This airplane on a stick was in Princeton, BC, at the local airstrip. I thought it looked kinda cool and a good Scooterbob backdrop. Shortly after this picture was taken, we were across the border into Washington headed for the Hood River. I met with YouTube RV vloggers (not moto-vloggers) Tom and Lori who were workcamping as campground hosts for the Toll Bridge County Park. I have not met very many retired couples before who were full time in their 5th wheel RV so it was an interesting conversation.
After a stop in Vancouver, WA, to unload stuff from the truck. I headed down to Corvallis, OR. On the way I picked up moto-blogger, ChrisL of everydayriding.org, at the Portland airport. Dropping him off turned this from simply a hand-off to a moto-blogger meetup. Scooterbob is now onto new adventures with Troubadour and Trobairitz (they're the ones on the left).
BTW, I couldn't figure out if it was ScooterBob or Scooterbob.
Scooterbob is on the move again. We are heading down the Alaska Highway except we are doing it backwards compared to the "norm". The first stop was Birch Lake about 70 miles southwest of Fairbanks. Theoretically it's on the Richardson Highway and not the Alaska Highway. Still a little bit of ice.
The end of the Alaska Hwy is usually a busy place. But we are still well before the normal tourist season. The visitors center was still closed for the season.
We stopped at the border to get another popular photo stop for just about anyone visiting Alaska. Again, no one else around. This will prove to be the norm for the next couple of days. Canadian customs is still 20km down the road.
After an overnight stop in Whitehorse, YT, we got an early start. The bridge is where the Alaska Highway crosses the Yukon River.
Muncho Lake was still pretty frozen. This is in the Canadian Rockies and is one of best locations to spot wildlife. Going through here we passed about two dozen caribou. Later on, a couple of rock sheep, about 30-40 buffalo and one black bear. The bear looked like it was waiting for a bicyclist.
I think that SB enjoyed meeting with the Fairbanks Airheads.org group at their monthly get together aka "Barley Therapy" at the Silver Gulch microbrewery. This is just a portion of the group. To the right of SB is another Richard (last name unknown) from Colorado who did a presentation of a planned trip from Deadhorse south. Four of them on KLR 650s with the Alaska/Canadian portion in the winter with a sidecar for stability. They even plan on riding through the Darian Gap which I've heard is very difficult. He enjoyed hearing the SB story.
I plan on heading south towards the PNW in a little over a month which means that SB can attend next month's get together at the Howling Dog Saloon (owned by one of the members). It'll be before they are officially open for business for the season.
Today, we ran around Fairbanks but I couldn't find anything "scenic" enough to justify a picture. Breakup is starting and everything is a real mess with dirty snowpiles and trash starting to surface.
No new posts for a month and a half as we are still patiently waiting for more moderate weather. Maybe in another couple of weeks. Daylight is up to almost 13 hours and we are actually getting some warming from the sun. That's not the case in the middle of the winter when the high temperature for the day frequently occurs in the middle of the night. My unscientific definition of Spring is overnight lows above 0°F. That seems reasonable, eh?
That could be as soon as next week. In about six weeks, Scooterbob and I will start down the Alaska Hwy seeing what we can see though it will be early in the season. Bobscoot had talked about traveling up to Alaska but always thought, like many others, that he needed a different bike to make the trip. It won't be a bike trip though it will probably be warm enough for a ride tomorrow. The local BMW shop is having an open house with free food!
A little more wandering around town to see the sights. The plane crash of Will Rogers and Wiley Post was, literally, one of the first things I learned about Alaska. The actual crash site is a short ways west of town but there is a memorial set up near the airport which is named after them. The stone monument at the actual crash site was brought back to town last summer before it was lost to the ocean. There was a lot of frost and snow covering the modest granite memorial but in the second picture, I think you may be able to read the inscription if you zoom in on the picture.
