Grizzly Bear

NWP/IDBDR Day #5

Miles Total: 698
Miles Today: 184

Our goal today was to get to Sandpoint and stay in a hotel room. This stretch should have quite a bit of pavement, so I didn’t set any kind of alarm, figuring I could sleep in. Well, I made until 6:30a.

We started off easy today with my dad leading. We wanted to let him get used to the bike without the steering stabilizer on it. The first bit of the ride was along pavement into the town of Metaline for some fuel.

After the fuel stop we had another short section of pavement before hitting dirt again. We saw some turkeys and deer along the road today – no pictures. We also crossed into Idaho, which was marked by a post next to the road.

We decided to take the easy bypass option as we neared Priest Lake. Well, the track that we were following did not match the road we were on. Fortunately, there weren’t really many choices for us to make…just stayed on the same road and it eventually connected with the main track. I’ll bug BestRest Products when I get home and see if they want my track for that section.

Rest break before the easy part.

DSC00628

All along this dirt section, there were these yellow bear identification signs. I guess there are enough grizzly bears around that this is an issue. Should make camping in my hammock more exciting going forward. Fortunately I got used to sleeping with the grizzlies on my Alaska trip. (Not…).

DSC00629

 

When we got to Priest Lake State Park, we decided to pay the day use fee and eat at the picnic area. We paid the fee at the entrance to the park, but when we got to the picnic area, it was closed! So, we went to an overflow parking lot and improvised a picnic spot.

DSC00633

While riding along today, we decided that we would take a rest day at a hotel tomorrow and watch the Seahawks game before starting the Idaho BDR. I tried to use Expedia at the state park, but had a poor connection. It was good enough for me to see that most of the hotels in Sandpoint were full.

I called my awesome wife and asked her to book a hotel for us with a good internet connection from home. She ended up getting us a room for two nights at a Casino in Bonners Ferry. I programmed the destination into my GPS and hit the go button. It ended up taking us down on some highways. When we arrived at the hotel and I checked our track, it turns out our planned route to the area cut the corner to Sandpoint, so if you are following along on spotwalla (http://tinyurl.com/zlmpeta), you will see the discrepancy.

As we were passing through Sandpoint, we stopped to pick up some tools so my dad could reinstall his steering stabilizer. And then it happened! As I was pulling out of my parking spot, the pavement jumped up and pulled my bike down to the ground…after 5 days of riding on dirt, I finally dropped my bike on a flat paved parking lot. I didn’t get any pictures, if you want to see one, you can check out my dad’s blog at https://charlessk.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/nwp-idbdr-2016-days-5-6/

The hotel room is nice, and should be a good place to rest up.

DSC00634

There is a restaurant here with a view of the river.

20160910_182312

I ordered the Prime Rib with a loaded baked potato.

20160910_185133

Got some apple pie for dessert.

20160910_191415

After dinner, we went back to the room and watched the WSU/Boise St game. The Cougs did not have a good start, but almost pulled it off in the end. Go Cougs!

Advertisements

Alaska Ride – June 24th – Day #30

One month on the road! I think the hardest part of this trip has been the length of time away from my family. I arranged for some roses to be sent to my wife tomorrow. Hopefully she likes them!

Today started out cloudy, but dry. We had a short ride from Haines Junction to Haines…only about 150 miles. Along the way we saw a grizzly bear running away from the road – really only just got a glimpse of him.

The weather changed and it dumped on us – the temperature stayed fairly warm though. You go over a small pass to get into Haines, and as we approached the top, the visibility dropped. We had to slow way down to travel safely, and hoped that those following us did the same.

We cleared customs with no issues, and cruised on into town. After a brief stop at the visitor center, we decided to hit The Rusty Compass for some lunchtime pizza and wifi. Then it was down to check into the RV park.

The park has a sheltered area for tents, although it is on a gravel bed. We set our tents and then hung out with “the guys” – campground host “Buffalo” and Clyde (a camper on a KLR). We had leftover pizza for dinner, and then it was off to bed.

DSC03612

Alaska Ride – June 23rd – Day #29

Where did the good weather go? It was raining when I woke up this morning, so I decided to stay in my nice warm sleeping bag while waiting for it to stop. After about an hour, it finally let up and I went outside to break camp.

Today’s ride is entirely on the Alaska Highway and we’ve done the entire section before, so what new things could I possibly blog about? Fortunately, I’m riding with my dad and he always will provide something entertaining…

We arrive at customs and get in a fairly short line of vehicles waiting to pass inspection. We sit there and sit there and sit there. Apparently they are doing a full body cavity search on the guy at the front of the line (actually when we made it to the front they were unloading a car). After waiting for about 15 minutes, the old man just decides to “gently lay” his bike down on the road. Don’t know why he didn’t have the sidestand down. Fortunately there were plenty of people to watch him, laugh at him, and then help him lift the bike up. Eventually the line started moving and we didn’t have any more incidents before clearing customs.

