Friday, July 18, 2008

Me,Leah,Murray, Carol,Chuck, Briand and Toby
Banf Jasper Parkway
Getting closer to home
Here's Diesel Guarding the bikes

Meziadin Lake
Leah and Murray Hurrell and Toby

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So. After I last signed off, the man was pissed at me because I was on the internet so much. I had to give it up for the rest of the trip home, even if the place we stayed at had WiFi. God, sometimes I swear I am the man in the relationship!! Oh well, when I FINALLY signed off and made it down to my bike there was a note on my tank bag from Brian saying he was next door having breakfast. So I trudged into the restaurant hoping to still be able to get some food without grief! There were some other bikers sitting in there and I could tell they were Harley riders because they didnt say hello, they just stared at me imagining me onthe back of a bike. yeah whatever. When I sat down, Brian asked me if I recognized this dude by the till from Dawson...holy crap! it was Frank from Pink Mountain!! I turned to Frank and said, "Great to see you finally made it off Pink Mountain!" he was equally surprised to see us. His wife Joan was there too and we gabbed for a few minutes about our next destinations. seems they were heading down the Cassiar as well tomorrow and then off to Stewart, so we said that we might see them there. they were headed off to vancouver and then the Island so i told them how to get to my mom's coffee shop in Parksville and they said they were going to try and get there. Which they did. My mom was quite surprised to meet them and hear abit about my adventure on the road. Note to all...she gave them a free bag of donuts because they knew me!! They are great people. After we left the restaurant we met a couple from the Netherlands on a Honda CX650 pulling a trailer, who had been on the road for 2 years already and they were heading to Alaska and wanted to know how the roads were. We told them abit about our adventure and they were happy to hear the roads werent as bad as they had been previously told. This couple were in their seventies I think...pretty cool. If I amstill travelling with my man when i am that old I am going to forget my hearing aids at home I think!!
Back on the road, we headed south on the Cassiar to Stewart. We had heard that the first 25KM or so were a little rough, but it was pretty good. I really like having to steer around pot holes and frost heaves. I definitly am used to it by now!! The Cassiar Highway was awsome!! Very beautifull and a great road to drive on. lots of curves and hills, a bit of gravel and the odd moose. There wasnt a whole lot of traffic but I did see a few bikes. I even thought that I saw Squonker(Ben) but he was going the wrong way. We passed this guy and a girl on an old Norton weighed down like crazy. It was a pretty cool looking bike. We stopped and chatted with them at the Frank Bell Airstrip and man was it hot there. FINALLY some decent freakin weather. The whole day was great. We made it to the Stewart turn off and pulled out the directions to Leah and Murray's cabin (friends of mine from the Island) they have a cabin at Meziadin Lake just east of Stewart. We arived there at 9pmish after my questionable driving instructions which I blamed on Murray, and they were in bed!! what a couple of old farts....I pulled into there driveway and started honking my horn, that got a little action in the cabin happening! I hadent seen them in about a year so it was so great to spend some time with them and the 16 million mosquitos. We canooed(?) on the lake which was just like glass. It was so beautifull there and I told Brian that we need to buy a cabin on a lake and get a canoe. We had a great couple of days there and it was really nice to have a break from the road. Leah cooked us some fantabulous meals and Murray always has alot to say...about everything, which always seemed to end up with those "Damn Politicians!" Murrays parents showed up on Thursday evening and it was great to see them again too. They are great people. We left on the Friday morning after taking a few group photos and after viewing them at home i was quite surprised to see Brian with his arm around Toby, Leah and Murray's dog. Being the HUGE (sarcasm) dog lover that he is. We headed out at our ealiest time so far, 9am , wow. We hit a rain shower early and got to Kitwanga for fuel where we met someother Albertans and it felt pretty good to be going home. We stopped for lunch in Smithers at Brian's favorite eating spot, Subway. Smithers is such a pretty town, I love it there. We drove all the way to Vanderhoof where we found a "Biker Friendly" motel which was owned by a couple from Whitehorse. They had just moved there last October and it really is a small world because the husband used to get his hair done where I used to work in Whitehorse! I didnt remember him but we had a good chat. It never ceases to amaze me how you can meet people in places far from home and they will know people that you do. It is truly a small world and I think it is getting smaller all the time. We saw a wood processing place in Vanderhoof, I think they made 2x4's and other lumber and the amount of logs piled up there was HUGE!! I am not sure if they had so much because of the low price of wood or because the demands for lumber has dropped so much but WOW! Amazing amount of cut logs. We got on the road early and headed east to Jasper. Prince George has really grown alot. The traffic through there was busy. It sure helped having 2 side mirrors now! I dont know how I managed in Anchorage with only one, that town has crazy traffic. Lots of beautiful scenery and a great road to drive on. Nice and smooth with some good curves and hills. We stopped at McBride, that is a nice little town. We tried to find a real estate office to see what the prices their were like but there wasnt one. The local paper had some listings in it and the prices were definitely cheaper than here. McBride has alot of farm land and it is kind of in the valley of some mountains. Very picturesque. I was happy when we made it to Jasper, almost home, YAY!! It was just crazy in Jasper, bikes everywhere. I think every Harley rider with a loud tail pipe went for a ride that day and they all ended up in Jasper. There were no hotels rooms to be had so we decided to go down the Banf Jasper parkway and see what we could find. If all else fails we camp on the side of the road. The first 2 places were completely full and so we kept heading south until we got to the Sunwapta Resort. They had a really nice room and we were set for the night. Why start camping now?!! We went for a long walk by the river to these falls and we kept going until we couldnt handle the mosquitos any longer. Holy crap they are bad this year. They are so relentless in their quest for blood but we werent in the mood to give up any so we went quickly back to the resort. The ride home the next day was glorious. I think part of it was because we were so close to home but, the parkway is so beautifull. Not too much traffic and so much to see. Even after 3 weeks of mountains, mountains, mountains, I am still amazed at the enormity and the beauty of them. What a fantastic ride this has been. I hope that I dont forget too much although combined, brian and I have accumulated 880 photos to be developed!! I think I will have to find a cheap spot for developing since we spent so much on hotel rooms!! oh well, we made it home safely and I was so happy to see the farm again even though all the weeds were 3 feet tall and our lawn looked terrible. More work to do before I even go back to work! oh well...holidays are over! Thanks for reading about our journey, it sure was fun writing it knowing my friends and family were reading along.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Brian is always so sensitive and supportive!
The veiw from my seat, and this was the small wave. sometimes you couldnt see the horizon the waves were so huge. I think the grey sky should have been a clue not to go!
Glaciar waiting to "calve"
A couple of things that I remembered from Achorage. Brian and I had gone over to see about a room at a B&B that had been recommended by Barb at BArb's Leathers, and while we were standing on the street, a little, black dude walks by and as he walks by he turns to me and says,"I just have to ask...are you on a bike?" "Yes", I say. "Are you actually DRIVING that bike or just RIDIN it?" was his next Q. What the hell?!! I could feel my temper rise and I just about let him have it because he wouldnt ask a guy that, especially a "biker". Right?!JACKASS. He is lucky he was cute. So in my sweetest voice I could muster, controlling my urge to chew him an new one, I replied "Actually, Ive taken that bike on alot of roads most people havent ever been on before and wouldnt consider going on. So I am DRIVING IT!" "Good" he says and walks away after then telling us all about the bike he wants to buy this year. Then we ran into another dude who may have to get his finger amputated because he got blood poisoning in it while working on a fishboat just by getting a couple of pricks from the rope. Then he went into how he used to be a herrion addict and how now he refuses pain meds etc because he doesnt want to get hooked again. He talked to us for about 15 mins about all this and how he became a herroin addict and things about his mom...blah blah blah. We were like.."Where the hell are we?" Oh well, it was pretty entertaining.