I had gone to town to see if I could get a view of the first sunrise since November but the southern sky was pretty overcast and you could tell that it was daylight but that was about all. I stopped at Arctic Grocery to take a look at their asian food selection since I was invited out to help a couple of folks make some California rolls and Mongolian beef. The selection was a lot smaller than it was during the summer but I found some items not carried at AC Company (the main grocery store). We made ten rolls with cucumber, carrots, eggs, shrimp and fake crab. No ripe avocados to be found (just like in Fairbanks). But still a nice, tasty treat.
This mammoth tusk is on display in the lobby of the Barrow Arctic Research Center (BARC) which is the facility that I have been working on/in for over ten years. The grand opening was on June 1, 2007, and I had been working on the IT infrastructure during the design and construction. The glass case for this display has been broken for as long as I can remember so SB got an up close and personal look at the display.
I didn't take this photo of sunrise yesterday but a friend here in the building did. The length of daylight today will already be two hours. Quite the change from zero last Friday.
Yesterday, we travelled from Fairbanks north to Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow. When we left Fairbanks, it was -40°F/C and we must've brought the cold temperatures with us as it was -35°F (-37°C) this morning. Utqiaġvik is as far north as you can go in Alaska. It's not on the road system and the only normal way to get here is via plane. Alaska Airlines has regularly scheduled 737 service to Barrow from Anchorage and Deadhorse but no longer from Fairbanks. On Thursday afternoon, we left Fairbanks for Deadhorse and after a 4 hour layover we arrived in Utqiaġvik.
This is just the view out of window as we passed over the Brooks Range. The sun was just peeking over the horizon at this point. The last sunset in Utqiaġvik was November 20, 2016, and the first sunrise should be tomorrow January 21, 2017.
Here is a graphic from TimeandDate.com showing the info for tomorrow and it shows that even though today there is zero sunlight, tomorrow will be 47 minutes. Thing change pretty rapidly at this point. The lightest blue indicates daylight where the sun is actually above the horizon. The next darker shades are civil and nautical twilight. Both are better known as dawn or dusk. As you can see, even on the winter solstice there is not really 24 hours of darkness as some media outlets would lead you to believe.
Around 1:00 we went in search of lunch. Near Cruz, the Mexican take-out place, the whale bone arch was still standing. This is one of the classic places to have visitors take photos. On this day, for some reason we didn't have to chase any tourists away to get a clear shot. In fact there wasn't anyone wandering around. Maybe it was the gentle 10 mph breeze. This is -53°F (-47°C) if wind chill matters to you. Fortunately, inanimate objects are immune to wind chill.
Late Friday Update - Dom's photo editing skills far exceed mine. I knew that the snow was messing with the white balance but wasn't sure what was needed to fix it. Here is his edited photo.
The first outing was to College Coffeehouse to meet whomever might show up. This is my mom, Bridget and Sandra. JedR was also there but did not want to be in the picture since "there are outstanding warrants in three states". Or at least that is his standard line to avoid any pictures on the Internet.
On Wednesday afternoon, there were a few inches of fresh snow and almost tropical temperatures (+16*F or -9°C). It seemed like a good opportunity to show SB a few of the local sights. Plus, we could record another PBC video (Polar Bear Challenge). The Ural battery was completely dead as I had left the USB outlets that run the GoPro camera and remote powered on. So I didn't want to turn the Ural off on this particular trip until I'm confident that it will start again.
This is in front of the Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge visitor's center. Most of the parking lots in town still have quite a bit of snow from the blizzard last weekend. Without studded tires, 2WD got more use than usual.
I stopped near the entrance to the University of Alaska museum. This is just the fresh snow that we received this morning but it was enough for SB to float on. Not a whole lot of traction from the slick wooden wheels.
The carefully packed box arrived around the middle of last week but things around here have been rather hectic. Today, we cracked open the box to see the treasures it contained. During this time I was explaining to Bridget and my mom the background and the adventures the little wooden scooter had been on. My mom had remembered hearing about Bob in the past as I had something delivered to her home that was partly Bobs. (Sena headsets. We had purchased a pair and split the order.)
