Americas Ride 2006

Northern Portion

I have been planning this ride for the last two years. It's hard to plan something so far in-advance because it never seems real. It is now becoming real. I'm leaving Prosper on June 23rd, Friday at 5 pm to head north. The Americas Ride is an Iron Butt ride that starts in Prudhoe Bay, AK and goes to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina which is at the bottom of South America. I'm going to do the northern portion now, then come back home and leave later in the year for the southern portion. Money is always a big factor and this will help me break-up the expense. It will also be more ideal from a weather standpoint.

I will try to keep you posted on this site as my travels allow. I'll just use an internet computer along the way as I can find one. We'll see how it goes.

I have a satellite antenna on my bike and you can follow my travels by logging on to: www.star-traxx.com
Logon:
Name: griffin
Pass: griffin

Download 2610 file to Prudhoe
Download 2610 file from Prudhoe
Download Streets and Trips 2004 file for round trip
Click here to go to my pictures page. I will update along the way

June 23, 2006
Here I sit, at the office, ready to go. I look to the west and see some dark clouds. Some folks would say that somebody is trying to tell me something, and I would agree. However, we'd probably disagree on what it's telling me. I see it as an opportunity to find a silver lining on the other side. I'll be looking for that silver lining this afternoon.
My friend, John Hargis from Gun Barrel City, TX, will be going with me. We plan on leaving this afternoon on the journey. John rode to Prudhoe with me in 2004 so we're not approaching this totally unprepared. However, every trip is an adventure.

Ready for my journey
John and I are in Newton, KS, our first stop for the night. Great accomodations.
June 24, 2006
Ok, we just completed our second and our first full day. I started out real nice with the temps in the 60's however we soon ran into some rain with high winds. The rains were brief but the wind continued. It made it hard to enjoy the scenery and there was plenty of it. I certainly enjoyed the trail. We spent last night in Newton, KS and now we're in Sturgis to stay for the night. My room cost $40 tonight, but during Rally week it is $235. I'll have to work on the pictures later because I'm borrowing a computer in Sturgis with no time to waste. I'll check back soon..

I'm supervising John cleaning the chain. Be glad you don't have one of those.
 
June 25, 2006
What a difference a day makes. The temps started in the 40's and went to the 80's. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and absolutely no winds. Today was a wonderful day to be riding. It is great to be 16. I felt great all day. These extra probiotics, folic acid and B-12 vitamins have me feeling good. My equipment is doing great too. My BMW has started every time, my gps hasn't missed a turn, and my nano hasn't missed a beat. I may be able to walk on water by the time I get to Prudhoe. The wildflowers across Montana and Alberta have me aroused with scent good enough to make a return trip some day. I'm in Lethbridge, Alberta for the night.


Billings, MT
The countryside north of Billings
John, north of Billings
Wind generators
More Countryside
 
   
June 26, 2006
Today didn't go as well. The ride from Lethbridge to Fort St. John is not a very nice ride, but we knew that. However, I didn't know it would be as bad as it was. The traffic was much worse than expected in and around Calgary. Once we got to 22 going north, things didn't improve much. Still too much traffic including lots of trucks. Once we turned left on 43 it only let up during the four-lane areas and it was brief. We met two guys from Illinois in Whitecourt. They're going to Prudhoe also. In fact, I took their pictures going down the road. Once we got to Dawson Creek, John decided the temps were too hot (in the 90's) to continue to Fort St. John. He decided to take a break at Dawson Creek. If anyone talks to John, tell him I'll be coming back through Prince George in a few days and we can ride south together.


Dawson Creek, this is the beginning of the Alaska highway
John Hargis easing down 43
John riding down the road
FJR pilot (Brian) we met in Whitecourt
John riding by some Mustard Seed or Canola
Photo taken by Brian from IL (we met in Whitecourt)
   
June 27, 2006
Today was a long day too. It started early so I could get across that mundane 225 miles between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson. There is absolutely nothing across there. Once past there, I can start seeing the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies are very nice, but I had off-and-on rain showers all the way through. The temps today ranged from the mid 40's to the mid 50's. I couldn't make very good time because the pavement was wet most of the time. I attached some pictures to share with you some of my sights. I saw bear, buffalo, deer, fox, sheep, moose, etc, etc. There were quite a few animals out today. I'm in Whitehorse staying the night. I'll make an early morning departure. I hear there's quite a bit of gravel between here and Tok. We'll see.


