2010 Alaska Trike Trip

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My mother is getting better slowly. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.
I'll update the blog as soon as we make some decision about the remainder of our trip.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Well, we have a bit of a change of plans.
My mother is ill so we are leaving our trikes here at the campground in Irvin's shed and catching a bus tomorrow to Edmonton and a plane from there back to Wichita. We should be home by Tuesday evening if all goes well.
We haven't decided just yet how we will get the trikes home. We may fly back in a few weeks and finish the ride home or we may bring the camper up and do some more touring and riding, or Cal may just drive the truck up and haul the trikes home.
We've ended this portion of our journey with exactly 4050.0 miles on the odometer. That seems like a lucky number and maybe enough.

Our day at Barkerville Historic Site

Mr. Cal standing under Mr. PG -- the forestry symbol of Prince George, BC

Saturday, July 25, 2009

We put about 430 km on the rental car today and had a wonderful time at Barkerville. It is an old gold mining town that has been restored. The town is 1 mile long with 127 buildings and we tried to see them all. It is sort of like Pioneer Village on steroids with a touch of Disney. It is currently 86 and was much hotter earlier -- still not triking temp.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Today we rode a whopping 36 miles into Prince George. We went from our worst campground to one of the nicest. We have rented a car, which should be here in about an hour and we will explore this area for the next 3-4 days. It is really pretty here and we are not ready to start hill climbing towards the summit of Yellowhead Pass in this heat. It is supposed to be in the 90's for the next several days, so an air conditioned car will be a much better way to travel.
We are still battling the mosquitos and now Cal and I have bites on our heads where they get in through the vents in our helmets. We forgot to spray there, but won't forget again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

4000 miles and still going strong
We left early today (5:30) to get ahead off the heat. We stopped for second breakfast in Vanderhoof and Cal even had a peanut butter shake for breakast desert.
We stopped beside the road for a quick 4000 mile celebration at GPS N53-55.440 W123-42.600, elev 2452. After 56 very warm miles we are camped in the shade at Bednesti Lodge, GPS N53-52.568 W123-24.445, elev 2702. The ad in the magazine sounded so good, but what a dump! At least the showers are nice and we can do our laundry before heading on to Prince George tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

After a very nice 56 mile ride we are at Beaumont Provincial Park, N54-03.671, W124-37.077, elev 2266. We really goofed off today and stopped several times to enjoy the beautiful weather. We spent about an hour in Frasier Lake and bought some wonderful fresh fruit from a local truck stand.
Our only hill climb was Priestly Hill, elev 2551. We are gradually working our way up to the Continental Divide again.
The pine beatles have really ravaged this area but the locals say the problem is just about over because there are no more pine trees alive. The forests now are entirely cedar, fir and spruce.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

View from our camp on Burns Lake
Summit of Hungry Hill
It's a good thing we set up our tent under the picnic shelter last night because it rained again, as usual. We started this morning in fog with all our orange and red lights flashing. It soon cleared and we had a fine ride with only one 7% grade hill to climb. We got to Burns Lake (50 miles) about noon and decided to make it home for the night. We found a nice shady campsite on the lake, but now it looks like rain again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

After leaving the Skeena River and the snow capped peaks behind us, we are now in farm and ranch country. That doesn't mean we are out of hills, however. Today we climbed over 1100 feet in 27 miles up Hungry Hill (summit, 2763) and then zoomed downhill into Houston.
Just about 1/2 mile from our campground Cal had a major blowout on the same tire as yesterday, so he limped into camp and replaced tube and tire. Hopefully that one will make it the rest of the way home.
We only rode 42 miles today, but that felt like just enough. We are in a beautiful, shady campground, and I have the Solio sitting out in the sun recharging

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shirley, this one's for you
The sun just now came out at our campground, but at least no rain today. We've only seen a couple mosquitos here so far, so maybe we won't have to bathe in deet tonight. It was a beautiful ride (50 miles to Smithers. We saw a Dairy Queen sign on the way into town, so that was our first stop. Then we hit Safeway and stocked up in case commodities are sparce in the next few small towns.
Cal had his second flat today but got it repaired on the side of the road and we were off again. We spent lots of time talking to other cross country bikers along the road today and enjoyed the beautiful fields of wildflowers. Everything is so pretty after all the heavy rains lately. The forecast is for HOT weather in the interior of Canada next week so we will go from cold rain to hot and dry. That will give us something new to complain about.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

