiful place with snowcapped mountains, some green meadows along the shoreline, a waterfall or two in the distance, and lots of sheer rugged beauty.  Tom & Dick caught some fish for supper, and we had baked rock fish and a salad.  Something happened to our fresh waterline yesterday, so we have not been able to shower.  We’re having to melt ice for coffee and drinking water.  The weather is getting more and more foggy, so we are anchored & spending the night here at Galeno Bay.  We saw some more sea otters today.  Also saw a whale in the distance.

 

6/20 -View leaving Gelena Bay

 

6/20 -Dick shucking oysters on Chinadoll

 

6/20 -Chinadoll

 

 

 

6/20/02 - Today we awoke to clear beautiful skies and the water was like glass.  We pulled anchor at 8:00 AM and headed for Valdez.  The scenery was absolutely spectacular.  When we got to Valdez, we prepared to leave tomorrow.  Washed the bike, caught up on the laundry, and bought some souvenirs.  Valdez is one of the most beautiful places in Alaska, and we’ll miss it.  Dick has been a very gracious host and we will miss him.  He has really enriched our Alaska experience.

One thing I forgot to mention is that the first day we were out on the boat we heard a distress call that the “Diane Jean” had hit a rock and was taking on water.  All afternoon we listened as the Coast Guard talked back & forth with the Diane Jean.  Finally a nearby boat rescued the people onboard, and arrangements were made to salvage the boat.  It went aground and did not sink.  The Coast Guard was concerned about the diesel fuel leaking out, but that did not happen.

6/21 -Art & Art

 

6/21-Chicken AK

 

6/21-Outhouse at Chicken AK

 

6/21 -Old cabin at Chicken AK

 

6/21-Ferry crossing Yukon at Dawson City

 

6/21 -View from ferry

 

6/21-Dawson City

 

 

 

 

6/21/02 - We awoke to a beautiful cool morning.  I went to the internet café & uploaded information to the website while Tom loaded the bike.  We had coffee with Dick, said our goodbyes and left around 9:40 AM headed for Tok.  As we climbed, the air got colder and colder.  The sun was shining, however, and that made the cold easier to deal with.  The scenery was so beautiful.  We traveled among the snowcapped mountains for many miles.  We could see glaciers on many of the mountains.  The wildflowers were also blooming profusely and this added to the beauty.  At Glenallen we got on another hwy and headed for Tok.  We had been on there for a few miles when we saw two bikers from Ohio.  They were riding Hondas.  We waved, passed them, and about 50 miles later pulled into a gas station at Tok.  They stopped a few minutes behind us, and we visited.  They told us about a nice campground just outside Tok.  We ended up pitching our tents on the same tent site and having a great visit.  They are a father and son travel team, both named Art.  We all went into Tok for a Salmon Bake, which was absolutely delicious.  Later we shared stories around a campfire.  They had been on the road since June 4 and were headed back home.  We have met so many nice people on this trip and hopefully we’ll be able to email and stay in touch after we get back home.  Tomorrow we will head for Dawson City on the “top of the world” hwy.

 

6/22/02 - We awoke to a cool, but sunny morning.  After exchanging email information and taking pictures, we parted company with Art and Art and headed for Dawson City.  What a beautiful drive.  It seems that each day we travel the scenery just gets better and better.  The road was mostly gravel and hard packed dirt.  We wound steadily to a high altitude, and then we were almost literally up on top of the world.  We were above the tree line and could see the snowcapped Brooks range in the distance.  The gravel road had no guardrails, and we could see ahead and behind us for miles and miles.  As we looked across the panoramic vista, we had to marvel at all Alaska has to offer.  There is so much wilderness and beauty.  This hwy should be an absolute MUST for anyone traveling to Alaska.  Sixty miles into our trip we came to the small town of Chicken, population 11 during the winter and about 50 during the summer.  We had a delicious breakfast and started on our way again.  About 40 miles further, we came to Boundary, a small stop with great coffee, a saloon and gift shop.  We got gas and coffee and continued on to the border.  After crossing the border, the hwy was paved most of the way to Dawson City.  At Dawson City we crossed the Yukon River on a ferry and then parked, went to a saloon and drank a “Yukon Gold” beer.  It tasted great.  By this time the weather must have been nearly 80, so we had to shed some of our riding clothes to get more comfy before we left.  Dawson City is a must to see also.  It’s an old fashioned gold mining town with dirt streets and buildings just like it was back in the gold rush days. 

