The Great Northern Golden Triangle: The Ogre Pulls Off Another One

After getting mentally and physically prepped for the last couple of weeks, I awake one Monday morning and decide that leaving several days early on a ride of the North’s “Golden Triangle” is in order. My boss and co-workers seem to have no issue with the notion, and off I go to take care of last minute details at home.

Some folk’s call the ride in question the ”Alaska Golden Triangle”, which is a misconception since most of the ride occurs in Canada’s Yukon Territory. The route however, starts in Alaska, crosses British Columbia, traverses about 180 miles of the Yukon’s mighty interior, crosses back into B.C., and finally ending in Alaska at Skaguay. The first few miles and the entirety of my first day pedaling consist of the Chilkat and Klehini River corridors through the beautiful Chilkat Valley, ending at the Canadian/ U.S. border and the beginning of the climb up to Haines Summit, more locally known as Chilkat Pass. This Pass separates the interior of Northern B.C. and the Yukon from the coastal and heavily glaciated Chilkat Mountains and Alaska’s ice capped Coast Range, of which temperate and maritime systems exist at their feet. It is in this coastal region that Haines, and my home exist.

Going to bed a bit late and waking casually, I dress in my normal bicycle traveler garb consisting of loose fitting nylon pants, t-shirt, Loose fitting long-sleeve shirt, and lace up cross training footwear. Onto the Ogre, I spin into town to meet with Angela and grab some coffee and breakfast before commencing to the endless highway.

After a casual time at Sarah J’s eatery in Haines, I say goodbye to Angela and begin the flat and pleasant cruise up the highway in hopes of finding a good camp near the border. Hours later, a faint path appears on the river side of the road leading through the Alder thickets and ends abruptly on the Cotton Grass flats above the Klehini River. A great camp with views of the Saksaia Glacier and fine and tasty drinking water direct from the river has me smiling on this first evening of the trip.

Many bicycle travelers it seem have a burning desire, especially in the northern tier, to seek out camping in “official” and pay campgrounds where other people gather. To my thinking, this never really made any sense, not here in the northern wilderness, where some of the best and most plentiful free range camping are to be had for the taking. Why pay to sleep when one can create their own world wherever one wishes? Many claim it is their fear of Bears. After spending more nights out in the Alaskan and Yukon bush than I can count, I believe that the Bears have far more to fear from Humans than the contrary. Of course extreme occurrences can happen, but being smart about the way one camps greatly diminishes these chances. In fact, I believe that having Bear problems are increased in public camping areas where Bears may be conditioned to Humans and their glorious trash. As far as the social thing is concerned, well, to each there own. Camping alone in these wild places allows me breathing room and a purposeful reflection towards the natural world and creates in me a great and humbling respect for it. This is where I can watch the river flow and the Falcon soar; hear the wind blow and smell the sweetness of the North in the air unencumbered by a Human world that tends to feel dominance toward all I see before me. That said, loneliness could from time to time drop in for an unexpected visit. But not tonight.

The morning sees rain pattering the rain fly of the tent and I must say I dread it, since today is a big climb up to Chilkat Pass, where I am hoping to spend more than a day hiking and bagging a peak or two if the weather cooperates, But, cooperating it is not and I pack up my little world and spin the mile up the road to the Canadian Customs gate and soon I am climbing upward into the big grind known as “Marinka’s Hill”, the primary climb up to the pass. The rain shows no sign of letting up and I don rain gear and continue, sweating as much on the inside of the clothing as the rain on the opposite. As the storm intensifies, I realize there will be no hanging around and leisurely climbing mountains, but instead, waiting the fury out tent bound. Just past Three Guardsmen Lake, in a low hollow just before the main summit, I pitch my tent and dive in. For the next 18 hours I read, eat, drink a beer or two, and sleep. The following morning the rain is continuing, but I must go on and the tent is put away wet and the pedaling continues. At the pass proper, the rain stops, clouds open, and glorious sunshine reveals itself, if only for a few minutes. Then it begins again. But heavier this time. Soon torrential downfalls of drops appear, and for a moment, even the roadway ahead is barely visible to my eyes. Although a part of the journey, especially in the North, rain can make the difference between pure suffering and pure bliss on a bicycle voyage.

