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Thread: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!

  1. #61
    Jedi Biker TonyBKK's Avatar
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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    We ride across the plateau and begin descending towards Red Lodge, Montana.


    Stark and beautiful above tree line-


    People ski here in the spring-


    The public Beartooth Pass, “bare bones,” ski area rests on 600 acres about 10,800 feet above Twin Lakes Headwall near Red Lodge, Montana, and is one of North America’s oldest ski training areas, operated by International Ski and Snowboard Camp.
    Beartooth Pass is usually open for skiing from late May into early July and is served by two high speed poma lifts providing access to 3,000 feet of terrain.


    The Beartooth Highway crosses back and forth between Wyoming and Montana several times. From here it's Montana all the way-




    A sobering reminder of how dangerous this road can be-


    The descent towards Red Lodge is steep and exciting; lots of hairpins and switchbacks and one has to watch for variable road conditions along with rocks, gravel, sand and water-


    Have to say that the K1200LT, despite her size and weight, handles pretty much anything you throw at her with grace and poise.





    It's a long ways down!


    More switchbacks below-


    Looking north up the valley towards the Beartooth Pass-


    Arriving at Red Lodge, Montana- seems like a biker-friendly town!
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 3rd June 2013 at 07:27 AM.

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    Leader of the Pack Satonic's Avatar
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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Oh how I miss snow!

    This trip report is as much educational as it is entertaining for me. Having only traveled to Florida and New York I had no idea just how beautiful the US is.

    Thanks again for sharing TonyBKK, Hats off to you

  3. #63
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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Incredible photos/journal, you have knocked it out of the park with this report. I just rode through Yellowstone and the Beartooth Hwy in late May and you have made me want to go again before winter. It was FREEZING over the 11,000 foot pass and the road had only been opened the day before when I rode over. There were no other bikes in sight and for good reason, still lots of snow/ice and roads slick as snot. Not recommended! Did you see these wildlife statues in Red Lodge?





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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Thank you all for your kind comments!

    The US, despite all her faults and problems, abounds in natural beauty and I have to say, we met the NICEST people on this trip.

    Didn't spot those wildlife statues, but there was no shortage of things to see and do in Red Lodge, coming up next!

  5. #65
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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    I had no idea that we were rolling in to Red Lodge the day before the Beartooth Rally and Iron Horse Rodeo was to kick off.



    Bone Daddy's Custom Cycle seemed to be ground zero for the event-


    Really cool shop- they work on all makes and had some beautiful old Triumphs and Harley's in the shop. Kristhawee seemed more interested in the bear on the wall though


    Some nice custom choppers out front-




    Some damn funny patches for sale at one booth-


    While it's primarily a Harley event, there were a fair number of other brands in town and everyone was really friendly.

    When people saw our Minnesota plate they'd come over to congratulate us on coming this far and tell Kristhawee how cool he was for riding all the way from Minnesota on the back of dad's bike. He was glowing from all the praise

    It was quite hot and I guessed that most campgrounds would be full of noisy bikers so in the interest of a good nights sleep I splurged for a room at the Yodeler Motel-

    Corporate Free and Groovy since 1965!

    We wandered down the main street, checking out all the booths that were being set up for the rally and stopped in to the Montana Candy Emporium, an antique candy shop-


    Even the candy store was in biker mode with their Road Rash and Road Rage candies


    Grabbed some food and snacks at the grocery store then wandered over to the city park-


    Fresh blueberries!


    Red Lodge Brewing Company Bent Nail IPA for dad


    I taught Kristhawee all about resonance in closed-end air columns, aka how to make music with a bottle


    Took a bit of practice but eventually he got it!


    Nice little park- we had it all to ourselves.


    Playing on the See Saw-


    I'm such a light weight these days... After a few beers it took me a while to figure out how to open this animal proof garbage can


    Playing on some of the rental equipment at the hardware store. Kristhawee was worried he'd get in trouble- I told him not to worry about it-


    It was getting late and time for us to wander back to our hotel. In the winter Red Lodge is a ski town-




    There were no showers at Tower Falls in Yellowstone so we were pretty stinky and a hot shower felt great. Kristhawee relaxed in the tub for a while but was a bit freaked by the steam bath. Not me- I thought it was nice and relaxing. It had been another long full day, we were beat and went to bed pretty early- NICE beds at the Yodeler!
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 3rd June 2013 at 07:41 AM.

