Alaska, Day 1: Finding a groove

It’s been a pretty long time since we took a road trip, and it showed.

Packing: We forgot the chain lube. Left it sitting on the floor of the garage, by its lonesome. Stopped in Burlington for a replacement.

Mike forgot to put on his (new) bike shorts, much less pack them! And I saw him in regular shorts and didn’t think to ask, even though I was running around in my bike shorts.

Directions: I’ve learned just how much I rely on seeing the GPS on the phone! I don’t hold directions “in my head” like I used to.

Stamina: my butt has none!

We made a tactical error in Sumas. There was no line to speak of at customs, so we decided to double-back and grab a bite to eat. Mistake! When we returned to the queue it was about four times longer. We were in line more more than 30 minutes, and it got very hot.

But it was a great day!

Highlights, in no particular order

  • Dairy country.
  • While waiting in line at Sumas to clear customs, we were entertained by a hustler from the adjacent service station. He (or she, it wasn’t immediately obvious) had some sort of cleaner to promote. It felt like being at a trade show where a barker tries to corral you with “let me clean your glasses!” He called the Transalp a good-looking bike. Either his fashion sense is impaired (on reflection, it was!) or it was a lame attempt to sweeten me up. No one in their right mind could say Frankenbike is “good-looking”!
  • Just as we entered Highway 1 in BC, after going through customs at Sumas, we came to a stop. Who knew there was rush hour traffic that far inland? I caught a glimpse of movement several vehicles ahead … and then suddenly a small dual purpose bike hung a hard right and barreled down the very steep grade to the road running parallel to the divided highway. I laughed out loud!
  • Sweepers.
  • I don’t make the trip north to Bellingham often enough. I always forget about the steep grade and evergreens that make that part of I-5 quite beautiful.
  • The Fraser River. Wow. You’re riding along in gorgeous evergreens, and then you’re in a desert. I had no idea just how how our elevation had reached until we checked in to our motel. Everything contained in a Zip-Lock bag had the air sucked out of the bag!
  • Hell’s Gate. (It was closed.)
  • Thermals. They fascinate me in the water (diving) and they fascinate me while riding. Both Mike and I were surprised at how warm it was in the Fraser River high desert area.
  • Great conversation with a rider in Hope, BC. We had stopped for gas at the Chevron (no pay-at-the-pump for yanks). I’d pulled to the side while Mike finished up. “Don’t see many Transalps,” he said, by way of introduction. One of his bikes is a KLR. He seemed dubious about Mike’s taking the Harley to Alaska. (He doesn’t know my husband!)
  • All the Facebook birthday wishes. Thank you!

And of course, my fabulous partner and husband, who figured out how to pack my bike (like his “table” for the duffle?) and is always there to help when I’m parked unevenly (with the weight, I can’t always get it off the sidestand).

We’re in Cache Creek, BC, in a little motel with funky decorations. Based on today’s ride — and knowing when we have to catch the ferry back — we think McKinley is on the scratch list. Now that we’ve started the trip, we seem more interested in a relaxed and immersive trip than a rushed one.

Transalp and Harley
Bikes prepped for departure. I was in charge of the retroreflective tape.
Transalp and Harley
This was about 100 miles from home, in Washington’s dairy country. Frankenbike has bodywork!
Just before customs, we decided to grab a bite. Cheese curds and a tasty sandwich.
Cache Creek BC
Cache Creek BC

One thought on “Alaska, Day 1: Finding a groove

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>