Alaska Adventure Part 7: The Long Ride Home

Alaska Adventure Part 7: The Long Ride Home

Throughout the trip we had run a day or so behind schedule. This actually worked in our favor, catching the ferry out of Prince Rupert, but now we found ourselves in a bind: The only way we could get home in time was to ride the length of Victoria Island as soon as the ferry unloaded us. We would have to ride in the freezing dead of night for 300 miles. Not every day or riding could be clear and perfect. Time to man the fuck up and earn our adventure.

I was not as concerned about the exhaustion or the cold, pain is just a bit of discomfort. What I was most concerned about is the report of moose and deer along Highway 19 that goes through Victoria Island. All through the trip we had been warned by locals about riding at night, and up until this point we had avoided it. Now we had no choice.

We put on every item of clothing we had and disembarked around 11:00PM. While the other bikers and autos pulled into their hotels, we rode on into the deep, cold, blackness. For the first 100 miles or so we settled in and got used to the cold. It was not until the first fuel stop I could see the exhaustion taking its toll on Nate and Fez. Nate was quiet, sort of mumbling to himself and, Fez’s eyes puffed up like pink marshmallows.

I kept an eye on our riding, but after we got back on the road I began to see the deer. Little green eyes that appeared on the side of the road like tracer beams. I must have spotted 30 sets of eyes over the next 100 miles. Each one scared the shit out of me. I kept pictured them jumping into the road confused by our presence. Luckily, they mostly just held still. During our next stop I asked Nate: “Wow those deer were really freaking me out” to which Nate replied “What deer?”

We arrived in Victoria just before 5AM beyond exhausted – we had rode through the night and the sky was already starting to lighten up. We planned to catch the ferry at 9AM over to Washington, so we unrolled our sleeping bags and slept on the steps of the ferry building. I am sure we got a few interesting looks from folks out getting their morning coffee, as Nate snored like a chainsaw.

Now awake, we ate some breakfast and got in line for the ferry to the US. Another Triumph pulled up to us in the cue and started up a conversation. Surprised to hear we were coming from Alaska, we asked “Hey do you know those BA Moto guys?” Turns out this rider was a follower of our club. Meeting friends like this on the road is another great reason to ride. It is also another reason I love Triumph’s. I can’t tell you how often hear “What year is that Triumph?” or “I had one of those in the seventies.” Although I often ride my bike to escape society, it also brings me closer.

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Safely back in the US, we had newfound energy and a warm sun at our backs. The good weather was short-lived though, as we hit the first rainstorm of our entire trip while traveling through Washington and Oregon. We donned our rain gear and continued riding, making it 500 miles before stopping to camp for the night. We realized we had traveled over 800 miles in the previous 24 hours, most of it in freezing cold or pouring rain. Adventure earned.

The next day was a pretty straight ride down the 5 to San Francisco. We woke up to more rain, but throughout the afternoon the weather cleared and we were able to enjoy the final leg through California to San Francisco. By this time 500 miles was an average day for us, and we would not even start getting cranky or tired until 400. Fez, who was the most inexperienced rider of the three of us, kicked ass the entire trip. Like I said in a previous post, any rider who wants to subject themselves to a ride of this magnitude is solid in my book.

We rode into San Francisco with minds full of stories, and hearts full of adventure. The return trip home was a worthy penance for the beautiful weather we had on the trip up. I phoned my Mom and Emily to alert them of our arrival at Zeitgeist for a welcome home beer.

My bike clicked over 40,000 miles on the ride from Zeitgeist to my apartment. Over the course of 10 days and 4,000 miles our bikes never gave us any worry. In the coming weeks after our trip, our story and pictures would be featured on Triumph’s web site along with Bike Exif. Although I ride for myself, I hope sharing our ride inspires others to get out and adventure. Sitting around my apartment on our final night together, Nate, Fez, and I only had one thought on our minds: “Where to next?”

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