After leaving Dawson City, we continued on.  The hwy was paved and we were able to cruise along about 70 mph.  We stopped for the night at Stewart Crossing at a campground.  The campsite, supper, and hot showers are very nice.  All three came in at about $25.00 total - which is the price for a KOA campsite alone back in the lower 48.  Tomorrow we will continue south, with the goal being Whitehorse.  It’s about 180 miles from here.

 

6/23/02 - When making a journey like this the scenery is just one of the joys.  Others are the stories you hear and the people you meet.  Each person is living a story.  Last night we heard a vehicle drive up beside our tent and then we heard someone erecting a tent.  When we got up this morning there was no vehicle, only a tent.  As we were decamping the man in the tent came out, and that’s how we met Ivan.  What a story he had.  As we exchanged our good mornings and he talked, I could detect a foreign accent, but couldn’t quite place it.  He’s a gold prospector from Dawson City and had come down the Yukon River on his boat, a 16 ft boat with a 65 HP engine.  The engine quit and he had to walk 25 miles out of the woods & catch a ride to Stewart Crossing, the nearest town.  He gave us quite an education on gold mining.  That’s how he makes his living in the summer months.  In the winter he practices his trade as a mason.  As a boy in Croatia he read many books about prospecting for gold in Canada.  When he grew up he knew that’s what he wanted to do so he immigrated there and is now living his dream.  He still goes to Europe every year to visit his mother and sisters.

After a leisurely breakfast we left Stewart Crossing and headed for Whitehorse.  The scenery was made up of lots of forests and tree-covered mountains, streams and creeks.  The Yukon River meanders close to the highway at times, and provided some spectacular views.   About 50 miles before reaching Whitehorse we hit a big rock in the middle of the road and damaged a front tire.  We had to go considerably slower the rest of the way.  At Whitehorse we had supper at a restaurant and camped at McKenzie RV Park.  Tomorrow we will see about getting a new tire.

6/24 -Big horn sheep

 

 

6/24/02 - We awoke to sprinkles of rain and a cool windy day.  After a short time we found the Honda shop and luckily they had a tire.  Tom took the wheel off the motorcycle and the Honda people mounted the tire.  While they were doing that we had breakfast and did some shopping at an outfitter store.  We bought a larger tent and some dry bags to hold our tent and sleeping bags to keep them from getting wet on the back of the bike.  As we accumulate more gifts, etc., the cargo trailer gets smaller and smaller, so we’re back to putting stuff on the back of the motorcycle.  This way, everything we put on the motorcycle will stay dry.  We left Whitehorse around noon and headed east on the Alcan Hwy.  The scenery was very beautiful.  Snowcapped mountains, tall spruce and birch and aspen trees dominated the landscape.  We had lunch about 3:00 PM at Dawson Peaks RV Park and Restaurant.  We had eaten there when passwing through a couple of weeks ago, and the food was so good, we wanted to stop again.  The restaurant was closed because a group of people had booked it for the day for a meeting.  However, the owner was so nice, he had us come into his gift shop and served us the best chili and homemade bread we’ve ever had with rhubarb pie & coffee for dessert.  What a treat!  We finished buying gifts & souvenirs for home, repacked the trailer, and continued on.  About 5:30 we came to Hwy 37, the Cassier Hwy to Prince George because it will save us about 130 miles as opposed to the Alcan Hwy.  It’s traveled very little and is about 80% rough pavement and 20% loose gravel with some construction.  We had heard the scenery would be worth the ride because of the opportunity to see wildlife.  Sure enough, about 20 miles on the road we saw a large red fox trotting across our path with a squirrel in his mouth.  He paused, looked at us, then trotted off.  A few miles further, we rounded a curve & there on the side of the road was a big horn sheep.  We stopped & just watched him.  He was about 50 ft from us.  He just stood there and looked at us.  After while he started walking up the mountain.  We took several pictures.  What a Kodak moment!  We continued on and camped at Moose Lodge RV Park along the Dease River.  Our tentsite is beautiful here.  Where is no electricity and the campstore refrigerator is run on propane.  There were hot showers, however, heated with propane, and the water pump is powered by propane. An outhouse served other needs.  We built a campfire which helped keep the mosquitoes away.  They are really bad, and swarm all around us.  WE drenched ourselves with bug spray.  In the middle of the river is an island with a beaver den.  We watched beavers swimming.  They even came close to the shore on our side of the river.  They would swim, then slap their tails against the water and dive under, then come up somewhere else.  Then, in the distance, we heard the call of a loon.  The answering call was right in front of us on the river.

