My trip started with an Application for a US Visa as my stay was going to be longer than 3 months. I also applied for an Electronic Australian Passport as it is supposed to make things easier
I followed the very detailed instructions on the US Visa web page, jumped through all the hoops and everything worked out, they finished up giving me a 5 year multiple entry visa. This will save me having to go through this expensive ($350) and time consuming (2 months) process again within the next 5 years.
The only hiccup was with my photograph, it was not exactly 5cm x 5cm. They have a list of Photographers that know the US visa requirements and one was conveniently located right outside the consulate in Perth, it only took a few minutes to get some new pictures taken.
And make sure your fingerprints are in good condition because they get taken about 43 times.
Next job was to crate my bike. I used a Ducati ST3 crate, its made of steel and looks strong. A crate made of wood would have to be fumigated.
I got the crate from Causeway Ducati in Perth in exchange for a carton of Tooheys Extra Dry. It came complete with all the nuts and bolts and straps needed to secure the bike. Thank you Grant.
Squeezing it all in, the 2 panniers just fit in front of the headlight.
On the way to the Airport ($80 by Bike Lifters - 0412 917 959).
On the scales at Dangerous Goods.
You are allowed to have a quarter tank of fuel and the Battery leads must be disconnected and taped up.
Total weight was 260kg but it was cheaper to send it at the 300kg rate.
The Crate was shrink wrapped in black plastic before shipping.
It left Perth on Thursday 24 Apr 08 and arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday 26 Apr 08
EXPORTAIR did the job. Thank you Phil Drake.
Ph: 08 9477 1080
I flew out on Friday at 0105 via Singapore and Tokyo to Los Angeles, arrived the same day at 1255 , 23 hours of misery, you guessed I don't like being cooped up in a tin box.
I amused myself by taking pictures of the flaps.
Flaps over Singapore.
Air Brake over Japan, I think the pilot hit the wrong button.
Japan in neat little squares.
Rough Landing in Japan, Flaps, Airbrake, Bounce, Swerve, I think the pilot must have been watching the in-flight Fast and Furious movie.
The N stands for NIPPON, there were hundreds of them.
First view of the USA, that's the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco in the middle, its my out of focus camera not the smog that's making things blurry
Enroute to LA
LA from the air
Temple to the Automobile
Another Temple to the Great 4 Wheels
City of Angels
Though the city of Los Angeles, California is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States at almost 18 million souls, it is a relatively young city, not founded until the mid nineteenth century.
And there is more here........
Los Angeles History
Arrived totally stuffed at LA after 23 hours cramped up, huge airport with planes, cars and trucks going every which way all on a runway with round-a bouts.
Took about an hour to get through Immigration, big queues.
Got the crazy money mixed up, all the notes are the same size and colour, taxi driver must have thought Christmas had come early.
Rang Qantas and they said my bike would be there tomorrow (Saturday), I was not expecting it until Monday and they were actually open Saturday and I could come and pick it up, even Customs were open on Saturday.
The Qantas office/warehouse was only about a kilometer away so I walked using my invaluable GPS to guide me.
They processed my paperwork in 5 minutes ($30) and then drove me to Customs
and waited while Customs took their time stamping the documents. I had to fill in an EPA form promising not to add to the pollution (no charge).
Back to the Warehouse where they allowed me to unpack and reassemble my bike while everyone stopped by to chat and wish me luck even if it was in Spanish.
Thank you Qantas.
What a relief I was mobile again, even if it was on the wrong side of the road and in the LA smog and lunatic drivers.
No one sticks to the speed limit, what speed limit, is there a speed limit, this is a Drivers city, no speed cameras, Police are too busy trying to stop people from shooting each other.
Some interesting stats here
Santa Monica Beach South
Santa Monica Beach Lifeguard (I think)
This man is looking for buried corpses
Santa Monica Pier, The Tip
Santa Monica Pier Rides
Santa Monica Pier Sideways
Santa Monica Beach North
Santa Monica Pier Looking Back from the Tip
Santa Monica Pony Rides
It is not a Stage Prop, it really does exist
The Metro has a $5 all day Bus and Train Pass, unbeatable value and you get free entertainment from all the crazies
Long Way Down
Special Earthquake Proof Tracks
Yes, his siren and lights were flashing, that's more like it
Not exactly sure what these guys were doing
The Union Station
The Post Office
The oldest house in LA, about 3000 years old, I Think
Shooting an Episode of Criminal Minds down a Broadway Side street
Criminal Minds Again
Hill Street - The Diamond street
Brave men built these Towers
More Tall Buildings
Glass and steel
Stars, everywhere, even down the side streets
Stars Hands and Feet
Real Stars hands and feet
The Chinese Theatre (where all the hand and foot prints are recorded)
Universal City Shuttle
The Globe according to Universal
Universal City Walk, a bunch of shops
The Entrance where you stand in a queue to buy a ticket, pickup a pamphlet at any Vistors centre for an $8 discount
Not sure what this is
Too scary for me
Lots of Cartoon Characters wandering around, the kids loved them and some adults?
Studio Tour Queue, 45 minutes and they have a Spanish Language Tour as well
Stage 25, where they make movies
Fake Town, there were lots of them, different themes
The Back of a fake Town
Fake Boat, these guys can do anything
House in Stephen King Movie where the Writer gets his legs chopped off
The Latest Mouthwash
Exploring LA's racetracks which become Car Parks during Rush Hour
LA Bike Shop, as Large as LA itself
I bought some oil from here, time to hit the road.
After Los Angeles the Grand Canyon and the Mountains of Arizona were a breath of Fresh Air
Left LA early, it took 110 kms to get out of Greater LA and for traffic to become less frantic. After that it was a geat ride becoming colder as the road climbed up from sea level to the stratosphere.
