A Leatherneck and an Iron Butt (a Marine attempt at the Iron Butt Association 48 Plus/10 aka 49/10

#21
Homeward bound Day 1 (Friday June 22, 2018 Day 10)

With no set plan for the day I slept in until 0600. The condition of the coffee pot and the condiments almost drove me to pull my stove from my pack and make my own coffee – but since my stove was in my top-box outside – I made do with basically black water (which I hoped was from the old coffee grounds and not the old pipes). I pulled out my laptop (finally felt justified lugging the old heavy Dell all this time) to review my planned route and possible contingencies. The WiFi was incredibly slow. Reminded me of the 56K modem days where pages loaded one line at a time. I was able to take a shower before My Maps in Google loaded/displayed. Knowing my first goal was to see the Salmon Glacier – I tried pulling up details regarding the road leading out of Hyder opposite the way I entered. From previous research; I knew it should be a short ride of approximately 25 miles to the lookout.

While waiting for the pages to load; I went outside to give the bike a quick assessment. I noted my air pressure was a little low; but more disturbingly – the rear tire was wearing at a much faster rate than anticipated. Research on the experience of others as well as my own experience indicated I should get at least 12,000 miles out of the rear tire with plenty of safety margin. Unfortunately, while I have got more than 12,000 miles out of the rear before; it was never all on one single ride. What I failed to appreciate is the accelerated wear of continuous use for long hours each day on a fully loaded bike. Last year Shelly and I took a 6,000 mile trip on a new set of the same tires. Aside from the 30 hours and 1,500 miles rode during the rally – the rest of the days were shorter and at a much more leisurely pace. When we got back home – the rear tire looked practically new with minimal wear; however, after just over 8,000 miles this rear tire was showing significantly more wear and was a concern because my planned route back was nearly 4,000 miles home taking a bigger loop through Oregon, Idaho and Nevada.

A quick check of the computer and the page was still loading (seriously). I went back outside and pulled out my mini compressor to adjust tire pressure (I wouldn’t have done this had I a little more information on road conditions to the Salmon Glacier). I hooked up the compressor and pushed the start button – the motor barely kicked over before shutting down. I tried the other auxiliary power socket and same thing occurred. I must have been distracted by the computer or maybe the Wi-Fi was slowing my brain down because my assessment of the situation was an internal component of the compressor failed. It seemed a reasonable assumption. I chastised myself for not checking the compressor before leaving home. I made the common mistake of assuming since the compressor worked fine the last time I used it to fix a flat 2 years ago during a Bun Burner Gold ride – it must be okay. What didn’t click was the last time I used it I was riding a Kawasaki Concurs with a different type of auxiliary plug than what I wired on the BMW. I’m sure most of you already know what took a couple of days to occur to me.

I went ahead and repacked the compressor (I have no explanation why would I repack a piece of equipment that I thought was broke and take up valuable space and weight if not useful – other than I hate throwing anything away). I checked the computer again – page load error! About that time, Michelle stopped at my room since I had the door open and was back and forth to the bike. She inquired if I was staying another night since I had indicated I might stay 2 nights at check-in and would decide in the morning. While I was tempted to stay; (and it was clear the business was needed) the lack of Wi-Fi was a little frustrating. It was looking like I had two options for the ride home i.e. 1) take a more direct route thereby shaving about 1,500 miles off the ride; or 2) arranging for a rear tire replacement if I wanted to stick with the original planned route.

With no cell service or Wi-Fi; I concluded another night at the Sealaska would not be productive. I reluctantly let Michelle know I would not be staying and would be out of the room before check-out. I was actually a little sad about this because I don’t think it is even fair to say the business owners of Hyder are barely hanging on. Many have already closed and it appears the rest are not far from doing the same. I think this is a beautiful area to live; but with limited economic prospects currently. As a Libertarian, Hyder is Paradise with few taxes and a law enforcement presence about once or twice a year. There were a lot of motorcyclist coming and going; but it appeared nearly all were staying in motels in Stewart.

I could tell Michelle was disappointed I was not staying another night. I promised I would return and bring my Michelle (Shelly) with whom she had spoken with several times yesterday prior to my arrival. I asked about directions to the Salmon Glacier and she kept it fairly general by saying it was only 20-25 miles out of town – nothing about road conditions.

I packed up the bike and was moving shortly before 11am. I needed fuel which required a ride to Stewart and a border crossing. Fortunately the crossing was not busy. I pulled up and stopped where designated. A very nice Canadian Border Security Officer came out, looked at my passport and asked a few questions before waving me through. It only took a few minutes to fuel up in Stewart before crossing back in the U.S. ( I wonder if Trump knows we have a completely unguarded border up here – while a wall is definitely not necessary – some paved roads would be nice). I rode back through Hyder and waved to the same two guys sitting in the screened pavilion at Camp-Run-a-Muck as yesterday. The wilderness bordering both sides of the road was extraordinary. I knew from previous research the Salmon Glacier is actually in Canada so I had another border crossing at some point. What I was not aware was how quickly tarmac changed to gravel a few miles out of Hyder. I guess it actually was a good thing I did not add more air to my tires earlier as planned. In fact – if I had a working compressor; I would have stopped and let more air out.

The road started out fairly hard packed; but got progressively more rutted as I went along. My perspective of the road was from being on a fully loaded adventure category bike (700+lbs bike, gear and rider combined) with worn street tires. Several kilometers in I finally see a truck driving towards me in the opposite direction. I hold up my hand as we almost pass and the guy mistook my gesture as a wave; as he waved back and continued. However, when he saw me stop – he kindly reversed back to where I was waiting. He confirmed I was on the right road for the Salmon Glacier and indicated there were look-out opportunities at kilometer 24 and 36; and pointed out little orange signs high up on trees along the road which marked the kilometers.

Armed with the knowledge I was on the right road and how many kilometers I needed to travel – I confidently upshifted to third gear. It didn’t take long before I was back in second gear to pick my way through the ruts though. Standing was required to allow the bike to move without compounding from sitting. It seemed to take forever (which it does when traveling less than 20 mph); but I eventually made it to the first lookout providing a view of the Glacier tail. There were a few other people present that road up in trucks and dual purpose bikes. The view was spectacular and it was great to chat with other tourists for a little while. I delayed as long as I could before getting back on the bike and continuing up the road (seriously – did I actually think I could have tackled the CDT loaded like this?) another 5-6 kilometers and stopped when the fog which was increasing in thickness suddenly opened up and I had a clear view of the Glacier. I couple of other riders on a pair of KLR’s were coming down the road; stopped and said this was the best view point as further up was socked in with fog. One other vehicle with a nice couple from Germany stopped and we all were connected and captivated by the awesome beauty before us.

