One of my jobs here at K and G Cycles is to find interesting content to share with all of our motorcycle enthusiast friends. I recently asked our Facebook friends if there was anybody planning an extended, interesting trip this riding season who would like to have it shared via K and G Cycles Facebook Page , our Metric Blog, our V-Twin Blog, Google+, and Twitter. I sought individuals from the Metric World as well as The V-Twin World and received a few handfuls of submissions. I sifted through those and chose what I felt was the most interesting of them. After contacting these individuals, I learned more about their pending trips and collectively we decided how to pass the the experience onto you, our friends. As often as possible, both adventurers will report to me with a briefing of the days travels, any pictures taken that day, and give road reviews of campgrounds, motels, hotels, and any eating establishments patronized along the way.
The Metric Team consists of Greg Turp, his wife Melanie, and their Mobile Security Detail: Gypsy the Puggle. Heading out from Yuma, AZ this team’s ultimate goal is The Arctic Circle. The Ride is in fact a Fund Raiser for The Eldridge Childrens Home in Eldridge, AL. Expecting to take approximately 6 weeks and cover almost 13,000 miles, this should prove to be an interesting read.
First Check -in Thursday 6/6/13 9;20 P.M.
Wednesday 6/5/13 – In April my wife Melanie, our Puggle Gypsy, and I began the first leg of Fund Raising Tour for Eldridge Children’s Home in Eldridge, AL. After returning to Yuma, AZ we prepped for our June 4th departure date. During that time, we were contacted by Don at K and G Cycles about chronicling our ride, an exciting prospect that we agreed to. As we embarked on our trip to the Arctic Circle we were already experiencing the large range of temps we were due to encounter. Our hope was to head out of Arizona and into cooler weather, however by the time we had traveled north of Las Vegas the mercury had risen to 104° and it was only 11 A.M. The bright side is the day was clear and as we reached higher elevations the temperature had dropped to a comfortable 82°. We decided to make camp for the night at The KOA in Beaver, UT making our first day 540mi long. We love to camp, especially while traveling on the motorcycle because it allows us to meet many different people and here tales of the road. Point in case, about an hour after we set camp, an old H-D Panhead Chopper pulls into camp and we strike up a conversation exchanging stories from the road. It turns out in his many years of riding, he has had many great journey’s into Alaska via The Alaska Marine Highway and offered some great tips on camping in The Last Great Frontier – Alaska.
Thursday 6/6/13 – Rise and Shine! Another beautiful morning, 46° here. We decided stay in the area and take in some of the local sites. Heading out UT 12 to Bryce Canyon National Park, one of my all time favorite parks, we prepared to have our senses overloaded from the amazing display of colors that seem to blend together to create a huge work of art. Catching up to UT 148/143 we then traveled through Cedar Breaks National Monument and found ourselves sitting at 10,500 ft with some snow still in the shadows. This beautiful detour had us clocking another 242 miles.
Stay tuned for more coverage of my ride provided by K and G Cycles….Everything Motorcycle. Online
Well I am happy to report we have another report from the road. It looks like Team Turp is really putting the miles behind them.
Friday 6/7/13 – What a great way to start the day, beautiful clear blue skies and 59°. We are heading to Pocatello, ID today to meet up with a friend and discuss plans on working in town in July. Ugh! What a crazy ride thru the Salt Lake City interstate corridor for about 50 miles. Not exactly my favorite part of the ride, but then again I don’t do cities too well. Pulling into Pocatello I noticed that the trailer lights are out. Not a tough fix, it ends up being a short on the frame of the bike. After it is fixed its time for something to eat at Texas Road House for salmon for me and ribs for Melanie, and a couple if bones for Gypsy. All in all it was a very good 360 miles.
Sat 6/8/13 – We head out for Helen, MT for a couple days with Melanie’s sister. The day is a ditto day and we take I-15 north which is a great ride as far as interstates go, great scenery, elevation changes, sweeping curves, and very little traffic. If you are going to travel by Interstate, this is the one to hit. 320 miles for the day and relaxation tomorrow. It will be a good weekend.
Also, for those interested, you can follow my trip is being tracked using SPOT. Real time, 10 minute interval updates can be seen by clicking this link http://www.wandrrmotorcycletours.com/Eldridge-Ride.html and then selecting the current segment of the trip. You will look for the 6/1/13 – 9/12/13 leg of the trip.
Stay tuned for more reports from the road and more pictures of our travels. See ya soon………
Mon 6/10/13 – The visit with family is done. We get started fairly early to a beautiful sky and temps in the upper 40’s, hop on I-90 west, and another great interstate ride headed to Coeur d’Alene. We follow the Coeur d’Alene river as it crosses our path several times on our route. A quick stop at the famous 50000 Silver Dollar Bar to check it out. Really just allowing a good stretch and not much more. After arriving in Coeur d’Alene we head for the beach and park area downtown, the city’s public area, and much to our dismay Gypsy is not welcome, “No Pets Allowed” signs all over the place. Time to go and see our friends. Miles today, 300.
Tuesday 6/11/13 – The bike is loaded with the promise of another fantastic day of riding ahead. Getting out of town is easy and we make our way north toward Canada on ID 95, which is a good road that is becoming better with less traffic as he head north. The scenery is great and we are on high alert looking for large animals,(large meaning Moose, Elk, and Bear) but not a one. We stop just south of the border at a little general store / restaurant about 5 miles from the border. The female proprietor of the store tells a story of how the government border enforcement agency is harassing the American citizens in the area by coming onto their property and telling them to spend LESS time outdoors. On THEIR own property. UNBELIEVABLE. We head out for one of the easiest border crossing we have ever encountered. We declare everything, including the shotgun we brought for personal protection, and within 10 mins, after filing our paperwork and paying the $25 fee, we are on our way. The ride continues on 95 and the Canadian Rockies are absolutely majestic. Within 10 minutes we have spotted an elk and a mountain goat, at least we know where the animals are. As we head toward Fort MacLeod over Crowsnest Pass the weather starts to change, cold and cloudy, the start of what’s ahead for the next several days. We spend the night at the Red Coat Inn with weak WiFi, but good rates. A couple of motorcycle club guys pull in on their H-D’s and don’t seem to notice I said Hi when they parked next to me. What can I say.
