Friday, June 15, 2012

National Parks Tour -- Pacific Northwest

SpotWalla Map.  Also, check here if you like.

See the Garmin Connect GPS Track of this ride.   4,794 Miles

This is the return home trip from the NPT - North to Alaska adventure.  Instead of taking the Alaska Highway, I'm taking the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry from Haines AK to Prince Rupert BC.  I'm doing this because I want to secure passport stamps in the Pacific Northwest;  Washington and Oregon.  Also, I really enjoyed the ferry ride up last week when the Alaska Highway was closed.  I did the math and the cost is about the same in terms of gas/motel vs riding the ferry.  It takes about day longer going by ferry.

Jun 24:  Did the short ride to home and the end of memorable Hard Riding Adventure. 

June 23:  Surprise AZ to east of El Paso.  More hot weather riding.  Lolly-gag pace I think.  On schedule to be home Sunday around mid afternoon.  Another day of hot riding.  Leaving Surprise around 7am the temperatures quickly rose to triple digits by the time I reached Tucson.  I had plenty of water on board and sipped every 10 to 15 minutes.  My CamelBak holds 100oz or over 3 quarts of water.  And, I also carry a 2 quart canteen as backup.  After the temps reached 100F I put on my Gore-Tex over jacket to protect me from the heat blast.  The combination of the Under Armor shirt, mesh jacket and Gore-Tex over jacket kept me relatively comfortable.  At Van Horn TX I decided to get off of I-10 and head to the Davis Mountains and cooler temperatures.  I stopped in Alpine for the night around 7:30.  It was a cool 86F.

Jun 22:  Reno to Phoenix today.  Did a coffee stop in Fenley NV for gas and update the blog.  The Eldorado hotel charged for wifi so I didn't get a chance on Thursday .  Guess the want you on the floor gambling instead of in your room blogging.   Stopped at the temporary HQ for Lake Mead National Recreation Area for the NV passport stamp.  This completes my National Parks Tour -- Master Traveler Gold requirements.

It was hot riding after I got south of Tonapah NV.  Filled up the Camel Bak and canteen in Fenley.  Hydrated all the way to Surprise AZ.  Good training today. I enjoy desert riding.  

Jun 21: Good riding again today.  On the way to Crater Lake I scored Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument.  It was a 1.5 hour detour but well worth the trip.  I rode to the Johnson Observatory very near the caldera.  There was still evidence of the eruption visible.  Fallen trees, stumps and baron areas littered the area.  Leaving MSH I had to back track to I-5 for the ride to Crater Lake.  I had been there before but it was a treat to see it again.  There were still lots of snow on the summit but the temperature was very comfortable.  Scored the passport stamp and headed to Reno.  Got it around 10:30 and checked into the Eldorado Casino and Hotel for $37. 

June 20:  The goal today is to ride from Prince George to Seattle WA. It's a 9:55 ride and with stops about 10:30.  I have selected the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park as a Washington passport stamp location.  The Visitor's Center stays open till 7 PM so no reason to rush or feel schedule stress.  It also qualifies me for a Silver NPT designation.  I read all about the Klondike gold rush in Call of the Wild and White Fang.  Very adventurous stuff.  I'll take some pictures along the way if I see something interesting.

Great riding again today.  Crossed the Canada/US border easily.  Had to stop at the Seattle BMW dealership for a new rear tire before scorning the Klondike Gold Rush NHP.  The Alaska and Canadian roads are tough on tires.  The BMW services guys had me out of there in under an hour at a cost of $311.  When I got to the Klondike site downtown Seattle it was closed.  So, took a couple of pictures and headed to Mt. Rainier.  Went to the Carbon River entrance on the north west corner of the park.  The ranger station was closed so I took another picture.  Staying in Buckley, WA at the Econolodge to plan tomorrow's ride.  

