Motorcycle Trip Page
Our 2 part trip
My wife and I took a motorcycle trip starting at our home in Alaska on October 20, 2000 and it ended flying out of Louisville, KY on Nov.30, 2000. We then flew back to Louisville March 21, 2001 and rode home (with a slight detour to Key West) arriving home May 10, 2001. I rode a 1997 Harley Electra Glide Classic and my wife a 2001 750 Honda Shadow ACE.
I also added a section, Suggested Tour of Alaska, for those of you planning a trip up here. I will give you an idea of what is here to see/do and a suggested route to take.
We trailered our bikes 700 miles to Haines,AK.(Snow and cold weather in the
Yukon) Loaded them on the Alaska Ferry
and spent 4 days sailing the inside passage aboard the Malaspina. A pod of killer whales was sighted off the port side one day. We
landed at our final port, Bellingham,WA, Oct. 26th.
Travel on I-5 was fairly busy so we took Rt 30, a peaceful road to Astoria. The Oregon coast is spectacular. The wind and rain beat us into submission twice, taking longer than planned for that section of road. The Sea Lion Caves north of Florence, OR is a wonderful stop. After traveling down a 200 ft elevator the doors open up into a large cave where sea lions take refuge. We watched in awe as they rode the waves up on to the rocks.
Ran into heavy winds and rain around Port Orford, OR. We had to stay in the
middle of the lane as the wind changed direction so much. At one point the wind
blew my wife's bike into the oncoming lane. Luckily there wasn't anything
coming. We called it a short day and took refuge from the storm at Gold Beach.
The next day we stayed on Rt 101 and drove through the Red Wood Forrest. Even though we had been there a couple times before, seeing it by motorcycle made it more enjoyable. Yeah...we did the tourist stuff and got our pictures taken driving through the tree.
Took Rt 101 down to Rt 128 and cut off through the wine country. It was a nice twisty road with little traffic. Ended up in Calistoga, CA, a health spa heaven. My wife did the 2 hr. mud bath special at Dr. Wilkinson's, while I wandered around town. She loved the spa and is still talking about it. There is a simple rule for travel...keep Momma happy and you will be happy.
Off to Vallejo!! We spent a couple days visiting my cousin and his wife, and
enjoyed their hospitality. He is a
square dance caller and she teaches line dance. Tried the line dance and
didn't do too bad. My wife picked it up real fast. Neither one of us knows squat
about square dancing, but enjoyed watching it. Got a chance to wash and wax the
bikes...they were getting kind of grungy from all the rain we went through.
Took Rt 99 towards Southern CA...figured it would be the least
traveled...traffic was heavy to Bakersfield. Traffic lightened up as we crossed
the Mojave Desert towards Needles...Didn't have to ask why we went by so many
windmills as we had a strong headwind all the way to Needles. In this section my
trunk rack and spedo cable broke about the same time...Ah blame it on the wind.
Just before Needles we took River Rd to Laughlin, NV. We aren't much on gambling
but like the inexpensive room and food casinos offer. Our plans were to go on to
Vegas to meet up with a friend on vacation there, but instead headed to Phoenix
via Rt 93. Stopped in Kingman and got a spedo cable but no luck replacing the
bunged up trunk rack. Ran into rain and cold, but luckily no snow. Kind of weird
driving along seeing cactus in the rain. (Maybe that is just a tourist thing.)
Spent a couple days in Phoenix with my wife's uncle. We had a good visit. He is an interesting character. I changed the spedo cable and put a splint on the trunk rack. Pulled out early and got hit with heavy rain in the Down Town Phoenix area. Didn't stop for rain suits as traffic was heavy, and we would probably end up lost. Just as we were out of the city and found a place to stop, the rain stopped....You sure dry off fast in that climate.
Next stop was Vail, AZ, just east of Tucson. Stayed with my first principal on my first teaching job. We worked in the "bush" near the Kotzebue,Ak area in 1978. (It was his first principal job too). We had 20 years of catching up to do, and enjoyed their hospitality.
From Vail we took Rt 83 to Rt 82 to Rt 80 and ended up in Tombstone. Great
roads!! There were black clouds every where, it looked like we were going to get
rained on for sure. I was half right. We got a nice snow storm. Figured snow
must be unique as the cowboys placed around town for the tourists benefit, were
taking pictures. We hung around town for a few hours, the snow stopped and we
were on our way. There was still black sky in every direction as far as you
could see. The plan was to go to Bisbee, but since it was higher in elevation
than Tombstone, and had predictions of snow we blew it off. We beat it back to
I-10 and headed east getting with the program. Ran into light snow, but it
wasn't sticking to the road. Stopped in Wilcox, AZ for gas. Talked to a UPS
driver who said it was snowing heavily ahead so we stopped for the night.
The next day was beautiful, but the temps were in the low 40's. Stayed on I-10 east. Ran into a biker on a 650 Kaw along side the road, just a couple miles west of Lordsberg, NM. He was out of gas so we siphoned some from our bikes and got him going. Didn't have to ask him why he was shaking so much....light clothes, tennis shoes and no windshield. The gentleman was from CA on his way to Corpus Christi. Ran into him again at mile 116, our next gas stop. He was getting directions to the nearest Wal Mart to buy some warm clothes. Don't remember the name of the place, but if you are ever on I-10 stop at mile 116 service area....Great folks run the place.
Took I-10 to I-20 all the way to Dallas. I stopped in the Big Spring, TX Harley Shop for a 30,000 mile service. The wife's bike got serviced at Kent's Harley- Honda in Abilene, TX. Both shops took us right in and did a great job. (Got my trunk rack replaced too, called ahead and they had it air freighted.)
Spent a week in DFW area. There was a trucking convention called
GATS that I attended.
We visited the Stock Yards and Billy Bob's in Ft. Worth...Great place. We were
shown around Dallas by a fellow I met on the web by the name of Boomer and had a great time. Spent
quite a bit of time hanging around the West End, and had my first taste of
crawdads at Joes Crab Shack. (Tasty little critters.) There were some great
statues at the Dallas Convention Center...an entire cattle drive.
We took I-30 out of Dallas to Weaver and got on Rt 67 that parallels I-30. All kinds of neat little towns with picnic areas. We stayed on Rt 67 to Malvern, AR. At Malvern we took Rt 270 to Pine Bluff, then Rt 79 to West Memphis, and spent the night. There were heavy winds, every time we met a truck, it threw us around quite a bit. The next morning we did the tourist thing, again and hit Graceland We then rode south to Tunica, MS, casino heaven. Got a nice room at Harrah's, and pigged out on the buffet.
Took the long way around Memphis from Tunica...Rt 4 to Rt 7 to Rt 18 to Rt 100 to Rt 69 to I-40 to Nashville. These are some great back roads especially Rt 100. From Nashville we headed north to Louisville on I-65. The weather was getting colder and we worried about getting snowed on before reaching our goal of Louisville.
Took a week to get plane tickets home as it was Thanksgiving time. We hung
out and visited many attractions in the Louisville area, Louisville Slugger,
Civil War Museum, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey, to name a few, put our bikes in
storage and flew home.
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