Wed 6/12/13 – Our luck with the good weather has ended, at least for now. Woke to cold and rainy conditions this morning. We are on the road to Calgary to Blackfoot Motorsports for a new front tire installation. I have the tires with me and, if I take off the front tire, it can be done immediately. If not we wait as all the lifts have bikes on them. The front tire gets changed quickly and we are back on the road! The weather is turning bad with swirling winds and threatening rains – yikes. We are heading north as one of our favorite roads, the Icelands Parkway thru Banff is predicting snow. By the time we arrive in Red Deer the skies are ugly with gusting winds, and a Motel 6 (no charge for Gypsy) looks good right about now. On the news that night it shows snow in the mountains, temps in the 20’s, and tornados touching down to the north. Some great pizza for supper and a rainy night. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
Stay Tuned and play the daily pool to see how often Gypsy will be denied Lodging. Also find out exactly what Melanie has going through her mind…..
Friday 6/14/13 – Well, another day of bad weather on the Iceland Parkway from Banff to Jasper kept us grounded again. Friday morning rolled around and we decided to ditch the parkway ride this time. We rode it about 3 years ago, and if you ever get the chance to ride it, I highly recommend you do.The scenery is great, the riding is easy, and hot springs, glaciers, beautiful lakes, are all there. We headed to Rocky Mountain Home in the rain and then turned north toward the east aide of Edmonton, Alberta Beach, to visit with some friends. Good conversation, wonderful food, music, and a GOOD scotch are on the agenda tonight.
Saturday 6/15/13 – Today was more of the same with wind, rain, and cold. Could somebody please let Canada know it is nearly summer? We toured the lake and stopped to see a guy who has made saddles for Professional Rodeos for over 50 years. His son has the business now. His name was Less Ertman of Less Ertman’s Saddle Shop in Onoway, Alberta. This was some of the finest hand worked leather tooling I have ever seen. His saddles can sell for as much as $5500, and are worth every penny. Tomorrow we will leave to head north towards Dawson Creek, come hell or high water, and by the way it’s raining…
Stay tuned to see if Team Turp will endure any High Water crossings or if the sun will shine anytime soon.
Sunday 6/16/13 – We decided to brave the rain early Sunday morning and leave Alberta Beach. We put Gypsy’s new rain cover on and hit the road. We are always looking for unique places and usually find them. Today we stumbled onto a giant beaver – Another great Photo op! Of course this one was in front of Beaver Lodge. The weather is clearing by the time we reach Dawson City – YEAH! One of our Must Stops is Mile Marker “0” on the AlCan Highway. We stop at the visitor center and as usual, we seem to have several curious passersby asking about our bike and Gypsy. She gets her picture taken A LOT. Fort St. John is the goal for today. Still keeping a vigilant eye for wildlife, riding on the back gives me lots of opportunity for enjoying the scenery. I get to point out things Greg would miss having to keep his focus on riding the bike. We have decided to set up camp at Charles Lake and find a Rotary Campground next to the lake. Luckily, we have a Pub within walking distance so after setting up, we head over for a burger and beer, Ahhh!. Fathers Day started a little chilly but ended with a glorious sunset albeit at 10:15 pm.
Monday 6/17/13 – Sunrise came quickly at 4:15 A.M. but we were ready for another great day of riding. While breaking camp, a woman from Alaska walked by and couldn’t help but stop to ask where we are headed, we oblidged and informed her. Pulling out early, we stop for breakfast at Shepards Inn. Great home cooking and friendly people. As we travel onward, We pass LOTS of RV’s and see several motorcycles. We seem to play hopscotch most of the day. We are starting to climb and the scenery is improving with each and every mile. We catch sight of a Grizzly off the road, thankfully a long way off. Next we see a Momma Black Bear and 2 Cubs right in the road ditch. Seems our drought in wildlife has ended. Later in the afternoon we hit Summit Lake and see Big Horn Sheep sitting high on the rocky cliffs. We are exposed to some absolutely breathtaking country. Some of the prettiest so far. I love being free from the worries of driving and really get to enjoy the entire experience. The sights and smells on a motorcycle with a 360 degree view is unbeatable by car. Tonight we have a cabin on the Toad River that has agreed to let Gypsy stay. Unfortunately, it’s raining again. Sunshine would be much appreciated.
Well it looks as if people are becoming more accepting of Gypsy, she hasn’t been denied access for a few days now. Greg and Melanie seem to be racking up the miles, and getting closer to their goal everyday. Stay tuned as K and G Cycles (www.kandgcycles.com) continues to bring you reports from “Team Turp” as they pour in.