I stayed in Flagstaff, a very nice town and also very cold being at 2,200m this was to be expected. It was -4c (yes that is a minus in front of the 4) the first morning I woke up there.
The Route from LA to Flagstaff
Flagstaff Mountain is what I called it, if you look closely you can see the flag at the top
From Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon and back, forrests on the way there and red rock on the way back
The Grand Canyon, pictures will never do it justice, the scale is so vast it is difficult to comprehend.
Spot the Lone Pine
This Path is reserved for people who have committed a great sin, their penance is to walk down and then back up without being rescued
Take a close look, you do not want to be on that path
There are people up there
That little river did all this damage
One of the locals
The train to the GC
Lots of bikes out on the weekend
I rode back along the Canyon towards Cameron, lots of good lookouts along this road and lots of roadside Navajo stalls selling jewelry and jerky
That's the Grand Canyon in the background on the other side of the Rock wall
This must be the best country in Arizona
Sedona and Cottonwood are small towns south of Flagstaff at a lower elevation and the road descends quite steeply through the hills. Lots of campgrounds alongside the river in this wooded area and some shacks built by the river as well, very picturesque.
Once out of the mountains the landscape turned red with some stark rock formations set against a very blue sky.
Quite a lot of traffic along this road, lots of bikes, all mammoth cruisers which sounded like Harleys and some Goldwings.
The road to Sedona and Cottonwood
In 3D, note the elevation profile on the right
On the way down
Sedona, many, many, many souvenir shops
This was Cowboy country
"Las Vegas Blvd" as the sign says or a short stretch of it is what makes LAS VEGAS
Rode along Interstate 40 and then onto Route 93 to Las Vegas via the Hoover Dam. Easy ride with some excitement approaching the Hoover Dam, Police were stopping all vehicles in both directions going over the Dam especially RV's, Vans and Trucks, they waved me through (missed again) so I could not ask what was going on, probably because my bike is not capable of carrying enough fertiliser to be worthy of their attention.
Arrived in Las Vegas early quite warm, walked around for a couple of days, the Mega Resorts are really MEGA, I have never seen anything like it.
Slot machines by the million, most of them unoccupied, shopping malls within the resorts, rides within the resorts, lots of people everywhere, lots of different languages, an amazing experience but I was glad to be out of there after 2.5 days.
The Route from Flagstaff to Las vegas
Enroute to Las Vegas
Free Slots ???
New York, New York
That Roller Coaster - A whiplash machine
The Strip Lights
More Las Vegas and and I did not see all of it....
The MGM lobby, huge.
Slots a Million
I think they change the lions every day
The Killer Coaster again
This is Indoors
Planet Hollywood, 1.6 Km of shops
And they are building more of these monsters
Paris Las Vegas
Inside the Venetian
Why are people leaving money for this guy?
Attention to Detail
Treasure Island Skull
Mr. and Mrs. Greenback
Gambling while you have a drink at the Bar
Sports Book means you can bet on anything here
Lion Habitat inside the MGM Grand
Death Valley - Weird and Wonderful and not a blade of grass in sight.
Rode through Death Valley from Las Vegas via Shoshone.
Actually rode through the valley twice because I misjudged my fuel stops and went back for fuel when I did not have to.
Beautiful contrasts, desert below and snow on the mountains above, rocks of many colours, very warm especially in riding gear, I finished the day happy but completely dehydrated.
Great ride winding two lane back roads wth whoops and some in poor condition, up and over mountain passes and back down through the valleys.
Route from Las Vegs through Death Valley, Panamint Valley and China Lake
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley, an old Lake Bed
Surrounded by mountains
Faint traces of snow on the top
Below Sea Level
Death Valley Boardwalk
Ghost Town in Panamint Valley
Panamint Valley parallels Death valley but is about 300m higher
Highest (Mt.Whitney on the left) and Lowest (Death Valley on the right) points in the lower 48 so close to each other.
Stopped at Ridgecrest near China Lake for the night, surrounded by Military Bases.
Rode over the Sierra Nevada via Isabella Lake on the S155, another great ride through the mountains, up to 2000m and back down again.
Route from Ridgecrest to Porterville over the Sierra Nevada
There was a whole forest of them
Isabella lake, very pretty, small towns dotted along its shores
On the way down
Big Trees, Big Mountains, Rivers, Snow and Ice, warm in the Sun
It is difficult to find words to describe these places, feel good wilderness
Sequoia, Kings Canyon and all the way to Cedar Grove
Miles of Citrus trees at the base of the mountains
And it is harvest time
Lots of flowing water
Giant trees forest
Three pic's merged into one to capture this average monster
These trees have bark that is 600mm (2 feet) thick so forest fires have no effect on the core of the tree.
Kings Canyon on the way to Cedar Grove
Spot the car on the road, puts things into perspective
Kings River close up
Misadventure followed by Yosemite Valley
Porterville to Merced
Merced to Yosemite Valley
Since Flagstaff I had been hearing a loud ticking from the top of the Bike's engine so I decide to check it out at Merced.
The Inlet Valve clearances had opened up to about 1mm, should be 0.15mm, I knew then that there was wear in the Rocker Arm and/or shaft, it is a known problem with this model.
I rang KTM dealers all over the country for the parts but they all said backordered to the 26 June 2008. Next I called SOMMER KTM in Germany, they had the parts in stock and shipped them out within 4 hours of my calling them, delivery time 6 days.
The temperature was +40c, a heatwave, everyday right until the parts arrived, I spent my time watching repeats on TV.
The day the parts arrived it started blowing a gale 50kph winds all day and night for 3 days, the gusts were strong enough to set off my bike alarm. I pulled the Rocker Cover off with dust flying everywhere, the problem was a worn Roller Bearing on the Inlet Rocker Arm, I replaced the Arm and the Shaft and reassembled everything. Now the fun part, I had to wait 72 hours for the Silicon Sealant I used to seal the Rocker Cover to cure.
