Saturday, July 28, 2007

Made it in one piece

Well, I made it home at 7:00 PM on 7/27/07. I left on 6/28/07. So I'd call that a month of traveling. A lot happened in that month, some of it I remember and some of it is already gone from my memory.

My last day was fairly uneventful, except stopping by my Grandmother's on the way past. She was extremely happy to see me...and kept making reference to the fact that I was alive. She worries too much.

I hadn't ridden in the rain since I was in Washington (Opa's rain). It rained while I was in Cheyenne, WY, but not while I was riding. Yesterday's ride home made up for it. Once I got on the PA T-Pike in Carlisle it started. It lasted a good 40 miles. It was the kind of rain that most people in cars pulled over for. I kept trucking. When I stopped for gas, there was a couple motorist that came over and commented on the rain and they had seen me pass them...

My baby all unloaded under her favorite tree at home:

This trip is the first like this I've taken. I had many fears going into this trip. Some fears were realized, but most were just unfounded. Along the way I ran into many people that would say "man, your doing what I've always dreamed of", then they would continue on with some lame excuse why they couldn't. At first I took those excuses at face value, but well into the trip I started to recognize those excuses as fear. There are many unknowns on a trip like this, and most people are paralyzed by the fear they have of the unknown. Don't let fear stand in the way of your dreams. As Nike says, just do it.

Now, this trip isn't for everyone. I wouldn't tell my friend George that's just learning to ride to go to Alaska next month. Traveling to Alaska on a motorcycle requires that you absolutely LOVE riding it. Other then my day in Anchorage, I rode at least a couple hundred miles everyday. I probably averaged 300 - 400 miles per day. The other requirement for doing this on a motorcycle is a love/hate relationship with your machine. You have to love your bike to death, as you will be sitting on it a LONG time. Everything needs to be in the right spot, nothing should be annoying you. However, you need to get past worrying about scratches and such. You will have scratches, you will likely have some dings from rocks, and you will likely never see you bike dirtier. If these things bother you, this ride isn't for you.

Notice the paint missing from the fender where one of my spare gas bottle rubbed the fender:

I honestly wouldn't change much about my trip. It was what it was. It is the journey not the destination for me. I didn't make it to the Arctic Circle, but who really cares? Not me. It just gives me an excuse to go again. I feel bad that I broke off from my group, but it was the right thing for me to do. I couldn't have done this trip without the group (going back to overcoming fears), so I'm still very thankful to each and everyone of them.

I'm sure everyone wants to know what my favorite part was...well, I can't really say. It's all so different, it's like comparing apples to oranges. I was blown away by the Canadian Rockies. Just awesome views. Trust me, my pictures do it NO justice. It's just massive. Seeing all the wildlife was really cool. Buffalo in the street? Wild. Seeing the salmon jumping in Anchorage was spectacular. I've seen it on TV, but this was right there in front of me. Hell's Canyon was pretty, and probably the best riding of the trip (boy do I love curvy roads). Seeing friends like Opa and Cindy along the way were icing on the cake.

Now for some of the facts--

Odometer beginning of the trip: 11842
Odometer end of the trip: 23030
Total Miles traveled: 11188

Miles on gravel: couple hundred?
Miles in mud: 15 miles

Number of times I was airborne on the Alaska Hwy (due to heaves in the road): at least 3 times that I recall

Number of Caribou seen: Way to many to count, dozens if not hundreds
Number of Elk seen: A handful
Number of Moose seen: A handful
Number of Grizzly Bears: 1
Number Black Bears: At least a dozen...probably more (I'm guessing which were grizzly and which were black, I didn't stop to ask them)
Number of Wolverine seen: 2
Some sheep and rams were also seen.

I didn't keep track of how much gas or oil I used, because quite frankly it's more work to keep track of then it's worth to me.

Would I do this trip again...IN A HEARTBEAT!!!


Cindy Dietz said...

Glad you are home safe and sound. Your such a nice guy to visit your Grandma, they worry too. Great trip report, thanks for sharing with the rest of us!

brad said...

Glad you are home safe and sound ~ looking forward to details.

JJ said...

Excellent blogging and welcome home.

bernjjones said...

That ding on your fender adds character! Great reading.

Don Keybawls said...

Great blog and very informative, but could you please understand the difference between "then" and "than". They are two different words used in totally different ways, yet you seem to only use then.

ex. The rock was harder than steel. Not, the rock was harder then steel.

ex. If you don't do it, then I will.

Geesuz, I am from the Burgh and I even know that.

MTengr said...

Nice ride report... I have turned down 2 offers to ride to Alaska but now I think I'll go alone sometime after reading your blog. Been riding long enough to discover I like riding alone too!