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Thread: Paul and Voni's 2012 Wander

  1. #1
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Paul and Voni's 2012 Wander

    As you know we're located in Big Bend Texas for most of the year, but long about this time, we hit the road with only a general plan ending by returning to the adobe in September when the desert is a bit cooler.

    Come along with us if you'd like:

    Greetings from Sunnyside, WA

    When last we reported we were headed to our son's in Kansas and then
    our grandson's school track and field day, and a few days at Ankeny,
    Iowa. We survived track and field day and are now headed west and
    north towards Hyder, Alaska. But first we will spend a couple of
    days visiting Voni's Aunt Genevieve in Lacey, Washington. And Doug
    Crow has invited us for a BBQ. We made overnight stops in beautiful
    Valentine, Nebraska, Buffalo, Wyoming, Gardiner, Montana, and
    Kamiah, Idaho. Now we are in Sunnyside, WA poised for the final
    rush to Lacey.

    We have ridden some of the truly great motorcycle roads, but not
    between Ankeny and Valentine for sure. We did ride US 16 through
    Ten Sleep Canyon and the Bighorn Mountains. We rode the Chief
    Joseph Scenic Highway from Cody, WY to Cooke, City, MT. Yellowstone
    was delightfully free of traffic and full of animal sightings,
    including a grizzly. We road US 12 over Lolo Pass and then along
    the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers to Kamiah.

    It is notable that we managed to enter, ride through, and exit
    Montana and nothing broke. Last year everything broke in Montana.
    F650: lost its chain near East Glacier, bent a wheel near
    Kalispell, broken main ignition wire also near Kalispell. F800:
    replaced a failed battery, suffered an alternator stator failure,
    and the rear wheel hub axle failed near Chinook. This year we
    escaped Montana unscathed. And we rode with clear blue skies and
    little to no wind. Another first!

    Camping has been chilly with a couple nights in the very low 40's.
    We suspect British Columbia will have several very nice motels.
    It has been both a lesurely and a hurried trip, depending on the
    day. Voni is, however at a loss to explain the fact her GPS is
    reporting her maximum speed to have been 246 miles per hour. We did
    have a few fairly long down hill sections from Lolo Pass but they
    weren't that steep. And neither of us recall dropping the bike out
    of an airplane and it appears undamaged.

    >
    From Lacey we will head north to Prince George and then west and
    north to Hyder. We plan to spend a few days there, and then will
    find ourselves headed to the Copper Mountain ski resort for a BMW
    rally in mid June.

    We'll report more later when it happens.

    Pictures here:
    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...%20Alaska%201/


    Paul and Voni
    On the road again . . .



    V and P


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  2. #2
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Greetings from Vanderhoof, British Columbia

    We last reported from Kamiah, Idaho, just downhill from Lolo Pass on US 12. We were headed towards Lacey, Washington for a brief visit with Voni's Aunt Gen. As we approached the metropolitan area we encountered at least hundreds of motorcyclists. Groups of Harleys plodding along with traffic stuck behind them; groups of sports bikes buzzing through traffic; occasional touring riders in ones and twos and threes. It was cold at White Pass but otherwise the riding on US 12 and north on 7 was perfectly glorious!

    Of course: it was Saturday, and sunny with moderate temperatures. An event that seemingly brings out every motorcyclist because such convergences of day and weather are rare. I truly admire motorcycle riders who live in the Pacific Northwest. I have to confess that if I lived there I would not own a motorcycle. I live in the desert for a reason. I hate riding in the rain. Traction is impaired. Visibility is impaired. Enjoyment is impaired.

    The forecast Saturday evening was for rain to start mid-day on Monday. We planned to depart to the north on Monday morning. They blew the forecast by about 36 hours as the rain started before dawn Sunday. And of course was predicted to continue until Wednesday, or maybe Thursday.

    Now ducking for a day to avoid bad weather is one thing. But a delay for the better part of a week is less practical. So on Monday morning off we headed toward the Canadian border. After precisely 300 feet Voni's high beam headlight burned out. OK - use low beam, I'll change it when it isn't raining. After precisely 2.8 miles my speedometer and odometer both quit. They will be fine later once things dry out. I-5 traffic amidst throngs of drivers who have already had about two too many cups of expresso and show it, was not in the plan. We slipped west of the sound and north to the ferry at Port Townsend. It started akin to riding in a bowl of milk. Foggy. Fogged glasses and fogged face shield. Once we turned north there might have actually been scenery except for the fog, and the walls of green trees.

    As mentioned, I hate riding in the rain. I was annoyed. So when we stopped for gas, Voni pointedly made sure I noticed the cheeky inspirational message on the screen on the gas pump right after I poked it to signify I didn't want a car wash. It said, "A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can't go anywhere until you change it." Voni's glee in pointing this out to me actually cheered me up for a little while.

