Tag Archives: photography

Photo Links…

All of the photos from the Ride to Alaska will be posted on Smugmug and can be reached HERE!

Check ’em out and comment if you like!


Day 17 and 18 – Prudhoe Bay back to Fairbanks


Odometer: 35,109 miles
Miles today: 532 miles
Total Miles: 6,488 miles

Alaska Pipeline

Yesterday I left Prudhoe Bay about 5am intending to make it back to Wiseman to stay for the night, then on to Fairbanks on Wednesday.  The day started with its challenges.  Temperature was 36 degrees with heavy fog.  In fact, once I got started on the Haul Rd south, I couldn’t see more than about 50 yds in front of me for almost 25 miles.  A bit scary when you see the truck headlights appear out of the fog and in the center of the road… Oh well, builds character.

Haul Road Climbing Thru Atigun Pass

I was determined to get some pictures on the way down, as I took none on the way up.  By the time I got to Atigun Pass, the weather had pretty well cleared and the sun was actually shining.  The pass rises through the Brooks Range to about 4,700 feet via a very steep climb.  The pictures I took do not portray the rugged nature of the mountains here.  As I mentioned before, in several spots the guard rail was missing, indicating an accident of some type.  Apparently an area of frequent avalanches in the winter.  Ice Road Truckers and all…

The bike had no problem with the pass, easy climb – not so much for the rider  on the other side though.  I really didn’t like going downhill in that loose gravel and wet Calcium Carbonate.   Just waiting for the rear to start sliding – guess that’s an impossibility with the traction control.

The ride was becoming very pleasant – but the mosquitos smelled fresh meat – aggressive little buggers…  All of the photos were pretty rushed because of the blood suckers. Within 30 seconds of stopping,  hundreds would be buzzing around my face.  Always kept the helmet on until just before taking the picture.

Another Moose

Muskox Along the Haul Rd

I got a good shot of this guy munching on flowers next to an access road.  He wasn’t too worried about me, but he knew I was there.  The muskox gets its name from the smell emitted from male to attract females during mating season.  These guys are survivors of the ice age – the sure look prehistoric.

I had to do one self portrait proving my presence along the Haul Rd.  This was shot about 9am and the weather was truly spectacular.  I was having thoughts about continuing all the way to Fairbanks – was just having a good time.  By now, the gravel didn’t bother me too much and the roads were dry, making very good time except fro stopping for the photos.  Got to Wiseman about 11am and stopped in to see Clutch at the Gold Rush Camp.  Spent a few minutes chatting, then headed back on the road.  For a couple of hours the weather held, then it went bad – really bad.  Cold and raining for 4 hours back to Fairbanks.

It is hard to describe the character of the Haul Road when it goes from dry to wet.   The dust is gone, but replaced with the sloppy, slippery muddy mess that coats everything.  You can see the clouds building here and the road surface – I didn’t stop to take any shits of the wet stuff – too busy staying right-side-up.

Anyway, got back to Fairbanks – to Rich and Steph’s place – about 7:30pm – over 14 hours on the road.  I was cold and wet and Rich graciously offed to have me stay with them rather than finding a hotel.  I picked up a terrible cold along the way and had a miserable night fending off a sinus infection – my telltale symptom of exhaustion.

The next day I spent 48 quarters at the car wash trying to clean Sally up a bit.  I got most of the slim off, but I think the Haul Road dirt will be showing up in the oddest places over the next few years.

Tomorrow is an easy day – probably change the oil, filter and some other maintenance  and get ready to head home.  One more stop to Anchorage then back to PA!

Funding Approaches $4,000! $200 more!

As the departure date approaches, the donations appear to be increasing a bit.  We are still a long way from the $25,000 goal, but donations are coming in from all over the country including South Carolina, Michigan, Georgia and Alaska.  Slightly more than $200 in donations will get the total to $4,000, so, come on folks – get out those checkbooks and credit cards!  I still have hopes for a rush of donations during the ride with all of the radio, TV and other publicity.  My next fundraising event till be at Hermy’s BMW in Port Clinton, PA where we will have a table at the upcoming Spring Open House Saturday, May 19th, 9am-4pm. Stop in and say hello!

