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Old 08-16-2010, 02:43 PM   #91
rkover1
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Wow!

Wow, what a report; and an adventure!

Planning for my own trip up north from Woodinville in 2012 and taking notes as I read along. My son doesn't have much interest in bikes, but my 20 year old daughter surprised the heck out of us the other day when she announced she'd like to learn to ride! Hmmmm.....

Quick question on the 650 (I've got a 2006): what windscreen did you choose to replace the stocker? The original is too short for me (and I'm only 5'2") but the one in the photos looks like should be pretty close to right.

Keep up the report. Can't wait for the next installment.

doc
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:25 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by rkover1
Wow, what a report; and an adventure!

Planning for my own trip up north from Woodinville in 2012 and taking notes as I read along. My son doesn't have much interest in bikes, but my 20 year old daughter surprised the heck out of us the other day when she announced she'd like to learn to ride! Hmmmm.....

Quick question on the 650 (I've got a 2006): what windscreen did you choose to replace the stocker? The original is too short for me (and I'm only 5'2") but the one in the photos looks like should be pretty close to right.

Keep up the report. Can't wait for the next installment.

doc
It is a Wunderlich. they have 2, one tall one short. Both are considerably taller than stock. This is the tall windshield that I cut down to almost the size of the small setting. My son is 6 feet, so I would opt for the small for you. I got the Wunderlich because the version they have for my bike is Lexan and I assumed that this one was as well. No such luck as it is acrylic. It worked well for him.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:46 PM   #93
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Thanks. That helps.

Looks like the setup in the photos is alot like mine: OEM hand protectors with Touratech spoilers. Quite a few screens don't seem to fit that configuration. I'll give the Wunderlich a look.

Can't beat Rich's: for the level of comfort as well as the support (pun intended) at his shop.

Thanks again. And happy trails.

doc
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:33 PM   #94
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Drizzle as we wake in Seward. Chris looks out and says, "lets git outa here".

The plan was to head to Whittier thru the cool tunnel and ferry to Valdez. Two places that would be good to check out, regardless of the weather. Also that would lead us to a nice trip to Kennicott et al.

Turns out that for some reason the ferry is not running today?? So we either burn a day here. Out and back to homer, backtrack on the Glenn highway or, hmmm, how bout we head up to Denali and take the Denali highway west. With our minds cleansed with a good dose of Whatever/Whenever we down a couple Starbucks Doubleshots, mount our trusty steeds and we are off to Anc for Bfast 2 hrs away.

North of Anchorage is Wasilla. Now I am not stopping here unless Sara herself shows up in my lane. Hey, btw, I look as far west as I can and there ain't no way in hell she could see Russia. Now I am not sure if I can believe anything she says.

The weather stays dark with low clouds, but at least little rain. It is pretty dull north of ANC. As we approach Denali the view get interesting again. Here there are small weathered trees, almost like we are getting close to the treeline.



We stop at Cantwell at the west edge of the Denali Highway. No big mountain in sight as they clouds have their way. No change expected so instead of camping in the park we head east on the Denali Highway.



We see several rogue campsites along the way, but nothing really grabs us. About 30 miles in we get to Brushkana creek and a campground.

.



We hike above the camp to a plateau filled with blue berry bushes and nothing else. I can only imagine the bears when these ripen. Dense woods around the campspots which is nice. Here is the zoomed view down from the plateau.



Carpet, c'mon people!!



Lots of wood around. Build a nice smore approved fire. Add some tarpage in the trees to keep us dry if it rains. It is nice to be camping again. What a difference it makes to be out of that hotel. Being inside with the artificial light, stale air, and curtains, all blocking out the very essence of the wilderness. That just somehow feels wrong up here in AK. Good to be back.

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Old 08-17-2010, 09:55 PM   #95
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The Denali highway. This is going to be a fun day. In the true spirit of Bear Grylls we head up to the highest point and look to the hills to check the weather for the day.



Kinda wish we had not done that. Actually, it improved throughout the day and we ended in shirtsleeves.

