Thursday, 31 May 2012

Trip To Valdez - King Mountain Camp
Greetings, we have been away from wifi etc for a week and half ish so have not been able to get back to here prior, hopefully the following will enlighten you to the hard work and torment we have had to go thru JUST so we can come back and tell you

Friday 25th May

We were originally planning to go to Prudhue Bay with Amy and Jack however with the bike 600 mile service needing to be done, my bike still not running right and no big tank there was too much hanging in the air to confirm. (Anyway, it turned out the weather was too bad and Amy had to turn around, no go)

So in the events that followed, my Safari tank arrived, our bikes were serviced however my bike was still not running right, after a scrap with Suzuki and some stern words from Barb into appropriate ears they “found” some time to take serious look at it to sort it out and that was Thursday night then Friday morning, I am pleased to say my bike now runs like Ellens does and finally acts (almost) like it should.
Our weekend route
Map is a little bit small, Ellen is still working on it. A - Anchorage, B - King Mountain Camping ground, C - Valdez, D - McCarthy. You got the idea.

With not being able to go to Prudhoe we took off to Valdez on Friday avo to camp at King Mountain reserve, great place and great scenery, Dicon and Leslie left after work and soon caught us up at camp.

Ellens new PINK Chair arrived so that seemed to be the camp fire fun for the evening ... weird people.

Leslie had a go...

Dicon sorta had a go...

Then the camera had a go

We were also generously donated 4 Goose eggs to have for breaky as a New Zealanders welcoming present by Nancy the camp host...too cool.

Great night really without TV .... Food, wine, fire, photos, sleep.

King Mountain Camp To Valdez
Saturday 26th May

Saturday morning dawned gray, we packed up almost dry and continued on our way toward Valdez .... mum nature decided we all needed a shower .... boy did it rain and it dropped to 32 f or ZERO in the metric world, at that time I thought we had better take off our shorts and carry on in our riding trousers.

On the way Kiwi decided it was too fookin cold behind the screen and jumped off, dumb idea at 70 miles an hour, I turned round went back and picked him up, he was breathing but was hyperthermic, things were serious

So a stop at Glennallen for bike and human fuel, hot coffee and food ... life saver... and time for Kiwi to dry out ... see the stain he left on the seat

We also turned off to Copper Centre to the newly burnt down building, that was not a good thing to see and sad for the owners who ARE rebuilding.

As we headed to Valdez the weather came and went, this time with mum nature offering views of snowy mountains and beautiful glaciers, it was still fookin cold but looking out the window made it very worth while Thompsons pass being quite spectacular.

Upon arriving at Valdez we were greeted by heavy rain and just above freezing so the weather had improved quite a bit, we faffed around looking at a camp site at which the cost seemed more comparable to purchasing the site rather than just staying there the night so we went outa town to the Airport camp ground.

We got to the camp, it was a matter of finding a site with the LEAST amount of snow on it, we won. We set up and leslie organized snacks fit for a King so snacks, food, wine fire etc, great night.


Valdez To Kennicott
Sunday 27th May

Sunday morning Ellen went for a run and was confronted by a brown bear, she stood still, the bear eyed her up and down for about 20 seconds and musta decided he didn’t wonna eat Chinese for breakfast and took off into the bushes, I am grateful for that as I don’t know how to change our ride report to “One Moto Kiwi”

The day started as a gray day (surprise) and was not wet then turned to shit BIG time as we were packing up so everything got wet (again), we shot back to town to tank up and go to a shop which was closed so we left Valdez, a little disappointing we could see Valdez in all her glory because of the weather but that is the way the cookie crumbles.

The assault on Thompsons pass turned out to be an assault on us, as we climbed to the summit the rain turned to snow (again) ... this is now becoming the norm for us so we stopped to take photos, saweeet .. met another BMW rider at the summit with an unhappy wife as she did not see the funny side of the snow or freezing temperatures, just as well we were not wearing our shorts or she mighta thought we were weird.

So what is a man to do but indulge in the locale

So from here the weather started to turn in our favour and we found the roads drying and the cloud lifting enough to expose some of Alaskas beautiful mountain sides so we were lucky, we arrived at destination Pippin Lake where Dicon and Leslie carried on back to Anchorage and Ellen and I were heading to Kennicott Copper mine.

We continued to Chitina for a bite of lunch and tank up then carried on to McCarthy on 60 miles of shingle roads with more potholes and corrugations than you can poke a stick at.

We arrived safe and sound and set up camp dry WOHHOH, we some dinner we went into McCarthy township ... this place is a step back in time.

This outstanding property took our interest as it is for sale


Kennicott Mine
Monday 28th May

Dawned a fine day, couldn’t believe it, the weather Gods had finally taken pity on us and gave us a break and the bears had not flogged our fud

We packed up camp and rode into Kennicott Copper mine, WOW what a place and the history behind it is amazing, we took heaps of pics and sifted around, we met up with Klaus again, a German adventure biker living in Australia and touring for a month in Alaska, hard case and nice guy so that is three of us I know of now.

After we finished at the mine we piled back onto our trusty steads and rode out, Ellen made it in and out of Kennicott without biffing her bike once, I think she will be ready for world moto x champs next week.

We also stopped at the famous Kuskalana Bridge .. it is slightly high!

Then .. .she left me!!! 

On stopping at the Salmon wheels on the Copper river I had to execute our first field repair, I noticed the tank was wobbling and the left hand bolt had vibrated almost out, so I RTVed the bolt and screwed it back in ... sweetas.