The Offending Part
While waiting I took the bus to Yosemite Valley the most picturesque part of the National Park.
All the Big Rocks, Waterfalls, Rivers and Tree's have names, I don't remember them so you can make your own up.
There is a road under there
San Francisco Old and the New all mixed up
The weather changed again, rain for the first hour out of Merced towards the coast Salinas and Monterrey.
Stopped at Laguna Seca Raceway, Home of the US MotoGP, rode around the outside, very hilly, lots of ups and downs.
Carried on to Pebble Beach, Private Road, Motorcycles not allowed which at $9.25 for 17 miles may not have been a bad thing.
Back onto Highway 1 and San Francisco, a city of contrasts and many tourists.
Merced to San Francisco
Laguna Seca Raceway
Highway 1 - Great ride, lots of bikes on the road and cars for the long weekend (Memorial day)
City Hall, very impressive
Art on the streets everywhere
These guys know what they are doing
Symbolic Entrance to China Town
This really is a China Town
Art on the buildings as well
All the streets are like this, cars parked uphill are required to turn their wheels to the left and cars parked downhill must turn their wheels to the right to prevent runaways.
And if you plan on walking like me, take the bus or the train or the cable car or the street car
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Coit Tower which is on top of a hill I was foolish enough to walk up, take the bus next time.
Coit Tower Marker
Coit Tower, there is some history here, google it.
Fishermans Wharf, Pier 39, Shops, Restaurants and Rides and millions of Tourists
The Bridge being built
Seemed to be the speciality here, Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bowl
Alcatraz from the Wharf
Cable Car, slow, noisy, bumpy and packed, a fun ride.
Be Good, this is not a nice place.
Alcatraz Island, I booked a ticket on the ferry in advance by phone, this is the most popular attraction here and booking is recommended.
Its a 15 minute ride on the ferry to the island, cool (13c) and windy.
Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Skyline
Someone requested that I put some pictures of me in this blog so now whenever someone asks me to take their pic I ask them to do the same for me.
On the ferry at the Rock
After it closed as a prison the local Indians took over the Island and lived there for over a year, claiming it as Indian Land
On the way up the hill
Outmate and a member of the Bomber squadron
Me again, as you can see I am an hour older in this one
Prisnors were searched thoroughly, thoroughly, like I said be Good
I think these pics give us a better idea of what it was like to live here
The self-guided Audio tour started here and lasted for 2.5 hours, it was recited by former Prisnors and Guards with sound effects, very well done.
Home Sweet Home 2.7m x 1.5m or 9' x 5'
D block if you misbehaved, the cells were bigger but you were not let out very often
And if you really upset the bosses, this was it, steel floor and darkness
One escape attempt resulted in Prisnors taking Guards hostage and executing them, it did not work
A unique view of San Francisco from the Rock enjoyed by the Guards
The only successful escape, though whether they lived to tell the tale is the debateable. "Escape from Alcatraz" Starring Clint Eastwood
That is the hole they enlarged with spoons to get into a Uitility corridor where they climbed up the pipes to the roof
Dummy heads under the blankets to fool the guards
The Utility Corridor where they climbed 3 floors up the pipes to the roof
Dining Room, they had the best food in the Prison system and Tear Gas cannisters in the ceiling
Freedom, water birds skimming the waves
Biking the Bridge, what they should really call it is Splitting you in Half on the Bridge
I believed the ad's and decided to Bike the Bridge, the man said "One or two small hills, really small hills on the way, liar.
Two hours uphill and another hour coming back, soaked in sweat, panting, cramps and a near death experience but worth it in the end, great views and I Biked the Bridge (next time I am Tour Bussing the Bridge)
San Francisco from the Bridge
On the way, no Doughnuts for these guys, its Clam Chowder
They look brand new
Bear with me, I spent three hours on a razor blade getting these pictures for you
Can you see the suffering on my face and this is only after 15 minutes
At last on top of the bridge, now only 3.2km's to go across the bridge and 3.2km's back and then its downhill most of the way
That Rock again
For the Jumpers
Coit Tower, the knee breaker
At last, the other end of the bridge, now its all/mostly downhill
San Francisco has the only Cable Car system in the world.
There are 4 huge loops (kilometers long) of cables running around under the streets of the city. They are kept in continuous motion by huge wheels at the Cable Car Depot, a very complex system of wheels and pulleys keeps them from getting tangled up under the streets.
The cars themselves have no engines, they use a huge set of pliers to grab the cable which pulls them along and to stop they let go of the cable and apply the brakes.
The Grip Man must have a strong back, it takes two guys on each car, they take turns as the Grip Man.
$5 a ride but if you have a day or week pass its free
This is where they get turned around manually at the end of the line
This is where the cables enter the Depot from the street
These huge wheels are what keep the cables moving around
Inside, the Grip Man in Front
Last day in San Francisco, the nicest city so far
I took a street car to Castro, the Gay District, just another street, some same sex couples holding hands. This was fairly common in other areas as well, Gay Marriages are now legal in California.
Colourful Flags mark the area
The Castro Theatre, google it for more info
The New Wonder Drug
I am trying to give you some idea of how steep the hills are, the San Franciscan's must be the fittest people in the US
Even the Cable Cars complain when climbing the hills
The Guide Books call this the Crookedest Street but in the next sentence thay say it isn't and that honour belongs to another street somewhere else, go figure.
Anyway this is the one all the tourists visit and no I did not walk up it, I am now older and wiser, I took the Cable Car to the top and walked down.
If not the Crookedest, it certainly is the prettiest street.