This is such a beautiful place, even with the mosquitoes.  We traveled 385 miles today.  We’ll be on this hwy for another 2 days.  Since it’s so remote, the gas stations & campgrounds are few and far between.

6/25-Black bear

6/25/02 - We awoke to a cloudy, foggy, cool day. We left the campground at 9:00 and at 9:08 had our first wildlife siting.  It was a mama moose standing in the middle of the river.  Tom got some video footage of her.  We traveled a few miles and stopped at a town called Dease Lake, population 300.  We had breakfast at a restaurant then continued on our way.  We soon encountered some gravel sections of the road and construction.  The gravel was very challenging, as it had begun to rain.  It took all of Tom’s skill to keep us upright.  While he was busy picking through the loose slick wet gravel, I was on bear watch.  The rain got heavier, but the scenery was so beautiful we didn’t mind.  About mid-afternoon we saw our first bear.  He was on the side of the roadbank munching on some grass.  We stopped and watched him for several minutes.  Tom took some video footage of him and we got a picture with the digital camera.  As we continued on, we saw another one.  Both of these bears were black bears.  We stopped for lunch around 5:00.  That’s when we discovered it was about 225 miles further before we would come to lodging.  With the rain coming down, and being so wet, we wanted a motel.  The road branched off to Stewart, a town about 40 miles west.  That branch of the hwy is called 37A, the Glacier Hwy.  We inquired at a visitor center near the restaurant, got the names of some B&B’s and motels.  We called one and made a reservation, then left for Stewart.  We spent the night at Kathy’s Bed & Breakfast, a very nice, warm place.  Stewart and Hyder, Alaska are right together.  We may cross the border back into Alaska in the morning. If the salmon are running, we are told the bears will be out in the river catching them.  Tomorrow we will head back to Hwy 37 and continue on to Prince George.  We’re really anxious to get home.

 

6/26-Glacier along Glacier Hwy near Stewart AK

 

6/26-Tom searching for tools after bike fire

 

6/26-Totem Pole Carvings near Smithers

 

 

 

6/26/02 - We awoke to an overcast day and had a most delicious breakfast.  Most B&B’s have a continental breakfast.  What Kathy had was a huge variety of anything you wanted—sausage, scrambled eggs, homemade bread toast, french toast, fruit cocktale, sliced cheeses, cold meats, and on and on.  If you’re ever in Stewart, BC, I highly recommend you stay at Kathy’s Bed & Breakfast.  She’s a lovely German lady who has been in Canada 37 years and loves what she does.  She is so entertaining to listen to, and has many stories to tell.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. 

We left there and started back out to the junction of 37A and Hwy. 37 to continue heading south.  We passed by some huge glaciers.  Even saw a bear.   We gassed up at the junction.  During that time we met Gregg from Colorado.  Tom had met him on his trip to Prudhoe Bay.  Gregg was going up to Prudhoe as Tom was coming back, so they had quite a bit to talk about.  We talked for awhile, then left.  The weather was starting to clear, but we were in and out of rain sprinkles.  We had one or two bear sightings.  About 50 miles later, we were cruising along about 70 mph when we smelled smoke.  Tom lost power, and we pulled over to stop.  There was an electrical fire on the bike.  Tom blew it out, but things did not look good.  He fiddled with it for awhile, then flagged down a big truck.  A little while later a couple of bikers stopped.  One of them had experienced something similar once and suggested we separate the burned wires & wrap them with electrical tape. 