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(Above – Salmon Glacier)

It was nearing 1300 and I still did not have a solid plan for the rest of the day so I was the first of the group to start heading back down the road (plus I felt more comfortable knowing I had people behind me to assist if necessary than being the last). I had probably traveled less than 2 kilometers before rounding a corner and being confronted by a mother black bear and her two cubs less than 20 yards away in the middle of the road. Needless to say I was surprised and not nearly as prepared as I should have been. My bear spray was in my top box behind me versus the shoulder holster I intended to wear when riding through or camping in remote areas. If mom came at me; there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to get the big heavily loaded bike turned around so I sat there idling with a finger on the horn hoping if she came my way the horn might startle her enough to run away. It seemed like we watched each other for minutes; but I know it was probably less than 15 seconds (in that time the entire bear scene from The Revenant ran through my head) before she led her cubs off the road. I wasted little time getting moving and only stopped briefly at the next overlook to alert the tourist walking around.

I probably should clarify for anyone that has not rode to the Salmon Glacier – I had indicated the glacier was located in Canada and would require another border crossing which is true. However, the crossing in not monitored and considered an Honor System border crossing.

It is amazing how a little familiarity with a road can make the return so much easier. It felt like it took less than half the time to get back on tarmac. As I reached tarmac a family in a 30 foot RV was parked and looking at the road ahead. Now that I was the experienced adventurer; I felt it my duty to stop and see if I could be of assistance. The dad asked me if there was camping up ahead. I found this amusing since he was sitting in a 30ft luxury RV asking about camping. I told him I did not see any opportunities for camping in the 34 kilometers I rode and did not think it was a good idea with his low ground clearance and length to attempt the road as there were few areas big enough for him to turnaround.

My wife and daughter had requested I bring back souvenirs for them from my trip. Up to this point the only thing I had accumulated was a stack of receipts to send to the IBA certification team. While every IBA member appreciates a finely organized and complete dated business receipt; the same cannot be said for others. There are 2-3 business advertising souvenirs off of Main Street and a couple more indicating souvenirs available down a few different dirt roads. I stopped at the first and met Wes (the official or unofficial Mayor of Hyder?). We talked for several minutes about the local economy and he indicated he had absorbed the inventory of another recently closed souvenir shop and splitting proceeds. Even with the increased stock – the pickings were slim. I ended up with a handful of key chains and a few stickers. I stopped at two other shops in Hyder to spread a few dollars around; however, found the best deal on T-shirts in Stewart (3 for $15.00 Canadian).

It was now 1400 and I had to make a decision about what I would do the rest of the day. I wouldn’t have minded some time off the bike; but I also didn’t mind putting some miles behind me. The 900 miles I rode yesterday through BC took a lot of time so I thought the best strategy would be to try and break it up some and start heading back. I programmed a more direct path home in Gladys which would take me through a different border crossing in Washington and provide some other scenery than my planned route which would have had me retracing my steps all the way back to Oroville. I ditched the option of extending mileage and getting another rear tire. I figured the best option was to take the more direct route home which was still a little over 2,200 miles to ride.

I wasn’t sure how many hours or miles I had in me; but every mile rode today would be one less to ride tomorrow. I figured I might as well try for Prince George since it is approximately the half-way point back to the border.

I found myself stopping at a couple of the same places as the way up for more pictures. Those that have ridden up in the area know words alone cannot describe the beauty and feeling one has when standing before it. I know for certain this will not be my only trip to Alaska. By most standards – this would be described as a baby Alaska trip since there is so much more to see. To take a line from one of my favorite movies – Armageddon – Oscar: this is space! See this is just the beginning part of space, we haven’t’ even got to outer space yet! Now replay the same line and substitute Alaska for space and that is how I felt.


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I didn’t make it to Prince George. I knew it was a bit of a stretch with the already late start and it was now going on 9pm. I stopped for fuel at a station in Vanderhoof about 30 miles before Prince George. It was a very clean establishment which seemed to only employ young adults. They were all just as cute and polite as can be. The young man insisted I let him fill my tank (even in states like Oregon – I have always filled my own tank); and for some reason (maybe it was his politeness or my fatigue) I was comfortable letting him fill the tank to the neck as instructed while I went inside for a local accommodation recommendation. I was directed to a Country Inn only minutes from the station which was very clean and priced fairly. The only issue I had was a little miscommunication between me and the clerk. His English was better than my French; but we still misunderstood the words ground level. I wanted a room on ground level (aka first floor) to make it easier unloading/loading gear; but I ended up with a room below ground level. By the time I realized this when unloading my bike – it was not worth going back and trying to switch. I think the clerk thought he was doing me a favor because when I saw him outside a little later – he asked me if the room temperature was cool enough. Evidently my sweaty appearance prompted him to try and give me a cool room. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the ground level rooms to be cool because it only had emergency escape windows which were otherwise to remain closed. I ended up propping the door open to the hallway to cool the room while I ate. At least the wifi was strong and I was able to video chat with Shelly for a while and catch her up on the day. One quick note about food – I stopped at a Subway between the station and Inn; it was the first and only meal I bought for the entire trip. Local time 2300.

I stopped keeping track of all receipts for this portion of the trip

Miles: 380 plus the ride from Hyder to Salmon Glacier and back.

To be continued..
 
#22
Homeward Bound Day 2 (Saturday June 23, 2018 Day 11)

0600 I’m awake and feeling good. Great thing about my “ground level” room it was dark and quiet. Coffee packets in the room were fresh and made for a nice cup of coffee. I had everything organized the night before so I was loaded and rolling by 0700. Traffic was light and I was through Prince George soon after. Most of the ride today would still be a retrace of my northbound journey. I wouldn’t be on new roads until I was near Cache Creek and Boston Flats.

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(Above – had to stop for a group of Big Horn Sheep crossing the road)

I am really glad I took a different path because I was astounded by the beauty of the mountain ranges riding through. My only regret was not stopping at Hell's Gate to get a better view of the river flowing through the gorge – but I will be back.

The border crossing in Sumas, Washington was a bit busier than Osoyoos and Oroville with several lanes bumper to bumper. When it was my turn – the Officer waved me forward and I shut off the engine. He took my passport and walked around the bike. I was asked the standard questions and when I started explaining my trip – the Officer came out of the booth once again and stood closer to review the map I was holding. He told me he intended to Google the Iron Butt Association and long distance riding when he was off shift later because it sounded interesting and crazy at the same time. Who am I to argue with an armed man?

I really didn’t have a plan how far or where I would stop today. It was getting close to 1700; and I thought it would be best to at least put Seattle behind me which I’m glad I did. I have been to Seattle a couple of times; but I guess I never really appreciated the traffic. It was late Saturday afternoon; so I wasn’t expecting anything too crazy; but boy was I wrong. I know the traffic and driving habits in the northeast was challenging; but Seattle is close if not worse. Maybe it is all the coffee everyone drinks because it was frantic. I personally witnessed 5 automobile accidents ranging from minor fender benders, to complete spin-outs (actually looked more like one guy driving a Honda Civic performed a PIT maneuver on another guy driving a BMW 325I). I actually got to watch the BMW driver exit his vehicle and start beating the roof of his car he was so mad.