    By the time we reached Port Townsend the rain had reduced itself to annoying instead of infuriating. The ferry crossing was routine except they told us to stay with the bikes on the cold, damp, and breezy car deck instead of going to the nice warm lounge because of the winds and the waves which might cause our bikes to take a tumble. So we did.

    Whidbey Island was mostly drier - sprinkles instead of rain - but the winds were roaring across the water and lowlands at a brisk pace. We rode as far as Burlington, Washington, not Canada, a whopping 155 miles. We knew it will probably be raining again in the morning but I'd almost always rather ride in the rain some other day than the day at hand. During a brief moment when it actually wasn't raining I changed Voni's high beam headlight bulb.

    It was not a surprise when Tuesday dawned almost, but not quite as damp as did Monday. We rode north. By the time we reached the border with Canada we could actually see the sky. It wasn't blue but at least we could tell there was a sky. And by the time we reached Hope, BC the sky was a combination of blue, and fluffy white clouds. The Canadian border official we met seemed to be having a bad day. He first had us roll our bikes way forward so he could read the license plate and then made us push them backward so he could continue to ask questions. Apparently his high-tech camera and computer link was broken. He didn't really hassle us but was just surly. Voni said she asked him if he was tired or what. I figured either his wife was leaving him or his teenage daughter just told him she was pregnant. I just shut up and only answered questions.

    Carefully adhering to planned stops (finally) we quit for the day at Cache Creek. My speedometer and odometer started working again 51 miles south of Cache Creek. So everything works again.

    It had only dipped to 50 degrees overnight so we got a fairly early start today. We awoke to some scurrying around a pickup parked a couple of doors down in the motel lot. Much to our amazement we spied a man cleaning the engine and other under-hood areas with a feather duster. We'll never know ... and were afraid to ask. We paused at a rest area for some coffee. There was one pickup truck over on the other side of the area. Soon we heard music. Looking over we saw a couple - he with a trumpet and she with a french horn, standing on a picnic table and playing their instruments. Whether they were just exuberant or a BC welcoming committee we don't know. We stopped briefly for resupply (snacks, chain lube, Camp Dry spray, etc.) at Quesnel, and breezed through Prince George. As we turned west on the Yellowhead Highway storm clouds appeared ahead. We were aiming toward Vanderhoof, about 50 miles away. Paul kept telling himself, "I won't have to ride in more than 45 miles of rain ... 35 miles ... 25 miles ... 10 miles ... zero miles." We stopped for the night at Vanderhoof. The Sun came out as we arrived. We are now two short days or one longer day from Hyder, Alaska.

    Pictures here:
    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...%20Alaska%202/

    More later. V & P
    --


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  3. #3
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    You're a great story teller (lots of practice, I'm sure) and the pictures are really neat, too. Thanks for taking us along!
    Dan

  4. #4
    Prefers to play martinph's Avatar
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    Drop in if you have the time.
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  5. #5
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinPH View Post
    Drop in if you have the time.
    Thanks!

    We just may when we come back in August for the Nakusp Rally.

    BC is almost as big as TEXAS ; )

    Voni
    sMiling
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  6. #6
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Bruce_H
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    Sorry about the rain. Living on the Oregon coast I enjoy rain rides during the winter, an aquited taste for sure. The rest of the year I am ready for it to go away.

    I do like your photos and trip logs, Thanks.

    Bruce H.

  8. #8
    Registered User xp8103's Avatar
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    Awesome!
    Nik #140220 - '88 K75C | '96 R1100RS | '77 R100RS | '06 DL650
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    Helmets don't save lives but loud pipes do?

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    Thanks for the ride along...

  10. #10
    WI Airhead r90r100r's Avatar
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    +1 ON THE PICS AND LOG!!!!! I've not seen the AlCan Hwy since Jul '89. Love Canada and Alaska!

    Mike Horne
    76 R90/6
    93 R100R Legend

  11. #11
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Glad to share ; )

    Greetings from ALASKA! Hyder, that is

    We last reported from Vanderhoof, BC headed northward and extricating ourselves from the damp gloom of the Pacific Northwest in Washington. From Vanderhoof we proceeded on to Hyder, Alaska. The owner of the Grandview Inn (and our friend) Dee was still in Seattle but Dave had a room in the Grandview for us even though we were a day earlier than our reservations. There is some turmoil in Hyder as just uphill, back into Canada towards Salmon Glacier, they are reopening the long dormant mine - gold we are told.

    You almost have to have been to Hyder to appreciate the humor, but as we reached Hyder the sign said, "Road Construction Next 5 Miles". Paul started laughing. You need to understand that the instant you cross out of Canada into Alaska, the road has never been paved. There is some doubt as to whether it has ever been "constructed". But this summer the main road through town, up towards Salmon Glacier, as far as the gold mine it appears, will be paved. Feelings about paving in Hyder are mixed. We think it will turn out to be a good idea.

