I headed North West towards Glacier National Park. The start of the day was on I90 which was fast but boring.
I went past a town called Big Fork. I kept an eye open for Big Knife and Big spoon but couldn’t find them. I guess those towns are all washed up.
I rode some nice sweeping roads and went past Swan Lake. There were no swans or women in tutus and thankfully no men in tights.
I pulled into a KOA camp just before Glacier Park they wanted US$42 for a tent site so I headed off and stayed at a place for $24.
During the day my front tyre was bouncing around. I thought that the guy who had changed the tyre hadn’t balanced it properly. When I looked at the tyre I noticed that the bead part of the tyre on the right hand side was right inside the rim creating a flat spot. I took the wheel off and went to break the bead. I was able to break it with the push of one thumb. I broke the bead on the other side with a bit of effort and refitted the tyre. To think I had been going over 80 mph with a tyre that was barely fitted to the rim.
Day 312 Thursday 9th July 2015
The ride to the entry of the Glacier National Park was short and smooth now my tyre is re-fitted correctly. It was $12 for a motorcycle. I rode through the Park on the Road to the sun. The views were spectacular and the roads were as smooth as silk. If you’re afraid of heights this is not the road for you as there are some big drops but the road has a small wall on the edge. The views are some of the best I’ve seen on this trip.
GO TO CANADA POST FOR DAY 312 TO DAY 318
The road from the border was smooth flowing tar seal and it was like a race track with views. The pavement didn’t last long and then it was on to good gravel until I arrived in Chicken. The one thing about Alaska is they have some strange names for towns.
Day 319 Thursday 16th July 2015
I had a look around chicken. You can pan for gold and there is also a working mine.
The camp I stayed in last night cost $8 and had free coffee. It was basically pitch the tent on gravel and then walk to a bridge to get over to the river where the RV’s stay and that’s where the shower and bathroom facilities are found.
I headed towards Fairbanks and went through a town called North Pole. There were all sorts of merchandise relating to Santa Clause. They had Santa Clause’s house and he was in residence. He actually looked very realistic. All the lampposts are white and red stripes like candy canes.
I rode through Fairbanks and stayed near Fox at a camp ground. The grounds were probably the worst maintained I had seen but the ablution block was clean. The water had very high iron content and the showers and toilets were red from the water.
The aim is to go as far north by road as possible. The final destination will be Prudhoe Bay which is an oilfield. To get there you have to ride the Dalton Highway. The Dalton is a third seal and the rest gravel. You get to hear many different accounts of the condition of the road so the only way to truly know is to actually ride it.
At the start of the highway I noticed a guy behind me and he followed me all the way to a roadside café to have a late breakfast. We got chatting. His name is Doug and he’s an American now living in Vancouver riding a BMW GS1200.We decided as we were both heading to Prudhoe Bay we would ride together.
The start of the gravel was wet and slippery but that didn’t last for long. We decided that we would ride to Coldfoot today which was a 240 mile ride. This is further than Winston can go on a tank of petrol and as there is no petrol until Coldfoot I had to refill him from my 11 litre Rotapax fuel container I always carry.
We rode to the sign for the Arctic Circle, got the mandatory photo and headed to Coldfoot. We arrived in Coldfoot and I was a bit underwhelmed. I thought it would be a town but it is basically a roadhouse with fuel pumps.
We were able to pitch our tents across the road on grass for free. Just behind us was a compound full of Husky dogs that are used to pull sledges in the winter months. As soon as they heard us they began howling like wolves. It was quite entertaining.
We went to the road house for dinner and a couple of beers. There is no night time this far north. There is constant light. I had read about this while planning my trip and made sure I took an eye mask to blank out the light. It worked like a charm.
It was a 770km trip to Prudhoe Bay and back to Cold foot today. There is no camping allowed in Prudhoe and the hotels are a minimum of US$110 a night so it had to be a return trip.
The weather was colder heading north and this was the first time on the trip I’ve used my Powerlet heated jacket and glove liners. The jacket and gloves are operated from a remote control. To say they were brilliant would be an understatement. The gloves are like dipping your hands into a bucket of warm water. They heat every part of your hand. The jacket even heats your neck.
The road was in pretty good condition and we made good time.