Jun 19:  Arrived in Prince Rupert right on schedule.  My gas tank was full so no stopping after Canadian Customs.  The weather was cloudy and looked like more maritime rain showers.  But about 100 miles out of town the sun came out amongst the clouds and the riding was good.  Stopped about half way for gas and a power bar.  Then into Prince George.  There must have been a couple of events in town cause several of the hotels were full.  I got a room at the Four Points by Sheraton for $130.  Not bad considering what I have been paying and it was a very nice hotel.

June 18:  Spent Saturday night in Juneau at the same hotel I stayed on the way up.  Decent rate at $104.  Hung out at the hotel till about 11:30 then on to gas up for a full tank at Rupert and get a bite of lunch.  Chose Subway...always good always fresh.  got a $5 footlong Italian BMT for $9.50.  At the ferry terminal a couple of bald eagles flew in to enjoy to local activities.  I met a couple of Mexican Iron Butt members, my age, on the ferry.  They were coming back from a bush flight up to Watson lake.  They intended to ride their motorcycles all the way up to Watson Lake but ran into a little trouble with the Mounties near New Hazelton BC.  Seems they were riding at 158 km/h in a 100 km/hr zone.  In case you can't do the math in your head that's 98 mph in a 62 mph, or as the say up north, felony reckless driving.  Their bikes were impounded for 7 day and they had to post bail of $380 each.  They hoped to catch the Greyhound omnibus, Spanish for bus, at Prince Rupert to New Hazelton to try to get their bikes back.  The want to ride up the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse and asked me lots of questions about the road.  I wished them luck.

Jun 17:  Raining again.  It's been raining since I arrived in Haines Friday.  I have to check in at the ferry terminal at 1:30 PM today so I'm hanging out at the hotel in Juneau.  The ferry is scheduled to arrive in Prince Rupert at 10:45 on Tuesday morning.  So, I'll be spending two nights aboard.  No wifi and cell coverage only when I'm in ports along the way.  I will be sending Spots at each along the way.   While enroute to Juneau from Haines I Spot'd twice.  The messages didn't go through.  I think I turned off the Spot too soon after getting notice it sent the "email".  The bike is doing great.  I did loose a highway peg along the way somewhere.  Just checked Howard's Spot track and he's almost back to Fairbanks. 

Jun 16:  Show up time at the ferry terminal is 5:30 PM.  I plan to hang out at the motel till around 10:30 then go find a place to hose down the bike before riding the 4 miles outside of town the ferry terminal.  First stop floating south will be Juneau where I have to disembark, spend the night and change ferries for a Sunday departure.  I'll do some more blogging when I get to the hotel in Juneau and post some pictures of the trip from Fairbanks to Haines.

Checked in at the terminal, got my ticket to ride, then headed back to Haines to the Fog Cutter Bar for the free WiFi.  Just checked in on Howard's progress up the Dalton Highway.  Past Coldfoot on his way to Atigin Pass.  Go Howard!

Summer in the Yukon
End of the AlCan at Delta Jct
June 15:  I said my good bys to the Ultimate Coast to Coast riders at the Alpine lodge and headed south to Haines. I was going to swing by Wrangle NP and pick up another passport stamp but the detour was 217 miles out of the way.  So, on to Haines.  I had the choice of stopping along the way somewhere in the middle and stay in a Canadian motel or ride all the way to Haines.  The weather was still good and my GPS predicted a 7:30 PM arrival time.   Crossing over the Chilkat Pass along the Haines Highway about 40 miles from the border I was above the tree line in snow covered mountains.  Temps dropped to high 30's for a bit but I was toasty warm with my electric gear.  Arrive in Haines at 7:20 pm local.  Just two hotels in town.   I checked into the Captain's Choice motel (rate $107), walked the block down the hill to the Lighthouse eatery and got something to eat.

The Route Home

A - Fairbanks
B - Haines AK to catch ferry
C - Prince Rupert BC
D - Prince George BC
E - Seattle WA for Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site
F - Crater Lake National Park
G - Rachel NV (Little A'le'Inn)
H - Wimberley TX