After dropping our GS’s off at Motoquest in Long Beach California Rob and I spent a day hanging out on the waterfront and then at LAX waiting for an 11.55pm “red eye” flight to Anchorage Alaska. We flew first class but it wasn’t a restful flight. We arrived at 4.30am and I saw my first bear in the airport.
Outside the sun was up, last night in LAX was the last time I would see darkness for the next two weeks. We had an unusual taxi ride to Gwennie’s Old Alaska Restaurant and sat outside with an hour forty or so to wait before it opened. We met a couple of guys from the Lower 48 who also arrived early and were here to fish.
At 6.30 Gwennies opened and we dragged all our luggage inside and sat down. Interesting rustic decor, and of course my second bear.
The breakfast menu was vast but we couldn’t go past the reindeer sausages with eggs, grits and toast. The meal was huge and delicious. Who knew Rudolf would be so tasty. Grits were OK but a lashing of green tabasco sauce made all the difference. If you ever get to Anchorage go and eat here!
At 8.30am we walked across the road to Motoquest and started packing and the farkling process. Rob stuck with a GS1200 for this leg, he was also riding it to Prudhoe Bay after this jaunt. I opted for an H-D Ultra Limited returning to my HOG roots for a few days.
After loading the bikes we were able to leave our suitcases at Motoquest and we were on our way south. The weather and the views weren’t too bad to start.
but after a while some rain set it, it got cold and that on top of a couple of hours of bad sleep on the plane overnight started to take the shine off the afternoon. We turned towards the Portage Glacier to check it out but ended up heading for the Visitors Information Centre to dry off a little, warm up and regroup. There was plenty of interesting stuff and maps to look at there which helped with getting our heads around where we were.
Back out into the weather we stopped for a look and a recharge at Campbells knife shop. Interesting place with lots of memorabilia and some very nice and very expensive knives made by the brother of the guy in the shop.
From there it was only 20 miles or so to Seward and our accommodation for the night, the Seward Hotel. A fantastic “old school” hotel with really nice staff and I saw my first half of a polar bear. It had become apparent that taxidermy is big business in Alaska.
I found the front end of this bear the next day in another part of the lobby.
Alaska calls itself the “Last Frontier” so many of the buildings and towns are frontier in style. Looking at the plaques on the buildings you’ll soon discover which ones are original and which ones are nouveau-rustic.
We had a look around town and after the advice of the guy in the knife shop went into Thorne’s Showcase Lounge for a late lunch of Bucket O Butt and a beer. It’s a “thing to do” in Seward. It’s an eclectic little place for sure.
After lunch we bought a couple of team beanies to fend off the colder than expected temperatures and walked to the nearby waterfront to enjoy the view for a while.
Then it was back to the Hotel to warm up.
By late afternoon we were struggling to fend off the lack of sleep from the previous night so to keep going and despite the late lunch we went walking to look for a light dinner just to pass the time.
We happened across the Apollo Restaurant and went inside. We both ordered the soup of the day and wow! Best soup ever! The meals and pizzas that were coming out of the kitchen looked and smelled great. We agreed that it was a shame we didn’t have more room to eat a couple of courses here.
The ride: Anchorage to Seward is 127 miles, approx 200km. It seemed a lot longer on that day. It’s good quality tar sealed the whole way. There’s plenty of snow capped mountains and water to see particularly as you ride along the Cook Inlet. Portage Glacier is on the road to the Whittier Tunnel. To see the actual glacier you need to book a cruise. If you are going to ride a motorcycle through the Whittier Tunnel then do your research. It’s a one way at a time tunnel with some strict rules and some safety issues you’ll need to know about.
We had dodgy weather today and it’s worth noting that it can change fast up there between warm sunshine and cold rain with high winds. It’s undeniably a spectacular part of the world to see on a motorcycle and definitely worth a look if you are in Alaska.