Search This Blog

Travel Blog

Travel Blog
Fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a fun ride

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Moose, Mountain Goat and Caribou.

Funny, true story. 
Yes, it involves food.

3 hour check in for the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry in Prince Rupert. 3 very long hours. 3 hungry hours....and then the smell of fried chicken wafted in the air and I went berserk.

A nice man in a white shirt wandered into my vicinity and we started chatting. Truth be told, I spoke to everyone waiting in that long line but this one swore to me that there was fried chicken on board the vessel. I didn't quite believe him but he insisted. 
So I warned him that if there wasn't, I was going to come find him and settle the score. 
He promised me fried chicken for lunch and walked off smiling.

I boarded. 
Strapped the bike down and heard my name over the intercom of the ship. 
Oops, I did something wrong already.

Turns out that nice man was the captain. 
Captain Rudini.

I was escorted through "crew only" doors into the mess hall and ate with the ship's crew.

And it was delicious fried chicken!

Met another rider named Tim who graciously offered to share his cabin for the 35 hour voyage. 

Itsy, bitsy shower.

We passed many lighthouses. 
This one called the Green Island Lighthouse which is manned by a 52 year old man looking for a wife. 
(no joke)

I met Terrance, a Tlingit native who carves silver jewelry and hunts. He gave me half of his moose sandwich that I enjoyed for breakfast.

On board was a park ranger who held talks about the towns we ported in and general information about wildlife and glaciers. 
So when we had 6 hours in Ketchikan, I gathered a group of 6 (Judy, Dave, Scotty, Larry, Tim and myself) to go see the totems.

This is the main street with them.

Got to goof off. See how bright it is outside? It's 10 pm.

Shadows but you can recognize the outline...

Not sure about the symbolism on this one but funny!

The ferry was constructed in 1963. Not nearly as luxurious as the BC Ferry I took from Port Hardy but it had it's charm and without Wi-Fi, well, we all spent that time enjoying the good weather and each other's company.

The flowers continue to get weirder as I go North.

Captain Rudini offered that I could come up on the bridge anytime I wanted. I decided to wait for the Wrangell narrows

Nearly 60 water markers and 40 course corrections.
Here is a marker on the shore.
We were so close, 
it felt like you could reach out and touch the banks.

Went to shore in Wrangell to see some pictographs 

Ferry finally made it to Skagway.

Found my hostel. Cute home. 

Skagway felt like an old western lawless town.

Met up with my girlie Courtnay. 
We were friends when I lived in Arizona. 
She still loves sunglasses.

Her husband Brad loves Clint Eastwood. 
So do I. Grew up on westerns.

He hunts too. 
So I enjoyed Mountain Goat burger for dinner.

They have 4 dogs and one of them is this lovely lady.

This is their garage. 
Brad quoted how many pieces of wood it took.
As an accountant, I promptly forgot.

Courtnay took me for the Brothel tour. 
This was the main receiving room for patrons. 

And this red light used to hang outside to advertise.

Fun signs. 

This is a money hole. 
The working ladies would drop the gold down this hole through a copper pipe to the madame below.

Beautiful lamp.

Alarmingly small beds for the work performed.

Read the original use of Lysol. Scary.

This is Margot with a buxom busom and beautiful big red curls. 

Brad and Courtnay took me on the White Pass summit train. 

The track above us as we climb. 

Looked like a mouth full of broken teeth.



We go into Canada for a short while, then back down to Skagway.

It's so easy to fall asleep on the train.
She's gonna hate me for posting this, but it was too cute to resist.
I had such an amazing visit with her and Brad!

Returned to my hostel for a comfy night of sleep.

Woke up at 5 am the next morning. 
Poached eggs and chicken fried steak.
And a stone in my stomach of fear about the 500 miles day to come.
On bad roads.

Emerald lake.

Found a group of guys to ride to Whitehorse with. 

Roger, Bob, Mike and Dave.
That's my Tiger at the back.

These guys rode fast and hard.
It's a good thing too. 
I had a long way to go.
On questionable roads....

Second breakfast. 
Scrambled eggs with pesto, cheese and prosciutto.

A guy handing out flyers for motorcycle tires stopped and scared the heebie jeebies out of me describing the ripped up road between Haines Junction and Tok, my final destination.

So I was happy to meet up with Brian and Keith on Harley's from the Bay Area just before the junction who allowed me to tag along.

A flat tire. 
I knew I shouldn't have listened to all those guys telling me to run street tires in Alaska. 
Boy was I kicking myself....

Fortunately for me, Kim and Mike rode up 15 minutes later and they happened to have the size tube I needed.

The Harley boys stopped in Beaver Creek, 
just before the border back into the US.

Mike, with the loveliest Texas accent, rode a Tiger just like mine!
We complimented each other constantly.

Another 120 miles and we arrived in Tok.
Rode from 6:30 to 9:30. 
Stopped twice to eat.
Stopped once to change my rear tire.
Lord, what a day.

My bunk cabin. 

Forested path to the steam house.

Barrel cast iron stove.
Rainwater spigot in the ceiling.
Drain in the floor.
Locks on the doors.
Sat here until the knots of anxiety worked themselves out and returned to my bed clean.

Got the shadow of my helmet in the sign. 
This camp ground is geared for motorcyclists.
And the sticker you get for staying here says
I'm no pussy. 
You see, no running water.
No shower.
Plenty of mosquitoes.

The next day, met up with a new rider. 
Terry from Michigan.
After a caribou omelet, we shared the road to Anchorage.

I spotted a moose and a mama bear and baby bear crossing the road.
Not together of course.

And I found some excellent fried chicken again.

Pies are a big deal here in Alaska. 
3 berry pie.

Finally arrived at Mark's house in Anchorage.
3,000 miles to get here.
Such a welcome sight.
From here on out, I ride with others.
So the worst part is over, if you can call it that.

He took me to a movie/restaurant/pub place for dinner.

Some great BBQ ribs!

And my lovely, comfortable bed!

The next day, was all about the Tiger.
I washed him.
Not easy. 
The bugs were so thick I had to scrub them off.
The mud was baked on.

Finally met Barb at AK Leather.
I shipped my tires to her.

Took both the front and rear wheel off so baby could get new shoes!

Went by the Harley dealer and was almost mauled by a bear. 

Mark took me around town and showed me the seaport.

And he showed me this cute cub after seeing my teddy.

Oh, and Mark is into Ducati's and leather gear. 
Lot's of it.

And PIE. This man loves pie.

Mark was instrumental in my doing this trip.
He gave me the detailed information I needed to make life easy.
He warned me vehemently about the possibility of constant rain.
He helped me to have faith that I wouldn't be alone out on these long remote roads.
He provided me a place to re-group before the tough part.
Dawson City.
You get there doing 100 miles of dirt....