The highway is quite amazing. It is another beautiful AK gravel road. Smooth, flat, with some loose stuff where they lay it down fresh. Great to ride. The views are stellar. We come to a construction zone where they are inspecting the bridge over the Susitna River. They send a cute girl up to tell us the news.



When ever they send the cute girls to do the talking it means it will be a while. It was. Actually you can see that no way could we get by the truck on the bridge?? Oh well, who am I to argue with the cute girl. Their strategy worked.

The highway is amazing in its variety.



From tundra like ground to treed, to the high alpine of crossing the second highest highway pass in AK, MacLaren Summit.





We make our way to Tangle Lake Restaurant. Even though we have only gone about 100 miles, we fall in love with the area and decide to spend some time and check it out and spend the night at the campground.





There is a nice ridge right behind the tent, begging to be conquered. Here is the view from the bottom.



And one looking the other way. Did I mention that this is one pretty place!







And the Tangle lake version of Stonehenge



While checking over the bikes I notice one of the 650's bags is a bit loose. Grabbing the rack with my hand, it ah, comes off in my hand



No that is not an official salute.

That is pretty close to strike three for me with these. An hour later we have it wired back together as best we can. Never leave home without bailing wire, duct tape and wire ties.

Its not pretty, but it is as tight as a .... well its not gonna move.



We had momma and her babe come and visit. They entertained us for quite a while.







[IMG][/IMG]

An evening climb up on the ridge affords the beautiful cool light that only the evening brings. I sit and watch the beavers do their thing in the lake.

A great highway. Not to be missed. A great site to rest our heads. This is likely our last night on the dirt in AK. We make the most of it.

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Old 08-18-2010, 05:01 AM   #96
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Great RR GR8ADV. I showed it to my son, he is 13 AND he already rides with me , and he told me thats cool, lets go. I'm looking forward to going to AK with him when he gets a few years older. Ride Safe.
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:14 PM   #97
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This was the place we were headed to in the middle of June on our ride up. Unfortunatly they had a storm the night before and had 6 inches of snow on the ground and it was still snowing. So I didn't get to ride it. Dad went down twice over the summer and has been on that rode in a truck alot. He talks about it often. Now seeing these pics....well I'll just have to plan another ride.



Quote:
Originally Posted by GR8ADV
We make our way to Tangle Lake Restaurant. Even though we have only gone about 100 miles, we fall in love with the area and decide to spend some time and check it out and spend the night at the campground.





There is a nice ridge right behind the tent, begging to be conquered. Here is the view from the bottom.



And one looking the other way. Did I mention that this is one pretty place!







And the Tangle lake version of Stonehenge

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Old 08-18-2010, 09:56 PM   #98
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We wake to the loud sound of rain bouncing off the tent. A big contrast to the beautiful night before. We strategize, which means nothing more than deciding to go over to the Tangle Lake restaurant for bfast.

Less than 20 minutes from stepping out of the tent to having the bikes fully loaded and rolling. Not sure we could have done that the first week.



Christina the grand daughter of the owner and born and raised in AK shares some great stories. How she would never eat meat bought in a store. How can you eat meat that you don't know where it comes from? She tells us of winter hunts for moose, gutting them and throwing them on the machine to haul home. Then carving it up. Chris and I both laugh as just yesterday he was saying that he would like to learn how to fillet a fish. She says that one thing she wants to do is go to a big mall. wow what a contrast.

Today will be a 3L day. Layers, Liners and L'ectricity.

Tangle lake marks the end of the dirt as you head east and this is not lost on me as we roll out.

The ceiling is low and we lose much of the majesty, yet somehow it is still beautiful.





We hit a dense fog bank and I lose Chris in the mirrors. After a radio check he is just drifting back to see how far he has to go before I disappear. It is funny the games we play on the road.



I am not sure what to expect today. We have decided to head north up to Delta Junction rather than go south to the TOK cuttoff to TOK. that is the way we came over, and we are looking for something different. Although it was a stellar ride. I wonder how good the road north could be.

Turns out it is a great road. Bounded by huge cliffs. I need to come back here in the sun. This would be spectacular. We don't take too many pics given the rain. But we do spot the pipeline.





