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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake


Grande Prairie

August 20th, 2008 by sunflowers

Grande PrairieGrande PrairieGrande (big) Prairie (vast stretches of flat land), Alberta (second province inwards from Canadian west coast) was once a glacier valley (when Canada consisted of two huge ice fields) after it had been a subtropical marsh land full of dinosaurs (largest ever cache of dinosaur bones was found in Alberta) and now it is a economic booming town supported by oil and farming servicing the Peace River area with a population of 175,000. Most people appear to drive pick up trucks and own motor homes.

Grande PrairieGrande PrairieOther than visiting with my grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins I have visited the two museums and ridden around seeing my old schools and the Dairy Queen where we used to go for an ice cream treat. Also there is a picture of the ‘steep’ hill I used to have to bicycle up and the wild tiger lilies I used to love as a kid.

Grande PrairieAfter an hour of aimlessly riding around Grande Prairie in the rain I thought that I should head back to my grandmothers as my cousin’s condo keeper had already asked me if my bike was wanted by the bailiffs which is a little bit funny. But not as funny as when I talked to my grandmother in Bay of Islands, New Zealand and she said she had received a letter from a concerned Auckland resident saying that she had been seen perusing an area of prostitution in her car and that she would be reported to the relevant authorities (they should have checked the registration number) .

Posted in Canada | No Comments »


Mileage and Maintenance

August 19th, 2008 by sunflowers

MaintenanceI have been getting mileage between 32-40 miles to the gallon US (or 8-10 miles to the litre UK or 13-16 kms to the litre NZ) which I don’t think is that good for a motorbike. Still it is better than the RV (recreational vehicle) owners that I met who are getting 8 miles per gallon though a lot of them are also pulling cars.

Petrol (gas) has ranged from $4.30 US per gallon (Anchorage) to $5.00 US per gallon (Haul Road) to $1.90 Can per litre (Yukon) to $1.35 per litre.

MaintenanceWhen I hit Grande Prairie I had done 4,000 miles and my bike needed a service as well as a new back tyre. Jeremy one of the AdvRiders offered to help me do the service so that I could learn where everything is on my new bike. We changed the oil, checked the spark plugs, brake fluid, the play on the clutch and put on a new metzler tourance tyre on which was a bit stiff as it is also a tubeless tyre.

Posted in Canada | 1 Comment »


Oh, Canada!

August 18th, 2008 by sunflowers

Alaskan HighwayOh Canada, our home and native land. True patriot love in all our sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise the true north strong and free. From far and wide Oh, Canada we stand on guard for thee (national anthem). Pop 33 million and second largest country in the world. GDP in US dollars 38,000 (US 45,000 , UK 35,000, NZ 26,000, Aus 36,000) as per Wiki.

I was born and raised in New Zealand but lived in Grande Prairie, Alberta where my mother is from between the age of 5 and 12. Then my parents sold their house and bought a motor home and spent a year taking their four young daughters (I am the oldest) around the US for a year. So now you know where I get it from.

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I am quite excited to be going back for the first time in almost twenty years and see the place.

Alaskan HighwayWhitehorse (capital of the Yukon): Saw my first Starbucks. So far the service hasn’t been all that great in Canada but maybe it is because I am going to places that have this ‘Motorcycle Friendly’ sign on them.

Alaskan HighwayLiard Hot Springs: Had the springs to myself in the evening until a bunch of drunk kids showed up. Tented for the first time and realised that I left the two end poles and instructions in the UK.

Posted in Canada | 6 Comments »


Alaskan Highway

August 17th, 2008 by sunflowers

Couple of notes about the highway.

Beautiful scenery : Once you are out of Alaska it is spruce covered mountains and the road follows a series of lakes and rivers. A lot of times you have the road and the views to yourself.

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Alaskan Highway

Frequency of gas: The high petrol prices must be effecting the areas tourism as I was told that I would be able to get gas every 50 miles but every second roadhouse/hotel/gas station was closed with rocks or logs across the entrance.

Trucks: There are a lot of big trucks doing 80-90 miles an hour. I didn’t see one doing under 70 even going up hill which was impressive but scary.

Alaskan HighwaySteel Bridges: Along the Alaskan highway are these steel grated bridges that are pretty exciting to cross over.

Thursday – Copper Centre to Haines Junction 450 miles

Friday – Haines Junction to Liard Hot Springs 500 miles

Saturday – Liard Hot Springs to Grande Prairie 600 miles. I almost became road kill myself when a deer ran straight out in front of me just as I got into GP after a long day of riding but managed to break in time.