It would have been nice to actually dip our toes in the Arctic Ocean but you can’t actually ride that far. The oil companies own the access to the ocean so the only way you can get there is to give a tour company 24 hours notice and pay US$59 to get a one hour bus tour. We were happy enough that we had ridden as far north as possible on public roads.
I stuck my head out of the tent to see a grey drizzly, cold day. This would make for an interesting days ride.
We headed towards Fairbanks and the roads were pretty slick and muddy. The weather progressively got worse from drizzle to full blown rain, very strong wind gusts and fog so thick that it was impossible to see more than 5 metres ahead.
It was difficult to see as my visor was blurred with rain and mud. I would wipe the mud off and it would smear and make it worse. A couple of times I had to stop to clean my visor.
Some of the bridges have wooden plank floors which when wet are slippery, add a thin layer of mud and that makes it even more slippery. If you don’t hit them straight on then you’re off. A guy this morning had a big off on the longest bridge across the Yukon.
We arrived in Fairbanks wet and cold and very hungry. We found a Thai restaurant and ate there. We must have looked like an alien invasion with our helmets and riding gear on.
One of the locals told us about a campsite right in town in one of the reserves. We headed there for the night.
After a lie in it was time to pack up camp. Doug suggested we should check out an old style American Diner for breakfast that he had been to previously. That sounded like a great idea so we headed off. When we arrived it was just like stepping back into a 1950’s movie. The Waitresses kept filling our coffee cups and the breakfast was very nice.I think I had a bit too much coffee as my head was spinning when I left.
We headed off to an ATM to get some cash and then went our separate ways.
It was good having a riding companion and good conversation over the last three days.
Day 324 Tuesday 21st July 2015
I caught up on the blog. Washed my riding gear and other clothes and chilled out watching a couple of movies.
I attempted to clean my helmet visor and as I took the pinlock screen off, the pin that holds the screen on popped off. It was like watching slow motion as this tiny black pin somersaulted into the air and fell into the long grass.I spent the next 20 minutes combing through the long grass. It was like finding a needle in a haystack or to be more specific a pin lock in long grass.
Day 325 Wednesday 22nd July 2015
I headed off to ride the Denali Highway. Lots of people had said I must ride this stretch of highway. The road is gravel and it passes through the hills and along a river. The Brooks Mountains make a lovely backdrop. The sun was shining and I thought to myself I’m one hell of a lucky guy.
As I progressed the clouds got greyer and greyer. I could see the rain ahead and as I went around the corners in the road it took me away from the downpour. This carried on for half an hour. I thought to myself when your lucks in your lucks in. Fatal mistake, just then the road turned and into a constant down pour I went. Now I had no pin lock screen my visor fogged up so I had to lift it up and ride with my sunglasses on. The sunglasses soon fogged up so I pulled them forward as the rain pinched my face and eyes. Now I couldn’t see at all so I tilted my head back and squinted like some visually impaired blind man. I’m glad it wasn’t being videoed. It would be a sight for sore eyes hmm,hmm.
Talkeetna is a small tourist town which is by the river. They run rafting tours, Plane flights to the glaciers and have a mountaineering school there.
I found some where to camp. It was right by the river and was someone’s lawn. It was $10 for the night.
The guy who owned it invited in for dinner as his family was in Anchorage and wouldn’t be back until later.
We had a good chat and he showed me his magnum 44 which he uses to protect himself against bears.
I went for a walk into Talkeetna to look for somewhere to eat breakfast. The only place that was open was jammed packed with tourists, there were no seats and the staff were stressed to the max. Not a place I want to frequent. I asked a woman at one of the gift shops where a good place to eat was and she sent me to a place by the Mountaineering school.I was the only one there. The food was good and the waitress gave me a good run down on the local history. She was very interesting.
I went back to camp and headed to a place just before Anchorage.
A guy called Kelly has been e-mailing me through my blog and I wanted to catch up with him. He has given me some of the Alaskan routes I should ride.Kelly is a fellow Tiger rider. He has the Tiger 800 XC Special which he keeps in a lovely condition.
Kelly invited me to stay the night and he and his wife and I went out for Mexican. Kelly kindly paid for dinner.
It was great to finally meet and he is a real good guy.
Homer was the destination today. It was a nice pleasant ride with more mountain views. I went via Whittier and checked out the glaciers Homer is known for Bald Eagles and they are there because there are lots of Salmon. Right now it’s the red Salmon run so every keen fisherman is heading or has headed to homer. The traffic was quite bad in places.