Ghirardelli, I took this picture so I could remember the spelling, famous for their Hot Fudge Sundae and I did have only one
Street Cars another one of San Francisco's weird Transport devices
Street Car Driver, he looks very uncomfortable
The Inside of one
San Francisco in 3D
A lake surrounded by mountains another natural wonder
Lake Tahoe is the result of a basin formed by land sinking between two faults
(according to the FAQ) and it is not a volcanic crater.
About 2 million years ago lava flowing from Mount Pluto formed a barrier across
the basin's outlet.
It is 35km long, 19km wide, 115km around, 501m deep and it is 1897m above
Half the lake is in California and the other half in Nevada
San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, I lost my way in the maze of freeways around
Sacremento and kept going on the I80, this was serendipity because the route
(49) I took to get back onto S50 was a geat ride.
I rode around the lake, there are small communities around most of the California
side, the Nevada side only had casino's at both State borders
Across a 2300m high mountain pass to get to Lake Tahoe
Does my bottom look big in this outfit, Lake Tahoe in the background
Its pretty all the way around, take your pick
Some of these vista's are very long, scroll sideways to see the rest
There was some sort of Bike race or gathering this weekend and there were
thousands of these guys/gals riding around everywhere obstructing and breathing
in the fumes of all the 4 wheelers.
This a winter sports town so the bikes thing must be to keep the local business
from going broke in summer
A fine day 18c with blue skies all round so I decided to walk to the Nevada state
border (another stupid decision) about 7.2km, I did not know this when I started,
it only took a few minutes riding my bike.
This is the Upper or Lower Truckee river
Lake Tahoe Beach
Me at the beach, not in the water
Big Ducks or they could be Geese or Swans
This is an escapee from the local asylum, he thinks he's a duck, the water is just
above freezing point. They took him away in a padded jacket with a fish in his
Your guess is as good as mine
This is what people come here for in winter
Only in America, taking the Dog's for a walk
Vicious man-eating bears everywhere
Another local happening, people having fun playing Horses and Wagons
The state border at last, casinos start right on the border
I took this while lying down for a rest on the 7km hike back
A Fairy Tale setting but the reality on a bike was Freezing, Foggy, and Wet,
I left Lake Tahoe early, great ride through the mountains, no traffic, overcast and cold with the altitude between 1200 (4000') and 1800m (6000') until I got to Chester which is at the base of the Lassen Park.
It started to drizzle so I stopped to waterproof myself further and fill up with fuel and give my rear end a break.
The road started to ascend steadily and kept ascending and it got colder and the roads got wetter and more winding and then the fog joined in to add to the excitement.
The whole place looked like something out of a fairy tale, if anyone ever offers you a job in a fairy tale, say No.
My hands started to freeze up so I stopped and took my gloves off a couple of times to take some pictures, clever, as you can imagine these stops lasted about 30 seconds, this was at 2100m (7000') when I did not actually think the road was going to go any higher. It did all the way to 2594m (8512') and the fog got to the point where all I could do was follow the double yellow lines in the middle of the road.
By now my fingers were numb and the GPS said we were descending slowly, nice, after that it was defrost all the way to Redding where I could lie down and enjoy my sore throat and flu.
A new experience that I will not forget in a hurry.
The route from Lake Tahoe to Redding
Lassen NP is the green bit at the top
A break in the fog
I did say there was Fog
Out of the rain and fog appears Mount St. Helen's
After the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc., I thought this would just be another big rock
but this mountain tops the lot.
I picked up a bug (cough, cold, flu) in San Francisco, it started to make itself felt
at Lake Tahoe and kept getting worse plus the weather after Redding decided to
join in and really make me feel miserable.
Overcast, rain, cold (around 10c) so all my rides finished up with a frozen lump
trying to get off the bike without tripping and falling over myself (this is a very tall
Redding to Springfield (Eugene) - Long, Cold and Wet
I was initially going to ride through the mountains instead of taking the Interstate
good thing I did not, it was even colder up there and snowing.
Mount Shasta, that cloud looked like a flying saucer when viewed from the back
Springfield to Kelso (Longview) - Short, Cold and Wet
Ride from Kelso to Mount St. Helen's and back
started off in fog and finished up in sunshine
On the way up to MSH (Mount St. Helen's)
I rode straight into those clouds you see covering the tops
of the mountains in the distance.
It was freezing and I could not see a thing, nearly turned back
but decided to keep going, it was only 120k's each way
and see what happened
Good decision, because the sun came out, first time in 3 days
First glimpse of MSH
Finally at the top and a minor challenge for disabled drivers.
The car park was half covered in snow
Spot the orange motorcycle
The visitors centre, really good 16 minute introductory movie.
Actual footage of the mountain blowing up in 1980
The mountain itself
28 years later and its still a desert at the base
The old man and the mountain
That Lava Dome is growing, it periodically spews out Hot Stuff
The devastation wrought by the blast is still apparent 28 years later
Millions of tree's ripped away from their trunks
New lakes were formed when bits of the mountain top blocked rivers
That was a big tree
Trees only just starting to appear at a distance
The ridge in the background that is covered in trees is behind MSH
and was not affected by the blast, that's what the whole area looked like before,
the bit in the front is after
Must come back one day (check the weather first)
Seattle - 55 days of sunshine a year, 310 days of overcast and drizzle
say no more
Short ride 2.5 hours from Kelso to Seattle, cold and wet and dodging trucks
on the Interstate all the way.
Kelso to Seattle
Second day in Seattle overcast and drizzzzzle, cleanest city so far, grey everything
and a Dog Bakery
I walked down to the wharf, markets and alley's for the tourists
Pike Place Market
Oh! look a tunnel
For Busses? not sure what the tracks are for
Boeing Factory Tour (no pictures allowed)
The Boeing Factory, largest building by Volume in the world is that one on the left
with the blue doors, no cameras or cell phones allowed inside where you can fit
about a dozen 747's, its so big it looks small.
To put things into perspective, in the background there is a six lane freeway.