Tuesday 6/18 – We wake up to cloudy skies with temps in the low 40’s, but no rain. There is a large bull moose in the lake that has captured our attention. With some of the other neighboring campers in tow, we hustle to a great vantage point near the water for some pictures. Our stay at Toad River Lodge was good, we had a nice room and there were also new cabins being built. Our supper consisted of soup and brown bread, it was good, but a bit pricy. It should have been no sirprise though as all the food up this far north seems to run high. We rode out around 11am headed only 30 miles up the road, to Northern Rockies Lodge. Nice outside but everything else, thumbs down. Avoid this place. We dropped off Gypsy for a mid-mornig nap and headed north another 30 miles to Llard Hot Springs Provincial Park. For $5 you get entrance to a natural setting hot springs. If you get the chance this is a MUST do. They also have camping with hookups or free dry camping. On the way back to the lodge We saw many bison, mountain sheep, and black bears. Great day.
Wednesday 6/19 – Finally, a blue sky morning, a little chilly, but an early start to a long riding day headed to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Today provided many exciting animal encounters. First was a bison staredown 20 miles out. Three Bison were in the middle of the road facing our direction. We stopped at what I thought to be a safe distance away but the big one in the middle of the road was blowing bubbles and seemed to be annoyed we were there. I know I was too close. A car came by after about 10 mins and the Bison finally moved over enough for us to slide by. So we rode on to Watson Lake and the famous Sign Post Forest. There have been signs placed here by travelers on posts erected by the city since 1942. It started with the men building the Alaskan Highway putting up signs with there names on a post, and has grown since. A 5 minute scheduled stopped turned into an hour, just too much to see. After pulling ourselves away we continued toward our next stop, Teslin Lake. After crossing a long grated bridge over the Teslin River we pulled into a nice gas station/store for a break and chat to more new friends headed to D2D. Heading out on the last leg on a good, elevated road with deep ditches we settled into our 110 kph speed (sure it is only about 70 MPH, but 110 KPH sounds far more impressive) when a large Moose, maybe 20 foot tall, (at least she looked like it) ran up out of the ditch right in front of us. To top it off, her calf was right behind her. Now I’m riding a rig that consists of a 900# bike, pulling a 350# trailer, with my wife and dog ( no weights given). I grabbed as much of the brake as I could, front and back brakes activating the ABS in a panic stop. Between the tires chirping on the road and Melanie yelling “Holy S&$t”, we managed to stop about 5 feet short of the calf. Gypsy then decided to scold the pair as we drove away. The Hidden Valley B and B was a welcome site after arriving in Whitehorse. We were giving an upgrade to a beautiful room with a fantastic view. I highly recommend this place for a stay in the area. After a relaxing soak in the hot tub with an adult beverage I was ready for bed. Ugh 1130 pm and still light. Good day, 425 miles!
So it seems the time spent on the road is becoming more and more interesting for Team Turp. Stay tuned to hear the latest adventure from this traveling trio……..
6/20-22/13– I am going to include these three days as one post as they involve riding to and from Dawson City for D2D (ADV’s Dust 2 Dawson) on the summer solstice 6/21.
6/20/13 – We left our BNB after a grand breakfast and good craic with the other guests about 9:30am. As usual, everybody has a story, and there were many going around. Our ride to Dawson will be about 330 miles today. The ride was fairly uneventful with the normal bad roads of frostheaves and patchwork gravel. About 200 miles into the ride we stopped for a drink at a gas stop and a young man rides in on a bicycle with plastic panniers straped to his old bike, two front and two rear. He was on his way to Prudoe Bay after a stop at Dawson. He was from the southern US and had just decided to take off on a ride, in his board shorts. We continue on to Dawson, in a light rain with lots a slippery, gravel patch area on the road. After dropping Gypsy and the trailer off at the Bonaza Gold hotel we rode into town and talk with some of the early arrivals, then off to find some grub. A good crowd is at Sourdough Joe’s and a couple friends are there and invite us to join them. Halibut fingers are the bomb.
6/21/13 – Well, after an all night rain we wake up to, wait for it………… yep, more rain. Puddles everywhere! The downtown area roads, which are all dirt with raised wooden sidewalks, are slick as ably, you can barely walk without slipping or sliding. After registration about half take off for a muddy poker run, only half finish, and the other half stay dry. We went back to the hotel as my knobbys didn’t come in for my LT. About 3pm we head back and the good times begin. We park next to a mate from Australia, Martin, with GB plates on his GS. He has been on the road for 3 years, many countries and continents. Great craic, interesting guy. At 6pm there is a D2D banquet and we sat with Martin and several other new friends from all corners. After we headed back to main street to the Downtown Motel, the “Dicks” place. Bike games in the mud and then the midnight picture of the bikes and the riders, still light of course. Then, at about 1am, we head up to “The Dome”, which is a tall hill overlooking the town. The sun has just set behind a mountain to the north and will rise again in about an hour. Beautiful sunset/sunrise combed, with a super moonrise to the east to boot. The hill top is packed with people in early 1900 dress, to every hippie within 500 miles, and bikers in full gear. Quite a site. Then back to the hotels and sleep, yeah right.
6/22/13 – Long ride back to Whitehorse and much needed sleep.
Well we can be confident Team Turp will experience no shortage of precipitation on this excursion. Ride safe and keep those updates coming!
6/23/13 – Today, We Thank Mother Nature for having mercy on us.We woke up to a non-rain morning with partly cloudy skies and a good forcast as we prepare to head to Alaska. The good ole frost heaved, pot holed roads continued through the heavy forests with an occasional outpost. The Canadian border crossing was just a pass thru, and then came 20 miles of terrible roads and dirt and gravel. The U.S. border crossing was much to our surprise, very quick and painless, with a friendly crossing guard to boot. Much better than the Mexico crossing guard who was an @%#. The road became great as soon as we hit the border, although short lived. I think the U.S. just wants to impress early because the bad roads came back. We ended our ride in Tok and camped at the Tok RV Village. Nice campsite and showers and many bikes. Our neighbors were a couple from Great Britain on an extended ride from New York, across the states, AK, and down to Argentina riding two-up on a Super Tenere’. Another night of interesting conversations around the campfire. Miles for the day, around 400.
