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Jewells in America
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Made It!

Great News! John Jewell has now reached his final destination of Ushuaia, the most southerly city of his 20,000 mile trip. Michael is safely back home now after his accident.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Friday 18 November to Thursday 24 November 2005
Fri 18 Nov - 195 miles today to Esquel through more spectacular mountain scenery.

Sat 19 Nov - 180 miles today and most of it was on dirt road. We had to cross the border back into Chile to get onto the Carretera Austral (the Southern Road), a very remote region with only one dirt road running through it. The scenery is mind blowing. Huge snow capped mountains and azure blue lakes.

Sun 20 Nov - We woke up to rain and it rained all day. We only got to see maybe half of the views, but it was still awesome. Zig zagged the dirt road over high mountain passes and through almost jungle like scenery, past gauchos herding sheep and cows. Another great hotel, next to the river, with a huge open fire. Good for warming us up after a cold and wet day.

Mon 21 Nov - Weather was totally opposite today. We stayed dry the whole way. About 112 miles on dirt, with even more amazing scenery and roads. We have a journalist with us from RiDE magazine who is going to write about the trip. We stayed in log cabins on the lake, surrounded by huge mountain peaks.

Tues 22 Nov - A bit of a rest day as only 85 miles of dirt and a border crossing back to Argentina. We are really getting used to the borders and in Chile and Argentina they are quick and simple so that lots of us are happy to do them on our own. Still more great roads. This past week in Patagonia has been really amazing, with unbelievable roads. You have to be prepared to get off the beaten track.

Weds 23 Nov - Everyone was a bit nervous today as we start the infamous Ruta 40 down south. We did 204 miles on dirt: sometimes compact dirt, which was quite fast, sometimes deep gravel. We stayed on an estancia that night in the middle of nowhere, where we had a whole lamb roasted for us over an open fire.

Thurs 24 Nov - Another 210 miles on the dirt. Today was hard going with lots of gravel and some tricky bits. But finally we hit the tarmac again. All of us made it in one piece. It was a great challenge. We are spending 3 nights in El Calafate to rest up and prepare for the final week to Ushuaia.

Thursday 10 November to Thursday 17 November

Thursday 10 Nov - Bike service today and a general checkover.

Friday 11 Nov - Day at leisure in Santiago. Kevin and Julia gave a press conference at the BMW dealer, Williamson Balfour. We all went along too and had a super buffet.

Saturday 12 Nov - A ride out today with the local Chilean customers of the BMW dealer. We did a round trip of 200 miles, out to the coast and had a great lunch all organised by BMW.

Sunday 13 Nov - Left Santiago today for Salto de Laja, all the way the Pan American Highway. There are a lot of toll roads on this stretch, about 80p each time between towns. Hotel was fantastic, right next to the huge waterfalls.

Monday 14 Nov - 270 miles to Osorno. We stayed on the Pan Am and passed lots of vineyards. Spent the evening with a bunch of Chilean bikers in a great restaurant. Our first taste of enormous steaks in an all you can eat place.

Tuesday 15 Nov - 195 miles, 35 on dirt and crossing into Argentina. Destination is San Martin de los Andes, a fantastic road through spectacular scenery, called the Seven Lakes route. Had our first taste of Argentinian lamb: superb!

Wednesday 16 Nov - 151 miles today, plus 100 miles extra we did on a trip detour around the lake. Destination is Bariloche, a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Nahuelhuapi. It looks a lot like being in the Alps here. Loads of log cabins and lots of shops selling chocolate.

Thursday 17 Nov - A day off and we took the cable car up the mountains and had lunch in the revolving restaurant at the top. It had stunning views of the lake and snow capped mountains.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Monday 7 November 2005 to Wednesday 7 November 2005
7 Nov
Another big day - 550 miles across the Atacama Desert, with an absolute stunning sunset. With a big days ride tomorrow we should reach the rest of the group.

8 Nov
We arrive in Vicuna mid afternoon and we are together again as a group. Michael is still in Arequipa as he has to wait 7 days after surgery to fly, but he is in good spirits and his leg is healing very well.