The pregnant plane on the right is a modified 747 used to bring large plane parts to the factory and the building behind it is the Paint Hangar.
30,000 people work here and they have shuttle busses from the car park to the
Jumbo Tail (these pictures are from the museum)
Experimental Kitchen Appliance
They put the engines in backwards on this one to see if the pilot would notice
Big Jet Engine
Museum of Flight, the sun came out for a few hours today, 1 down 54 to go.
The SR71 Blackbird, it is huge considering it is the fastest plane ever and it was designed in 1976.
Blackbird seat, no ergonomics, they made 'em tough in 1976
Concorde Bald Tyres, no wonder it crashed
Lunar Rover, this thing went to the moon
Wire Mesh Tyres
Claustrobia Central, 3 guys had to fit in there
Two and Three
Old Antagonists in the Indo-Pak War, they look like toys next to modern fighters
What is that?
Vietnam War Adversaries
Airforce 1 from a very long time ago
Some of the passengers
Don't laugh, some famous rear ends graced this throne
Canada - Mountains, Trees, Rivers and Wide Open Spaces
My last day in Seattle I visited the Space Needle built in 1962, good views.
And if you use your imagination you can see anything you want.
Downtown Seattle and if you use your imagination you can see Mt. Ranier in the background
Blue skies, white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, use your imagination
Rides at the base of the Space Needle
Seattle International Water Airport
Space Needle Clown
Replica super bug
Seattle to Quesnel (silent 's'), long and enjoyable ride.
Went through Canadian Customs at Abbottsford, they asked the usual questions
about Drugs, Weapons, Money, The Bike, then gave me a 6 month visa, no
charge, took about 20 minutes, easy.
Started to head East and the weather improved the further I moved away from
Turned North at Hope, winding roads following rivers for the most part, lots of
tunnels at first, then it flattened out, very pretty, mountains, rivers and trees, and
more trees as far as the eye can see, a sea of trees.
Seattle to Quesnel
Lots of bikes out for a weekend ride
Blue skies in Quesnel
Quesnel to Fort Nelson
Another long ride, the first 5 hours through mountains after that it flattened out
on the Alaska Highway
My GPS lost power for a short while while riding and managed to delete most of
the track. I did not ride in a straight line, still waiting for my superpowers for that
to happen, follow the red line for my route via Prince George and Fort St. John
More mountains, trees and rivers
The black stuff on the mountain is a forest (of trees)
Fort Nelson Hotel
Mountains, Rivers, Trees, Lakes, and last but not least the ever present Rain.
Alaska Highway was built by the US Army, considered one of the
Wonders of the World.
Fort Nelson to Whitehorse blue skies for the first 6 hours and
not so blue for the next 4.
Lots of wildlife, I saw a deer first, then some Moose, then Mountain Goats (twice),
Rabbit, Squirrel, Beaver, Black Bear, Buffalo and calves (twice), only managed to
get picís of the goats and buffalo the others were too shy
Fort Nelson to Whitehorse
Buffalo going bald
Downtown Whitehorse, a Metropolis
Hotel with Dancing Girl and Internet
The Man and his Dog
The Aliens have landed
My Bike started leaking Oil and I had to make a temporary repair
that may have to last permanently
Whitehorse to Dawson City
Ignore the straight line it came from another GPS power connection glitch
Dawson City, all the buildings look like they are from a movie set
I was told buildings that do not conform are not allowed
Very touristy, dirt roads with boardwalks and sunshine
On the way there
Yukon River Ferry and its free
The Governor's Mansion
The Leaning Tower of Dawson
This time it was the Rear Brake Master Cylinder.
I was lucky the dealer in Seattle had a kit in stock
The outskirts of the town are covered in mining rubble from years gone by
Puller and Jeff, rescued Huskies
New breed of Genetically Modified Husky
Like I said Boardwalks and Dirt streets, all that's missing is JW and his six gun
Dawson City, Yukon, Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Crossing the Yukon from Dawson on the way to the Alaska
Top of the World Highway, 200 k's of dirt, best ride so far.
This is where the KTM came into its own
Canada / USA border
The sign says Most Northerly Land Border in the USA or World?
Anyway its out in the sticks
Fairbanks, Alaska, overcast, wet and a little dilapidated
Fairbanks, Alaska - freezing, overcast and raining, the forecast was for more of
the same so I decided to make a non-stop run for warmer latitudes and some
I left Fairbanks in a drizzle which lasted most of the day, the road was like a roller
coaster and roadworks delayed me at least an hour with numerous dirt sections.
The sun came out when I arrived in Haines Junction, a one street town with a
million dollar view and a really good Village Bakery.
Fairbanks to Haines Junction
Some of Canada's Tallest Mountains are in there somewhere
The view from Haines Junction, the mountains are right in your lap
Haines Junction to Dease Lake an uneventful ride, still mainly wet with 50-60 k's
dirt roads once I turned off the Alaska Hwy onto Route 37, unmarked, narrow
and bumpy, a fun ride.
Dease Lake a one street fishing and hunting town.
Haines Junction to Dease Lake
Dease Lake to Smithers via Stewart and Hyder, Alaska, freezing, my heated
gloves were on full blast and only just did the job of keeping my hands warm.
Again narrow winding unmarked road upto the Stewart turnoff after that its called
the Glacier Highway, amazing riding alongside the ice covered mountains.
Dease Lake to Smithers via Stewart, Hyder, Alaska
The straight line is another GPS power glitch
This route is variously called the Cassiar, Stewart or Glacier Highway, its lined
with these crazy lumps of rock and ice.
The most common bridge used to cross the numerous rivers is this steel
construction with a steel grid roadway which makes a bikes front wheel do funny
things following the grid.
The Roadway, do not drop your car keys here.
