WATCH THE VIDEO – ALASKA, THE SOLO TRIP
Day 1 – Wyoming. Monday June 8th 2015
I made it to Sheridan, Wyoming today, 425 miles from home (man…do I have a long way to go)! I was beat by the time I got here. No camping for me today…I checked into a nice motel. I have a feeling that will be how the rest of this trip will play out! It was kind of windy from the Colorado / Wyoming border all the way through Casper. No wind from Casper to Sheridan. I was told it’s been raining in the area for the last 2 weeks. It shows, it’s very green here. The grasslands, prairies and hills seem to go on forever. Here’s a few pics from todays ride.
Day 2 – Montana. Tuesday June 9th 2015
Made it as far as Great Falls, Montana today. Very nice weather the whole way, but very hot too. I buzzed right by the “Welcome to Montana” sign. Hoped to get a photo of it. Oh well, no loss. Stopped at the site of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Really enjoyed that. Very green in Montana too! Here are today’s pictures.
Day 3 – Alberta, Canada. Wednesday June 10th 2015
Made it to Olds, Alberta. About 40 Miles north of Calgary. Met Greg at the Canadian border who is also riding to the Arctic Circle. We rode from the border together, all day long. That’s Greg in the last photo. He’s on a bit of a tighter schedule than I am, so, we’ll see if we can ride together or not, all the way to the Arctic Circle.
Day 4 – Alberta, Canada. Thursday June 11th 2015
Rode from Olds, Alberta to Grande Prairie, AB. It was very challenging because the winds on the last 150 miles were brutal. Greg (the guy I met and rode with yesterday) left Olds a couple hours before I did. He just sent me a text and said he made it to Dawson Creek today. I’m running way behind schedule. I just can’t pull off 500 miles days of riding like I thought I would be able to. I’m also having a problem with the chain on my bike. I’m going to try to get it into a Suzuki shop tomorrow and have it looked at. That’ll slow me down some more! As far as pictures for day 4 go…nothing really jumped out at me today worth taking a picture of. So….. I took this one! Enjoy!
Day 5 – Alberta (continued) and British Columbia. Friday June 12th 2015
Rode from Grand Prairie, AB to Fort Nelson, British Columbia. It was a very challenging day. It rained hard, blew hard and was cold. The temperature was 39 degrees when I left Grand Prairie and never broke the mid 40’s. I had to take my bike into a Suzuki dealer before I left Grand Prairie, because my chain was not looking good. I had them check it out, and they made an adjustment, then I was back on the road again. There was only two short breaks in the rain; when I stopped to take a picture of the sign in Dawson Creek where the Alaska Highway starts, and at the British Columbia border. That was it! The rest was driving, cold wind and rain.
The last gas available (120 miles before Fort Nelson) was an unattended pump. It is completely unattended…no one around at all. That’s where I met Robb, from Houston. We were both low on fuel and stopped there for gas. It was our last chance for gas for the next 120 miles. Robb’s credit card wouldn’t work. We tried for 15 minutes. Then we tried mine. It wouldn’t work. Finally Rob gave up. He had 0ne gallon of spare gas in a gas can and poured every little drop into his gas tank thinking he could “just make it”, and took off for Fort Nelson. He was too cold and desperately wanted to get out of the rain. I stayed and met a retired couple from New Mexico who pulled up to get gas. Their card worked! So I gave them some cash and they used their card to purchase my gas. About 45 minutes later (with a full tank), I headed off for the last 120 miles to Fort Nelson. After about an hour and a half of riding, I caught up to Robb, cruising a very slow speed, trying to conserve gas. He was just about out of gas with many miles to go. I slowed down and rode behind him the rest of the way to Fort Nelson, just in case he ran out. After several more miles, we cruised into a gas station at the edge of Fort Nelson, his gauge said he had 3 more miles until his tank was empty. Then we checked into a nearby motel.
Tomorrow, we’re riding together to Watson Lake!
