By Dan Bartlett
At the end of Leg 1 from Seattle to Anchorage, we all split up and went a couple of different directions. We are riding for a month and then going back to work for a month, so Brian and Bob went home to Guam from Anchorage. Glen and I went to Kenai Alaska and stayed with some of Glens friends. His friends Bill and Norma lived in a nice log home on 5 acres overlooking the mountains. It was a very peaceful and relaxing spot, which was very welcome after just riding several thousand miles and being on the go day after day. I made two short Vlogs while we were there, and keep in mind, this was at the beginning of the trip and at this point we are still trying to figure out what we are doing with media stuff, so its short with room for improvement.
After taking in some down time we had to go to the end of the road in the USA road system, which is Homer Alaska. Glen and I set out on a beautiful sunny day and went to Anchor Point, which is the most eastern point in the USA road system and just a short way from Homer. We parked at the end of the road, which is the largest natural spit in the world. It’s a long stretch of road in the middle of the water that took us to a tourist spot full of restaurants and shops. We found a neat bar named the Salty Dog, which looked like it, had been there since the discovery of saltwater. A tiny little bar with dollar bills hanging from the ceiling and a mix of locals and tourists. Glen was right at home in hippie way. We left after a few beers and headed back up the coast for a last ride to park the bike for a month. We had dinner with Norma and Bill to say thanks for everything and then Glen and I went our separate ways. Glen went to Arizona and I went back to Guam.
A month later we met back up in Kenai and Norma picked Glen and I up at the airport. We were both excited to be back in the ride mode again and back in Alaska. Alaska has an ambiance about it that is contagious. It makes you want to explore and see what’s around every corner, hill, mountaintop and beyond. Its a raw explorers playground and we were excited to get back on the road to do our share of exploring.
When we showed up at Norma and Bills house, they had covered my bike to keep it clean and serviced Glens truck. Bill had also rewired the trailer and made it like new again. These are the kind of hosts you can only wish for! We were so thankful for their kindness. We took them to dinner that night and hit the road the following morning. Norma and Bill wished us a heart felt goodbye and they are 2 people that we wont forget from this journey.
Bob arrived in Anchorage the same day we arrived in Kenai and he had some regrouping to do. He needed to buy some gear and a new computer. We have learned that updating a blog and editing video along the way is very time consuming and we needed to be on our computers more than we thought we would be. We feel like we have a responsibility to our family and friends, and those that may be interested in following our trip, so we are doing our best trying to keep up to date with updating our story. Therefore, Bob bought a new computer and was figuring out his new gear while Glen and I were making our way to Anchorage.
Glen and I set out at 8 am with the intention of riding directly to Anchorage. That’s not the way it went. It was a gray day filled with drizzle, and we felt like we had to swing by Seward Alaska since we were driving near the turn off for it. I have heard it was a neat town and the ride to get there was supposed to be nice. So, we made a turn off the main road toward Seward and I’m glad we did. The ride was great! The road was nice and shear cliffs on both sides of the road made for nice scenery.
When we arrived in Seward it was raining and the visibility was poor. It cut out some of the excitement because we couldn’t see very much of the town. We found a local pub had a beer and grabbed some lunch. Bob was waiting for us in Anchorage and he had to check out of his hotel, so he was waiting in the lobby for us and we were gonna be 4 hours late. I don’t like being late and especially that late, so we tried to hurry but we were so late, it didn’t really matter. In our hustle, I didn’t fill up with gas and I ran out of gas about half way between Seward and Anchorage. I was frustrated and upset with myself because I usually don’t make those kind of mistakes, but Glen was right behind me with the truck which had a gas can in it. As if I wasn’t frustrated enough, I have learned to despise the new “spill proof” spouts on new gas cans. I spilled so much gas and I ended up ripping the nozzle off the spout and just free poured gas. Manufacturers of gas cans, if you are reading this, please know that I think you really really suck!
We arrived at Bob’s hotel and he was patiently waiting in the lobby of his hotel in downtown Anchorage. He had plenty of things to figure out with his new computer while he waited for us. As we caught up, he mentioned that his sister and her family were about 2 hours north in the town of Talkeetna. We had planned on going eastbound 5000 miles to Halifax but we couldn’t be so close to family and not go see them. This changed our route right at the start of our trip. So northbound we road to Talkeetna, which is a really neat Alaskan town. It has some neat shops, and restaurants that feel like a time warp back in time and we were happy to make the ride there. There are also a lot of airplanes flying around and since we are all aviation buffs, it wasn’t hard to convince us to check out the town.