I did get to see my Bald Eagle but as soon as the camera came out there were none.
Day 328 Saturday 25th July 2015
I had just woken up when I hear from outside my tent ”Steve I know your awake I saw the tent move, I’ve brought you a cup of coffee”. It was the guy I was speaking with last night. I got up and said thanks for the coffee. As I went to shake his hand he gave me $20.He said that he had been up until 11:30 last night reading my blog. He said meeting me was the highlight of his trip so far and the read was worth a $20 donation. I was shocked by his generosity and thanked for his support.
I did an oil change today on the way to Seward. I stopped in at a lube shop and asked if they could change the oil. They said they don’t do motorcycles. So I asked if I could buy the oil off them, borrow an oil pan and I would change it. They said no.
I left there and went to an automotive shop, brought 4, one litre oil packs and a $3 oil pan and did the oil change around the back of the carpark. I poured the oil into the oil containers and dumped them and the oil pan into the skip. $33 for an oil change using synthetic oil was a pretty good price I thought.
I arrived in Seward and it was cold. I had a bit of a look around and then headed off towards Ancharage.I stopped at a state campground on the way. I did a bit more maintenance on Winston. Cleaned and oiled the pre-filter.
Day 329 Sunday 26th July 2015
Overnight it had been raining. When I woke this morning it was still raining.
I lay on my Exped goose down air bed in my cosier goose down sleeping bag in my tent listening to the rain pitter patter on the tightly stretched fabric. I hoped it would stop soon. My powers of persuasion must be lacking today as the rain continued. I had no choice but to pack up in the pouring rain.
I placed my bag and helmet under a tree so it wouldn’t get wet. I put my wet weather gear on and took down the tent. When I put it in the bag the water drained out.
I headed North East towards Tok which would be my final destination for the day. The Glenn Highway or Highway 1 is the road that took me there.
It was a scenic route and had one of the largest glaciers I had seen. The only trouble was it was raining all day and the view could only be seen through a partially misted and wet visor.
I arrived in Tok and the rain had just stopped. I pitched the sopping wet tent and mopped the water out off the floor, leaving the door open to let the tent dry. The wind that had been blowing all day had stopped as soon as I put the tent up. Normally this would be a good thing but on this occasion I wanted the wind to blow to dry my tent more quickly. It took about an hour to dry. While it was doing that I cooked dinner and then went and had a hot shower.
Day 330 Monday 27th July 2015
It was my last day in Alaska today. As I rode towards the border I felt quite sad. Somehow Alaska had made an emotional impression on me. I wasn’t quite sure why i was feeling this way. As I rode past the spruce and pine trees I realised what it was. It was the same feeling when I had when I went to Bonneville. Alaska is a harsh environment, only the strongest survive. This small window of summer displays the winners who have made it through the ferocious winter. The elements conspire against animal and plant life. It was like every tree and every animal were standing on the podium as I rode past.
In these few months of plenty new life has been created and that will have to battle the elements this coming winter It makes you realise how precious life is and how we should appreciate it. Every day there is something special to see if you only look.
I left the border and headed south for the USA border. I arrived at the Peace Arch border and was sent to the King George border crossing as the Canadian customs at Peace Arch Border couldn’t process my Carnet.
When I arrived the queue to the USA was massive. I managed to find a place to park and walked to Canadian customs to get my carnet stamped out. Everything went well so I walked back to Winston and spent the next hour queued to finally pass through the US border.
Once through the border I headed to Seattle where I stayed at a campground called Lakeside RV Park. It was only US$18 had good grass to pitch my tent and hot showers. What else could you ask for?
Day 358 Monday 24th August 2015
I went to Boeing in Everett to do the factory tour. I booked the 1pm tour. Everett plant is where Boeing builds the 787 Dreamliner, 777, 737 and other models. The building is the largest building by volume in the world. It’s that big when they first opened it the building created its own environment. Rain would drop from the clouds inside the building and workers would cover their desks with plastic. They had to install powerful fans in the building to circulate the air.
The tour was very interesting. The 747 comprises of 6 million parts, the new Dreamliner only 2.5 million. Half the Dreamliner is carbon fibre.
After the tour I went into Seattle to check out the Space Needle. It looks like something out of a 1950’s sci fi movie.