With about a month to go until take-off, my focus is going to be less toward fundraising and more the planning of the trip itself.  The route is pretty well set, but will be weather dependent.  I have formal commitments in Fargo and Bismarck, ND, Anchorage, Fairbanks and North Pole, AK; but, other than those, the schedule is pretty open.  I do have a few folks that I would like to see in Missoula, MT; Calgary, AB and Houston, BC; but those visits will depend on timing and ride progress.  Just hoping that folks won’t be offended if I don’t stop if timing just isn’t right or I am behind schedule.

Still have a bunch of minor unresolved issues including:

  1. Riding Clothes – BMW vs. Aerostich Riding Suit? After my last 12 hr ride in heavy rain, my opinion of the Aerostich suit that I have come to rely on dropped down a few notches.  I got pretty wet and cold – although admittedly, I wasn’t well protected with the helmet shield up.  Haven’t tested the BMW Rallye Suit in heavy rain, but might be the way to go..
  2. Electronics – Still need to work out some bugs in keeping all the electronic gear charged and functional.  More of an entertainment issue than technical, but hopefully the folks at Powerlet will help me out.  Need to keep the iPhone charged for music and communications!
  3. Photo Gear – As I have mentioned in previous posts, capturing some of the scenery in high quality digital files is one of the 2ndary or tertiary goals of the ride (adventure, fundraising, photography).  I have been working with Owen Biddle of Lansdowne, PA over the last few months to hone the image capturing skills for this trip of a lifetime.  To do it right, lots of gear is needed and I need to be sure to have it accessible, yet  protected – two diametrically opposed objectives…  Once I get this all sorted – I’ll update the list of photo equipment in the “Gear” page of the blog.  If you are looking to develop some skills in this area, I strongly suggest contacting Owen for  some one-on-one time, no matter what your level.


  4. Loading the Bike –  I still haven’t optimized the loading of the bike, although whatever I come up with will probably change as the trip gets underway.  As usual, I am taking too much stuff and may well send much of it home from the road.  Between the camping gear and the emergency maintenance stuff, seems Sally (as my daughter has named the bike) is pretty well to capacity…
  5. Helmet/Hearing Protection/Entertainment – This is not a major issue, but I still have not finalized the “system” for all of these issues.  Good hearing protection is critical for safety and comfort, but sort of eliminates the ability to have music in the helmet durring the ride.  Have tried a number of different systems, none seem to address all of the concerns.  I originally thought that the Schuberth helmet was the way to go, but, as mentioned in previous posts, not too thrilled with its performance on the last few rides.
  6. Phone cards, bear spray/bangers, cash, SOPT GPS site, GPS routes, maps, etc… are all issues that may or may not get resolved before the ride, but can be handled on the way – when needed.
  7. Work – My small environmental engineering company, TSD Environomics, Inc. allows me lots of freedom to pursue things like this ride.  However, the basis of this freedom is the understanding of most of my clients who are more or less involved in the ride and support it.  Technology allows me to coordinate from the road and short of a  few face-to-face visits, most work will continue without interruption.

Motorcycling in Alaska/Alaska Photography

For those interested in the spirit of those who ride motorcycles to and in Alaska, you really should check out the ADVRIDER.com  forum – kind of a meeting place for adventurers on 2 wheels.    My favorite is the Alaska Regional forum – lots of

Jack "Alcan Rider "

information, stories and general jabbering about riding in Alaska.  My favorite contributor is Alcan Rider and his frequent posts, always well written and frequently enhanced with great photos of the Alaska countryside.  Many of Jack’s photos were used on this blog (with permission) – great stuff…  Check out Jack’s SmugMug Photos

Interestingly, the ADVRIDER site is hosted by the same folks who developed and manage smugmug.com – millions of great photos.

If you get the chance, turn off the TV, grab a beer and sit down and poke around this site with its forum and photos – pretty neat.