All of this madness only strengthened my resolve to put some miles between me and the Emerald City. By 2030 I was tired and decided to forego looking for a camping spot and took a room at a Super 8 in Lacey near Olympia. I unloaded my gear, took a shower; and went outside to heat some water for a Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles for dinner. While I did get a few strange glances sitting out front of the motel heating water – the few that come over for a closer look commented my meal was probably better than what they had at the family style restaurant next door – and certainly less expensive. Local time 2130.

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(Above – finally got around to cooking a hot meal for myself)

Miles: 675

To be continued..
 
#23
Homeward bound Day 3 (Sunday June 24, 2018 Day 12)

0500 – I’m awake with the goal to have the bike packed and gear on by 0600 so that I can take advantage of the breakfast in the lobby. Not sure why I really bothered as the “breakfast included” is almost always just carbs. I snagged a yogurt and a couple pieces of fruit for the road and was rolling by 0700 (a little later than planned due to a delay). The one thing interesting during breakfast was for some reason according to the front desk clerk (I spoke with later) – the owner prefers the lobby TV to be tuned to CNN and the TV in the lounge/breakfast area to be on Fox. Personally, I it does not matter to me and I tune it all out as just background. I generally listen to CNBC in the mornings when working out as it is my opinion if you want to know what is going on in the world – follow the money. All other “news” outlets are more a form of entertainment to a specific market segment. I’m not knocking any of the major news channels – I just have my preference as does everyone else. However, one of the other guests had a strong objection to Fox News and demanded the TV be turned off. The gentleman seemed more upset than necessary and I could see the front desk clerk was very uncomfortable when she entered the room and announced she was turning the TV off per request. There were at least 2-3 families maybe totaling around 10-12 people eating. A few were getting their food; but most were sitting, eating and at least looking at the TV. The clerk’s name was Amanda and I asked her to wait a moment as I went out in the hall to talk to the guest standing at the door demanding the TV be turned off. I opened the conversation calmly indicating I respected his opinion and I myself also try to avoid commentary designed to ignite fear or anger; however, it was not right he demand the TV be turned off without considering the other guests eating. I told him the options as I saw them were he could eat elsewhere or we could ask the room if there was a more neutral channel the majority would be okay with. I’m by no stretch a big guy or present an imposing physical deterrent. It probably didn’t hurt I was wearing all my gear except helmet and gloves and approached him calmly in the hall versus confronting him in the room – he agreed to my suggestion of asking the room for an alternative channel. I went back in where everyone was clearly aware of what was happening; and asked if the TV could be tuned to a more neutral channel like the Travel Channel, Food Network, or HGTV? Amanda said they had the Travel Channel available and everyone agreed. Amanda changed the channel and returned to the lobby. The other guest (George was his name) did enter the room. As I was getting ready to leave – another guest (older woman named Marion) came up and asked if she could give me a hug. Never one to turn down a good hug; I readily accepted. She asked me where I was going so I told her about my trip. Marion asked why I do it; and I told her it was a chance to get out of my daily routine, expand my circle and perspective. I shared with her the kindness and generosity of others I experienced all across the country. She began to get very emotional relating to me that the night before she and her daughter had stopped at a store for supplies as they were traveling back home to Everett, WA and a gentleman standing behind them in line without need paid for their groceries. It was a remarkable few minutes standing with Marion in the motel lobby feeling connected through the kindness of others. I gave Marion another quick hug and said goodbye. Amanda thanked me for my assistance as I passed the desk and exited the lobby.

I saw George outside smoking when I walked over to my bike. I gave him a wave; but did not get an acknowledgement (oh well – win some, lose some). I was getting a little later start than planned; but I finally was back on interstate 5 heading south. I didn’t have a set destination in mind; just figured I would stop when it felt right. The one thing I wanted to pick-up was a new mini compressor since I felt uncomfortable not having the ability to fix a flat and a rapidly wearing rear tire.

I wanted to get as many miles under my belt before stopping for a compressor while the temperature was cool and overcast. A check of weather last night showed a big high pressure system sitting over California with record high temperatures. It was around 1300 as I was entering Medford, OR and the temperature was registering 100*F when I stopped at a Walmart. I was able to get a small inexpensive compressor and quickly made the exchange on the bike while also filling up my camelbak with cold water. Another shopper stopped and asked if he could take a picture of my bike – he said it looked like how a bike should look – dirty.

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(Above – I think he was colder than I was on this early misty morning – Olympia, WA)

If anything, the time in Walmart made the outside feel even hotter. The one thing I looked forward is that it should be a little cooler as I gained elevation through Shasta City. I was right in part – it was cooler; but only by 1-2 degrees as the temperature never dropped below 102. The one thing I was thankful for was I was heading south; because the north bound lanes were at a complete standstill. I wasn’t sure of the issue; I think the majority was road construction and lane closures. The back-up went for miles and I found myself not only thankful once again I was not impacted; but felt really bad – especially for the few bikes I saw stopped in line. It looked like a group was riding together and since a few were on trikes – and could not filter/split; the group stayed together. If I could have spoken to them – I would have advised to turn around and try again later that night if they really needed to go this way because at that point they were several miles from whatever was causing the issue and I had not seen a vehicle hardly move at all.

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(Above – nothing like riding in triple digit temps with a view of Mt. Shasta’s snowcapped peak)

The heat was really fatiguing – by the time I was approaching Redding, I had concluded it was not wise to subject myself or the bike to the brutal heat much longer. I took an exit and stopped at the first spot along the road under a tree offering some shade I could find. Everything came off while I had some water and looked for a good deal on a room. I found a Travel Lodge 5 miles further down interstate 5 and reserved the room. It was now near 1700 and the temperature peaking around 117*F. When I got to the Travel Lodge I think I completely drained the dispenser of complimentary infused water in the lobby while signing in. Within 30 minutes the bike was unloaded, I was showered and starting to feel better. I wasn’t overly hungry; but tuna did not sound appealing. I had enjoyed my Mountain House meal last night and decided I would have it again. I hated going outside the air conditioned room even for the 5 minutes it took to boil the water – nobody around this time as the heat was just too intense. The air was fairly dense with smoke from a nearby wilderness fire; but at the moment it did not seem to be threatening any structures.

