Alaska for about a year, before I even bought my first
Guzzi. I had already gone to the 48 states, 4 Canadian
provinces and Mexico on a motorcycle so Alaska was
inevitable. I picked up a 76 T3 just this April and
after a few months I thought I had it ready for the trip. I
put an alternator rotor in, Steve Kames replaced a bad
u-joint , set up my distributor and set me up in MGNOC. I
was all packed with extra cables, brake pads, spare tire and
tube, gas can, etc.
Richmond, IL. at noon. I worked a half day and headed out
with 40650 miles on the clock. First stop was MG Cycle in
Brooklyn, WI. to say hi to Rick, stayed a couple of minutes
and back on the road. Got on the freeway and headed to North
Dakota, then north to Fargo. Somewhere past Fargo it turns
to the Canadian border I grabbed my first bite to eat at
1:00am, a mini pizza and some coffee. I made it to Winnipeg
and start heading west on RT 1. A little past Winnipeg the
skies started to lighten , around 4:30 am CDT. It was really
hard to stay awake at that point! From here to Edmonton it
was rather uneventful. Nice roads and decent scenery but it
gets old after a while. I made it to Edmonton around 8:00
pm. CDT. 1760 miles in 32 hrs. A new personal record. I
stayed at the Super 8 at $53 Canadian at an exchange of over
40%! The credit card is nice because it does the exchange
automatically. The local merchants will vary from 25% to 35%
on cash sales.
6 hrs of sleep I was back on the road. Heading up RT 43 to
Dawson Creek. The bike had been acting rich for some time so
I pulled over and dropped the needles a notch. Seemed a bit
better. I made it to Dawson Creek and picked up the Alaskan
Highway. The highway was not too hot. A lot of gravel
patches after the first hundred miles. A truck tossed a rock
up and it nailed me right between the eyes and actually bent
my glasses. I had to stop and wipe the blood off that had
ran into my eye. As I got closer to Fort Nelson the
mountains started to get more intense with severe gravel
patches in thirty mile stretches. I found a small motel in
Summit Lake with no television because there is no
reception. It was worth it because there was a creek right
outside the window that you could hear from the room.
788 miles for
I was on
the road by 5:00 am CDT. The sun was out already. I came
across some goats and rams, then a moose so big I thought it
was a horse. At Watson Lake I got off the Alaskan highway
and headed up RT 4 to Carmacks. Very rough gravel road. The
bike took a real beating. The front brake line broke
midway and I had fun trying to get down the mountains with
just a rear brake. In Carmacks there was a little service
station that had a car brake line that actually kind of
worked! The threads were close so I just snugged it up
enough to keep it from leaking. My back tire was wearing
fast. The gravel makes the rubber go fast. After Carmacks it
was pavement again with occasional gravel patches. I got to
Dawson City which is a very cool old mining town. I got a
room at Klondike Kate's. Cheapest place in town and actually
ok. Good food there too.
901 miles for
I was up and
at it bright and early keeping up my 5-6 hours a night sleep
average. I took the ferry across the Yukon river and picked
up the Top of the World highway. At the Alaskan border it
turned back into gravel. It was weird to see the border
patrol in the middle of no where. Tok was very
expensive on fuel and food. From there I headed to Fairbanks
and it was all right. Then south past Mount McKinley which
was still snow covered , then on down to Anchorage . The
mountains around Anchorage looked pretty spectacular. I
liked them better than most, maybe because you're closer to
sea level which gives them more impact. I stayed at Earth
Tours bed and breakfast, a place I found out about on the
internet and met Margriet, the owner, for the first time.
827 miles for
on the bike day. Margriet let me use her garage. My rear
tire was bald by this point so I put my spare on. I changed
oil, cleaned up my points, washed and reoiled my air filters
and kicked back the timing a bit to relieve the pinging from
the regular gas I had to keep using. Margriet offered to be
my tour guide so we went off for a ride. We saw some
glaciers and a park where you can see for hundreds of miles.
We also met a friend and his wife who have lived without
modern amenities for 15 years. They built a beautiful
octagon house with lumber that was milled from the trees
they had to clear for the setting. They also built a guest
house. He runs dogsleds from Anchorage to Nome, just a mere
1100 miles and his wife is a cook whose specialty is for
large groups in the wilderness. She is hired on for things
like search parties in the mountains for lost adventurers.
It was refreshing to meet people who didn't need the things
that we couldn't live without! There was a homemade bridge
over a creek to get to the place that I stopped on to get a
photo. I heard a splash and looked in the creek where the
water pools and it was solid salmon. There were so many
salmon side by side it looked like you could walk across
Anchorage I enjoyed a couple of pounds of king crab legs.
