Alaska Adventure Part 2: The Border Looms

Alaska Adventure Part 2: The Border Looms

Sunday was scheduled to be one of the “long days.” We hoped to reach the Redwood Coast at the Northwest corner of California, some 700 miles from Jackass Meadows. But with a frosty morning at 7,300 feet, we waited a while for the weather to warm up and got a late start.

We pushed North along the 5, a rather boring drive through the central valley of California. We enjoyed the cruise though, excited for the adventure ahead. Past Redding the 5 becomes the Cascade Wonderland Highway, weaving up and around Shasta Lake, through the Shasta National Forest. We hit this stretch of road right at dusk, resulting in a face full of gnats and other bugs. With no windscreens and open-face helmets. We became 80 mph human flyswatters. This is not the most enjoyable experience, but like most bits of uncomfort on the road: you deal with it. With the sun set, and the temperature rapidly falling, we decided to rest for the night in Ashland, Oregon. After a solid 10 hours of riding, 560 miles on the day, we were feeling the exhaustion.

We agreed early on that we would make up the adventure as we went along. By design, there are no clocks on our Triumphs. We could have stopped and camped at Shasta, but we pushed on to Oregon and found ourselves booked in a hotel and enjoying a well-deserved beer and burger. This wouldn’t be the last time on the trip we were too exhausted to camp, but as we sat there, enjoying the first beer, we realized how special of an experience this would be.

If we all got into Canada.


Due to certain legal conditions among our group, there was a very good chance we would not all be allowed entry into Canada. Nate had been in a similar situation several years ago, when the Road Trip crew had to turn back from the border due to one rider. None of us wanted Nate to be denied another trip into Canada, but we were keeping a positive attitude that we would get through.

The next morning we woke and pushed another 500 miles into Seattle. I had expected we might see our first rain in Oregon or Washington, but now on our third day of riding, we had yet to see a cloud in the sky. Early in the day we crossed 1,000 miles since leaving Long Beach. I love to put down the miles.

We arrived in Seattle in mid-afternoon. Nate had a good friend who put us up in her luxury condo for the night, even setting up our room with M&Ms and Vitamin Waters. So much for “roughing” it on this trip. While Nate hung out with the pup, Mr. Turtle got it on with my boot. There were many drinks shared, and our new friends were incredible hosts.

dog             photo(32)

Did I mention there were a few drinks? It was a rough morning for Mr. Old Fashioned, but once Nate was roused the realization set in that the next several hours would decide whether we entered Canada or were left to Plan B.

There was no Plan B.

We arrived at the border around noon. We had a short 15 minute wait and we proceeded to the guard one-by-one. Nate went first, and after a quick chat he was through and it was my turn to pull up. No joke about it: our border patrol woman was hot. It took me by surprise to find a cute blonde working the post. She asked a few questions about our trip, impressed we were heading to Alaska, and checked my passport before waving me through. I met a visibly nervous Nate about a half mile ahead pacing the sidewalk. It was a long two minutes until Fez motored around the border to meet us. Nate collapsed on the ground in excitement. We were all in Canada! The adventure was REALLY on! Shortly we would be discovering why British Columbia hails itself as the best place on Earth.



Continue Reading The Alaska Adventure

Part 3: I Love Canadia