Sunday, May 19, 2013

Uraling in Alaska - Day 41: Valdez to Wasilla: Riding the Glenn Highway with a fellow ADV Rider

Dawn broke here in Valdez, and we woke to almost cloudless blue skies and bright sunlight.  Temperatures in the low 30s but with little wind, made for optimal Alaskan riding conditions, albeit too good to test whether the new coil will be affected by rain or not.  Oh well, can't have it all I guess.

Dawn in the Valdez Small Boat Harbor

As the forecast proved correct, Brad and I ate a leisurely breakfast at the Downtown B&B Inn and then geared up and left at 0730 AM, destination: The Glenn Highway, with Anchorage being somewhat the objective.

Here's Brad, fellow ADV Rider from Washington, Horizon Airline Pilot,
also on a long Alaskan Ride/Vacation.

Brad's KLR 650 led the way out of town, but we shortly ended up hop scotching positions as both of us looked for spots for pictures with our respective motorcycles.

 Last views of the mountains, part of the Chugach Range, outside of Valdez

 Brad and his KLR 650, looking back towards Valdez

 Horsetail Falls

 Softly lit mountain peaks visible from the Richardson Highway
as we headed towards Glennallen

We soon arrived at the top of Thompson Pass, all snow-clad due to recent snows, but the road across it was clear and dry, mostly.  

 Brad parked his motorcycle a bit too far into the snow, but it
was easy to get back out, once we took pictures of course.

 Looking north on Thompson Pass

Looking south on Thompson Pass

After coming down from Thompson Pass, Brad explored the road into Worthington Glacier but found it covered in ice and impassable.  Upon his return to the highway, his engine was running roughly.  It seems that his carburetor floats are perhaps sticking, causing fuel delivery issues.  After waiting a bit, and draining the bowl twice, the bike starting running well again.  We added some Heet (water remover fuel additive) and some Marvel Mystery Oil (another fuel additive that cleans/lubricates carburetor parts as part of its functions).

We motored on but sometime soon afterwards, it was my turn at some bad luck.  I felt the pusher tire start to wiggle on me and as I started to slow down, it went flat on me!  I got her slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road.

Sighing just a little bit, I got to work on replacing the flat tire with the spare tire on Valencia's trunk.  Conditions were optimal in terms of location, equipment, weather and the operation took perhaps 30 minutes.

Rejoined by Brad, we continued motoring onwards, both of us basically now escorting the other due to our respective issues of the day.  Glennallen came and went, after tanking up and warming up with some coffee, we set out towards Eureka.

Soon after Eureka, we got to the really scenic portion of the Glenn Highway.  The mountains were snow-covered and looked gorgeous against the bright blue skies we were riding under.  Our travel rate/speed was affected as we stopped for pictures often.  Such a beautiful highway when the weather is nice, it should be on every rider's list to do some day.  I've been privileged to ride it twice under good conditions, a bit brisk but good.

 Pictures along the Glenn Highway

 Near Glacier View, vicinity of Matanuska Glacier

I think we both, by the time we reached the vicinity of Palmer, both quite mountained-out in terms of such scenery.  Still, it was such a great day for riding this highway and for taking pictures,  I hope you like the pictures.

Brad and I parted company at the junction of the road to Hatcher Pass and Alaska Highway 1.  He was headed on towards Anchorage and points south and I was headed to Wasilla.

I pulled into Wasilla around 5:00 PM or so, no real issues on Valencia but I did have to do a minor adjustment on the clutch cable to tighten it a bit, no big deal.  Valencia did great today, but then again, it wasn't raining.  The forecast for the next few day is for sun and warm temperatures, so further testing will have to wait.

In Palmer, AK

Maintenance day tomorrow, got to fix the inner tube on what started as the pusher tire this morning and figure out what's causing these blowouts as I didn't find any puncture evidence on the tire itself.

Next ride?  I am thinking a ride down to Whittier for the day, see what there is to see.


Unknown said...


so glad that your ride was uneventful, except of course for the excellent snow covered mountain photos. It was nice to have the security of another rider today

Hope the weather hold out for the rest of your trip. With Sunny and rain free days, of course . . .

Riding the Wet Coast

Unknown said...

I wish I wasn't already committed to other things tomorrow else I would join you thru the tunnel to Whittier. Hopefully you can get all the issues solved soon.

GlennandSun said...

Fine day, happy for the return of a healthy and happy engine on Valencia. This being your second flat, I was wondering too of the causes, and where on the tube the air is getting out, are these blow outs from the tube bursting....or just holes you can patch?
The photos are magnificent! Looks like you have the road more or less to yourselves, this time of year. GlennandSun

redlegsrides said...

Hi Bob, don't know if I'd call a ride with carburetor issues on one bike and a flat tire on the other uneventful but yeah, it was a good day of riding.

SonjaM said...

Brilliant and spectacular. This is how I remember the area. Thanks for rekindling my memories. I hope your further journey will be uneventful in terms of motorcycle related issues.

Chris said...

Check your rim strips. The ural ones like to wiggle away and then the spoke nipples puncture the tube from the inside.

Canajun said...

As usual, some great pictures. Looks like absolutely beautiful country when it's sunny.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Sonja, me too.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Chris, will do, any better alternatives?

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Canajun, it truly is beautiful here in places, but am now thinking, not enough roads.

RichardM said...

More beautiful photos and I especially like the first one of the small boat harbor. I just talked to a chaplain who just got back riding to Homer, Seward and Valdez and mentioned that they got a lot of snow at Paxson which is the eastern end of the Denali Hwy. He also got to ride 35 miles on the Denali Park road.

VStar Lady said...

More beautiful scenery - thanks for sharing. Fortunately you were able to replace the flat and continue on the ride.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Photo's. Truely inspiring.
Hope the remainder of your ride is mechanically sound and safe one.


redlegsrides said...

RichardM, looks like the Denali Highway will have to wait till the next time I am riding in the Alaska....who knows when that will be...

VStar Lady, thanks for the visit, the swap of the tires went very smoothly I must say.

Cliff, thanks for the well wishes and the visit.