August 09, 2004 GMT
(14) Northern BC bound

Sunday August 08 2004

I have had a good rest and look around Vancouver Island and the lower mainland, I am getting itchy feet to find out what lies ahead up north in British Columbia, the Yukon, Alaska and possibly the North West Territories.

I drive north on hwy. #99 and connect to #97, which I follow all the way to the B C/Yukon border. Along the way I pass through 100 Mile House, Williams Lake (home of great canadian Rick Hansen), Quesnel and Prince George.

I camp at provincial parks along the way, very beautiful parks, nice camping sites and meet a lot of nice people, tourists and locals.

The Alcan Highway (Alaskan-Canadian Highway) starts in Dawson Creek, BC and goes to Watson Lake on the BC/Yukon border where it changes to Hwy #1 through the Yukon and then to Hwy # 2 in Alaska, where it ends up in Fairbanks, Alaska. The total distance of the Alaska Highway is 2,435 kms. (1,522 miles)


IMG_0647.jpg IMG_0645.jpg

I pass through towns called Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, and camp for the night at Charlie Lake, 11 kms north ofFort St. John.

I say hello to the people camping beside me in a RV, they are from New Zealand.

They invite me to join them, there names are Arthur & Marta, Ernie & Heidi.
They are so nice, just as I remember the Kiwi's when I visited New Zealand years ago.
We chat the night away, I politely refuse a bowl of fresh fruit cocktail but they won't hear any of that...it is delicious!


IMG_0649.jpg

I say goodnight and walk to my campsite.

As I get to my tent in the pitch black darkness I hear a large animal rustling around directly behind my campsite.
It is big and I surmise by the sound of the noise it has to be a bear or a moose.
I was leaning towards it being a moose.
I thought to myself that I didn't want it hanging around looking for food or keeping me awake.
If it was a bear I would not sleep so sound, always thinking is he still around here.
So I quietly found a good size rock and threw it as hard as I could in the dircetion of the noise.
WOW! It had to be a moose or maybe even a steamroller as the crashing of the trees and branches as it plowed back through the bush was deafening.
I guess I shouldn't laugh but it was real funny to me.
Makes up for some of the times I had the shit scared out of me late at night after something gave me a fright.


Monday August 09 2004


The scenery is beautiful rivers, mountains, lakes and prime pasture land.

I was behind a big logging truck and thought I would pass him as you tend to eat a lot of dust, wood chips & bits behind them big rigs.

The roads were not so straight so I stayed behind for awhile.
Suddenly, I spot a huge moose in front of the logging truck, he stands there and seemingly challenges the trucker to a duel...which I'm sure the moose would lose.

The trucker hasn't much time, he locks up the brakes, there is smoke & screeching rubber just in front of me, I lay back and put my odds on the truck winning this battle.
I am thinking to myself all the time that I better get the camera ready to get a few shots of the front of this logging truck after he hits the moose, if there is anything left to take a photo of.

At the last split second this moose heads to the ditch, barely missing his fate, fresh moose burgers!

The trucker barrels on, I get to eat the smell of burnt rubber and no moose burger photos.

As I do pass him I give the trucker the thumbs up, a job well done to keep this big rig on the road and giving Mr. Moose another day to play chicken on the Alaskan highway.

It was towards the end of the day when I am passed by police cars and think it is me they are after.

They pass at light speed like I am standing still.
Next come ambulances and then I hear on my FM radio that there has been an accident and that traffic has stopped.
Eventually I come to the scene, just in front of a roadside diner I can see one vehicle that is to the side with its front end banged up.
As the policewoman waves me to proceed I can see 2 policeman pull and drag a mangled piece of metal away from the frontside of this vehicle.
I'm not so sure what it is or what it used to be, I guess a quad bike or motorcycle.

It always makes me think and be more aware of my surroundings, if that is possible.

Time to setup camp after another long day, 617 kms today.

Posted by Jeff Nicholls at 11:06 PM GMT
August 14, 2004 GMT
(15) The Yukon & The Alaskan Highway

Tuesday August 10 2004

Another sunny, beautiful, hot day. I love it!

I pass through the most amazingly beautiful landscpes, it takes your breath away!

Mountains, rivers, lakes everywhere, so much to photograph, awesome scenery.