A mere 143
to venture back. Beautiful mountains as I headed from
Anchorage towards Tok but a dismal day in the 40's and
rainy. At Tok, I picked up the Alaskan Highway and headed
back to the Yukon. Since I came into Alaska from Dawson City
this section of the Alaskan highway was new to me. In fact,
I planned it so I wouldn't have to go on any road twice.
Once I crossed into the Yukon the weather improved, the rain
stopped and it got warmer. Kluane Lake looked great, lots of
pines. The road was still full of long gravel sections. I
made it to Whitehorse, pretty decent town but I stayed on
the eastern outskirts.
765 miles for
cold morning leaving Whitehorse. In the 40's. The Alaskan
highway has some really rough spots. Construction sections
had pilot cars that you had to follow through. They would
let me go to the front of the line so I wouldn't have to eat
as much dirt. Teslin Lake was great. Good view from the
highway. At Watson Lake I picked up Rt. 37 and headed south
into B.C. This was one of my favorite roads on the trip.
Nothing but lakes, creeks and rivers for hundreds of miles.
I saw a couple of black bears running across the highway
into the woods. The spare gas can paid off again. I was
planning on staying in New Hazell but all the motels were
booked so I ended up in Smithers, a little farther
down on Rt. 16.
830 miles for
starting to look normal again. More traffic and bigger towns
like Prince George where I picked up RT 97 and headed south.
Nice scenery, great mountains, fun roads with twisties
and tunnels. From Williams Lake to Cache Creek the
temperatures climbed to over 100 degrees and then when I got
closer to Washington it was back in the seventies. After I
crossed the border I soon realized I was back in the 48.
Litter again! I made it to around Everett, Washington
for the night.
808 miles for
headed to Seattle and stopped at Moto International. I met
Dave Richardson and Aaron Jennings (somehow related to
Waylon) They let me work on my bike in the lot. I changed my
oil, went to smaller main jets, cleaned and set the points
and threw in a new set of plugs. Aaron recommended the NGK
spark plug boots to help with the missing I was getting in
the rain. The shop cleaned and reoiled my K&N's which
were filthy from all the dirt roads. Dave recommended a
route through the Cascades so I decided to take him up on it
and headed back north around noon to pick up state rt.
20. It was a great ride and I decided to quit complaining
about the rain when I saw a rainbow end right in a valley
where you could actually see the bottom of it. Contrary to
popular belief, there was no gold or leprechauns! I ended up
in Omak, WA. where I had a few too many at a local pub.
A mere 364
miles for the day.
9473: Do not overindulge on a bike trip! It takes all the
fun out of the ride the following day. I saw the Grand
Coulee Dam which was all right. There are better ones out
there. I rode it nice and easy, ended up in Graingeville,
day at 386 miles.
again. I took US 95 south to Idaho 55 to a back road from
Banks to Lowman. Very nice with whitewater rapids. Rafters
all over. Then a wrong turn brought me back towards Boise
and then over to US 20 and headed towards Yellowstone. I
wasn't very impressed. Yeah, the geysers were cool but the
rest was pretty much tourist traps, a bunch of dead burnt
trees and a ton of road construction, all for a mere $15. I
rolled into Cody some time after 9:00 pm and the restaurants
were all closing up so I settled for some poor diner food.
811 miles for
to Belle Fourche, not too far away but rainy. I pulled into
Bobby Whitiker's motorcycle campground for the South Dakota
Guzzi rally. It wasn't very crowded because it was the first
day. good place, Bobby has some garage room so you can work
on your bike, even has a few tools for you. Chris, a Guzzi
man from Wisconsin, and I hit a pub in town that had free
food because of the bike week thing. We tipped a few
and headed back to camp. Ace, from Ace Cycle had his
California trailered in so he could ride a Honda Shadow!
Actually his clutch went and this couple with the Shadow
helped him out.
389 miles for
started the day with a clutch replacement seminar.(only to
find out it was stripped driveshaft splines!) I hung around
for a while but I was itching to wrap my trip up. I headed
up US 212 to Watertown, S.D. to The MotoCycle Shop. I met
Brian who was good enough to UPS my tent, bag, and some
misc. stuff I wouldn't be needing. It really lightened the
394 miles for
bound! I dropped down to US 14 and headed towards Rochester
where it started to rain a little. I picked up US 52 and
went south to Decorah, Iowa to find a blues musician friend
but no luck. Over to Madison then almost to Janesville
and that's when I hit the first real storm of my trip. The
rain was just blasting, massive down pours. Not a single
flutter in the motor with my new spark plug caps! Good rain
gear and I stayed dry. I rolled into Wonder Lake, IL. and
that was that!
630 miles for
the day. 50440 on the clock.
All in all it
was a blast. 9790 miles in 15 days on an old ratty T3. I've
added 20k to the clock since I bought it in April and have
no regrets. The bike has earned my respect as a trustworthy