Kluane National Park on Bing homepage today…

Today’s Bing.com US homepage shows Kluane National Park in the Yukon Territory, a name that brings back bittersweet memories. If you click on one of the “hot spots” of the page, it links to a map of Kluane Lake. I rode past it two years ago on the Alaskan Highway heading towards Anchorage:

And if you look a few miles north, it shows Destruction Bay, where my bike broke a week later while I was headed back south towards Haynes Junction. I’m sure someday I’ll be able to see the names of these places without wincing.

Happy Canada Day, everyone!

Follow-up on the arm…

I went to the hospital yesterday for a follow-up visit and xrays. After a near two hour wait (yay hospitals), the surgeon’s assistant came in and said that I would need to be in a cast for two more months. When I refused to accept this, she came back with the surgeon who checked my wrist and said that they’d put me in a removable splint, which I could take off for washing my hand, but I have to have it on at all other times, including while sleeping. I will still need to have this one for two more months though, because that’s the healing time the scaphoid needs. :| I cannot lift anything heavier than a fork during this period.

The surgeon was very cool and we went through my xrays and CT scans together where he explained all the breaks, and the diagnoses they made. The metal plates in my forearm are nearly 5″ long, one of which is sub-cutaneous and I can feel it through my skin. He said that they would take the plate our if it really bothered me, but it’d have to be in 18 months, which apparently is the actual time it takes for the bone to be fully healed. He asked me to work on range of motion withint he limits of the splint over the next few weeks.

I’m going to go see him again in a month, after which he said that they would start “weaning me off of the splint”.

I’m home…

I am HOME!!!!!!!  :D

I feel rad! Well, as rad as one might be expected to feel with a broken arm. :)

Returning this way wasn’t quite what I had expected or quite the triumphant return I had envisioned and I’m certain that at some point I will break down when this sinks in completely, but all in all, there’s no place like home.

And… I am back from my grand adventure where I rode through Alaska, the Yukon and British Columbia doing 3200 miles over 14 days, did five border crossings, was chased by police in two countries, rode the Alaskan and Cassiar highways through blinding sunshine and crashing thunderstorms, over perfectly paved roads, gravel, and thick sludgy mud; I saw snow capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, muddy rivers, evergreen trees of every known kind, grizzlies and black bears prowling the desolate highways, elks and moose, porcupines and lemmings, soaring great bald eagles; I camped out in barns and police station lawns, stayed at a genuine Alaskan hunter/trapper’s cabin where the air was so still you could hear your own breath, and every petal of every flower gleamed with a water droplet; I rode through town after little town, met scores of interesting people and yes a few cute guys, including other bikers like me who were up there chasing the same dream and indeed there were times when it felt as if I were flying through a dream. I rode the Ride. I lived the dream. I lived.

I have a slightly bad update. I crashed a couple of hours ago a little distance from Destruction Bay in Canada. The front end of my bike started wobbling violently and I went down. Something was apparently wrong with the forks and they broke off. It was 100% not rider error and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

The bad news – I have a compound fracture in my left forearm where I broke two bones. The good news – that’s all that is wrong, and I was nearing the end of my adventure anyway. We were going to ride to Haines today and hang out for a couple of days to catch the ferry home.

As of now, we are waiting for a ride to a hospital in Whitehorse for xrays. If they can fix the arm there, that’d be good news. If I need surgery, I might need to fly to WA.

Anyway, please don’t freak out. Sarah and a few other riders are taking care of me and we will figure this out. Since I am in Canada, you cannot call me. I will try to send another update from Whitehorse when we know more.

Thanks for following this journey. It’s been a heck of an adventure so far. :)

Update from Seward, AK

As Granny Weatherwax would have it – “I aitn’t dead yet!”

I’m not sure why they the last two Spot messages didn’t go through but it was probably because we had incredibly bad weather at GlenAllen two days ago and were in a relatively crowded big city (Anchorage) a day ago. We didn’t have internet access and really neither of us felt like being online.

So a brief recap of the past week, even though it’s all a bit blurry in my mind now.