Later, after the rain lets up, I cross the Yukon’s Takhanne River and set up a pleasant camp next to the water and bathe my foul clothing and myself. Snacking on my supper that evening, I watch a Hawk harass the Swallows at the entrance to their mud nests burrowed deep into the ancient riverbank. Clouds gather and then part again while the sun peeks in to cast great and colorful splashes of yellow and orange against the rocky mountainsides before me. Patches of deep blue sky swirl around the sun/cloud union like a predator in pursuit. At midnight, a Loon cries out from somewhere nearby, and the only thing stirring now is the soft and occasional breeze gently touching the tops of the Spruce and Aspen stands situated nearby camp.

To my ears, the call of the Loon is one of the most enjoyable and haunting sounds coming from the forest and lakes. It is nearly as engaging as the sound of the Wolf howling in the dark of night. And as I pedaled the next morning up a monstrous Yukon hill, one of the biggest of the trip, the Loons were creating a symphony of joyous monotony pushing me upward and over that mound and deeper into the great Yukon interior I love so much. I meet a 64 year old French man on a decrepit bicycle, heavily loaded and carrying an axe for which to chop twigs for his home made hobo stove. He has spent a great deal of his life traveling by bicycle in various parts of the planet, and travel in these parts is not alien to him. Later in the day, I take a side trip to the ancient native village of Klukshu. A side trip of about a half mile leads to the small but Salmon heavy Klukshu River, where native people have been harvesting Chinook, Sockeye, and Coho Salmon for millennia. I arrive at the bank of the tiny river; a Sockeye splashes about as it sees me, there is not a soul around but the fish and myself, lest a Bear hidden in the forest nearby. The village is deserted. There is something going on here that is unexplainable; there is an ancient sensation that I am somehow connected to that feels both like sadness and deep connected love. The air feels thick with history and community. Tears swell my eyes as I sit next to the river; this strange place I have never been feels like home. It is strange indeed. If there is such a thing as past lives, then I’m certain I was a Native North American. I pedal onward and past the equally haunting and beautiful Kathleen Lake and the beginning of the colorful and rugged Kluane Range, forefront to the overwhelmingly enormous St Elias Range and Mt Logan. Home to the second tallest peak in North America and some of the biggest and expansive ice fields and glaciers on Earth. The Yukon is a mind-blowing place indeed. Soon I am rolling into Haines Junction for a meal and some re-supply on food and luxuries.

Now I am into the thick of things. The Alaska Highway is traffic heavy compared to the mellow Haines Highway, where trucks shipping supplies from Canada to Alaska whiz by at maximum speed and clueless tourons barely in control of bloated recreational homes-on-wheels as big as my house meander down the pavement, gawking at the scenery and not watching the road, too lazy or disinterested to actually stop and explore beyond their steering wheel, most of these southern travelers never really see much at all.

The pedaling is flat and windless; miles fly by. The Ogre slithers along in silence. The endless boreal forest of the interior swallows me up and I am one with it. Arctic Ground Squirrels scurry in and out of the roadway as if attempting to throw themselves under passing vehicles. I often hear bicycle travelers complain about the sometimes endless and monotonous stretches of Alaska and the Yukon’s boreal timberland, saying that it is a dread to ride through it. Beats riding through most anywhere down south if you ask me. I connect with this forest; to me, this boreal play land is an endless supply of tranquility, animals, lakes, rivers, muskeg, swamp, taiga, streams, and beauty. There is a living breathing force here that cannot be ignored. To me, there is nothing monotonous about it. Riding through endless highway traffic and Human civilization is monotonous, dangerous, and disturbing-nowhere to camp either.