9 Nov
380 miles into Santiago. We were met just outside the city by a police escort and they guided us into the city. It was fantastic. They stopped all the traffic and got us through the City very quickly. Santiago is our base for 4 nights, whilst we service the bikes and Kevin and Julia have a press conference here. It is a lovely city, very prosperous, clean and lively. It is a pleasant surprise for us all.

Best of all, we had the news that Michael is on his way home, flying with Air Canada via Toronto. He even gets Business Class. It is a big relief to know everything is fine – I cannot imagine what would have happened if we had been on our own.

The Diary: Saturday 29 October 2005 to Sunday 6 November 2005

29 Oct
240 miles to Puno on Lake Titicaca. The high altitude is affecting many of the group, with headaches and sickness. Today we were riding on high altiplano and bleak moors. We passed many herds of llama and alpaca. The highest point to day was 4,338 m. Off the bike and trying to move the bike around makes you feel really breathless.

30 Oct
The group hired a boat today and it took us to the floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca. The islands are man made and can be moved around the lake, even chopped in two if there is a dispute between families! It was fascinating.

31 Oct
229 miles today to Chivay, with 20 miles of riding on hard rutted roads, with pockets of deep sand. We rode at our highest point today – 4,800 metres. Very cold and bleak, but with stunning views.

1 November
165 miles today to Arequipa. Up early at 5.30am to ride to the Colca Canyon to see condors. Colca is the deepest canyon in the world and we saw condors soaring on the early morning thermals. The road on to Arequipa was a new road, with great surface and long sweeping bends.

2 November
Day free in Arequipa, a nice town with lovely central plaza.

3 Nov
The plan was to ride 290 miles to Arica in Chile. But 4 kms out of the city on a busy dual carriageway, Michael had an accident. A pedestrian just ran out in front of his bike and Mike swerved to avoid him and hit the central reservation of concrete bollards. Julia went with Mike to the hospital and the X-rays showed he had a broken leg. He was transferred to a private clinic and had to have a 4 hour operation to pin his leg, but thank god there were no other injuries. All was covered by the special adventure travel insurance we had taken out.

The group had to return back to the hotel, where they spent an extra 2 nights, whilst I spent the nights in the clinic with Michael. In the meantime, Kevin sorted out problems with police reports, recovering Michael’s bike and liasing with the British Consulate. The group had to leave on the third day after the accident with Julia, but Kevin, I and David Power stayed behind another day to take care of the police and paperwork. Michael’s bike was a total write off. The engine and gear box was split and the left pod ripped off. It was not worth sending it home, so we stripped it all for any accessories and spares, leaving just a shell behind.

6 Nov
Michael is still in the hospital but comfortable. Kevin, David and I left for Arica to try and catch up with the main group. Michael is being looked after by the British Consulate and another British biker, Cynthia Milton who is also in Arequipa is visiting him. The insurance company are sorting out a flight to get Michael home at the end of the week. It was a hard decision to carry on, but I have to do this for him and me.

6 Nov
We have now arrived in Chile. What a change compared with Peru. It is all very clean, orderly and efficient. We did 500 miles today to try and catch up with the others. It will take another couple of days yet.

The Diary: Friday 21 October 2005 to Friday 28 October 2005

21 Oct
Up early and took a boat ride out to the Ballestra Islands, a bird sanctuary and sea lio haven. The it was a 138 mile ride to Nasca.

22 Oct
Day free in Nasca. We flew in a 15 seater aircraft, nickname the “Vomit Comet”, to see the Nasca Lines. Lots of low leveltight right and left turns in 100 degree heat. Very disorientating and one of the guys was sick.

23 Oct
300 miles to Abancay. A long slow ride through twisting mountain bends. We climbed very quickly to over 15,000 feet. We rode across the Pampa Reserva and saw lots of herds of vicuna, llama and alpaca. It got very cold at the high altitude, even snowed a little!