The trucker gave us some tape, and Tom & one of the bikers started wrapping wires.  After while, they realized there was much more damage than could be done that way.  About that time Gregg pulled up on this bike, and we all discussed our options.  The two bikers continued on their way north, and Gregg, who was heading south like us, stayed.  Finally we decided that Gregg would go to the nearest phone, about 38 miles away, call BMW Road assistance and AAA, then return to let us know what was going on.  After all, we were in bear country, and there is very little traffic on this road.   He left about 4:00.  It began to rain so we pitched the tent to get out of the rain and waited.  Finally 3 hrs later Gregg returned.  He had someone coming to tow us to Smithers, which is 137 miles south.  An hour later the tow truck came.  The driver loaded the bike and trailer on his truck and we left.  It turned out that there were four bears up the road, and they’d been there all afternoon.  They were about ½ mile from where we were stranded.  Aware that there could be bears in the area, we were careful not to get any food out of the trailer during our wait, and we talked loudly so we could discourage any bears from coming around.  Glad we did.

We arrived at Smithers, dropped the bike off at the Harley shop (only motorcycle shop in the area) and got a room at the Aspen Motor Inn next door.  Gregg stayed with us because he is having trouble with his bike and needs to get it checked out before he continues on his trip home to Colorado.  We are so grateful to him for getting help and hanging with us during this adventure.  Tomorrow morning we will get with the mechanic and find out what our delay will be, etc.

 

6/27/02 - Today we hung out around the motel and motorcycle shop.  We had to wait for the mechanic to check out the motorcycle.  We found that it needed a new wiring harness.  BMW is sending one from the US because there is not one available in Canada.  It is being Fedexed, but it will be tomorrow before we know when it will be in.  This afternoon Gregg’s motorcycle was fixed and he left to go to Prince George, about a 5 hr. drive.

 

6/28/02 - Today we found that it will be Tuesday before the parts arrive.  Monday is Canada Day and a holiday.  We hung out, read, walked down town and did some shopping and laundry.  This is a beautiful town.  Will take some pictures tomorrow and post them.

 

6/29/02 - Today the Harley dealer loaned us a Harley touring bike and we went for a ride around town.  We visited a salmon fish hatchery.  This was quite interesting.  There were some tiny fish in the tanks, but none that were ready for release.  From the time they’re hatched from eggs until  they return during the spawning season is about 4 ½ to 5 years. They’re released into the creek at 1 ½ years old and they go out to sea and return up to 3 years later.

There is some very beautiful farm land around this city.  We saw hey fields, angus cattle and horses.  There are a good many horses.  Tomorrow we are moving into a motel next door with lower rates.  

 

6/30/02 - Today we moved into the Florence Motel next door because the rates are better.  We walked around town, did some grocery shopping and just hung out.  We’re beginning to feel like Bill Murray in the movie “Goundhog Day”.

 

 

7/3 -Snowcapped mountain view at Smithers

 

7/3 -Dave working on bike at Smithers

 

 

 

 

 

7/1/02 - 7/2/02 - More of the same.  There is a laundry/shower/vehicle wash business next door.  We see several touring motorcycles pull in there each day on their way through town.  We should be on our way through town, but are still stuck.  The part did not come in today (Tuesday, 7/2).  The latest word is that it will be in on 7/3 at 9:00 AM.  We’ll see.  We expect it to take several hours to install, so it will probably be Thursday, 7/4 before we leave town.  We had fully expected to celebrate the 4th in the lower 48.  Oh well!  C’est la vie.

7/3/02 - The part came in today in the late morning.  Dave, the mechanic worked on it most of the day, but did not finish.  He hopes to finish by tomorrow afternoon.

 

7/4/02 - We awoke to a rainy cold day.  Checked out of the motel and hung out at the motorcycle shop most of the day.  The motorcycle was finally finished around 7:00 PM so we checked back in the motel & will leave early in the AM to continue our journey home.  We’ll miss the nice folks here at Smithers.  If you’re ever in BC, this is a very nice town to visit.  The people are very friendly, the prices are most reasonable, and it is a beautiful town.  We can highly recommend the Harley shop for anyone needing work done on their motorcycle.  Dave is a very capable mechanic.  In fact, one of the customers told us today he is probably the best in BC. We were fortunate he was here to work on ours. Steve, the owner, went out of his way to make sure we had transportation available to us during our stay here.