More Roadworks, the winter frosts destroy the roads and they spend all summer
Big Chunk of Ice
Bear Glacier with Bear Lake beneath which is the source for Bear River
The tip of the Glacier, pretty colours
Stewart, Canada - This contraption has something to do with Logging
See, lots of Logs
Hyder, Alaska - end of the line, not really sure why it exists right at the tip of the
I rode from Canada into the USA and back in 15 minutes.
Its the only place I have been where there is no US Customs presence only Canadian.
Time for a peanut butter roll
Smithers to Jasper - back in civilization again, lots of small towns, prices back to
normal and the sun is shining again.
Smithers to Jasper
Marcel a crazy French Canadian from Quebec could only speak 3 words of English
which is more than you can say of my French.
Riding a Yamaha Majesty 400 scooter, a long way from home ran out of fuel and
I stopped and we found an empty can of Budweiser in a ditch which I filled twice
from my tank after disconnecting the fuel hose, next stop 24km, he was confident
it would make it, I followed and he ran out again so another two cans later we
arrived in Fort Macleod.
He was embarrissingly grateful and insisted on filling my tank (10 litres) even
though I did not need fuel and wanted to buy me lunch, I had an ice cream instead
The man himself with that life saving can of Bud, litterbugs hhhmmmm
And just so you don't forget, some more mountains, they are everywhere
Jasper, Canada to Great Falls, Montana - Jasper and Banff National Parks, the
road runs right through the Rockies with amazing views.
Jasper to Great Falls
Look at those Blue Skies
You guessed it, more mountains
There were lots more 230k's like this
Athabasca Glacier is on the left and xyz on the right, scroll sideways to see the rest.
To give you an idea of how big it is, the green stuff in the middle is a forrest of trees.
Icing on the cake
The Weeping Wall, that's what the sign said, not me
Calgary Downtown, a Big City, took a while to get through
The High Plains, 1000m up, farms with the Rockies in the background
US Border, I got stuck in the line with the grouchy Customs Officer who was
checking everyone and everything while the other line zipped past.
For the first time I was asked to open my panniers and he wasn't even looking,
just wasting time.
The view from the border, one of those Western Movie mountains
Great Falls, Montana - Where the Lewis and Clark expedition had a major
headache and some very small Casino's
The Missouri river has 5 falls in this area and the Lewis and Clark expedition
(google it) had to drag their boats around them.
It took them 2 years to cross the continent with some help from the natives only
to find that there was no water route across the country, a monumental
achievement and then they had to go back.
The largest of the Falls, now dammed with a hydro-electric generator alongside
Before they were dammed
Hauling a home made boat uphill
The locals lending a hand
There are two falls here one on the left and one on the right
A sample of the many Casino's, Las Vegas weep.
I arrived here on Saturday at 7pm with a bald rear tyre, all the Bike Shops are
closed Sunday and Monday so I had to wait until Tuesday to get a tyre that while
not exactly the right size was close enough.
When I arrived here the bike was still covered in Mud from the ride to and from
Alaska, $10 at a car wash later and it sparkles.
Fitting the wheel back into the bike
Yellowstone is a big volcano, it has erupted three times in the past.
2 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago and
it might erupt again tomorrow.
This being the 4th of July long weekend everything around Yellowstone
was booked and I had to stay in Bozeman about 130k's away.
Great Falls to Bozeman, rained most of the way but was not cold, easy ride
through the backroads.
In 3D, note the Rocky Mountains on the left and the Plains on the right
The roads around the Park
In 3D, note the flatter area in the green bit which is the volcano crater and the
Lots of wildlife, forrests, rivers, sub-alpine meadows and the Hot stuff.
Oh! and about a million other tourists all driving around and around.
This is an Elk looking slightly worried.
This is a bear looking even more worried because he can't run as fast as
the Elk he is chasing and he chased it right across the road between all the
gawking tourists scrambling for cover into their cars. That was funny.
And why did I not drop my bike and try and squeeze into one of the cars
because a Grizzly ran away from me once before when I blipped the throttle.
Dead Trees everywhere
A little pond steaming away by itself
Boiling Water, would not take long to make a cup of tea in this place
But it would stink
Buffalo and Elk
Buffalo cooling off
More Boiling Water
Lots of Waterfalls
And Rivers and Canyons
And people fishing
Alien Landscape, scroll sideways to see it all.
The Continental Divide runs through the Park.
All Rivers East of the Divide run East and all Rivers West of the Divide run West
into the Pacific
Watch your step
Buffalo on the Roadside
Buffalo Traffic Jam, the Mothers waited on the road for the Babies to catch up
There were hundreds of them
Old Faithful - the main reason for my visit to Yellowstone
The Old Faithful area is a village in itself with its own Post Office,
huge car parks and millions of people.
Old Faithful erupts every 40 to 126 minutes
(give or take 8 hours, Park Ranger Joke)
This is what I saw when I arrived, scroll sideways
It must have been my lucky day because as soon as I finished
taking the above picture, I heard the ooohhs and aaahhs
so I just kept clicking.
The eruption went on for over 3 minutes
This Guy was keeping an eye on me
War of the Worlds except this time the Aliens and the Viruses killed the Natives.
Lots of early American History in this region, some good, some not so good.
Bozeman to Moorcroft
Custer's Last Stand at Little Big Horn, the Indians Won for a change.
This site is a National Park
The short story
US Cavalry, the hunter
A melting pot
Native Cavalry, the hunted
Cavalry markers where they fell
Crazy Horse says
US Cavalry Memorial
Moorcroft to Valentine
In 3D, heading away from the Mountains
Crazy Horse Memorial, carved out of a mountain in the Black Hills
of South Dakota. Only the face has been completed and that has taken 60 years,
it was started in 1948 and at the rate they are going will probably take another
100 years. The original sculptor is dead, his wife and 10 children carry on the work.