6/24/13 – Again we Thank Mother Nature for boosting moral – Blue skies and sunshine are what greated us this morning at 4am. Wait, I need more sleep, so the eye covers go back on. Since we are running a couple days ahead of schedule we decide to head south to Valdez. What a great decision that was. As our morning ride was starting out quietly, suddenly we see a Grey Wolf run across the highway. Stopping shortly afterwards at a little outpost for a quick breakfast, we learn from the owner, just how fortunate we were. Apparently sightings of grey wolves are rare. What a great start to the day. As we make our way down the Tok Cutoff to Glennallen the scenery begins to improve dramatically. We keep passing Caribou warning signs,but no Caribou to be seen. We pass the Wrangell National Park entrance, but decide the view of this massive mountain couldn’t be any more spectacular than from inside the park, so we turn back. Our gut was not wrong! At Glennallen we hop on the Richardson Highway south toward Valdez. This is one of the best rides in Alaska. We reach the Worthington Glacier, where immediately off the highway, the glacier is reachable by foot. WOW! We watched ice climbers on the beautiful blue ice, working their way down the face. 80+ degree weather was aiding the snow melt. The waterfalls that range from 150 to 2000 feet were so frequent that I quit taking pictures. After finding our hotel, the Keystone Inn, we head to the downtown area on Valdez Harbor, and eat at The Fat Mermaid. The fresh cod sandwich and fresh-made Clam Chowder are incredible, as is the pint of Alaskan Ale, combined with the harbor views, I can’t say enough. Finished with the meal we walk along the harbor, full of boats of all sizes, in the fjord that is the Valdez port. After our late lunch we ride to the other side of the bay looking for seals. We were in for a treat, Bald Eagles. At one point we saw 8 Eagles pulling salmon out of the shallow water around the fish ladders. It was just a fantastic afternoon in Valdez. The trip down from Tok was about 260 miles.
Until the next report from the road………………..
6/25/13 – The morning is clear and cool as we head out of Valdez, a perfect day for riding. Luckily, we have to leave Valdez the same way we got there, on the Richardson Highway. After a leisurely start taking in the views from around town, we head north. The waterfalls,(over 20 of them), glaciers, and snow capped mountains are just as beautiful heading north. We continue north after the Tok cut-off and stop to cook some lunch on the side of the road. We are on high bear alert but make it through lunch without an issue. A lake is just a short hike thru the woods so I head out, bear spray in hand. The bears were no worries, but the mosquitos ambushed me after walking about 50 feet into the woods. By the time I got back to the bike, Melanie had to brush a swarm of mosquitos off me. Let’s ride! We continued on to a high alpine area what was absolutely breathtaking. The Richardson is definitely a must do, top 10 or higher, North American highway. Many stops with one being a pull-off to stand next to the Alaskan pipeline. Very cool. We will end out trip tonight in Delta Junction and another pet friendly hotel. The temperature is now mid 90’s, Alaskan heat wave. We get a picture at the end of the AlCan and head for the hotel. Great day.
6/26/13 – Today is a short ride into Fairbanks with a brief stop at the North Pole. A couple of pictures later, and a letter to be sent out from Santa himself to my grandson Caleb, then we are on our way. Our dog-friendly hotel, the Golden North Hotel of Fairbanks, has a room ready for us at 11am, great service. The room is older, but clean, priced right, and down the street from the BMW/H-D dealership. After getting Gypsy comfortable, we head downtown, which is disappointing. The big attraction is Pioneer Park, which we tour, also disappointing, but the paddle wheel boat is OK. The temps and around 90 and we need to ride. South we go toward a bar called Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn, needing a beer and a sticker for my camp trailer. Very cool bar and if you stop in look for my $1 bill above the blow-up dolls playing poker (I lost it to them after 3 games of 5 Card Draw). Returning to the hotel, we cook a quick camp meal at the hotel, a little TV, and it’s off to bed.
6/27/13 – This was to be the day to ride to the Arctic Circle, but, after a couple chats with riders in-the-know, we decide against taking the LT touring bike up there. We try to rent a car instead, but with the crazy prices, we decide to just give that money to our charity, the Eldridge Children’s Home. We opt to soak our travel weary bones in the Hot Springs of Chena. The springs are about 50 miles east of Fairbanks and have several hot tubs and a outdoor rock pool. it was nice, but the water was 124° degrees today. Another disappointment, but our ride out and back yielded 8 moose, so we ride on high alert. Dinner tonight are with a couple of friends of the MTF (Motorcycle Touring Forum) at Bobby’s Downtown Greek Cuisine. The food is very good, and the conversation very engaging and enjoyable. Good night and goodbye Fairbanks in the AM.
6/28/13 – I’m up early, itching to be going and excited to see Denali National Park today. The parks road from Fairbanks to Anchorage has fires in the area midway to Denali, so we need to follow a pilot car thru the heaviest of the smoke. Finally we arrive outside of Denali, in the rain. Our hotel room is ready again early so, after unpacking and dropping off Gypsy, we head to the park. Touring the visitor center and watching the movie is quick and we decide to drive into the park. Private vehicles may drive 15 miles into the park for only the Park admission, anything further requires a bus trip (school bus) and we decide 8 hours on the bus is not on my fun meter. The drive produces a zero animal count, the low clouds hide the mountains, so back to the White Moose Lodge we go. After kicking back and enjoying the rain wash off the bike we head across the road to the 49th State Brewery. All I can say is great food, great micro-beer, great atmosphere, 150+ whiskeys, scotches, or bourbons, a must eat establishment, probably the highlight of the Denali trip. Rode about 150 miles today.