We met up at a small restaurant in Talkeetna with Bobs family. His sister and nieces were just beaming with excitement to see Bob. Bobs trip around the world on a motorcycle has gotten a lot of attention within his ranks and they were happy to be able to see him while he was on his adventure. I was also happy to meet his family that I had so much about for the last few years. It was great several hours of good food, several beers, lot of laughs and stories of Uncle Bob. Glen and I were pretty quiet and just watched the Lynch family catch up and reminisce. After a couple of hours we found an Air BnB outside of town that was a small chalet and a perfect place to park for a night. We made a Video Log here:
Talkeetna Video Log
The following day we met with Bob’s family for lunch and said our goodbyes. We figured since we were north of Anchorage, we might as well keep going to north and check out Denali national park and Fairbanks. It was a great road but it was littered with RVs. We were in a conga line of RV after RV and as beautiful as the scenery was, I was a bit turned off by all of the RVs. I like to get off the beaten path and sitting on an interstate with a bunch of RVs is not my ideal vacation. That being said, I was in Alaska with a good buddy, on the road and life was good! We ended up just nicking the edge of Denali national park and heading toward Fairbanks. We figured we were already short on time if we wanted to make it to Halifax and maybe we should press on to Fairbanks. The road to Fairbanks took us by the 49th State Brewery, which we could not pass up. A quick pit stop turned in to half a day sitting around a fire pit with some people from Boston and drinking micro beers all day. It was great and if this ride has taught me anything, its that there are good people everywhere and sometimes in unexpected places. We sat with this group from Boston and we laughed together like we had known each other for years. It was a moment not to be rushed and the day was just right, so we stayed longer than expected.
Finally made it to Fairbanks and got settled in an Air BnB, which was a house we had all to ourselves. Glen kept mentioning that we had to go check out “the most northern rock n roll club in north america” and he had been there years ago and it we wont forget it. So, we hopped in an Uber and went to Howling Dog Saloon. It was a rustic bar inside with a cool stage with loads of memorabilia from many years, and there were volleyball courts in the back. We walked in and there was about 10 people there and it was a ghost town inside. Glen was a bit disappointed but it wasn’t anything that Jack Daniels couldn’t help him out with. We sat and listened to the locals bitch about immigration and the country is going to hell talk for about 2 beers before we made our way back to town to bar hop there for a bit. Along the way, we stopped at the Alaskan pipeline which runs alongside the road. During our bar talks we decided to get some stickers made at a print shop the following day, which would again put us behind schedule but it had to be done. The following morning we found a print shop that could have the stickers done at 4 pm. We didn’t want to leave that late in the day but the sun is always shining so why did we care? We picked up our new stickers and hit the road trying to make it to Tok, Alaska…which we did.
Arriving at about 9PM to Stoves Campground we set up our camp and made our way to the community fire pit. There was a Canadian family of 5, a couple which was a young guy from Germany and an American girl, and Bob and I. We built a raging fire, shared a little whiskey after the kids went to bed and we all got to know each other well in to the night.
The family of 5 were from Canada and were a delightful couple that were good story tellers and I loved that they were out travelling with their kids and showing them the world. We learned that the girl with the German guy is a coworker of ours and we have several mutual friends. The world truly is a small place and we didn’t expect to meet anyone with common ties at a campground in Tok Alaska. I’ve grown very fond of these campsites because of all of the elements; the fire, stars and people that we have met at these places, are memories I’ll carry for a long time. For example, there was a Swiss couple that were driving their Land Rover around the world.
This wasn’t the average Land Rover.
Alec was married before and all he ever wanted was a Land Rover. He had been a fan of Rovers since he was a child but his wife didn’t want a Land Rover and didn’t want to travel. They eventually divorced and his first order of business, was to buy a Land Rover. He bought his dream Land Rover from the movie set of Lara Croft Tomb Raider and then he spent the next 3 years retrofitting it into a Mad Max ready for the world machine. It was incredible! The time spent and the engineering of this vehicle was incredible. He put bullet plate all the way around it, hydraulic lifts on his extended bedroom, multiple batteries for the extensive electronics running his systems and it was a self sufficient world bound craft. We spent a couple of hours talking and learning about their truck and their trip. We are going to meet up with them again in Mexico.
