Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Heading to Whittier, AK

Today is my last day in Anchorage, I fly back to Chicago tonight. It’s raining today so there won’t be any riding. I was hoping to ride out to some of the places we saw on the way to Whittier yesterday, really beautiful scenery and roads.

So since today is rained out, here are some pictures from yesterday.

We found a collapsed house that we got to climb on, it was fun. I guess this one might have collapsed during the big earth quake some 40 years ago.

Seward Highway

Ice bergs in Portage Lake

Pretty chilly and windy near Portage Lake

Here is proof, the mosquitoes here are so huge they drill for oil

Portage Glacier Road

Whittier tunnel outside

Whittier tunnel inside

This is the tunnel that goes from Portage to Whittier, it costs $12 for a round trip drive though the tunnel. This is a combination tunnel it’s open in each direction on the hour for cars and it has a single rail road track running though it also.

Longest combined vehicle-railroad tunnel in North America

Longest highway tunnel in North America (13,300' or 2.5 miles).
Longest combined rail and highway use tunnel in North America.
First U.S. tunnel with jet turbine and portal fan ventilation.
First computerized regulation of both rail and highway traffic.
First tunnel designed for -40° F. and 150 mph winds.
Portal buildings designed to withstand avalanches

Kayaking Prince Williams Sound, AK

Mark and I went kayaking near Whittier, AK, it was mid 60’s and wonderful. Had a great time. I paddled the Dagger Meridian SKS, Mark paddled the VCP Nordcapp.

Getting ready to launch

Check out this form, like a pro my second time kayaking ever

At the end of the day we are still dry

Monday, May 29, 2006

Hike: Chugach State Park, AK

Today was 69 degrees and partly sunny. Mark, Comet and I took a long hike though Chugach State Park, the third largest state park in the nation. This area was declared a park in 1970, it's 500,000 acres of the Chugach Range and the entire area is within the municipality of Anchorage. With a 5,000 vertical foot rise this wilderness area is filled with wildlife including moose, wolves, brown and black bear and more.

Over looking Anchorage

Moose droppings

Mark, Comet and I

Comet going for a swim

Wet Comet

On the trail

Later on we grabbed dinner at Moose’s Tooth, a local pizza joint. So what is an Alaskan pizza you ask? There were many to choose from but a blackened halibut pizza seemed like the right choice for this Chicago girl.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Day Ride: Hatcher Pass, AK

We started the day with a hike in the woods. I brought my camera not expecting to see a moose again but what we saw was even better. A moose just gave birth to a calf probably a few hours before. COOL!

Umbilical sack coming out

Later on we took a ride stopping in Eklutna Lake, one of Mark’s favorite places to go kayaking and mountain biking in the fall.

Eklutna Lake

Then we took off toward Hatcher Pass, we couldn’t go all the way to the pass because there was a blizzard here a week ago and the pass was still closed, we got just a couple miles short of the pass. The scenery and roads were pretty amazing.

Mark and I near Hatcher Pass - Wonder Twin powers ACTIVATE!

Near Hatcher Pass we ran in to guy on a red Daytona , it was Les, one of Mark's friends, we all went to Mother Lode for dinner, sitting outside on the deck in the sunshine and 70’s temperatures.

Les and Mark

Dinner at Mother Lode on the deck

The general route for today's ride

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Moose sighting in AK

Today was an easy day of relaxing an lounging around, also it was a record breaking 74 degree in Anchorage. After Mark and I got done visiting places and people there was some time left for a much needed nap. To wake up we went on a hike in the woods behind the house with Comet, the world’s cutest dog.

That’s where I saw my first moose up close. He was about a 100 yards away and was crossing the path, then stopped, he was looking at us, then he headed back in t the woods. He was a young one and small, but still pretty big to me. I didn’t bring my camera, bummer.

The winds had started blowing pretty hard as we walked though the woods, by the time we left for dinner they were gusting pretty hard and the sky was filled with smoke. There was a wild fire just 20 miles away.

For dinner we went to Orso. The plan was to do a ride this evening and go to bike night but with the winds gusting pretty hard and me being tired and out of it, having not slept much the night before, so we decided to skip it. I washed down my cod and shrimp dinner with a glass of wine.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Back in Alaska tonight

I’ll be flying back to Anchorage, AK later on today where the high temperature for the day is 72 degrees and sunny. The upcoming week is looking sweet, sunny and in the low to mid 70’s daily. The part that I’m looking forward to is the extended daylight. Sunrise is at 4:47 AM and the sunset is at 11:08 PM.