The carving is done with dynamite, it is absolutely Huge, Massive, BIG.
The face at the un-veiling
When its finished
Look for the Yellow Bus
Straight after Crazy Horse I went to Mt. Rushmore which is nearby and it was an
anti-climax because all four heads are only as big as Crazy Horseís head, still
very impressive and many more visitors
After that I rode to the Wounded Knee Massacre site where Native men, women
and children were killed by the army, it was sad because there is only a Rusty
Sign and a Mass grave compared to Custerís Last Stand which is a National Park.
The Mass grave
The Cannon were up here and the Natives at the bottom of the hill
Chicago - Big Steel City
Definitely a BIG city, steel canyons with every tall building trying to look different,
clean, organized and impersonal.
Valentine to Cedar Falls
Flat and boring, many small towns flying the flag
Cedar Falls to Chicago
Illinois Toll roads start around Chicago about 80 cents every 5km
Chicago Street, where the sun don't shine
Sears Tower, 3rd tallest building in the World ?
Planetarium, Aquarium, Field Museum Complex
Lake Michigan, it should be called a Sea
Trains flying over head
The Fire Department also runs the Ambulance Service and the fastest way to
get around is on a bike
Michigan Street, The Magnificent Mile
Ambulance Sirens Non-stop, giving everyone a heart attack
Navy Pier, food, drink and some rides
Toronto or Trono as the locals say, Niagara Falls lots of water and Ann Arbor
University Town. Time to catch up with Family and Friends.
Rode from Chicago to Toronto via Port Huron, uneventful border crossing, got
stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway for 2 hours just out of Toronto, very warm.
Chicago to Toronto
I stayed with my Uncle and Aunt here, they made me very welcome, thank you
for your hospitality.
Canada Geese, millions everywhere
CN tower through the Trono smog
City Hall Clock Tower
Another City Hall
City Hall Art
Casa Loma, Rich Man's Dream Home
Lots of Tourists
CN Tower from Casa Loma
Inside Casa Loma
CN Tower very tall concrete structure.
Stood in queues all day to get to the top and then queued up again to get back
That Trono smog again
Trono Botanical Gardens
Trono City Square
Covered Street's for Winter
The Blue Lines represent Trono's Underground City
Toronto to Niagara Falls and back
Niagara Falls, Lake Erie pouring into Lake Ontario
This is looking at them from the Canadian Side
Maid's of the Mist, that's what the boats are called
Bridge to the USA
They have one here as well and yes, I did go up, I just love heights
Viewing Platform on the USA side
I rode to Ann Arbor from Toronto with a friend riding a BMW, following the
backroads along Lake Erie part of the way
We stopped at Port Dover, Lake Erie for lunch, that beach could be anywhere,
it is real.
Look at the Beach Toys
Border crossing had a queue took an hour to get through
and coming the other way were the millions that cross the border to work
every day. After that road works through Detroit delayed things further.
I stayed with an old Friend and his Family in Ann Arbor, they made me very
welcome, thank you for your hospitality.
While there I serviced my bike and fitted a new tyre, the old one still had tread
but had developed a split or cut, nasty.
I also organised my ticket back to Perth and shipping for my bike as well,
a story in itself.
Ann Arbor Lake
I think that's a Duck
and those two are Superman and Superwoman on Patrol
New York, New York
I rode from Ann Arbor to New York using back roads through Ohio,
Pennsylavania and New Jersey stopping over at Ebensberg for a night.
I stayed with a friend who made me very welcome, thank you
for your Hospitality
Ann Arbor to New York
Times Square is not a square in the traditional sense - a flat open space,
it is instead a square made up of several blocks of buildings with
its heart at the intersection of 7th Ave, Broadway and 44/45th street
The Naked Cowboy, Times Square celebrity
Policeman and his Cell phone
Believe it or Not
Battery Park War Memorial at the tip of Manhattan
Ground Zero is now a Construction Site
Where the Stock Brokers go to Pray
Trinity Church at the end of Wall Street
NY Stock Exchange - The Home of Money
Courthouse (Supreme?), seen frequently on Law and Order
Statue of Liberty, security is tight and queues are long, come early
NY skyline seen from the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan is in the middle
Bridges between Long Island and Manhattan
Older and Wiser
On the Inside
Ellis Island, Immigration Central a long time ago
Ellis Island on the Inside
If you want to get anywhere quickly, this is it
Golf addicts come here for a fix
Another Skyline, Downtown, Westside
If you don't like flying and are in no hurry
Somewhere in NY
John Lennon's apartment building and also where he was shot
Harlem and The Duke
NY Rickshaw wallah
Or if you prefer to give the horse a hard time hauling your Lazy A around
Another Times Square Celebrity
This one has a brain and can prove it
The clock you see on TV every New Year's
The Brand New New York Times building
Philadelphia - Birthplace of the US of A
New York, my second favourite city after San Francisco
The famous Times Square MacDonalds
This used to be the Garment district recently relocated to Shanghai
The Flat Iron building, Spiderman movie,
the most photographed building some say
The Original DKNY
The patented New York way to stop a building from falling down
China Town, largest in the USA
Chinese War Memorial
If you don't have a Waterfall, you make one (or three)
A few of these in Bombay or Bangkok would not go astray
The signs don't work so they have lots of these
Block of Chocolate
The Empire State Building, built like a Brick SH
(planes have crashed into it)
and it only took 13.5 months to build in 1931
The Top half
Central Park and Uptown in the distance
Looking West - New Jersey
Queen's and Brooklyn
Look for the backyard
Crowded at the top
Flat Iron from the Top
Statue of Liberty
Times Square through the gap
I wonder who that is?