Checking the weather app confirmed the high pressure system was going to sit over California for the next several days and the record heat would continue. The thought of riding down the central valley on a Monday in record heat was not appealing. I figured since I stopped earlier than planned today – the best thing I could do was try and get some sleep and leave early in the morning to put as many miles behind me before the heat peaked. With a plan in place – I finished eating and settled down to read versus watch television. I talked briefly with Shelly and updated her on the plan. I was still not sure if I would make it home tomorrow or the next – but recommended she go ahead and start the spaghetti sauce in the crockpot tomorrow before she left for work. It is a tradition for me to request a spaghetti dinner at home after a long ride. I set the clock for 0230 – local time 2030.

Miles: 540

To be continued..
 
#24
Homeward bound Day 4 (Monday June 25, 2018 Day 13)

0100 – I’m awake – check the local temp and it is 75*F. Perfect riding weather and I’m ready to get home. Other than heat – the only other thing I have to consider is the behemoth of LA in which I can either ride through or bypass taking interstate 210 coming down the grapevine. A quick time and distance calculation and it appears I might hit morning commute. I figured if everything goes well and I stay on schedule – I can always take a longer break at the base of the grapevine and decide the final route depending on traffic and time.

With a plan in place I fill the camelbak with fresh ice and water; and I’m rolling out of the Travel Lodge by 0145. I was only wearing a set of light base layers under my gear because the local temp in Redding was 75. However, within 30 minutes and clearing out of town – the temp continued dropping. My set-up was comfortable at 70*F; but at 65*F it started getting uncomfortable. If dawn would have been closer – I would have just stuck it out; but since it was going on 0230 – I had to stop at a Rest Area and add an upper warm layer. The Rest Area was pretty full with travelers sleeping in their cars. I noticed a Goldwing parked with a small fold-out tent trailer attached. I have seen bikes pulling trailers of course; but I do not ever recall seeing the fold-out tent. I thought it was pretty cool and probably more comfortable than the typical Iron Butt Motel a table-top.

Now that I was warmer – I was able to sit back and really enjoy the ride. While there is obviously more risk involved riding at night – there is something soothing about riding through darkness in your own little bubble of light. The traffic through Sacramento and Stockton was light. I was making such good time I nearly pushed my fuel limit too far. As the sun was just starting to rise – I stopped in Los Banos for fuel and a cup of coffee.

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(Above – sunrise riding south through the California central valley)

It was clear from the miles I had already covered that I would be home today. Shelly had already called me having been up for a while and tracking my progress. She said she knew before going to bed that I would not sleep to 0230. I think she was only surprised I had not gotten up even earlier than 0100. I was still not sure about my route through or around LA. I decided to review again when I stopped at the base of the grapevine in Wheeler Ridge for a final fuel up before the last leg home.

Not surprising – as I was coming down the grapevine with LA sprawled out ahead; Gladys wanted me to take interstate 210 and Page said to stay on interstate 5. While the 210 offered the prospect of less traffic; it would also take me out through San Bernardino and Riverside where the temperature I was sure was probably already near 100. It was just after 10am and under 80*F on interstate 5; since Page has the advantage of real-time traffic routing – I followed her instructions over Gladys and stayed the course taking the most direct route through LA. It didn’t take too long before Gladys got on board and the two were in sync for the rest of the ride. Traffic was heavy; but it never fully stopped. While I couldn’t split easily – I was able to keep a steady pace going back-and-forth between lane 1 and 2 filtering my way through.


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(Above – Pacific Ocean)

The Pacific Ocean was a welcome site as I neared San Diego. I stopped at the Rest Area in San Clemente for a bio-break and a deep breath of ocean air. If felt so good to be back. I knew I was less than an hour from home; but had a craving that would require one more stop. For some reason – at some point on the ride today; I had become obsessed with having a Yoohoo chocolate drink when I got home. Unfortunately, my neighborhood market I stopped at was out so I settled for a bottle of TruMoo chocolate milk I happily drank after pulling in to the garage. Local time 1230pm.


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(Above – TruMoo in hand and happy to be home)

Miles: 650

Total Days on the road including staging ride – 13 days 3 hours

Total Miles – 11,031

Cost/experience – priceless

Semper Fi
 
#32
Post Ride Reflection:

First and foremost – I owe a great deal of thanks to my fellow Adventure Rider Inmates who graciously allowed me to stay with them across the continent. Using Tent Space by relative measure of time when planning this ride was last minute; and yet was singularly the most rewarding aspect of the trip. I am a better person for meeting Jim, Barbara, Pete, Lisa, Richard, Harriet, George, Marc, Marsha, Shawn, Cecilia, Nathan and Ben. The ride was a success the minute I reached out and they responded. And of course – no ride is possible without the unquestioning love and support from my lifetime pillion partner Shelly.

Completing this ride was one of the most satisfying experiences I have had on a motorcycle. I was asked several times during the ride by friends and family if I were having fun? I found the question hard to answer at the time because fun is relative to the situation. I was singularly focused on the task at hand and successfully finishing something I had been planning and training for nearly a year. The issue of course is not how the question was asked; but how I interpret the meaning and apply to the present situation. If used as a noun it means enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure; as an adjective – amusing, entertaining, or enjoyable; as a verb – to joke or tease. Had I been asked if I were enjoying myself I would have definitely said yes. Had I been asked if the ride was everything and more than I expected; I would have said yes; and if I were asked was it worth it – I most emphatically say yes. And now that the ride is over – I answer the fun question with a big smile and say it was the most fun on two wheels I have ever done.

What Went Well?

The Plan:

Every IBA member understands the concept - plan the ride, ride the plan. The reason it is often repeated is because it is a proven strategy. When introducing Lean and Six Sigma methodologies for a project I am assigned – the goal is ultimately to reduce variation in outcomes by creating standard work. A common misconception is standard work stifles innovation. On the contrary – when applied correctly; standard work drives innovation by solving problems. The same principles apply to planning a ride. A detailed plan does not take the fun or spontaneity out of a ride – it only helps it. While it is impossible to plan for every eventuality – a good plan allows for contingencies and serves as a baseline to gauge progress. Even though I averaged riding 18 hours a day and covering nearly a thousand miles – I never really felt rushed. I did not plan out fuel stop times like I would for other IBA rides. I allowed time at the pump to be dictated by the situation and how I was feeling which I think did much to relieve pressure.

Training:

It is no secret the majority of long distance riders’ are middle age. It was not a coincidence I did this ride on the same year I turned 50 (48 lower states + AK + BC=50). No matter our age or how far we plan to ride; some physical training on any level will pay dividends during the ride with quicker recovery and overall health.

Seeking Advice or Assistance:

I cannot stress how much reading the ride reports of others helped me prepare. I reached out to fellow IBA members who have completed this ride or in the process of themselves planning and had questions answered or shared strategy.