24 Oct
125 miles today to Cusco. High altitude riding all the way. Very spectacular views through the mountains and could even see glaciers. As you come into Cusco you get amazing views over the city.

26 Oct
We took the train to Machu Picchu, reputed to be one of the top train journeys in the world through lush valleys and jungles. Then a short bus ride to Machu Picchu, the Inca fortress in the sky. Absolutely stunning. It was a long day, up at 5.30 am and not back until 9.30pm, but well worth it.

27 Oct
My birthday today and David’s tomorrow, so we celebrated it together. Had a group meal in one of Cusco’s top restaurants, with a live band and show. We both had to wear traditional Peruvian costumes for the whole evening, as part of our birthday party. A great day and I won’t forget my 21st in a hurry!

28 Oct
Our final day in Cusco and we all spent it recovering from the drinking from the night before.

The Diary: Thursday 13 October 2005 to Thursday 20 October 2005
13 Oct
305 miles today to Cuenca. Past the Cotopaxi Volcano on the Pan Am. Starting to get very scenic and mountainous as we head south in the Andes.

14 Oct
228 miles today with a border crossing into Peru. Rode past lots of banana plantations. The border was very chaotic and took us about 3 ½ hours. Big problem here with false money and we all got scammed.

15 & 16 Oct
250 miles to Chiclayo. Long straight roads through the Sechura Desert. No facilities here for miles and miles. had to watch out because of high winds and sand dunes drifting across the road.

17 Oct
Short ride across the desert to a nice hotel on the beach. Afternoon visit to Chan Chan, an ancient adobe Peruvian city.

18 Oct
210 miles, of which 65 miles was on unpaved roads through the mountains and a narrow canyon – Canyon del Pato. It was a very narrow mountain road, with many tunnels and there were landslides too. A hard days ride.

19 Oct
192 miles to Barranca. Descending from the mountains back to sea level. We visited the Chimbu fortress at Paramonga.

20 Oct
278 miles today ad arrived at a superb hotel on the beach. But to get there we had to ride around Lima, 3 lanes wide, but with 5 lanes of traffic! Lots of fumes and very hairy.

Monday, October 31, 2005
The Diary: Wednesday 5 October 2005 to Wednesday 12 October 2005

Wednesday - went to the BMW dealership for a press and TV presentation about our trip. Then to the SOS Childrens Village, a charity that Kevin and Julia raise money for. Our group presented over 2,000 dollars. Toured the village and met the children. Fascinating work.

Thursday - took bikes to the cargo airport for their flight to Ecuador. Removed mirrors, screen, disconnected batteries and drained fuel. Kevin dealt with lots of paperwork for us but it takes ages as there is only one person doing the airway bills and they make mistakes with the VIN numbers! We hopped into a taxi back to the hotel. It had been rescued from the scrapyard the day before . . . or so it appeared!

Friday - day off to explore Panama City. Lots of no go areas. Traffic and fumes are horrendous. Took all our clothes to dry cleaners. He said he could smell them from ½ mile away! Group meal at night at a local restaurant with Panamanian dancers.

Saturday - visited Panama Canal today. SOS Childrens Villages took us out in their minibuses. Went to Miraflores lock and visitor centre. Watched a ship go in the lock and come out. Very interesting.

Sunday - Kevin told us our bikes had flown and were already in Quito. We went to the airport today and caught our flights to Quito. South America!

Monday - its got to be a world record. GlobeBusters cleared 13 bikes through Ecuador Customs in just one day! Collected the bikes late that afternoon. Pouring with rain and had to get the bikes back to the hotel in rush hour traffic, but feels great to be back on the bikes.

Tuesday - Took bikes to BMW for servicing and more new tyres. Lots of unsafe areas in Quito. Lots of security and armed guards, even at BMW and the hotels.

Wednesday - Visited the equator today. The owner of the hotel has a Ducati and he led us there. The equator is only about 15 miles south of Quito and has a huge monument to mark the spot. That afternoon prepared the bikes to leave Quito the next day.