The little scooter was well protected during its travels from the mile-high city. Bob had mentioned several times that he had wanted to visit Alaska but felt, like many others, that a certain kind of bike is needed before venturing to Alaska. Many scooters have made the trip including traveling up the haul road to Prudhoe Bay. There are no plans to travel up the Dalton but a trip well north of the Arctic Circle is in the works. I'm not sure how much travel will be by motorcycle but we will definitely get in a few trips.
It was great fun to see all of the memorabilia following along. Fortunately, I was able to find and print the draft post that Sonia had started that had a nice map showing all the stops along the journey. That will make a great introduction to the coffeehouse group. It's unfortunate that SB will not be able to meet George but I think that he will be a hit at the February Airhead.org meeting.
I should be feeling well enough to get some miles in on the Ural in a week to see a few of the local sights. SB should be acclimated to colder temperatures after recently spending time in Colorado. Alaska should be a walk in the park.
Along with some pretty cold temperatures, (high today was 3°F (-16.1°C) and about 2-3 inches of snow, it was a good day to get ScooterBob for one last outing with myself and one of my rigs.
Scarlett is the one best equipped to let me deal with cold weather riding so she got to go out in the pre-dawn hour to see what we could see. The battery however, is not holding a charge very well unless once keeps her on a charger. It's less than three years old but I guess I am hard on batteries.
Still, she was OK once I jump-started her and we headed off into the lightening gray skies covering the Metro Denver area.
I also need to, it seems, replace the pusher tire as I was not getting good traction with the rubber that remains on it. I had to engage 2WD to get out of the cul-de-sac and actually left it engaged through the entire ride!
Stayed close to home due to the battery issue, temperature was -2°F (-18.8°C) as we started the ride and it was rise to perhaps 1°F (-17.2°C) an hour later when I returned home.
A view of the cul-de-sac, the untouched snow a blank canvas...
Trees at the local high school where Martha used to work....
A couple of shots of the tree lined street near yet another local high school
A view of the Mormon Stakehouse across the street from Eaglecrest H.S.
All wheels nicely packed with the fresh snow....
I'd mentioned the cul-de-sac was a blank canvas?
Hopefully you can the the markings left by Scarlett as she headed out
and came back in, doing a few donuts in the snow of course.
ScooterBob let me know, as I was putting Scarlett back on the charger
that he wanted to go out once last time while here in Colorado.
Scarlett and I, this time with ScooterBob in the trunk, left shortly before Noon to take my oldest son Patrick to work at the local Sprouts grocery store.
As we were out, and the sun was out, it was time to visit the somewhat nearby ranching neighborhood to see what we could see.
There wasn't as much snow in this area as in my neighborhood, but we made do:
ScooterBob declared his satisfaction with the snow conditions, and then said it was now OK to leave the sub-freezing 3°F (-16°C) temperatures and go back home.
Roads remained snow-packed but the sun was already working on clearing some spots. Cagers of course were in their usual rush to get somewhere; which made the last couple of miles of riding interesting but with no incidents.
Shortly before sunset, we all headed out one more time, this time to catch the sunset and to pick up Patrick from his job at 5:00PM.
We decided to head down to the tower located in the Tuscany neighborhood down the road from our own neighborhood.
The tower is purely decorative, my guess it's supposed to evoke
thoughts of Tuscany, Italy's architecture style.
It was 0°F (-17.7°C) when Patrick finally clocked out and we four headed home in the darkness. Scarlett convinced me do do a couple of donuts in the cul-de-sac, both surprising Patrick and hopefully amusing my next door neighbor who was out there shoveling his driveway in the dark.
ScooterBob will be packed up tomorrow, along with all his belongings, and shipped all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska. The idea is for him to experience some "really cold" weather while being hosted by RichardM. Richard being a fellow Ural/Beemer rider who has real experience in riding in extreme cold weather, ScooterBob will have so much fun..... ;)