Day 17

Destruction Bay, YT to Anchorage, AK (and Fairbanks)
550 miles (Fairbanks ~ 430 miles)
Trip total – 5582 (~5462)

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Wow, what a beautiful morning. We have truly been blessed with weather on this trip. On our final day, it was about 45 degrees as we were loading with a blue sky and only a few clouds. We had breakfast and hit the road again, knowing it was going to be a longer day for me.

I took a couple pictures almost immediately as we got on the road. We had some horses decided to join us for a bit of a jog as well.

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The road was decent before we hit the border with most of the frost heaves repaired since the last time any of us had traveled over that road. It was comical hearing the tourists complain about how bad it was at each stop we made.

We crossed the border out of Canada and then back into the US and immediately had amazing roads and higher speed limits. Of course, the mountains were as amazing as ever.

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Just before we got to Tok, Dad hit a bird that got stuck in his bike. He removed the big part at Fast Eddie’s but is going to have to deal with some feathers and guts when he cleans his bike… what a mess!

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We had lunch, got gas, and went out separate ways.

It was weird turning off the road while Dad and Darrell continued on the Richardson towards Fairbanks. They decided at Delta Jct that they weren’t going to put their rain gear on regardless of what happened. Evidently it poured on them the last few miles.

For my trip to Anchorage, the weather was beautiful other than a few miles East of Sheep Mtn on the Glenn Hwy. There was one ominous cloud that ended up dumping on me. The temperature went from 65 to 48 in about 15 seconds and it was a torrential downpour, switching rapidly to small hail, and then stopped almost immediately. It lasted maybe a full minute then the temperature climbed right back to mid-60’s when I drove out from under the cloud.

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The ride across the Glenn Hwy was amazing as I approached Palmer. The weather was great and there was almost no traffic so I was able to take advantage of the twisty road. What a fun ride.

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I swung by Starbucks on the way into Anchorage to give Kathy a kiss. She was at a meeting. When I got home, the kids were all excited to see me. Brielle looked at me with huge eyes and said, “Dad, when Mom get’s home she’s going to give you a big hug!”

So, it’s wonderful to be home with my family again. However, I miss gearing up in the morning to continue down the road.

Until the next trip, so long!

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Day 16

Watson Lake, YT to Destruction Bay, YT
435 Miles
Miles so far – 5032

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It was a bit chilly this morning as we loaded up the bikes… around 40 degrees. However, it was sunny and not raining so we weren’t complaining. We had breakfast and hit the road. Thankfully the heated gear was working and Darrell had his heavy jacket on.

Not much for scenery at first but it got better as the day went on.

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We made a gas stop and decided to get a coffee to warm up. Upon entering the restaurant, we discovered they had warm cinnamon rolls that we had to sample. They were more like caramel rolls than cinnamon but we didn’t complain! Notice the excitement on Darrell’s face.

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After our snack, we continued on, trying to make it to Destruction Bay so the ride tomorrow is more reasonable. The scenery continued to improve and then was amazing as Kluane Lake came into view. We were able to dodge a few clouds to avoid the rain today other than a coffee break in Whitehorse during a downpour. At least we were inside!

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And here are the pictures of Kluane Lake that I took. I think it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

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We made it to Destruction Bay and got a room for the night. Dinner at the only restaurant was a pleasant surprise as our dinner salad was the best so far including fresh vegetables!

Day 15

Liard Hot Springs, BC to Watson Lake, BC
129 miles
Miles so far – 4597

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Wow… wet weather. We slowly got moving today due to the rain. We had breakfast, packed the bikes, and got moving around 9:30. We were pretty soaked before we even hit the road.

We saw lots of bison and bears today although the pictures aren’t great due to fighting moisture:

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We ended up stopping for Darrell to change gloves due to the cold weather. It was hovering just a little above 40 degrees and, with the wet weather, it was a bit chilly.

It rained continuously until we got to Watson Lake. We stopped for gas and lunch and started looking at forecasts for the area. As we were warming up and noticing that the weather was looking much better tomorrow, we decided to call it a day and try again tomorrow.

It was a good choice as we are able to get our clothes dried out a bit and rest up for tomorrow. I can’t complain about the rain as we’ve had great weather the entire trip but it sure slows down the pace a bit.

And I would much rather ride in the rain at 80 degrees than 40!

Day 14

Fort St. John, BC to Liard Hot Springs, BC
429 miles
Miles so far – 4468

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The morning started a bit chilly with entirely too much dew. We put away our tents wet which is never fun. We got on the road around 7:30. The weather warmed up some as we rode along the first portion, mostly flat terrain with straight roads. We saw a few bison and even a black bear or two.

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As the day progressed, we ended up with some ominous looking clouds in the distance.

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We road around Muncho Lake with its bright blue water. Riding around the coast was great with twisties and beautiful scenery.