 

7/5/02 - ON THE ROAD AGAIN!  BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN!  We left Smithers at 7:46 AM, temperature 38 degrees, misting rain, and fresh snowfall on the surrounding mountains.  About 50 miles later we stopped for breakfast to thaw out and get tanked up on hot coffee.  We had to stop about every 50 miles for Tom to warm his hands.  The heated grips on the motorcycle were not working.  However, the heated seats were, so that was the tradeoff.  Other than that, the bike is running fine.  We headed for Prince George and arrived there at 12:00 noon - a 245 mile ride.  We had lunch and then continued east on Hwy 16.  There was some rain in Prince George while we had lunch, but then it started to clear.  It warmed up to about 55 degrees.   We camped at McBride, BC, about 150 miles east of Prince George.  The campground was very beautiful and neat and tidy.  It is located along a  river.  We pulled into the campground and started setting up the tent.  We had to really scramble because the mosquitoes were so thick.  You know how the Off commercials are where the person puts their hand into a place where it is absolutely covered with mosquitoes----well that’s the way it was at this campground.  I had to hurry and exchange my riding helmet for the hat with the mosquito netting.  Any skin that was exposed, we sprayed with deet.  Never have I seen mosquitoes so bad.  Once we got all sprayed, it was okay.  The showers were great.  The grassy area where we put the tent was just beautiful, and the grounds were landscaped beautifully.  There were two men camped across from us who were bicycling across Canada.  They had some interesting stories. 

Today, we saw two deer, a mama bear with 2 cubs, and a moose.  All of these sightings were in close proximity to the side of the highway as we journeyed down the road.   Once we were in the tent, we did not venture out for supper, but settled for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and water.  Tomorrow we head for Jasper National Park.

7/6 -Mt. Robson - Canadian Rockies

 

7/6 -Mt. Terry Fox - Canadian Rockies

 

7/6 -Mt. Robson Park

 

7/6-Canadian Rockies - Rd. to Jasper

 

7/6-Mountain goats - Jasper National Park

 

7/6- Mountain goat Mama with baby

 

7/6-More Mamas & babies

 

7/6-Billy Mountain Goat

 

7/6-Canadian Rockies

 

7/6 -Ice fields - Jasper National Park, AB

 

7/6 -Big Horn Sheep

 

7/6-Ice fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7/6/02 - We decamped and left the campground at 7:15.  Evidently it was too cold for the mosquitoes.  They only started to appear just as we were leaving.  We had breakfast in McBride and then headed for Jasper.  About 60 miles later we came upon a most beautiful park called  Mt. Terry Fox, dedicated to Terry Fox who was a cancer patient and died on June 28, 1981 while trying to raise money for cancer by running all the way across Canada.  He was from BC and had made it half-way across the country when the cancer spread to his lungs and he was hospitalized and died later.  He had lost part of his right leg below the knee to cancer when he was 18.  He was 23 when he died.  He asked each Canadian to give $1 to cancer research.  He raised $24,000,000 (approximate Canadian population at the time) for cancer research.  He ran the equivalent of a marathon each day of his run until he became incapacitated.  What an inspiration!  The park and the mountain in his memory were dedicated in September, 1981.  You can see the picture of Mount Terry Fox in the photo section.  From there on the scenery was so beautiful we could not believe it.  We had to pull off the highway about every two miles to take photos.  Be sure to check out the photo section, because we were really busy.

We saw Mountain goats right along the highway licking the salt and minerals on the ground.  We saw big horn sheep.  In fact we were so close to them we could have touched them.  They just acted like we weren’t there.  And of course we were not the only ones there.  Whenever we saw cars parked along the hwy, we knew there must be sheep or goats.  They did not mind an audience, but just when about their business as if no one was there.  It was quite a show.  The whole day was quite a show.  We saw the most spectacular scenery we’ve seen so far.  Canada’s finest jewels—the Canadian Rockies.  What a treat.  We finished the day with a gourmet meal just outside of Banff National Park at a town called Canmore.  We are camped at a Provincial campground nearby.  No mosquitoes.  We’re surrounded by mountains.  The temperature is in the low 60’s.  It really warmed up today, probably mid to high 70’s.  What a beautiful day.  All the clouds were gone, and that made the scenery even more enjoyable.  Now you have to understand this.  The words and pictures described here do not even come close to the grandeur we beheld today.  Anything we can say is an understatement.  You must see it for yourself.