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Looks like you hit Red Lodge at the right time. It was totally dead when I rolled through there. Just fueled up and pressed on to Missoula for the night.

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBKK View Post
    The US, despite all her faults and problems, abounds in natural beauty and I have to say, we met the NICEST people on this trip.
    Funny that the global headlines make it sound like the place is a total wreck and its all over. But the more time I spend outside the US, the more I see it just ain't so and appreciate how great it really is to live here when I get home. Not perfect, but still damn nice.

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Good morning from Yodeler Motel in Red Lodge, Montana!

    Breakfast of champions! (Don't worry, Kristhawee had a proper breakfast)


    The Beartooth Pass was so much fun that Kristhawee and I decided to do it again, in reverse! But, as we headed out of Red Lodge the skies were overcast and was threatening to rain...


    I knew that rain in the valley probably meant snow or hail in the higher elevations and really didn't want to risk getting caught out in the open above tree line with no shelter...


    It started to mist and the bikers we saw going the other direction towards Red Lodge were all wearing rain gear... I talked it over with Kristhawee and we agreed we should stop until the weather improved. Fortunately there are a bunch of US Forest Service campgrounds at the base of the mountains.

    We pulled into one (forget the name) and found a nice spot-


    It was a bit chilly and raining lightly, quite a contrast from the heat and sun the day before. I asked Kristhawee if he wanted me to make him a do-rag to keep his head dry. He didn't know what I was talking about, so I showed him-


    He thought it was pretty cool that dad could make a hat out of a rag


    So, I go and register for the site and of course five minutes after I drop the check in the slot the skies clear and the sun decides to come out! Ah well, I'll just consider that $15 as a donation to the US Forest Service

    Off we go and what a change in the weather!


    Going up this way I got a better sense for just how steep this road is in some sections-

    (ok, I might not be holding the camera very level, but still, it IS a very steep road!)

    Above tree line again and the weather is just as perfect as it was the day before, but there were some wet spots here and there so it had definitely rained. Waiting at the bottom the way we did was a good idea- the road was pretty much dry by the time we rode up.


    Lots of bikes headed the other direction for the rally in Red Lodge-


    Amazing views, but need to pay attention to the road too!


    Zoom zoom!


    Motorcycle nirvana!


    Paved by angels!


    And the switchbacks keep coming!




    At the bottom of this section of switchbacks was a beautiful snow-fed lake-




    Very happy with the handling of the K1200LT Land Yacht


    This bike is so easy to ride! Isn't it weird that a bike this big and heavy uses a 160 rear tire? That skinny rear tire keeps it pretty agile though, and all the weight translates into excellent traction. Dragged the pegs around some of the corners without really trying-


    Kristhawee enjoyed the roller-coaster ride and is keen to go play in some snow again-


    No shortage of snow up here!


    What a beautiful spot!


    Uh oh, I think somebody wants to start another snow ball fight!






    We're having a blast up here at 10000 feet!






    We hiked around a bit (Kristhawee brought ammo)


    His arm and aim are getting stronger and more accurate-


    He took a picture of dad chillin on a warm rock in the bright sun-

    (photo by Kristhawee)

    Hiked around some more-


    We wanted to get to the deep snow on the far side of the lake and had to work our way across a bog and cross a little mountain stream-


    Made it!


    KRIS was here!


    The view across the lake-


    Snow in July- gotta love it! (I used to be a ski bum but have been living in Thailand for some time now and really miss the snow so this is pretty special for me)


    We continued hiking around the lake-


    Then stopped to make some itty bitty snowmen


    Kristhawee decided that this one was him-


    And you can probably guess which one is dad


    Father and son snowmen somewhere on the Wyoming-Montana border in the Beartooth Mountains!


    Ooops, Kristhawee-snowman's arm fell off


    Kristhawee didn't want to leave the snowmen behind and he didn't want to leave this spot. I understood how he felt- It was one of those perfect places and perfect moments that you wish you could last forever.


    On the road again-
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 3rd June 2013 at 07:56 AM.

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    We've crossed the Beartooth Pass and are headed back to Yellowstone. Lots of bikes on the 212 today, all headed towards Red Lodge for the Beartooth Rally.


