My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

Juneau’s road side bears; Mom and 3 cubs

bears playing

3 cubs playing on a log. (Photo by Janet Lopez)

janet year one bears

Mama watching her 3 babies in the spring of 2013. (Photo by Janet Lopez)

Last May (2013) we had a treat almost daily this black bear and her cubs would be eating dandelions on the by-pass near our house.  Several time I’d see them OR at least knew they were there because cars were parked all along the road trying to get photos. NONE of these pics are mine, but I will get credit to my sweet friends who took them. I am usually on my motorcycle this time of year and I am NOT stopping to grab the camera.


This May (2014) I was thrilled to see them early in May and almost every day since. Sometimes they are just playing around and others simply eating. It means that the babies made it through winter and are now one year old! Very fun.

katy bears

May 2014 Mom and 1 year olds return. (Photo by Katy Giorgio)

bears cx

This is a Juneau traffic jam… I drive this road daily and see them all the time. (May 2014 photo by Jennifer Hardy Brown)


So, for the educational part of this blog…. Some maybe wondering, ‘how come 2 cubs are brown and mom and other cub are black?’ Well the answer is actually quite simple. Black Bears, are all one species, but can be black, brown, cinnamon, blonde and yes, even white, which in Alaska and the Pacific NW are called “Spirit Bears” . Scientist speculate that there are many different colors to their coats: 1. to help camouflage them or 2. Because of climate and what they eat.


These brown cubs could lose the brown color and turn to black over time. It usually doesn’t happen until they are a bit older.


One other thing to note is the ‘chest blaze’ that is clearly viewed on the mom and the cubs. It is basically a “V” like marking, and her cubs are more likely to keep theirs throughout their life because she still has hers. It is not uncommon for a cub to lose theirs as they mature.


****These brown coated ‘black’ bears should NOT be confused with the Brown or Grizzly bears that I wrote about in my blog last summer.https://timistravels.wordpress.com/2013/07/ They can inhabit the same areas, but the Brown/Grizzly bears are much larger and have distinct characteristics that label them as such.

see the V marking on chest?  photo by Sue Reishus

Take note of the V marking on chest? photo by Sue Reishus

watched this guy stand up and walk over to car; it is worrysome how comfortable they are around humans. Photo by Sue Reishus

mom crossed the road leaving the cubs on one side. There was an attempt to stop traffic and allow cubs to join mom, here they are reunited again. Photo by Sue Reishus

UPDATE: Last night on ride home stopped and watched them play, my friend Sue Reishus captured these shots.

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Motorcyclin’ Around Michigan including a (Ferry) Ride Across Lake MI

May 4-9, 2014


leaving Almont on the beginning of our 1100 mile trip

We had hoped for better weather for a ‘spring’ ride in Michigan, however, we didn’t have much choice once we bought tickets.  Left Almont and headed N towards Midland with some light rain.  It actually wasn’t too bad though the hands did begin to get a tad cold on the ride.  Enjoyed a night with family in Midland and dinner at Pizza Sams!


3 years in business, nice people

On Monday a.m. we started the longest mileage leg of the trip, Midland to Sault St. Marie.  It rained the first hour but got nicer the more N we went.  Decided to try the Cheboygan Brewery and since it was Cinco De Mayo they had a fun little spread of food to accompany the beer!


if you look really close you can see the Mackinaw Bridge behind us.

We continued on to the Mackinaw Bridge for a photo opt though you can’t see the bridge very well in the distance.  I can’t believe they charge the same for 1 bike or 1 car.  I only have 2 wheels, and weigh a lot less than a car.  Oh well.


loved the old painting on the side of the building


Note all the church pews in the background. The “cheese” club was meeting here this night and there were lots of them!


Having ice in the locks this late in the year is not that common. There is was a lot of ice in Lake Superior


Chippewa County Courthouse was built in 1877. It is an example of the Second Empire style of construction from the late 1800’s. Wall are 2 feet thick, both the bell tower and the main building feature steep sloping roofs once covered in slate now with shingles. The 3rd floor has the “statue of Justice” made of wood.


out front of the courthouse is the The ‘Wolf of Rome’ it is an exact copy, of the ‘Capitoline Wolf’ which has been housed since 1471 in the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Campidoglio, Rome, Italy.

After crossing the bridge it was a quick hour into Sault St. Marie.  The first exit has a lot of hotels and shopping options (for the UP that is) but we continued into town to see if we could find the brewery and dinner options.  Ended up staying at a hotel right on the Locks and lucky for Harry the brewery was right across the street.  Interesting evening filled with interesting characters.  Loved the small town feel and time we spent here on a nice spring evening.

Left early on Tues. a.m. to drive to Escanaba.  There was snow along the route but none on the roads.  Went on M-28 through Newberry into Sceeny and then took HWY117 south before heading west on HWY 2.  The day got colder the closer we got to Lake Michigan.  When we arrived into Escanaba I was happy to see http://www.cyclecityinc.com/.  I went inside and bought gloves that were battery operated and could keep my hands warmer!    Enjoyed a night with family and a great dinner at the Stonehouse!


Wed. was by far the worst day of the trip.  We left in rain which subsided a bit after 1/2 hour.  However 15 miles outside of Green Bay I saw lightning, so we pulled under a viaduct and waited, and waited and waited.  After about 45 minutes the rain had let up a bit and we rode into Green Bay. Sadly the place we wanted to stop and eat was only open for dinner, not lunch, so we rode on, in the rain!  AND now I am talking rain, with 20-25 mile an hour sustained winds and 30=40 MPH gusts.    We were freezing, we were drenched and it was horrible.  Stopped to fill up with gas, and warm up and wait to see if rain eventually passed.  It did after about an hour, so we hopped back on for the last hour of the trip into Milwaukee.  By the time we got to our hotel we simply wanted to take hot showers and lay down and rest.

Thursday, awoke to warm weather, first of the trip.  Toured downtown Milwaukee on our bikes then hopped on the ferry.  w.lake-express.com.  Great experience, nice ride and motorcycles free!  Arrived in Muskegon and rode bikes to Grand Rapids for dinner with more family members.


statue in park in downtown Milwaukee, it is in memory of Laurent-Salomon Juneau, founder and first mayor of Milwaukee.


as we pulled into Muskegon! It was close to 90 degrees!


Happy to be warm and see the sunshine!


Finally on Friday we rode back to Almont and put the bikes away til next time, when we hope the weather is better!