Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Final Countdown to Alaska and the Yukon

It seems like it took forever but in fact, time has flown by and now we're down to the final countdown before embarking upon our adventure.  Today I packed up my cooler with snacks and a few easy to make meals for those days when we just don't feel like going to a restaurant.  I also packed a dry bag with a pair of tennis shoes stuffed with socks.  I think I'll be glad to have the tennis shoes when hiking around Dawson City, Denali and other places.  I also filled the dry bag with more goodies for snacking.  I decided to leave the wonderful salmon jerky at home because it is very aromatic and I have visions of grizzly bears making a beeline to my bike.

We plan on departing tomorrow afternoon and all I have left to do it pack up my laptop computer.  For reference, I'll be wearing my LD Comfort zip top and tights under my riding gear.  I'm only taking the one set and will simply give them a good wash when necessary.  For casual clothes, I packed a pair of black yoga pants, short sleeve T-shirt, cotton spaghetti strap shirt, denim shorts, a long sleeve denim shirt and a fleece jacket. Of course, I have undies, socks and a swimsuit.  I cleaned out and lightened up my toiletry bag and threw in a pair of flip flops.  That's it!

Everything fit nicely in my top case bag with room to spare.  Guess that means I can buy some souvenirs along the way :-)  Always resident on my bike is my heated jacket along with a bandanna or two, a cooling kerchief, and an LD Comfort headliner.

Ah, I did go through all the bags, panniers, tank bag, fuel cell bag, and all the nooks and crannies on the bike and thinned down my flashlight collection to a manageable level.  I don't know why but I have a flashlight fetish.  I love them!!!!  All sizes, shapes, colors.  I have a similar fetish for buckets but I don't plan on bringing any on this trip.  Oh wait, I do have that collapsible camping bucket....nah, not taking it!

Here are a few of my favorite flashlights.

The penlight style flashlight is killer!  I mean really, it will burn your eyeballs.  I love it!!!  It is definitely coming with me in the tank bag.

Then Eric got me this great light.  Nice heft and great light and not huge.

 You can zoom the light to a small square or back out to wide area.  It is also in my tank bag.
 This little light is fun simply because it has a compass on top.
 Safety matches with striker inside and the flashlight is pretty bright too.  I'm leaving this one at home, sigh.  I have a caribiner with a compass and a GPS.  I also have spare lighters and safety matches.  So, as much as this little light makes me giggle, it's staying home.
 This is just a small, easy to hold flashlight.  I left this one at home.  (Oh, I have a similar one tucked in a pocket on the fuel cell).
 And, I would never leave home without my D cell Maglight.  Eric tells me it can make a pretty good weapon and the light isn't half bad either.  It resides in my fuel cell bag, in the top pocket directly behind me.
I almost forgot, I always have this little light attached to my riding jacket.  It comes in handy at times.  It came with my Spot "Adventure" kit.  I use it as my jacket zipper pull.

We also prepared for mosquitoes and bugs.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, we sprayed our riding gear with bug stuff.  We are also carrying Coleman 100% Deet in individual pump spray bottles and a bunch of the OFF brand Deep Woods towelettes.
 I'll keep both of these products in my tank bag for easy reach and application as needed.

I'm really hoping that with so much bug protection we'll be overkill and the bugs won't be bad this year at all, LOL.  Regardless, I think we're prepared.  Along with all that bug stuff we also have these.
This cracks me up.  It's almost as good as my picture of Eric with a bucket on his head.  I love how he humors me.  And, I'm sure we'll be glad we brought them along.

I've selected my paper maps.
And have a file folder that fits in my pannier with our itinerary, copies of motel and ferry reservations, maps and an Iron Butt Magazine for those special photo ops.
I guess at this point if I didn't pack it, I either don't need it or can purchase it along the way.  I really made an effort to lighten up the load while covering as many contingencies as I could think.  All in all, I'm satisfied with what I'm taking.  Worst case, I'll be pulling out the credit card :-)

So, I'm counting down in hours now.  Tomorrow, I'll clean out the fridge and take my house plants to a neighbor so they don't die.  Before I know it, we'll be geared up and headed out.  I hope you'll watch my Spot and follow my blog.

Here is a link to my Spot page:   Cletha's Spot

My goal is to be in the top ten if not the number one place for Spotwalla for 2014.  Only you can help me get there!

The adventure is about to begin :-)



  1. We went about this time last year and did not see darkness warranting a flashlight from Edmonton, AB on. Have a great and trouble free ride.

  2. I suspect you are right John P. Longest days of the year and all. But, I love my flashlights :-)

  3. A woman can never have too many flashlights. Better than hundreds of shoes ;). Have a GREAT trip. Lots of pics please. Be safe and enjoy the ride (and off the bike too).

    1. Oh thanks so much Minna. I'm so excited for this trip. I used to have 100's of shoes, now only maybe 150 :-) But flashlights? You can never have enough. Hugs, girlfriend and thanks for reading my blog.

  4. I love the li'll light. I'll get me one. You're not mentioning any camera setup???
    You work like a pro. Eric is in safe hands. Fair winds to you both.

    1. Thanks Andre. I'll try to give an overview of cameras in the next installment. I have a rather old Pentax Optio (waterproof) point & shoot camera and Eric has a new Nikon Cool Pix (also waterproof) point & shoot. Neither of us are "photographers" and often forget to take pics.

  5. You and Eric have an awesome trip! I look forward to following your progress!


    1. Thanks Jim. I'm sure we'll have a grand time.

  6. Fair skies and following winds... Have a blast and make some great memories. I'll be following along here. See you in Denver.

  7. I'm envious. It has been a long time since I was in Dawson City, but it's still one of my favorite places. I look forward to following your Spot. Ride safe!

  8. Eric and Cletha, Safe and wonderful journey. I am a fan. John, Grants Pass, Oregon

  9. Thanks everyone for your kind words :-)

  10. When you reach Dawson City, let me know if "Diamond Tooth Gurtties" is still there.. It used to be the only place in Canada where gambling was legal!! $5 dollar limit though.. At least in 1973 when I was up there last.. Got drunk there too, and they didn't know I was only 16 at the time!! I had a full beard and was quite "wooly" looking after canoeing from Whitehorse down the Yukon Ruver™ LOL..

  11. Good luck and godspeed Cletha and Eric! Have a great time and take lots of pictures for us! :)

  12. I too have a thing for Flashlights so I can relate. Congrats on the beginning of an awesome adventure. Watch your Top Knots.

  13. Was working last weekend 3pm-midnight in Anchorage, never really got dark. You'll love it :-) Oh, and the mosquitos are already bad. As soon as it starts to darken up and cool off (say 9pm) they come out in force...

    Be sure to wave going through Wasilla/Palmer :-)

  14. Please take good notes of problem spots on any gravel/dirt you encounter. I am taking a 900 pound Harley up the haul road in about 7 weeks....