The climate and terrain is changing rapidly from a wet mountain environment, to an almost desert like boreal landscape that reminds me somewhat of western Colorado. A several mile gravel section of road appears near the Native village of Champagne, and I unknowingly watch as the last stream goes past and some 25 miles later, I am running low on water. At the 61 mile mark for the day, I emerge on the banks of Stoney Creek; a crystal clear mountain stream perfect for both drinking and bathing, and with an endless supply of ripened Raspberries growing adjacent to it’s flanks. I call this lovely place home for the evening and settle in with a sizeable grin adoring my mug, all the while snacking on raspberries for dessert.

In Whitehorse, I’m tossed into a world I have not seen in a long time. Since moving to Haines nearly three years ago, I have not left at all, except to go see an orthopedic last year when I broke my ankle at work. Haines is a quiet little Alaskan town; very little commotion at all. Whitehorse on the other hand, although quite tame by modern city standards, was abrupt, fast, and in my face a bit. I actually like Whitehorse. It is a small city of about 40,000 souls, with tons of mountain bike and hiking trails, the glorious Yukon River, and surrounded by endless wilderness. But on this day, to me here and now, I just wanted to get through it and back to my forest. Pedaling through town finds me along the Yukon River and past the hydro power dam and on the shores of Schwatka Lake, a Human made reservoir with float planes and powerboats here and there, but still a beautiful and serene place to be camped. That night, I awake about 1:00 am and noticed the first star in the northern sky since late April. Summer is slowly closing down and the days are getting a hair shorter each cycle. Before you know it, there will be some of the white stuff back on the ground, the tourists will be back in Florida, Texas and all parts south, and the Bears will be heading to their high country denning grounds to await the next round of Salmon entering the rivers in May.

Heading south on the Klondike Highway in the morning, I pedal all the way to Spirit Lake and devour a breakfast there before spinning down into Carcross (Caribou Crossing) and the beginning of what is known as the “southern lakes region” of the Yukon. In this part of the Province, there are many, many extremely long, deep, cold water lakes; meltwater remnants of the massive glaciers that covered this part of the Yukon a millennia ago. These lakes are a thing of beauty to say the least. Encased in wilderness, and rising from them mighty mountain ranges so remote, few have seen their endless and omnipotent shores outside of a powerboat. Soon, I can see the coastal mountains rising from the horizon and the beginnings of small yet prominent glaciers adorning their sides. The road now traverses the Windy Arm of Tagish Lake and around the bulk of Tutshi Lake, where this highway begins to tilt upward a bit, and the Yukon/B.C. border comes and goes. More climbing in the distance I can see, for White Pass is ahead, separating Canada from Alaska and the end of my Journey at Skaguay.

Finding no outstanding place to camp, I reluctantly pedal mile after mile, passing mediocre spots hoping the Golden Camp Spot will appear. After 76 long and exhausting miles, the fabled glory camp does not appear, and I throw down my nylon ghetto onto a deserted gravel pit and enjoy myself regardless, happy to be off the bike once and for all for the day.

Up bright and early the following morning I am sore, and there are rapidly moving clouds and wind coming through, but I feel good. It is only about 20 miles to White Pass from here according to my calculations. The road turns gently and ever so slightly upward from here and the landscape changes once again from the sub-alpine boreal forest to the higher and more colorful alpine arena of tundra, swiftly moving streams, and low lying brush and stunted Pine and Spruce. The route follows a glorious emerald river, adorned with many rapids and small waterfalls. A Bald Eagle soars overhead, and a Gull meanders behind, perhaps hoping to reap any benefits the Baldy might conjure. The wind picks up and it is a struggle to keep the Ogre upright on the hills. At timberline, the first of many low lying alpine lakes appear, and the stiff breeze grows fierce. Glaciers show themselves briefly during interludes in the cloud cover and before long they disappear once again into the thick alpine mist. Near the pass, I clamber over granite boulders to get a good look at Summit Lake and onslaught of the storm; wind and whitecaps embellish the lakes surface. A Gull scares up and hovers over me, squawking loudly that I must leave. She must be protecting a nest. I wish her well and skedaddle back to the bike and finish the last bit of the climb to the pass. At the top, a great and magnificent alpine meadow sits below and decorated with a mighty waterfall, so picturesque it is difficult to believe it real. At the pass, the weather is foul, and thoughts of espresso and a hot meal entice me. I peer at the highway ahead and it is a steep downhill for 14 miles to the sea. I had ridden up this massive hill back in 2013 when I rode from Skaguay to Deadhorse to Valdez, so I had gained a healthy respect for it’s magnitude. After tossing on my jacket and sporting hat and gloves, I fly downward and into the fantastic canyon, past more waterfalls and jagged peaks and soon there is no more. A gigantic cruise ship appears a half mile off; perched in the waters of the upper Lynn Canal, it’s passengers flooding the streets of Alaska’s biggest tourist attraction. I meander through the insanely crowded streets attempting not to hit or be hit by those not paying attention, which are many. It is a shock to the senses again. Haines will feel quiet and pristine compared to this insane asylum. Later, after a meal and some casual town observation, I board the marine vessel Le Conte for an hour ride down the canal to Haines, where a six mile ride from the ferry terminal deposits me back at my quiet little crib.

