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Thread: 08.2009 Alaska and the final of Americas

  1. #1
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    08.2009 Alaska and the final of Americas





    Before really getting to Alaska we got to see some of the best parts of Canada.

    Highlights would be Banff and Jasper national parks and Alaska Highway in Canada.



    We got to see a glimpse of the former Winter Olympics host city Calgary.






    And very shortly after Banff provincial park greeted us.




    Canadian cliffy Rockies make for amazing scenery (click to enlarge mountain pics and panoramas):






























































    The Canadian Alaska Highway features the famous sign post village where you get to see thousands of signs:











    (click to enlarge panoramas)



    Here's a walk-through video, skip the first part where Kariina speaks about it, after which she'll go for a walk:






    Alaska Highway possesses some of the most decent scenery we've seen:









    ...till Alaska was under our wheels!







    Just a superb place to be - great people, and most of the bikes in Alaska were BMW-s, unlike elsewhere in North-America where Harley-Davidsons prevail.


    And Alaska is where our ride "To the end of the World" started - all the way up to Deadhorse, Prudhoe bay. The world famous Dalton Highway.


    Lots to see on Dalton Highway (click to enlarge panoramas):





































    A lunch break aside the dirt road.



    While we were eating I heard some hissing noise - immediately I discovered that our rear tire was leaking air. So I plugged it:





    And another "innovation" on our bike that I haven't talked about is a proper sidestand extension, made out of a hockey puck - works better than the most hi-tec CNC-d wannabe aluminium racing $$$£££€€€ bits, dampened'n grippy 'n all:





    Roads to Deadhorse mostly look like this:





    Looks warm, but it's flippin' cold! We rode with our electrically heated jackets on maximum and rain suits on in order to stop the freezing wind from penetrating us. And riding those roads you mostly look like this:







    Crossed the Arctic Circle.






    There we met two retired (ex-)bikers. The guy wasn't riding much his old BMW anymore because purely physically he just couldn't get on the bike. Without asking they donated us $10, but the condition was that we would send them a post card from Australia, thanks!




    Most of the Dalton Highway is escorted by the Trans-Alaskan crude oil pipeline:


    That is wind, fire and bomb proof. Couple of times per day inspection helicopter flies over it (forest fire risk and anti-terrorist hijack protocol I guess)




    There were loads of forest fires, with smoky skies:





    Some panoramas from Dalton Highway (click to enlarge each one):













































    And the polar Sun - always shining, even at 2 AM till early morning so that the landscapes are covered with its mighty golden shine:




















    And fully frozen we arrived to Deadhorse around 3 AM in the morning:






    Since there was no way back being fully frozen and exhausted, we took the only room available in the Arctic village with 3 hotels. THe room cost us bloody $200 which we bargained down to $150:







    Our room looked like entering a freezer:







    Like most buildings on permafrost in Arctic extreme seasonal conditions, the building was on skis:






    While Deadhorse is mainly a crude oil town, the local fuel costs outrageous money! But to get the refined fuel back there is a big challenge and the next fuel station being some over 200 miles away and your tank already empty, you don't have much choice:





    Most of the vehicles in the village look VERY Arctic/Antarctic purpose:











    Even trailers run on caterpillars!




    Surroundings in Deadhorse (click to enlarge panoramas):















    Now that we'd seen the end of the World, the only way was to make a 180 degrees turn and head down to warm South again. We really were looking forward to it being fully frozen ourselves - the average summer time temperatures in Deadhorse are from 0 to +5 degrees Celsius!








    For me the road markings in Alaska are truly inspiring!





    And with varying luck we rode the Dalton Highway all the way back:







    In those places there is a chance of being attacked by a bear. It might be a small chance, but still. Even Alaskan beers are bear inspired:






    We carried bear spray, just in case:






    Spent some decent time together with Ramey in his home in Fairbanks, and later also with Carol and Paul in Anchorage, after which we headed down to Kenai peninsula.

    Loads of fishers there:












    And abandoned cars aside the road:








    Some Kenai peninsula panoramas (click to enlarge each one and click again in new window to see 'em in full size and then scroll horizontally):

















































    What we did not know before was that Americans and Canadians both love to travel in HUGE recreational vehicles (RV-s). Some are bigger than average long distance buses in Europe and carrying another big american car as a trailer, and there's usually only 2 retired people inside that combo:












    You see all kinds of them everywhere in N-America:















    From Alaska we headed down to Vancouver in Canada. The road there provided an additional set of environments:


















































    Our bike turned 150K meanwhile:






    One of our wild camp places, couldn't sleep though - loads of animals came in the night to sniff around the tent (click to enlarge panorama):






    The weather proved to be exceptionally hot while we were traveling through the northern prt of the British Columbia, so as soon as we spotted a nice lake aside the road, we could not resist jumping in. The water was very clear, and very-very cold (click to enlarge panorama):



    In Vancouver we had to thoroughly clean our bike (in over 40 000 miles that we covered with this expedition in Americas I've only washed the bike lightly 4 times, so it was a big hassle for me to do it in detail for the first time!!!):






    Drained the fuel, disconnected the battery and pushed it into the crate:







    Fixed it up properly.