Posted in Alaska | 3 Comments »


Wild Wildebeests

August 16th, 2008 by sunflowers

Alaskan HighwayWhen we stopped to look at the Muskoxen on the Dalton Highway I had been told that the animals think that the noise of a single cylinder bike is a threatening growl. Riding from Haines Junction to Liard Hot Springs I hadn’t seen any animals even though I had been told by Jack to constantly scan the road as they can appear from no where.

Alaskan HighwayI had just about given up hope on seeing anything thinking they had been scared away by my thumper when it all started happening. I saw two Bison which I stopped to jump off my bike and chase down the road. Turns out I shouldn’t have bothered as I then rode past two more herds on the road.

Alaskan HighwayI then had a black bear run in front of the bike in the distance and saw another bear just before the springs. In the morning I saw a couple of herds of mountain goats and what I think what was a young moose running to one side of the road, then running along beside me and then cutting back in front of me.

Alaskan HighwayThe best part was when a huge bird of prey swooped down in front of my bike to pick up some road kill of the small variety as I also saw two dead bison and one dead moose on the side of the road. Which doesn’t surprise me as I had double trailer trucks passing me at 90 miles an hour plus.

Posted in Alaska, Canada | No Comments »


Alaskan Canadian Highway

August 15th, 2008 by sunflowers

AlaskaAlaskaIt was sad to leave Alaska today as I have had such a great time there. My entry into Canada wasn’t the greatest as it had been sunny in Alaska and with the crossing of the border it started to rain and the first 200 miles so far has been incredibly windy and it is hard to keep the bike on my side of the road.

I would like to thank the Alaskan members of AdvRider, Patrick, Mark, Kevin, John, Dick and especially Jack for making my trip so far.

YukonAlaska has had spectacular scenery, warm people and hard core bikers. Good bye Alaska.

Hello Canada!

Posted in Alaska | 3 Comments »


Humpback Whale and Heaves

August 14th, 2008 by sunflowers

The drive down to Valdez was spectacular. Once I got there I decided to go out on a glacier tour as apparently there is a pod of killer whales that you can see but unfortunately I didn’t get to see them but we did have a humpback whale pass under the boat which was hard to get on camera.

We weren’t able to get up to the glacier due to all the icebergs around it which was pretty cool in it’s self. Also saw more sea lions and puffins.

On the way back I stopped near the salmon hatchery and saw all the salmon trying to get up a stream and a bear feeding on them. Glad I got to see my first bear before leaving Alaska.

Tomorrow I am off to take the Alaska Canadian (Alcan) Highway and hopefully make it to Whitehorse. Apparently the road gets heaves (huge humps caused by permafrost) and traffic has a bad habit of leaping onto the other side of the road and a few motorcyclists have been killed that way this year.

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Posted in Alaska | 2 Comments »


Find Me Spot

August 13th, 2008 by sunflowers

It has been so great to get a good sleep (which I think I needed to help digest all the huge burger meals I have been eating ;-)) that I am going to take it easy today – pop the 100 miles down to Valdez and then back to stay another night in Copper Creek before getting an early start to cross the border to Canada and into Whitehorse.

If you want to know where I am you can check out my location on Find Me Spot.

Also if you want to see a different perspective to my trip you can check out some photos of me on the AdvRider site

2 points to note: thanks to Mark for putting up the photos and when you see me in my riding gear I am not a natural hunch back (even if my father said I would become one if I didn’t stand up straight) I have a water bladder and back protector on.

Posted in Alaska | No Comments »


Copper Creek

August 12th, 2008 by sunflowers

Didn’t make it to Valdez as meet up with Jack (riding companion from Dalton Highway) as he lives along the way and he recommended that I stop and rest as I seemed pretty tired. I didn’t take much convincing. So I have phoned my grandmother in NZ through Skype (it is great for making phone calls to land lines) and caught up on my blog and now it is off to sleep for me.

Another amazing day of mountains to get here.

Copper CreekCopper CreekCopper CreekCopper Creek

Copper CreekBtw – they take their hunting pretty seriously here. I have passed as many hunters as RVs so far and this house in Copper Creek has horns or bones on every post around their house which is quite a common decoration.

250 miles (2200 so far)

Posted in Alaska | 2 Comments »


Valdez

August 12th, 2008 by sunflowers

Dalton HighwayWell I am packed, tyres checked and chain oiled ready to go. Today I am going to go 500 miles out of my way to see Valdez which someone told me is more beautiful than New Zealand. So I have taken it as a personal challenge and I will let you know.

So the write up of the daring dash to Deadhorse will have to wait but I will write it up retrospectively so check the back postings. Till then I have left a taster photo of things to come.

Posted in Alaska | 1 Comment »


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