Day 6 – Fort Nelson, BC to Watson Lake, YT. Saturday, June 13th 2015
The weather was a little better today. Lighter rain in patches and slightly warmer than yesterday. The temperature bounced around between the mid forties to the lower fifties. Robb (Photo below) and I rode together all day long. The weather forced us to wear our cold weather rain gear yet once again. We ran into some zero visibility fog on Summit Pass. I was leading the ride, and I could only see just passed my front fender. However, this by far was the most scenic day of riding so far of the whole trip. The clouds just gave the landscape an eerie beauty. We passed by Muncho Lake and the Smith river (photos below).
Later in the day, I spotted a bear on the side of the road so we pulled over to take some pictures (Robb said I hit the brakes so hard my rear tire locked up and he nearly rear ended me). I didn’t want to miss this photo opp. I stood up on my foot pegs to get a better view because he was off the road about 20 feet to the left of us. The bear would eat some grass, look up at us. Then eat some more, then look at us again, as he worked his way closer to the road. I thought this is great, I’m going to get some incredible photos of this bear. Then I put the camera down and started taking some video as he started to cross the road just to the rear of us. I’m thinking “wow, this is even better video…he’s real close, about 15 feet away”. Then the bear stopped, looked at us once again, then started coming right towards us. You wouldn’t believe how fast two guys shoved their cameras in their tank bags and smoked their tires to get out of there.
Tomorrow, Robb will be heading a different direction than me. So I’ll be on my own to explore some more of the Yukon Territory. But that’s ok, the great scenery will keep me company!
Day 7 – Watson Lake, YT to Whitehorse YT. Sunday June 14th 2015
The weather was a slight improvement from yesterday. It started in the low 50’s and in some areas even reached the mid 60’s. I hit a few patches of light rain, then a short burst (about 5 minutes) of heavier rain. It was a good ride. And once again…incredible scenery. I was correct as I mentioned in yesterday’s post…even though I was back to riding alone, this beautiful area kept me in good company.
As I left Watson Lake, YT, I stopped at the famous Sign Post Forest for a quick look. Google it. It’s an interesting story.
After several miles, I stopped for lunch in Teslin Lake, YT, where I met a guy from Brazil who was on his way back home after riding the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle (my destination). He could barely speak a couple words of English. After several hand jesters and many Spanish words mixed with a couple English words, he pointed to a place on the front of his motorcycle that once held a GoPro camera. I noticed that the plastic mount was broken off, and there was no camera. Somewhere between Beaver Creek, YT and Destruction Bay, YT, his camera fell off, containing all that footage of his incredible ride to the Arctic Circle. I felt so bad for him. I thought, I would have thrown myself off a cliff if that had happened to me. He gave me a sticker with his web site on it and I told him with hand jesters that I would watch for it as I rode the direction he just came from. He took off with a look of frustration on his face.
As I climbed on my bike, then put my helmet on, I thought I would check the GoPro camera mounted on the back of my bike…just incase. When I gave it the slightest jiggle, the mount snapped off, and the camera fell to the ground. The man from Brazil just prevented me from looking for the nearest cliff!
Day 8 – Whitehorse, YT to Beaver Creek, YT June 15, 2015
Another day of spectacular scenery. See the photos below (I wish I was a better photographer). NO RAIN TODAY! Leaving Whitehorse this morning (what a nice town), the temperature was in the upper 60’s. As I headed north, the temperature kept dropping. All the way down to the upper 40’s. Once again, I had to stop and put some warm gear on. Every time I pull over to the side of the road for any reason, I catch myself looking around every few seconds looking for a charging bear! None in sight today. The temps warmed back up as I got closer to Beaver Creek.
It’s beginning to look a lot like…….Alaska! Big towering mountains on todays ride. I’ll be in Alaska tomorrow morning. The border is just a couple miles or so down the road from Beaver Creek where I’m staying tonight. I drove past Kluane Lake today. It’s huge! And beautiful. I think it took about an hour to drive the length of it.
