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Old 09-18-2012, 06:11 PM   #61
calimusjohn OP
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An Evening with Sandman

An evening with Sandman
By 9:00 P.M. I had eaten enough ice and drunk enough liquids to ensure a multi up/down night. My appetite had returned, so I ventured forth into the night to seek sustenance. The Sandman had a door from the lobby directly into the Denny's Restaurant. Great, I thought. When I entered, I could feel the a tension in the air. The booths and tables were occupied, but there was no food on the tables. Low murmurings sounded like a lot of barely suppressed anger. At the entrance, was a line of folks that went out onto the sidewalk and ended at the Italian Tour buses parked at the curb. I asked, "Uh, What's going on?" I will shorten the answers. . . two tour buses, nearly fifty hungry people . . . One cook - one waitress that went into the rest room and has not come out in thirty minutes - not a happy group. They had been there for over an hour. I decided that perhaps with a bit of luck I could walk to where things were a bit less tense.
A block away, a neon sign flashed "Earl's Lounge" over and over. Across the street was a hamburger stand. Earl won. I openned the door and was hit with cold air, loud music and scantily clad waitresses. How lucky can I guy get? Two - not one - two waitresses escorted me to a table in the dimly lit lounge. Well, not all that dim because there was a BIG flatscreen T.V. on each of the walls displaying four different sporting events. Booths around the perimeter seemed to hold just one couple and they didn't seem to be interested in the other sporting events around and above them. I was fortunate. The kitchen was still open. The menu: Earl's World Renown Hamburger with Fries. Nope. That was it. Perhaps the late hour precluded anything else. I drank two full sized glasses of "Virgin Ice Tea," served by a young lady wearing what I remember as a Peasant's blouse, who liked to bend over - a lot . . . while waiting on my Earl Burger. Macho Man music accompanied the action on the muted T.V. screens. It has been many a year since I was in a Meat Market. They haven't changed much. I have. Eventually a plate arrived with Earl's finest - with a bonus - a big Dill pickle. Tasty. I enjoyed the floor show, smiled a lot at some obscure memories, paid my $30.00 tab and returned to the Sandman. 24 hour Denny's was closed.
Checkout in the morning revealed the room rate as $100.00. I actually thought it would be more. It was very nice. You know - where the bath towels are 1/2 inch thick - a bathrobe is provided - two kinds of shampoo, etc. Headed north. The country is getting rounder - not as many vertical rock walls - still have high mountains running alongside. The vegetation next to the highway is so thick that it is impossible to walk through. I have no idea how big critters move through, maybe they don't. That may be why when I saw my first moose, I saw three. Two were standing with their heads stuck in the vegetation - kind of like - head in sand hideing - the third was mixed with vehicle parts and covered about a hundred yards of pavement. Grim. Along with the scrunched together vegetation - are miles upon miles of dead pine trees - millions of them killed by an infestation of the Western Pine Beetle. The western United States has them also and they are devastating. Another observation. Birds. Few L.B.J.'s. Those are the: Little Black/Brown Jobbies. Quite a few Ravens, and ducks, but only two Sparrows, and one Golden Eagle.
I camped beside the Peace River. Nice grounds. $15.00. No water. No showers. No electricity. No WiFi. Nice grounds.
One more obs: A&W Root beer = $2.68. Hamburgers = minimum $!0.00. Standard breakfasts run from $14.00 to $20.00.

Dead trees


Peace River Campground
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:13 PM   #62
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Near Summit Lake