I'm in front of the famous "Sign Post Forrest" of Watson Lake, Canada
Another view, notice the sign from Quitman, TX
The bridge at Teslin, Canada
The view was never too bad.
Crossing through the Rockies in Northern Canada
A typical bridge crossing that had metal grates. Causes the motorcycle to fishtail.
More Rockies, and an occasional RV
Along the Rockies
Moose Crossing
Mountain Sheep
Liard Hot Springs for Lunch
Buffalo along the roadside by Muncho Lake, Canada
   
June 28, 2006
Last night I received news that another one of my cousins passed, Mike Griffin. Mike was a great guy and a pillar in the Frisco and Denton County communites. He will be missed greatly. I encourage each one of you to seek health. If you won't do it for yourself, then do it for your family. Life is precious. I will begin my departure in the rain this morning, however I'll find that silver lining even if I have to go as far as Fairbanks.



 
Raining at 4:30 am in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
 

June 29, 2006

I've decided not to continue north. The fun has run out of this deal. I'm going to take a slow trip home. Should have more pictures and info later.

I couldn't get computer access in Fairbanks, so I got Joy to post my news about not going north. I'm now at a Truck Stop at the Alaska/Canada line. I couldn't get access in Fairbanks, but yet, I could in the middle of nowhere? Anyway, I had a miserable day yesterday. My day started out at 34 degrees by the time I got to Haines Junction, plus it was raining. This got multiplied by gravel sections of construction. I've ridden several enduros, motocross and cross country races. I've also been the pit guy for Tate's Motocross racing for several years. I was reminded yesterday of how sick I am of sand, grime, and mud. It wasn't fun. By the time I got to Alaska the roads got better and the weather was much better. I didn't take any pictures yesterday, because it was so miserable. By the time I got to Tok, I was having fun again. This is the riding I really like. I love traveling. I love passing through small rural towns and countrysides. I love seeing the different animals across varying landscapes. When I saw the weather prediction for things up north of Fairbanks, I agreed with John Hargis. it's not fun any more. However, I've turned around and headed south. I have a reservation on the Ferry from Haines to Prince Rupert. I'm having fun again. I've got about 100 miles of bad road ahead of me, but it doesn't seem to be raining. It shouldn'e be any problem. I'm loving the bike, and I wouldn't want to scratch it. This thing is more fun than a barrel of monkeys!.


Here's the road that I "didn't" go down
We met this guy in Whitecourt and he gave me these pictures of the Haul Road to Prudhoe.
This Suzuki made the trip, but it required some duct tape like many do.
Brian is on the haul road
Here at a Cheap Motel in Fairbanks, No air conditioning here, notice the fan in the window.
This is at the North Pole, AK
Many rivers in Alaska
Constant scenery
Between Tok and Fairbanks
Another river to handle the run-off from the snow
More river
You wouldn't think this road is dusty, but yet? You can definitely catch a rock on the fly.
One of many bridges
Moose on the loose
Another river along the road
A truck stop at the Canada/Alaska border
Construction at the Alaska/Canada Border
A normal scene and not too bad when it's dry.
The water truck was kind enough to leave me a dry spot in the middle. That was not the case a day earlier when it was raining.
A wild horse in the middle of the Yukon Territory.
This gentleman lives in Fairbanks and has been on a two-month tour throughout the U.S.
His dog was on tour too.
The top of the mountain just before arriving in Haines
More construction on the way to Haines.
   
   
June 30, 2006
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday's ride was wonderful back down the same road that I had been on the previous day during the bad weather. The ride from Haines Junction to Haines is a great ride across varying landscapes and mountain ranges. Today, I have spent my day lounging around Haines, and it's been a great place to do it. My pictures will reflect the neighborhood.