I pass through Buckinghorse River, Prophet River, Fort Nelson, Northern Rocky Mtns. Park, Stone Mtn., Toad River, Muncho Lake and Liard Hot Springs.

Along the way I see mtn. goats, sheep and caribou.


IMG_0655.jpg IMG_0658.jpg


IMG_0665.jpg IMG_0666.jpg

I stop to buy some octane booster to carry with me as fuel stops are long distances in between and they all don't have premium unleaded.
I buy the lower regular unleaded and add a bit of octane booster, the bike runs like the well oiled machine that it is.

After a long, hot, dusty day I reach my destination, Liard Hot Springs.

People have told me about these relaxing, soothing, hot pools with natural water temperatures of around 40 Celcius.


IMG_0667.jpg

The campground is situated a nice walk from the springs, it was almost too hot for me to stay in. After about a half hour it zapped the last remaining energy left in my body and I more or less floated back to the tent. This was the first sort of wash I had had for about 3 days, good thing I am alone on the bike...not bathing keeps the bugs away :-)


Wednesday August 11 2004


The day started with sun, then cloudy, got rained on a few times, showers and ended up sunny again.

Soon after leaving Liard early in the morning I pass a huge herd of Bison grazing on both sides of the road, the only body part moving were their jaws from chewing cud, it all looked surreal.

I stopped, unsure if it was wise to get off the bike and get good close photos. These are massive steam roller sized animals, I envisioned one bolting, the rest following and trampling the bike & me...so I watched for a few minutes and moved on slowly...no photos of dancing with buffaloes today!


IMG_0670.jpg IMG_0671.jpg

The road crosses into the Yukon, back into B.C. and back into the Yukon to stay.

I have to say that of all the places I have been to in the world, this part of Canada has some of the most fantastic scenery I have ever seen.

I can't really describe it good enough, it is something to see with your own eyes.

I pass through Contact Creek, Iron Creek & stop in Watson Lake to fuel up and check out the famous "Signpost Forest".


IMG_0679.jpg IMG_0676.jpg

There are over 53,000 signs now, it grows by over a 1,000 per year.

Check out the Wiarton Willie sign!

I didn't erect one for Owen Sound nor did I take the time to see if I could find one from Owen Sound, but I bet there is one.

Onwards through Teslin, Johnson' Crossing, Jakes Corner and Whitehorse, Yukon.

I check out the town, talk to the local people, nice helpful info center, I really like Whitehorse and the campground is situated and set up very well, a pleasure to be here!


IMG_0683.jpg


Thursday August 12 2004


I spend today checking out Whitehorse and the area.

What a really cool town.

I meet Matt from Iowa on a HD Fatboy at the campground.
We drive into Yukon Harley Davidson and I buy a heated vest.
I've been thinking about this for sometime, it is a purchase I am sure will come in handy on this trip and others.


IMG_0685.jpg IMG_0686.jpg

They have just uncrated and assembled a new 2005 HD Softail Deluxe....Wow!
This softail is one of the sweetest HD's I have ever seen!...maybe I will deal mine after the trip and get myself one of these :-)

I drive to Skagway, Alaska.

The road here is just stunning, massive mountains, glaciers, rivers and lakes.

I almost can't believe the beauty and once I am in the old goldrush town of Skagway I am greeted by 4 cruiseliners with 5,000 touists on each one.

The shops are full of people buying everything in sight, I check it out and head back to the amazing scenery from where I came from.


IMG_0687.jpg IMG_0689.jpg


IMG_0690.jpg IMG_0691.jpg


IMG_0697.jpg


IMG_0692.jpg IMG_0693.jpg

I learned that Willy G, the HD people and VIP's will be here on the weekend for riding/press-photo ops and schmoozing, would be cool to meet Willie G sometime.


Friday August 13 2004


Oh Oh, friday the 13th.

Should I stay put today?

No, I drive on the Hwy. #2 from Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon.

More amazing beauty all along the highway today, I pass through Carmacks, Pelly Crossing and into Dawson.


IMG_0709.jpg


IMG_0707.jpg IMG_0705.jpg

A really cool goldrush town, still with authentic dirt roads throughout the town. I like the look and feel of this town.