Mark and I are planning on doing some motorcycle rides and some kayaking again, I’ll update the blog daily if something worth sharing happens.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Day Ride: Mississippi River

The group was meeting at 8AM, but since it was 2 minutes from the house I decided to get there at 8:20AM, at kickstands up. I was 5 minutes late arriving at the meeting spot because the light on the street that I live on never gave me a green, so I sat there and finally the second time around a car pulled up behind me and I got the green light. I guess the group left at 8:20AM as planned, I arrived at 8:25AM, no one was there. I was just a bit late but I was going to make up some time using my short cut.

Then on my short cut though the corn fields, there was a overturned truck blocking the road, so I rode in circles and finally found my way to familiar roads. Now I was really late.

Then half an hour later I looked down and noticed the screw was just about to fall out of my clutch shifter. I pulled right over and went looking for my tool kit, realizing I had left it in my garage on the floor, so I had to tighten the screw with my hand, and re-tighten it every 30 minutes while riding so it wouldn’t fall out. On top of that I had to stop for the bathroom first then stop for gas 100 miles later, there was no chance of catching up with the group in route so I decided that I’d probably run in to them in Galena, where they were supposed to have lunch.

I arrived in Galena at 12:05PM and rode down the main strip, I found no one. I was about to take off and do my own ride when I saw a bike pull up next to me, it was someone from the group looking for a few people that got separated from them. Apparently everyone was at Culver’s on the other side of town.

Everyone was done eating when I got there, so I ate my lunch as fast as I could and we all left following our leader Kaos back though Galena to the twisties. But there would be no riding the local roads today, we were informed that there was a triathlon going on and the roads were closed to traffic. After a re-grouping, we all headed towards Iowa to ride 52 along the Mississippi Road.

Downtown Galena, IL - where do we go now?

A short break in Iowa near the Mississippi River

We started heading toward Chicago but since I wasn’t ready to go home yet, I broke away from the group and went exploring.

I did over 400 miles today and got home at 7:40PM. Today was a perfect day for a ride, sunny and low 70’s, even though there was a 30% chance of rain, I didn’t see any clouds today that would make me think it might rain.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

My next bike a BMW ? GS???

I’ve been narrowing down my options for a dual-sport adventure bike and after checking out the Ducati Multistrada a few weeks ago, and realizing it was too tall for me, I decided that since I’ve always liked the F650GS and since it‘s such a popular bike, that was the logical choice. The plan was to buy a used one some time next year, but now the rumor is that this September BMW might be coming out with the 800cc GS bike to replace the 650 model.

Could this be my next bike? I think the 650 would be adequate for me in the dirt, but probably not on paved roads or highways, considering that I’m used to bike’s with more horse power.

I’ll be waiting to see what happens with the 800cc beemer, whether I get the 650 or the new 800, BMW is defiantly looking like it will be my next bike.

Concept bike from

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Review: Revit

Today was cold and rainy, so I decided to run a bunch of errands and since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped by Tag Motor Sports in Geneva, IL a BMW dealer, to check out the Revit line of gear.

Ladies Angel Jacket

I tried on the Angel jacket and size 36, it fit me like a glove. This is a very good looking jacket, but has no vents and only comes with a zip-in thermal liner, so it’s not very versatile.

I still can’t get over at how soft and thin the ballistic material is on the Revit line, I prefer a thicker material like my Marsee jacket or the Aerostich, better protection and stiff enough where it doesn't flap around in the wind as much.

Motion Jacket (Unisex)

The Motion jacket has all the bells and whistles, but it’s unisex, so who knows if the XS would even fit me (Tag didn't have one to try on). Maybe the shoulders would be too wide like on some of the jackets that I already have that are unisex. I tired on a size medium, it was pretty big on me, but it’s very nice, has the thermal zip-in liner, the rain liner and vents. This is one good looking jacket.

