Well - it has started!!!
I left Joburg on 19th July, and finally Brisbane on 25th July - after a great rousing farewell at Jeff & Susan's in Joburg and the Story Bridge Hotel in Brisbane - thanks all who managed to come along, I had a ball & hope you did too.
I guess these few photos say it all.
I really appreciated the thoughts & will try to comply!
This one captures the feeling - thanks Bern:
I will wear the tee shirt often (ps one of my riding colleagues used to work for Fcuk!) - small world.
I have now spent about a week in Alaska - bottom to top & back again. This a HUGE and magnificent part of the world. Enjoy the ramblings & images.
A few days in Anchorage to get organised, meet the group I will spend the next 5 months with, and see some of Alaska around this area.
One day going south to Portage along the coast of the inlet & my first glacier. A real taste of things to come.
The group numbers about 18 at present - 11 will go all the way - some doing the North America leg. Suprisingly, I am not the only Australian - 2 others and a New Zealander. The rest are from the UK, and it has been a pleasure to be re-introduced to that wonderful dry pommy sense of humour. It will be fun with lots of cutting jibes & a great willingness to laugh at oneself!
On Saturday, one of our group (Dave - a North American indian, a doctor, and a "native healer") honoured us all with a sweat lodge ceremony at his house in the hills. The ceremony is about expressing your feelings & praying. It is performed in a sweat lodge:
with about 8 people at a time, some rocks heated on a fire, steam, some herbal burning (to free your thoughts) - in the dark - with a circle of people each expressing their thoughts / prayers in a number of rounds. Boy was it HOT!!!!
Dave sang some chants / songs handed down by his forefathers & we were priveledged to be invited to join in. It was an honour to participate.
Sunday morning - all keen to go:
I am glad there is someone here with more gear than me - he is nicknamed the Astronaut (more likely - Go Go Gadget!)
We left Anchorage as a group - everyone excited about our journey - heading north to Fairbanks. A coffee break at a wonderful log cabin type place:
Just north of Fairbanks we visited a display introducing us to the Alaska pipeline (1200kms long - from Prudhoe Bay on the arctic cost to Valdez on the southern coast) - the lifeblood of oil for the US - about 1/3 of all US oil consumption comes through this pipeline. It was built during the oil crisis of the 70's, and is a real engineering marvel. The road we would travel for the next 5 days was built to allow this pipeling to be constructed and operated.
This has been such a critical installation for the US, it has only been the last 10 years where travellers can move along it for most of its length, or in fact visit Prudhoe Bay itself - the massive oil field on the Arctic Coast.
The pipeline itself, and the road winds through the most brilliant mountain range - the Brookes Range for several hundred kilometers - giving us an exhilerating motorcycling experience.
It was good to get on the dirt - and with some rain & roadworks - get DIRTY!
The start of the famous Dalton Highway - the dirt road to the top:
My pace quickened with the sheer joy of the ride - but I managed to contain the exuberance & keep the shiny side up. Lots of work on the road during the short summer season (about 2 - 3 months) - and we often had to stop & be piloted through the more intense work:
I loved this sign at some patches - it really meant something!
At a high point on the road (Atigan pass) - I found an arrow from the only type of hunting allowed in this area - bow hunting. It now is mounted on the bike as a real souvenier:
The views from Atigan Pass are breathtaking:
Thats Dave on the right and Jeff - from NZ.
Some more teases of the scenery - we enjoyed for several days along the pipeline route:
We stayed at a typical construction camp at Coldfoot, and then at Deadhorse (the town at Prudhoe Bay - there are no houses there!).
We did the mandatory swim in the Beaudord Sea - to join the Polar Bear Club. A new definition of "Lion Cold" - ask Craig & Roche!
We were told our group of about 15 who did the swim (including the 2 women in outr group), was the largest naked group to have done it - fantastic - what a first!
Across what is called the Northern Slope (the Tunra to the coast) - my roomy Mark found an interesting remain - as we had stopped to boil the billy:
A Caribou skeleton - maybe from a bear, or from the hunters.
Some real micro beauty in Alaska as well:
oddly nicknamed - Alaskan cotton.
Even the grasslands are beautiful:
There has been lots of wildlife - moose, caribou, even a bear and a wolf - lots of birdlife - even had a large seagull (2m wingspan) cruise along the road just above my head for about 3kms (I slowed down to about 30kph) - I think he enjoyed the company.
I am really enjoying the history of Alaska - real frontier stuff - the log buildings have really hit a chord:
a tack room (now a museum):
notice the sod roof
and a great house - quite famous:
build at the delta of the Chenna river - we had breakfast at Rikka's roadhouse - just next door.
One enterprising fellow near here was selling prebuilt log houses:
It is free standing - I guess you pull it down & reassemble like a jig saw puzzle on your mountain hideaway site!
Well that's it for now - just crossed into Canada - the Yukon - vast, wooded, lakes, mountains - ho hum - will just have to cope!
keep sending emails - I really appreciate them.Posted by Ron Markiewicz at August 01, 2007 09:37 PM GMT
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.
Next HU Events
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
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
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!
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 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.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
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.
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 © 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!