I visit the N.W.T. info center and ask/read/inquire about motorcycling up the famous, gravelled Dempster Highway all the way to Inuvik, N.W.T. crossing the Arctic Circle.

Now that sounds like something I want to do oneday, not sure when I will get back to visit so I better check it out and see if it is possible?


Saturday August 14 2004


A nice summer day in Dawson, they have weekend festivities taking place, arts & craft show, a parade through the town, a good time to be here and relax.

I take in some museums to read and learn about those exciting gold rush days of Dawsons' past.

It sounds very romantic but I can read & see that not many struck it rich, there were many hardships and the weather to overcome.

At the hostel/campground I meet 2 dutch men on 2 Honda 50cc. motorscooters that are driving them from Anchorage, Alaska all the way to Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina.
They say they will make it in 8 months, pretty amazing chore ahead of them, drive on I say!


IMG_0711.jpg IMG_0712.jpg

This evening I take in the show at Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall.

I sat up in the balcony, kept one eye on the dancing girls and the other on all the gamblers down below.

It was a good show & music, everyone was behaved, no brawls or flying chairs to be seen, but I did go home about 10pm, maybe things livened up later.

When I was in town today I bought a small plastic gas can, the first fuel stop on the Dempster Highway is just about the limit of my full tank will take me, so I guess that means that I will be attempting to drive the Dempster.

I lay awake thinking about my drive alone on a heavy old HD with street tires, the ones that get sliced to pieces and I don't carry spares, it takes awhile before I doze off.

Posted by Jeff Nicholls at 02:36 AM GMT
August 16, 2004 GMT
(16) The Dempster Highway

Sunday August 15 2004

A nice day for a drive up the Dempster.

1,472 kilometers return on a very rough, gravel & rock, tire slicing sharp shale rock road.

As I begin, it is difficult to adjust to the gravel, but I have driven gravel roads before so I have cofidence in my ability, I'm just a little unsure of this heavy bike on these roads.

I drive 60 kms/hr or less, it is slow going to start with.


IMG_0733.jpg IMG_0734.jpg


IMG_0737.jpg

I take it 1 km at a time, sometimes I think it will be too much on the bike, but I push on.

I meet other cars, vans, trucks, RV's, campers and big tractor trailers hauling freight.

I have to pull over carefully to the sides of the road when I meet someone as it is so dusty and rocks flying everywhere.

People were saying many things to me beforehand like, I was crazy to take a new Harley Davidson up the Dempster Highway, I wouldn't have any paint left on it "if" I got back to Dawson.

I was beginning to wonder if I'd made the right call by continuing.
Something inside kept saying, relax, enjoy the beauty, I don't have to rush, keep alert, I had to try.

I see a red fox stroll across the road with a grouse in its mouth, probably bringing dinner home to the young ones.

Near the 192 km marker I see something up ahead on the road, it looks like a man walking on the roadside.
As I approach closer i see that it is a bear, it hears me and goes into the scrub, I pass that spot that I last saw it and stop about 25-30 meters.

I am excited and hopeful that i will see my first grizzly bear in the wild.
I turn off the bike, ready it for a fast getaway (in my mind anyway) and stand with camera in hand ready for the grizzly photos.
I'm just hoping that he will want to cross the road and go up towards the ridge in the distance.
The bear comes up out of the ditch, smells towards me and looks at me, crosses the road and walks up towards the ridge.
I click away at the camera and hope for the best, all the time not even thinking about what if it comes after me.
It looked like a juvenile bear, not the big burly, big headed bear with the hump on their back, but it is brown so I am confident that it is a grizzly bear.


IMG_0738.jpg IMG_0739.jpg


IMG_0740.jpg IMG_0741.jpg

I continue and think about how lucky I was to have a bear sighting.
All along the way the views are just awesome to behold, everything feels so pristine, so untouched, the water in the rivers are so clear you can see all on the riverbed, almost looks as if there is no water in them, amazing!

I rumble into Eagle Plains, the first stop, 369 kms from mile 0, I look at my fuel gauge and there is almost a 1/4 tank of fuel still in there.
So much for needing the extra little gas can.
It is simple, go slower...save fuel!
Fuel up, fill up my water bottle but the fuel attendant tells me where where to stop up further and fill up on cold, clean glacial water from a river.