Since we left "The Ritz" at Glennallen, we headed to Haines Junction, YK. Such a cute town with fantastic views of the mountains. We met a dude there in the restaurant who had driven up to Prudhoe Bay form California. Guys are always surprised that I am riding my own bike and not sitting on the back of Brian's. Then they ask me how I like my bike because they want their own woman to ride a bike and think mine would be good. It is good dammit!! I love riding it!! This trip has been awsome for riding despite the amount of cloudy, rainy days we've had. The next day we met a group of 3 going to Anchorage while at breakfast. Then we headed to Haines, AK. That road between Haines Junction and HAines, AK was some of the most fantastic scenery and a cool road. But COLD!! up at the summit it was down to 4.5C. I had that heated vest cranked and I was still huddled behind my windshield. Holy Crap! I wanted to stop for alot of pix but my hands were too cold to work. And Brian wasnt going to take his gloves off! By the time we hit the American border crossing it was back up to 14C and sunny. Nice. HAines was a cute little place. It was sooooo windy! why cant we get any kind of NORMAL weather?!! What is it with this country!? We did a walking tour and checked out lots of shops. We had to catch the ferry to Skagway, Ak at 10pm so we had alot of time to kill. The ferry ride over was about an hour and calm and smooth. Thank god!! I knew it had to be better than my last boat ride. It was all good....I didnt need a barf bag. I am still queezy tho and it has been about 4 days since the boat ride from hell.
Skagway is so pretty. A cruise ship hadlanded so the whole town was full of grey hairs. (Thankfully I took care of mine before we left!!) We walked the street looking like a couple of skidooers with all our gear on compared to all the "tourists". I found an artist gallery which had some of the most amazing art in it. This guy buys mammoth ivory and bones, and makes really cool carvings and jewelleryout of it as well as this really cool set of wallrus tusks. They were still attached to the skull bones and he had mounted it onto a beautifull piece of burled wood. WOW, $24,000. it was cool. He had some other really great stuff too...I had to buy a piece of art for myself. I have never seen anything quite like this stuff. Beuatifull craftmanship too. When Brian was done looking and went outside I bought myself a smaller tusk piece. hee hee. Wont he be surprised when it comes in the mail in a couple of weeks?! I just wont tell him how much it costs.....
Well the man is telling me to "hurry up and let's GO!!" we stayed in Watson Lake last night and now we are headed to the Cassiar Hwy to Stewart,BC where it is supposed to be 30C and hot! yay!! some sun!! I might even turn off the vest......