Near Summit Lake
Today was a day of travel. It was an unremarkable day. It was one of those days that when you sit down at the end of it and try to write an account - it is almost a blank. I had to sit and scratch awhile before the memory cells finally reacted. Temperature crawled up to 94 degrees for a while and then cooled rapidly. The cold front arrived at last! I was stopped on the road several times today by critters. I'll stick a couple of photos down below. You can identify them with no problem.
I am sitting in an old time log cabin. A politician was probably born here and I missed the name. It is unique. It has two sinks, but no water. It has a nice firm bed. The bath house is 100 yards away. I am paying $75.00 for the privilage of NOT sitting in a tent while the wind is gusting 60 MPH. The black clouds overhead haven't dumped yet.
I keep expecting to see Sgt. Preston of the R.C.M.P. and his faithful dog King. The closest I have seen is when a non-descript Gray Dodge suddenly comes alive with red and blue flashing lights. I came close today. HA! I remember! ! ! I was cruising along and after passing a long line of cars noticed a white vehicle about a 1/2 mile ahead. I was quickly closing the gap between us when - a single FLASH of lots of strobe lights appeared- Welllllllll . . . it didn't take me long to match his speed. We rode formation style for about five miles. The vehicle turned off onto a side road. As I passed by, the vehicle's lights FLASHED once more. I was grinning as I waved Goodbye and returned to cruise speed. I have reduced my normal cruise speed. I need more time to gawk. I admit, I mostly gawk at other tourists. The winner of today's award of "The Gawkiest" was an overweight man in a string bikini shopping in a country grocery store. At least he didn't work there! Tomorrow I hope to ride to Watson Lake. It is on the Border to the Yukon.

Road critters:


More critters:



One more:


A sincere apology to everyone that posts and I do not directly respond. I am so pleased that I am not the only - old fart runnin' down them lonely roads - hmmmn, could be a song title. I'm a two finger typist and by the time I get my stuff all written and the freakin' computer doesn't eat it - and I read your links - it is usually way past my bedtime. I promise: I do read everyone and check out the links.
One last thing - if you haven't - check out RTW Doug on that Amazing '28 Indian on the Cannonball run. Fun stuff. The tour passes within 15 miles of my abode on Thursday. I'll be out watchin'. You bet. John
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:07 AM   #63
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I'm stayin' with ya. I have the memories of once was in loose sports clubs/grills.

Riding 2-up through the night headed home to SoCal, we stopped at Salinas about 10pm to get gas.
I wanted a steak dinner and the attendant with raised eyebrow recommended a place.
The food was good, the booths deep maroon leather, the patrons very quiet, it felt like a gangster's club house.
This was mid-week btw.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:16 PM   #64
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Thank you!

Good to hear from another rider who knows what it's like to ride in pain -and still does it

Also good to see you're on a strom

Ride on brother
Thanks! Am enjoying your report as a youngster (60)

Steve
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:31 PM   #65
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North to Watson Lake?

