Alaska – Part 2

First, here are two videos that I could not previously upload:

This one is showcasing the Top of The World Highway from Dawson City, Yukon to Tok, Alaska:

This one gives an idea of the Dalton Highway up to Prudhoe Bay:

 

 

July 16th: Deadhorse to Coldfoot – 400km

We booked a bus tour to the Arctic Ocean the day before and were scheduled for 3pm. We hanged out in the hotel cafeteria for a while before leaving for the meeting point. After boarding the bus, we listened to the very strict rules oil companies have for every worker/visitor in order to preserve the land. Workers get fired if they get caught littering or spitting on land. Bus tour was entertaining as we entered the oil fields. At the end of the world is a massive march covered in oil wells, oil plants and pipelines. I truly had the feeling that I was on another planet. We reached a small beach where visitors are allowed to leave the bus to touch the Arctic Ocean. We were not allowed to put our head in the water because they were sending shock waves for prospecting in the water and it is supposed to make you instantly deaf. A couple guys from Texas went in fully clothed with their head out of the water. Our driver was not impressed. We then returned to the starting point 2.5h later and we got dressed to ride up to Coldfoot. John joined us at that point on his KLR. Weather was much better than it has been the day before. Road was dry and fast, so we saved almost 2h on that stretch. Arriving in Coldfoot around 1am, we called it a day.

Mile 0 of our friend the pipeline

Mile 0 of our friend the pipeline

Pipe section without insulation

Pipe section without insulation

Mobile drilling plant

Mobile drilling plant

Workers camps

Workers camps

Power station for the whole thing

Power station for the whole thing

Just pipes everywhere

Just pipes everywhere

Arctic gear

Arctic gear

Well heads

Well heads

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Hey Arctic Ocean

Hey Arctic Ocean

Cool snowmobile

Cool snowmobile

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Mobile homes on skis

Mobile homes on skis

Snow truck army

Snow truck army

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You think you saw mosquitoes before?

You think you have seen mosquitoes before?

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1am

1am

 

 

July 17th: Coldfoot to Fairbanks: 410km

It was raining as we woke up. Leaving around noon, it was more work on the bike. Even though better than 3 days before, the road was still wet, muddy and slippery. We reached pavement around 5pm and I couldn’t help how much I was smiling to be done with it. I red many guys on forums saying it was the best ride of their life: we definitely don’t have the same tastes. Even if it was somewhat beautiful and different, other dirt roads are nicer to ride and more scenic. We camped at the same campground we were at before in Fairbanks.

Coldfoot village (gas station)

Coldfoot village (gas station)

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Out and back from Prudhoe bay

Out and back from Prudhoe bay

 

 

July 18th: Fairbanks

We all needed to wash and work on our bikes before taking off, so we spent the day doing that. That ride up north was hard on the bike. My fork seals blew on the first day, my front fender extension fell off, my rear brake pads got eaten really fast and I had to adjust the chain twice on my was up even though I would lube as often as I could. I went out to purchase some parts and do laundry. When coming back to our campsite, I met with Laura and Sarra. We agreed to gather around a fire later. We spent most of the night playing cards and having fun.

Dalton ate my brake pads

Dalton ate my brake pads

...and my front fender extension

…and my front fender extension

Having fun playing cards

Having fun playing cards

 

 

 

July 19th: Fairbanks to Tangle Lake – 315km

John heard about the Denali Highway and wanted to hit it before going down to Anchorage. We left after eating some free hot dogs at the local motorcycle shop. Sun has been shining all day when we hit the Denali. There, it was pouring down and we grabbed some gas before reaching a campground to pitch our tents. We cooked some canned food and Kraft Dinner under that pouring rain. It rained so much that we would have to empty our plates from rain water a couple times while eating. We set up a tarp between the 3 bikes for John as his tent was leaking and then I went to sleep.