Some of the frost heaves in the pavement from Whitehorse north, were huge. They are like giant skateboard ramps for vehicles! One of them actually threw me right into the windshield of my motorcycle. That was a wake up call! The last 30 to 40 miles into Beaver Creek were all construction. Slippery, muddy roads from the water truck trying to keep the dust down and loose gravel (not fun on a motorcycle). I had to wait for pilot cars over and over. While I was waiting for one of those pilot cars, I met Kevin and Jim from Tennessee. Kevin is originally from Ireland. Kevin was really low on gas because one of the gas stations he was planning on filling up at earlier, was closed. When we finally got through the construction and pulled into the closest gas station, we realized that Kevin was no longer with us. Jim and I turned around to go look for him. There he was, about a mile away, stopped on the side of the road. I gave him the two gallons in my spare can and all three of us made it happily back to the gas station. Perhaps I’ll run into Jim and Kevin at the Arctic Circle. That’s where they’re headed too!
Just a side note: Kevin, Jim and I parted ways at the gas station and I went to go find my motel. Suddenly, I had crossed the Canadian border and realized I had gone too far. My motel reservations were in Canada, not the U.S. I had to turn around and pass through customs back into Canada. After explaining to the Customs Agent what I had done, he explained to me that the motel is right across the street from a gas station. The same gas station I was just at!
Day 9 – Beaver Creek, YT to Fairbanks, Alaska. June 16th, 2015
I got packed up and pulled out of Beaver Creek, YT around 8 am… headed for Fairbanks.. The weather was perfect all day long. About 45 minutes later, I found myself in Alaska. Finally! It took nearly 8 and a half days to get here. However, I’m about 5 days behind my originally planned schedule. I obviously wasn’t able to pull off those 500 mile days like I thought I could when I was planning this trip. I need to make up some time. Let’s see…ride faster? Nope, not safe. Quit stopping so much to take pictures? Nope, that’s why I took this trip. I think I’ll be keeping the pace I’m at right now.
When I stopped in Tok, Alaska to get gas, pulling up next to me were my friends Jim from Tennessee and Kevin from Ireland. Kevin is the one who ran out of gas yesterday. They invited me to ride along with them for the day. We had a great time filming each other with our video cameras as we rolled down the highway. We exchanged video files and email addresses in Delta Junction, AK, then parted ways. Kevin invited me to Ireland to do some motorcycle touring with him. Mmmmm….sounds like a great idea! Hey Bruce (my boss), can I have another month off?
I made it to Fairbanks in the afternoon, checked into my hotel, then rode up to Adventure Cycle Works north of Fairbanks to have the new tires I had shipped there a few weeks ago put on the bike, and get the oil changed. Dan the owner, who runs his business of working on Adventure bikes out of the garage of his home, took good care of me. He’s quite the character too.
When I pulled up to Dan’s garage, there was Bob and Jim from Vermont, who I met the night I arrived in Watson Lake a few days ago. We’ve bumped into each other several times along the way. They had just gotten back from a ride on the Top Of The World Highway. Which is in my plans on my return trip home.
I’m taking a day off tomorrow to recharge my batteries (in more ways than one). Then Thursday I start my ride to the Arctic Circle.
Day 10 – A Day Off In Fairbanks, AK – June 17th, 2015
Today I took the day off from riding so I could spend some time looking for and buying replacements for minor parts and pieces of equipment I’ve lost along the way on my trip so far (cables for my GoPro, noise reducing earplugs etc.).
I also spent time reorganizing and preparing for the leg of my trip to the Arctic Circle (cleaning and lubing the chain and other parts of the bike) tomorrow.
This morning, I got a call from Greg, the guy I met on day 3 at the Montana / Canadian border. He rode up to the Arctic Circle Yesterday. He rented a Kawasaki KLR 650 (his real ride is a Kawasaki Concourse…street bike). During his return from the Arctic Circle, he noticed the bike was running a little hot. Then he realized the radiator hose had blown. He had coolant all over his boots and riding pants. Luckily, before he left home, he rented a satellite messaging device and he was able to text the place he rented the bike from, and they came and picked him and the ailing rental bike up and drove him back to Fairbanks. Greg said the only thing that got him as far back in the direction of Fairbanks, was the cold temperatures near the Arctic Circle. Otherwise the engine would have seized up.
Tomorrow, it’s my turn to try and make it to the Arctic Circle. I won’t be able to make it all the way to Deadhorse as I hoped. I’m already 6 days behind schedule, and Deadhorse would add another 4 days to the trip (at my pace anyway). I’ll have to find some satisfaction in making it to the Arctic Circle. I think when I arrive there, it’ll take some of the sting out of not making it to the Arctic ocean.
