Day 35-36 – Juneau, AK

Day 35-36 – Juneau, AK     09/24-25/10     Mileage: 0 

The past two days have been a nice break from the daily riding. Although the weather was cold and rainy, I still got to see the sights…and was glad to not have to ride in it! I ran some errands, tracked down a new headlight bulb for the bike and got a haircut. Juneau is a great town with a very walk-able and cool downtown area. I walked around with Phil, Kelly and Rebecca (and Fiona) and went to the Alaska Brewery to sample the goods! 

Sampling the goods at Alaskan Brewery...

 

L to R: Rebecca, Kelly and Phil at the Alaskan Brewery

 

Walking around downtown Juneau...

 

Walking around town...Rebecca and Fiona

 

I got to spend time with Dori and lots of her Forest Service friends which was great fun! They are a great bunch of people, all very friendly, adventurous and with interesting personal stories. 

Dori and a lot of her Forest Service friends...

 

She also took me to an “end of the tourist season” party at a local bar…well, end of the season save for one smelly biker! The Mendenhall Glacier near town was also spectacular despite the weather. 

The Mendenhall Glacier near downtown Juneau...

 

Tomorrow morning it’s up early and off to the ferry terminal to catch the fast ferry to Sitka.

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Off the ferry…

Hi All,

I got off the ferry late last night and I’m now in Prince Rupert, BC. I’ll be heading for Price George, BC today and will update the blog as soon as I can! Thanks for all the great comments!

-Lenny

Day 34 – Haines, AK to Juneau, AK

Day 34 – Haines, AK to Juneau, AK     09/23/10     Mileage:  Local mileage and a ferry ride! 

Morning came and it was not as cold as it had been and was also dry. After cooking breakfast, Phil, Kelly and I made our way to the ferry terminal to hopefully catch the ferry to Juneau! 

Haines Ferry Terminal

 

Rebecca and Kevin (the biker from NY I met yesterday) already had confirmed tickets, but Phil, Kelly and I would have to play the waiting game. 

Kevin and his FZ6...all the way from NYC...

 

The M/V Matanuska

 

 A ferry this size takes a long time to load, but after 3 hours of waiting…we got the OK to board…sweet! 

Strapping the bike down for the ferry ride...

 

After boarding and strapping my bike down, Kevin, Rebecca, Phil, Kelly and I had a bite to eat and then adjourned to the bar for a few drinks. 

L to R: Rebecca, Kevin, Phil and Kelly

 

We didn't see a single whale....from the bar. Go figure?

 

Enjoying the great views from the top deck...

 

Looking back towards Haines...

 

The scenery was spectacular as we were surrounded by mountains for the entire 5 hour trip. We passed a few lighthouses and several gushing waterfalls….but no whale sightings. 

Nice lighthouse along the way...

 

Phil, Kelly and Rebecca were all staying a few days in Juneau to see the town, and with the “”Sea Alaska” pass I bought (at the recommendation of the ticket agent) I had that option as well, so I decided to do the same. I can also stay over in two other ports on my way to Prince Rupert, which after reading up on Sitka and Ketchikan, I’m planning on hitting at least one if not both of those…we’ll see. Dori (the gal I met in Denali) also lives in Juneau, so I’ll try and catch up with her as well.

Day 33 – Haines Junction, YT, Canada to Haines, AK

Day 33 – Haines Junction, YT, Canada to Haines, AK     09/22/10     Mileage: 153
 
Today was going to be a short run from Haines Junction, YT back across the US border to Haines, AK to hopefully catch a ferry south. The morning was chilly and overcast but dry, which is always welcome. The scenery was good but got better the closer I got to Haines.

  

View from the road to Haines...

 

View from the road to Haines

 

View from the road 2 miles from the Canada/US border...

