Finally Alaska?

Time to get a move on, the AK border crossing closes promptly @ 9pm.  Its 7:30pm, and 60 miles to Alaska.  We gotta full tank a-gas, half pack a-smokes, its never getting dark out and we’re wearing helmets.  HIT IT!

But then we get sidelined by the views.

Which means 5 minutes late at the border, therefore… No Entry.  We gotta sleep in Canada again. dang, it woulda been nice to make it, especially because the only campground was 60 miles back, near the Yukon River.  Since the scumbucket motto is never go back, we find a wide spot alongside the road.

Also, time crunch that we were on to pass that hitchhiker and make the border, we forgot to fill the water bottles up.  We only have about a half-liter of water between the two of us for the night.  On the Top-of-the-World Hwy, there is no water because the whole road is on a ridge.  All our food is the dehydrated variety, except the few packets of Indian food that Mama Z set with!!!  Curry, whiskey and a side of mosquitoes it is.

the evening's route: 106 km

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You know you’re taking your time when…

After a night of changing tires, and a rainy morning of pushing my flooded bike around without spark-plugs to clear the cylinder out (I need to remember to shut the fuel valve OFF when I stop), we got rolling towards Dawson City.  We need to jettison some excess tire weight.

We don’t see any other vehicles for about 60 miles, this is remote country.  As we ride into Dawson City we pass miles and miles of huge fan like-morraine-looking things along the side of the road, they are the dredgings from the gold mining.  They now build houses on top of them!

At the last fuel stop before we enter Alaska, we see that same hitchhiker and his dog again.  You know you’re taking your time when you get passed by a hitchhiker.  We quickly grab a cup-a-joe and jump on the last ferry across the great Yukon.

 the days route 352 km

The Alcan

We hobbled through the end of the Cassair Hwy  and entered Yukon Territories from rainy British Columbia, after what seemed like a month in BC.  It was actually seven rainy days now that I look back.  Huh, time flies when you’re having fun… fixing blown out tires, gingerly riding through packs of bears, rain that only lets up for snowstorms, enduring cheap Canadian whiskey and nursing worn out tires the entire way.

It was here that met the famous Alaska Hwy.  Compared to the Cassiar it was a two lane freeway, what with its smooth pavement, wide shoulders, rest stops and traffic.  We talked to a guy on a bicycle who had ridden from Montreal.  He was planning to go to Prudhoe Bay and then south to Tierra Del Fuego on that bicycle.  It made our trip seem like a breeze, even on waning tires that were down to threads with 1,100 km to go to Anchorage.

On the first sunny, hot day we experienced so far on this trip, we hobbled into Whitehorse, YT, only to find no over-priced tires in Harper’s size.  Tires in Canada are ridiculously expensive.  Not even any realistically priced tires.  After speaking with the parts guy, we convinced him to let us see the pile of used tires out back.  We found a used rear tire for Harper, plus two complete sets of perfectly good super-knobbies for the Haul Road!!!!  Threw the parts guy $2 for each tire, YES!!!

We packed up and headed up the Klondike towards Dawson City and it got remote again.  At a fueling station we saw our first hitchhiker, whom had a dog with him and thought the rides must be few and far between on this road.  At camp, Harper started the magical change-out, aided by the ever-handy firewood/bike stand multi-tool.


The Canadian whiskey burned, especially more with each swallow down our throats.  After enduring enough of that, we decided it must combust pretty good in the fire too.   It takes some terrible whiskey to have a couple scumbuckets shooting fireballs from their mouths.

As we progressed northward the days got longer.  At the end of the day, the lower angle of the summer sun resulted in longer sunsets, thus more time for sun-downers... as the sun goes down, so does the beverages.  I don’t remember seeing a sunrise, because it followed that the morning-risers occurred later each day.  Slowly the scumbucket daily routine was shifting about a half hour later each day. 

Especially when there is no need to wake up early when the first thing you see is a gallows pole-like bear food hanger in a creepy campsite.  I’ve always been curious as to what happens when a bear figures out the food is up there, after attempting to climb up, or bat at the bag unsuccessfully, what if there is a determined bear who will sit underneath the food bag until if falls?  Imagine the surprise a camper would experience when they attempt to retrieve their food in the morning…

The morning routine involved the requisite coffee and oatmeal with raisins breakfast, thankfully we aren’t growing tired of it.  Followed by a stop at the first (and only) filling station in the nearest village to top off the gas, fill the oil, and check the tires.  Harper was hoping to make it to Anchorage on his tires, where he had a brand-new set waiting for him.  Unbenounced to us, chip seal pavement makes motorcycle tires wear-down at a rate quicker than teenage girl fashions go out of style.  