Added today

The Diary: Wednesday 28 September to Tuesday 4 October 2005

Wednesday - 205 miles today to La Fortuna. Lots of coffee and tobacco plantations along the road. Lots more rain today and the road around Lago Arenal was very rutted and bumpy.

Thursday - 145 miles to Sarapiqui. A very bad day as it was torrential rain the whole way and we had to negotiate steep twisting mountain roads. Past the stunning la Paz waterfall. Our stop over was at a jungle lodge in the rainforest. Julia had a fall today on one of the sharp bends and broke her arm.

Friday - day at leisure in the rain forest. Lots of birds, lizards, poison frogs. Stayed in wooden cabins on stilts. It is very humid and in the night, even more rain.

Saturday - 125 miles to Cahuita to get us close to panama border. The hotel was right on the Caribbean beach. Spent the afternoon swimming in the pool. Very Caribbean here: Bob Marley blaring out from everywhere!

Sunday - another border crossing. Central American countries are so small! Today was the infamous banana bridge and probably the most terrifying thing we have ever done. The bridge was high above the water and it was two planks of wood wide on each side of the railway track. You could not put your feet down and the planks are spaced apart so if you get it wrong your front tyre will get stuck. Not to mention missing planks, missing barriers. A real nightmare, but with teamwork and Kevins expert advice, we all made it across in one piece.

Monday - A surprise for all today. Another banana bridge and even worse than yesterdays. A train was coming when bikes were halfway across. Took us more than two hours to get everyone across and some were shaking at the experience. Even worse, the humidity and heat were intense. But the road after to Santiago was spectacular.

Tuesday - 200 miles into Panama City. All along the pan-am. Crossed over the famous bridge of the Americas and rolled into the city along the main bay. Team photo: we have made the half way point!

The Diary: Monday 19 September 2005 to Tuesday 27 September 2005

Monday - Coban today. 125 miles, 60 of which through the Guatemalan Highlands on unpaved roads. This was quite a challenge for all. Mudslides, deep ruts and oncoming trucks on a single track road with hairpin bends.

Tuesday - 176 miles today to get close to the Honduras border. A fantastic road with long sweeping bends and beautiful tropical scenery.

Wednesday - early start for border crossing into Honduras. Took us about 4 hours to get through. Very chaotic on the Honduran side. Short ride to hotel near the Copan ruins.

Thursday - day off today to visit Copan ruins. Hotel was superb with stunning views across the mountains. A great restaurant that night where everyone got a bit sozzled on 2 for 1 cocktails!

Friday - 330 miles to danli. 9 hours of riding through stunning scenery, but the roads can be full of big potholes and you need a lot of concentration to avoid them.

Saturday - border crossing to Nicaragua. Another tedious paperwork affair done in sweltering heat and 100% humidity. Lots of armed guards everywhere and even the gas stations have guards with guns.

Sunday - Granada today. 165 miles via the Masaya Volcano. We went to the top of the crater where the fumes were overpowering. Granada did not feel a safe city, and we did not like to venture out after dark, but we stayed in a beautiful colonial hotel on the plaza.

Monday - San Juan del Sur. 82 miles to the Pacific Ocean. Loads of torrential rain in the afternoon, but our memory is of sitting in a beach restaurant, drinking pina colada and eating jumbo shrimp, whilst watching the sun sink into the ocean.

Tuesday - 103 miles today to Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica. Road ran past lake Nicaragua. Another border crossing, with loads of paperwork and stamps. Hotel was right on the beach and everyone went into the ocean: waves were huge. Torrential rain all night.

The Diary: Saturday 10 September 2005 to Sunday 18 September 2005

Saturday - 155 miles to the Costa Esmeralda on the Caribbean coast. We had a great hotel right on the beach with a lovely pool. Everyone went down to the ocean for a swim and the water was really warm.

Sunday - riding to Catemaco today. Can you believe that the petrol here is only 45p a litre? We were met en route by local Mexican riders for lunch and had our photos taken by a Mexican motorcycle journalist. We rode near the coast the whole way. Everything is now much more hot, humid and tropical.