I stop often to take photos, the scenery is so beautiful, I hope I have enough space on my cameras card for all the photos.

The weather has been georgeous today, the wind has changed and blown all the smoke from the forest fires back to the direction they came from, I seize the opportunity and try to get a lot of photos because the wind could shift directions at any time.


IMG_0746.jpg IMG_0747.jpg


IMG_0748.jpg


IMG_0753.jpg IMG_0757.jpg

I stop beside a big sign that states that you have reached the Arctic circle, I am very happy that I made it this far.
Originally my goal was to make it to the Arctic circle on my motorcycle.
Two nice ladies that I met along the way earlier take my photo for me.
There is still a few hours of daylight, I push on.

I reach the Yukon/N.W.T. border and the views here are fantastic.
Not so long before the border I see caribou out on the plains and then the local Inuit people walking with big packs on their shoulders, they are bringing the caribou that they've shot out to their vehicles, we wave and I push on.


IMG_0758.jpg IMG_0760.jpg


IMG_0762.jpg

As I get more photos at the border I begin to think I will just pitch my tent somewhere off the road and spend the night here, what a view from my tent!

What an awesome day! Saw my first grizzly, crossed the Arctic Circle and camping on the Yukon/N.W.T. border.

I'm all alone at this amazing spot...then I start to think about what if there is any bears near by.

There are no trees here as I am way above the tree line so I should be able to see anything that is coming.

I eat & make tea...a fantastic day!

Monday August 16 2004


I wake early, eat breakfast, have a filter coffee, pack up camp and set out with intentions to get to Inuvik, the end of the road.

I get to Fort McPherson and catch the ferry over the river, onto Tsligehtchic where I wait for another ferry to cross over the MacKenzie River, the longest river in Canada (second longest in North America to the mighty Mississippi) covering a distance of around 1,800 kms.


IMG_0765.jpg IMG_0767.jpg


IMG_0768.jpg IMG_0769.jpg

I push on and suddenly I come onto asphalt again, Alright!
I've made it to Inuvik, I am quite proud to get the bike & me here in one piece, but I don't celebrate as I am only half way...but still pretty happy.

IMG_0771.jpg IMG_0772.jpg

I met a motorcyclist yesterday and one today, they were on BMW's.

We stopped to chat some and it was good to know that others were on the road and that they were both on their way back down, one was made for gravel and the other was a street bike.

The street bike was complaining about the truckers not slowing down when they passed him and I found out later that he dumped his on the slippery when wet shale.

When water comes into the mix it is almost impossible to drive on this stuff, you better stop, make camp and wait out the rain.

I got a taste of the slippery roads earlier today when the few miles that were under construction was watered early in the morning so as to compact it better...well let me tell you.
Have you ever driven 1,000lbs. of motorcycle(me & stuff included) over marbles or soap.
I had sweat on my brow trying to keep the bike upright, it felt like it was going to go out from underneath me at the first second that I made a mistake, very interesting to say the least.
I was real happy it was only for a few kms.

I stay at the local campground right in the town, another cool town.

A very helpful Info center, all the locals are very friendly.

The people say hi when we meet and want to talk and ask where you come from, a very friendly place to be.
It reminded me of the friendly people from the Maritimes and Newfoundland, nice folk!


IMG_0775.jpg IMG_0773.jpg


IMG_0774.jpg

The weather is sunny and beautiful in Inuvik.

I walk the streets to explore, buy groceries (quite expensive up here, gets crazy in the winter or if supplies can't get through for some reason) and just enjoy this place.

I will sleep well tonight.

Posted by Jeff Nicholls at 06:33 AM GMT
August 19, 2004 GMT
(17) Inuvik, N.W.T.

Tuesday August 17 2004

Inuvik, which means "Living Place" in Inuvialuktun is the largest and the first planned town north of the Arctic Circle, the government and transporataion hub for the Western Arctic.

Inuvik is also the main headquarters for the oil and gas industry operating in the BeaufortSea/Mackenzie Delta.

Today it is a sunny,warm day.

I walk around the town with camera in hand, enjoying the day and meeting the friendly local people.