All in all, I had ridden most of this trip previously: the Alaska Highway portion back in 2011 when riding from Moab to Fairbanks, and the Klondike Highway/White Pass section in 2013 on the way to the arctic. Only the Home stretch of the Haines Highway over Chilkat Pass were new, but it is an outstanding pedal through some of the most beautiful countryside the North has to offer. I may even ride it again. Complete with a side trip to Klukshu, some exploring of random dirt roads in the forest and the pedaling in Whitehorse and looking for camp spots, I had pedaled about 385 miles over eight days. I can’t think of any reason why one would attempt to do it any faster; there would be too much to be missed, and in my opinion, far less enjoyable. These trips are not a race folks; they are to be felt and appreciated.

The Ogre pulls off another one.

 

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Klehini River Camp
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Stormbound
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Chilkat Pass Climb
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Haines Summit AKA Chilkat Pass
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Stickered Sign
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Alpine Tundra Landscape
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The Green Hut Emergency Shelter Near The Pass
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White Spruce And B.C. Glacier
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Norther British Columbia
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Takhanne River Yukon
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Takhanne Camp
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Apen Stands
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Entering The Native Village Of Klukshu
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Moose Antlers And Satellite Dish
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Cabin and Fish Drying Hut
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Cache and Fish Hut
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Aspen Groves
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Mountains Near Kathleen Lake
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Kluane
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The New Grocery Store In Haines Junction
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Alaska Highway Gravel Near Champagne
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Takhini River Area Yukon Interior
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Good Snacks
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Wild Rasberries At Stoney Creek
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Takhini Bridge Graffiti
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Love These!
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Carcross
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Tagish Lake
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Historic Abandoned Mining Structure Along Windy Arm
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Summit Lake
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Summit Creek
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White Pass Area
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Looking Down From White Pass
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White Pass
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Moore Creek Near Skaguay

 

 

 

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Spontaneity

One of the key players from my “new” life in Alaska as a home owner has been largely absent these past two years. It is something that sparks my soul and makes precious life even more so. It is something to maintain a youthful and vibrant self and outlook. It is spontaneity. Seems these last many, many months, every move in my life needs to be planned, calculated, examined, and inspected, largely taking any playfulness out of it. Spontaneity is what makes trips and adventures youthful and fun.

Spontaneity is what I crave. Adventure is what I crave.

I wake up Monday morning, 4 days before my planned departure date for my two week bike ride into the Yukon. I am not feeling it; I want to go now. I dress for work as usual, but hope that my employer Dave and the rest of the crew will see fit to set me free upon myself so I may leave right away. Everyone at work gives me the thumbs up, wishes me well, and I drive home casually with a grin on my face to pack the bike, smoke some Salmon, shop for supplies, and relax a bit.

The next morning I awake and am totally ready: everything is in order, Angela is coming by at 8 for some coffee and I will hit the road. It is raining a bit, but hey, it’s Alaska in the summer, that’s what is does here! I’ll be out of range for the next couple of weeks; when I return, I’ll do a full write up and photo share here on JRB.