Monday - 290 miles to Palenque. About 8 hours riding all in hot sticky tropical heat, but we had a wonderful hotel waiting for us at the end of the hard day: everyone had their own cabanas with straw roofs, set in a beautiful tropical garden and a huge pool. In the evening we had dinner watching a Mayan dance show.

Tuesday - we had a day off and went to visit the Palanque Mayan Ruins, built back in 6 to 7 century AD. An incredible site set in the jungle.

Wednesday - 145 miles today to San Cristobal. In this short ride we went from the lowland tropics then climbing up to 2100 metres into cool pine forests. It even got a little chilly! We stopped off at Agua Azul, a beautiful waterfall.

Thursday - we explored San Cristobal, a lovely Mexican town and today it was a fiesta day. The town was humming and there were bands playing in the Plaza. Had a group meal and were briefed about the Guatemala border crossing.

Friday - we had to be up at 5am to be ready to go the border. It was still pitch black when we left. We arrived at the border for 8am and by midday the whole group had got through. Amazing scenery in Guatemala: lush tropical vegetation, great roads (no more topes!) Our hotel was another hit, set in its own gardens full of bright flowers and hummingbirds and just a short walk from Lake Atitlan.

Saturday - day off to explore our first Guatemalan town. For the first time we see a lot of tourists also here, with many market stalls selling blankets, rugs, shirt all in traditional Guatemalan textiles. There are also lots of mototaxis (tuk tuks), which you can use to buzz about town. The Guatemalan buses are also very brightly coloured, but can be very slow!

Sunday - Chichicastenango today. Only 25 miles. up early to get there to see the indigenous Indian market. Hundreds of stalls through narrow alleys. A lovely hotel with parrots around the centre garden.

The Diary: Saturday 3 September 2005 to Friday 9 September 2005

Saturday - today was a 300 mile ride to Nuevo Casa Grandes in Mexico. It took us all about 3 ½ hours to deal with all the Mexican formalities for passports and getting our bike permits. This first Mexican road runs through the Central Highland area. It is so different here. There is a lot of poverty and shanty towns, but also many smiling faces and people who wave at us. The worse bit about Mexico though are the speed bumps called topes. They are everywhere at every village and it is a bloody nightmare! Today was also Michaels birthday and Kevin and Julia laid on a birthday meal, with presents and a lovely chocolate cake. There was also a big bottle of tequila with some tequila shot glasses and the whole group joined in to wish him happy birthday.

Sunday - a 270 mile ride to Creel, with lots of winding mountain roads through pine forests. We stopped in Guerrero for lunch and there was a huge flash flood, with deep water collecting in the Plaza and trucks having to plough through making huge waves!

Monday - we rode to Parral today, famous for its connection with the Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa who was assassinated there. Stunning views through mountain roads and through lots of small villages with the hated topes! There were also a few military checkpoints but they gave us no problems.

Tuesday - This was definitely one of the hardest riding days of the trip so far. About 450 miles on Mexican roads, firstly on busy motorway around a major city in blistering heat and then a mountain road which climbed so high we were riding in fog and torrential rain and 200 miles of tight mountain bends – very tricky with some of the big trucks that come into your lane and smaller vehicles drifting across the white line too. We arrived pretty tried in the bustling Mexican city of Zacatecas, but the journey was planned to give us a day off here to recover and explore.

Wednesday - wanted to have a lay in this morning, but we were woken at 6 am by canons, fireworks, church bells and marching bands. The town is practising for a visit by its governor tomorrow as well as having a local saints festival. You cannot expect Mexican cities to be quiet places! We took a trolley tour of the city, which has beautiful old colonial churches and gardens.

Thursday - group riding today for the 230 miles to San Miguele de Allende. We stopped in a beautiful hotel with a cobbled courtyard. Walked into the plaza and listened to the mariachi bands playing.

Friday - 300 miles today through deserts filled with cacti and tropical vegetation. Lots of sharp twisting mountain bends, with little traditional villages, but again the hated topes!