I take photos of Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church (Igloo Church) and the Inuvik Community Greenhouse, the most northern greenhouse in North America and the only one of its kind in the world (converted from an old ice hockey arena)


IMG_0776.jpg IMG_0781.jpg

One thing that struck me was that all the satellite dishes were pointing down towards the earth.
Inuvik is 2 degrees north of the Arctic Circle, I guess I am quite north on the latitude scale.

IMG_0783.jpg

I also had to stop in a little takeaway restaurant and try one of their caribou burgers... it was delicious!

I have my photos burned to cd-rom at the local library.
The librarian is very helpful as are all of the local people up here, you can feel their warmth and sincerity.


IMG_0785.jpg

I spend a relaxing day and ready myself for the long haul back down the Dempster, not really looking forward to this gravel road again but I have no choice.
I just want to make it back one in one piece...the bike & me...that is my goal!

Wednseday August 18 2004


I pack up camp and leave Inuvik at 6am.


IMG_0788.jpg

Not so far down the road it is evident that the wind has blown the smoke from the forest fires back this way, it starts as haze and gradually is so thick that I can barely see anything at all except the road a short ways in front of me.

It is a very low lying brown smoke up in the mountains, no photos, no stops through here, I just motor and it seems like many hours before I can see anything that is recognizable.
It is like driving through a tunnel of smoke, a little eerie and I don't enjoy to breathe this stuff constantly.

I decide to drive straight through as there is so much smoke & haze that it is not worth while stopping, I can't really enjoy the views as there is nothing to see.

Twice I just about dump the bike as I was going too fast and both times went from ok road to deep gravel, the back end of the bike was fishtailing wildly, I could only back off on the throttle and try to control it.
Amazingly I did not dump it, skill or luck?
A bit of both but I slow down and make it eventually back to something that looks like asphalt, "Yes", I made it!

I get back to Dawson at 8:30 pm, check in at the campground, leave the tent in the bike and take a bed in the dorm room, have a nice wash in the bath house.

I think that it was quite an achievement to do the Dempster Highway on a heavy Harley, with no punctures or problems.


IMG_0790.jpg IMG_0793.jpg

I am so impressed with the Yukon Territory, it is unbelievable!

On to Alaska tomorrow.

Posted by Jeff Nicholls at 06:12 PM GMT
August 25, 2004 GMT
(18) Alaska! The Last Frontier

Thursday August 19 2004

I leave Dawson City and drive the Top of the World Highway (Yukon Hwy #9) through the mountains.

The smoke and haze are still quite thick today, I have heard so much about the beauty of this drive but unfortunately I will not be stopping for photos along the way, just too much smoke to see any of this beautiful mountain road.

It is 127 kms from Dawson to the US border, the highway is named the Taylor Highway.

The border crossing is only open from 8:00am to 8:00pm Alaska time, 9:00am to 9:00pm Canada time so be aware your watch is running on time.

I thought I had enough of gravel for awhile but from the border to Chicken, Alaska there is 160 kms, oh well, I am well used to it from the Dempster.

Chicken, Alaska...a funny story about its name.
According to legend, the original gold mining locals wanted to name this place "ptarmigan", but no one could spell it, they named it Chicken instead...I like it!

As I continue in the mountains the smoke once again gets thicker and thicker, I can see the remnants of a once lush forest now reduced to black, leafless match sticks standing upright, it is devastating and eerie to look at, I hope all the animals made it away safely.

I have heard there are millions of acres that are burnt, I can see firefighters putting out small fires out near the road sides, small scattered fires and huge fires burning uncontrollably in the mountains out in the distance, amazing to drive through all this...and a little scary. Total devastation!

After a all day drive through the smoke & fires, I arrive in Tok, Alaska. I've heard of an motorcycles "only" campground here, it is Thompson's Eagle Claw Motorcycle Park, it is set up really well, I am all alone here and the price is right, only $5.00 .
I did see lots of motorcycles around the town as I came in, I surmise that they are in nice surroundings in their hotel/motel rooms tonight...away from the smoke.

Friday August 20 2004

Alaska- Kenai Peninsula

I drive on the Hwy #1 towards the Kenai Peninsula. The landscapes here are mountains, rivers & lakes, amazing glaciers and as I near Anchorage the smoke is less and less.


IMG_0797.jpg


IMG_0794.jpg IMG_0795.jpg

I welcome the opportunity to breathe clean, fresh air again, it smells, feels and looks good, well more than good, it is very beautiful here, the whole of Alaska!