North to Watson Lake
If I was a punster, I'd be tempted to say I slept like a log - but since I'm not . . . Slept great! Loaded the bike as the thermometer read 63 degrees. Cooler weather is in store. On some Alaska ride reports, I read of trying to find the best cinnamon bun. Well, they are found everywhere. Since my cabin did not have a means to lock the door - the owner handed me a cinnamon bun instead of a key.
Cinnamon buns in Canada, the Yukon and Alaska don't look like the ones I have had in the states. One is a meal. They are big enough to last me until noon to think about chow. No, I didn't take a picture of a 1/2 eaten bun . . . but photos of them are available on other reports. I did take a photo of the gas pump. You will see why.
I climbed over the first ridge of the day to see black clouds overhead and Virga (Virga is basically rain that doesn't reach the ground) dangling everywhere along my expected path. The temperature dropped to 57 as the first puddle sized drops whacked me. Two miles of riding by instinct - visibility was drastically reduced - and I popped out of the other side of the front. I stayed out of the rain except for a couple of brief showers until 5:00 when the front or one of its cousins caught me. I enjoyed the next ten miles of duck drowning water falls.
I have to back up again. I stopped for brunch at "Jack's Place." Jack was on the telephone ordering supplies. Most of the supplies had active adjectives attached. Jack's bald head glistened as he raised his voice to me. "SIT DOWN! I'LL BE WITH YOU WHEN THIS ....ING IDIOT, ...ING GETS THE ...ORDER RIGHT." Me, "O.K." It wasn't long before the idiot had the order right. "WHAT DO YOU WANT?" "Uh, ham and eggs over easy, hash browns, sour dough toast and a cup of hot tea." I answered. "WELL YOU BETTER THINK AGAIN. YOU CAN'T EAT THAT MUCH, YOU WANT THE GERIATRIC PLATE." "No. I would like what I just said." '
"YA CAN'T EAT THAT MUCH! I'VE TOLD YA'. SO, I GOT NOTHIN' ELSE TO TELL YA'!" A moments silence. "I'LL BE BACK. I GOTTA' OPEN THE ...ING POST!" He exited the Diner, walked next door, unlocked the front door to the Post Office, accepted a package from a lady. He no sooner steped inside the Post Office than he is back outside headed my way. "YOU STILL WANT ALL THAT FOOD? YA' CAN'T EAT THAT MUCH YA' KNOW." MURMER, MURMER, MURMER.
Five minutes go by. . . "Wow! That is one big ham slice.!" "I TOLD YA'! YA' WON'T BE ABLE TO EAT IT ALL!" Forty five minutes later, I am forcing down the last bite of a ham slice eight inches in diameter and over a half inch thick. I had a pile of hash browns that made the two eggs on top look like Quail eggs. Then there was the toast - Jack is a baker. Jack baked the sourdough bread. Jack sliced the bread for the toast. Each slice is over six inches by six inches by two inches thick! I thought I was going to die, but I would either eat it all or explode. . .. I left a small scrap of toast crust on the plate. "SEE! I TOLD YA' COULDN'T EAT IT ALL. . . SHOULDA HAD A GERIATRIC PLATE!" I just paid the $16.00 and waddled out to the bike. I had to squish some to get on.
I arrived at Watson Lake in the early afternoon. I stopped at a grocery store to get dinner.I refueled and headed out of town to the first campground. Full. Second campground - Closed. Third - whew! hair on back of neck says, "Don't!" I don't. Then it rained. I rode on. Looking and looking. By staying in Watson Lake, I'd need to ride 300 miles to get to Whitehorse . . .. I now only have to go 100.
Today was another critter day. There is a song that has a lyric. . . never roller skate in a buffalo herd . . .. Good advice. My, but they are big - even the little ones.

Gas price is HOW MUCH?


No skaters allowed




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Old 09-21-2012, 10:15 AM   #66
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CannonBall Run

Took the day off and went to watch the Cannon Ball riders arriving in Klamath Falls. I followed a 1929 Harley over Bly Mtn. Maintained 45 MPH going up and as much as 70 going down . He was using a quart of oil per 100 miles. Kinda Smokey riding behind. Bikes AND riders are outstanding. Riders are tremendous Ambassadors for motorcycling. They were all answering questions and were very gracious to all.
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:36 PM   #67
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Lost Pages

Lost pages
Rather than make a lot of scribbled unreadable notes during a ride, I send myself emails and sort them out when I get home. Except when there are missing emails. Then I stare at the map and try to remember what actually happened. So, onto Whitehorse. Big town. Huge airport. Unique windsock. Transportation museum. Wide streets. Little traffic. Actually ate in a restaurant that had more than hamburgers on the menu. Weather was off and on rain. Fueled up and continued north. Spent the night at Carmacks. Road bounded by a band of trees either side, made the ride to Dawson City less than spectacular. You can tell you are getting close from the piles of crushed rock dumped by the huge barges after they gobbled up the earth seeking gold.
Dawson City is colorful in every sense of the word. The old buildings sport bright pastel paint with a contrasting color trim around doors and windows. It is amazingly clean - the streets are not paved. Boardwalks keep pedestrians out of the mud after a rain. I stopped at the campground that is right down town. Tent sites are the same as the RV's =3/4 inch gravel. Threw down a tarp to protect the tent and all was well. Internet was free and almost non-existant. Any message more than about 20 words didn't get through. A walk around town exposed me to Honky Tonk piano music escaping saloons, laughter and sounds of gaity leaked from every open door. Restaurants and cafes offered everything you could want. A grocery across the street from a paddle wheeler provided my dinner and a couple of breakfasts. Dawson City has a nice feel to it. Sure, the 2,000 some inhabitants are out to separate some dollars from the 650,000 tourists that flow through during a very short season. But they do it with such finesse, you leave larger "Tips" than normal.
Leaving Dawson City is quick and easy. A free ferry carries you from the edge of town across the river and the end of : "Top of the World Highway". After passing another campground and the golf course you climb to another world. A forty nine mile stretch of gravel road introduces you to the tops of ridge after ridge. A few faint trails and narrow roads drop off and lead to mines of yesteryear. Guard rails and road signs do not block the views of endless green hills with low lying vegetation - there aren't any. O.K. a few. For approximately 110 miles - there are no houses, cabins, buildings of any sort. Just thousands of square miles of open land. Asphalt covers parts of the Highway to give you a bit of rest between bouts with 3/4 to 2 1/2 inch gravel. It pays to stay alert.
My Tom Tom GPS has been a great help on this ride as well as on others. When queried about how long this 110 miles from Dawson City, Yukon to Chicken, Alaska would take - it indicated 5 hours and 20 minutes. Whew. That's about 20 MPH. I knew that had to be wrong. I cruise a lot faster than that. Well so much for my thoughts. It did take 4 hours and 30 minutes. I was more tired after this short leg than when I have ridden 500 plus mile days. This route is unforgiving. It is not all that difficult. It just takes a bit more attention to detail.