6/29/13 – After a breakfast of coffee and a danish we pull out with cloudy skies, wet roads, but thank goodness no rain.The first stop is the little Village of Talkeetna, 160 miles south of Denali. Talkeetna was developed when the railroad came through 100 years ago. Amazingly the entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. The train still comes through and it is a stop for cruise and fly tourists. Definitely a stop over and for lunch we visit The West Rib Cafe, great Caribou Stew and many other exciting dishes. We hop back on the bike and, after Gypsy has her picture taken from the back of the bike many times, ride away toward Anchorage. A quick stop to visit Sarah “we can see Russia from here” Palin, we make it to our friends house, the Motorcycle Legend “Squeaks” O’Connor and his wife Brenda. After a tour of his garage with the revived classic bikes, 72 and 73 Kawi 900’s looking better than the showroom floor, we commence to Mexican food, whiskey, and tales of the road. He has MANY more than me. Fun night with another 250 miles riden.
6/30/13 – The morning found Squeaks and myself in the garage again, coffee in hand, checking out bikes. Today Squeaks is leading us on a ride on Highway 1 along the Turnagain Arm of the northern Kenai peninsula toward the town of Seward. With the snowcaped mountains surrounding us, the bay to our right, and the low mist, the ride is fantastic. After about an hour we stop for breakfast at the Summit Lake Lodge. The breakfast is good, but the views are breathtaking. After breakfast we continue on alone to Seward and camp at Miller’s Landing, about 3 miles south of town directly on Resurrection Bay. We make camp and head for a short hike up to Exit Glacier for an up close experience of an active glacier.
7/1/13 – Knowing that it is going to rain all day we decide that, since marine animals and glaciers don’t care, we will go out on a boat tour looking for both. We leave camp in a good soaking rain for downtown to get ready to embark on our 7 hour tour and listen to cagers complain about the rain. Our cute, young captain greets us and reassures me that she has been a captain for 7 years. OK by me. We score the animal jackpot as we see bald eagles, puffins, humpback whales, orcas, seals, sea lions, and dolphin swimming in our wake. Besides the animals we cruise right up to Ailiak Glacier which moans and cracks and calves with a thunderous sound as we are watching. It is very windy with the rain and the 9 foot + waves. As we round the point into the Northern Pacific Ocean. Our captain let’s us know the seas are fairly calm today, as spray covers the vessel. She also informs us that the winter storms produce waves of 24 feet at this area, yet the boats still go out fishing. Our lunch consists of a salmon and prime rib buffet that is excellent. The cost of this is $180 per person, but it was money well spent, great day. After disembarking we ride back to camp in the rain, but since we are wet from the day anyway we don’t let it bother us much. We hang up the gear and hope for good weather tomorrow.
7/2/13 – The morning dawns without rain (YEAH!) and a somewhat cloudy 43 degrees. With almost dry gear we put Gypsy’s flannel on, install the cold cover top, turn on the warming pad, and off we go. The dirt road from the campground is all washed off with potholes from the rain, but the mud washes off the calcium that has caked on my bike from the sloppy roads up around Dawson. The ride back to Anchorage is very scenic with the blue skies competing with the clouds for dominance. After arriving at Squeaks house we head to the Yamaha dealership for a tire change. We are greeted as royalty to “The house that Squeaks built”. Come to find out, Sarah Palin has driven one of his race cars and he has raced snow machines with Todd Palin. I think he knows everybody in town. After a home-made meal featuring some great steak we ride out to a lake with hundreds of pontoon planes leaving. You’d thinking everyone in AK flies one.
Stay tuned for more amazing tales from Team Turp.
7/3/13 – On the road, bright and early this morning, anxious to see the Glenn Highway on the way to Tok. This road is designated a scenic highway and it doesn’t disappoint. We start a gradual climb an hour out of Anchorage and the glacial views are absolutely incredible. This southeastern portion of Alaska is so different than the rest of the paved portions we have been on, and to me, much more beautiful. The moose count is once again high, but thankfully all the critters stayed off the road. We pass a young girl on a bicycle on the way up to a glacier who is peddling all by herself and camping in the bush. Quite the adventurous one. When we reach Tok we make camp at the same campground as on the way up. Our site is next to a 19 year old from England, Ollie, who shipped his bike to Argentina, rode to Tiera del Fuego, then made his way here, finishing at Deadhorse. This ride is for Fisher House and can be found at olliesodyssey.com. He was a very mature lad and very interesting. At the conclusion of the ride his bike will be donated to the Alaska Transportation Museum in Anchorage. Our riding day was a tad over 300 miles.
7/4/13 – Independence Day is here and Tok has a parade to celebrate the day. Small parade, but with Fire Trucks and Bicycles, what more do you need. We decide to hit the road after the parade, and since we would forfit our payment, leave the site for some friends a couple days behind us, who ended up staying somewhere else. About 90 miles toward Canada we come across a guy on the side of the road with his helmet behind his bike, a distress signal. We stopped and found out his oil plug had fallen out. His buddy was looking for the plug, so we rode to the next stop and bought some oil for him and sent it back with a guy moving to Fairbanks for the Air Force. A Lt.Col. who flies the B1 Bomber. Later in the day some other guys tell us they saw the group working on the bike. I hope all went well. We crossed the border without incident, rode 20 miles of gravel to the Canadian checkpoint, and another easy crossing. We stayed the night just over the border at Beaver Lake.