It’s Not Life and Death; but It Could Be:

Remember the number one rule is to return home safe. The best ride report I have ever read was Steve Bracken’s account of his experience in the 2017 Iron Butt Rally. While Steve was not able to finish the rally; he was every bit the winner because he placed a higher value on the number one rule than where he finished in the rally. For non-rally certified rides – it is even easier. These are self-declared starts and if something is not feeling right – pull the pin and try again another day.

What Could Have Gone Better?

Situational Assessment Skills:

My assessment of two issues could have been much better. First was the handlebar being out of alignment with the front tire. Not to rehash what I already shared; but a few more minutes of careful thought and evaluation would have saved me and especially Shelly from needless worry. Having someone designated to call ahead of time during the ride for mechanical issues or questions would probably have been better than shifting the responsibility and worry to Shelly. Second was my compressor. I was irritated with myself for not checking the compressor before leaving and automatically assumed the issue was the compressor. However, when I got home and around to washing the bike – I discovered what I said earlier probably most of you already knew from my account – I had blown the fuses on the auxiliary ports when I turned on the compressor. The obvious sign was the compressor kicked on initially when I tried the separate plugs and immediately shut off. I had forgotten to change the stock 7.5 amp inline fuses with 15 amp fuses (the wires are 14 gauge and can handle a 15 amp load) as I had on the Kawasaki. Since I was only using the auxiliary plugs for the compressor or heated gear (I brought a heated vest; but never used it) I never tried them after attempting to use the compressor. So I most likely (cannot confirm since I never checked before leaving on the trip) tossed away a perfectly good mini-compressor in Medford, OR and now have upgraded the fuses and included spares in my kit which I did not have with me at the time.

Verifying fuel stop hours and operations:

As I said during the report – I relied heavily on information from the internet. I know most riders call every station; but I’m not that concerned depending on location. If I’m traveling predominately along major highways/interstates; I know there are plenty of alternative fuel opportunities. If traveling in more remote areas – I do take the time to check operation/hours since options are likely limited.

Weather:

Despite planning for weather – I was not mentally ready for it on day one. Overall I encountered severe storms on 5 of the first 7 days. It took me a couple of days to get in the flow to where it no longer mattered; and at some points – especially riding through Missouri, I was glad for the rain as a respite from high temperatures. However, there were at least two occurrences where I probably should have waited out a storm cell with nearby lightning strikes versus pushing through.

I’m sure there is much more I’m leaving out; and would be glad to follow-up if anyone has a specific question. Otherwise I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this report.


Scott
 

Tele

Premier Member
#34
Absolutely blown away by all this Scott ... awesome in all respects, from the planning to the riding and then onto the reporting. WOW.
 
#36
Day 7 (Tuesday June 19, 2018)
0300- The alarm pulled me out of a deep sleep. The plan was if the rain was still coming down hard; I would delay departure until it was light out and visit with Marc and Marsha a little longer. A quick check outside and even though it was still wet all around – I was able to see a few stars. It only took a few minutes to pack the bike and I was slowly making my way down the gravel road by 0345. I wasn’t leaving empty handed though – in addition to a camelbak full with some of the best tasting well water I have ever had; I also had a pair of Marc’s bamboo socks he insisted I take for my travels. Marc and Marsha had also provided me with some directions in case Gladys and Page conspired to take me down more dirt roads than necessary.

Marc had warned me about the deer activity nearby which was spot on. I was barely out of the driveway before I came upon the first of what would be dozens of deer on the road I would avoid before daylight. Thankfully Gladys and Page kept me on paved roads and headed to Minnesota.

View attachment 2106
(Above – sunrise Iowa/Minnesota boarder)

My first fuel stop of the day was Hills, MN. I was a little worried about this stop since it is a small town with two stations that are open limited hours. Lucky for me the owner of the first station had just arrived and was in the process of opening as I pulled in at 0530. He did confirm the pumps are left on at night; but if anything prevented the receipt from printing – a rider could find themselves riding much farther for documentation. While fueling a Minnesota State Patrol vehicle pulled in and I had a good chat with the Officer and station owner explaining my ride. I had a feeling that neither one quite understood long distance motorcycling and just agreed I was a crazy Californian.

Shortly after leaving Hills – I found myself back on interstate 90 heading west through Sioux Falls and collecting my SD receipt. I didn’t mind being back on the interstate as I was expecting more rain and find interstates and major highways shed the water much better than most county roads. South Dakota was one of only four states my route would require multiple fuel stops (OK, NY, SD, MT). The chicken I had eaten the previous evening had held me over very well; but found I was getting a little hungry by 10am. My stop in Kadoka, SD enabled me to buy some fresh fruit and have a cup of coffee. I was sitting on a bench outside the store when I was approached apparently by the Mayor of Kadoka. We talked for a while about my ride and he remarked the time requirement doesn’t really afford the opportunity to see much. I find this a common misconception of non-long distance riders. As we say among ourselves; we see a lot – just faster than most. I told the Mayor it is less about time and more about situational awareness. I could see he didn’t understand my point so I shared an example. As he and I were talking; I had observed two cars pull in and park on opposite sides of the store. Each vehicle had 4 occupants who exited the vehicles and spread around the station (it was a fairly large convenience store/gas station able to accommodate big rig trucks etc.) outside and inside. It was clear they were all working together as they approached people entering/leaving the store and fueling up. The approach was well rehearsed as they would engage individuals in conversation inquiring about their travels, complimenting them on their car etc. before getting around to asking for cash. I pointed out to the Mayor what was going on; and the look on his face was priceless as he pulled out a phone and called local law enforcement. I finished my fruit, coffee and was on my way without knowing the outcome. What is interesting is at no time did any of the 8 people canvassing the area approach me. I guess the appearance of living off my bike was enough to convince them I was not worth the time or was more likely to ask for a handout from them.

The weather forecast was accurate (why is it rain forecast while traveling seems to always be more accurate than rain forecasted at home?) and I was back in the rain. It started off a little spotty; but increased steadily as I passed through Rapid City. My stop in Kadoka was longer than I planned; so I figured would make it up when I reached Beulah, WY. However, when I stopped for the WY receipt; I found myself in need of another cup of coffee. Despite the solid 4 hours of sleep I had the previous night; I found myself for the first time feeling some fatigue. Since I had not made any arrangements for tonight’s accommodation (I had a primary stealth camp spot only) – I allowed my body and mood to dictate the pace.

I had to backtrack from Beulah towards Spearfish to pick-up Hwy 85N towards North Dakota. The rain had really picked up and was accompanied by a strong South Dakota westerly wind. The only thing good about the strong constant wind was it kept spray from the cars ahead and those passing in the opposite direction from obscuring my vision. In fact – I cannot recall ever being in such heavy rain while my visor remained completely clear. Traffic was very light along this stretch of highway and despite the rain and wind; I found myself very much enjoying the ride and views.

