Motorcycle Trip :: July 26th to July 30th
July 26th travel from Anchorage AK to Tok AK Weather is beautiful with brilliant sunshine with temps ranging from low 50’s to mid-70. Hard to describe the scenic beauty of this days run but in short this is way folks come to Alaska. The views are a never ending array of huge mountains, rivers, valley’s, glaciers and vista’s that seem to go on forever.
You really have to see it for yourself to believe. Arrive late afternoon in Tok and stay at campy motel that has a pretty good restaurant and basic needs and like most places no a/c.
Days mileage= 328
Day 21 Thursday 26 319mis/4,597total. Anchorage to Tok, AK. Sunny, clear
perfect day. Took Glenn Hwy to Tok. spectacular scenery, huge glaciers,
16,000 plus mountains (Wrangel Range) Mt Blackburn biggest, very impressive
from distance. Lots of four wheeler hunters but did not see any animals.
Left Anchorage around 10 got in around 5:30 pm. David says ” the motel we
stayed at had a huge grizzly mounted in the dining room standing straight
up, it was the biggest bear I had ever seen.”
July 27th Destruction Hwy from Tok AK to Haines Junction Yukon Territory- This is the only road we had to retrace on the trip and unfortunately the roughest. When you look on the map the Yukon Territory is a huge place but only has a population of 35000 people with most living in Whitehorse. The highway is appropriately named Destruction Hwy with huge potholes, whoop-de-do’s, freshly repaired sections and construction zones which can go on for 10 miles at a time. Traffic in these sections only moves in one direction at a time behind an escort vehicle so it’s not uncommon to wait 15 minutes or more for traffic to clear in opposite direction. Typically they let motorcycles to the front of the line due to heavy dust conditions that develop. All these conditions make it very challenging on a motorcycle especially a big Harley with a lot of gear. In my case I was carrying all my stuff and a big chunk of John’s. So this 300 mile section is mentally and physically tiring because at no point can you let your guard down. We were in an out of rain showers most of the day which complicates things. Haines Junctions like all these little towns is very small with little more than gas, a few places to eat and a couple of motels. We got lucky and stay at a place call The Raven which was very European and good German dinner. Because we were in Yukon we had no cell phone service for smart phones. Motel did have limited wi-fi so we could email.
Days mileage 292
Day 22 Friday July 27 – 297mis/4,894total – Tok, AK to Haines Junction,
Yukon Terr. Canada. Back across border to Yukon. Alaska Highway, Bad road
and more road construction than on our way up. Weather was sunny and cool
except last 30 miles. Stopped and suited up in a rest area. Came in in cold
and rain. Stayed at The Raven, small very nice motel owned by couple that
grew up in area both their kids were away in college. Watched Olympic
Opening ceremony on TV and fell asleep. Met two guys on BMWS that we had
been leapfrogging since Anchorage. From Toronto, going on our ferry and
getting off at Juneau. David says “there were tons of fake Ravens in the
hotel. Wood ones, plastic one, blowup ones, paintings.”
July 28th Haines Junction Yukon Territory to Haines AK Had 10 mile section of construction coming right out of Haines Junction but after that road conditions are very good to Haines. First half of trip is nice but on the cool side about low 50’s with a strong headwind effecting fuel economy by about 20%. Last half is cold with some showers with great scenery. One section at the highest elevation looked and felt like Scotland Mountains in the winter. Haines is hosting the Southeast Alaskan Country Fair which we’ll check out tomorrow. Travel distance to-date is all riding across the USA and back.
Days mileage= 148
Day 23 Saturday July 28- 148+18local 156mis/5,060total – Haines Junction,
Yukon to Haines, AK. Cool and sunny. Beautiful ride, great mountains,
glaciers, no one on road. Hit clouds and rain at top of pass but not bad,
just great scenery. Kind of sad, it was our last day of big riding in
Alaska. Crossed back into USA 40 miles from town, was told David’s consent
form should have been notorized We will be staying in Haines until Monday
night when we board the ferry to Bellingham, WA. Kind of a cool town in the
middle of nowhere with one road in that goes thru Canada (the one we took).