The post for day 11 will most likely be a day or two behind as there is no wifi and no cell service along the whole route.
Also, there are no pictures to post for today. I figured photographs of me driving around Fairbanks from store to store looking for parts would be quite boring!
Day 11 – Fairbanks, AK to The Arctic Circle. June 18th, 2015
Finally, the day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time has come. The months of planning and preparation has paid off. What a great feeling.
The ride this morning started off with near disaster. As I was traveling on the Elliot highway, on the way to the beginning of the Dalton, I noticed what looked like a really bad asphalt patching job up ahead. It was in the shadows of the mountain to my right, so the lighting made it really hard to tell what it was. It really did look like a crappy patching job. When I got closer, (I was doing about 55 mph at the time) I realized it was a huge pile of asphalt dumped right in the center of my lane (no cones, no flags, no one around). The pile was over two feet tall and about 25 feet long. I had slowed down quite a bit and swerved to the left, but still hit the left side of the asphalt pile ( about 6 to 12 inches deep). That sent my front tire pitching left and right until I finally recovered (it also sent my heart rate through the ceiling). However, I had slowed down enough that it wouldn’t have been too bad, had I gone down. About 3 miles later, I approached the construction site where the asphalt was intended for. When I pulled up to the flagger where I was to stop for the pilot car, I told him about the pile of asphalt. He said a belly dumper accidently dumped it on the way to this area, and they were going to get it cleaned up. That’s when I unloaded on him. I’ll let you use your imagination!
The Dalton was magnificent! Such a blend of unique landscapes. It truly has a beauty all it’s own. Even the Alaska Pipeline had a kind of 7 wonders of the world unique beauty to it. What a great feeling when I reached the Arctic Circle. Even though I knew there wouldn’t be snow and bitter cold when I arrived, it was kind of strange to find the temperature in the 80’s. I was sweatin’ like a pig!
While I was having a chat with a young guy named Mathias from Sweden, who rode his motorcycle up to the Arctic Circle also (this is his second trip to the Arctic…his first was in his homeland), a really nice man named Chris from Florida climbed out of his van and brought us each a cold bottle of water and some moose jerky, and said, “I have a lot of respect for what you guys accomplished here today”. That kind of hit the spot…in more ways than one!
After about an hour at the “Circle” it was time for me to start my travels back south towards home. I booked a room at the Yukon River Camp, about 60 miles south of the Circle.
Now it’s time for me to fess up. While on my way to the Yukon River Camp, I stopped on a slight downhill slope to take a picture (one of nearly 100 today). The bike was in gear with the kick stand down and it rolled slightly forward just enough for it to engage the gear. Which was enough to pop the kickstand back in the up position, which I didn’t notice. The next thing I knew, the bike fell over, in slow motion. It was too heavy for me to stop it. I didn’t realize the “F…word” could carry so far near the Arctic Circle! Well, I couldn’t pick the bike back up. And there was no one around as far as I could see. I began unloading some of the gear off the bike and tried again… still couldn’t do it. Then eventually, a truck driver came by and climbed down from his big rig and helped me lift it up off it’s side. And once again, (this time out of the truck drivers mouth)…I heard…”F…..” this thing is heavy!
Day 12 – Yukon River Camp, AK to Fairbanks, AK. June 19th, 2015
The weather was great, the ride was great, and no near disasters. Pretty much uneventful. Other than loosing more camera accessories (the valleys around the Dalton once again echoed with my potty mouth). So as soon as I got back into Fairbanks, I was back at the camera store purchasing more GoPro batteries. The guy at the camera store saw me walk in and said…whad’ ya’ loose this time?
Yukon River Camp was not pretty from the outside, but was clean and updated on the inside.
Tomorrow I ride back to Tok, AK. As I was told by the locals, it’s pronounced Tok as in…can I have a toke of your joint man?
From Tok, I’ll be riding “The Top Of The World Highway”. Another popular road to travel, and highly recommended by the Adventure Bike riders!