Picture of John taking a picture

Picture of John taking a picture

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July 20th: Tangle Lake to Denali National Park – 285km

I had to go to the bathroom around 5am. It was winding and raining really hard. When I came out of my tent, I realized that John did not pitch his tent. He laid a tarp on the ground and slept in his sleeping bag under the other tarp. Not a good combination when it is raining sideways… He was awake and completely soaked. He decided to pack up his stuff and ride to the next town to get warmer. Nate and I woke up around 10am. Nate got wet a little and I was in love with my tent! We found John at the end of the highway in a small café. He was feeling alright but decided to split ways as he did not want to spend on a bus tour in the park. We then rode up to the park to buy our bus tickets and get a campground. I wanted to go to the Stampede Trail which is the trail to the magic bus featured in the book and movie: “Into The Wild”. Road ends at the beginning of a mud trail that requires a fully capable 4×4. We turned around and went back to the park.

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McKinley out far

McKinley out far

Moooose

Moooose

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July 21st: Denali State Park to Anchorage – 375km

I woke up around 3am and could not go back to sleep. We had to catch our 6am bus so by 4am I was packing up my stuff and getting ready. It was about 4C out and I had to ask a hiker in his jeep to give me some amps in order to start. I then reached the bus start point 20 minutes in advance. Nate was nowhere in sight even 10 minutes before and I was getting a bit mad. I did not really want to do this tour but agreed to do it has it was important for him. So being there by myself was ironical. He arrived just in time and we left at 6am. Wildlife was everywhere and I actually enjoyed the tour more than I thought I would. The turnaround point was a visitor center where you could see the highest mountain in America: Mount McKinley. Unfortunately that day, clouds kept us from seeing the top. It took us another full 4 hours before getting back to our starting point. We then grabbed some lunch at a café and headed south to Anchorage. We arrived around 9pm and stopped at the campsite we were planning on staying. There was a sign saying that it was for RVs only and we could not pitch our tent. We then spent 1h30 trying to find another spot including hotels. We finally decided to head back to that campground, pay the fees and pitch our tents anyways. I showered and went to sleep around 1am.

First caribou of the day

First caribou of the day

Reindeers

Reindeers

Reindeer

Reindeer

Wonder why I don't like bus tours?

Wonder why I don’t like bus tours?

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Grizzlies

Grizzlies

Grizzlies

Grizzlies

Dall sheeps

Dall sheeps

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McKinley behind the clouds

McKinley behind the clouds

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They look locked too

They look locked too

Are they trying to hide?

Are they trying to hide?

 

July 22nd: Anchorage

Nate had an appointment at 10am for his motorcycle. He left early and I took some time to dry my stuff in the sun before heading that way too. I spoke with Kenny at The Motorcycle Shop to plan my maintenance day on Friday and we agreed for 10am. Then I had to find a spot to get my luggage rack fixed as it broke going up to Deadhorse. Down the road was a small car repair shop with two guys smoking by the door. I asked them if they would help me fix the rack and Frank replied: ”Come on in!”. I was quite surprised to get such good service. I took my luggage off the bike, disconnected the brain of the bike and the battery. He did a really good job for the repair. He sanded down the paint, MIG welded it and then put some black paint on the weld. I was really happy with the repair and asked how much I owed him. He replied that it was totally free and that he would want some people to help him the same way when riding his bike again. I didn’t know how to thank him at that point. I thank them man times over and grabbed some chow mein for lunch. I met with Nate later as he was doing some maintenance on his bike before dropping it at the shop. I proposed that I would keep going for a couple days while he was waiting for his bike and he agreed. I then purchased a box of Molson Canadian and dropped it at the reair shop. After that, I  joined Sarra that I met a couple days before in Fairbanks at a friends’ house concert. It was John Craigie playing and all her friends were really cool. I had a good time before we headed back to her friend’s place where I stayed for the night.

Frank

Frank

Broken luggage rack

Broken luggage rack

The Sun Auto Repair crew

The Sun Auto Repair crew

SarraSarra

 

July 23rd: Anchorage to Cooper Landing – 570km

I left early in the morning towards Homer. Road was beautiful and it felt good to be by myself. About halfway, I went over Kenai River and saw fish tails coming out of the water. I really wanted to go fishing by that point. I stopped in Anchor Point as it is the farthest point West you can drive. I then rode to the end of Homer and grabbed some delicious halibut fish and chip for lunch. There I met Reese who was driving back to Anchorage. We made plans for a couple days later and we left. I then rode back to Cooper Landing where I saw the fishes earlier. I stopped in a fly fishing shop and there I realised I did not have the proper gear. Salmons are anywhere between 40lbs and 95lbs and I only had 12lbs fishing line. I bought some stuff anyways and went to a campground by the river. I fished for an hour without catching anything before going to bed.

