Alaska july 08

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Following Blog is for friends, fellow travellers, people in the UK / Europe looking for inspiration and anyone else bored with life.

Alaska - not sure why, but I like it.

Where to start - Anchorage? Flew out from Glasgow with FlyGlobespan - good value at 312GBP for one way ticket to Vancouver. Alaska Airlines up to Anchorage. Got my US Visa stamped for 6months on leaving Vancouver. Slightly confusing, as part of Vancouver airport is US territory (even though Vancouver is in Canada).

Canada - Yukon and BC

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Onwards to Canada - Yukon Territory and British Columbia. Entered Canada via the Top of the World Highway. 40 miles are gravel on the Alaska side, but a great road none the less. Its narrow and twisting, with only a few RV's and bikes for company. The Canadian border / customs post is kind of strange - right up in the mountains all by itself. On the Canada side the road runs along a ridge with great views down over the hilltops on either side. The lanscape here is more rounded - not quite as rugged like Alaska.

The Lower 48

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The Lower 48 - that what people in Alaska call the rest of the USA. For me thats Washington, Oregon and California.

The geatest thing so far is seeing things change as I head south. Obviously the weather or rather the temperature, but also the landscape, the people (yes the people), the prices (gas and food is noticably cheaper here) and vehicle licence plates. Its much warmer now - 104F (apparently) in the valley coming down from Mount Hood - thats 40 deg C. Not sure which is preferable - riding in the cold or riding in the heat. At least in the cold you just add more layers.

Mexico Baja California

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Mexico - this is how it happens. You are cruising down highway one south of San Diego which is a three lane freeway. In front is a Chevy pick up truck with a California licence plate. The overhead sign reads - Border Crossing Ahead. The truck slows down as do you, almost to a standstill. You cross a speed hump in the road and a set of metal protrusions with accompanying sign - Do Not Reverse. And then you are in downtown Tijuana. Yes really!! That cant be right - but for me it was very much reality.


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The ferry to Topolobampo was extremely unextrordinary. Just like every other ferry that Ive ever been on. It had a bar for the truck drivers, a television lounge for those wanting to sleep and a restaurant for those in need of a taco. Its now very hot. Leaving Los Mochis the next morning at 7am its 26degC, at 11am its 35degC. By the middle of the afternoon its starting to get uncomfortable. Not unbearable, but certainly uncomfortable. I fear it will be like this for the forseeable future. The only respite that I can find is to ride the bike.

Costa Rica and Panama

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I had a good feeling about Costa Rica. I had heard good things from several people. However I guess first impressions count for a lot - the fact that I was holed up in the customs office at the entry point waiting for the afternoon thunderstorm to abate didnt bode well. Eventually, after about an hour, it was a case of getting the waterproofs on and getting after it. Rain would prevail in Costa Rica - it is the rainy season and I guess you dont get tropical rain forest without some rain. And there is a lot of rain forest in Costa Rica.


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South America, Colombia, Bogota. Saturday 11th October - I've been here two days now and am at the airport collecting my bike. Its here - exactly as I left it in Panama. Copa Airlines use a handling agent so I have to part with some cash to cover their input (about 70,000pesos - less than 20GBP). They direct me to the customs office for some form filling - but no charge for my Temporary Import Licence. Whats even better, I do the whole process myself - no fixer required. The only way out of the warehouse is via the loading dock - no problem.


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I'm not sure what to make of Equador - but straight away I get the impression that it will be good value for money. There is no entry charge at the border - one of the few countries that I have entered for free. While waiting for customs clearance I grab lunch in a restaurant. Soup, main course, fruit juice and a banana all for $2USD. My first night hotel is $10 - its a nice clean modern property with ensuite, cable TV and secure parking for the bike. Petrol - $1.48 per gallon. I fill the bike with 204miles on the clock for a total of $5. Thats over 60mpg.


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Peru - I cross the border into Peru late Saturday afternoon. I was going to hold off until Sunday, but had a feeling that the customs office could be closed with a subsequent delay. Crossing into Peru was the easiest border yet. Really logical and straight forward. At 4pm I'm in Peru. Unfortunately the usual horde of money changers and market stalls were absent - so no money and no map either. The lack of map wasn't a problem - essentially there's only one road - to Piura. I got some money en-route, so thankfully could fill up with petrol (a slight worry).


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Chile. It fascinates me that two countries next to one another can be so different. With no prior knowledge of Chile I expected it to be like Peru - but its not. Things are proper in Chile, just like back home. Chile has proper houses - made from proper bricks. Chile has proper taxis - not pedellos, motorised tricycles or Daewoo Tico's. And most of all - in Chile people drive properly, with courtesy and indicators. Chile feels relaxed and laid back. Its really peaceful compared with more northern countries (dare I say Peru).