    Hyder, in Alaska, is getting very little out of this grand reopening of a gold mine. The company is Canadian, the jobs are Canadian, and the workers are mostly living in Stewart, BC just across the border. But Hyder is getting its main road paved, and a new dock to boot.

    We greatly enjoyed the 3 day stay at the Grandview, and visiting with our good friend Caroline Stewart who runs the Boundary Gallery in Hyder. Four riders arrived in Hyder having completed an Iron Butt Association 49-10 - that is riding a motorcycle to all 49 North American states within 10 days. We have submitted their picture to hang in the SeaAlaska Inn, the traditional headquarters of Hyderseek.

    When we arrived at the Grandview we noticed that the house next door had burned down. The remains had been neatly bulldozed but not yet removed, A young construction worker and his wife advised us that a bear had been visiting the site a couple of times a day. So sure enough the next day we got acquainted with Fluffy, or Fuzzy depending on whether you pick Paul's name or Voni's name for the bear. We felt quite satisfied taking good close up pictures of the scavenger bear with our incredible Panasonic 21x zoom, first from our first floor porch and later from the second floor balcony. Only this morning as we were preparing to leave did Dave tell us that Fluffy/Fuzzy liked to run across that 2nd floor balcony peering into windows. We are glad he was less inquisitive while we were cooking fresh Salmon in the room.

    We have been to Hyder 8 or 9 times. We often see a bear or two along the way. This year we saw 17 bears: 16 along the road and also Fluffy/Fuzzy. Most of the bears were more or less stationary in the ditch or on the shoulder as we approached. Some turned and ambled off. Some sat there and looked at us. One appeared at full tilt boogie from the hillside on the left, streaked across the road, and did an exit stage right through the ditch and into the woods, still at full tilt boogie. We missed him or he missed us by 10 or 15 seconds.

    Things we a bit discombobulated this year because the word had gone out that rooms were not available in Hyder due to the opening of the mine and road construction. Only partly true but it did deter a lot of folks from coming to Hyderseek. The Hyder point person for next year will be Caroline and we have every confidence that the gathering will once again be much larger after the road crews have built and gone. There was a prime rib banquet Friday night at the King Edward in Stewart on and a burger barbeque at the SeaAlaska Inn in Hyder on Saturday night. Thanks Michelle and crew! Alaskan Amber is good beer. You only have to be Hyderized once but repeat visits to the bar for Alaskan Amber are our new tradition. Thanks to Chris Ford who organized Hyderseek this year since Ron Ayres is no longer sponsoring it. Plans for next year are already being made.

    One of the key attractions at Hyder is "The Bus", The bus is in fact a bus, that serves some of the finest fresh seafood you can find. But alas, the Bus was not yet open for the season - next week we think. Hyder had an abnormal snowfall this past winter - 32 or 33 feet - and there was still considerable snow in piles about. So some things normally open had not yet opened but you know we had a good time anyway.

    Our last greetings amply displayed Paul's disdain for the weather in the Seattle vicinity. It is a bit ironic that it "always rains in Hyder" but we arrived at and departed from Hyder dry and reasonably warm. Caroline reported that it was 72 on Thursday when we arrived - and that is official - she is the local weather station for NOAA so she ought to know.

    Today we say a little drizzle for a few minutes between Hyder and the Mezadian Junction but from there to Burns Lake was partly blue skies and partly cloudy but dry with temperatures in the high 60s.

    The price of gas has hovered around $1.40 a liter - or about $5.50 a gallon throughout British Columbia. It was in the $4.30s in Washington. Paul said he will quit griping about the cost of gas back home in Terlingua - $3.70 or so - but he probably won't.

    We are watching the weather and may head to a Ride for Pie next Saturday at Lynden, Washington. Paul thinks it is perilously close to Seattle but he will probably relent and head there anyway. There is a good motorcycle superstore type shop in Burlington, not too far away and he already needs a tire.

    Whats next? We are 2,669 miles from the Adobe and have 3-1/2 months to get there. We are confident we can find places to go and things to see but aren't exactly sure where or when.

    Lots of pictures here: Too many, but it's ALASKA and BEARS

    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...a%203%20HYDER/

    Voni and Paul
    Travel Editors for the Alpine Daily Planet
    On Assignment


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  12. #12
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Bear Glacier
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  13. #13
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Thanks Voni for letting us tag along with you and Paul.
    Ride Well, Ride Often, Ride to

    Charter Member "High Town" crew.

  14. #14
    IBA #44567 Ken F's Avatar
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    What a wonderful adventure!

    Looking forward to the next installment...

    Ken
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  15. #15
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voni View Post
    Thanks!

    We just may when we come back in August for the Nakusp Rally.

    BC is almost as big as TEXAS ; )

    Voni
    sMiling
    I'm hoping to make it out again for that one too. Glad to hear you're returning.

    I'll be sure to bring my GS-911 just in case
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

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