The Diary: Wednesday 24 August 2005 to Friday 2 September 2005

Wednesday - Today was an early start from Cody to Vernal in Utah, about 400 miles. Beautiful scenery through Sinks Canyon and Flaming Gorge. Destination Thursday was Moab, with a ride of 220 miles over the Douglas Pass and then a spectacular road along the Colorado River, with deep red canyons and weird rock formations. We had a day off in Moab, so Mike and I took a ride up through Arches National Park and then back through Bend National Park. Incredible scenery and fantastic sweeping bendy roads.

Saturday - a short run today to Mexican Hat, through some of the best scenery yet. First was the Mokee Dugway, a steep downhill twisty gravel road with 1,100 feet drop in 3 miles and plenty of tight hairpin bends. No safety rails either! Next was the Valley of the Gods, 17 miles off road through more wonderful rock formations and some hair raising moments when we caught some sand. A couple of the group members who took a different route were overtaken on their ride by a McClaren. They followed it and it turned out to be the Ralph Lauren! That night was the first birthday celebration of the trip for Dom.

Sunday - 226 miles of riding today to Jacob Lake. We decided to take the optional ride through the dirt road in Monument Valley, the scene used for many Western films. Mike and I rode through the Valley, but there were a few heart stopping moments as the road is very sandy, some quite deep and on soft ground, but we made it through!

We had another day in Jacob Lake which gave us time to ride off and explore the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Absolutely breathtaking and not at all busy. We met some Harley riders from Italy, who were touring the USA for their holidays. In the afternoon, we relaxed back at the hotel and Emmet, who is the only one of the group with hair clippers has become the group barber and gave us both a quick trim!

Tuesday - it was a long hard ride today in over 45 degree heat. Almost unbearable but we had bought some cool vests that you soak in water to keep the worst of the heat at bay and they worked very well. Stopped in Sedona for lunch and then on the outskirts of Tucson, we were met by Maynard Hershon and other local riders who led us into iron Horse Motorcycles, where the bikes were being serviced and had new tyres. Maynard is a well known motorcycle journalist and has a regular column in Motorcycle Sport & Leisure.

Wednesday - Mike and I decided to hire a car for the three days we were in Tucson and so we were able to still be on the move and visit some of the sights. We went to Old Tucson, a famous movie location and some local museums. Thursday - a great day. Kevin had been in touch with a local gun club and had organised a morning out on the range. We had at our disposal over ½ million pounds worth of machine guns and enough ammunition to start a war. Loads of fun shooting at targets (and not each other!) Friday a day at leisure in Tucson. Collected our bikes back from servicing and we had a team briefing about the border and riding in Mexico.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005
The Diary: Sunday 21st August 2005 to Tuesday 23rd August 2005

Sunday and we explored Yellowstone. There was so much wildlife. Buffalo, elk, deer and foxes. The downside was a lot of RVs to contend with and Sunday drivers. Mike and I did an extra side trip on our way down to the Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk refuge. Another great day.

Monday and it just keeps getting better and better. What an awesome riding day today. We rode two of the greatest riding roads in the USA. The Beartooth Pass, which rises to 10,500 ft with 8 miles of switchbacks and it was snowing at the top. Then the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, rising to 8,500 ft on stunning roads. Our destination today was Cody and we were staying in the Irma Hotel. This is the hotel owned by Buffalo Bills daughter, full of Buffalo Bill memorabilia and it still has a huge cherry rosewood bar, a gift to Buffalo Bill from Queen Victoria.

Tuesay and a day off to explore Cody, through all the cowboy shops and then the evening at the local rodeo.

Monday, August 29, 2005
The Diary: Thursday 11th August 2005 to Saturday 20th August 2005

It was only a short ride to the town of Stewart and past the Bear Glacier, an amazing glacier which runs into a lake and is right on the side of the road. In the evening we rode to Fish Creek to watch the bears eat the spawning salmon. We saw two grizzly bears and thousands of fish in the creek. It was quite an experience to see the bears play with the fish and then eat just the skin and brains and the eggs of the female.