Just a few pictures from today’s ride…
Day 13 – Fairbanks, AK to Tok, AK. June 20th, 2015
A short ride into Tok from Fairbanks today. A little over 200 miles as I position myself for the ride on The Top Of The World Highway tomorrow. The weather was great today. I’m staying at a little cabin in Tok with a sod roof (thanks to Sean…my travel agent on the fly).
There was a group of about 25 adventure riders, all from Great Britain staying at my hotel in Fairbanks. They had their bikes shipped to Miami from GB. They’re all in their 60’s and 70’s. They were leaving for the Arctic Circle this morning.
Tomorrow I’ll be leaving early to get a jump start on the rain that is supposed to be moving into the area. I’m told the ride on the Top of the World Highway can be sloppy and slick if it’s wet. Don’t want to deal with that. I’ll attempt to make it into Dawson City by tomorrow afternoon.
I got a text from Robb this morning who I met on day 5 on that cold and rainy ride from Grand Prairie to Ft Nelson. His travels are bringing him into Tok this evening. We’re going to try to meet for dinner at Fast Eddies here in Tok. It’s supposed to be pretty good.
Day 14 – Tok, AK. to Whitehorse, YT. June 21st, 2015
I decided not to ride The Top Of The World Highway today. The rain in the area was heavy for hours last night and there was a 40% chance of more rain today up there. I was warned over and over by many Adventure riders not to do it if it’s raining or has rained recently. The mud is slicker than ice. Being alone, I didn’t want to risk it. So I rode straight from Tok, AK. into Whitehorse, YT. It was a long ride, over 12 hours straight (at my pace), but I bought myself an extra day for the return ride home.
Smoke, smoke and more smoke. About twenty minutes out of Tok, I was hit by the smell of burning wood (no, I wasn’t thinking too hard). A few minutes later, I was in some pretty thick forest fire smoke. I heard there were fires burning around Alaska, but I didn’t know where. I still don’t. But man did I ride through some thick smoke. It didn’t thin out until I reached Destruction Bay, YT next to Kluane Lake. That was about 6 to 7 hours into my ride. I was told that the view from the Top Of The World Highway was shrouded in thick smoke. Kind of glad I didn’t ride through all that mud to find out there was no view!
About an hour after crossing the Canadian border, I came upon the miles and miles of construction and pilot cars where I met Kevin and Jim (Kevin’s the one from Ireland that ran out of gas several days ago…remember?) As I pulled up to the flagger (a young girl), she warned me that just a few minutes earlier, a Grizzly bear crossed the road in front of her about 100 feet away. And if he comes back, we’re both jumping in the construction van parked on the side of the road. It took about 15 minutes for that pilot car to show up to escort me through the construction zone. I spent 15 minutes while waiting, scanning the trees and bushes left and right, in front of me and behind me. After 15 minutes of that, I could turn my head like an owl!
Near Haines Junction, I was greeted by high winds and driving rain for about an hour. That sparked my attention after what was a very relaxing ride up to that point.
Ten minutes north of White horse, I spotted about 8 to 10 bald eagles. One flew right along side me not 50 feet away to my right side. Wished I could photograph and ride at the same time!
Sorry, the days for these posts don’t go in numerical order. Too technical for me to fix.
Also, you can double click on a photo and wait about 15 to 20 seconds for it to resize larger.
Day 15 – Whitehorse, YT to Watson Lake, YT. June 22nd, 2015
The temperature was a little cool as I left Whitehorse this morning. Low to mid 50’s, but eventually it warmed up to the low 70’s. It was mostly cloudy all day. Still some residual smoke from the fires burning in Alaska in this area. There was a threat of thunderstorms about 2 hours outside of Watson Lake. Just enough to make me pull over and switch to my rain gear (camera and clothing). It only amounted to a few drops.
Even though at this point I’m returning the same way I came, seeing the scenery going south instead of coming north, gives everything a whole new perspective. A couple of times, I did catch myself stopping at the same places to take pictures that I stopped at on the way up. Oooops.
Today was uneventful, but it was a nice relaxing ride. I saw no Adventure riders going my direction today. The road was relatively quiet and traffic free. In three days more riding, I will detour off the route I took north and head through Banff and Jasper National Parks.