    Lots of alpine lakes up here- beautiful!






    More bikes headed towards Red Lodge-


    Almost no traffic in our direction-


    Top of the World!


    Fresh blacktop near Beartooth Lake- yum!


    Bear country!


    Beartooth Lake-


    The road gets narrow and twisty near the Beartooth Falls-


    Beartooth Falls (drive-by pic, it's actually quite an impressive waterfall, but I wasn't in the mood to stop)-


    The curves keep coming




    Passing a lone biker- I wonder what I look like to oncoming bikes with my arm stretched out and a camera in my hand?


    Zoomin!






    Index Peak off in the distance-


    Again I'm thankful that I ended up with the autobahn worthy BMW Land Yacht instead of a Goldwing


    Another fantastic view of Index Peak-


    We roll in to Cooke City right about lunch time-


    Cool little town FULL of bikes!


    We wandered around a bit, taking in the sights and trying to decide where to eat.


    Some pretty impressive bikes, though I'd be a bit nervous taking something like this over the Beartooth Pass-


    Kristhawee is diggin all these cool bikes!


    We decided to eat at the Soda Butte Lodge. They keep a tub out front for dirty customers

    (photo by Kristhawee)

    Lunch is served!

    Fantastic lunch!

    Chatted with a bunch of old timers headed to Red Lodge and they were mighty impressed by the Land Yacht's hydraulic center stand and adjustable wind screen. As we were getting ready to leave I asked one of them to snap a picture of us.

    Father and son in Cooke City, Montana-
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 3rd June 2013 at 08:00 AM.

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Welcome back to Yellowstone National Park!


    We're headed to Gardiner, MT via Mammoth Hot Springs- great ride!




    Plenty of Bison in the Lamar Valley-


    Just past the Roosevelt junction we stopped to have a look at the famous Petrified Tree-


    Amazing- this is a fossilized ancient Redwood that has miraculously remained standing for some 50 million years!


    Our first glimpse of Mammoth Hot Springs, off in the distance-


    The 45th Parallel of Latitude- Halfway between the Equator and the North Pole


    We'll visit the Mammoth Hot Springs tomorrow- tonight we're going to camp just outside the park as I reckon there's no way we'll find a spot in the park on a Friday.


    Passing under the Roosevelt Arch-


    From wikipedia- The Roosevelt Arch is a rusticated triumphal arch at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, USA. Its cornerstone was laid down by President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. The top of the arch is inscribed with a quote from the Organic Act of 1872, the legislation which created Yellowstone, which reads "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People."

    We got so lucky and scored the LAST site in the Eagle Creek Campground


    Met some really nice people there. Big thanks to the nice guys from Colorado and their dog Louis the most hyper Beagle I've ever seen who gave us water (it's a dry site). And the really nice grad student mom who was camping with her two kids and their black lab puppy Bear for inviting us to share their camp fire.

    We got one of the nicest spots in the whole campground- right up at the top where the road ends.


    From our campsite we had an amazing view of Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs-


    Quite a beautiful sunset this evening-


    A small trail led away from our site and into the trees- let's check it out!


    Kristhawee said he needed help to cross the mighty Eagle Creek


    We hopped across Eagle Creek and hiked a little ways up hill from the campground to enjoy the sunset-


    We enjoyed a nice evening with the mother and kids who were camping next to us and shared smores by their fire before calling it a night.
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 3rd June 2013 at 12:15 PM.

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    Biker Legend Fishenough's Avatar
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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Fantastic trip report Tony, and Kristhawee, my son and I have been enjoying following along! He doesn't normally read trip reports, but a great father/son adventure is worth following.

    Country side, in a bunch of your recent pics, looks darn similar to our current location on the Alaskan Highway. We bailed from Thailand just over a month ago as international school costs, as a single parent, were getting to be too much of a stretch. My son did acquire his motorcycle learners licence this past monday, but we will be waiting till early spring to buys a couple of bikes (SWEET)

    Best Regards,
    Kevin
    There’s a few really, really great places to be in the world. One is on a nice day, one hour away from your house, on your way to somewhere else. That is one of the best feelings that there is. Open road and all you got is adventure in front of you

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Quote Originally Posted by Fishenough View Post
    Fantastic trip report Tony, and Kristhawee, my son and I have been enjoying following along! He doesn't normally read trip reports, but a great father/son adventure is worth following.

