We are just having a day off at the Bear River Camp in Steward. With WI-Fi, hot showers and a sheltered place. It was time to check the motorcycles, a proper cleaning of ourselves and our clothes – and of course to keep you informed on how and what we are doing ;)
So far we had a great time during our first 3 weeks of the journey. We already have seen many incredible places, met a lot of nice people and camped in beautiful and free places. We love cooking and sitting at the fireplace and enjoy the scenic landscapes while driving. In one place Sascha cought a GIGANTIG pike (he would say 1,5 meter ;))) and I have to say it was the most delicious fish I ever had! The next day we passed a crashed and rolled over truck which was loaded with 40 tons of fresh salmon on ice and we took one out to pimp up our dinner.
Nothing really bad happened so far but we had one really Lucky Day – 3 times luck: On the way down we heard about the Canol Road, a 230 km gravel road winding through 2000 meter high mountains and we decided to do it. The opinions where different when we were asking people if it is open and OK or not… so there was no other way as testing it. We crossed the sign `closed road´ and already after the first meters we met a bear mother with her calve on the road just 50 meters in front of us. She was turning to us and evaluating if we will harm her or not several times. I, Kerstin, was in front and had already the bear spray in my hands and my knees turned into gum and were shivering. I knew we do not have a chance to turn the bikes that quickly on this narrow gravel road if she starts to run – but finally she decided it will be fine and she walked away into the forest.
The first Lucky time! I think I was doing pretty well on that road, speeding around the turns (this is at least what Sascha said). The ground was pretty compact, not too loose and not too muddy. But suddenly, out of nothing, there was a muddy part which made me tumbling and jumping and I just made it while standing up and opening the throttle. Sascha had the camera running and we had a look at it later – I could not believe I did it!
[Sascha: I couldn’t believe it as well! I already slowed down and was in disaster recovery mode… And then? Unbelievable! She did the only right thing FULL THROTTLE! Whow, what a SAVE that was! Congratulations….]
The second Lucky time! The landscape was beautiful and we were the only one on that road. At one point Sascha was saying: `Strange, I do smell gas!´ and I was replying: `I do not and we are in the middle of nowhere, there is nothing the next 100 km in all directions!´ A few seconds later I did smell gas as well and somehow my left leg felt wet. I looked down and I could see a little waterfall running down over my leg and boot out of my tank. That was not a funny situation at all. First of all the gas we had been just enough to reach the next upcoming gas station, second the smell of gas attracts bears (actually all kind of smell attracts them as well toothpaste – good to know). Third there is NOBODY around here. [Sascha: Last but not least it was gasoline all over the place and lucky us we did have a cigarette stop just one minute before and the engine AND exhaust was still some kind of cold… if not the bike would just have burned down at this time…) Sascha luckily combined rapid and right, it is the 2nd tank pipe (Benzinhahn) which broke and we closed it as quick as possible with a screw. We looked in the tank and were hoping that we are going to make it. And we did!!! Third time LUCK! [Sascha: What a day that was….]
Below you can find the photos from our travel down from Dawson City to here Steward/Hyder. A highlight for Sascha was the Dredge No 4 and of course the fishing success [Sascha: AND THAT KERSTIN WAS DRIVING LIKE A PRO!!]! Both we were enjoying the freedom, the wilderness and the breathtaking landscapes – especially the Salmon Glacier were we went up yesterday afternoon when we arrived here. [Sascha: Loose, and at times deep gravel… Well done Kerstin!]
See you soon and take care!
It was time go further north – the most northern part we wanted to visit on this journey is the Arctic Circle. The Dalton Highway was pretty ok and Sascha said it is a trip of about 350km from Healy to the Arctic Circle. After being about 6 hours on the road we reached the point he entered in the GPS but we could not even see a sign. A car came towards us and we asked where the Arctic Circle is and they told us it is another 90 miles (150km) to go and the road will be really muddy and slippery. So what to do – we continued, got coffee and fuel (not really cheap up here) at the Yukon River Roadhouse and finally reached the Arctic Circle. A great place, much warmer than expected and we settled at the free camp site and lightened a fire to fight the monster mosquito’s (the only bad thing at this beautiful place). On the way back we proudly picked our “I crossed the Arctic Circle Certificate” and decided we deserved a SPA-day at the Chena Hot Springs. What a good feeling to bath and hang around in this hot water again and again after all these long riding days. And additional we had time to check the bikes and doing the laundry.
Now it was time to check out the real gold rush area! In Tok we had a nice chat with two gold miners at the liquor shop (where else ;) and settled at “Thompson´s Eagle´s Claw”, a motorcycle camp. A really nice place done by heard. As we are early in the season we stayed alone for that night. The next morning we enjoyed our coffee in the sun and planned to ride the “Top of the world highway” TOW later. But suddenly a thunderstorm with (3 to 4cm) hail appeared and covered everything in white. Unfortunately it continued hail/raining for about 3-4 hours. So we decided to stay one more night. Therefore we enjoyed the great company of 4 other motorcyclists (greetings to Jaakko, Alf, Jep and Philip) this night at the fireplace. They did the TOW that day and did not even see a drop of rain the whole day.