My view from my cheap motel
Same view without a flash
Downtown Haines, AK
Another view of downtown Haines, AK
This bar was established back in the late 1800's
The cafe next to the bar

There's an eagle up in that tree.

A very calm lake near Haines, AK
 
Fishing for Salmon near Haines, AK
 
   

July 1, 2006

Today I am on my 40 hour trip to Prince Rupert by ferry. Plenty of pictures to come as soon as I can get to a computer that will cooperate.

This guy had a little crash up on the Alcan hwy
Side opening on another typical ferry
A view out of the gallery window on the ferry
On the top deck of the Ferry (someone's tent)
My cabin for one night of the ferry
The other side of my cabin
Inside the Gallery deck on the ferry
A bus loading onto the ferry
Another view through the gallery window.
In the bottom of the ferry
   
   
   

July 2, 2006

Still on the ferry. Got held up 3 extra hours in Ketchikan. Another ferry broke down and we had to take on some addtional passengers. I will be late getting to Prince Rupert. After that, I'll be in hot pursuit of Spokane Wa. I am going to visit Rob, Nomi and Ann on the 4th of July. From there I am going to Hailey, Id to visit Cassi, Cami, Buzz and Gus before heading home. I'll see you on the net.

Overlooking the guys tieing us up at Kake, AK
A Logging ship loading logs from the water
Our Ferry tied up at Ketchikan
Scenery
Close to port at Hoonah, AK
Pick-up leaving the ferry
This couple from Tyler, TX are watching the floatplane through the window
Enjoying the Scenery. Good thing I had the tripod
This tent didn't have a bad spot
The dining room on the ferry
 
On the water
 
   
   
July 3, 2006

Today was just a work day in the saddle. I'm covering 1150 miles in 25 hours to get to Spokane. I need a rear tire and this is a place I can stop to get it. My only problem is the 4th of July Holiday? The temps today ranged from 44 to 101 degrees, and I felt every bit of it. Most of the roads were grueling because of the heavy (bumper-to-bumper) traffic most of the day. It is a holiday in Canada also. However, there were some very fun roads too. Hwy 8 from Spence's bridge to Merrit (BC) was a nice fun road with no traffic. Hwy 97 from Okanagan south into Washington was nice. It was way too crowded, but there were some beautiful and interesting sights. I've been to Napa Valley, but this area was much more beautiful and larger than Napa. It was also fruit and wine country along many lakes and rivers. I've never heard of it, but I was glad to get to experience it. I wished I would have had more time, because there was a fruit stand on every corner. I would have enjoyed spending at least a full day coming across that section. I do regret that I didn't take any pictures. I just had too much traffic and not enough time to see it all. I'll have to come back some day.

July 4, 2006

I'm in Spokane today at Ann's house. I'm not sure if we're going to do anything or not, but I'll start looking for a rear tire for my bike. I don't know if anyone is open today or not? My satellite tracker is back to working. I don't know why it stopped, nor could the satellite guy give my an explanation. We'll see how it goes from here. The rest of the day turned out great. I did not find a place to install a new tire, and I'm not going to worry about it. Ann took me to Huckleberry's for breakfast and it was nice. It is a natural food store and cafe. We then went by Rob's office to check it out. Rob is my nephew, Nomi is his wife, and Ann is Rob's mother and a friend of mine from school. Ann and I then drove south of Spokane to see the countryside in which I added pictures. That evening, we had a cookout at Ann's house (pictures added).

Countryside south of Ann's house
Near Farmington, WA
Nomi, Rob and Bo
Nomi, Rob, Ann and Bo
Tekoa, WA
Tekoa, WA
Ann's Barn
Nomi, Rob, Ann and Bo
South of Spokane
South of Spokane
Rural Countryside
South of Spokane
near Farmington
Farmington, WA
Farming countryside
Canola
Can you find the deer
Ann's house
Nomi and Bo
old servers at Rob's office
Rob's office (Ann)
Rob's office (Ann, Nomi and Rob)
Rob's chair
Rob's office
 
Rob's office (downtown Spokane)
 
   
   