Kenny thought the mountains looked like Scotland, and I thought it looked
like the mountains on the ring of Dingle, Ireland. Ate at the lighthouse
resturant overlooking the harbor. Great halibut,,,again. Tonight we walked
over to the IGA supermarket, it was like going back to the 50’s. David
says ” we were going along and I saw a large grizzly bear right by the side
of the road. We decided not to go back so no picture and they didn’t see
it. Too bad. I had the chowder for lunch it was awesome”. The state fair
is in this town so we will go check that out. There is a 40 minute ferry to
Skagway, but on weekends it only runs once each way so we would have to stay
there until Sunday.
July 29th Haines AK is an off Day.
July 30th Depart Haines on Alaskan Marine Highway via Columbia Ferry from Haines to following Alaskan towns Skagway, back to Haines, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg, Wrangell, Ketchikan and ending in Bellingham WA.
We were looking forward to getting on the ferry but weren’t happy about having to wait till 8:45pm especially since we knew Haines inside-out. Plus with a 60% chance of rain and temperatures in mid-50’s the day didn’t look promising. So at noon time we went down to ferry terminal to see if we had any options. Our boat the Columbia was already in and loading to go to Skagway then returning to Haines before departing on the big journey. The guy at the check-in counter worked with us and for 75 dollars we were able to take bikes and ourselves to Skagway and return to Haines. On trip up we loaded our bikes in a temporary location an once we got to Skagway we moved our bikes to first in line so when we reached Bellingham we would be first off.
Skagway turns out to be a kool town similar to Main Street in Disney World. Have a terrific Italian lunch take a bunch of pictures because the weather holds out. Best 75 dollars spent on the trip because when we return to Haines we don’t even have to get off boat but go right to Pursuers office and get our rooms.
Timeline for trip is to depart Haines AK @ 8:45pm on Monday July 30th and arrive 8:00am Friday August 3rd. Unfortunately both Tuesday and Wednesday morning are overcast with rain showers. The Columbia is over 400 feet long and just big enough so you don’t go cabin crazy. My cabin is comfortable and pretty nice. No television and only intermittent phone and internet service is available. This turns out to be a plus because I take the opportunity to read Stieg Larssoons “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” which is a fabulous book and I look forward to reading the two other books in the series that he wrote prior to his death. Ship is like a mini city with a wide range of travelers. First thing that happens is the campers lay claim to their real estate where in designated areas outside they can pitch a tent.
Another area outside on the ship is the solarium with about 75 plastic lounge chairs with are prized by what I call the “occupy wall street crowd”. While this area is outside it does have a roof with electric heater hanging from the ceiling. Additionally you might find wanderers throughout the boat sleeping anywhere it might be somewhat comfortable. Keep in mind for much of the journey it’s mid-40’s to mid-50’s with wind and rain. Pretty scruffy wild bunch of folks out there enjoying the good life on the deck of the ship, I actually think the like all the nasty weather.
Wednesday we have 5 hour layover in Ketchikan AK with the weather trying to clear we head out to see the town and have lunch. Based on the amount of rain they receive per year this area is considered a rainforest, so we’re fortunate to catch a pretty good day. Ketchikan is an island but a major seaport for the area. Commerce includes airport, ferry terminal, cruise ship terminal, hospital, cannery and lot of other miscellaneous business. Additionally it’s a hub to transport people to remote fishing camps so sea planes are constantly coming and going. Leaving port weather remains nice and we enjoy dinner with an ever changing view. Speaking of dinner the Columbia has a cafeteria and fine dining restaurant which is excellent with prices cheaper than anything we’ve seen in weeks.
Thursday morning is sun and nice with temps in lower 60 degree region. See a number of whales spouting but no jumping into the air stuff. Starting to get antsy finished my book and looking forward to getting on the bike and finish off this trip and meeting up with my honey in Las Vegas!!!