North to Alaska and Home


20 April

I left my cousins home (in Burlington, WA) at about noon. Stopped at the BMW dealer (Pacific North West Motorcycles) in Ferndale, WA to have my new rear tire re-balanced.

I had it mounted and balanced yesterday at Wenatchee (WA) Power Sports and they screwed up the balancing so bad it would about rattle my fillings out……and, after quoting me $45 to mount and balance the new tire, that I furnished, they charged me $75!!! I asked the service manager about it and he just smiled and said "it was hard to do". Hard to do??? When I called to make the appointment I told him what the bike was, the make of the tire coming off and the make of the tire going on. What a crooked outfit!!! Taking advantage of someone for Alaska when they think that it does not matter, having "we will never see this guy again any way" attitude. Well they are right about that! I had bought the tire---Continental TKC 80---from the BMW dealer in Seattle and had it shipped to Merritt's. Cost $180. Wenatchee Power Sports had the same tire, same size, on their rack marked at $220. That should have been my first clue.

Pacific NW Motorcycle took a handful of weights and the beads out of the tires and put one small weight back on and it was perfectly balanced! They are great people to work with, very knowledgeable and friendly. I will tell you that I believe that the balancing beads are the way to go, but I did not have any new ones, and I had no idea how many beads Wenatchee Power Sports had lost, so we opted out for now.

I made it through the border after MUCH questioning and a complete search of my bike and my person. All of this took about three hours. I arrived at Hope BC at about 1930 hours and checked into a small motel, the Best Continental Motel. I was shocked at how clean it was….and only $69 Cdn!!!! I highly recommend this place and the owner is very friendly and helpful. There is a restaurant next door with pretty good food.

21 April

Left Hope BC at 0900. It was a beautiful warm day. A beautiful ride up the Fraser River Valley. I arrived at Cache Creek at about 1200 hours only to find that Hwy 97 was closed north and south due to a major vehicle accident. The road report said that hwy will be closed to 1900 hours. Gassed up my bike and at the suggestion of a local truck driver I headed to Kamloops and then north on Hwy 8 to Little Fort, then east on Hwy 24 back to Hwy 97. This was about a three hour ride. I saw some very beautiful country. At Little Fork, the electric power was out so the gas station was not able to pump gas so it was closed. I was glad that there was lots of gas in that eight (8) gallon tank on my GS Adventure. While I was standing there at the closed gas station taking a break and talking to my wife on the phone when all of a sudden I saw this dust storm coming up the river. There was sand blowing everywhere and limbs small were breaking out of the trees. I got on my bike thinking I could get away from it, as there was no place to hide from the storm where I was. I turned left on Hwy 24 (up hill) to go over the pass and immediately climbed up out of the sand storm but the wind kept up for several more miles with small limbs on the road. There was a great deal of oncoming traffic, people going out around the accident on Hwy 97. Lots of twisties on the uphill section of this road…A nice ride, although I long to get on a gravel road again.

When I got back to Hwy 97 there was still no north bound traffic. I arrived at Williams Lake at about 2000 hours…a long day. The county around 100 Mile House and north is beautiful ranching area. I checked into the Super 8 and while I was unloading my bike I met a young woman that had been involved in the accident. She and a friend walked away without a scratch from their totaled car. The only scratch that she got was climbing down a steep gully to try to rescue the people in two cars that were off the road. At least one person had died. She said that she was re-evaluating her life that evening---when we met--- and wondering why she and her friend were spared. In a lengthy conversation I told her that GOD had other plans for her and it was up to her to find out what those plans are.

22 April

I was in Williams Lake for another day looking around

23 April 2016

After eating four (4) hard boiled eggs for breakfast at the hotel, I left the Super 8 in Williams Lake BC, at 0845, and headed north. Cold and light rain off and on all day. Gassed up in Prince George and bought an apple, some vegetable chips, water and some meal replacement bars. I ate the chips and apple. Stopped for gas in Chetwand and ate two meal bars. Then headed up Hwy 29 to Hudson’s Hope and on to Fort St. John. There were LOTS of Mule deer on the road after I passed Peace (River) Canyon Dam (bridge) and climbed up onto the ranching country. BIG beautiful meadows and fields. I arrived at Fort St. John at 1945 hrs. I was getting real cold…no hot food all day. I checked into the Econo Lodge and got some French fries, hot tea, and a salad ($27 Cdn). Took a hot shower to warm up. Called my good friends Gary and Lori, in Fort St, John. Gary is working tomorrow but Lori will meet me at the hotel in the morning.

o-spacerun:yes'> I turned left on Hwy 24 (up hill) to go over the pass and immediately climbed up out of the sand storm but the wind kept up for several more miles with small limbs on the road. There was a great deal of oncoming traffic, people going out around the accident on Hwy 97. Lots of twisties on the uphill section of this road…A nice ride, although I long to get on a gravel road again.