IMG_0798.jpg IMG_0799.jpg

I pass through Anchorage, it is a big city.
Maybe I'll check it out more on the way back through but for now I am more interested to be in the smaller more cosy towns in the "real" Alaska from the gold rush days.

I think I have found one as I motor into Hope, Alaska.

What a beautiful, tiny town with a lot of history and the most amazing scenic views in all directions.

I am glad to find these little gems as I talk to the locals when I stop to eat, fuel up, buy groceries, take photos or just a timeout.


Hope - Downtown.jpg IMG_0802.jpg

Hope was a gold rush town, has charming old buildings, harkens to another time and you can see and feel a slower pace of life here, a very nice place to relax.

I walk into the restaurant and pay $5.00 for my campsite anywhere I please along the creek that is full of pink salmon at the moment.

I ask some of the locals about the origin of the name Hope.

I was told when the town founders were looking for a name, they decided that the next male person that arrived here seeking his fortune, would have the town named after his surname.

It seems ironic as Mr. Hope would have had a lot of hope to strike it rich and find his fortune.


Saturday August 21 2004


Seward, Alaska


I drive along the Seward Highway and decide to check out the town of Seward.

I am not disappointed as it is situated on Resurrection Bay, with towering mountains lining its shores.


IMG_0803.jpg IMG_0804.jpg

Close by are icefields with many glaciers, which many are tidewater glaciers, calving icebergs into the sea.

It is a sunny clear day and the views are breathtakingly stunning, I have the photos to prove it.


IMG_0807.jpg IMG_0808.jpg


Onward towards Soldotna, Alaska.


I get many good photos of the area around Clam Gulch, famous for the large razor clams that people dig for on the beach at low tide.


IMG_0818.jpg IMG_0826.jpg

This is an excellent and world famous area for fishing King (Chinook)Salmon on the Kenai river, the world record was caught here and 50-60 pounders are common.

Across the Cook Inlet there are 3 or 4 massive active volcanic mountains, most notably is Redoubt Mtn.

The sunsets are amazing and even more dramatic from the smoke & haze from the forest fires.


IMG_0874.jpg IMG_0832.jpg

I want to thank Per, Gary, Grannie & Jen for there hospitality(especially the seafood extravaganza!).

You made my stay very enjoyable and it was a pleasure to meet you, your family and friends...oh and Pojken too!


Per Osmar and Pojken Per Osmar and Jennif


IMG_0869.jpg

Soldotna, Clam Gulch & Homer, Alaska


I spend a day in Homer, Alaska.
It is more amazing scenery as you become accustomed to in Alaska.


IMG_0847.jpg IMG_0838.jpg


IMG_0852.jpg IMG_0862.jpg

So much to do and see here, take flights to see the grizzly bears gorging on salmon, every outdoor activity you can imagine, the fishing is spectacular, I get many good photos of the area.

The wildlife is abundant and everywhere, especially moose and bald eagles.

I have the motorcycle serviced at the dealer in Soldotna, they look after me right away. I have been very pleased with the service from all the dealers I have been into on my trip.
That is what keeps customers coming back...good, friendly service people!


Wednesday August 25 2004


I have fond memories of the Kenai Peninsula, its beauty and the friendly people I met there.

I backtrack over the same roads that got me here, it is still so amazing to see all of this again. Once I reach Anchorage I just drive through not wanting to stop.

I have a town that I have been thinking about exploring.

I received an email from a friend that had raved about this town and its surrounding areas like: Mt. McKinley and Denali National Park.

My plan is to see Denali, then Fairbanks and loop back down to Haines, Alaska.
It is here that I have thought about boarding an Alaskan ferry to take the 3 1/2 day voyage through the famous Inside Passage.
I have heard all people rave about this and it has been on my mind the whole trip.

The town I am talking about is called Talkeetna, Alaska.

I arrive to a very interesting, quirky little town.
It has old historical buildings and is the headquarters for climbing expeditions to Mt. McKinley, which at 20,320 ft. (6,194 meters) is the tallest mountain in North America.
It is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise, with fishing, hunting & backpacking are world class.

But the real reason I came here was to take a flight in and around Mt. McKinley and land on one of the glaciers.

