To the Top of Alaska, Day 10

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June 13th, 2014 – Juneau, AK to Tok, AK ~530 miles

Finally, a day where we’d spend more than an hour on our motorcycles!

Went to return the keys to our dorm rooms, and by the time I got back, a group of women had already surrounded Bui. Can’t leave that guy alone anywhere.
Bike-urious Alaska

Apparently my motorcycle hates cold mornings just as much as I do.
Bike-urious Alaska

Got over to the terminal – unlike in Prince Rupert we actually had to wait in line. The horror!
Bike-urious Alaska

While waiting, we had several people come up to us and chat about bikes. This guy was the coolest – if I remember correctly, him and his wife often go on long motorcycle trips on separate bikes. Though they didn’t look it, they were both over 70, and the wife had just switched to a Honda Goldwing trike. I truly hope I have a similarly long motorcycling career.
Bike-urious Alaska

Back on the ferry (this time the Le Conte), we saw an unexpected basketball hoop.
Bike-urious Alaska

Thankfully, this ferry ride was just 3-4 hours, which felt like the blink of an eye compared to our first journey of 35 hours. It’s funny how easily you can take views like this for granted when you’re surrounded by beautiful wilderness.
Bike-urious Alaska

We could even see glaciers from the boat, but we were a bit glacier-jaded after our experience with Mendenhall.
Bike-urious Alaska

We spent most of the ride in a common room, falling in and out of sleep while movies played in the background. At one point, someone came into the common room, saying that they had just seen a whale outside. We ran up to the deck, but by the time we got up to the top, we couldn’t see anything. Here Vy tries her best ‘whale-summoning’ dance – it didn’t work.
Bike-urious Alaska

Back on land, we realized that we never saw a “Welcome to Alaska” sign when in Juneau. So Vy and I (and of course, Baby Jack) had to get a photo with the one in Haines.
Bike-urious Alaska

Bui does his best Vanna White impression.
Bike-urious Alaska

Route De L’Alaska!
Bike-urious Alaska

We went in and out of mini rainstorms. Here you get the back view of my Scorpion EXO R2000, a helmet that was great on this trip despite the fact that it’s supposed to be a “race” helmet. Like I’ve said with the other products I used on this trip, I’ll have a formal review later.
Bike-urious Alaska

And after just 30 miles or so, we cross back into Canada at this tiny border crossing.
Bike-urious Alaska

This of course meant we also got into Yukon Territory for the first time.
Bike-urious Alaska

Just looking at this photo again makes me shiver – it was so cold at this point because we were riding at high elevation.
Bike-urious Alaska

Got some gas, and decided this would be a good time to finally fill up my extra fuel bottles. Unlike my other gear, I won’t be doing a thorough review on this. Want a review? They’re green. They work. They weren’t big enough (but that’s my fault, not the bottle’s)! Done.
Bike-urious Alaska

Saw this sign warning us about bear country.
Bike-urious Alaska

And boy, was that sign right. In a 55 minute stretch, we saw: (warning, you’re about to get overloaded with bear pictures)

A brown and black bear together.
Bike-urious Alaska

We apparently managed to scare away the black bear, which looks absurd at this moment in its stride.
Bike-urious Alaska

So we went back to admiring the brown bear.
Bike-urious Alaska

Bike-urious Alaska

Just a few miles down the road, we saw this incredible brown bear.
Bike-urious Alaska

Bike-urious Alaska

Bike-urious Alaska

Bike-urious Alaska

It was at this point that I decided we should get out of the way…
Bike-urious Alaska

…but we had to come back and do one more viewing.
Bike-urious Alaska

Bike-urious Alaska

We also saw the rarest of all wildlife, a wild Bui!
Bike-urious Alaska

To be honest, my main purpose in this trip was to see bears. After this last hour, I probably could have gone home happy. Yet, the open road ahead was tough to pass up.
Bike-urious Alaska

At a gas station in Beaver Creek, the westernmost community in Canada. I didn’t know buttons like these were even an option on gas pumps.
Bike-urious Alaska

A sign on the gas station.
Bike-urious Alaska

Back on the road, I saw a Radio Shack that was actually…a shack. Not bad.
Bike-urious Alaska

And just like that, we were out of Canada again.
Bike-urious Alaska

It’s hard to describe, but there’s at least 5 miles of road between the US and Canadian border crossing stations. Bui and I spent nearly the whole time chatting about how it would work if you lived in the in-between area. Soon we were back in Alaska, but this time we’d actually get to enjoy the state for more than a few miles!
Bike-urious Alaska

Considering the ferry ride didn’t allow us to get on the road until about noon, I didn’t expect us to be able to make it all the way to Tok by the end of the day. Yet in Beaver Creek we found a payphone and called ahead to Vanessa at Thompson’s Eagle Claw, who was an absolute sweetheart. She threw a “reserved” sign on the ambulance for us (more on that in just a moment), and said she’d let us pay in the morning because we knew we wouldn’t get to her establishment until late at night. I cannot emphasize how fantastic Eagle Claw is. If you’re willing to camp, you must make this a stop on your way up north. Fast forward several miles and we had arrived, ready to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Bike-urious Alaska

When I said ambulance, I meant it. Eagle Claw offers some interesting camping areas, but by far the coolest is this Ford Econoline ambulance which has been converted to allow two people to sleep in the back. In very faint writing along the top orange pinstripe it says something like “The Only Ambulance Ride You Will Not Hurt In!”
Bike-urious Alaska

Bui got dinner started. Though this picture looks like I’m helping with food, my focus was actually on the much more important aspect – beer. It seems that the first bottle of Smoked Porter was not going to make it all the way back to Los Angeles.
Bike-urious Alaska

And if you were wondering – yes, you can go into the front of the ambulance. Most of the original equipment was still there, but there was no power.
Bike-urious Alaska

Bui set up his own tent right next door.
Bike-urious Alaska

And then it was time to call it a night. This when was I finally started to realize how bright the nights would be – I took this picture at about 11:30pm.
Bike-urious Alaska

Continue on to Day 11
June 14th, 2014 – Tok, AK to Anchorage, AK ~320 miles

Back to Day 9
June 12th, 2014 – Juneau, AK – 0 road miles

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