The traffic out of Seattle was very heavy. As I left Seattle I got a glimpse of Mount Rainier covered in snow.
I finished the day at a campsite called River Bend in one of the National Parks.
Mount St Helens was my attraction for today. I remember when this erupted and the news reports on the TV. When I read that the eruption occurred in 1980, 35 years ago I felt ancient.
On the way to the mountain I stopped at a gift shop and spoke to the owner. He told me that he was there on that day and where we were standing we would have had no idea anything had happed. The debris and smoke were blown east. It wasn’t until 8 hours later that the mammoth mudslide passed by.
This area is supposedly where the Bigfoot sightings have occurred. Big foot is a 7 foot plus, hairy man like creature. I think it’s probably an around the world motorcyclist gone wild. You can only live in forest for so long before nature takes you over!
The ride up to view the summit is winding and smooth. It’s a good day out.
I rode back down the hill and headed for Astoria. Astoria is an old town that looks very colonial.
I carried on through the town to make my way to Fort Stevens where there was a national park campground. When I arrived it was full so I went across the road to a KOA camp. They had no tent sites available but would give me an RV site at the same cost of a tent. I thought this was promising and asked the price. The answer, $44. This was too expensive for me so I headed off. I found an RV park but they didn’t accept tent campers. The lady did tell me to go to the waterfront and there are camp spaces there. When I arrived there, there were lots of Caravans, RV’s and tents. A couple of motorcyclists with their tents pitched waived to me and came over to where I was parked. They said I could pitch my tent on their spot for free as they had already paid. This I did.
Pete and Greg were the names of my fellow campers. They were retired and were on a two month road trip. They are riding BMW’s, one a K100 and the other an R1150R1.
We got chatting and before long our stomachs were groaning. It was time to feed them. We headed off for dinner and a beer. When the bill came Pete grabbed it and wouldn’t let me pay for it. I am just gobsmacked by people’s kindness.
We all three headed off down the famous Pacific Highway also known as the 101.
There were lovely ocean views and golden sandy beaches as we rode through the cool morning air.
We stopped for breakfast and then headed south where I left Pete and Greg and headed along 22 to Salem. I went to pick up my Motion Pro Bead Pro tyre bead breakers from Bills Motorcycle Plus more commonly known as BMP. After the problems I had outside of Jackson getting the bead broken on my punctured tyre I wanted to make sure I had the best tools to do the job.
I also wanted to get a new drive sprocket as it feels like the one I have on now is beginning to come to the end of its life. The guy at BMP was very helpful. He rang Triumph to see if they had the sprocket. Triumph apparently only had two in the whole country so there was no chance I would get it today. The guy at the counter made enquiries about an aftermarket sprocket and found one 55 miles north. He asked if I wanted to pick it up and said the place closes in an hour. I said yes and with that I was on my way to Hilsboro. I arrived with minutes to spare as the traffic was heavy. I picked up the sprocket and headed towards Elk stream campsite which was in the forest. It cost $5 for the site for the night. Now that’s my kind of price. I was the only one at the camp. I cooked dinner with only the forest for a neighbour.
Again it was off down the 101 Pacific Highway towards Tallamook. The roads were beautifully sealed with 35 to 45mph sweepers. There was very little traffic and Winston was enjoying stretching his legs while snorting in the cool crisp air.
I stopped at a campground near Florence and checked Winston’s drive sprocket. It was worn and needs replacing. I need to borrow a 36mm socket to get it off. I’ll have to drop by a mechanics workshop on my next travels.
Day 362 Friday 28th August 2015
A friend of Alana and mine has a brother named Gavin and he has offered to put me up if I’m in the area. Gavin lives in Roseburg Oregon.
I arrived mid afternoon and met Gavin at his house. He made me welcome and showed me the room I could stay in. Gavin is from New Zealand and has lived in the US for a number of years. He’s currently renovating a 36 foot yacht which he plans to sail to New Zealand one day.
Dinner time arrived so Gavin cranked up the BBQ and got a couple of cold beers out. It was just like being back in NZ.
Took it easy and caught up on my blog.
Day 364 Sunday 30th August 2015
It was time to leave Gavin and Roisin place . They made me feel very welcome and it was nice to chat to them about my trip and their life. I look forward to cooking them a BBQ when they come back to NZ for a visit.