 

View of the Chilkat River near Haines, AK

 

Glad I never stayed there....or ever had a reason to! 😛

 

I passed Kelly and Phil (the two Aussie’s  I camped with back in Seward) on the side of the road who had their camcorder pointed at a bald eagle. They were already on the stand-by list for the ferry tomorrow, and that’s what I needed to still do. Once in town I went straight to the ferry terminal to get on the stand-by list…..and was glad to see I was number 2 on the list behind them. At the terminal I also met another biker from NY on an FZ6. His name is Kevin and he’s doing a big loop around the US and Alaska…and is also on the ferry tomorrow.  

View of the fjord between Haines and the ferry terminal...

 

Haines, AK

 

Haines harbour...

 

After that I went to the Lighthouse Bar for lunch and a beer. Phil saw my bike parked out front and stopped in to tell me where they were camped, and given the hotel prices, I was going to cap with them.  

The Lighthouse Bar - Haines, AK

 

It's never to early for a Jagger....

 

They were off to do a hike, and I went down to the end of the bay to a creek where there were supposedly a mama grizzly and 3 cubs feeding on salmon. Sure enough, at the creek there was one mama grizz with three cubs and another with one cub…all gorging…or already gorged on salmon. That was a very cool sighting and I’m glad I got to see that before I left Alaska.  

On the way to see the salmon buffet...

 

Mama grizzly doing some fishing!

 

Mama and the tree cubs...

 

Mama grizz and the cubs...

 

Wouldn't I feel stupid getting attacked in front of this sign...as I stopped to take a picture of the sign that says not to stop!

 

Then it was back to the campground which also had a hotel with wifi in the lobby. In the lobby I met Rebecca and her Doberman Fiona. It turns out that she already knew of Phil and Kelly as they had been playing road hopscotch passing each other on the way to Haines. Alaska is a big state, but with so few roads….you bump into the same people time and again which is kind of funny. Kelly and Phil made a nice hearty camp dinner for the 4 of us, and I capped it off with some 12 year old scotch that Phil was carrying…nice!  

Nice work Phil and Kelly!

 

 Rebecca had gotten a room for her and Fiona in the hotel and retired early for the warmth and clean sheets. Phil, Kelly and I stayed up as long as we could until the cold chased them into their van and me into my tent for the night.

Day 32 – Glennallen, AK to Haines Junction, YT, Canada

Day 32 – Glennallen, AK to Haines Junction, YT, Canada     09/21/10     Mileage: 443    

This morning may have been the coldest yet as the bike and the ground had a thick layer of frost. The temperature was in the 20’s, but it’s supposed to warm up to the low 50’s by the afternoon. Given the cold morning air, I waited until 10am before setting out for Haines Junction. Once on the road it was all business and I was hard on the throttle to make time. I did stop for one token picture, but because most of today was backtracking over ground I had already covered, I wasn’t compelled to stop for pictures despite the good scenery.    

Token picture of the mountains above Haines Junction, YT, Canada.

 

Once in Haines Junction, I found a room for $50 CAD. After updating the blog, I called it a night.

Day 31 – Seward, AK to Glennallen, AK

Day 31 – Seward, AK to Glennallen, AK     09/20/10     Mileage: 374
 
The morning was overcast but at least not as cold and damp as the last two nights in Homer. I said goodbye to Phil and Kelly and finished packing the bike. I had intended to go to Whittier and take the ferry to Valdez, but I completely misjudged how far Seward is from Whittier…so I quite literally would have missed the boat! Damn…I was looking forward to that. Now my only option was to backtrack through Anchorage to get back up to the Alcan and head south. My other ferry plan which I was considering was to catch the ferry from Haines to Price Rupert….which would not only cut the corner and avoid a good bit of backtracking down the Alcan, it also follows the inside passage which is supposed to be spectacular. It also makes several stops along the way and affords the opportunity to have a look around at some of those towns, most (if not all) of which are only accessible by boat or plane. Without the pressure to make the Whittier ferry, I also now had the opportunity to check out Exit Glacier just outside of Seward. It was well worth the stop and the short hike up to the glacier.  

Exit Glacier just north of Seward, AK

 

Exit Glacier

 

Exit Glacier

 

In 1951, the Exit Glacier was at this sign...now it's a mile away in the background.