Tomorrow we head for Calgary.  We’re going to take Hwy 1 and then turn south  go back into the lower 48 somewhere in North Dakota.  We have an appointment in Iowa City on Wednesday with the BMW dealer for the bike’s 12000 mile checkup.

7/7 -Grain fields in AB

 

 

7/7/02 - We awoke to a beautiful sunny day.  We left the campground and headed for Calgary, about 45 miles away.  We had breakfast in Calgary and continued east on Hwy 1.  On the way to Calgary we noticed a gradual change in the terrain.  We had left the beautiful Canadian Rockies behind and entered into hilly grasslands and prairies.  There were vast fields of grain and hey as far as the eye could see.  Later, after leaving Calgary we noticed occasional oil wells, which became more abundant as we approached Medicine Hat.  After while there were hardly any hills, just flat prairie only to be interrupted by an occasional farm bldg.  We started to experience strong crosswinds.  There were times we thought we’d be blown off the road.  The weather had really heated up, so we pulled off, unpacked the trailer & dug out our summer riding gear.  We finally reached Medicine Hat and decided to stay here for the night in a motel.  It would be very hard to put up the tent in the high winds.  Tomorrow we are going to have new tires put on the trailer and then we will continue heading east.  Our goal for tomorrow is get out of Medicine Hat and go as far as we can.

 

 

7/8 -Rape Seed field in Saskatchewan

 

7/8 -Landan Landan & Dustin

 

 

 

 

7/8/02 - We awoke to an overcast cool & windy day.  Rain had passed through during the night.  By 9:00 Mountain time we were on the road with new trailer tires and a hardy breakfast under our belts.  We were in and out of strong cross winds.  The prairie lands were so beautiful.  There were times we went for miles and just saw grasslands with some cattle.  There were other times we saw lots of grain & hay fields.  Some of these fields were so big that you could not see to the end of the field.  These folks measure their farms in sections, not acres. We had lunch at Herbert, a town west of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  We had gone only a few miles after lunch when Tom got sleepy, and we pulled over for a power nap on a dirt road just off the highway.  A truck ran out of propane and stopped nearby, so we went to the next town and arranged for it to be towed.  We passed through Moose Jaw and then took Hwy 39 which goes to the US Border.   Around 5:00 CT we stopped at Milestone, a small town in Saskatchewan.  There we met Dustin, Landan and Landan, ages 9, 11, & 11.  They were full of questions about our trip and our bike. When they asked if they could touch the bike, Tom held it so they could sit on it. They reminded me of my sons when they were that age.  A special note to their mothers—you have some very fine boys. They were a joy to visit with.  We took their pictures and told them to look at themselves on this website. 

We continued on and stopped for dinner in Weyburn.  Somewhere along the way we were talking about what a resource this prairie wind is.  There should be windfarms all over the place.  They could pump the oil out of the ground, continue to farm the land, and take advantage of the wind above the ground.   It seems like there is enough wind to power the whole country.   Just then we noticed a small windfarm in the distance.

A few miles before we crossed the border, we came to large coal mining operations.  The land is being excavated by huge machines, which dredge up the coal. 

WE CROSSED THE BORDER INTO THE USA AT 9:40 PM CENTRAL TIME.  The Customs officer told us there was a rainstorm headed this way so we got a motel at Portal, ND, the town where we had crossed the border.  Tom changed our BMW appointment to Friday, so our goal tomorrow is to go as far as we can, weather permitting.

7/9 -Tom napping in the grass

 

 

7/9/02 - We left the motel around 9:30, had breakfast in Portal at a café next to the motel, and then headed out of there.  The weather was overcast and sprinkling rain until noon.  We stopped for lunch & gas at Minot & took I94 headed for Bismark and Fargo beyond that.  We were in and out of rain most of the afternoon, but since the air was warm, it was not uncomfortable.  The scenery is very green.  Lots of fields of grain, some cattle and buffalo, and many more trees than we saw on the prairies of Canada.  There are elm and poplar trees planted as windbreaks to many of the fields, so it is quite beautiful to look out over the horizon.  Sometimes the land is flat and sometimes gently rolling hills.  There are lots of small lakes.  We stopped at the Lewis and Clark museum where they wintered on their expedition in 1803.  About 50 miles outside of Fargo we stopped for gas.  It was raining again, and Tom found out there were some very bad storms headed into the state from the southwest with life threatening lightening.  We had intended to camp, but then we decided we’d get a motel on the other side of Fargo.  It was about 8:00 when we got to Fargo, and we took I29 south from there, intending to get a motel just outside of Fargo.  There weren’t any.  We rode and rode.  We could see the storm coming in the distance, and the lightening far off on the horizon.  That’s when the adventure began. That storm was moving fast and so were we. 