We stopped at Beaver Creek for fuel and lunch. Can’t remember the name of the lunch place, but there was one guy working there that took your order and cooked your food and everything. Fortunately we were the only customers there, otherwise we’d probably still be waiting for our food.

As the day went on, the weather improved… IMG_0521

Now that it was sunny, the wind started to blow – HARD. We slowed way down to minimize the amount we were pushed around. As we neared Kluane Lake, the wind slowly started to die down. We pulled over at a rest area to figure out our options for the night.

IMG_0522

There is a campground near the “middle” of Kluane Lake (not in the water, next to the road!). We make the decision to camp there for the night, it isn’t too far away and puts us within striking distance of Haines the next day. As we continue down the road, there is a van pulled over – he’s watching a grizzly bear. Kinda cool – unless you are about to camp in the area. Now, we keep on going and there is bear scat all over the side of the road. We come upon two more cars pulled over…they are watching a grizzly sitting and eating flowers right next to the road. Now we are really worried! We pull into the campground and there are signs all over “No Tent Camping, Bears in Area”. There is an RV park a couple of miles down the road, but that isn’t enough distance between my tent and the bears. We decide to go to Haines Junction and get a hotel room.

We get to Haines Junction, get some fuel, and then go to the nicest hotel in town. They are sold out. We go to the next hotel. Sold Out. There is some kind of conference going on and no rooms available in town. We end up staying at an RV park near the actual “Junction”, and it had a very nice tenting area. It is like camping in an actual campground and not a gravel parking lot.

DSC03607

Tomorrow down to Haines, then we kill a day before jumping on the ferry.

Alaska Ride – June 16th – Day #22

We get to ride through the park today! We left about 8:15a to catch our 9a shuttle. We stopped at the store on the way to pick up snacks and drinks since none were provided on our bus. We had opted for the least expensive option – the bus is supposed to shuttle you to various locations in the park, and will stop for wildlife. Well, our driver Craig, was awesome. He narrated the entire ride. I would highly recommend his bus.

This is the only portion of the trip that I wish I had my Canon camera. The 100-400 lens would have been awesome for many of the shots, but as you’ll see, it may not have been wide enough for some of the closer animals.

Taking pictures from the bus was a bit of a challenge. Half the time, the animals were not on your side of the bus, so you are leaning around people and trying not to get any of the window frame in the picture. The windows weren’t exactly clean, so I had to switch to manual focus quite a bit or the camera would focus on the dirty window.. On many of the occasions that the window was clean, there would be reflections on the glass that would show up in the picture. All that being said, it was still and awesome trip and I got a few good pictures.

The first hour or so of the tour was through some fairly thick forest, and we didn’t see any wildlife. At this point, we stopped at a rest area for a bathroom break and I got a picture of our bus.DSC03342-2

Shortly after our rest break, we went past a bunch of Dall Sheep in the hills. All the little white spots on the hill are sheep. I zoomed in on them on the computer and they aren’t that clear.

DSC03345

Our first grizzly! A mom with two cubs. They were pretty far away, this picture is at 200mm and cropped. We figured that this was about as close as we’d get to a bear on the trip…boy were we wrong.

DSC03362

The views from the road were absolutely spectacular for most of the day. Unfortunately Mount McKinley was obscured by clouds most of the day, we only got to see the north peak. The park service claims that only 30% of visitors actually get to see the mountain.

DSC03395

Approaching the next rest area, there was a griz right next to the road. I couldn’t get him to look over at me, so the shots aren’t as good as they could be.

DSC03431

He got so close that I didn’t have to have my lens zoomed all the way.

DSC03435

We also saw quite a few caribou.

DSC03450

Right before our turnaround point at the next visitor center, another Grizzly was right next to the road. This one was a little more camera friendly. There are several shots in this group that I may consider printing and hanging on the wall at home.

DSC03460

Our turnaround point. This is the view of Mount McKinley while we were there.

IMG_0485

On the way back there were some Caribou cooling down on some snow.

DSC03469

Passed another Grizzly with a couple of cubs.

DSC03485

Got a little closer to some Dall Sheep – this is a crop of a bigger picture.

DSC03512

Almost all the way done and we finally saw a moose. I didn’t get any good poses from it.

DSC03544

Overall, Denali is a very cool park. I would definitely recommend a visit on an Alaska adventure.