    Country side, in a bunch of your recent pics, looks darn similar to our current location on the Alaskan Highway. We bailed from Thailand just over a month ago as international school costs, as a single parent, were getting to be too much of a stretch. My son did acquire his motorcycle learners licence this past monday, but we will be waiting till early spring to buys a couple of bikes (SWEET)

    Best Regards,
    Kevin
    Thanks Kevin! Wow are you guys are riding the Alaskan Highway in September? How's it going? That's something I very much want to do with my son when he's a bit older. Congratulations to your son on his license!

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    We woke up at a decent hour on Saturday, packed up and hit the road. It's a couple miles of washboard from Eagle Creek down to Gardiner-


    Another beautiful day! Looking south across the Yellowstone River into Yellowstone National Park-




    Gardiner, Montana, with Wyoming in the background-




    We're back in Yellowstone National Park-




    Mammoth Hot Springs!


    Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone General Store-


    Mammoth Hotsprings covers a large area and has a big variety of features!


    We began our hike from the boardwalk that begins near the Liberty Cap-


    Kristhawee at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park-


    Palette Spring-


    The Devil's Thumb!




    Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces-


    Heat loving micro-organisms called Thermophiles create many of the colors-




    The Minerva Terrace- Wow!


    Looking back the way we came-


    More colors and terraces-




    Mound Spring-


    Father and son at Mound Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park


    Mound Spring from a distance-


    In the midst of all this heat and sulfur flowers and butterflies still survive-




    Palette Spring-


    This boardwalk just keeps going and going! It's a couple miles to the Upper Terrace Loop, but it was getting hot and we weren't in the mood to walk that far.




    Kristhawee spotted some wild snap dragons- one of his favorite flowers


    Back to the bike and ready to continue exploring Yellowstone National Park-
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 3rd June 2013 at 12:20 PM.

  14. #74

    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Jesus what an epic report, and what an epic trip!!! Thanks for sharing it here.

    The smile on your son's face says it all - priceless.

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Quote Originally Posted by nikster View Post
    Jesus what an epic report, and what an epic trip!!! Thanks for sharing it here.

    The smile on your son's face says it all - priceless.
    Cheers Nikster!

    It's only July 21st and we're only about a third of the way there!

    Still have 5 States, 4000+ miles and 5 weeks to go!

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    From Mammoth Hot Springs we motor south on the Grand Loop Road in the direction of Old Faithful.


    Still not sure what this sign was supposed to indicate...


    We have friends from Minnesota who are on their way to Glacier National Park and are going to spend tonight in Yellowstone at the Grant Village Campground. We make plans to meet them for dinner at their campground. After the experience at Bridge Bay I'm not keen to spend another night in a Xanterra corporate camp, so we're aiming for Lewis Lake which is only ~15 minutes south of Grant Village.


    It's only ~75 miles from Mammoth Hot Springs to Lewis Lake, but it's slow going on the Grand Loop Road, with a few wildlife induced traffic jams, slow RV's struggling up steep grades and other nonsense. These roads would be awesome in the off season, but today we just potter along in traffic. That's ok- the views are awesome!


    I think this is Gibbon Falls-


    Despite the traffic it's a pleasant ride, perfect weather, and we pass some great scenery.


    While there is so much to see we don't stop as Lewis Lake is first come first serve and I worry about us finding a spot to camp if we arrive late in the day.

    Damn RV blockin my line


    We reach Madison Junction in good time-


    The road follows the beautiful Firehole River-


    We pass the Midway Geyser Basin and Grand Prismatic Spring- one could easily spend a month in Yellowstone and still not see everything. Still I like to think that we hit most of the top spots.


    Caught a glimpse of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake as we approached Grant Village-


    Yellowstone National Park connects to Grand Teton National Park to the south and Jackson Hole isn't very far away-




    We're almost at Lewis Lake when we encounter another wildlife induced traffic jam, this one caused by a big bull elk who is not shy in the least-


    The traffic slowly moves past, everyone stopping to take pictures of the mighty elk- not even the noise of these Harleys phased this critter-


    So close we could have reached over and petted him! Kristhawee was mighty impressed by this beautiful animal-


    Movin again!


