June 25, 2003 GMT
The Start Of The Adventure

I have run into some incredible luck in the name if Chuck Manley, a local, who has loaned me a motorcycle and given me info on all the prime off/on road routes. For the last week I have been checking out south of Anchorage. The landscape is stunning, like the European Alps on a big dose of steroids. There are more glaciers and rugged mountains than you can wave a stick at.

First and foremost beware the shipping company Frontier Forwarding, my bike has been delayed, has incurred much cost (the original 920 pounds plus 460us so far)and hassle due to their incompetence. To offset this I have run into some incredible luck in the name of Chuck Manley (listed in the communities section), a local, who has loaned me a motorcycle and given me info on all the prime off/on road routes.

So for the last week I have been checking out south of Anchorage. The landscape is stunning, like the European Alps on a big dose of steroids. There are more glaciers and rugged mountains than you can wave a stick at. I dont think I could ever tire of this sort of landscape. The downside is if you dont employ the correct precautions you could lose a pint of blood every ten minutes to the mosquitoes which live here in the billions. Be warned.

The ferry from Whittier to Valdez is a must do if you like bays full of icebergs and a two mile wide head of a calving glacier. Plenty of Eagles, Sea Lions, Dolphins...but sadly no Whales. The road from Chatina to McCarty (65 miles of dirt) is well worth it. A good introduction to the dirt roads of the north. It has it all, washboard, potholes, fast driving locals and a top surface that at times is like riding on ball bearings. Add to that my fist spotting of a big Moose with a full head of horns but as yet no bears. An old mine called Kennicut is at the end which still has most of the buildings standing. The National Park McCarthy is in has heaps of stunning scenery and wildlife, if you can take your eyes off the road long enough to look at it. Concentration is definately needed if you are new to this sort of riding as I am. The road carries on but this early into my trip, on a borrowed bike I am not yet brave enough.

Back to Girdwood now and hopefully my own bike, then up north as far as the road goes, Prudhoe Bay. Have word that some bikes are headed up north also planning to get to Prudhoe so will try to seek out some company for the ride.

Posted by Peter Slarke at 12:33 AM GMT

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