After 82 wet miles we are at Seely Lake. GPS: N55-11.810 W127-41.281, Elev 1033.
We started off all wrong this morn by stopping at Denny's in Terrace for breakfast. I can honestly say that this was the first time we ever walked out of a restaurant without eating. It's a long story, but we ended up at A & W about an hour later and grabbed a quick bite there before heading out to look for the elusive Kermodei (white) bear. We found the spot where the bear had been seen for the last several days, but just missed it. I'm blaming Denny's for not seeing it, but since I believe things always happen for a reason, maybe it was best that we didn't have a bear encounter today.
During the worst of the rain today we managed to sneak through a locked gate and inside someone's partially constructed garage. I don't know if they were home or not, but as soon as the rain let up we sneaked back out unseen.

Friday, July 17, 2009

We are still in Terrace. It rained until noon and then the sun came out for a few minutes and teased us, but we decided not to ride into the sucker hole. It showered off and on all afternoon, so we will try again tomorrow. At least here we have hot showers and laundry to dry anything that gets soaked. Who knows what awaits us down the road.
Weather update: raining again!!! We are sitting in the tent trying to decide if we should just get out our books or go gack to sleep.
For anyone keeping track of miles, I forgot to mention the 110 miles we rode around Ketchikan and Prince Rupert, so our total miles now are 3688 -- plus all the sea miles that we lost track of. As the crow flies it was 412 miles from Skagway to Prince Rupert.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We have just arrived at our lovely campsite in Terrace (91 miles). We had planned to stop at a BC Provincial park at 58 miles, but it had been turned into a day use area only. The first 24 miles were hills and hard rain and I had my "want to go home" moment. But then the rain finally turned to drizzle after lunch and I was ready to ride on.
Just a few miles back a black bear crossed the road right in front of us. I've lost count of the bears now, but this is the first one on the way home.
Now it is warm and just cloudy and we are showered and ready to pitch the tent and go next door to a nice restaurant for dinner.
We are headed back toward Kansas. We made it to Prince Rupert around 2 Am, found a campground and got a few hours of sleep. Now the Alaska portion of the trip is over and back into Canada we go!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Typical "boardwalk" hike in southeast Alaska

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's 6:00 PM and we are finally on the ship having a "leaving Alaska" beer just like we had on arrival in Skagway on June 22. Wow, it's July 14 already. I guess it's about time to start heading home. We should be in Canada about 2:00 AM. It will be fun trying to find a campsite -- maybe we'll just stay at the terminal till morning.
It in now 4:30 PM and we are still not on the ferry. It looks like we'll be pitching a tent in the dark tonight -- or maybe it will be light by the time we get there.
Our cell service here in Ketchikan is sketchy at best. I seem to have a connection at the moment so I'll try to get this posted fast.
We took a couple hikes yesterday (7 miles) and pretty much goofed off the rest of the day. Cal has dozens of nasty skeeter bikes and we are on our 7th bottle of repellant, so we tried a Thermacell last night. It is butane heated and seemed to do the trick. We also had a campfire, which seems to help some with the bugs.
We got up at 4:00 so we could get packed up and be at the ferry terminal. But, upon arriving at the terminal were told that our ship is on "mechanical". Where have I heard that term before? Oh, that't right, I use it all the time at my job with United Airlines. We were told to check back at 9:00, which we did and now they said "update at 11:00". Boy, this is really starting to sould like my job!
So we ate breakfast, showered at the Harbormasters ofice and are now doing laundry. We may or may not get to Prince Rupert today. We'll let you know later if we have service again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Picking blueberries on Minerva Trail hike

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Today we did the south end of the island including Ketchikan. We watched some fisherman snagging huge King Salmon running Herring Creek. We toured Creek Street (the old red light district) and all of Old Town and New Town and saw enough totems to last a lifetime.
I promised to let you know about the Salmon Berries -- so far no ill effects and we are still eating them by the hundreds.

We finally made it to Ketchikan

Cal is part of the center totem of the Tlingit Clan House

Dee at Totem Bight State Park

Saturday, July 11, 2009

We had a great, relaxing day today on the island. We haven't actually been into town yet. We are camped about 6 miles north of Ketchikan in the Tongas National Forest. We rode to the north end of the island and did a hike to a waterfall. The we took in Totem Bright and I am posting a photo from there. We have a nice campfire and cooked Polish sausage over the coals. We could get used to this slow pace.

