The Americas 2013

A Motorcycle Diary

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25 August 2013

25 Aug

We left Duluth at about midday for a short 400km ride that felt like a 4000km ride because it was 35C and that made each mile feel like it was 10! The surroundings are however becoming more interesting and “photo-worthy” as the prairies are now behind us!

days ride

Our days ride…


Leaving Duluth..

We are spending the night at a small town called Marquette on the shores of Lake Superior and tomorrow we head for Bay City some 550km away.


Lake Superior view from our hotel room in Marquette..


24 August 2013

24 Aug

We spent the day relaxing in Duluth which is an interesting little town. Apparently it was considered one of the wealthiest towns back in the 30’s due to the iron ore mining in the area that was loaded directly onto the ships in the local port on the lake and shipped out to all the corners of the world. When the mines were no longer feasible the towns’ economy stuttered and never really recovered however there is something of an upturn that has taken place as the mines are producing again due to increased commodity prices and this upturn is reflecting itself in the redevelopment of the waterfront and old port area which is bustling with new restaurants and hotels which are packed full of tourists on the weekends.


A walk around the town however shows the darker and less affluent parts that are still prevalent the further away one gets from the redeveloped waterfront that is filled with tourists!

The summer months of Duluth are apparently deceiving because although it was hot this weekend, this is apparently one of the coldest places in north America during the winter rivalling even the temperatures in northern Alaska…according to local residents!!

Needless to say, for all that this town may or may not be, we had a wonderful and relaxing weekend in a beautiful place.



23 August 2013

23 Aug

We got going quite late today because we slept in after our long 830km schlep of yesterday. The problem with this is that we had another long 660km day today as we are essentially getting the prairies behind us which are uninspiring to ride through.

The ride today was to a small town on the western shore of lake Superior called Duluth which we knew nothing about but was at an appropriate ride distance for an overnight stop. The town however is quite charming (the waterfront in particular) so we have decided to spend two nights to rest, exercise and explore and we started this with a great dinner and 2 bottles of wine which I have no idea how we managed after the last 3 days of riding!!

Once again, photos are non existent because in addition to there being nothing but a very flat horizon to photograph, we both have photo fatigue and have got into the familiar mind set of “enough already” as the end is now in sight!!

Tomorrow we rest!!

days ride

Our days ride..


22 August 2013

22 Aug

Today was a long 830km day and the longest days ride that Jax has had to do on this entire trip…and she coped amazingly! Not a single moan or whimper eventhough I knew she was tired and cold.

We left Saskatoon at about 9:30 to head for Winnipeg and as suspected, although the roads are flat and straight which makes for fast but monotonous riding, the terrain was uninspiring with patches of beauty but nothing photo worthy, and so all that we have to share with you today is a track route of the day.

Tomorrow we head back into the US to the shores of Lake superior so no doubt the vistas will become more lively over the following days!

Days ride..


21 August 2013

21 Aug

We left Edmonton at about 08h30 for a 550km ride to Saskatoon. Unfortunately, although the road is great and we managed an average high speed which made for a quick ride, the route is long, straight and flat which means that there were zero photo opportunities and I suspect that it will continue to be like this until we enter back into the US at Minnesota!!

We are spending the night at the Holiday Inn and are planning an early night as we have an 830km ride to Winnipeg tomorrow which will be the longest ride Jax has done thus far so we need to be well rested before tackling this.

Days ride

Our days ride…


19 & 20 August 2013

20 Aug

We spent 3 nights in Edmonton getting laundry and a couple of maintenance issues on the bike dealt with before tackling the last 5000km to NY. Nothing to report as we didn’t get around the town much outside of an AWESOME restaurant called the Hardware Grill which sounds peculiar but is one of the best restaurants we have been to in ages and certainly the best meal we have had since Lima. If ever in Edmonton check it out!

Tomorrow we head for Saskatoon.


The week of 11 to 18 August…

18 Aug

My flight out of Edmonton was at 06h00 which meant I had to be at the airport by 04h00 and leave the hotel by 03h00 so there wasn’t much time for sleep after packing, storing the bike, showering and cleaning off the grime of the days ride. I finally got into to Juneau where Jax met me at the airport at 12h30 and we boarded the Safari Endeavour at 17h00 so by the time I got to bed on that first night it felt like I had been hit by a sledgehammer and didn’t really get to appreciate my surroundings quite as much as I could or should have!

Needless to say, the cruise was a roundtrip from Juneau through and around the Alaskan inside passage which is breathtakingly beautiful. To add to the magnificence of the surroundings, we were mostly blessed with clear, sunny skies which was conducive to the nature of the cruise which calls itself an “adventure cruise” because of the numerous nature related activities it provides. In addition to many restful days of lounging around reading, we got to kayak and walk through some of the most beautiful and untouched parts of this world and felt awed and blessed everytime we went out.