The riding through the Yukon was BRILLIANT and the crossing over into Alaska was even more dramatic than I had envisioned with the landscape being almost Tolkein-esque, an impending thunderstorm and lightning, torn up roads, complete wilderness with not a soul on the road… you get the picture… we managed to get the bikes dirty and made it into Tok before the sun went down (yes, I know that’s not saying much in Alaska).

The next day, it was pouring down rain though. My heated vest stopped working, my Goretex boots had water seep in, and I about died from the cold. We were forced to stop at Glennallen for the day after only about 120 miles of riding and checked in at the Caribou Inn. The scene at the lodge was a bit comical with biker after biker showing up looking harassed and exasperated. There were about 17 bikes parked in front of the hotel lobby that day (almost all adventure bikes too!)  The hotel room was overpriced ($140/night!!) and there was nothing to do all day except wring out our things, hope they dried overnight, trying to get warmer and talking about how we might have reached Anchorage that day.

Stuff did get dry and we set out on the road to Anchorage the next day (although a lot later than we expected because we tried to help a fellow BMW rider get his old bike to run).

The good people of Alaska have a unique torture device for motorcyclists riding the Glenn Highway. They call it the 55mph speed limit. We reached Anchorage a lot later than we had envisioned, checked in at a hostel and got dinner before calling it a night.

The next day we tooled around downtown, picked up some small tourist mementos, then set off for Seward. This morning we set off for Whittier to catch the ferry to Valdez.

More updates as and when I can.

Finally rolled into Alaska two hours ago after a brilliant day of riding – the best I’ve had so far. More updates soon if I can find a computer and internet access.

Blogging from Hyder, AK

Made it into Alaska for just a bit (head back into BC and the Yukon tomorrow). Hyder, AK to be precise and yes I got HYDERIZED this afternoon. For those not in the know, they give you a shot of some unknown liquid, and if you cannot hold it down you have to buy a round for the entire bar. It was 160 proof alcohol and yes, I held it down although my throat was on fire. They had the most unbelievably tasty pizza for a dinky one horse town too.

No bears at the creek unfortunately but we did see some gigantic salmon frolicking in the stream.

I’ve been making good time over the past couple of days and have caught up with our schedule. I’ve started averaging about 350-400 miles, which is pretty good going. I love the BMW’s suspension.

So far the ride itself has been rather dull with long straight roads fringed with trees. The one spectacular road I hit today was the 40 mile stretch between the Cassiar Highway and Stewart, where I ripped it open and zipped through the twisties. Motorcycling heaven!

In other news, I seem to be toughening up because I’ve been camping every night until tonight. Last night, we slept in someone’s barn in Hazelton. I’m really getting into this camping thing. Still need to get into the off-roading thing.

Met a few other bikers who came down from Prudhoe Bay and Inuvik with their bikes caked in mud. The bikers from Inuvik had one of their group go down on slick as grease mud. He slid down a ditch, had the bike land on him, broke his back and had to be airlifted to Fairbanks.

On that cheery note, I’m hurriedly signing off. Apologies for not replying to your comments. My time online is very limited. I’ve read them all though! Thank you for following my journey. :)

Quick update from Burns Lake…

WOOHOO!!!! Sarah and I hit the road a couple of days ago and are up in Burns Lake taking a quick lunch break. Thus far we have spent the night at Anderson Creek and Quesnel and tonight looks like it’ll be Hazelton. Tomorrow we hit Stewart and Hyder and get HYDERIZED. We also plan on going to see the bear eating fish, not to be confused with the bear-eating fish. :P

The only minor hitches we have had are me losing the bitewing on my Camelbak (plugged it with a screw and have to remember not to swallow it by mistake); and almost running out of gas on one stretch because I forget to fuel up at the last major stop and she gave me some of her gas. We rode those last few miles at about 50mph pissing off a lot of trucks and motorhomes. SCORE. :P

Talking about motorhomes, I loathe them with a passion. Would it KILL them to move over a couple of feet to let the bikers pass?

Sorry, no photos just yet because it’s mostly been just trees and trucks *yawn*. We’ll try to upload some soon though.

Stay tuned and thanks for watching!!  Over and out.