I headed down the I5 and then onto the 101 through intermittent showers towards the famous Redwoods via Astoria. Astoria was a quaint old town with lots of old stylish wooden buildings.
I saw more homeless people in Astoria than any other part of my trip.
I continued down the 101 then onto the Avenue of Redwoods. Some f the Redwoods are over 100m / 300feet tall. As a boy I had seen a picture of a car driving through a Redwood tree and always wanted to do the same. Today I drove through two. The second was far more impressive. While at the second tree I met a Canadian called Ryan riding Suzuki VStrom 650 who is making his way down to Mexico. We decided to ride Highway 1 down the coast together. We stopped just outside Fort Bragg.
It was a great ride along 1 heading south. The road was twisty with 10-45 mph corner. It ran along the coast and through the forest. I then headed down the 101 and into Sanoma to meet an old work colleague and his wife Rob and Skye.
It was great to catch up with them as its been a couple of years since we last saw each other. They took me out for a Mexican lunch at their favourite local Mexican eatery.
In the evening Rob cranked up the BBQ and cooked a nice steak dinner which we washed down with a couple of beers and wines.
I mentioned that I need to swap out my front sprocket and asked Rob if he had a 36mm socket and ratchet. He didn’t but they had a friend that had one so Skye popped over to pick it up for me.
Day 367 Wednesday 2nd September 2015
This morning Rob and I went for a walk in the hills and got a great view over Sanoma. When we got back I changed out the front sprocket. I’m glad the ratchet was a decent length as the nut holding the sprocket on was very tight and required a lot of persuasion to undo.
After some manual work we went out for lunch at a nice local Italian restaurant. The food was good. In the evening Skye invited some friends over and we had BBQ a few beers, wines and laughs.
Day 365 Thursday 3rd September 2015
I bid Rob and Skye farewell and thanked them for putting me up and looking after me. It was nice to have been able to catch up with them while I was in their neck of the woods. I left Rob and Skye’s place headed to west to Point Reyes Lighthouse. The road followed the coast and there were nice sea views. It was quite gusty and cold in places.
I then headed towards to San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge. I never bothered stopping in San Francisco as I had already been there previously. I ended the day at Francis State Beach.
It was a leisurely ride up the coast to Monterey. I stopped at Santa Cruz on the way, found a nice vantage point to look down the coast pulled out the sandwiches and coffee and basked in the sun. Before I headed off I rang Racetech to make sure they had my rear spring and would be able to fit it. They can fit it on Tuesday so it will be a leisurely few days.
It is the last long holiday weekend of summer here so all the campsites are booked out. Was lucky to get the last site at the Veterans Memorial Park I arrived at 2pm.
I met an Australian guy in the camp on holiday from Perth He has hired a Harley for 9 days and has ridden from LA through Vegas and will be back in LA in two days time. It’s one of his bucket list items and has absolutely enjoyed every moment of his trip. I’m normally hopeless at remembering names but I had no problem remembering his……………..it’s Steve.
Steve and I decided we would visit the famous Laguna Seca race track, its only 10 miles away and Steve would then make his way south from there.
When we arrived there was no activity at the track so we rode near it, checked out the winner’s podiums and as we were doing this one of the maintenance guys yelled over to us that we weren’t allowed up there. We came down and Steve asked if we could go on the track. When we’d gotten down the maintenance guy told us his boss would be over and take us for a lap in the car. Not quite the same as riding the bike around but it was good to do a lap particularly over the famous corkscrew. You go over the corkscrew completely blind so you would really have to learn the track.
Overall it was a great experience.
Day 368 Sunday 6th September 2015
My little furry buddy made an appearance at breakfast, this time he was at the other side of my tent. Every time he saw a movement he would be back down his hole as quick as a flash.
The great thing about camping and being outside most of the time is you get to see all sorts of interesting wild life.
I packed up my tent and headed towards Santa Rosa leaving my little furry friend behind.
I continued around the coast on Highway 1. The roads were twisty but the traffic was too heavy to enjoy them. I went past Big Sur and Hearst Castle. I pulled up to the castle but the queues were massive so I turned around and carried on.The coast is quite rugged and there is an aqua blue sea. It reminds me very much of the Kaikora coast in the South Island of New Zealand.