I camp at the rivers edge campground, all is well.


IMG_0885.jpg IMG_0886.jpg

Posted by Jeff Nicholls at 12:06 AM GMT
August 28, 2004 GMT
(19) Talkeetna, Alaska & Mt. McKinley

Thursday August 26 2004

Well, what a night!

It must have been 2 or 3 am when a crack of thunder just about lifted me to the tree tops, it was right overhead and so loud.
A lot of lightning close by and the rain is pounding down so hard I had a hard time getting back to sleep.

I have a good tent, has been through a lot of weather and storms and been very dependable. There was so much water coming down and the ground was saturated that it started to come up through the floor.

I jumped up when I realised that the bottom of my sleeping bag along with anything else that was on the floor of the tent was now waterlogged.

I get to the bike, put on my rain gear and begin to empty the wet contents over to the picnic table shelter, wring it all out, break camp and try to stuff all this wet gear back into their stuff sacks, not an easy task.

From here I load the bike up and drive to the Talkeetna Hostel.
I recieve a warm, friendly greeting from the owner Heather.
She lets me dry my things, I book into a dorm bed and have a nice cup of hot tea.

The forecast is not good for the next 2 or 3 days. Wet and more wet.

It is a real homey type of hostel with nice guests, so it is real easy to be here while the weather is bad.
There are no flights as visibilty is bad, I get aquainted with the other people staying here and drink tea.


IMG_0893.jpg IMG_0888.jpg

Thursday & Friday is spent checking out the town, listening to a park ranger tell about Mt. McKinley and climbing expeditions to it.

I visit the local cemetery and read all the names of climbers who have died attempting to climb Mt. McKinley from many countries of the world. I was surprised of just how many have died attempting to get to the top.

This is a real cool town to hang out for awhile and meet friendly people everywhere.

I will check early tomorrow morning to see if the weather breaks and flights are going to Mt. McKinley

Posted by Jeff Nicholls at 01:28 AM GMT
August 30, 2004 GMT
(20) Up Close and Personal With Mt. McKinley

Saturday August 28 2004

I go to Talkeetna Air Taxi early when they open to find out if flights are going to Mt.McKinley.
There is low lying cloud cover, one of the pilots takes a test flight to check and we can hear him report back to the radio in the office that once you are up and through the low lying clouds the weather is clear and Mt. McKinley is beautiful.

I do not have a flight booked but the woman says there is one open seat on the first flightseeing tour.
I don't think about it too long as the weather could change quickly.
Within 30 minutes, the pilot, 5 others and myself are off the runway and on our way towards Mt. McKinley in a Canadian made De Havilland Beaver.
I am lucky as I have the very back seat to myself, I can slide from side to side to get all the photos I want.
The flight was 1 1/2 hours with a 1/2 hour landing on a glacier, it was awesome and the highlight of my Alaskan trip so far.
I snapped many photos, we flew close to and through mountains, the glaciers were awesome to look at and to land on one was the icing on the cake.
There was fresh snow and it was so quiet, beautiful and peaceful up there, truely amazing!
I would love to do that again.
Once back the first thing I do is take my digital camera card and get the photos burned to cd-rom disk, as it was almost full.

I will drive tomorrow, rain or shine!


IMG_0894.jpg IMG_0911.jpg


IMG_0915.jpg IMG_0923.jpg


IMG_0936.jpg IMG_0945.jpg


IMG_0946.jpg IMG_0949.jpg


IMG_0968.jpg IMG_0972.jpg

Sunday August 29 2004

Talkeetna to Tok, Alaska

It is always a little sad to leave such a nice, friendly town like Talkeetna, but the road beckons and I have decided to deviate a bit from my plan.

I will unfortuntely give Denali National Park a miss because I hear that there is still a lot of smoke there and around Fairbanks.

I figure with all the smoke I won't be able to see or take photos of the landscapes, the nature and animals. I will backtrack along the Glenn highway Route and make it back to Tok, Alaska.

A long, all day drive. It is beautiful but still a lot of haze in the air.

I spot a huge black bear beside the road, I wanted his photo but by the time I got back and lifted the camera to snap him, he bolted. I have a nice photo of his backside.


IMG_0990.jpg

As I pull into Tok, Alaska I meet a nice man on a white H-D police bike.

