Are you looking for an adventure in Ketchikan? All you need is your motorcycle license and you are in for the ride of your life, it is amazing riding in Ketchikan and exploring the island.
I love Ketchikan, it’s streets lined with shops, Creek street with all of its history and the artsy, boutique shops that now fill this once racy and wild part of town. But this trip, I wanted to explore, get out of town and see the island.
What did we do without the internet? Okay I just dated myself, but really, even as a travel consultant I research all the time for clients as many don’t want the cookie cutter type experiences. Researching options in Ketchikan, I stopped with Panhandle Motorcyle Adventures. This is perfect. On our own, on a bike, it doesn’t get much better.
I called up to the office and spoke with owners Rick and Merri. They are fantastic. Such a nice couple and so helpful. We settled on a Harley Softail and reserved it several month’s before we left home.
The week before we left, Merri touched base to let us know where she would meet us once the ship docked. She was at the port on time and ready to take us to the shop. Along the way, she shared with us her personal recommendations of where to go, what to see and tips along the way.
Upon arrival to the shop, the bike is ready, we are fitted for helmets and Harley rain gear. Ketchikan gets over 200 days of rain a year and every time we have been here, it rains. I love it, but just a tip, take the rain gear. Merri gives us a map of the island, she has written all over it as to her recommendations along the route which is so helpful.
We hit the road warm and comfortable, riding first to Ward Lake.
There wasn’t another soul on the road riding to this beautiful lake, just us and the bike.
After leaving Ward Lake, head south to the end of the road. Depending on the tide, if it is low by the time you reach Herring Bay, there are some fascinating tide pools to explore. The road will continue south following the water, while float planes soar above. There are a few turnouts, stop and take a walk to the shoreline. It starts to rain, but we aren’t discouraged.
Further down the road, you will find waterfalls spilling from the hillside into little creeks along the road, great place to stop, stretch and enjoy Alaska.
We turn around at the end of the road, when all of a sudden, wild Alaska is in front of us, we stop in the middle of the road with not a car or tour bus in sight. A mother deer and her baby, that can’t be more than a few days old come bouncing out of the forest onto the highway. We sit and watch. The baby doesn’t understand its legs yet and is bouncing, slipping, stumbling, and sliding all over the road. We watch the mother try to get the baby off the highway and we slowly pass them as they both turn to watch us.
As we ride back towards town, we take a detour through totem park. I recommend you check it out, the totems are very cool. Once we get to town, there are now 4 ships in port, it is crowded and crazy. Within minutes we are back on the open highway with the wind in our hair and the rain has stopped.
Feeling a bit hungry, we head north to the end of the road. Merri has marked the map that shows a local eatery that they love, so we set our sights on food. Once out of town a ways, we see a little sign off to the left, Knudson Marina and Dockside Galley. Winding our way to the marina, we find it. What a treasure.
The Dockside Galley reminds me of a beach food shack in our local area and we love it. This is a true hidden gem. Talking to the owner as we order from the unusually huge menu from such a little place; she tells us that they don’t get tourists up this far, it is a local hangout, I love it even more now.
The food is cooked to order, is fresh and full of flavor. Come hungry, the portions are huge. Each meal comes with a side and the side is served in a basket. They are known for their burgers, but how can you not have fish in Alaska. We try both.
Our trip on the bike is coming to an end, so we head to the end of the road, we can say we made it to both ends of the island. Cruising along, I catch a glimpse of something shimmering off to the side in the forest, we find a fully decorated Christmas Tree, I wonder if it is some sort of memorial?
At the end of the road, there is parking and several trails that break off heading to different waterfalls. Plan your time so you can take a hike.
Heading back to the shop, we make one more stop, a local coffee shop, The Green Coffee Bean. They roast their own beans and the aroma of coffee fills the air. The coffee is smooth and the flavor deep. The perfect end to a perfect day.
Reluctantly, we take the bike back. Merri takes us back to the ship, thanking her so much for a beautiful bike, rain gear and awesome recommendations, we have just enough time to head to the Harley shop downtown and grab a beautiful Ketchikan Harley t-shirt.
The rain gear and helmets are included in the cost of the bike rental and they have plenty of size options. Allow at least 4 hours to ride to both ends of the island, sight see along the way and find a local eatery. You will need more time if you want to take one of the local hikes in the area.
Here is a link to Panhandle Motorcycle.
Experience an adventure on your next trip, look for the unusual and savor every moment.