It was a rest day today and we gave the bikes a good clean and check over. The bikes have in the Wunderlich blue filters which were caked with dust and dirt from the gravel roads. All that we needed to do was wash them out and spray them up and put them back in the bikes.

Saturday and another great riding day to Smithers. En route we stopped at Kitwanga to see the old totem poles.

Sunday and we are now on Highway 16 to Prince George. The road is busier but still runs through beautiful scenery and many lakes.

Mondays destination today is Jasper and the start of the Rocky Mountains. We had a wonderful view of Mount Robson on the way into Jasper. Jasper is a main tourist centre, surrounded by stunning mountains and is in the middle of Jasper National Park.

Tuesday and a day off today to explore Jasper.

Wednesday and onward to Radium Hot Springs. In front of us 223 miles. It was raining when we left Jasper and along the Icefields Parkway, heavy sleet descended. Then as we descended the sun came out. We diverted up to Lake Louise, with a huge chateau hotel at the top and then on through Kootenay National Park – great twisties!

Thursday and another 225 miles today to Waterton Park. It is our last night in Canada. Once again, beautiful scenery in Alberta. We did an optional ride to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, a place where the Indians used to herd the buffalo over the edge of a cliff, were they were butchered to provide food and clothing.

Friday and one of the best days so far. Back into the USA and Glacier National Park in Montana. Words cannot describe the scenery; you just have to come here and ride it yourself. I think the whole group were in awe at its splendour. The Going to the Sun Road was fantastic. We spent the night in Bigfork where we enjoyed some local Montana hospitality. Even the barman was buying us pitchers of beer! What a great day.

Saturday and a long day of 325 miles to Livingston and the edge of Yellowstone National Park. A brilliant ride through Helena National Forest with lots of sweeping bends. A bikers paradise.

Sunday, August 21, 2005
The Diary: Monday 1st August 2005 to Wednesday 10th August 2005

D DAY! Anchorage to Fairbanks 340 miles of good roads and fantastic scenery. Passed by Denali National Park and had a great view of Mount McKinley and a really clear day.

240 miles today, of which 140 was unpaved. Road again was stunning and we saw our first bear as it ran across the road in front of us. Stayed over night at Coldfoot.Camp, a remote settlement above the Arctic Circle.

Wednesday was a real blast. Another 240 miles of dirt, gravel and mud road. Probably one of the most challenging rides we have ever done. There was not a single town or house along the whole road, only the oil pipeline and pump stations. We all arrived safely in Prudhoe Bay late that afternoon. We had a walk to the Prudhoe Bay General Store and saw a grizzly bear on the way back. Decided not to walk past and flagged down a pick up truck!

Thursday We had a day off today and took an afternoon tour of the BP Oilfield, which took us out to the Arctic Ocean. Several members of the group (but not us!), decided to jump in naked! BRRRR! Then Dr Dave gave us all some seal oil to try which was so foul that two people ended up jumping off the bus to be sick.

Friday was the start of heading south and back down the Dalton Highway for 240 miles to Coldfoot Camp. It was nice to have a cold beer, because beers had been banned up at Prudhoe Bay. It is a dry town!

Another great days riding on Saturday following the Alaska Oil Pipeline. But there was a mishap. Dr Dave from Anchorage, who had been travelling with us, hit a rock through a road construction area and came off his bike breaking his leg. He had to be airlifted by military helicopter to hospital.

Delta Junction to Beaver Creek on Sunday. 184 miles and the birder crossing into Canada. We are now in the Yukon. Brilliant scenery and stunning roads. Missed a large moose by only inches as it ran out into the road. A narrow escape!

Monday and 194 miles to Haines Junction. More stunning roads and rode past the Kluane Lake – the largest in the Yukon and an incredible turquoise blue colour. Fantastic hotel for the nights stop, with great food.

Tuesday a 370 mile ride to Watson Lake along the Alaskan Highway. Stunning scenery of lakes and mountains.

Wednesday 320 miles along the Stewart Cassiar Highway to Bell Lodge, where we stayed in log cabins. The roads just keep getting better.