Wind Sock


Free Ferry


Top of the World


Customs
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Old 09-22-2012, 05:21 PM   #68
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Alaska

John,
Great ride report. Admire you a lot. I'm 68, been riding since I was 14 (cushman eagle) and still love it. My wife and I rode to Alaska in 03. Two up on an Electra Glide. Never had a problem of any kind. Great trip. I know you have great memories and they are worth a lot. Looking forward to the rest of the report.
Blessings and good health,
Bob
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:11 PM   #69
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Howdy from MT

God bless you John. I'll be turning 70 next year and if it is at all possible I would love to hook up with you and pass some miles and Margaritas.

Moosed
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:55 PM   #70
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John,
Great ride report. Admire you a lot. I'm 68, been riding since I was 14 (cushman eagle) and still love it. My wife and I rode to Alaska in 03. Two up on an Electra Glide. Never had a problem of any kind. Great trip. I know you have great memories and they are worth a lot. Looking forward to the rest of the report.
Blessings and good health,
Bob
Do you know what a Cushman Eagle is worth today? I started with a Whizzer, then a Cushman Airborne model designed to be parachuted with the troops. Great memories.
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:01 PM   #71
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God bless you John. I'll be turning 70 next year and if it is at all possible I would love to hook up with you and pass some miles and Margaritas.

Moosed
Well thank you. No telling what the future holds. I am looking forwards as well as back. Monday - I Smart car to Indiana for a 55th High School Reunion. Better do it now - might not be a 60th.

Near future plans - winter in San Carlos, Sonora Mexico. I have a boat in storage there. Friend presently in China has proposed a SCMA Four Corner's Tour on scooters - I suggested TW2oo's. We have both. We'll see.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:27 PM   #72
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Eh? Tok = Toke