It was mid-afternoon by the time I stopped in Bowman, ND. I wasn’t the only thing that had stopped – as it appeared I had left the rain and fatigue behind me (for at least a little while). I was feeling pretty good and was planning on only stopping long enough for fuel. A 2-up couple was at the pump next to me. They were taking a day ride with an overnight motel stay and inquired about my ride. I found I was questioned more and more at each stop. I’m sure it was the appearance of me and the bike looking more like we had been traveling months instead of only one week so far. As we were talking – a guy riding a cruiser circled the pump area. I barely registered him as the travel center was packed with bikes. I looked up from fueling just in time to watch him slowly drop the bike while circling left. The rider remained standing and was able to straddle the fallen bike. The couple next to me and a few other riders walked over and helped the guy pick-up his bike. Since I was still fueling; I didn’t want to put the pump down and it appeared there was enough help. I had finished fueling and documenting my stop by the time the couple returned to their bike. As we were talking – I noticed the same guy still sitting on his bike and idling in the spot he dropped it. I observed him let the clutch out and within 5 feet of rolling; just fall over to his left and lay on the ground. This time I was able to jog over and see what was going on. A few others came out of the store and helped me lift the bike. I introduced and identified myself as a registered nurse. I asked the guy his name (Shawn) and a few other basic assessment questions to rule out a medical issue. It was quickly apparent Shawn was just really intoxicated. We rolled his bike over near the store and helped Shawn to a bench. I gave him a bottle of water and sat with him. Shawn was a really nice guy; but adamant he could ride. Since he would not accept advice about staying off the bike and I could not let him leave and endanger others – I asked the store owner to call the police to see if the presence of a uniform could help make Shawn see reason.

A county Sheriff Deputy arrived within minutes. Between him and me; we were able to convince Shawn that a stay overnight in the motel across the street was preferable to overnight in the jail. I got Shawn across the street and to the motel office door before heading back to my bike.

View attachment 2107
(Above – Shawn’s bike after being picked up twice, Bowman, ND)

The big sky of Montana was filled with some big clouds coming my way with still 300 miles to go before stopping for the day. It looked like I had an opportunity to get past a large cell coming up from the south with a little luck and speed. My first official Montana stop in Forsyth was a quick gas and go. With only 150 miles to Columbus it was looking like I might make it before full dark. The rain once again returned; steady; but not heavy enough to require slowing. Apparently, I narrowly missed a severe hell storm as one half-mile stretch of the highway was covered with a thick blanket of white and the roadside looked like a snow-plow had come through because of the depth. I thought about slowing to take a picture; but figured it wiser to not tempt fate and keep moving.

I arrived in Columbus, MT and began looking for the little spot near the Yellowstone River I thought might be a good camp spot. The research proved to be good; and the spot would have been perfect in the dry. Unfortunately, a day of rain had turned the unpaved access road a muddy mess I was not willing to chance it. I had noted a baseball park near the exit I took and thought it worth a second look. It was still a little lighter out than I would have preferred for a camping spot in town. Only two other cars were in the lot when I parked. There was a beautiful rainbow over the town that begged to be photographed. I walked over to the nearby dugout and was happy to see it was well covered and had wooden walls. With a little maneuvering; I should be able to fit the bike inside. I took off my helmet and was already looking forward to making myself a hot meal. The rain had resumed and on my way back to my bike; a local law enforcement vehicle circled the lot and parked across the street where the two officers sat and watched me. There was plenty of signage warning against overnight parking so I knew the gig was up and I needed to move on.

View attachment 2108
(Above – beautiful rainbow Columbus, MT, hopeful camping spot in little league ball park, not to be)

If I were asked to identify my low point of the ride; I would say it was there in Columbus, MT. I was tired, wet; and looking forward to a warm meal and drying out. I called Shelly after getting my gear back on and stood next to my bike in the gavel parking lot with the law enforcement officers watching on. I was not in much of a hurry since I was not violating any regulations and whined a bit about the day and needing a place to stop. A Super 8 was right across the street; but it never entered my mind to get a room. Shelly let me whine about the rain and the police. The slightly crooked handlebars that I had become accustomed to over the last several days now seemed like a crucial issue which needed to be dealt with immediately. I needlessly had Shelly worrying about the stability of the bike and my safety continuing.

I did not have contingency stopping points for this leg. I have road through Montana and Wyoming enough to know it is not too challenging to find a spot to camp/sleep overnight. I figured the best and only thing to do was get moving in the direction I needed to go. The next scheduled stop was Big Timber where I had planned to fuel the next morning. It was only 40 miles up the road and seemed a likely spot to find somewhere to sleep. Now that it was completely dark and going on 9pm – I figured I could find a covered spot somewhere in town.

The Conoco gas station I had tagged on my route was open; but my priority was not fuel. What I was looking for was cover. There was a Country Skillet and small casino next to the station with a few other small stores behind. It looked a little busy with truck traffic; but I was drawn to a darkened area which appeared to be a gift store that was currently closed for the night. The front wraparound porch was wide with a ramp. I walked around the building and decided I could ride up the porch and park along the side of the building. I quickly moved the bike and positioned it where there would be enough room for me to sleep between it and the building wall. I used my warm and wind layers to cover the reflective bits of the bike – walked to the front of the building and determined I was enough out of the view of traffic that I should be okay.

View attachment 2109
(Above – plenty of sleeping space between bike and building, Big Timber, MT)

I called Shelly to let her know I was stopped for the night. I opted for a can of tuna instead of pulling out my stove and making something hot. I cleaned up the wood porch area a bit and rolled out my ground pad and sleeping bag. Another baby wipe bath and a change to wool long underwear had me feeling better than I had for hours. Ear plugs was required as not only was there the truck traffic from the nearby Conoco; but also trains along the tracks running parallel to the interstate. I set my alarm for 0330 and settled down to read for a little while before drifting off to sleep. Local time 2300.

Miles: 996 (States – MN, SD, WY, ND, MT)

Gas: $67.78

Provisions: $4.12 (Coffee X2, Banana X2)

Lodging: $0.00

To be continued..
I like the story of the drunk guy. You did the right thing. He probably was thankful in the morning.
 
#37
Day 9 (Friday June 22, 2018)
0230 – Wide awake before the alarm. No chance of going back to sleep – today is summit day (aka Hyder!). I go about getting ready as quickly and quietly as possible. Cecilia had mentioned having trouble sleeping through the night as she was adjusting back to the time difference after a recent trip to Portugal. I was determined not enter the house even though the slider had been left open for me and just brushed my teeth outside.