June 13, 2010 - truckers & snow

Harper and I continued north on the Cassiar Highway through Northern British Columbia.  After the turn-off to Hyder, it gets even more remote and desolate.  This is not a place that one would want to have a break down or accident.  We had just begun to grasp the secluded isolation we were entering in, as we turned the corner and saw this scene.

Apparently, falling asleep while driving on the Cassiar can be a problem, who knew?  A passerby told us it just happened a day ago, and the driver was alright.  The scene left us with something to think about regarding "drowsy driving" and we continued north, at a very sane pace.  The overcast sky, somber scene, and desolate roadway results led to reflection and contemplation, mile after mile... or kilometer after kilometer, since this is Canada, eh?

The road turned to gravel as it led down a valley into the river bank.  The enduros were handling well on the first stretch of gravel, so we started thinking less and riding more  Especially once we rose out of the valley and saw a storm front trying to head us off at the pass.  We kicked up the pace again in order to outrun the rain only to find... SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June snow storm

We waited for it to pass.  Worth it.

and then there were two.

Mike said he had to go.  He mumbled something about a job or money or something... I don't quite recall the details.    He had rode from San Diego to Hyder, Alaska on a 400cc dirtbike!  Now, he was going to ride back.  Alone.  On the same dirt bike.  While eradicating the countryside of mosquitoes along the way.

ride on, scumbucket.
Harper and I mourned again, then continued northward.  The roads got even more remote, towns and gas stations further apart.

Thanks to Mama Z we ate well

best dehydrated pasta sauce ever.

With full bellies, we rode towards Hyder, AK.  On the way, we drove past no less than seven black bears, one grizzly bear and our first glacier.  People sometimes ask what is the difference between the bears, I can assure you when you see a Grizzly bear, you will know the difference.  How fitting this is called Bear Glacier

Bear Glacier
Hyder, AK

Hyder, AK is a crazy boom/bust mining town.  There is no pavement, no law enforcement or fire fighters, no border guards, a huge dump near the intersection of the two main streets, ridiculously talented sculpture artists and the best fish bus ever.

and then there were three. and more repairs.

After a week of scumbucketry, the real world was swooning to Matt.  We tried to help him resist, but the lure of the sirens was too great to overcome, either that or paying his bills.  We may never know.  We mourned his return to society in true scumbucket style.

and continued the repairs.. blown out tires and an unbalanced gyroscope on the hover bike.  thankfully, we had a half empty can of tire shine and some unopened brand name mouth wash to chase down the greek sandwich.


After solving my blown rear tire and Mike’s two unbalanced tires, we were ready to move north from Telkwa, BC of course in the rain again.  Mike had to stop and get a replacement bolt, and conveniently there was a brewery next to the motorcycle shop.  At the Plan B Brewery in Smithers, BC. Harper and I met a couple cool local ladies who recommended a stop at a local bakery in Hazelton, BC.  The best cinnamon rolls ever.  It was here that the level of civility would be at its peak, we would only get further away into the bush each day, causing our standards to sink 5% further into scumbucketry each additional day.

On the Road

Leaving Glacier National Park ,USA

...and Matt's off!

They let us into Canada, eh? Glacier National Park in BC, it was a beautiful place to run out of gas.  By the time we got to town it was dark, so we went to the first place we saw.  Some un-kindly RVer-park propertier wanted to charge us $80 to tent camp for one night, I don't think they wanted scumbuckets there.

Hey! Hey! the Gang's All Here

Fast forward 6 months.  Two has grown to four, Harper's brother thought we should start a gang, thus the scumbuckets were established.  Neat flags included.  Craigslist-specials, obscure parts bills, last minute repairs, street legal tires, and beer tabs quickly dent the already dull finish of our meager savings.  Mike, Matt and I leave Seattle, and are riding like banshees on overloaded and underpowered bikes towards Glacier Nat'l Park to meet Harper.  We hadn't spoken with him in four days, all we had was a remote location in the middle of Glacier with a rendevous date.  In true scumbucket style, we arrive an hour after Harper, only to find him sitting on the picnic table reading Hemingway.


In the beginning

It is the dead of winter, and we slipped and hobbled across Washington Ave. into a purveyor of whiskey, beers and such.  Add some drinks, subtract some jobs and the result is a motorcycle trip to Alaska.  Is this really going to happen?

we didn't know at the time that this was going to be the journey...

Welcome to Aperventure

Hello All, and welcome to a foray into the adventures of apertures. This has been inspired by the great people who have surrounded me, whom I have learned from and admired.  After numerous months of carefully and methodically un-habitizing myself to the comforts of the modern world, this will be an effort re-enter life as we know it.  You should expect it to be a new level of incomplete thoughts, run-on sentences, misspellings, procrastination and adventure.

Now, hold my beer and watch this....