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About 30 minutes away from Liard, the sky let loose and we got soaked. Luckily we had stopped for Dad and Darrell to put on their rain gear. I took a few pictures of the scenery in the rain but they didn’t turn out that great… we saw lots more bison and a few more bears but was unable to take any pictures of them based on weather… more tomorrow on these!

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We ended the evening soaked at Liard Lodge. The accommodations were decent and the Hot Springs was much needed to ease the soreness of the cold, wet weather.

Hoping for a little less rain tomorrow but the forecast is not looking promising.

Day 13

McBride, BC to Fort St. John, BC
420 miles
Miles so far – 4039

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We started out today with another beautiful morning. It was about 45 degrees when we go up and warmed up to about 50 by the time we were on the road. We road about 3 hours into Prince George for breakfast at Denny’s. It was much better than yesterday’s breakfast.

Leaving Prince George, we road North toward Chetwynd, BC and then cut North to Charlie Lake. The drive was beautiful and we somehow managed to avoid the rain. There were some massive clouds that looked ominous but each time we got close and it started to drizzle, the road would turn and we would be back in the sunlight. The temperature even rose to 75 on the ride.

The gas station and restaurant we had planned for gas and dinner was closed so we ended up riding into Fort St. John for dinner.

We found a campsite on the North side of town. Not a bad place although it’s the first time this trip we have had to use outhouses as facilities. The price was right though.

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Day 12

Radium Hot Springs, BC to McBride, BC
345 miles
Miles so far – 3619

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Another beautiful day as we packed up our bikes but it was a bit chilly at just less than 40 degrees. We all ended up using our heated vests for the first time on the trip. Darrell had accidently mailed his cord back to Alaska with a few other things but luckily I had an extra. As we pulled into our first stop of the day, Darrell told us that the extra cord I had let him use didn’t work. He had managed to melt his spiraled cord on his exhaust which would explain the lack of heat! After warming up in Lake Louise, he put on his heavy coat and stayed warmer the rest of the day (although the temperature rising to almost 70 helped too).

Today’s scenery was the best up to this point. We had a beautiful ride through the mountains West of Banff, approaching Jasper. It was easily the most spectacular Rocky Mountains I have seen.

At one point we stopped to get some pictures of the valley we had just come through and there were lots of tourists (mostly Japanese) taking pictures as well. As soon as we pulled up, we were literally swarmed by them. One guy used his foot-long telephoto lens to take a picture of the Harley logo on Dad’s saddlebag. One bus load of tourists from Israel ended up talking to us the entire time instead of taking pictures of the beautiful valley. It really was a unique experience and none of us really knew how to react to all the attention. We’re not even sure how many pictures we ended up in. This is what they were missing:

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We had breakfast in Lake Louise. We all ended up getting omelets because the breakfast place ran out of hashbrowns so they wouldn't serve us anything that included hashbrowns even if we didn't want them! The omelet was fairly pathetic so we pressed on to Jasper for a late lunch.

After lunch, we decided to make it a bit of a shorter day based on all the stops we had made for pictures and the slow traffic. We ended up finding a campsite in McBride that is right next to a river. It's a nice campground with great shower facilities and everything!

Oh, look for the bear in the picture below. He's behind a tree when I took the picture, unfortunately. It was a pretty big black bear. We also saw some sheep, a couple elk, and some deer (in our campground).

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Day 11

Missoula, MT to Radium Hot Springs, BC
355 miles
Total so far – 3274

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Guess what?!? Another beautiful morning. We have really been blessed with the weather we’ve had.

We leisurely had breakfast this morning, loaded the bikes, and then I went over the the Harley shop and got my cigarette lighter plug soldered… I’m back up and running with power in my tank bag. We ended up hitting the road around 10:00 or so.

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We ended up riding North on Hwy 93 for most of the day today. The mountains and Flathead Lake as we approached Kalispell, MT, were amazing. I’ll include the multiple scenery pictures I took at the end.

We crossed the border with no issues although I discovered they aren’t fans of full-face helmets at border crossings. I ended up having to take off much of my gear before he allowed me to proceed. Then he asked if I could move out of the way to put my gear back on. I made him wait… I was feeling rebellious! 😉

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Riding up through Canada, we ended up taking a small detour to test Darrell’s GPS (that’s Dad’s excuse for missing our exit). The GPS took us on a great road that was a fun ride but it took us 15 miles to turn around and drive back to the same exit we missed albeit in the opposite direction.

Back on track, we finished up the day with dinner in Radium Hot Springs and then set up camp in a campground nearby. It’s a decent campsite and the weather is still great. Hopefully we don’t have any rain tonight so we can put our tents away dry in the morning.

We’re aiming for somewhere around Prince George tomorrow.

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