I was ready to go and pushed the bike to the street by 0300. Once again I was grateful for stock exhaust as would have hated disturbing the peaceful quietness of the neighborhood. The early morning traffic was very light which allowed me to really enjoy the ride around Vaseux, Skaha, and Okanagan Lakes. My son called me at one point during this stretch as he had not seen my tracking update since passing through Coulee, WA yesterday. Apparently I had reached my data roaming limit and my tracking would only update when I hit a regular Sprint coverage area or connected to a good Wi-Fi. While speaking of phones – Sprint is obviously not the most popular of carriers; especially for long distance riding. The coverage is good in most cities; but the lack of access to lower frequency spectrum that Verizon and AT&T dominate means carries such as Sprint and T-Mobile must make up for the lack of distance traveled by higher spectrum with coverage density. I was not aware of a data roaming limit; but in hindsight – I’m glad it kicks in before you end up with an astronomically high bill. Shelly contacted Sprint when my tracking stopped updating (something that was on my list of to-do’s before I left that I did not get to) about the issue and was also provided additional tips which she called me with for my phone settings regarding international roaming which further ensured no surprise billing (something I would have been aware had I contacted Sprint as I intended).

I decided to stop for fuel in the town of Merritt. I had read previous reports regarding fuel stops in Canada and felt well prepared. I had brought two micro-chipped bank cards with me to keep track of expenses. I notified the institutions (actually Shelly did; but I was in the same room) of the plan to travel so they would be aware of multiple uses and not flag for possible fraud. Citi was easy enough – they just needed the expected start and end dates for the trip (note – I had no issues with card refusals except if I stopped at consecutive Exxon stations which would require me to run the card inside versus at the pump. Apparently some chains have internal fraud prevention protocols above/outside the financial institutions). For use in Canada – the representative said the card would work fine; but there would be an international exchange fee for each transaction. The other card was Navy Federal; who wanted the precise itinerary i.e. what states would I be traveling through each day. Shelly patiently went through the entire plan, day-by-day. Apparently the representative took trips with her husband occasionally on a motorcycle which sparked several side-bar topics. I would estimate Shelly was on the phone with Navy Federal for nearly 30 minutes. However, the good thing that came out of all the chit chat was Navy Federal does not charge any international fees; so I used Citi for U.S. travel and Navy Fed for Canada.

The pumps are identical to what you are used to seeing in the U.S. the difference is you leave your card in and pre-select the amount you want to authorize, (you get charged for what you actually pump) extract your card when prompted, pump fuel and get receipt. My first 2 attempts failed because I took too long to decide an appropriate pre-authorization amount (at this point I wasn’t sure it was pre-authorization or a fixed amount). I went in the station and a very lovely attendant named Margaret came out to the pumps and walked me through the entire process. With a receipt in hand – I was feeling quite the world traveler.

Another rather embarrassing incident worth admitting occurred crossing the mountains near Glencore Brenda Mines. The increased elevation brought with it lower temperatures and my regular gloves were just not comfortable even with the grip heaters on. I took an exit to the right and stopped at the bottom to not only change gloves; but add a top warm layer under my jacket. When I got back on the bike I could not find the onramp. I looked where I would normally expect to see an onramp and only saw some construction equipment. I drove under the overpass to the other side thinking maybe it was over there – but only saw the southbound exit/onramp. Are you kidding me….I took a northbound exit with no northbound onramp? Nothing more for me to do but take the southbound onramp to the next exit 10 miles back where I could resume northbound. As I approached the exit I took earlier (the one without the northbound onramp) I slowed down and gave it a good look from the elevated advantage of the highway. I could see the exact spot where I stopped and added my warm layers; and the other thing I could clearly see was the northbound onramp was to the right of where I stopped and taking looping circle where it enters the northbound 97 only a few yards further up from the exit. I got a good laugh out of this since I was so focused where I normally would have been accustomed to seeing the onramp across from the exit; I never turned my head to the right – if I had; I would have seen it easily. Oh well – the extra 20 miles roundtrip was almost worth it as I was backtracking I was able to see my first moose (actually 3; but I believe the plural of moose is still moose?) next to the highway.

The ride up through British Columbia was beautiful; but I had certainly miscalculated time and did not account for not only the lower speed limits; but the mostly single lane undivided highways. There is signage indicating a major construction effort to expand to four lane divided highway most of the way to Prince George. Some of the areas are already multi-lane; but the majority is single. Passing is not much of an issue; but you always seem to catch a string of trucks in an uphill no-passing zone. Speaking of signage – you would think I could remember the exact wording on the construction announcement because it was basically the only thing I would see/read for miles on end. Apparently the Canadian government has wisely decided that highways should not be lined with all manner of advertisements. When you think about it in the U.S. (especially California where you now cannot even have your cell phone in your hand when driving) with all the concern around distracted driving and laws regarding using a cell phone – there are some highways littered with all manner of signs and advertisement every mile. You would think if looking at your phone has been determined to distract from driving; so would reading billboards along the road - although I did catch site of some Canadian ingenuity with signs nailed to trees slightly back from the road; but sill viewable.

Now that I was less than a day out from Hyder – I thought it best to start thinking about where I would stay when I arrived. Shelly called me with two options; 1) Sealaska Inn or 2) Camp-Run-a-Muck. Shelly had called both and spoke at length with the proprietors. Shelly voted for Sealaska; but at that time, I was leaning towards the camp ground so I took information for both. I seesawed back-and-forth with each mile. The clock would officially end with a receipt in Hyder and it looked like both options would require a lodging expense. The camp ground was about $25.00 less than the room; but the added cost of a room was probably worth it having access to a long shower versus the coin operated shower at the camp ground. Knowing I had two options – I filed it away. My only concern was both officially close at 9pm. Of course the camp ground would have a spot reserved for me as a late arrival and I would pay in the morning; but that meant no receipt today. Michelle the owner of the Sealaska Inn had said to call her when I arrived and she would rent me a room which was another positive being able to officially stop the clock. There was nothing to do but wait and call an audible once I arrived. The first priority was to get through the remaining miles.

I could have happily lived at any of the small towns I rode through; but the one town that caught my eye was Smithers. Nestled along the Bulkley River – it looked like a perfect place to live with amazing views of the snow topped Hudson Bay Mountain. Soon after I took the 37A at Meziadin Junction, Gladys started losing regular satellite signal because of the high mountains on both sides. Rather than showing expected time/mileage to final stop in Hyder – Gladys was only providing time/distance to next turn which fooled me a couple of times thinking I was closer than I was. Gladys also stopped converting KM speed limit to an equivalent mph which was not much of an issue as I kept my speed reasonable. I’m sure there are times when traffic is heavier; but I barely saw 10 cars for the longest stretch of time and it was eerie how isolated everything felt. The air was so clear the mountains seemed close enough to touch. I found myself not looking because it actually made me feel slightly dizzy. The one thing that jolts the senses is the pockets of cold air the wind picks-up flowing across the rivers. I didn’t stop; but I’m sure it would have been some of the coldest water I have ever encountered.