Alaska trip update…

I am finally allowing myself to get excited about riding off to Alaska next week. In fact, I’m having a hard time wiping off the huge grin on my face, causing much puzzled looks from those not in the know. :) YES, I leave on the 21st of July, which is next Monday!

Most of my trip preparation is done. All I need to do is pack and take care of some last loose ends.


Now to the important part:

My friend dropped off the satellite messenger last night. This is a device that can send an “OK” signal with a simple message:

SPOT Check OK.  All is well and I am continuing on with my journey.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/11/2008 23:47:13 (GMT)

It can also send a pre-configured “Help” message of this format:

This is a HELP message. If l do not contact you by phone within 12 hours contact emergency svcs. with my location.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/11/2008 23:49:49 (GMT)

I have set up two distribution lists which will receive each of these messages:

The former will be used to send the OK messages to as well as brief updates about our journey on the road (which I will also try to post to LJ when possible). The latter is a list for sending the Help message to, to which I will add only close friends and family who accept the responsibility of taking action should I ever need help (I don’t really expect to use this button).

This post is to ask you if you are interested in being added to the first trip update list. This is the list which will only receive updates and “I am OK” messages along with my GPS location. If you want to be added, please send me with your email address. (I do not really expect anyone to volunteer to be on the Help list).


All of you can follow my progress on this map which is updated realtime every time I hit OK on the device:

Another location where you can see trip updates is our ADVRider thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355138.

Our tentative route: http://adventuresinfinite.com/Motorcycling/Alaska2008.htm

I will also try to make LJ voiceposts and am counting on you fine folks to decipher my accent and transcribe them. :)

Some of you didn’t know who Sarah was, and rightly so because she lives in PDX and I don’t believe I’ve ever posted a photo of hers. She rides a KLR650, is one of the coolest people I know, and I’m delighted to be doing this journey with someone who is so much fun to be with.

So here goes. :) Two dorks on a mission – we’re going to cover thousands of miles, break hundreds of hearts, consume tens of beers and encounter zero bears and mosquitos. Ha!!

Shopping list… (morphed to Alaska shopping post)

[More Post-dating.]

I thought I’d list all the bike-related stuff I need to pay for this summer, and now I’m depressed. :(

Must Have
GS rear brake pads $35
New tires for GS (2 sets, one street, one knobby) $300 (one free from Seattle Cycle, I hope)
Extra gear shifter, brake lever, clutch lever, tubes for GS $$
Gerbing battery harness for heated vest for GS – $8
Heated grips for GS – Just need installation

Want to Have
Aftermarket rear shock for SV $400
Braided steel line for SV ~ $50 – Needs installation
Air bag for helmet $45 – Changed my mind about this
Helmet medical information carrier system (fancy term for a sticker pouch for the helmet) $9
Action camera $100
Camera mounts for both bikes – Helmet mount works fine.
Ridewest BMW/PSS 2-day Adventure Camp $375 (If I could have just taken the dirtbike class and saved my money, I’m going to be very, very pissed off.)
Trollhaugen $89
Trackdays – 1-2/month $200 each – not a priority at the moment

Nice to Have
GPS unit $500? Have to buy this week
Humvee graphics – Got over it.
Slip-on pipe and jet kit for SV ? – Not a priority at this time.

New additions
– Liners for Zega boxes. Some options are this (OMG expensive!),  this (better) or this (don’t like the size and would be harder to place into the bag). I need to measure out the boxes when I get home too. I *think* they are the 40 liter ones, but I’m not 100% sure. (Handy Thread Link)
– A bunch of ni-MH batteries

– Map route on Streets and Trips and decide where I want to be at the end of every day
– Print out maps and laminate them
– Get Canadian visa (this week)
– Get immigration paperwork sorted out, call border crossing offices and talk to lawyer (this week)
– Put together toolkit and make sure I have everything I need to take apart everything on the bike
– Practice taking tires off and patching/replacing tubes
– Practice using all the thingumajigs I’ve bought for the trip
– Get clothes sorted out

Only three more weeks!! O.O *eek*


The word is in. I tore the LCL in my right knee and need to get surgery. My right hand will likely need surgery too.