Friday, May 30, 2014

Cletha & Eric's Yukon/Alaskan Adventure - Summer 2014 - Introduction

Barring any weirdness, Eric and I will be riding to Alaska and the Yukon this summer.  We actually began planning this trip for departure in 2012 but family matters squashed that.  Then Eric rode the Iron Butt Rally in 2013, so no Alaska.  Although our return from the IBR in 2013 was another epic adventure :-)  Finally, it looks like we'll actually be able to take our dream ride in a few weeks.

We'll be Visa or American Express camping in motels, hotels and cabins.  No tents for this old lady!  This introduction is to give you an overview of our planned trip and stops we intend to make.

"This is the law of the Yukon, and ever she makes it plain: Send not your foolish and feeble; send me your strong and your sane ----"

Robert Service, The Law of the Yukon

I don't know if we're particularly strong or sane, but Yukon, here we come!  Our general plan is to ride from our home in Ivins, UT to Boise, ID.  Depending on what day we depart, we will either slog up the interstate or take rural two laners.  I hope for the latter.  From Boise to Wenatchee, WA.  This part is subject to change depending on which route we take.  However, once out of the US our route is pretty much set in stone because of reservations already made.

From Wenatchee (or wherever) we'll ride to Prince George, BC and on to Hyder, AK.  I'm so looking forward to Hyder.  That is where Eric and I met face to face for the first time and, bonus, it will be on my birthday.  So, Hyder will be a special stop.  We'll be staying at Ripley Creek Inn - Crow's Landing, Room 466.  We'll visit Caroline and buy some of her fabulous fudge and we'll visit Johanna, a lady I met there who runs the Pizza place.  And of course we'll have a meal at The Bus.  Wonderful folks :-)  We might even get Hyderized (again)!

From Hyder its on to Watson Lake via the Cassiar Highway.  While at Watson Lake we will visit the sign post forest and place two signs.  One to memorialize our Yukon/Alaskan adventure.

And one to memorialize our love and admiration for our dear friend, Dread Pirate Kermit a/k/a Ken Morton.

From Watson Lake we'll ride on to Carmacks, YT for a night stay and then on to Dawson City for the Dust to Dawson ADV gathering.  It's NOT a rally, it's a gathering where we expect to find at least 175 like minded riders.  We'll spend two days there exploring and hanging with the ADV riders, playing games and staying up way too late.  I'm pretty sure I might kiss The Dick and Eric might even kiss The Dick at our ADV gathering!  Also, I'm excited to meet some internet friends at the gathering.

From Dawson, we will take the ferry across the Yukon River so we can ride the Top of the World Highway.  The Top of the World Highway is NOT PAVED.  I think we'll be riding about 100 miles to our destination that day of Tok, AK.  In preparation of this intimidating ride (at least intimidating to me) we've been riding local gravel and dirt roads.  I'm slow but heck, even if I go 10 mph I'll get to our destination in 10 hours and it will be at a time of the longest days of the year :-)  Hopefully, I can get my speed up a bit more than 10 mph.  I have new Heidenau K60 Scout tires front and back that should work well for the dirt and gravel.  Pray for dry and no rain :-)

From Tok, we'll head to Healy, AK (yeah, look it up) where we'll spend two days.  We plan on one full day exploring Denali N.P., so we'll take tourist clothes and change in the parking lot, catch the shuttle bus and see the sights.  Moose Pass, AK will be our next destination and then on to Soldotna for a two day stay.  We'll use Soldotna as our base to explore the Kenai Pennisula and visit a Facebook friend.  I'm soooo looking forward to meeting my friend of several years but no face to face.  It should be awesome :-)

After being tourists on the Penninsula, we'll head to Gakona, AK.  Next will be Haines Junction, Yukon followed by Whitehorse, Yukon.  We'll ride to Haines, AK (I know, it sounds crazy, but look at a map) and catch the ferry to Skagway, AK.  Only an hour or so ferry ride but I'm really excited about it.  We'll get to Whitehorse via the ferry and some highway.  Spend the night in Whitehorse and then back to Watson Lake!

From Watson Lake, we'll head east on the Alcan Highway to Fort Nelson, followed by Grande Prairie, AB with a destination of Jasper, AB.  On my last ride this direction I smacked Bambi who was pregnant with twins and ended my fabulous ride by totalling my GL1800 Goldwing.  So, my hope, dream and ideal ride will be to arrive in Jasper with an intact bike and a smile on my face :-)

From Jasper we'll head south back to the USA to Bonners Ferry, ID.  Then it'll be a ride home.  No plans, no reservations, just point home and figure out what way we want to get there.

Along the way, we'll be placing Big Tex Rally stickers at strategic locations.  Hyder and Watson Lake for sure and wherever we find an appropriate spot.  Future riders can have a lot of fun finding them!

So that's the plan in a nutshell.  I hope you'll follow us as we ride our dream ride.  I'll try to post on the blog daily but that will depend on internet connections and time allowed.  I'm pretty sure this ride will be one of the ages, one to remember for a lifetime.

My next post will be about ride preparations. I'll post pictures of the bikes ready for the ride as well as what I plan on packing (and how). As we embark upon our journey, I plan on blogging about our gear, what works and what doesn't and what was silly to pack and what I should have packed but didn't.  This will be a learning experience and I hope that you enjoy reading about our experience, lessons learned and maybe, things we did right :-)

A challenge to all who might read this...I want to be the most followed trip on Spotwalla this year.  So I'll post my Spotwalla link shortly before our departure and ask that you check it once in a while.

Cheers until my next post!