Ladies Airforce Jacket

I also tried on the Airforce jacket in light khaki color, this is a also a nice jacket, the fit was great, and it’s soft and light, has a zip-in rain liner and mesh panels. But I feel that for the hot days, my Vanson fully perforated leather jacket gives me more protection.

Still leaning towards the Olympia gear, but the Revit Motion jacket is still a maybe, since it has all the features I want and looks good.

More info can be found at

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Slimey Crud Run

Andy and Aileen met up with me at my house, 7ish AM. As always I leave one thing for the morning and that one things always delays me. This morning it was the changing of the clear shield to the dark shield on my Arai Signet helmet. Last weekend was my first experience changing shields on the Signet, since the Signet is not as tall as the Quantum or the RX7, the side pods are smaller, the opening for the helmet shield is smaller and in my opinion it’s harder to get the shield inserted and locked in to position. Jay helped me out with that all last weekend, the one side goes in fine, I just can’t get the other side in, same this morning, I’m just so used to the RX-7, which is way easier to swap shields, which is also broken right now. Finally I got the shield inserted.

We hit the road late and there was no traffic, although as always, when you’re late, you end up stopping for way more red lights then when you are not running late. The temperatures were not very cold, a surprise, since weather channel said it was 39 degrees when I woke at 6AM, it was more like the upper 40’s or more. I never even turned on my Widder west or the heated grips.

The three of us arrived at breakfast 15 minutes late, Jay showed up even later. So there were seven of us eating and talking. Bernie came for breakfast but wasn’t riding with us, so when we took off, it was Andy, Aileen and Diane’s friend Alec.

Bikes at breakfast

Rick, Diane and Jay followed behind. I led the three of us to Janesville, WI where we stopped for gas. I though we would re-group, buy Jay arrived solo at the gas station, telling us to go, that Rick and Diane would meet us up there, they already had a run in with the popo.
I lead using my trusty route which had been tested and approved, but in Edgerton we ran in to construction, after that we had to follow some really slow cruisers, and then Jay directed me to head in to New Glarus where a nasty gravel road awaited us, since 69 was under construction. We followed 39 to 78 following those same slow cruisers, stopping for a break in Blue Earth.

That’s the cool thing about Slimey Crud Run weekend, there are so many bikes out, you keep runing in to groups of them on every road, it’s awesome. And most of them are not cruisers. But we followed more slow cruisers until I pulled off on 60 talking Aileen and Alec with me, Jay and Andy took some other way up to Leland. They got there before us, 60 maybe out of the way a bit but it’s a great road, too bad we had to follow some more slow cruisers though the twisties, we turned on “C” and that was all clear all the way to Leland, and it’s also a great road.
The temperatures were in the low 70’s and I regretted having so many layers on, I had long spandex under my leather pants and it was warm, actually warm enough for my perforated pants. Needless to say, we didn’t hang out long in Leland, we took a walk though and checked out the bikes and left. We did see two other ST.Ners there, Stromgal and Zixxer, which we chatted with a bit.

Aileen and me, ladies in red and black

Pretty views

Diane and Rick would not have made it up here this quick and we suspected that they probably wouldn’t even attempt to do the whole route up to Leland, and there was no phone service up here, so we couldn’t even call and see where they were.

Aileen, Andy and Jay

Andy's beemer

We went back though Sauk City for lunch at Culver’s. Lunch was great, I got my usual turkey stacker sandwich and a vanilla milk shake to cool off. This Culver’s restaurant is the first Culver’s ever built.

Last stop of the day

But before I forget, let me mention that I went though those nice hi-speed sweepers North of Sauk City on 12, finally there was no one in front of me to slow me down, then I look in my mirror to see where the group is and I see a brown squad car on my tail. I was speeding, slightly then, but not as much as before, nothing happened. The squad car pulled up next to me and the police officer, a woman, the only occupant in the car, just gave me a long stare and sped up ahead. With hundreds of bikes speeding around in the area, they sure have a lot of opportunity’s to give up tickets, but somehow they don’t, maybe because if people got discouraged to go the nearby towns wouldn’t make all the money.

After lunch Jay took off to explore new roads and new civilizations, and I continued to lead the group, we only made one gas/break stop before we split up, I continued home arriving at 8:30PM. Today was another prefect riding day, it would have been better had I not been so overdressed. Good times and good company.

Pretty sunset over Fox River in St. Charles