Day 16 – Watson Lake, YT to Fort Nelson, BC. June 23rd, 2015
Today was the best day for beautiful scenery and magnificent wildlife! The ride today started out a little cool then slightly warmed up a bit. I ran into three hard thunderstorms with intense rain, but each didn’t last too long. Then spotty light rain here and there throughout the day
But the weather was no match for the incredible scenery and wildlife I saw today. This by far has been the best leg of the trip. When I rode up through this area several days ago, it was very rainy, cold and cloudy. Coming back through here today, it’s amazing how much I missed on the northbound leg because of the weather.
Not 20 minutes outside of Watson Lake, there was a warning sign…”Warning, wildlife on the road”. That was an understatement. A minute or two after that sign, I saw over eleven bears (I lost count after number 11) within the next 10 miles. Not a single one of them had any interest in my presence.
As I rode south, I stopped on the side of the road to change batteries in my camera, (and make sure my bear spray was easy to get to) when a fox popped out of the trees, sat down and looked at me as if he was saying… “take my picture too mister”! I snapped off one shot, then he stood up and headed back into the forest.
It was a great day!
Remember, you can double click on a photo to enlarge it. Just wait about 15 to 30 seconds for it to resize. Then click the back arrow to return to the post.
Day 17 – Fort Nelson, BC – Grand Prairie, AB. June 24th, 2015
Today was a long ride through gentle rolling hills with patchy thick forested areas along each side of the road. That’s pretty much how it was all day. The weather was warm, in the mid to upper 70’s. No wildlife today.
I did stop to get fuel at that unattended gas pump where I met Robb from Houston several days ago on the way north, and neither one of our credit cards worked. I tried again today with my card…and no luck. Then I remembered I had my debit card. So I gave that one a try…it worked!
Tomorrow I ride to Jasper, AB. Where the scenery is sure to please.
Day 18 – Grand Prairie, AB to Jasper, AB. June 25th, 2015
The ride today started out routine, just like yesterday’s ride was…routine. The weather was cool in the morning. Low 50’s, but it warmed up as I headed south, into the upper 70’s by the afternoon.
The scenery was looking much like yesterday’s for the first 150 miles or so. My knees were aching, my back was sore and my butt was getting tired…then I turned right onto highway 16 into Jasper National Park…all the aches and pains were a thing of the past.
There is a dramatic photographic moment around each curve in the road. It probably took a couple of hours just to ride the last 50 miles today, because I stopped to take a photograph…as I said….around each curve!
Tomorrow I continue my ride through Jasper National Park and then on through Banff National Park. At the pace I’m riding, I figure I should get through Jasper and Banff in about…ohhhh…..seven more days!
By the way…the town of Jasper is really, really nice. Lot’s of great motels, restaurants etc. It’s beautiful here!
Remember, you can double click on a photo and give it about 15 – 30 seconds to resize. Then hit your back button to return to the post.
Day 19 – Jasper, AB to Calgary, AB. June 26th, 2015
I got up really early to beat the tourist rush and because I knew I’d be stopping a lot to take photos. It was cool (around 52 degrees) and had rained over night. The sun was shining bright in Jasper while I loaded my bike. Five minutes down the road from my motel…my worst nightmare for what I thought would be the best photo opportunity of my trip…thick fog!
Luckily, after about 20 minutes…the fog began to break up, and those beautiful dramatic mountains started popping through the clouds. It took me about seven hours to drive through the remainder of Jasper and Banff National Parks because I stopped to take pictures so much. It was worth it.
Tomorrow, I’m back in the U.S.
Day 20 – Calgary, AB to Conrad, MT. June 27th, 2015
The drive from Calgary, AB to Conrad, MT is far from being a scenic drive. The temperature kept getting hotter, the further south I went. By the time I got to the U.S. border, the temperature was in the low 90’s. And sure enough, it took nearly 45 minutes of waiting in line, in the hot sun for my turn to answer all of the border guard’s questions.
Not much in the way of photos for today. I did see many fields of yellow like the picture below as I was traveling the last several miles in Alberta, approaching Montana.
