Key Largo, Prudhoe and Westfest
Or how I rode 14.5 K miles in 5-6 weeks.
The trip I took this summer brought me from Key Largo, Fl to Prudhoe Bay, AK via Paonia Colorado to Sipapu, NM (for West Fest) and back to Ft. Lauderdale where my folks live.
It all started on June 25th when I took off from Ft. Lauderdale after spending the night with my folks. It is always nice to have a small jumpstart specially when the weather is hot and humid. The first travel day, for me at least, is always one in which to find my way around the ride. That is, getting into the comfort zone. The destination for me this trip, was Prudhoe Bay as it seems to be one of those 'must' do things when riding a bike. However I was determined to get there only if the conditions warranted a safe trip as I leave the gung-ho stuff for others.
I slabbed the Turnpike after leaving home at 8:30 AM as to avoid the 'great' cagers S.FL is so famous for. After all Miami has the dubious honor of being voted the worst city in the USA 2 years in a row......
A pic of my steed and me prior to riding of into adventure.
Before the questions about the knobbies tied on the back begin, I have not regretted bringing them with me as an unexpected tire failure in AK or Yukon will wreck your trip. More on that later...as two other riders found out the costly way...
What can be said about slabbing some of the most boring road in Fl other than getting rest here and there and to let your personal Final Drive cool off as well as your bike's??
Well so much for cooling off as you get north, as in Tifton, GA the mercury rose to 102F before welcome rain cooled off the air to a more bearable 80 F.
Camping was going to be out untill the temps got better and so in Opelika, AL I sought a motel room with AC. The owner was nice enough that I was allowed to park on the grass in front of my room.
I don't know why, but it seems my gear finds it's way all over my motel room as I offload my bike.
After checking in day one was done after 600 miles in the saddle...
More to come.......maybe..
Don't quit before you get to the Prudhoe Bay part!!!
Originally Posted by riderR1150GSAdv
can't wait for the rest of the tale. interesting how it's been hotter this summer in the surrounding states than down here. somewhat less humidity tho.
let 'er rip...looking forward to a happy ending.
Key Largo, Prudhoe and Westfest
Day four of the trip started in Grand Island NE and I froze my a$$ off. It was 54 F and after the previous heatwave days it was a shock to the system. Living in a warm climate (20 years in the FL Keys) makes a person less tolerant to lower temps. It turned out that later I would be riding in 34F weather..... Anyway,
not only was it 'freezing', but the one hour time change threw me off too.
I ended up Leaving at 4:30 AM local time as my own clock said 5:30..
This was going to be a 'theme' for most of the trip, often bewildering bystanders as I asked for the local time.
Some must have thought that I came from a different planet, this might as well be so, since I am Dutch .
Going on a long trip like this also made me forget what day it was, if it hadn't been for my daily log that I am now using to write this report with.
Anyway, I did ride I-80 untill I hit US 26 in NE into WY than till I-25 N till Casper WY from there to Shoshone, Thermopolis and finally Cody. It was hot in Thermopolis at 104 F but it was 'dry' heat and was therefore much better than the Tifton GA experience with the humidity there. A GPS shot of the road.
Getting closer to WY.....
Towards Thermopolis and Cody
I arrived at 4:30 PM at the Ponderosa Campground in Cody, WY after a 718 mile day riding to what was, for me, familiar ground as I had been there in 04 for the 'Unrally' from the sporttouring.com guys on my way to the MOA rally in Spokane WA.
To be continued......
Key Largo, Prudhoe and Westfest
All right, I made it to Cody! A few days of R&R as the Buffalo Bill Museum is a MUST see. You miss out on some real history and artifacts if you don't go there. As there are 5 parts to this museum it would take 2 full days to take it all in. This first day however I slept in late had BBQ lunch and bought a book, looked after the bike and met a gentleman from Alaska who was bicycling to Florida from Anchorage. We had to laugh as most people just don't understand the drive we had to undertake trips like ours.
Later that day I met Jerry and Jonathan from Colorado Springs, who were father and son riding their motorcycles around too.
They decided to pitch their tent in what we all thought was a great spot.
I moved my tent as well into that area on the second day in Cody. You know that spot that seems soooo cool that you have to be there??? Shade, calm little creek behind the tent etc,??? Well stay tuned....
At first this deer came around as I pitched my tent at 4:30 PM the previous day....
And after a little doing I was up and running with the gourmet meal for the evening
Than the move to the "idyllic" spot....
Well after a fitfull ichty night by both Jonathan, Jerry and myself, we found out our tents were invaded by tree-mites and we had to move away from what could have been a 'kewl' spot. Oh well, there is something about a fence and green grass......
The sun took care of the unwanted invaders btw.
Back with the regular crowd..
The Rider with the Honda trike had an issue with his fueltank and after describing the symptoms I asked if he still had the charcoal cannister. He did and decided to have it removed asap at the nearest Honda dealer/mechanic.