    We made it to Lewis Lake!


    The Walk-In campsites were all taken, but we found a pretty decent spot in the C loop-


    While Lewis Lake didn't have the amazing views of Tower Falls campground and the sites were closer together, it had a size restriction on RV's, no hook-ups and no generators allowed- perfect!


    Little guy wants to fish!


    Let's go!
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 3rd June 2013 at 12:29 PM.

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!




    Not for lack of trying, but still no fish

    Lewis Lake Ranger Station-


    I think I mentioned earlier that Yellowstone has some pretty strict rules for would be anglers- no live bait and no barbed hooks make it tough for even the most seasoned fishermen. I was tempted to break the rules but there's no place in the park that even sells live bait... Ah well, once again, if you can't catch em, swim with em!



    Good god that was one incredibly cold lake!!!

    We got out and found a nice place in the sun to warm up and have a picnic lunch-


    Angry squirrel


    It was late afternoon and time to go find our friends who were camping at the Grant Village campground about 10 miles north of us. Lewis Lake is lovely in the late afternoon sun-


    By this time of the afternoon / early evening there's much less traffic and it was a fun little blast to Grant Village-


    This road crosses the Continental Divide several times-


    Just after the turn off to Grant Village there were a bunch of cars pulled over as there was a herd of elk just off the road-


    We jumped off the bike and had a look at these beautiful animals-


    Caught up with our friends and Kristhawee was happy to hang out with their son who is only a few months older and his little sister who is just a sweetie. I took my friend Jeremy to the General Store on the back of the Land Yacht- he'd never been on a motorcycle before. His wife wasn't too happy about it, but at least I brought him back in one piece

    They cooked up a fantastic dinner and we hung out pretty late. Kristhawee wanted to "sleep over" and there were some tears when I finally dragged him out of their tent for the short ride back to our campground. But we'd be seeing them again soon in Glacier National Park, so he had that to look forward to.

    We made plants to meet at Old Faithful bright and early the next morning in hopes of beating the crowds. Got back to our campground pretty late, brushed our teeth and I think we were asleep before our heads hit the pillows!
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 3rd June 2013 at 12:53 PM.

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    We woke up at the crack of dawn and it was flippin COLD! Kristhawee did NOT want to get out of his warm sleeping bag!


    The temp gauge on the Land Yacht was showing 46 degrees! (about 8 degrees C!)


    Ah, those heated grips and heated seats certainly helped take the edge off


    Lewis Lake was mirror smooth and beautiful in the dawn sun-


    We had the road all to ourselves at this hour and made good time-


    In the 30 miles from Lewis Lake to Old Faithful we cross the continental divide three times-


    Fantastic road at this time of the morning- some great curves around Craigs Pass-


    Arriving at Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park!
    Last edited by TonyBKK; 3rd June 2013 at 12:58 PM.

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBKK View Post
    Thanks Kevin! Wow are you guys are riding the Alaskan Highway in September? How's it going? That's something I very much want to do with my son when he's a bit older. Congratulations to your son on his license!

    We are living on the Alaskan Highway now, well at least for the last 2 weeks, and are suffering being bike-less currently. Otherwise it is going great thank you! Weathers very similar all the way up here, warm days with cold nights.

    Looking forward to the upcoming updates of your ride. Did you ride the 'going to the sun' road, following behind all those RV's but enjoying the views that road offers?

    There’s a few really, really great places to be in the world. One is on a nice day, one hour away from your house, on your way to somewhere else. That is one of the best feelings that there is. Open road and all you got is adventure in front of you

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    Re: Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!



    Quote Originally Posted by Fishenough View Post
    We are living on the Alaskan Highway now, well at least for the last 2 weeks, and are suffering being bike-less currently. Otherwise it is going great thank you! Weathers very similar all the way up here, warm days with cold nights.

    Looking forward to the upcoming updates of your ride. Did you ride the 'going to the sun' road, following behind all those RV's but enjoying the views that road offers?



    Living on the highway?! Sounds interesting- will you be spending the winter up there?

    I very much enjoy reading the Alaska ride reports on advrider and a ride to Alaska is definitely on my bucket list, but probably NOT on the Land Yacht

    Oh yes absolutely we hit the Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park.

    Amazing! But I'm getting ahead of myself

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