So the next day we went for it. First we had a look at Chicken, an old little gold miming settlement when dark clouds came across the mountains. Kerstin became a little bit nervous as everybody was saying the TOW is awesome but the road will become narrow and winding, with steep dips and can be very slippery when it rains. Nevertheless we went for it. In the end it was a great ride on a well graded wide gravel road. The scenery was nice, the sun was shining and we arrived at the Canadian Border. Just shortly before Dawson we could see the Thunderstorm in the Rocky’s and caught a little rain. We took the ferry over the Yukon and arrived in the famous Dawson City. It is a really nice place with open minded and friendly people and it is a lot of fun to straw around and catching the spirit of this historical gold mining place. We joined the yearly Commissioner´s Tea (who personally welcomed us to Dawson!) at the Commissioner´s Residence and enjoyed speeches, music, tea and homemade dainties. For sure we will have a great evening before we leave tomorrow. See you soon! – Oh wow we just had an earth quake… everything was tumbling but nothing to worry…
In the early chilly morning we left Anchorage to reach Denali National Park and finally made it at the end of the day. It was mostly cloudy and later on it even started to rain. Finally, after a 400km ride in the rain we reached Healy and moved in the warm and dry trailer of Paul who is a fellow rider which we know from ADVrider.com. We had an awesome time in and around Denali. Actually it is hard to find the right words to express the beauty and the variety of the wild life and the scenery – it is breathtaking and we were incredible lucky with the weather. Even Mount Denali was showing his full presence to us and we now belong to the 30% club (only 30% of all visitors to the park can say that they even have seen Denali without being covered completely in clouds…). We saw bears (even quite some beers….;), moose, Dall sheep, arctic ground squirrels, caribous, marmots, a raven nest and many more… we had a wonderful time in the wilderness and spent some very relaxed moments with Paul, his son Brice and the friends of Paul (THANK YOU PAUL it was such a great time and whenever you come to Germany there is always a place for you!). Very strange thing here is the “time”… you are sitting at the fire and having a beer or two and you think it must be around 19:00 or 20:00 o´clock… and Paul says “ohh I think I should go to bed soon…”, my response was “hmmm, Ok what’s the time?” “00.45”… the Sun here at this time of the year nearly never goes away… And what it doesn’t make it better is that all our “watches” e.g. camera, phone, laptop they all show a different time… but we are working on it to set them right…. ;)
Early morning on Saturday 19th we closed the last time the door of our flat. With a mumble in our stomachs we entered the airplane in Hamburg to fly to Frankfurt – still everything felt unreal… Our journey is finally starting now!
When we arrived in Anchorage we saw the mountains which were still covered in snow and we had an incredible nice welcome with our Airbnb host Robert and we spent the whole evening served with delicious food and local beer. Sunday we had some things to shop and Robert was so kind to take us around the whole day. First we had a stop at the Harley Davidson Store and then we went to the famous BassPro… to buy some beer-, äääähhhh bear-spray and some fishing gear for Sascha so he can hopefully upgrade our dinner one of these days ;) After some shopping in the grocery we had a stop in a Anchorage Brewery Company where a vintage motorbike show took place and had some nice chats. This evening we cooked a gorgeous meal together with some friends and neighbors and spent the night at the fireplace. We went to bed having a last excited thought of the next day: hopefully will get the motorbikes out of customs and that they will be still in good shape.
Eager to see our bikes we woke up early. At a quarter past 9 Allyn wanted to pick us up with his truck. We agreed upfront that he will assist us with some tools and bring us to the airport and he then will keep the crates. We stopped first at the freight forwarder to start the paper process… And then we continued to the customs office at the airport, the responsible lady smiled at us and asked where we are from. When we said Germany she showed a rapt smile and told us that she will go to Germany with her son next week. While we had an interesting conversation she finished the paperwork. Meanwhile another guy entered the room; Johnathon from UK, another biker who wanted to clear his motorbike. He plans to make nearly the same trip as we but in the half of the time. So maybe we will see him somewhere on the road again but most likely he will be always a few miles in front of us… Allyn took us back to the freight forwarder and 10 minutes later we saw our crates in the warehouse – they looked exactly the same like we shipped them – wow – that´s cool! At that moment we started to unpack the crates the sun came out and together with Allyn, THANK YOU!, it took us just about 40 minutes to unload and assemble the bikes. All looked good and another hour later we were ready to take off – juhuu! What a feeling. But first of all we had to get fuel of course. For the plane ride we had an allowance of two to three liters, so we had to find an gas station very soon. When we got to it Sascha was fighting with the service personnel to get his Credit Card (pre-)approved (strange system here!…) and Kerstin was approached be two Mexican gentleman, they have been very interested of what we are doing and where we are going next… so we give them all details and they promised us to give us a warm welcome in Mexico… let´s see how this will develope… After we got the gas station thing solved we continued to ride our fist miles on that trip, let the fun begin! ;)
What we can till till now is
The people we meet are great; the beer we drink is tasty and the air we breathe is mostly (still) cooooold….. so let´s see what tomorrow brings, we will make a test ride down the Seward Highway and then back to Anchorage an further on to the Denali national Park on Wednesday.