An Architect who likes triangles
The Post Office, never closes
Grand Central Station, never closes
Big rat in front of Grand Central
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
I was told this is a "must see"
Some interesting stuff in there if you have a week or two to spare
Outside the Met
Only in NY, a Sabbath elevator that stops at every floor
so you don't have to PUSH a button, just walk on and off
I made a day trip to Philadelphia and visited the Historic District
A reconstruction of the room where Thomas Jefferson drafted the
Declaration of Independence
Independence Hall where the states met to sign the declaration
The room where it all happened, there were only 13 states at the time
The signed declaration, note John Hancock's signature large and prominent
in the middle at the bottom
The Liberty Bell, a Symbol
After New York I needed a rest
After 2 weeks in New York I needed a rest so I rode to Lancaster and stayed just
out of the town in Ronks among the Amish farms for a week. Very peaceful.
New York to Lancaster
I went on a day trip to the town of Hershey created by Hershey around his
They had a tour of a simulated factory and lots of chocolate, I left with a few.
Lancaster to Hershey
Another day trip to Gettysburg, a historic town, a very warm day, rode around
the battlefield, many monuments to the various military units that were involved.
Lancaster to Gettysburg
Day One according to Gilbert Gaul
Roads lined with monuments
Another day trip to a tourist town called Intercourse (you can imagine what the
Tourist T-shirts had on them).
The Amish don't like having their pictures taken so I took a couple of their
The kids were getting around on Roller Blades and Bicycles without pedals,
you paddled with your feet.
Monuments, Memorials and Museums
From Lancaster it was a short ride to Washington, I took the back roads through
some very pretty farms and small country towns, the Amish inhabit quite a large
Lancaster o Washington
The last part of the ride it rained and I arrived in Washington wet.
I stayed with some long lost relatives here, they made me very welcome,
thank you for your hospitality.
The first thing I noticed about Washington was there were no tall buildings at all.
I got around as I usually do in the cities using the trains.
First stop "The Mall" it is absolutely amazing how many really impressive
Monuments, Memorials and Museums are clustered around this small area.
They are all free which in the USA is amazing in itself and to enter most you
have to go through a security check, sometimes queue up and for the
Washington Memorial and The Capitol a ticket (free) is required.
This thing is huge, there is a lift to the top first get your ticket, then join the queue
and security check to go up.
The lift has windows and the insde of the monument is decorated with extracts
and information about its history and construction.
I wonder what the man would have to say about the present state of affairs.
View from the top, Jefferson Memorial
World War II Memorial
The White House (I never imagined it to be so crowded)
Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool
The Capitol and the grassy bit, the buildings on either side are the Smithsonian
Another view from the Lincoln Memorial
Geese and Ducks, lots of them
Inside the WW II Memorial
Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial
The people in the foreground give some idea of the size of Lincoln in the
Inside Lincoln Memorial
Who is this?
Welcome to the White House
Older and Fatter
More of Washington
The Smithsonian is a collection of Museums housed in seperate buildings.
This is the one that explains how it all started.
Rockets at the Air and Space Museum
They even have rides, I went on this one, simulated Aircraft Carrier Takeoff and Landing
Unmanned Aircraft, the Future
Me, in infrared
The Subway, clean and organised
Declaration of Independence Memorial
There is one stone for each Signer
Vietnam Womens Memorial
The Wall, scroll sideways
The pictures make you realise there is a family behind each one of those names.
Korean War Memorial
There was a whole wall of this stuff, fascinating.
F.D.Roosevelt Memorial, one of the better known Presidents,
some say he was a socialist.
Jefferson Memorial, I like it.
Washington Monument as seen from the Jefferson Memorial
Inside the Capitol, as you can imagine passing through Security
to get in there was a nightmare
The Figure on top of the Capitol
Library of Congress
Inside the Library of Congress
The Supreme Court
The Judges in Minature
Must be a Riot somewhere
Arlington Cemetery, Huge, Immaculate, Moving and a graphic reminder
of Man's Inhumanity to Man
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Changing of the Guard
The Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima).
This was my favourite, words cannot describe the effect it had on me.
The Sculptor (shows you how big it is).
The Pentagon Memorial (Plane Crash)
The lighter coloured stone shows where the plane hit, right in the middle.
Louisville = Kentucky Derby
Detroit = Stay home after dark
After 2 weeks in Washington I rode to Louisville using backroads, good ride,
stopped at Huntington for the night and from there it was a short ride to Louisville.
Washington to Huntington
Huntington to Louisville
I stayed with friends in Louisville, they made me very welcome, thank you for your hospitality.
This place is in Kentucky, some say the Horse Racing/Breeding Capital of the US/World?
Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is held every year.
The interesting thing about this race is that the horse has to be 3 years old.
Not sure what this has to do with Horse Racing, Derby Hats?
Derby Silks or Jockey Tops
Louisville to Detroit
After a week in Louisville I headed back to Ann Arbor to organise shipping my
bike back, my 6 month visa was about to run out.
I stayed with my old buddy and his family again, without their help and support this trip would have been a lot harder.
Detroit Skyline, Canada on the left and Detroit on the right
Detroit Car makers
I'm leaving on a jet plane
Ann Arbor from the air
Snow in the Rockies
San Francisco Airport
Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong, the Best airport, I spent nearly 12 hours there.
Take-off from Hong Kong
I landed in Perth nearly 2 days after leaving Detroit, was I glad to be back home.
My bike took 2 months to arrive, I sold it soon after and its now heading for the
Canning Stock Route
Start to Finish GPS Tracks 23,187 km's, 1,186 litres of fuel
I am going back to the US, this time buying a bike there, leaving Perth on May 23 and stopping for 2 weeks in Hong Kong on the way.
I left Perth on 22nd May 2009 for 2 weeks in Hong Kong and then on to Ann Arbor, Michigan where I bought a Suzuki DL650 Vstrom.
Blogging is too much like hard work and I stopped doing that some time ago, so I am just going to post pictures online.
My Trip Pictures
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