Stay tuned!!

Preparation

The bicycle know to me as the Surley Ogre has been on hiatus for some time now…over two years in fact. Like a horse put out to pasture, she has endured this lengthy time situated in the garage amongst the miter saw, planer, router, and other tools of construction. Not fitting in with these apparatus, she squeals and begs for a letting of road miles. In anticipation of an upcoming trip upon her to the mighty Yukon and beyond, I strip the old gal down to her bones and a cleansing and rebuilding ensues.

It has been far too long since the Ogre and I have embarked upon the open road together, and in a quick fit, I work out a stretch of time off from work and make preparations for us to engage the Alaska Golden Triangle; Riding from my house in Haines to Haines Junction to Whitehorse to Skagway. A 360 mile loop through the northern panhandle and into B.C. and the Yukon, ending back in the good ‘ol AK in Skagway, where a quick ferry ride home ends the adventure. With plans to leave on the 29th of July, and returning on the 13th of August, I must say that these bicycle trip are certainly not about the bike. Or even riding them. These excursions are about being there. Or more precisely, being out there and taking in the tundra, mountains, rivers, and wildlife. If I was in shape and looking to make some quick time, I would theoretically make the journey in six or seven days. I think not. I intend on going slowly and enjoying the vast and wonderful summer in the North. Summertime in the regions of Alaska, Northern B.C., and the Yukon are stuff of fantasy to me. It is a time of exploding life and glorious exploration. There is nothing better on Earth than summer in the North.

Having a couple of weeks lead time to the trip in question, I head out to test the newly constructed Ogre for a quick 20 mile excursion up the wonderful Haines Highway, and as luck would have it, a spectacular day of temps in the 70’s, glorious sunshine, and the glaciers of the Chilkat’s shining brightly.

The old girl, spaced out from many months at pasture, bucks wildly when I attempt to pedal forward. After a rough patch, we hit our stride and suddenly it’s just like old times.

As out of shape as I am, I am looking forward to that big nasty climb up Chilkat Pass and into the Yukon I love so much. Two weeks and counting…

Stay posted friends!

Surley Ogre
The omnipotent Surley Ogre
Rivet Pearl
The Rivet Pearl
Ogre Resting
The Ogre rests by the mighty Chilkat River
Chilkat Ogre
Chilkat Cathedrals and Ogre

 

Paradise Cove

A full day off and fine weather to boot is a rare day indeed in these times of deep employment and mortgage. The venerable Surly Ogre and I decide, after a brief discussion, that a trip down peninsula to the enchanting Paradise Cove will do just fine. It is a road ride all the way, but the Ogre does not mind and says nothing about it. So off we go, down the hill to the Chilkat Estuary and a smooth, flat spin along the coastline; Eagles overhead screaming their mating call and sea Gulls drifting silently in search of a meal. We are a happy pair, the Ogre and I;  We pedal along the rocky shores of Letnikof Bay and past the old cannery to the brief hill that rounds the bend to the ultra hip “community” of Mud Bay. Weeks past, I had the pleasure of working out here on a set of “backcountry” stairs for my friend Jake. The location, an entirely awesome cabin parked atop the beach rocks directly across the inlet from the Rainbow Glacier, Chilkat Mountains, and Kochu Island. This area is true deep salt water and sports untold numbers of rich and broad marine life and mammals.

Today, I have brought the camera and mini tripod to shoot a time lapse of the unnamed peak I have a desire to climb someday. It is a majestic mountain above the Rainbow Glacier and offers a nice, moderate looking multi pitch alpine ice route up it’s north eastern face. The only trouble, is how to access it? The area below the Rainbow is definitely out: cliffs, several hundred feet tall and consisting of a chossy looking substance sitting quietly below a barrier above of gently perched seracs, waiting to fall and clobber the unaware.

Today, I was hoping for a few clouds to make the time lapse more interesting, but alas, it is a crystal clear day. The sun playing it’s rotation game of light will have to provide interest enough as it moves slowly across the sky and illuminating the upper icefalls of the Rainbow Glacier.