Onboard were a variety of different folk from all over the place however, the differences is what made each of them really special and we were fortunate enough to meet and spend a little time with most everybody. We really got to bond and spend quality time with a small handful of individuals which were truly exceptional and which we hope will further develop over time.

Alaska, and the inside passage in particular, is a place that we will most certainly be going back to in time and the Safari Endeavour and her crew helped to make the week unforgettable and really special..thank you guys!

The pics below represent just a fraction of all of the pictures of the week and will supply a superb overview of our experience however, without a personal visit to this remarkable corner of the world, a photo will never do it any justice. Some of the photos are courtesy of the crew of the Safari Endeavour and I just couldn’t help but use them!!

We are now back in Edmonton and we will spending the next night or two here getting ready for our final push to NY where our trip will be finally over and we will have to start to re learn how to integrate into our normal lives and work, the emotions for which at this stage, remain mixed!!


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10 August 2013

10 Aug

I finally woke up at about 10h30 after the last two long riding days and stumbled out of bed feeling like I was hit by a baseball bat but nothing that a shower, a bacon and egg sandwich from the neighbouring greasy spoon and a gallon of coffee couldn’t fix!

Days ride

My days ride to Edmonton…

Today I did the final 1000km ride from Fort Nelson to Edmonton and once again I got into Edmonton long after dark and around 23h00 because I went through a time change and also because I am quite a bit further south, sunset is taking place earlier and earlier. I made almost no stops today because I am catching a very early flight tomorrow morning to Juneau so I have no pics whatsoever however, Jax went to Admiralty island today and had some incredible encounters with bears.







9 August 2013

09 Aug

Although the intention for yesterday was to ride 1000km from Fairbanks to Whitehorse (where I needed to change the knobbly tyres back to road going slippers), I actually only got as far as Haines Junction when it got dark, I was cold and hungry and tired and so decided to stop for the night rather than pushing on the additional 150km after sunset. This was a great idea because although the motor inn  where I stopped looked dodge from the outside it was actually super cosy, clean and comfortable and it enabled me a great nights rest and to get off to Whitehorse by 7am.

Days ride

My 1200km days ride from Haines Junction to Fort Nelson.


The signpost forest in Watson Lake.


Today being the second of the Long run days, I have ridden 1200km from Haines Junction to Fort Nelson but with a stop in between to change tyres. The route to Fort Nelson did however produce some beautiful game viewing opportunities because I came around a bend in the road along the Alaskan highway to encounter a large herd of wild Bison which was awesome and rare for me because I had never seen them before, never mind a herd in the wild, so I naively stopped on the side of the road and they herded past and around me with calves and huge bulls…it was a real treat! About 10km further down the road I encountered a black bear frolicking on the side of the road and then decided that perhaps I was taking too many stops for the distance I had to travel today.




I finally got into Fort Nelson by around 23h00 and had to ride about 2 hours in the dark and at a speed of not greater than 80km/h because I couldn’t find an open fuel station in the last 200km before fort nelson and had images of spending the night on the side of the road in the tent and sleeping bag and making a long trek on foot in the morning to go hunt for fuel! Fortunately this wasn’t necessary because the big girl and I managed to sniff our way into fort nelson on the last remaining vapours in the tank!! It was lights out for me thereafter because the exhaustion had sunk in deeply!!

In the interim, Jax is in Juneau and has taken a tour around the town to see some of the wildlife and she captured some great shots which she has sent to me…

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8 August 2013

08 Aug

On the morning of Sunday the 11th, I am meeting Jax in Juneau, Alaska because we are going to spend a few nights cruising the inside passage in lieu of flying back to SA because of the jet lag and amount of travel time it would require. Similarly, we need a break as we have ridden 12,000km in the last 4 weeks, however, the problem is that the cruise is 7 nights and if we leave the bike in Haines or an equally close town, it will put us severely behind schedule and therefore the only solution is for me to push hard and fast to Edmonton, some 4000km from Fairbanks, leave the bike there and fly to Juneau for the cruise. This will enable us to fly back to Edmonton on the 18th and be at our scheduled destination but it means that I am going to have to ride over 1000km a day for the next 3 days in order for this to be doable…and soooo, today is the first of these days with a ride from Fairbanks to Whitehorse.

days ride

The first of a 1000km day!



Snapped at the airforce base just outside Fairbanks!

Pics are limited because the next few days are mostly about the ride and less about appreciating the vistas although that will naturally be done, just not for the benefit of the blog reader!



What my eye looks like after a tangle with a wasp yesterday!!