Alaska, atlasta...shades of Ushuia, 20+ hours of daylight, my time orientation out of whack, time to eat? cornflakes and milk or steak and red??…looks like 2pm, actually 10pm, sunset is 12.30am, sunrise 3am!…helps to make me realise how much I wouldn’t like to be here at the opposite time of year!
And it’s my anniversary, yes, 25 June 2005 I flew into LA, sometimes it seems like 12 weeks, other times, forever! The bike’s just clicked over 72.000 kms!
In Vancouver I met Nigel, a ski club program director, on his 1200 Adventure (the few problems I have with the 1150 look to be sorted on the 1200….fantastic!) he invited me to stay in Whistler, it was on my way north so I did.
Booked for the winter Olympics 2010, Whistler is picture pretty, big ragged mountains above the fir-treed slopes with ski runs carved thru’… Swiss village architecture, boutiques, restaurants and bars…Nigel continued this amazing, generous hospitality that I have been getting laid on me.
Bear with me….over there, a real black bear (tick), and further, a momma bear and cub (tick, tick) 11 out of 10 cuteness factor, but I’m just as happy dangling 15 feet above them in
the gondola heading to the top of Whistler….bear petting leads to stumpy little arms, ending at the elbows!
Bare with me….there’s a little lost lake where the locals go to nude up but it’s all a little chilly for my tropical thinned blood.
Up to the top, courtesy of 4 lifts and a pass from Nigel, there’s a glacier up here, skiers, snow boarders and anybody, doing their thing(s)….but you know my feelings about things ski-ish! The views were speccy but it was poco frio!!…like brrr.
I leave Whistler early and head out of town around the lake….greasy-streaky-bacon morning light, then the mountain’s perfect reflection on the water….up into the winding mountain roads, across the valleys, the smells always intense, one of the joys of riding, everything seems so imediate and clear.... sweet-milky-straw-cowshitty smell of dairy farms, thick and rich, music comes from a milking shed, the livestock Woodstock?..then more curvery, I round a bend and a huge waterfall torrents down just a few metres beside me, I can hear the roar, where does it go? Down in a valley a beaver dam (tick) altho’ I saw my first one in Ushuia where beavers have pest status!
The asphalt is
BMW Buddies, Rob & Micah and George
My inspiration to get to Prudhoe Bay
very coarse, I can feel the tyres scrubbing out, then my favourite sign “End Avalanche Area” …..thank you very much...I had not seen a "Start Avalanche" sign!
The scenery is awesome, endless fir trees and birches, dark green cold looking lakes, smooth rounded mountains, bald rock above the tree line, the lower ridges have narrow Mohawk tree lines along the spines, down the sides, swirls and zigzag tree lines like a Pommy-skinhead-soccer-hooligan’s haircut.
Then off and away to Dawson Creek, hmm sounds vaguely familiar? It’s ‘mile 1’ of the Alaska highway. The “Alcan”, sounds sort of tinny?, goes all the way to Fairbanks Alaska, the main route, thru’ fabulous scenery, and it’s a long way!
I’m pondering the fuel figures, I’m not keeping any log, I remember driving to Darwin once and writing religiously all the kms, litres, $ etc and then never looking at it again, what’s the point? Will some future generation, archaeologising this site, find my fuel records of some interest? I doubt it.
The valley opens out, clear blue sky altho’ still chilly, I’m wearing everything I own. This morning I laughed as they gave a sunblock reminder on the weather channel, it was 2 degrees!…the
locals are all getting around in t-shirts and shorts, I’m still rugged up! Too long in the tropics?
Everything is so green and lush, along the roadside bright, pretty, purple wild flowers, pretty little yellow light on the dash…whoa, hold on, that’s the low fuel light, she-it, just how far is the next town?..hmmm...what was I saying about keeping records?
