About Larry

I live in Bandon on the southern Oregon coast and I've been riding for a long, long time, years, decades. We won't go there kiddies but believe me, it's been awhile. During that time I've done most of my riding on the road with occasional off-road forays, most of which were intentional. Some weren't. Until just a couple of years ago I'd never ridden a hack - that's sidecar to those who aren't familiar with the lingo. I figure riding a hack up Alaska's infamous Haul road all the way to Deadhorse should top off my torture tank for quite awhile.

About Mac

Mac hails from Robins, Iowa and has been riding bikes longer than most people have been around. He managed to torture his old BMW past the 100,000 mile mark and presently rides a Yamaha FJR. His newest ride, a 2008 Ural Patrol is waiting on the dealer's highest shelf until the flood waters recede after which they'll assemble it and turn it over to him. The fact that he's heading to Alaska for his first journey on a new rig should tell you all you need to know about him...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 13th - Nuts 'N Bolts

No peekshurs today mon, jus messin aroun wi' da hack... today was one of those maintenance days, had to do a few repairs on the rig, replaced some missing nuts and bolts due to the ride up the Winter Harbour haul road. The guys in the local auto parts store fixed me up with what I needed plus I bought some rubbing compound and wax. Both the hack and bike looked terrible so I power washed them and of course after that they needed more TLC. All in all they're not so bad although they'll never look like new again. The haul road in AK will probably do them both in but that's what they're all about eh? No trailer queens in my world, just working rigs.

News Flash: 7:15pm Sunday: Mac just called, he and Joe are about 250 miles out and will be at the KOA around 2:30pm tomorrow. Presuming the Italian beast behaves we'll meet up there, and maybe if I arrive early I'll get the best tent site? Film at eleven...

July 12th - Ferry to Vancouver - Yikes, the freakin bike is croaking!

Today I figured it would be smart to head to the KOA campground where I'll be meeting Mac. I wanted to get there early and spend some time cleaning up the bike, maybe send some email as all KOA's have WIFI now, eh?
The ferry ride over was nice, lots of sunshine and time for a doze in the lounge. Unfortunately the Aprilia has decided it's unhappy about this entire traveling thing and dies whenever it chooses. Usually in front of large trucks or in the middle of off-ramps sans shoulders to park on. It has something to do with the fuel feed, maybe crap in the tank (who knows how bad some of the gas has been) or maybe the filter is plugged. Doesn't matter, it has to be fixed or the trip is kaput. I called the Ural dealer where Mac's going to have his bike serviced and he's willing to have a look at it at the same time. Got my fingers crossed on that one.
This afternoon I stopped at the Burlington KOA thinking I'd stay there till Mac arrives but holy cow what a dump the last tent site is! At $39 per day plus tax, no water, no table, just trash and weeds, I don't think so. Off to Days Inn I went, only $79 per day including all the amenities. No contest. I wonder what Mac will think when he arrives? Footnote: There is a God, ran out of gin a day or two back and discovered Yukon Jack is very tasty with Tonic water.

July 11th - Back down the Haul road, Telegraph Cove & WFP logging

Heading south today, fixed the digital display bracket with electrical tape and hope it holds for awhile.
Met some people in Port Hardy, two weird guys hanging around the bike and one nice gal who rides a Honda Shadow. She suggested stopping at Telegraph Cove to see the local sites so I did. Big WFP log operation and some touristy stuff for boaters. I ended the day at Elk Falls above Campbell River again, nice provincial park for $15 per night. Wish they had showers though...pheww

July 10th - Port Hardy & the Holberg Haul Road to Winter Harbour - Bears & The Jesus Soul Tree

Port Hardy's a little like Bandon, touristy stuff, fishing charters, etc., nice place to visit for awhile but time to move on. I'd decided to check out Winter Harbour, population 22 way out on the western tip of the island. You can either fly in or take the unpaved "road" that leads to Holberg and from there it's the haul road to Winter Harbour.

Setting out early the first genuine point of interest was the "Jesus Soul Tree" located a few miles west of Port Hardy. It's been there for years and people keep piling old shoes & boots on it, some brave souls have climbed to the top to nail logging boots onto it. Damnedest thing I've seen on this trip so far.

I saw several black bears on the way to Holberg, a couple of them even posed for pics. There was also an interesting public safety sign involving a very large tree and a smashed car. You get the picture. In Holberg I gassed up at the local gas lady's place - sign says closed but just knock and she'll come out. After that I had lunch at the Ibis Pub where I met a number of locals who advised me on the haul road and which route was best to take. A lady at the timber company office gave me a map and more advice about the best road to take, not the one the guys in the pub recommended. I decided to go with the guys and take my chances with the logging rigs.

The timber company maintains the haul road and though they allow public use of it they advise against it as the logging rigs are huge and take up the entire road. They weren't lying... The first one I met up with was the biggest rig I'd seen up close and personal. I moved the bike over till the hack was riding in the bushes and he just barely squeezed by. When I looked straight up I could see his top logs over my head, about 12 ft up. Very cozy. The drivers and tenders were all friendly though and gave me lots of thumbs ups for the rig.

The haul road raised hell with the bike & sidecar, I lost several nuts & bolts and the mounting bracket I'd made for the digital meter display went south. Electric tape provided a temporary fix for that, the hardware will have to wait till I can find the local True Value.
Arriving in Winter Harbour I located the one and only municipal park, right on the water and complete with free firewood and no admission. I was the only one there so I had my pick of the sites, mosquitoes and crows no extra charge. There were several sea otters eating shell fish just off shore and several Bald Eagles flying around. I heard the fishing was good and several float planes came and went while I was there. No other bikers, probably for a good reason. The haul road...