His name is David and he comes from Georgia.

I mention to him that I know of a motorcycle only campground that I stayed at the last time I passed through here.

We strike up a conversation and then motor off to the campground.

The thing that I first noticed about David was the trailer that he was pulling behind his motorcycle, I was real curious to know what he had in there.


IMG_0991.jpg

We chatted while he set up and I was amazed to see what unfolded from that trailer.
It folded out on the sides and the top raised like a car tent trailer.
He had a table & chair set, 2 gas cans, 1 water jerry can, a generator, cooler filled with perishables and ice. Inside it has lights, extra electrical cords, propane tank & stove, DVD/TV, a bear skin rug that he bought along the way and his bedding.
It was amazing to me all the stuff that he pulled from that trailer, everything except the kitchen sink.

It is his plan to drive to Haines also, it will be a nice change to ride with another person for a day.

Tomorrow we will leave Alaska, drive through the Yukon, B.C. and enter Alaska again, a good days ride ahead of us

Posted by Jeff Nicholls at 05:51 AM GMT
August 31, 2004 GMT
(21) From Motor Highway to the Marine Highway

Monday August 30 2004

Up early to pack and leave for Haines, Alaska where I plan to catch the ferry through the Inside Passage.

We had frost last night, David showed me his water cup...it had a layer of ice on top.
I guess it is time to move south!

We drive along the Alaskan Hwy #2, through the Yukon it is Hwy #1 then changes to Hwy #3 after Haines Junction, through BC for a short distance and finally back into Alaska, it is called the Haines Road #3.

The scenery along this road is spectacular, especially Kluane National Park, home to Mt. Logan, tallest mountain in Canada.
Unfortunately you can not see Mt. Logan from the road but some of the snow capped mtns. and peaks were massive in size to drive by.


IMG_0994.jpg IMG_0997.jpg

Once in awhile i get a little worried watching David's trailer swaying back and forth as he motors along. I think to myself about the weight of the trailer on those small wheels, one wrong move or a puncture and...I don't want to think about that.

We arrive in Haines, Alaska.

Another cool little deep water port town.
This is home to the world's largest congregation of Bald Eagles.
There are also many Grizzly (Brown) Bears that feed in the rivers on salmon.


IMG_1001.jpg IMG_1002.jpg

David will continue to the campground and I to the ferry terminal.

I buy a ticket for myself and motorcycle on tonights ferry that leaves at 11:50 pm
I choose to not get off at any port town through the Inside Passage and will arrive in Bellingham, Washington on friday morning 7am, 3 1/2 days later.

The ferry makes stops in Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan, Alaska.
From here it weaves its way through narrows, islands, between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland, then into Bellingham, Washington.

I buy my ticket and drive back into Haines to do stock up on some groceries.
I will take most of my food with me, the food on ferries is usually way overpriced for me.
I get in the line and wait a few hours for the ferry to arrive from Skagway, where it originates from.

I meet and talk to Mike, a man from Seattle on an Austrian made KTM motorcycle.

These motorcycles are made for adventure travel, on and off the road.

This is the type of motorcycle I would like to have one day to really explore places off the beaten track, to be able to get out and see the real good bits that most people are not able to access.

I also meet Lex, a man from Florida who tells me that not so far down the road he and others watched 2 grizzly mothers and their cubs, it was in a public place.
I wished that I had arrived a day earlier as I would have loved to see that.

We board the ferry, tie down the motorcycles, then I drag my gear up to the top deck and the stern of the boat.

This is called the solarium, part is open but most is covered in with heaters overhead at night time.

There are about 10 tents pitch at the rear and the rest of the 50-60 people have there patch staked out on their cot/lounge chair/bed for the duration of the voyage.

It is a cool set up, I like that we are on top, out in the open but have a roof over our heads...and with heat!

I decide to use just my sleeping bag and a louge chair and leave my tent packed away under the chair.

I am excited as I have heard so much about this ferry ride through the Inside Passage.
Now if we get good weather it will be a bonus as this part of Alaska gets quite a bit of rain.
This is home for the next 3 1/2 days, sometimes it is nice to take a break from the motorcycle and watch the world go (float) by.

Posted by Jeff Nicholls at 08:26 PM GMT
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!