July 5, 2006

I've had two scary experiences so far. The first one was when a wolf came up in my path in Northern Yukon on a gravel road during a rainstorm while I was only traveling about 20 mph. I've seen bear and other animals, but they always seem to mind their own business. This wolf, on the other hand, did not. he came up in the road in front of me, turned around and faced me until I got nearly to him. Then he wondered off. He looked hungry too. I'm glad I wasn't his next meal. The other time, was when I was crossing the Sawtooth mountains on a gravel road just before I reached Cami and Cassi's house (my cousins). It was raining much more than I expected and the road got much nastier and higher in altitude. I wished I could have taken pictures, but I was too focused on the road. I took pictures before and after the peak, but it does not do it justice. Anyway, I caught Gus (my aunt) and her grandkids walking down the road as I eased into town. We first went to a nearby coffeehouse to visit and later went to eat Mexican food that night. We had a great visit and I was very glad to get to make the stop. Late this evening I left their home for Burley, ID for the night.

Hwy 93 south of Missoula
Hwy 93 southbound to Hailey, ID (starting to rain)
Trail Creek Rd (west of 93, but paved)
Trail Creek Rd turns to gravel (still going up)
Trail Creek Rd getting closer to the top, and I regret not taking pictures at the top, but the road was "very" wet and slippery
After making the peak this is Trail Creek Rd going down to Ketchum, ID
Picture A
Picture B
Picture C
Picture D
Picture E (Walter and Lavida)
Picture F
Picture G
The Group sitting down for Mexican Food
The Group
The Group, with Emmy on my left and Audrey posing for me
   
   
July 6, 2006

Today has been a great ride the temps are in the 60's through 80's so far. They're having some kind of Iron Butt rally in northern Nevada and I've seen numerous Iron Butters on the way. In fact, I saw Ardy's Kellerman leaving a gas station in Provo, UT on her way too. I'm in Moab for lunch right now, and I'll continue on to southern Colorado or Northern New Mexico for the night.

Leaving this morning from the Starlite motel in Burley, ID
Absolutely in the middle of nowhere (Utah) in a traffic jam
 
Colorado River in Moab, UT
 
   

July 7, 2006

I love to ride! This was another great trip for me. Although there were a few spots that were less than fun, I made necessary adjustments and had a great trip. In addition, I had time to stop by and visit some family and friends along the way that made it that much more fun.

I have started my "Americas Trip", however I won't have my paperwork for the Iron Butt certificate. It was the right decision for me at the time. I used to love to fly, but now I don't. I'm not sure "why" that is, but it's beside the point. I don't want that to happen to "scooter riding". Therefore, I'll try to keep making adjustments to allow myself to fully enjoy this recreation as long as I can.

My bike has been wonderful, and I continue to enjoy it. The only thing I'm thinking about changing for the South American trip is my hand protectors. They make an extension that will fit on my existing ones that will give me what I want. Other than that, I don't think I will change anything. I would like to have a different seat as well, but it's not bothering me enough to make an immediate change.

The nano did great, and I'm real glad I didn't get the regular ipod. Tate has a 30g ipod that I had tried several times, but it couldn't handle the constant jolting. The nano did great. The GPS, on the other hand, will have to be sent to the shop because the housing has broken again (it's been replaced before). It couldn't take the bumps on one of the more "fun" (?) roads of Alaska.

I'm probably going to switch tires next time. These Anakee's don't last very long, although I made the complete trip on them. I had talked to an Iron Butter in Idaho that said Dick Fish and a few others have been trying the ME880's on the GS with lots of good luck. I may have to try those.

Next time, I will definitely have to get me a laptop to carry. I stopped at Vega, TX today to use their library computer, but had trouble doing any ftp (file transer protocol) work or USB picture transfering. This was a common problem along the way. I could find computers, but couldn't always use them. I will definitely see if I can get a small cheap computer for my South American trip.

I'm at home now planning my trip to South America. I hope to leave in December. I hope you will follow along.

Another great stay in Chama, NM the last night
The road going south out of Chama
This is the trail tracker for the entire run
 
   

July 8, 2006

At home