As the camera clickity clicks away, I have an hour to kill, so I set myself down, and with the always necessary binoculars in hand, begin to scope the water and shorelines for animals. I scan the far shore of the inlet for Bears and the eastern shore of Kochu Island for Sea Lions and such. At the northern tip of the island, a lone Bald Eagle is perched atop the furthest tree out, scanning the water and shoreline for tasty snacks. I return to scanning the water. Soon I spot several Harbor Seals frolicking together in a group. They disappear and then again return. Then a lone Seal pops it’s head just feet away from my perch to say hello. We stare and I talk, and then it is gone. Looking out across the sun glistened water, I spot dorsal fins. It is a school of porpoises moving past. Then far beyond, a larger fin appears, then dives. It resurfaces and then blows. I can see it is a large Orca and soon it too  disappears into the deep. More Eagles cry overhead and I realize once again just how much magic this place conjures. It is true paradise on earth.

On the ride home, I spot a roadie on his ultra light, ultra thin specimen of speed and agility, and with stylee super shades adorning his skull, he turns onto Mud Bay Road and I wave; he looks at me squarely and does not wave, but instead hits the pedals harder. Does he imagine that the dude on the heavy and slow Ogre with the loaded down panniers full of camera gear is not really a fellow cyclist? Perhaps his lycra is too tight and restricting blood flow to critical areas of the body. Or perhaps the high dollar Italian gadgetry bolted to his bicycle is too shiny and was perhaps blinded by their light and there for could not see me. Perhaps, he is simply an elitist bugger. The Ogre snickers, and Eagle screams, and my legs pedal on home.

Paradise Cove_1 Paradise Cove_2 Paradise Cove_4 Paradise Cove

A Life of Bikes

Other than Trikes and kiddie cycles, my first bike was a Redline BMX bike that I built myself.  It was 1977, I was 10 years old, and BMX was big.  I spent months gathering parts for this machine by any means necessary.  Ultimately, I honestly don’t remember what happened to this apparatus.  My next bike, if memory serves me, was a 70’s Peugeot road bike in the classic red color that seemed so popular back then. It sported Simplex derailleurs, Maillard hubs, and Mafac brakes. Honestly, I never really liked the bike all that much, but still, it was a bike, and A bike is better than NO bike.

Sometime later, there was a Schwinn Le Tour..  This machine was really something I revered. I loved that bike. It was a heavy tank of a vehicle, as all sub 500 dollar units were, but I had big ideas about riding this thing very far.  Eventually it was stolen.

Le Tour
Again, this one wasn’t mine, but it looked just like this puppy…

Then there were a couple of Sears and Montomery Wards “bicycles”; These babies were cheap transportation to high school, but that’s about it.  Luckily, they too were stolen.

During High School, I had a circuit of lawn mowing customers throughout the neighborhood. One summer, I mowed and mowed and mowed. I had recently ridden a friends Miyata MTB and fell in love with this new kind of bicycle. This was 1982 or 83.  I decided that I wanted the game changing 1984 Specialized Stumpjumper.  By the time school started again in the fall, I had half of what I needed. My mother, bless her heart, covered the rest.

'84 StumpJumper
This one’s not mine, but it was just like…

To me, the Stumpjumper was the ultimate; it had some of shimano’s best ever offerings in the original Deore line up, plus those great looking Specialized cranks and hubs that really were a testament to how great these parts were during that time period.  Alas, that bike too was stolen, and though I did not I give up on bicycles, I  focused my energy all the way on rock climbing and mountaineering, which, in turn, pretty much consumed me for the next 25 years.

A couple years out of high school, I moved to Washington D.C. to pursue a romantic relationship with Judy Paddon.  I became a bicycle courier in the D.C. metro, and my weapon of choice was a GT Karakoram. The GT was a good bike, and it became even better as I wore the thing out pedaling it  300 miles a week, and upgrading parts as they went.