There was not a service station or motel anywhere.  Finally we came to the Dakota Magic Casino & Hotel out in the middle of nowhere.  The rain was a deluge by that time, and the lightening was dancing all around us.  It was quite an adventure.  Thankfully they had a room available, and at a very reasonable rate. We checked in, had a hot shower, and ate at their buffet. We traveled 489 miles today.

Our goal for tomorrow is to get to Sioux City Iowa or beyond.  The bike appointment is Friday at 9:00 AM in Iowa City.

7/10 -Terry Redlin Art Center

 

 

 

7/10/02 - We left the hotel at 10:30 and headed south on I29.  The weather was windy, overcast, and cool.  We immediately crossed the border into South Dakota.  That’s when we saw the first of many cornfields we would see during the day. About 45 minutes later we came to the small town of Sisselton where we had breakfast.  Sisselton is part of the North/South continental divide.  It is located on the highest elevation from Whinnepeg to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Rockies to the Apalachian Mountains.  It’s a very neat & tidy town with large trees, well manicured yards and beautiful older homes.  There are 13 churches in the town.  It’s about the size of Monticello. From there, we continued on and about noon came to the town of Waterton, SD, and there was a sign that said “ Terry Redlin Art Center”.  We couldn’t pass that up.  We drove in and spent over 2 ½ hours there.

It is a very huge brick building designed by Terry Redlin’s son, Charles Redlin, and houses the Redlin original art, as well as his other artwork. There were over 139 of his original paintings on display.  They were absolutely mesmerizing.  His prints don’t do them justice.  The originals look like 3-D.  I could have spent 21/2 days there instead of just hours.  What a treat!  His latest artwork was on display also and has a different look from what he did in the 80’s and early to mid 90’s.  Of course we visited the gift shop in the building, and while we were there we met a lovely couple from Michigan, Terry and Diane, who are also bikers.  We must have talked with them for 20 minutes about bike riding, etc.  After leaving there we went on.  It was 2:30 and we had only gone 88 miles.  The weather had become warmer and the sun was shining when we came out of the Redlin Art Center so that made travelling much nicer.  We stopped again about 5:00 at a Wendy’s at Sioux Falls. 

That’s where we met Paul who is a biker also, and a woodcraftsman.  He makes furniture and pipe organs.  We had a very enjoyable visit with him and hated to leave, but had to be on our way.  We finally came to Sioux City and just north of Council Bluffs, we headed east on I80.  The further south we got today, the more mature the corn looked.  By the time we got to Iowa, the cornfields were in tassel.  We could smell the corn as we drove by.  It’s so beautiful.  In fact, all of the farmland we drove through today was very scenic. The wind we encountered today was 29 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. It was buffeting against us most of the day.  Finally after about 6:00 it seemed to die down which made the ride much more comfortable.  We stopped for the night at Shelby, Iowa.  We are about 230 miles from Iowa City where we will get the bike serviced on Friday morning.  Tomorrow we will go there in the morning and rest the remainder of the day, plus do any sightseeing we can in the area.

 

7/11/02 - After a late start we finally got away this AM around 11:15.  It had rained last night and the weather was overcast, foggy,  & cool  with light rain.  We saw a lot more farm land today.  Most of the fields were corn and soybeans.  There are many more trees in Iowa.  We noticed that many of the hilly fields had been terraced to prevent erosion.  There are many beautiful farms.  We also noticed that there was a lot more truck traffic on the road.  Part of that could be because the interstate we were on today was east/west instead of north/south like yesterday.  We arrived at Iowa City and got a motel because showers and thunderstorms are forecast for tonight.  Tomorrow we will take the motorcycle for the checkup and then head for Pekin, IL to visit with Tom’s Uncle Ted and Aunt Sandy.