Day 21 – Conrad, MT to Sheridan, WY. June 28th, 2015
The best word to describe this day is not picturesque or beautiful or scenic. The best word to use is…HOT. I left Conrad, MT. early, knowing it might be a scorcher today. With every 10 miles or so I traveled, I watched the temperature rise another degree or two. By the time I reached Billings, my thermometer read 101 degrees. Wearing protective motorcycle gear (with built in armor) didn’t help matters. It’s vented, but I still cooked like a little hot dog on a grill.
The scenery was kind of dull once again. I’m sure it won’t be any better tomorrow either.
One old abandoned hotel in Lavina, MT. caught my attention, back on day 2 of my trip. I didn’t stop that day to take a picture of it. But today I did. It looked just like one of those old classic hotels out of a western movie. I could picture the Soiled Doves standing out on the upper deck winking at the cowboys as they rode into town. I imagined my motorcycle turning into a horse, and my helmet turning into a cowboy hat (wink…wink)! It’s called the Adams Hotel. Look it up on Wikipedia. Sounds like it was a classy place.
Tomorrow, my trusty old horse (Suzuki) takes me home. Hard to believe this adventure is almost over. Looks like it’ll be another long, hot day in the saddle!
Day 22 – Sheridan, WY to Westminster, CO (Home) June 29th, 2015
Today, I woke up at 3:15 am. Then again at 3:30 am. I thought…”Oh no, not yet…I have a long day’s ride ahead of me”! Then it hit me…”why not get up now and I can have a few less hours of torture in the heat today”! BAM! I was out of that bed like it was on fire!
That turned out to be a pretty good idea. I didn’t start feeling the heat until somewhere between Casper and Laramie. At that point, the furnace was on full blast. For the last 6 days or so, I could not ride more than 30 miles without my butt getting sore and my left shoulder blade going numb. I think I found 200 different positions to ride a motorcycle in over the last several days. It wasn’t a problem during the first 16 days of the trip.
I’ll start with yesterday evening. Sometime around 7pm, I peeked out my motel window to check on my bike and saw this…
Was this guy rubbing my nose in his luxurious, comfortable ride or what? He must have seen me on the highway earlier and thought I was doing a “200 Different Riding Positions” instructional video with my cameras! Or maybe he thought I was break dancing at 75 miles an hour!
With all that said, I still enjoyed the ride today. I didn’t realize on day one (until I saw the signs today) that I was following the Sand Creek Massacre Trail (Hwy 287). I’ll have to research that later.
I’d been trying to take pictures of Pronghorn Antelope during the whole trip up, and all the way back. Every time I saw some (and there was a lot of them), they scattered fast, when I stopped. And they’d run far away too. I tried four more times today. I realized that it wasn’t the bike stopping that made them run, it was me moving around as I grabbed my for my camera, that made them run away. On the fifth try today, I moved ever so slowly and kept my arms close to my body. That did the trick…for a few seconds. Then they took off. But not before I snapped off a few shots! No big “pronghorns” on these guys though…they were just starting to bud out.
It felt really good to be back in Colorado!
As I turned down my alley and around to my garage, there was my neighbor, Gwen and her friend Mike, setting out a balloon by my garage door, welcoming me back home. That was so thoughtful. You can’t get better neighbors than that. They said they’ve been tracking the trip on my website everyday, as several others in the neighborhood have been doing.
Thanks Gwen and Mike! That really made my day!
Here’s my final numbers. Twenty two days, 6,707 miles. Short of the “nearly 8,000” I thought I would get in (due to not being able to ride a couple legs of the trip I had hoped to).
There are many other riders I met who put in a lot more miles than I did. Two in particular, Robb and Greg (who are still riding as of today, and have many more miles to go before their adventures end. And Bob, Jim, Kevin and Jim C. (who may still be out on the road today too).
But I still have to feel good about what I accomplished. And I do!
Perhaps in a few days after it all soaks in (and I get all the bugs washed off my riding gear and bike) I’ll post a summary of the trip.
In the mean time, thanks to everyone who followed along on my website. Knowing you were all doing that, gave me a little extra incentive every morning to climb back on that bike!