See guys, BMW's aren't the only bikes with canister issues...
And a overview of the tent area at the Ponderosa campground
I really like this set up as the steep road keeps traffic to a minimum and it makes for a real quiet area. The deer running around there are kinda tame too and show up from time to time. Better at the campground than on the road...
This is a great trip report so far. . . . Keep it comin'!
Key Largo, Prudhoe Bay and Westfest
July 5th turned out to be the most interesting ride of the whole trip thus far.
From Stewart BC to Faro Yukon was 691 miles out of which 320 were off-pavement. This day was also the longest in the saddle with 18 hrs of travel time but included some nice breaks and good food.
I left Stewart at about 7 AM after trotting up and down a flight of stairs about 8 times.... Those GS 2 boots don't make for quiet house slippers..
Add the squeaky stairs, and I'm sure the whole place heard me leave.
The previous night some other guests decided to keep noise going to 11 PM so payback can be tough...
The rain had subsided and that was a relief. The BC 37 was under construction at places and the interesting thing is that the workers make the bikes pull forward so we riders don't eat as much dust. The Pilot cars are a riot as some drivers go too slow. I once passed one as it was going way too slow. The driver got pissed but after explaining the finer points of off road bike riding he sped up enough to make it much better.
Too slow and down goes the bike.....Not an option with a loaded GS. I never dropped the bike this whole trip btw.
Till I hit Watson Lake I had no idea where I was going to stop for the night.
Funny that perpetual daylight messes with the internal bioclock and I wasn't tired at all. I had to stop at a familiar food stop in Watson Lake....Sally's Cafe
After a good homecooked meal and signing the ADV logbook I took off on the Campbell "highway" or BC 4.
Notice the quotation marks. Goatpath is more accurate but WOW what a scenery!!! Road photo first
Frances River Bridge.
Another scene photo. The reason for the distortion is that the bugs really got bad. I was kinda on the run.....
What a stunning place to see. If the skeeters had not been bad I could have pitched my tent here.
After all this, it was inevitable that something had to go 'wrong'. As it was quite late when I pulled into Ross River, I found out that the gas stations had NO gas.... There are only two stations there and BOTH were out. This was interesting, not just for me but the locals as well.
Ok, so I have MSR fuel bottles good for another 40 miles right?? Yup, pulled the bottles out, filled the bike a bit and took off for Faro, the next town over.
This town has only ONE station and it doesn't have pumps with creditcard capability... Now it was 11:30 PM, and it would open at 9 AM! Bankers hours as they closed at 5 PM! It was time for me to catch some Zzz's anyway so it wasn't bad to get stopped in my tracks at this point.
I pitched the tent in a nearby provincial campground and fell unconcious..
I think I had a big grin in my face when I crawled in my sleeping bag as this day was the exact thing I wanted to experience on this trip.
It paid off to be prepared with food, gas and water for those kinds of 'adventures'.
To be continued........maybe
Key Largo, Prudhoe Bay and Westfest
On the morning of July 6th I came out of a deep coma, or was it sleep???
It was a chilly start of the day as I broke camp which took very little time as I only had a tent, sleep pad and bag to deal with. My German neighbor had made coffee and we shared that and a few power-bars. We were also swatting at the ever present mosquito's so I have no pics of this event.
After an aufwiedersehen (goodbye), I took of for Faro, where I had an appointment with a gas station. I was there before opening time but a local resident who was putting air in his van-tires, called the owner who opened early for us. He didn't want to be in a photo so I have the important part of his gas station instead.
After gassing up and riding to Carmacks, I realized that the 120 miles from Faro would not have been done on the gas I had left from the previous day.
The bike was running fine and sipped fuel, but riding 40 MPH on gravel and stopping for pics uses more gas than continuous highway riding.
On my way to Carmacks the overdue fuel truck for Ross River headed my way too.
The ride was beautiful. The scenery was interspersed with lakes like 'Little Salmon' and eventually the Yukon river, cutting through the landscape like a silver ribbon. Pictures don't do the scenery any justice and will never relay the emotions you feel riding around here or anywhere it is so beautiful.
Little Salmon Lake. Funny name as it is 20 miles long....
Little Salmon Lake.
A sign describing a boating disaster on the Yukon River.
I stopped in Dawson for a butt break and food. My original plan was to ride to the border to Chicken, AK. The weather changed that plan, as a ferocious thunderstorm made me pitch the tent in the provincial campground across the river. I had just set up the tent as heavy rain set in. The 'Top of the World' Hwy had to wait till tomorrow. Which turned out to be a blessing......
Dawson City and the Ferry.
Camp at Dawson.
Drying out firewood at the provincial campground at Dawson. This was funny as I brought an ax rather than a tent hammer and I split the, free but wet, firewood in small pieces and had a good fire going in no time. Most folks around me had smokey fires and were looking at my fire, and when they realized what I was doing they did the same.
To be continued...