7/5/13 – The morning dawns with a chill, blue skies, and a promise of a great ride down to Haines. We are familiar with the gravel roads to Haines Junction, but this was bad. New gravel had been laid two days earlier and, with the loaded bike, I had to follow the track it wanted to go. Gravel and freshly watered mud, I will need an early stress reliving beverage. The road from Haines Junction to Haines is as advertised. Breathtaking scenery over the pass with bears and moose to boot. We stop to see a grizzly on the side of the road and he stands up to check us out, very impressive, as I keep the clutch engaged ready for a hasty exit. The griz just lowers itself to al fours and keeps munching on greenery as he feels unthreatened by us. Gypsy feels it is best to keep quiet also. She apparently knows the food chain rules. We continue on toward the the American border and to Haines. Our hotel, the Captains Choice, has rooms on a hill overlooking the harbor. After a walk to the harbor we find a little restaurant, the Bamboo Room, for an excellent meal. A good ride of 350 miles today. And the stress reliving beverages of Alaskan ales was wonderful.
7/6/13 – Our plan is to hop on the ferry to Juneau, but it doesn’t depart until 5pm today so we decide to ride around and check out the area. We start off headed south and happen across a small, fast running stream and we follow it upstream to a beautiful, cold, bluish lake surrounded with snow peaked mountains. On the way we pass fly fishermen that we find out are not having any luck. There is a big griz across the water looking out from the bushes, just watching us and taking it all in. When we stop he was gone, just disappeard into the bushes. It sorta makes you wonder how many you don’t see that just watch you. After riding the other direction, and with nothing to report, we head back into town for a Fourth of July BBQ hosted by the Haines Fire Department. They sure do know how to do Texas style brisket (and I should know after Smoke Chasing 2012). We wander over to the ferry terminal after and chat with our motorcycle riding ferry mates, one who was in Dawson with us, put Gypsy in her kennel (not a happy puppy), and cast off headed for Juneau. It was a smooth trip that produced no issues loading or unloading.
7/7-8/13 – The ferry is scheduled to leave Juneau today at 4 pm so riding to explore is high on the list for today. The ferry post is several miles north of town and our hotel is right near the base of Mendenhall Glacier, so off we go to walk to the viewing point at the base. The views of the glacier and the waterfall is rather impressive. The toe of the glacier you see is just a piece of this 11 mile long river of ice. Next we ventured north to see a old rock church on the water and much to our surprise find a bald eagle. It appears from his perch in the tree he is watching the salmon in the waters below, just feet from the road. Many people stop to take pictures and somehow the eagle remains unphased. Next is a trip into town where Gypsy draws a large crowd. There are four cruise ships dpcked in town, and so many want a picture with our ole girl. Well, it’s back to the ship we head for a couple days cruise down the inside passage, with its incredible views. We have a great time, and arrive in Prince Rupert the afternoon of the 9th.
7/9/13 – Poor Gypsy has to stay in a kennel on the car deck of the ferry while we are underway. So needless to say there will be no socializing or photo ops. The last port of call is Ketchican and it is at 2:30am, departing again at 5:45am. Gypsy and I walk downtown and are gone about 2 hours exploring, not much to see since everything is closed. While we are pulling out of port the seaplanes are lined up in the harbor, starting to takeoff down the bay as the one in front leaves the water. You can look down the waterfront and see at least 6 planes in a row, flying low and slow, leaving Ketchikan. The trip to Prince Rupert takes about 8 hours and, after good byes to the other riders, we get off the ferry without a problem and meet our old friend “Rain” again. We ride the short 90 miles to our friends house in Terrace where we have a nice visit, a home cooked meal, and a great night sleep.
7/10/13 – Gray skies and rain as we leave Terrace, headed north on 37 toward Hyder, AK. The road is good and the scenery ok, but when we turn off on 37a for the final 40 miles – WOW! We are met with Waterfalls, snowcapped mountains,and glaciers. Another fantastic ride! The conditions have improved and the rain has stopped, YEAH! Past Stewart and into Hyder we go with several Black Bear sightings in the first 2 hours just walking the streets in town. Our room is ready at the SeaAlaska Inn so we unload and walk about town, talking with Catherine at her gift shop about continuing the LD motorcycle event in HyderSeek, next year. Unfortunately the salmon aren’t running yet in Fish Eating Creek north of town, so the grizzlys are scarce. Back in town we decide to eat at “The Bus”, which was rated by Travelocity #23 in the top 100 places to get seafood. We meet a young couple from SoCal that were on there way to Alaska on their R100RT, Adam (ParaMud) and Natalie. Three weeks ago Natalie had an accident on her KLR and had multiple injuries but decided she didn’t want to miss the trip. Adam traded his KLR on the bike they were riding, for better two up comfort, and off they went. She still was favoring her side and couldn’t even lift her arm to fasten her helmet. What a trooper. They had been tent camping so we got them a room at the SeaAlaska Inn for the night. Good kids. 300 miles for the day.
7/11/13 – The morning is chilly but surprisingly no rain. We walk across the parking lot to get breakfast. Eggs, bacon, potatoes, bread, $24 for two. The prices in Canada and Alaska are terribly inflated. I need to fire up my camp stove again. We pack up and take off for a day of riding headed east across BC, headed to see some friends in a couple days. Big party waiting, 800 miles away.