Friday, June 27, 2008

We headed off in the mornings in the bright sunshine. Gloriously sunny. We went up to the Denali national park and visited the information centre and walked around a bit. Had a coffee on the patio! The tours were in buses and pretty long so we decided to just head down to Anchorage. I still want to purchase a heated vest so we planned to get to Barb's Leathers first.
At Barb’s Leathers we ran into Mark(AKDuc). I had met him in Dawson and he told us a great place to go for dinner, so Brian and I took him out for dinner. The three of us ended up hanging out together and then we stayed at Marks place. He gave us a great tour of Anchorage and we were glad to have a place to stay. Thanks Mark!! So far the weather hasn’t been that great for camping…..not that I have minded staying in hotels any!! Of course the next day was bright and sunny and I didn’t even need the heated vest. We drove on to Seward, AK. Great ride. The road was curvy and fun. Not too much traffic(motorhomes aka landbarges) to manouver around either. Seward is a cute little fishing town right on the water. I was bound and determned that we were going to take a boat tour of the Kenai Peninsula so we headed to the docks to find a charter. We found one that was leaving the next day at 1130 so we decided to get on board even tho they warned us there was a weather warning in effect. I am such a moron!! I didn’t listen to my inner voice(do I ever?) I know that I get motion sickness pretty easy but I boarded any ways. I didn t even think about taking some gravol. Well the harbour was great, smooth nonwavy. Nice scenery, saw a whale and some porpoises. Then all hell broke loose. We headed out to open water where the swells were huge. I knew it wasn’t going to get better and the captain came on said we had about 35-45 mins of this. Crap. I stared at the horizon trying to maintain some composure and keep my guts in check. Brian seemed to be making out allright so I should be able too. I grew up by the ocean I should do better than a prairie boy! After awhile I headed to the most level spot on the boat , the lower deck back part. I stayed there for the rest of the trip. At one point I borrowed a ladies barf bag(already 1/3 full) who was sitting next to me so I could honk my guts out into it. Thank god the deckhands came around with more barf bags because I used 4. I even heaved over the edge at one point. Did I mention it was freezing out too?! Ocean spray shooting everywhere. I was huddled on the back bench with a bunch of teenage missionaries from Georgia. I managed to have a nap before the boat made it back to the wharf and Brian helped me crawl back to our hotel where I slept for a couple hours. I am just thankful that we had a good driver because I think the ride could have been way worse than it was. I told Brian to kick my ass if I ever want to get into another boat again. $300us to puke my guts out for 6 hours. Nice. So we decided after that to drive to Valdez instead of taking the ferry. haha 2 days later and I am still queezy. The Glenn Hwy was really nice and curvy but I had to keep stopping because I felt like I was going to barf again! Gross, in a helmet wouldn’t be too cool. We made it t Glennallen where we have a room at the Caribou hotel in the annex. Kind of like a bunkhouse. Cheap and clean. We are getting a bit short on time so we may not go to Valdez but continue on back to Tok, AK and then to Haines Junction, YK. Back into Canada, or Cehnehdeh, as some of my American friends think we say it!!! We don’t all say eh, you know.
Some things I have seen on the way so far that have been strange: since we have been in Alaska, I have noticed these kiosks everywhere that sells coffee and espresso. We could be on the highway in the middle of freakin nowhere and there is an espresso kiosk. People here must be totally addicted to their coffee. Even in Anchorage every block ihas at least one maybe 2 kiosks for espresso. Another weird thing is since we got on the Alaska Hwy, I have seen 5 cars with the windows all smashed in and pretty beat up on the side of the road, just hanging out. 3 in Canada and then 2 in Alaska. On the highway in the middle of nowhere will be this car in the ditch all beat to crap. Looked really odd.
Well…we are off to breakfast and then back on the road. The heated vest is awesome!!! Roasty toasty. All of our gear has been great so far. My odometer is now 9924.