When I got back to Hwy 97 there was still no north bound traffic. I arrived at Williams Lake at about 2000 hours…a long day. The county around 100 Mile House and north is beautiful ranching area. I checked into the Super 8 and while I was unloading my bike I met a young woman that had been involved in the accident. She and a friend walked away without a scratch from their totaled car. The only scratch that she got was climbing down a steep gully to try to rescue the people in two cars that were off the road. At least one person had died. She said that she was re-evaluating her life that evening---when we met--- and wondering why she and her friend were spared. In a lengthy conversation I told her that GOD had other plans for her and it was up to her to find out what those plans are.

24 April 2016

Lori met me at the hotel and we went to her office to print and scan some papers. We had breakfast with her son and their youngest daughter. Both very impressive young people. We then went to Gary and Lori’s house, about an hour and a half from Fort St. John. I parked my bike about a mile and a half from their house…their driveway is VERY slick mud, deep in places, and it would be a real chore to get the bike in the last 1.5 miles. Gary arrived home from work that evening. It was terrific to spend time with them. It had been about 15 years since I had seen them….way too long.

ul meadows and fields. I arrived at Fort St. John at 1945 hrs. I was getting real cold…no hot food all day. I checked into the Econo Lodge and got some French fries, hot tea, and a salad ($27 Cdn). Took a hot shower to warm up. Called my good friends Gary and Lori, in Fort St, John. Gary is working tomorrow but Lori will meet me at the hotel in the morning. o-spacerun:yes'> I turned left on Hwy 24 (up hill) to go over the pass and immediately climbed up out of the sand storm but the wind kept up for several more miles with small limbs on the road. There was a great deal of oncoming traffic, people going out around the accident on Hwy 97. Lots of twisties on the uphill section of this road…A nice ride, although I long to get on a gravel road again.

When I got back to Hwy 97 there was still no north bound traffic. I arrived at Williams Lake at about 2000 hours…a long day. The county around 100 Mile House and north is beautiful ranching area. I checked into the Super 8 and while I was unloading my bike I met a young woman that had been involved in the accident. She and a friend walked away without a scratch from their totaled car. The only scratch that she got was climbing down a steep gully to try to rescue the people in two cars that were off the road. At least one person had died. She said that she was re-evaluating her life that evening---when we met--- and wondering why she and her friend were spared. In a lengthy conversation I told her that GOD had other plans for her and it was up to her to find out what those plans are.

25 April 2016

I spent the day at Gary and Lori’s place. I rode into town with Lori and took care of some more paperwork. The bank locked me out of my debit card for a fraud suspicion thing. It took four phone calls to the number on the back of the card for them to get it released. I spent one more night at Gary and Lori’s. Had a great supper with them of vegetables and buffalo tenderloin. Gary had shot the buffalo in their yard the year before. The meal was delicious! We had a wonderful visit catching up on each other’s lives after so many years. Gary and I talked into the wee hours of the morning.

26, April 2016

It froze last night. I left Gary and Lori’s place and was on the bike headed north by 0830. Rode the 17 miles of gravel (I really like being off the pavement) out to Hwy 97 and turned north. I saw lots of wildlife between there and Muncho Lake:

  • Three (3) black bear spread out over about a about a mile and a half. All eating new green grass right next to the white line. Wouldn't even pick up its head when I honked at one of them....that is a little unnerving!!! So much for blowing a loud horn to scare the bear away theory!!!! One was about 8 feet; one about 7 feet and a smaller one about 5 feet. The two biggest ones were very, very big for black bear. (The one on our wall was about 7 1/2 feet when the hide was green.) REALLY makes me wish that I had the 44!!! I will see if I can buy some bear spray at the next town. (It is illegal to bring it cross the border into Canada but I can buy it here.....

