Wednesday, September 15, 2010


While we were away, after we passed through Vancouver, BC, we visited a few ports in Alaska, along the Inside Passage.  Naturally, I had to keep an eye out for motorbikes of all types, plus things related. 

I saw a few.  Let me tell you a little bit.

Juneau is the capital of the state, so you might expect that it has a motorcycle dealer.  It does.  Taku Harley-Davidson.  They weren't open when I went by there, but I looked in the windows.  They had about six bikes of various types on display.

OK, now a quiz.  What is so different about Juneau, related to motorcycles and riding?

One thing is that you can't get there from here.  At least, you can't drive there on land from anywhere else.  You have to take a ferry if you want your ride to be there with you.

The other thing is that even through the area of Juneau borough (county) is larger than that of Rhode Island and Delaware individually and almost as large as the two states combined, there are only about fifty miles of roads in Juneau.  It wouldn't take long to have explored all of them.  I think I'd be bored, even though I am not exactly a long-distance rider. Most of us ride fifty miles in a brief jaunt. 

There are some other cool (sorry) things to see in Juneau.  One of them is Mendenhall Glacier.  You can walk to a quite-close view of Nugget Falls (barely visible on the right), and get fairly close to the terminus of the glacier (center, across the water).

Here is a closer view with some people visible, so you can get an idea of the scale. 

While walking around back in town, I spotted this 1986 veteran. It still has air in the tires, so it may be in use, though it was very rusty. 

There were a few other bikes about, including a pair of squids on sportbikes with loud mufflers.  My picture of them turned out blurry, not because they were going so fast, but because of my faulty exposure setting.  At any rate, they seemed to particularly enjoy revving their engines in the narrow streets to hear their own echoes.  Otherwise, the mix of bikes I saw seemed to be about two thirds sporty bikes.

Another topic that I can't avoid, and one that is dear to my heart -- er, stomach, was this salmon dinner cooked and served outdoors. Yummy.  The cornbread, something I usually don't care for, was light and very tasty, and the salmon was flavorful. I had my fill, you can be sure.  (It was exercise for me -- once I got home.) 

Moving on to Skagway, we saw the Harley-Davidson dealer there, but it was just a clothing and souvenir shop.  If you want to buy a bike, you have to go elsewhere.

Here is another pretty sight, a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria. 

There is some great scenery through here on the Klondike Highway running north.  There are no other roads out of town, so this place is also quite isolated, though not as much as Juneau.  


Here is another way to travel, the White Pass & Yukon Route narrow gage passenger train. We took a bus up to Frasier, and the train back to Skagway.  Both were very enjoyable. 

In Ketchikan, there was a dilemma.  We had the opportunity to take a kayak tour, or ride Harleys.  I would like to have done both, but they were scheduled at the same time.

See the sign beckoning us from the dock?  Click on the photo to see it better. Temptation was running rampant. 

You can rent a Harley Sportster for $90 per hour with a two hour minimum, or take a 3-1/2 hour guided tour for $268.

Decisions, decisions. 

Here is mine.

Yep.  I took to the sea for a few hours.

I have never ridden another motorcycle besides mine, and anyway, I don't think they had all the gear I have made it a practice of wearing when riding.

So I went for the Southeast Exposure kayak tour of the Tatoosh Islands.  We took a launch to a beach where we transferred into the 2-man kayaks, got some instruction, then paddled about for almost two hours. The islands we were near are at Pushpin "A" on the map. 

View Larger Map

The place was thick with bald eagles, and we saw some other wildlife, too.  It was downright hot out on the water, but was quite enjoyable. Since I am not a swimmer, it was good that the water was calm. Our guide Eugene was a college graduate and answered our questions very thoroughly. 

Maybe I'll rent a bike the next time through -- though I might be 80 years old by that time. 

Oh, one more thing.  On the way to the kayaks, I was momentarily confused about the signs on this building we were to use if we needed it. 

I figured it out in time to avoid trouble.

Here is a view from this ship we traveled on.  There were great views of the scenery in almost every direction. 

Well, that's it for the west coast trip.  We made it back safely and I have ridden to some interesting places around home since then.  I'll keep you posted.  



1 comment:

Richard said...

Good pictures of Juneau. The option you have with Juneau is the "fast ferry". It is only about 3 hours to Skagway or Haines. You just need to find somewhere to leave your bike and you're back on the road system...

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