Tok = Toke
Yes. I had to ask. Tok as in token. Toked but didn't inhale.
Up until recently Chicken consisted basically of three buildings. Now you have to look for Chicken. The Highway sort of bypasses it. But takes you to a cafe, a Trading post with every bizarre Chicken joke, sayings, post cards, rubber Chickens, etc., an RV park, fueling station and all the modern stuff designed to lighten the tourist's weight - by taking all of his heavy coins - they accept paper and plastic also - it is a full service town. That reminds me - gasoline in Dawson City was $6.17 a gallon. Considering how far it is trucked to get it there - it's a reasonable price.
I had the Cafe's special - a hamburger - menus along my route have varied - some have hamburgers with cheese! This turned out to be the best one of the trip and only $11.00. I inserted $8.40 of gas into the Vstrom which qualified me for a free dry tenting spot. An inspection of the spot revealed a couple of minor problems. It was located between the chain saw artist's workshop and the generator that runs 24/7. It was delicately covered with gravel and had a very healthy slope which would prevent flooding in a Monsoon. The outhouse was a hundred yards away. I carefully considered my options - and chose to wander on down the road.
Back on the bike and into the hills. I saw some cariboo and a moose. The hills leveled out and I found myself riding across a very large plain - with lots of vegetation - and muskeg (swampy looking parts).It doesn't look promising for farming - too short a growing season for cultivated produce. Back in Chicken, posted in the middle of the bulletin board was a notice of a Motorcycle Campground in Tok. I had copied the directions and found it with no trouble. Without knowing the place was there would have it remain invisible. Supposedly you can't put up a big billboard advertising your place. You CAN give the Guv'ment $1,500.00 and they will post a small Blue and White sign for you. For shoestring operations it is a killer. O.K. I locate the entrance and enter a drive with wall to wall thick - I mean THICK vegetation on each side. It prevents people from getting lost - you can't force your way through it without a chainsaw. I come to a small clearing where a big hulking guy says, "The cabin is full. The ambulance (ambulance?) is taken, so you can use the bunkhouse or the wall tent." I squeek out, "How much?" Big hulking guy, "Ten dollerz." It sold me! I was in. The bunk house is about 10 foot by 12 foot, made of rough cut raw lumber, board and batten style construction. Four bunks, two upper and several below - Hey! You do the math! No one else is around. I claim a lower and move in.
After a while, a BMW and another Vstrom arrive. The man and woman have reserved the Ambulance. It has a plywood platform bed in back. I don't know if the lights and siren still work. If the lights work - they are the only ones that do. There is no electricity here. The camp does provide a covered work table with a two burner propane stove top, a deep sink with a barrel of water, a steam sauna - throw water on heated rocks and if they don't explode you can sweat yourself clean. The fire rings are stocked with firewood and stumps provide seating.
I meet the Ambulance crew. He is an E.M.T. (duh) from Anchorage F.D. and she works for the Guv'ment. A new couple on a BMW show up. They sound German. Wrong. Romania. They flew into Montreal, retrieved the bike and came clear across the continent to be with us. Boy, are we flattered! They claim the wall tent and join us at the fire ring. They are heading towards Tierra del Fuego over the next two years.
Two more BMW's pull in. Two guys from Bolivia. They have 10 kilos of fresh caught salmon someone gave them. Big hulking guy shows up - puts some green branches from a Black Spruce under the logs - tosses in a match and the "Green" limbs explode into flames lighting the logs. It is quicker than gasoline and smells way better. The little smoke from the fire and a generous spray of Alaska Cologne (Deet) keeps the skeeters at bay. We swap lies, eat fresh salmon, drink moderately until after the sun goes down which was approaching one A.M., We ended the night with tales of the "Dumbest" things we have done on motorcycles. I of course was at a complete loss.
10:00 A.M. I slither from my plywood bunk, crawl to the door, open the door expecting to be the only one still here. Apparently the moderate drinking wasn't so moderate after all. I am the first one to be m0ving/stumbling around. After a while there is a circle of people staring at the dead fire ring trying to remember what today's goal was. Brushing teeth seemed about the most important on the ToDo lists. By noon we all waved Goodbye to Big hulking guy and were on the road.

Alaskan graffiti



???????

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Old 09-22-2012, 10:36 PM   #73
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Tok, Alaska

Hi John , I just happened to find your great RR
We met last month in the campground in Tok and I still remember the stories that you told us about all the crazy and wild stuff that you have done in the air
I was the guy riding 2 up on my way back down to Guatemala
Here a pic from that evening
Ride safe and keep smiling!
Julio


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Old 09-23-2012, 06:33 AM   #74
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Thanks John, a good read indeed!

He has passed. MacadamDrifter pulled a Uni-Go type trailer behind his TW200. His RRs were/are some of the best.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:50 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by GuateRider View Post
Hi John , I just happened to find your great RR
We met last month in the campground in Tok and I still remember the stories that you told us about all the crazy and wild stuff that you have done in the air
I was the guy riding 2 up on my way back down to Guatemala
Here a pic from that evening
Ride safe and keep smiling!
Julio


That was a great evening with some great people. I am still smiling and have the bugs on teeth to prove it. Ride safe.
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