Misc. Bicycle-6
The GT Karakoram, Slickrock, 1990

After moving to Moab in February 1990, it was all mountain bikes, everything from The fantastic Bianchi Grizzly (AKA The Green Bastard) to the more advanced, fully suspended, long travel, All Mountain, Freeride, and Downhill bikes of modern times..

..But that is another story all together.

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The Green Bastard stops for lunch
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The Griz in action

The Surly Ogre

Ogre
Ogre

In preparing for a 4700 mile journey from Utah to Alaska to California, I pondered the possibilities of a bicycle for long distance travel that was different than what I was accustomed to seeing. At first tho, I was in fact leaning toward the traditional, because that is what I knew. At the time my first choice was the Raleigh Sojourn.

It had disk brakes, but other than that, was a traditional touring bike in every sense. Alas, the shop I worked at in the time was not able to acquire one. That was a good thing.

Eventually, through many questions and research, I had settled on the fact that the Salsa Fargo was what I was looking for. I had the geometry I wanted, it was made from steel, had disc brake tabs, and was intended for stout componentry. I laced up some 36 hole Halo 29er wheels and bolted on all MTB gear. Even though I was accustomed to riding a heavy Freeride bike, I, for some reason, bolted on traditional drop bars for my trip. I just figured this was what one was supposed to do on a touring bicycle.

4700 miles later, I realized that this was, ultimately, the wrong choice for my riding style and for where I wanted the machine to go.

After arriving in California, I got to working on my various projects, that included woking as a carpenter, and on some film and video projects. I was also preparing for another trip to Alaska in 2012. A month before leaving on said trip, the Fargo got lifted at a local Safeway while purchasing Avocados.

My heart was broken and my trip was destroyed. The money I had saved for the trip would now have to go to a rebuild…

Enter the Ogre…

After unsuccessfully attempting to locate another Fargo frame, a friend suggested I look at the new Surly Ogre. The Ogre seemed to have everything the Fargo had and more. Disk tabs, rack, fender, and cage mounts galore. It was designed to be run single speed, multi speed, Rollhoff compatable, any way you want. It seemed to be the adventure bike that the Fargo wanted to be, but with a stout stature that couldn’t be matched.

Ogre City Scape Tilt

For wheels, I chose a rear Phil Wood tandem cassette 48 hole with 12/13 double butted spokes laced to Velocity Chukker rims. Short of the wheels on my downhill bike, these are the strongest wheels I have owned. For the front, I chose the IRD 36 hole disc only, generator hub.

Phil disc/cassette rear
Phil disc/cassette rear
IRD genny hub
IRD genny hub

Brakes went way of the of the venerable Avid BB7. These babies have proven many thousands of trouble free miles.

I decided to shy away from my past Shimano fixation and bolted on a Sram drivetrain with the durable X9 rear derailleur.

I went 8 speed with IRD friction shifters for the utmost in reliability.

Cranks fell to the simple, inexpensive, and bombproof, Race Face Evolve triple.

Inexpensive and bombproof
Inexpensive and bombproof

The new Schwalbe Mondial tire in 52c are an expedition tire to be reckoned with.

Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 29"X 2.00 (52cm)

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a set of the awesome Jeff Jones Loop Bar. This bar offer a 45 degree sweep, and according to my preferred riding style and body position, is the correct sweep. These bars make the ride.

The Awesome Jones Bar arrangement
The Awesome Jones Bar arrangement

I like Thompson’s stems and this one is a 70cm. The Ogre’s top tube length is exceptionally long, and the somewhat short stem makes the ride just right for me.

Workaround for the Ortlieb Mount

A Kane Creek Thud Buster post mated to a green Brookes B-17 saddle makes for a very sweet ride.

The Army Green paint mated with the  Brookes give the machine a Russian Military look that pleases me.

Venerablke Brookes B17
Venerablke Brookes B17

Ultimately, there is nothing traditional, touring wise, about this bike. It is setup to be at home on pavement and on trails. From bike packing to expedition touring, this one does it all…

…except roadless Alaskan swamps and remote beaches..  I’m pretty sure a Pugsley is up next.

The Ogre
The Ogre