    Strapped it down and threw our riding gear into the box.












    And ready it was...



    And then came loads of paperwork, and bike was on the way to Australia.

    What about us? We went back to Estonia meanwhile, got the badly needed Estonian sauna, listened to some music from the vinyls we bought around Americas. But it won't last long - we'll be back on the road very shortly.


    Americas in a sum:

    • 41 500 miles
    • 303 days
    • 17 countries
    • 123 nights in the tent
    • 3500 liters of (mostly poor quality) petrol
    • 5033 meters (16 512 ft) marked the highest spot conquered with the bike
    • 28 liters of motor oil
    • 12 crashes
    • 22 police stops
    • 10 worn tires
    • 3 flats
    • 7 sets of brake pads
    • around 383 000 000 piston strokes on our trusty R1100GS.


    Our route in retrospect (click to enlarge):



    So if all goes well, the next instalment will be about Australia.


    Margus

  2. #2
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    Nice pics. I think you deserve your sauna after that. Hope to get to alaska some day. Enjoy the rest of your trip

  3. #3
    Níl gach uile fhánaí caillte Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Weldone Margus,
    Cant wait to see the Oz reports...
    here did you run into two Irish fella's
    up the on f650's Steve and Peadar ???
    They have just finished in Alaska four days ago
    Travel is fatal to hatred, bigotry and prejudice.
    love n laughter

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by the celt View Post
    Weldone Margus,
    Cant wait to see the Oz reports...
    here did you run into two Irish fella's
    up the on f650's Steve and Peadar ???
    They have just finished in Alaska four days ago
    Hi Joe,

    Didn't met them. They probably came along later when we've already off the area. Even if we missed them they sure got a wave from us

  5. #5
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    Amazing trip and great pics as usual, you've a girl in a million there

  6. #6
    Great report of an awesome trip
    KEA

  7. #7
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    Top marks again Margus

    anyone thing standout from the Americas? Favourite country/place/people/road/moment...etc...

  8. #8
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    Fantastic again. Good luck with the r & r and OZ.

  9. #9
    GLIDARN
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    Awsome! I look forward to follow your reports from Australia.

  10. #10

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    Really nice RR.
    I need a rest just from reading!!
    Looking forward to the RR from Downunder!!

  11. #11
    Never knowingly understood Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Makes our trip look like a ride to the park

    Respect indeed

    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decster View Post
    Top marks again Margus

    anyone thing standout from the Americas? Favourite country/place/people/road/moment...etc...
    Favourite countries both start with "B":

    Brazil and Bolivia. Brazil: people and music. Bolivia: scenery - like being on another Planet!

    Best road(s)? ... too many! Ruta 40 dirt in Argentina, South-Bolivian small roadless trails @ over 4000m on altiplano, Carratera Austral in Chile would mark the top spots tho.

    Moment(s): Seeing Rio de Janero above the clouds, vormiting on altiplano in Bolivia while having altitude sickness in freezing -4C night and while vormiting I looking up into the sky that was stunning clear being at 4600 meters above seal level - I don't know why, but it felt stunning despite I was almost dying of altitude sickness at that night. Loads of other "once in a lifetime" moments that would be too much text to write it all down!

    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    Makes our trip look like a ride to the park

    Respect indeed

    Oi Micky,

    Everything's relative. I admire your trip at your age, just wish I have enough health, guts and will to do something you've done at your age

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsiklonaut View Post
    .... Loads of other "once in a lifetime" moments that would be too much text to write it all down!
    write it write it down, to read to your kids and show them the pics and for us to read

    Again Margus and Kariina thanks for the pics and words.

    You have a great eye and beautiful way of seeing and telling

    You must let Kariina write up a section of your trip, maybe from a Pillion's point of view....

    Enjoy Aus.

  14. #14
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    dalton

    Wonderful post I did this in 2007 so nice to see it all again, would love to do it again certainly an experience. The rooms at prudo really are a bit on the dear side but you can eat as much as you like for breakfast for a mere $18.00!!, they don't really want tourists so if you go you hjave to pay for the privelige when yiu see the conditions and the length of the road there you can see where the money goes. Anyone gouing don't bother with the official tour round, £36.00 and you see lots of tundra like what you've been seeing for a few hundred miles and also Prudo is a dry town so take your own and keep it out of sight.
    dave GS. ( good idea to invest in a heated jacket works very well).
    Old GSer's never die, they just fall off more often!.

    So many cats, so few recipies!!.

  15. #15
    Son of Ah Knah Yee Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Wow!

    PUI since 2004


    [url=https://www.TickerFactory.com/]


  16. #16
    Oh Yes.... Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    stunning.
    Perfekt ist nicht gut genug.

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