  • Saw a cow and calf elk right by the road

  • Saw two big horn sheep, ewe's and one lamb just across the guard rail....I don't know if the will show up in the video

  • Saw two cow moose

  • And not many people. A real lot of the people that I saw headed south had Alaska plates and were loaded up with all of their stuff moving south.

I spent the night at the lodge on Muncho Lake. The lake is still frozen over…as are all of the lakes I have recently passed. Summit Lake had no open water at all.

27 April 2016

Munch Lake: I woke up at 0600 and looked out the window….low clouds and fog….went back to bed to wait for the sun to burn off the fog and low clouds…..and any frost that might be on the bridges. At 0800, the sun was starting to come through. I left Munch Lake at about 9 AM in beautiful weather. I saw lots more wildlife today:

  • Four Big Horn rams right on the road. One was at least a ¾ curl ram. They were very close, in the opposite lane right on the shoulder

  • One black bear about 5-6 feet is size

  • LOTS of buffalo, about 100 to 125 head

  • Nine caribou spread out over a great distance

I stopped in Teslin to get some food at the grocery store. There I met two intrepid bicycle riders from Germany. They had spent the last 10 weeks riding from Vancouver BC to there. They we headed for Denali National Park and then to South America!!! They have rode and hiked in many countries of the world. Here is their web site and blog: www.tales-on-tyres.com

I arrived in Whitehorse YT at about 2000 hours and got a sleazy motel room. The first room I was given smelled so bad I could not take it. They gave me another one that was only slightly better…didn’t smell as bad but was anything but clean. It is cold and windy in Whitehorse. Everyone is wearing their warm coats. My thin sleeping bag is for the Arizona desert and not warm enough for the north. I should have had Lana ship my arctic sleeping bag south before leaving Washington State…..poor planning on my part.

28 April 2016

It is cold and windy here in Whitehorse this morning. Packing to hit the road again. 900 miles from home. Hope to be there in two days.

I stopped at Destruction Bay to get gas and something to eat. I ordered a bowl of their homemade chili and a cup of green tea. The bowl was about the size of a large coffee mug……not enough to keep me going. So I ordered another bowl. I picked up five Cliff Bars as I went to the counter to pay. The bill was $42 Cdn…..and that did NOT include the gas!!!! I was floored!!

The border crossing into Alaska was easy. Very nice people…He looked at my Pass Port and asked me a couple of questions and said “Welcome Home”. One of the guys there is big into adventure bikes. He came out to talk with me about bikes and we had a good talk.

I saw one black bear about 25 miles north of the border crossing…..maybe a five foot bear. Also saw one caribou and several ruffed grouse. It is mating season so the male ruffed grouse were all puffed up and strutting around. The road was the roughest north of Whitehorse. Lots of pot holes to dodge and frost heaves. Arrived in Tok Junction, Alaska at about 1930 hours. I had a good meal at Fast Freddy’s and got a room there. They have a terrific salad bar and fair prices. Very clean and comfortable and reasonably priced.

29 April 2016.

I woke up at the hotel in Tok Junction, Alaska to a nice sunny day. It is about 500 miles to home. The Tok Cutoff Road was a little rough with pot holes and lots of frost heaves…..very normal for Alaska during breakup (spring). I saw beautiful snow covered mountains and took some video with the GoPro and a few still shots.

I gassed the bike up in Glennallen. At the gas station I very unexpectedly ran into Pastor Milt Michener from the Summit Worship Center in Wasilla.….we were both surprised. We had a short but good chat.

I gassed up in Anchorage and had supper. Left Anchorage for home….another 200 miles . I have two sets of driving lights on my 1150 GS Adventure, a set of PIAA’s and a set of Lightforce, but I try to do everything that I can to NOT ride in the dark…especially in Alaska. Vehicles hitting moose is a very common thing in Alaska, with usually very bad results for the driver and passengers. So a person on a bike doesn’t stand much of a chance against a 1,000+ pound moose. I have seen them hobble away from being hit by a car. (And you NEVER want to hit a brown bear. That is like hitting a granite cliff.) On average there are 250 moose hit by vehicles just on the Kenai Peninsula each year (where we live). And that is with a total population of 49,000 people spread out over 16,000 square miles.

Where we live, it is getting dark about 10:30 PM right now and I got home about an hour after dark. I saw several moose on the sides of the road…but they stayed there.

I thank GOD for a safe and wonderful journey


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