7/12/13 – Up early today and headed toward Kamloops, 40 degrees and raining for the first 200 of 450 miles.Who woulda thunk it! It finally stopped raining for the final miles and the next two days were absolutely wonderful with blue skies, cool nights, and warm days. The traffic, and truck traffic is heavy south of Prince George. I know I am always making mention of or even complaining a little of all the rain we have experienced on our trip. but it has never been heavy, just annoying. Our Tourmaster and LD gear has always handled all the cold and rain without a problem. The next two days will be fun with friends, so won’t report much, but stayed tuned for more riding. Cheers
7/15/13 – A gorgeous day awaits us as we mount up and head south to connect to Highway 1 South, The Trans-Canada Highway. We stop near the intersection of The Canyons at a bar called The Log Cabin, which is a biker bar. It has a contingent of HD riding firemen that want nothing to do with a couple of BMW riders in full gear. Oh well. The owners are great people that are interested in our ride. We chat awhile, enjoy a beer, and head south toward Hells Gate. Hells Gate is an area that was blocked in the making of the road and has incredible water flow through the section of the canyon that is still open. After a tour of the area we continue south through tunnels and along canyons, great road and views, to Harrison Hot Springs. We spend the night on the lake at The Beach Hotel with views of the mountains and take a leisurely walk along the lake at sunset. It was a fantastic day with great sights and roads with a great finish.
7/16/13 – In the morning we ride to the border crossing at Sumas under blue skies and cool temps. In 5 minutes we are across the border, back into the USA, with a gun, a dog, some alcohol, and Bear spray still in tow, and riding to Anacortes and the ferry to Port Townsend. We grab a sub in Anacortes and ride over to Washington Park on the west side of the Island. It is a fun, curvy road with phenomenal views of the bay where we stop in a small, private pull-off and eat our lunch. Afterwards we ride south to the small, historic town of Coupeville, check out the town, and ride over to the ferry crossing to Port Townsend. The ferry crossing is uneventful until the ferry hits the piling coming in and I tip over on the bike. We quickly pick it up and ride off when the ferry finishing docking. I guess I was caught off guard with the bump and load. After disembarking a good ride and night stay is in order in Port Angeles, nice town but we should have stayed in Port Townswnd, personal opinion.
Well here we go again, got some more road news from Team Turp.
7/17/13 – Today we are headed south to Gig Harbor, WA via the scenic Washington Highway 101, bordered on one side by the Olympic National Forest and several bays on the west branch of Puget Sound. Our first stop was at Seal Rock Campground along Dabob Bay for a stretch and some great views of the water. This entire section of Hwy 101 south to Potlatch State Park would be a great place to camp for a while with great scenery, hiking, biking, riding, and kayaking surrounding you all the way to the Pacific Coast. This is a must see area if you have never been here. Continuing our ride we arrive at our friends house overlooking the Sound just minutes north of Gig Harbor. They are blessed with fantastic, 180 degree views. Lunch is literally on the water as the deck of Tides Tavern on the Water is just that, a deck on pilings on the harbor. The views, food, and a pint of the local grog is incredible! Two thumbs up. After lunch and a quick tour of town we head back to the house and enjoy the rest of the afternoon with great views and drinks, while visiting with friends. Ahhhh Good Times.
7/18/13 – The visit was way too short and morning came way too early as we pack and, with ideal conditions, get on the road for Salem, OR. The BMW MOA International Rally is the next three days. As its only 200 miles away we decide to take the long way following Hwy 101 to the Pacific Coast. Wonderful views await us including Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. Haystack Rock is a 235-foot sea stack just off the coast in Cannon Beach, locally claimed to be the third-tallest such “intertidal” structure in the world. A little further south we take Hwy 22 – 3 Rivers Highways, a great twisty road along a stream, east toward Salem. After passing several vineyards along the way, we arrive in Salem. we head over to the fairgrounds, get registered and set up camp under a canopy of trees. On the agenda is meeting with old and new friends, microbrews, BBQ and 2 bands, not necessarily in that order. Goodnight.
7/19/13 – The night went quickly for me, not so for Melanie. Our tent site is near the railroad tracks and the train made several, loud runs during the night, along with an almost full moon, made sleeping difficult. A couple or so beers in me combined with being tired is the perfect recipe for a great night sleep. Our tent is 10 x 10 with a queen sized blow up matress, not real primitive, but I’m somewhat civilized, and I like to keep the bride happy, even in a tent. While I was enjoying my coffee this morning, our neighbor walked up and introduced herself. Her name was Benka Pulko, from Slovenia. She was camping with her husband, and told us about her ride around the world, 7 continents, 73 countries, 2000 days, SOLO! What an interesting woman. This journey, accomplished on a BMW F650 over 111,856 miles, earned her a Guinness World Record. She presented her trip and a photo slide show, she took over 35,000 pictures, twice during the rally. The presentation was great, the pictures were fantastic, and her views of the world were very refreshing and at sometimes just plain hilarious. After a cool start to the day the temps increased into the mid 80’s in the late afternoon. That lead to sharing a beer with a friend of mine, Paul Rawlings, owner of Celtic Rider, out of Dublin, IR. Supper was provided for a group that I’m a member of, the Iron Butt Association, and was a pizza party with a keg of beer from a good local brewery. More good conversation about the recently completed IBA rally and upcoming events. The band tonight just wasn’t what I wanted to hear so I headed to the beer garden to find some friends and talk and drink for awhile. Mission accomplished.