 

7/12/02 -  We spent most of  the day at the BMW shop while our bike was being serviced.  We finally left there around 2:30 and headed for Illinois.  The weather was sunny and very pleasant.  We crossed the Illinois line into beautiful farmland.  The corn was as high as an elephant’s eye, dark green and in tassel.  There were large fields of green beans, soy beans, and corn.  We left the interstate and headed for Ted & Sandy’s.  The drive was so lovely.  We went through several small farm towns, each with a “Casey’s” general store on the corner, and each with beautiful homes with neatly manicured yards and bright blooming petunias and other flowers.  We noticed that the grass along the highway was mowed right up to the fields.  These folks take a lot of pride in the appearance of their property.  We arrived in Havana and called Ted and he came & escorted us to their home. Sandy had prepared a delicious meal and we had a very nice visit with them and also with Cousin Teddy.  Tomorrow we will do some sightseeing and go to a family reunion.

 

7/13/02 - After a delicious breakfast and a visit with Cousin Harmon and Teddy, we went sightseeing in Pekin and called on Fred and Phyllis.  We rode around the town for awhile and later went to Dick & Brenda’s for the family reunion.  This was the first time I had met all of the cousins and their families.  We had such a good time.  It was really nice to meet all of the family.  I could finally put a face with the names I’d heard all these years. We left there and went back to Ted & Sandy’s to get ready to leave again in the morning.  Our goal tomorrow is to get to Ohio.

 

7/14/02 - We had such a nice visit with Ted & Sandy this morning.   We really felt so sad when we had to leave.  We’re looking forward to seeing them when they come to Florida in October.  We left there shortly before noon.  The weather was sunny and warm.  We traveled the rest of the day through the same type of beautiful farmland.  We camped at a KOA in Richmond, IN.  Tomorrow our goal is Ohio.  We are just a few miles from the state line.

7/15 -Old Home place near Wooster, OH

 

7/15 -Old Home Place Farm Buildings

 

7/15 -Barn

 

7/15 -House & garage

 

7/15-House

 

7/15 -Front Yard

 

7/15 -Ellen & Johnny's new home

 

7/15-Farm view from new home

7/15/02 - We got an early start, adjusted our clocks for the time zone and headed for Wooster, Ohio.  We took I70 to I71 and then got on HWY 30 near Mansfield and headed for Wooster.  I had wanted to get off Hwy 30 before we got to Wooster, but missed the exits.  We then headed for the old home place.  All of the buildings were still there.  It looked more grown-up than it did 25 years ago when I last saw it.  We took pictures.  The yard  looked much smaller than I remembered.  The driveway also did not seem as long.  We stopped at a neighbor’s house and then went to see Becky.  Had a brief visit with her and then stopped to see Sonnie & Terry in New Pittsburg.  After that we headed for Columbus.  It was 5:00 and we needed to be in Mt. Sterling by 7:00.  The day was nearly gone.  Thankfully we missed the rush traffic as we got around Columbus.  We arrived at Ellen’s close to 7:00.  They have a new home with a ¾ mi gravel driveway.  There were times I thought we might dump the bike on it, but we managed to stay up. We had a great visit with Ellen & Johnny, Joe and Annalee, Jane, Aunt Mae, and Cassandra.  It was so good to see them again.  Tomorrow we want to see Johnny’s farming operation, then we will leave for Atlanta.

 

7/16/02 - After the grand farm tour and lunch at Deer Creek Lodge, we left Ellen & Johnny’s in the early afternoon.  We had such a nice visit, and once again we were sad to leave.  We hope to see them when they come to Florida and maybe do some bike traveling with them.  The weather was hot, but as long as we stayed moving, we were comfortable.  We traveled until 10:30 and stopped at a motel in Sweetwater, TN.  We plan to leave early in the morning to go to Atlanta and try out that BMW LT touring bike.  It was really pleasant coming through the mountains.

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7/17/02 – We arrived at the BMW dealer at 9:00.  While the GS was being serviced, we test rode the BMW LT.  It was a terrific ride.  We left Atlanta at 2:30 and arrived home around 7:45 PM.  We had logged in 15,438 miles of seat time.  It was the adventure of a lifetime. 

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