We ran outa cash and only had a 5er left so it was time to find a dutchie camp which we did, well the camp turned out to be the best site we have had thus far and it was gratis. We met a dude from Anchorage on a CT 90 who was looking around so we ended up camping together and borrowing his fire as we had an epic fail on our Coleman cooker which we have to fix.

This is his trusty steed a less than 1000 mile old CT90, what a weapon, I suggested he keep it under the covers so the Russians don't see it


Chitina To Anchorage
Tuesday 29th May

We woke to a nice warm morning, Ellens good weather mojo had kicked in and life was good, we packed up and proceeded to head back to Anchorage to what was an uneventful trip with a combo of sun and a few clouds a bit windy in a few places but nothing team TMK couldn’t handle.

Liberty Falls on the way out to the main road ... vary noice

Check it out what a day  

Some mirror art

And that concludes the Anchorage to Valdez and back again trip, there will be no more reports until the next one.8-D

Monday, 21 May 2012

Charles and His Food Pantry

Andi met Charlie on the ADV forum. When we got to Anchorage, we realize he is a friend of Barb and Amy - and other ADV riders. What a surprise.

We arrived Charles' house in Homer in the brilliant sunshine, a moose was grazing in front of the front yard, with the snow mountain and ocean in the full view of the lounge, it felt just like at home in Wanaka - except the moose.

Charlie took us down to the Homer spit and showed us around. Most importantly, he told us about his passion - the city food pantry.

                                                  with Charlie at food pantry

The food pantry is similar to the food bank in NZ. They collect donations of food and distribute to the people who have the need. There are a few volunteers working at the food pantry. Charlie picks up food from local grocery shop most days and is also on call 24 -7. They have a system, people who registered in the system pick up their food parsel every Monday afternoon. So on Monday morning, we joined Charlie and his mates sorting out all the food.

There are donuts, muffins, cakes, tin food and also lots of fruit and veges. Although the fruit and veges are not in their best condition - that's why they are donated but they are still very good. In NZ, that would be thrown out but the people in Homer sorted them out, then give to the people in need.

While we were taking the rotting part of the veges out, a lady told me to put them in a seperate box, because "people will pick it up for animals, nothing is going to waste from here." I was wonder how does that work because the US for me is a country people suing for anything and everything. Charlie said they do have permission from govt to do so. What a great thing to do for the community.  I think if our NZ could do the same, first will help lots of people, second will reduce lots of waste.

"Is there any who people abuse this system?" "Of course there is." Charlie said. The food pantry also has limited finance to support people. Charlie went and met a woman while we stayed with him, he came back not very happy. I asked how was the woman, Charlie said:"I told her not to come back to us." The woman who claimed was abused by her partner was driving a brand new rental car, but no money for fuel. Charlie went and paid for the fuel, she also wanted the receipt. Charlie said no and told her to change an affordable car as well.

Most people come to food pantry are genuinly in need of help. Charlie has been working for the food pantry for 3 years, and seeing the number of people coming to the panty is growing - this is his main concern. He believes America is in a bad shape.

Charlie also told us his romance with a Chinese lady he met on the Internet. He even sold all his belongings and moved to China to be with her. Unfortunately the hot weather there and cultural difference curtailed the romance. Charlie had to return to Alaska after a few months in China. Although he didn't make his life in China, they still remain very good friends. I even talked to the lady on Skype in Chinese - Charlie asked me to tell her in Chinese that riding motorcycle is not dangerous!

Andi spent couple of days help Charlie to fix his Honda 1979 Gold Wings so he can go riding with us on Sunday - actually the ride was on Saturday, Charlie messed up the day which he was most embarrassed.

Our stay in Homer had a shorter ending due to leaving on the Saturday rather than the Sunday but we don't mind at all as we met a few more riders and enjoyed the trip to Hope Cafe with them. We were so lucky to be able to stay with Charlie and get to know him and his passion. He made us feel at Home(r) as our own home. We can not thank him enough. All the best for Charlie, we wish you find a good company to share your love and passion.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Western Most Point USA

Greetings all, well today (Tuesday 15th May) was very cool, beautiful day to play with greeted us through the curtains, we are lucky enough to be staying with Charlie at his home in Homer so 5 star.
We set off for a ride to Anchor Point the Western most point you can drive to, we were greeted with breathtaking views and a nice still day.

A total thrashing with the camera and poses galore we recorded our stop at Anchor Point, from there we went up to Nickolaevsk a Russian settlement with a beautiful church.

We headed back to Homer again to record our “been there done that and got the T shirt” in front of the Homer sign .... as ya do!!

Back for a quick lunch then off to See Dean at Full Power then out to Voznesenka however Ellen decided it was time to lay Chiwi down for a rest .. but she did this at a busy intersection much to the interest of other traffic., kids do not try this at home!!!
I went back to rescue the stricken maiden and her lovely stead, my “kiwi made” crash boards have paid their way and the Barkbuster storms have probably saved us a hundy on levers already!
Only two minutes later .... take two, we pull up to Deans shop and bang down she goes again from car park on an angle and some bad estimating, this time Dean had the honours of righting Chiwi back to rubber side down.  
After recomposing our fair maiden again and standing round in the sun having a chat we set off to Barb and Victors cabin then headed out to Voznesenka, at the end of the road is a groovy track down to the sea.

With Charlie on his Wing and Ellen learning her skills the hard way I was the only one to go down, it was worth it and pretty easy but it woulda been a little more than Ellen’s current skill level.  

After looking around we headed back for home where Ellen redeemed herself with a great feed of tempurad Hallibut.