7/20/13 – Today will be the last day of the BMW International rally and we decide that we will spend the day here attending the various seminars going on, since we have ridden this area a couple times in the past. One of the talks is by a tour guide from Slovania – Adriatic Tours – with a great talk and slide presentation about touring central and eastern Europe. Between this and a talk by Stephan Knopf – Knopf Tours in Heidelberg, Germany – about shipping and storage of your bike in Europe, set the gears in motion for our 2015 adventure. Lots of planning to take care of as this will be in an area we know nothing about. This is something I really enjoy doing as it makes the non-riding times tolerable. We next meet up with a couple from England, Simon and Lisa Thomas of 2 Ride the World, who have been on the road for 12 years zigzagging their way around the world. I read about their adventures as they write for BMWMOA and I follow their adventures on Facebook. Before the closing ceremonies (in which I didn’t win anything) we attend a brief memorial for an amazing lady, Ardys Kellerman. She recently lost her life in a motorcycle accident. She was one of two woman, the other being Voni Glaves, to achieve one million BMW motorcycle miles and a nicer and kinder woman would be hard to find. She will be missed by the many people that were fortunate enough to have known her. After eating some chow and a couple beers, we head to the entertainment stage for a night of good music. Tomorrow we will head east, headed toward the end of the journey.
7/21/13 – The crack of dawn and wanting some coffee, I walk over to the free coffee area for some wake-up medicine and some final see-you-laters to a great group of rallyers. The BMWMOA International Rally is run by volunteers and they do an incredible job in providing good motorcycle and food venders, beer, seminars, and entertainment. The entertainment is usually local to the area which is great, but it would be nice to see some top shelf entertainment some year. We get the camp packed up quickly and head up over Sisters Range toward Redmond on Highway 20. A beautiful ride into a pine forest with great view of the mountains. Midway to the top I pull over at an overlook for a final smell of the clean, cool pine scented air and to let Gypsy run around. The decent into Redmond sees an increase in the temps to the low 90’s for a glimpse of what the day is going to bring. We continue on Highway 26 east toward Idaho with the temps continuing to rise. At one point reading in the low 100’s. The cover over Gypsys head keeps her out of the scortching sun and with frequent stops along the way she stays hydrated. After around 400 miles we reach the border and find a hotel that has a/c, the only requirement besides a bed. After washing our LD undergarments, I need a beer, shower and a pizza as the temps are still near 100 degrees. Bedtime will be around 10pm as I have set the alarm for 5 to ride the final 300 miles to Pocatello, ID and get there by noon. Goodnite kids.
7/22/13 – Up early and on the road headed east just to have to stop way too early. The trip has been incredible with many new places that we have visited and new friends we have made. Both of our wallets are stuffed full of the business cards that have been given to us by the great people we have met from many different countries, including the USA. The ride was for us with a bigger purpose of raising money for Eldridge Children’s Home in Eldridge, AL. I am still short of my goal but will continue with the fund raiser until the first week of December, when All Roads Lead to Eldridge. Our trip so far totalled 12,100 miles, and I need to stop for a few weeks for a different type of fund raiser, which is working for our funds. In the beginning of September we will continue east to see our kids and grandbaby, and our new kids of the Eldridge Children’s Home. Our web site is www.wandrrmotorcycletours.com/Eldridge-Ride.html. So for now, ride safe, ride far, and we’ll see you done the road.
P.S. from Melanie – Now that this adventure has come to an end, my retrospect has made me smile and a little sad. The smiles come from all the wonderful people and places we saw. I have said many times that you meet the nicest people on motorcycles, but traveling out of the country has confirmed that statement to be true about people from all over the world. For some Americans, traveling has become a terrifying concept. I am here to say that some fear may be a good thing, but it should NEVER stop you from going. The people we met and got to spend time with, no matter where they were from, were so easy to talk with. One of my first questions about their experience in the US, was about the friendliness of Americans. Gratefully, they all said that everyone had been more than welcoming to them. Our experience traveling by motorcycle has been virtually the same everywhere we have been.
My family has never understood our motorcycle travels. It is hard to describe the feeling of actually being part of the world you are traveling through to someone who has never been on a motorcycle or traveled any further than around town on one. The smells are the easiest to explain, but just having a 360 degree view of your surroundings, or feeling the temperature changes as you climb into the mountains are harder to appreciate. They usually ask about how many miles we do in a day. That seems to be a hard concept to appreciate, being able to sit in one spot for hours is not something some people can understand.. Luckily for me, my husband has done everything possible to be sure both Gypsy and I have what we need to be able to do just that in comfort. My guess is that some men who ride alone make less effort to include their non-riding spouse. Greg and I barely even turn on the radio or stereo when we ride. We love the time to talk or just get lost in our own thoughts. I get the feeling that women who ride their own bikes, have trouble understanding women who are perfectly happy riding with the husbands. Personally, I couldn’t care less if they understand or not. I just know that the time we spend on the motorcycle has been precious to me. We bond over the shared joy of riding. It is as simple as that. Anytime you can share something you love with the person you love, embrace it! There is nothing like spending day after day experiencing both the trials and rewards of traveling together. To all those reading this I say the idea that LIFE IS SHORT is not only true but should compel you to do the things you have been putting off. The only thing we have to do is LIVE…make it to the fullest. You only get one chance at this life. This trip was something Greg and I had been planning for a very long time. The idea of giving it a purpose by raising funds for Eldridge Children’s Home made it even more valuable. These kids need to know there are people out there who care about them and will do what they can to make their lives the best it can be. We feel fortunate to be able to do just that.
P.S.S. from Gypsy Turp – Ruff Ruff Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! Ruff Ruff Woooof. Mmmmph Mmmmph Mmmmph Grrrrrrrrrr. Hu Hu Hu Hu Hu Rrrruff! Owwoooooooooooh, Ruff. Hu Hu Hu Hu Hu Hu Hu Hu Hu Grrr Rufff Woooof!!!
From Everyone here at K and G Cycles (www.kandgcycles.com) we would like to send a great big Thank You to Greg, Melanie, and Gypsy for allowing us to tag along on their Adventure. We wish them well on their future rides, and hope their goals for the Eldridge Children’s home are realized. Again, Thank You and Safe Travels. It has been fun.