I pitched my tent on very dry soil. It was that dry you could have mistaken it for golden talcum powder.
Day369 Monday 7th September 2015
The temperature is starting to heat up the further south I go so I got up early before the heat of the sun arrived.
I headed into the hills above Santa Barbara, past some lovely Spanish Styled homes with a panoramic view of Santa Barbara lying on the plains by the ocean.
I arrived at Chino Hills at 2pm. I had by passed LA as I thought the long weekend traffic would be heavy. I was surprised how light it was.
While at camp I decided to use the showers to cool down. The day had gotten up to 38c and it was good to feel the cold water dissipate the heat of my body.
I then went for a ride to Racetech just to make sure I know where they are for tomorrow.
On the way back I stopped at a bottle shop and got a bag of ice and a couple of cans of beer to rehydrate at camp. You can’t beat a cool crisp beer on a hot day aaarrrhh!!!
During the night I had heard packs of Coyote’s howling. One of the packs was metres away from my tent. I howled back at them, I got a meagre howl back then they disappeared into the night.
Around 4:30am the packs were back and in full song.
Just as the sun came up from behind the hills I packed up and had breakfast before the heat of the day came. As I headed down the hills I got a great view of Corona. I was surprised how much smog there was. Later on I was told it was the pollution blown through the valleys from LA.
I arrived at Racetech and I had them swap the rear shock spring for the heaviest spring you can get for the Tiger. It’s a 21kg/mm one. I also got them to change the oil, seals and bush. It looks like I made the right decision as the bush was badly worn and would have more than likely given out through South America.
I'd arranged to meet another work colleague called Greg. Greg lives outside of San Diego. It was another 38 degree day so as soon as I arrived at Greg’s place we both jumped into his pool and supped down a cold beer. In the evening we had a BBQ and more beers. We talked until the early hours of the morning.
Greg has a BMW F650GS Dakar and we were going to go for a ride if Greg could get it to go. He brought it new and has put on 10,000 miles. It looked like the problem was a worn battery. Greg took the tank off; well it’s not actually a tank it a plastic cowling that covers the battery and air box, the petrol tank is under the seat to keep the centre of gravity low. When we finally got to the battery and metered it, it looked like the battery was the problem. It was disappointing we couldn’t have ridden together.
We ended spending most of the day chatting about all sorts. It was great to catch up with Greg. We had many, many interesting discussions.
I left Greg’s place at about 4pm and as I headed down the road I felt spots of rain hit my face.. When I looked towards the hills there were storms coming. I decided to pull into the nearest campsite and hopefully miss the rain. As I had just paid for my campsite the rain came down heavily. Winton and I waited under a tree until the worst had gone. We went down to the site which had excellent tree cover so I was able to pitch the tent in relatively dry conditions.
I left camp and headed towards San Diego. The first point of call was mission Bay. We have an area in Auckland with the same name. They are both by the sea and they both have nice views.
Next port of call was actually the port. I checked out the USS Midway, which is a famous aircraft carrier. San Diego is has the world’s largest military base and there are many Naval vessels around the ports.
It was then off to find my final camp spot in the USA. I ended up at Lake Jennings which is east of San Diego.
The site I had was right at the top of the hill with panoramic views of the lake. Just as I rode into my allotted camp spot I notice someone vacating. It was a Coyote.
It had been another hot day and there was rain coming. I could see it in the distance. The wind was blowing hard and this added complications to the art of pitching the tent. On the positive side it was cooling.
Just as I got the tent up the rain came. I stood there in just my shorts and felt the cool rain and wind hit my hot body. How refreshing.
I walked to some pink rocks, climbed to the top and just watched the beauty of nature. I watched a hawk gliding and circling the updrafts from the hills looking for dinner, I watched the Gecko’s, rabbits, and some very black beetle looking thing with the brightest red wings walking at break neck speed all doing their thing.
Since June I have mostly camped. The thing I’ve enjoyed the most is watching the birds and animals go about their day to day business.
It’s a strange feeling knowing this is my last day in an English speaking country. I’ve gotten used of silky smooth roads, being able to have conversations and the internet.
Tomorrow I head for Mexico to start the next part of the adventure.
During the night the Coyotes were partying, they were howling and crying and they were close. I thought one must have been right next to my tent. When I got up in the morning I was right, he had left his little paw prints.