My last fuel stop was Houston, BC. There is another fuel opportunity at Meziadin Junction; but I had calculated I would have plenty. However, I did begin to keep a closer eye on my fuel as I was passing through Bear Glacier Provincial Park and it was apparent Gladys was not providing miles to final stop. Thoughts of running out of gas as the light was decreasing were not exactly appealing. I started regretting my decision not to bring the extra gallon of gas I had planned; but aborted at the last minute. I figured the nearly 8 gallon capacity of the GSA would be plenty; especially since I was not really going to the remote regions of AK.

While I was anxious to reach Hyder – the beauty surrounding demanded my attention. My reduced speed was just not dictated by concerns of fuel; but every turn revealed some other wonder I had to slow to appreciate.

View attachment 2116
(Above – Hwy 37A ice/snow chute near Strohn Lake and Bear Glacier Provincial Park, BC, Canada)

Entering Stewart I was overjoyed. Gladys seemed hopelessly confused pointing in a direction which appeared to dead end at a mountain. As I traveled through the center of Stewart I was able to see the road ran alongside the Portland Canal and did not dead end as I thought. I was ready for another border crossing; but soon saw there is no checkpoint leading in to Hyder; only if leaving Hyder for Stewart manned by Canadian Border Security. It was getting close to 9pm; but I had to stop for the required picture.

View attachment 2117
(Above – entering Hyder, AK)

I rode up and down the street looking for the Sealaska Inn and Campground. Everything was closed. I stopped and asked for directions from a family sitting out on their porch. Evidently – I just needed to ride a half mile further. I pulled in to Camp Run-a-Muck which is right off the main road (Premier Ave). I only saw maybe 3-4 other people camping (no tents) – the others look like they might be living there or at least staying for the summer? I stopped in front of the office and could see it was still open. Two gentlemen were sitting in a screened enclosure watching me with great interest (I guess I was the best or only form of entertainment on a Thursday evening). I walked in and met Doyle who greeted me by name. Evidently, Shelly had called several times to clarify details. One of the first things Doyle said to be was “boy, your wife sure loves you”. I told him it was mutual and she was just trying to help as much as possible. I looked around a bit, assessed the bug situation (did not appear too bad; but the two guys sitting in the screened enclosure had a large can of bug spray sitting next to them) and looked for the showers. I have to say at this point – it just did not look that appealing to me. I asked Doyle if he thought the Sealaska might have a room available. He dialed the number and handed me the phone. I spoke with Michelle and inquired about a room. She said to give her a call when I was near. I informed her I was just down the road and would be there in less than 5 minutes.

View attachment 2120
(Above – home-away-from-home, Sealaska Inn – Hyder, AK)

When I pulled up to the Sealaska Inn I could see my concern of room availability was not necessary. No wonder I didn’t notice it just off the main road when riding back and forth – the parking lot was completely empty. There was only one other paying guest and it looked like he was on foot. Michelle came out and unlocked the bar. Evidently, Thursday evenings are not booming. The bar is actually quite large. The first thing Michelle offered was a beer – at the mention of beer; the other paying guest appeared at the bar. Clearly – you take advantage of the bar unlocking whenever possible. He took two and I figured one would be enough for me. We would not be allowed to walk out of the bar with the beer so Michelle said she would have to drop off at our rooms. I got an upgraded room from the one Michelle had discussed with Shelly. Initially she was going to place me in what they call their sleeping rooms (room with a bed; but you shared the bathroom in the hallway). The room she placed me in she called their Biker room – not sure why; but it had a bathroom and you parked the bike in front only a couple feet from the door. By the looks of the carpet – maybe the room was called the Biker room because it appeared as if bikes might have been parked inside the room. The Sealaska is by no means a 4 star establishment. It might not even rate 2 stars; but at the end of a long ride – the Four Seasons would not have looked better. I was grateful for the room and the beer Michelle dropped off. I moved the bike in front of the iconic sign on the building to take a quick photo before settling down.

View attachment 2118
(Above – Pretty sure the map is not to scale – Sealaska Inn, Hyder, AK)
I had a receipt in hand from the room rental and officially stopped the clock completing the 49/10 in 8 days and 17 hours. Evidence of my excitement is apparent in the blurry photos of the receipt from my hand shaking. There is absolutely zero cell service in Hyder; However the Sealaska does have Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, according to Michelle – they were working on upgrading the Wi-Fi and it was causing intermittent issues with the current set-up. I was eventually able to video chat through Messenger with Shelly. I gave her a tour of the room and the amazing view of mountains from my doorway. Even though it was going on 11pm; there was still plenty of light outside.


View attachment 2119
(Above – view from room door of Sealaska Inn Hyder, AK local time 2130)

I was right regarding the beer – embarrassingly (for a guy who routinely prefers Stouts and double IPA) one can of Coors light produced a buzz. I splurged on my food eating two tuna packets after a shower and change. Initially my plan had me only staying overnight in Hyder; but Shelly wanted me to stay an extra day and recover. Either way – I had already planned to ride up to see the Salmon Glacier the next day and would decide in the morning if I would stay another night in Hyder or start making my way back towards home. I placed my Kindle next to the bed with intentions to read for a while; but found by the time I felt everything was organized – I was ready to sleep. Local time 0030.

Miles: 897 (States/Providences – BC-Canada, AK)

Gas: $85.03 Canadian

Provisions: $3.85 Canadian (Coke Zero and Water)

Lodging: $69.00 US (Sealaska Inn)

My budget for the IBA portion of the trip was $1,000 to show it is possible to do longer multi-day rides on a limited budget. With a little more discipline – I probably could have reduced what I spent on provisions, routed a little differently to decrease toll fees and stayed at the campground or someone’s porch to decrease lodging fees.

Total Certified Ride Portion (49/10)

Miles: 8,395 (States – All lower 48 + Alaska + 1 Canadian Providence)

Gas: $694.16

Provisions: $53.82

Tolls: $85.23

Lodging: $69.00

Grand Total: $902.21

This ends the IBA portion of the ride. I will recap the rest of the trip home in the next installment followed by a reflection of what went well and what I would do differently.

To be continued..
Scott, I enjoyed your write up to the extreme. I haven't ridden the IBA 48 or IBA 48+. I have ridden the 49 states plus 11 provinces on my Honda VTX 1300R. Most of the roads you were on brought back great memories of my rides. What I remember of the campground you made the right choice. I did not stay at Sealaska, too early in the day but I did meet Michelle in 2015. She was great to talk to.
 

Ninemmsig

Premier Member
#38
Awesome RR! Thanks for allowing me to enjoy your trip through your writing. My next ride attempt will either be BB Gold (Seattle-Billings Mt & back) or SS1000 all inside Washington. Hope I get the time to do one (or both) this riding season! Thanks again for the write up and lessons learned.

Jon
IBA 65165