Alaska as a Vacation Land For the Motorcyclist

By Frank Richardson Pierce, Photography by Frank Richardson Pierce

From the September 1923 issue of Motorcyclist magazine

They tell a story about a gentleman of Hebraic extraction who, just returned from Paris, was asked, “Did you take your wife along?”

“Vot? Take a ham sandwich to a banquet?” he replied.

That, however, has nothing to do with the fact we took Mrs. Pierce along on a trip to Alaska this Summer. This story had to be started some way and the above seemed as good as any.

The Scout was with us a year ago and proved so handy in getting around that we loaded it aboard the “Alaska” again this year. It cost $34.00 for the round trip which is the reason why we didn’t take the sidecar outfit instead.

There are a number of delightful short tours around Juneau and if some of you want to take a real vacation next Summer we’ll do our best to tell you of one place to go in this and following articles in Western Motorcyclist and Western Sporto-logue, the Motorcyclist’s new brother.

“Well, well, you’re back again and brought it with you?” exclaimed a Juneau friend as we rolled up to the gasoline station. Steamship rules require that the tank be emptied, but there was enough in the bowl of the carburetor to take us a couple of blocks. We loaded two gallons of gasoline aboard at two-bits a gallon and were ready, having previously fortified ourselves with an Alaskan breakfast. They measure all appetites in that country by a miner’s normal food consumption. The result is, you get a plenty of everything with coffee, bread, butter and side dishes thrown in for luck and the prices are reasonable.

We mention this so you’ll know you won’t be held up in the matter of food, nor anything else except freight rates which isn’t the Alaskans’ fault. They don’t make ‘em.

A narrow road runs out from Juneau for a distance of nearly twenty-miles known as the Glacier Highway. The road follows Gastineau Channel, closely hugging the base of the mountains and even the sides, as Juneau and everything else does. As there were streams to cross we tucked the old “Deacon Jones” in our pocket. Besides this was bait (salmon eggs), reel, graflex and 3A with tripod. Having draped the equipment about we loaded Friend Wife on the tandm, whizzed by the Governor’s mansion and across Gold Creek and were soon on the highway proper.

Douglas Island rises abruptly from the deep blue waters of the channel. In the far distance we could see the Chilkoot range, eternally white, and on the other side, close at hand, great peaks amid which were tucked glaciers. The mightiest of all along the Highway is Mendenhall Glacier, a story in itself.

It sure was a fine morning to be alive and it was only a chance glimpse out of one corner of the left eye that made us slam on the brake and skid to a stop.

“What’s the matter now?” queried Friend Wife who had visions of tire or motor trouble.

“Just saw a Siwash snake a salmon out of Salmon Creek!” we replied, “I’d like to get one on this pole for luck and see what happens.”

It was a matter of food with the native and plain sport with us. Here was a stream alive with salmon, plentifully garnished with trout and a fellow could hook something without half trying.

The grass was matted down in one spot and a dozen salmon were scattered about. The native had a gaff hook on the end of a long pole. He’d spot a big salmon in the stream (he ignored the little fellows a foot and a half to two feet long) then wade out, let his pole drift down, then swish! Out would come a salmon!

By Frank Richardson Pierce
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