Friday, July 10, 2009

We are on the ferry just a couple hours from Ketchikan. That will be our last stop before we finally start heading back to Kansas from Prince Rupert. I think we'll stay 4 days in Ketchikan because there seems to be lots for us to do and things to see.
We were headed to bed last night when our neighbors invited us over for smores. You know we couldn't resist the company or the smores. They baited some rocks on the beach and we watched the eagles come in for the sunset snacks.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

After sleeping in late we had a lazy day and rode our bikes to the end of the maintained road. Along the way we picked a whole bag of salmon berries and ate as many as we could while picking. I'll let you know tomorrow if we get sick. Then we hiked up Rainbow Falls trail. It was actually a boardwalk, like most of Alaska's hiking trails -- thanks to Ted Stevens's earmarks. We explored Petroglyph Beach where the art is between 3,000 and 10,000 years old. We rode around town until we found all the totem polls and finally went to the visitor's center to be sure we hadn't missed anything. Every business in town closes at 5:00 PM except the grocery store which stays open an extra hour. So, the streets are now rolled up and we will do as the locals do and go to bed soon.
We are off to Ketchikan tomorrow.

This big one didn't get away

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We arrived in Wrangell about 6:30 this morning. I tried so hard to stay awake during the trip through the narrows at high tide, but kept dozing -- after no sleep last night.
As soon as we arrived we jumped on a jet boat to AnAn Bear Observatory and spent the rest of the day there. I felt safe because our guide carried a shotgun and the park rangers had rifles and bear spray. Only 60 people are allowed to go there each day. We were in a blind where we could watch the poor salmon become lunch. We saw 2 brown bears and countless blacks. Cal got some awesome video and stills. I am posting one of my close-ups.
We are sleeping in an abandoned baseball dougout -- and it will be early to bed tonight.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We spent the morning doing laundry and other boring tasks and then hit the museum and found a new hiking trail. We are all packed up and ready to find some dinner. We will then go park at the ferry terminal so we can get on at 1:30 AM. We head down through Wrangell Narrows at 3:00. It should be getting light by then so we can catch the good views. We've put another 30 miles on the trikes here in Petersburg. We don't know how long we'll be in Wrangell -- just depends on how much we can find to do there.

Tom and Mariam on their boat in Petersburg

Monday, July 6, 2009

Just had a wonderful Mexican dinner in a Chinese restaurant -- go figure. We rode our trikes this morning and then took a tour of a local cannery where we met Tom and Mariam who cruised here in their boat from Vancouver Island -- went to their boat for homemade wine.
Our ferry has been delayed, so we will leave here Wednesday early am instead of today. Darn!!! We are getting used to this life style.

One of hundreds here in Petersburg

Salmon Berry picking

Sitka National Historic Park -- totem park

Sunday, July 5, 2009

We are on our 3rd day of sunshine and we are really thankful for the warm weather -- FINALLY. Cal and I are really enjoying Petersburg. No cruise ships stop here, so we are just about the only tourists in town. We got here about 9:00 pm last night and got our tent up in time to walk down town to watch the fireworks.
We rode 20 miles in Sitka and so far 60 miles here in Petersburg.
We saw 50-60 bald eagles today on our ride. There are mountains and glaciers all around here -- really beautiful.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Yeah!!! The sun finally came out and we had a very nice day hiking with Bruce and Sharon -- just one glitch, left the door key in the locked (borrowed) truck and had to break a window after the hike to get home. Bruce will have fun explaining that one. After the second hike we decided to try to track down the sow grizz and her two cubs that had been seen near our camp. We spent nearly an hour taking photos -- until Bruce's batteries died. Cal and Bruce both got some good shots, but I didn't have my camera, so another one got away from me. After Cal and I got back to camp we went Salmon Berry hunting (see photo). Now we are going to try to get everything packed up so we can catch the ferry to Petersburg first thing tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We did the city walking tour and museums today and then set up camp out by the ferry terminal so we can make a quick escape on Sarurday. We were just fixing dinner when a brown bear walked down the beach only yards from our picnic table. Cal ran for the camera and tried to track down the bear up the creek while I got the bear spray out. Cal is already sleeping while I keep an eye and ear out for the grizzly. I put all the food in the bear bin and spread mothballs around. I guess that's all I can do, so I better try to get some sleep also -- lots of hiking to do tomorrow.
I think Sitka must be a very beautiful place, but it's hard to tell in all the rain and clouds. We spent the night in Bruce and Sharon's camper and are now off to explore.