Then the big horn sheep, a couple of them on the road (tick), actually they are massive horn sheep, how can they hold the weight up?…same body styling as the buffalo, (a small mob by the roadside as well (ticks)) giant, bullant heads, hunched shoulders, then skinny little arse ends, and deer and caribou…and squirrels…(tick, tick, tick) ..often on the road, they should be off gathering nuts not sunning their nuts on the asphalt, they run a bit and then crouch down “he’ll never see me” on the wide, flat asphalt they stand out like a steak at a Hindu barbecue, or maybe it’s a teenage squirrel thing, “hey guys, lets go down to the freeway and play ‘quick squirrel/flat squirrel’” The bears eat them off the road, bear snack food!
I pull into a gas station/café tres rural, another
Out of Whistler
backwater, a slightly slow local young guy strikes up a conversation, he’s a fisherman and loves the country up here, I can understand why, it is beautiful, he insists on paying for my coffee and muffin, and then pays my gas as well…once more, it is extraordinary…welcome to Canada he says.
Then, up ahead I see a range of huge mountains, the famous Canadian Rockies? Black and foreboding, snow caught in niches and folds, jagged row of mini matterhorns, like looking into the jaws of a great white.
A sign warns of horses, whaa?..then a couple of kms further a bunch of 20 or so huge horses, like giant Clydesdales, preparing to charge up onto the road, again I’m torn between photgraphing, and/or surviving, a charge, I slip past them, a little further, off to the side, another momma bear and cub, are they going to cross the road? Can I pull up and take a photo without getting attacked? Pass me the really long lens please…the momma bear has the same look I’ve seen in the eyes of mommas whose daughters I was trying to date! Danger Will Robinson…I ride on.
Across the frontera and back in the US,
Alaska at lasta, the border chica tells me I only got 3 months coming in from mexico, bastards! And she can’t give me more…bummer, however, after the cursory questioning…any firearms, drugs, cigarettes, 10,000 dollars, alcohol? ...I wish! And I’m in.
Big mobs of bikes, crikey, a constant stream going the other way and at every stop, several going my way, lots of Goldwings and Harleys with trailers and tons of baggage, the RVs of the bike world, and lots of real travellers on BMWs, I’ve never seen so many BMWs, amazing, and all of us in the brotherhood of bikes, just fantastic camaraderie.
I ride the last leg from Tok to Fairbanks with two new friends, Robert and Micah, 2 up on a 1150, he’s a BMW techo, very handy, we eat Thai and they shout, being my anniversary eve!! He and I drink a few Heinis on the step of the motel, so bizarre, it’s daylight but midnight! They head off in the morning for Prudhoe, I’m still uncertain and decide to have a rest day, it’s been a long haul up from Whistler, but I would really like to meet up with them again, really good people.
I call round and see George, another 1150 GS rider, from San Fran, I’d met him on the road yesterday, we are going to head off for Prudhoe tomorrow. We had burgers and beer, he shouted my anniversary as well, fantastic…what have I done to deserve meeting and being treated by such generous and friendly people, I just hope I get the opportunity to reciprocate one day.
Well, the Prudhoe run, Coldfoot, Deadhorse and back, nearly 1,600 kms, already covered in the hastily added blog the night we got back…just so stoked…the same feeling as getting to Ushuia in the far south six months ago. Did I tell you about the party at Coldfoot on the way in?...one of those fantastic impromptu biker gatherings...awesome!!
I’ve been looking at ferry services and reckon I’ll ride down to Haines and catch the ferry to Billingham, just south of the Canadian border, 3 days, then pop back up to Vancouver for the service.
Well you got all that yesterday, now we're back to the present I think....what next I wonder?
Hey, 10pm and still light...back in Vancouver and the pre-blog done...what a bonus for you...2 in one day!!....save it up tho' there might
not be much for a while until I get the bike sorted...Love you all!!
Tot: 0.847s; Tpl: 0.067s; cc: 24; qc: 103; dbt: 0.0577s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.6mb