On the road again! The waiting is over, finally we are back in one of the most exciting states of the US: Alaska!
Our first riding day lead us to the south of Anchorage, to the gorgeous Kenai Peninsula. After a cloudy morning, the sky cleared up in time for us to see the high peaks surrounding Turnagain Arm. Our first stop was the Wildlife Conservation Center, where we got our mandatory fotos of Grizzly bears, moose and many more.
In the early afternoon we reached Seward, the southernmost point on this motorcycle tour.
Of course we continued to the nearby Kenai Fjords National Park, before we eventually pulled into our beautiful hotel in Girdwood.
On our second day we left Girdwood passing Anchorage again going North. We stopped to visit the one and only and biggest Musk Ox Farm in the whole wide world and had a lovely and very informative tour on those majestic animals and the warmest fiber on the planet - their winterfur. Afterwards we stopped at the Hatcher Pass Lodge for a delicious lunch before we took on a sweet section of gravel road going west, the Hatcher Pass. Amazing views of the typical Alaskan landscape right outside of Anchorage. Finally we pulled into our hotel for the night in Talkeetna. The core downtown area is on the register of National Historic Places, with buildings dating from the early 1900s. Talkeetna is the base for expeditions to Denali and the Denali National Park for many hikers and climbers.
Talkeetna is a picture-perfect Wild West and gold rush town, just the right place to have a day off and enjoy the Denali Mountain range unfolding in front of our hotel. This small village with around 900 inhabitants is situated at the confluence of the Susitna, Chulitna and Talkeetna rivers. When in 1892 gold was found at the bottom of the Susitna River gold prospectors came into the region and in 1915 US Presidnet Woodrow Wilson chose Talkeetna as the headquarters for the construction of the Alaska Railroad.
After two days of hoping to see North America's highest mountain, we were eventually lucky this morning: Denali rose into the dark blue sky - what an incredible sight!
We got on our bikes and headed straight for the surrounding Denali National Park. By the time we got there, "The High One" was already starting to disappear in the clouds again. But the N.P. is worth visiting anyway, the scenery is marvelous even without Denali!
Afterwards we tried some Reindeer Hot Dogs before we carried on towards Fairbanks. We stopped one more time, in Nenana, where the Golden Spoke was set in 1923 to celebrate the completion of the railroad from Seward to Fairbanks.
Fairbanks was also our destination for today, the northernmost point of our fascinating motorcycle tour through Alaska!
Before we left Fairbanks we wanted to see a bit more of the 2nd biggest city in Alaska so we stopped at the Golden Heart Plaza right in the center. Blue sky and sunshine made our walk even more enjoyable! Afterwards we stopped at the Fountainhead Automobile Museum and let me tell you this: You just wouldn't expect a collection of cars like this anywhere and not at all all the way up north in Fairbanks. What an incredible place to see. Then we visited Santa Clause at the North Pole or better in North Pole, Alaska. John was way too excited to get his picture taken with Santa Clause himself! We then hopped on the bikes again and made our way to see the Alaska Pipeline and the Terminus of the Alcan Highway, the Alaska-Canada road that was built in 1942 and is 1387 miles long. We then arrived safe and sound in Tok. What a great day with plenty of sights!
Last night was remarkable: many of us noted that there was absolutely no noise at all. No traffic, no birds, no noisy neighbors...maybe that's what you get when you sleep in a cosy wooden cabin somewhere in Alaska!
But as soon as the fresh morning air had warmed up a little, we were on our way again. We rode along the largest National Park in the US, Wrangell-St. Elias - beautiful snow-capped mountains all along the horizon!
For lunch in Glennallen you don't have too many options - see foto
Our destination today was Valdez, beautifully located on the shore of the Prince William Sound.
It's just about time for dinner now, and tomorrow we are looking forward to a special highlight: a cruise to the Columbia Glacier!
There are many things that you can do in Valdez - but if you have the opportunity, you should definitely do the cruise to the Columbia Glacier!
We departed at 10:30 in the morning and started to explore the Prince William Sound. After passing the terminal of the Alaska Pipeline, we started watching for wildlife...and we found: sea otters, seals, bald eagles, puffins,...
But the absolute highlight on the cruise, and also of this adventure tour, was the view of the Columbia Glacier. The ice shimmers in all colors of blue and white, rising more than 300 ft out of the icy waters. An absolute once-in-a-lifetime experience!
There is only one road going into Valdez so we have to take it on the way out as well. But! This is one of the rides that makes you appreciate an in-and-out riding for sure! Leaving Valdez, coming through the Keystone Canyon with its beautiful waterfalls, climbing up to Thomson Pass and seeing the amazing countryside - the mountains and valleys, trees and rivers from a different perspective is just breathtaking! In Glennallen we headed West going to Lake Louise for scenic coffee stop right at the lake shore. Going further into the Matanuska River valley we arrived at our hotel for the night, out of town in the middle of nowhere. Little cabins in the Alaskan wilderness again and a Strawberry-Rhubarb-Pie to die for, another amazing day on this trip.
The final riding day, as usual time went by much too fast!
We left our wonderful lodge high above the Matanuska glacier in the morning, the temperature still on the cool side. But the views and the curvy road made up for it.
As soon as we got closer to Anchorage, the temperature rose and even the sun came out!
The last stops on our motorcycle adventure were the museum of the famous Iditarod sled dog race and of course Anchorage downtown.
And then we had to return our motorcycles, another wonderful tour was over - as usual with new friends and lots of new impressions of a wonderful country/state! Alaska - what a remarkable place!