I couldn't get farther west

I couldn’t get farther west

W?

W?

 

Bay before Homer

Bay before Homer

End of Homer

End of Homer

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Homer strip by the port

Homer strip by the port

Delicious halibut fish and chip

Delicious halibut fish and chip

Nice camping spot by the Kenai River

Nice camping spot by the Kenai River

Did not catch any 40lbs salmon

Did not catch any 40lbs salmon

July 24th: Cooper Landing to Seward – 100km

I spoke with a man in the morning who told me about a creek packed with red salmons. So I rode up there and saw them shining in the creek. I got a little too excited and started walking in the creek trying to get a picture under water. I got all wet and stopped there for a few hours trying to dry my stuff. I then rode to Seward. Road was beautiful as I came down the mountains filled with snow and glaciers. I had lunch there before heading back to Exit Glacier. I pitched my tent in a free campground before starting the hike up. It was 4.2 miles up and the lady at the visitor center was nervous about me hiking up there so late. She said it would take me at least 3h to go up. I then picked up the pace until about ¾ of the way and 1h10min later. That is where I saw the goats for the first time and started talking to people. I met Morgan who was 19 and hiking from Anchorage to Seward all by herself. We went up to the top and ate some food. The view up there was phenomenal. We met Eva and her parents before going back down. Eva followed us as she did not want to sleep at the top. We arrived at the bottom around 10pm after seeing goats and a black bear. They both wanted to sign my map and then we went to sleep.

Fishermen drifting down the river

Fishermen drifting down the river

Red salmons

Red salmons

Not a good idea to go swimming with all of my gear on...

Not a good idea to go swimming with all of my gear on…

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Resurrection Bay (Seward)

Resurrection Bay (Seward)

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Halfway up

Halfway up

Chlling goats

Chilling goats

1h to winter

1h to winter

View from the top

View from the top

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Morgan

Morgan

Going back down with 2 new friends

Going back down with 2 new friends

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Cool looking streams

Cool looking streams

Morgan and Eva wanted to sign the map

Morgan and Eva wanted to sign the map

 

 

July 25th: Seward to Anchorage – 200km

I had an appointment at 10am at The Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage and was 2h away. I unfortunately was 45min late, but they did not mind it much. We agreed that they would do the seals and help me with a few things such as an oil pan and a 32mm wrench for my front sprocket. It was raining out and one of the KTM tech (Chris) very kindly offered to lend me his bike tent for the day (thanks man!). It was much better than the tarp I wanted to set up. I started by taking the fork out. Then I did my oil change and they helped me clean my filters. I then replaced my sprockets and chain before putting the fork back in. When all done, I was trying to pack the tent back in the bags when an older man came up to me in his shirt under the rain and offered to help. We folded the top part before he told me he was the owner of the shop. You don’t see that happening every day! I paid for service (Kenny was very reasonable) and headed to a cheap hotel for the night. I was totally soaked and needed to dry everything. There, I did laundry and spread everything on the floor. Then I went out and had a great time with Reese at a local bar with a live band and went to sleep around 3am.

Good setup for a rainy day

Good setup for a rainy day

Oh man

Oh man

Not as bad

Not as bad

Back together and ready to go

Back together and ready to go

New chain and sprockets

New chain and sprockets

New seals

New seals

AK2

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8 responses to “Alaska – Part 2

  1. Frank c’est tellement beau ton aventure! J’aimerais juste être un peu plus jeune et faire une belle aventure comme ça! Merci de me faite rêver!

  2. Salut FX !

    Quel trip merveilleux tu es en train de faire !
    Fais attention à toi et je continue à te suivre car j’ai l’impression de faire le voyage aussi avec tes photos et tes textes.

    Alain Dionne ( père de PÉO )

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