The following morning we went made it to the Alaska/Yukon border where we met this guy.
This is “The Road Runner” and he is 85 years old and says he is gonna be running around the world in his RV until he dies. With a contagious laugh, he is another big character we met along the way.
As we made our way down the road, I had two things on my mind. I really was looking forward to Dawson Creek which was the beginning/end of the Alaskan Highway, and I was looking forward to getting to Edmonton. Tok to Edmonton is a little more than 1600 miles and we had to be there in 4 days to pick up my wife Pascale. She was coming in from Guam and I didn’t want to be late. I don’t like riding with a tight timeline, but sometimes there are plans that have to be met, and I was looking forward to having her on the trip for a week.
We stopped at Laird Hot Springs and built a camp. The following morning we jumped in to the sulfur hot spring and it was the refreshing cleaning that I needed. We put Glen on the back of my bike for a few short miles to ride down the spring. That was kinda funny having him ride on the back. Just watching him get on and off was entertaining!
We made a few stops along the way and then finally made it to Dawson Creek to enjoy the end of the Alaskan Highway!
We were still in hustle mode trying to make it to Edmonton on time to pick up Pascale but there were a few stops we had to make along the way. There were countless Canola fields in the plains of Alberta and we had to pull over and take some pics. There’s something about Canola fields that can turn up the cheese factor. I think it’s a running through a yellow field kind of feeling.
After we made our stop in the canola fields, we were ready to plow through some miles but about 10 miles down the road, we saw the Big Beaver and had to pull over again. I was crying with laughter from the jokes that were being told, but I’m gonna keep it PG rated for our blog…
and if the big beaver wasn’t enough, then we got a haircut at the Sheared Beaver.
That night we made it to Edmonton and picked up Pascale. We were all pretty tired from going a little further than usual on a daily basis for 5 days. We figured that we would continue east bound but once again, we were urged to check out Banff and Lake Louise before leaving the area. Westbound we went and adding more time in the wrong direction to an already long trip of 5000+ miles. We weren’t really on a severe timeline though and if we need to change it, we will change it. We made our first campsite along the Snarl River, which was one of the most scenic and beautiful areas we had seen so far.
The ride between Snarl River, Banff, and Lake Louise is one of the nicest rides I’ve been on.
We made our way across Saskatchewan and into Manitoba. It was the plains so the rides were long and flat.
We dropped Pascale off in Winnipeg after a week of riding and it was sad to see her go. We also realized that with all of our added stops, we were not going to make it to Halifax.
We came up with a new plan of riding through Toronto and hopping across the border to Buffalo NY and we could store our bikes with Bobs uncle who lived in Buffalo. This still made for about a 5000 mile total trip for us from Homer Alaska to Fairbanks, and on to Buffalo. That was more than enough for a month of riding.
On to Ontario.
We rode into Ontario and made it to Toronto.
I have some friends that live in Toronto and we stayed with them. I had no idea that we would be treated to a fantastic condo on the water overlooking the skyline of Toronto. I’m not too familiar with Toronto but I have to assume it was one of the nicest views of the city.
I had not seen my friend Siobhan in many years and there are few things in life better than old friends. It was a genuine pleasure to see her and her family, even if it was only for one night.
After a short stay in Toronto, we headed across the USA/Canada border and stopped at Niagara Falls.
It was a short stop of only a couple of hours but the power of the falls are amazing. Its one place I look forward to going back to and taking the boat ride up close to the falls.
After our time at Niagara Falls, we made it to Buffalo and it poured rain for the ride. It was kind of a weird note to finish our trip on. It was fine and we are used to rain but it was very heavy rain and it added to the relief of getting somewhere to relax for a bit. We went to Bobs uncles shop and stored our bikes. They were waiting for us and had a case of beer waiting for us. They wanted to hear the stories of our trip and Bob was eager to catch up with his uncle. It was a nice finish and the rain, beer, good company and constant laughs made for a great finish to Leg 2 of our trip around the planet. New Zealand felt like a million miles away, as we sat and laughed in Buffalo New York. In 3 years we hope to be telling Buffalo stories in Auckland! Now, its time to go back to Guam and work for a month, and then pick up where we left off. Until then, thanks for following!