 

Getting closer...

 

Exit Glacier

 

The sun was backlighting the glacier, too bad it did not really come out in the picture.

 

Scott and Becki had also recommended the town of Hope, so that was going to be my next stop. It’s about 15 miles from the main road and is a very quaint little town…and I mean little. I’m not sure home may houses are there, but let’s just say there is only one bar/restaurant, a café and a library….nothing else (that I saw anyway).   

Hope, AK

 

The only bar in Hope, AK...and it's closed...damn!

 

With that checked off the sightseeing list, now it was time to get on the gas and make tracks back up through Anchorage towards Tok Junction and the Alcan.   

The Matanuska River and Valley

 

I made it was far as Glennallen before night and the cold air that comes with it caught up to me. I found a “camp” style room for $59 at the Caribou Lodge. The shared bathroom was down the hall and the room had heat…kind of…but it was good enough for tonight. And, after 3 nights out in the tent with no shower, I was beginning to scare the wildlife when I rode by, so a shower was also part of the plan.

Day 30 – Homer, AK to Seward, AK

Day 30 – Homer, AK to Seward, AK     09/19/10    Mileage: 181  

 Morning on the spit was just as damp, wet, cold and foggy was yesterday…perhaps even a bit worse.  

This is a picture of a picture of the Homer Spit when it isn't covered in fog!

 

I decided to just pack up and head straight back to the Cosmic Kitchen for another breakfast burrito. So with the bike packed and helmet on, I thumbed the starter and…..nothing. I adjusted the choke, and tried again….nothing. Luckily I knew right away what was wrong….I’ve been meaning to clean my air filter after all those dusty dirt roads, but just kept putting it off. So, off with the helmet, out with the tool kit and when I pulled the air filter, it was caked with dirt. While all this was going on, my camp neighbor Curt (and his wife Deb) who I was talking to last night saw I was having trouble and came over to chat. We got to talking again and it turns out he is a retired California Highway Patrolman….a real life CHiP! He’s got over 500,000 miles in the saddle without an accident….amazing! He asked where else I was heading and I said down the west coast into Baja Mexico….etc. Just then he said “Baja…I have a place in Baja…you should swing by when your down there!” We exchanged info…and I sure hope the timing works out, it would be great to have a contact down in there. Not to mention that he’s a pretty interesting guy and he and his wife Deb are super nice. I sure am glad my bike didn’t start.  

Curt and Deb

 

So back to the task at hand…I poured some gas from the stove on the filter to clean it off, re-oiled it and put it back in the air box. This time when I pushed the magic button, my trusty KLR roared to life. With the bike re-packed, I said farewell to Curt and Deb and headed for town. The Cosmic Kitchen was closed, but I did find a place that also had a great breakfast burrito. So with both me and the bike full of gas, I started backtracking north up the Kenai towards Seward. The fog was still thick and the going was slow, but 80 miles up the road veered away for the coast and came out from under the fog into the glorious sunshine. The road then made its way into the mountains past the aquamarine waters of Kenai Lake.  

Kenai Lake

 

Once over Moose Pass the road descended into Seward with great scenery all along the way.  

View of a lake close to Moose Pass on the road to Seward...

 

Mountains above Seward, AK

 

View from the town of Seward...

 

Another good view from town

 

I pitched my tent in the town campsite right along the waterfront and then set off to find some wifi to update the blog.  

Camping in Seward, AK

 

Once done, it was back to camp for some tuna strohgenhoff…which you will not see on any menu anywhere for good reason. It was however hot and filled the hole in my stomach. My camp neighbors tonight were Phil and Kelly from Australia and were great fun to talk to!  

Phil and Kelly

 

They have been working in Banff the last two years and are taking a few months off to travel around Canada and Alaska. I asked if they know Webble…but they didn’t…though I will make the introduction! It also turns out we might be looking to get on the same ferry in Haines…that would be cool. So after a few hours of good conversation, we all called it a night.