A little info for those with enquiring minds. This one engineering marvel.





We get to DJ and it is cold and wet. And cold. We go into the grocery to stock up and eat in the deli. The locals young and old all come in wearing jeans and carharts, the tourists are all in shorts and white tennis shoes.

We head south towards TOK after getting gas, and forgetting to pay for it. Tina came running out to the intersection to get me. She must have said "im sorry" 10 times for running after me. Damn, I am the one who is sorry. I guess it happens so often it now comes out of their paycheck. And with a thirsty 1200 ADV at the pump, that would likely zero out her day. So everyone go to Tesorro and Tip Tina in DJ

In TOK we find out that the TOW has been closed !! Turns out it was 3 days after we went through. Looking back at our notes, had we gone on to Inuvik instead of turning around at the Circle we would have been smack in the middle of the storm and the washout instead of the hot sunny dusty day that we had on the TOW.

We hang around in TOK and talk to some other riders. They all have crazy stories. ONe guy from Texas on his wee had to hitchhike into TOK to get more plugs cus his tire would not hold them. He plugged it like three times, and each time it failed. Finally he ran out of plugs. It took him three days to get a ride to TOK and back to his bike. Looking at his tire it was BALD and no wonder the plugs would not hold. I offered him my spare rear as it was the same size. He said no he had one lined up in Wasilla, and as he was able nurse it this this last 100 miles (at 30 mph) he could nurse the rest. Ah, that's gotta be over 300 miles to Wasilla, on a main highway, u sure? yup. ok. GL

We hang around and around, enjoying the folks. Long enough for the rain to catch up. And boy did it catch up. We hit the campsite just south of TOK on the river across the bridge. I tell Chris that the good lord was not going to let us out of AK telling 'girly' stories of sunny warm days. We set the tent up in a downpour. In the end everything we have ends up wet. goretex is only so good.

This pic is well after the fact. Just about everything you see that looks like ground, looked like a lake. The two trenches helped greatly to drain it, and would provide peace of mind should the rains come back hard again in the night.



It is still raining hard, but the ground seems to be able to suck it up for now.





Anything wood is drenched and we head back to town to buy some dry wood at the store. Cus no matter how bad it gets, and how hard it rains, the show must go on



It is almost dusk-like as it gets late indicating our journey south. As we hit the warm and dry bags, we know we are heading eventually to a ferry in Haines to take us to Bellingham. We talk about maybe leaving out of Skagway instead. Hmmm, Whatever. We drift off.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:22 PM   #99
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a different view

GR8ADV,

I really enjoyed your great pictures of the Denali Highway, one of my favorite places and especially a favorite place in the winter, so for you and your son here is a picture taken near Tangle Lakes of a different time of year when we play on the snow.

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Old 08-19-2010, 04:39 AM   #100
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Thumb Thanks!

Thanks for the great report. This is inspiring to my 17-year-old son and I. He will be taking MSF soon and has been sitting on an F650GS at our local store. These photos have given us good "that could be us in a few months" discussions.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:31 AM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarmoose
GR8ADV,

I really enjoyed your great pictures of the Denali Highway, one of my favorite places and especially a favorite place in the winter, so for you and your son here is a picture taken near Tangle Lakes of a different time of year when we play on the snow.

Damn! That is a cool shot. But why did you push that road sign into the snow like that.

On this trip, If I had a buck for every time I said that I want to come back up here in the winter I could have bought one them sno-machines!!

Great pic man. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:21 PM   #102
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I am not sure there could have been a better sight for me that morning than shadows on the inside of the tent. That meant SUNSHINE outside.

I dragged a bike out, strung a line and did my best impersonation of a white trash campground as I could. The moisture didn't do my camera any favors either even though it was tucked away in my goretex jacket.



Now when I said everything got wet. I mean everything. Chris was left to his suit and only put things on as they dried. Lucky for us it was very warm and dry at 9 am and everything dried out very quickly. If you look on the log, every piece of paper we owned is spread out to dry. It was one wet night.

.

A german couple came by, likely thinking that there was maybe something to buy at the garage sale. they had been traveling for about two weeks, and although they have enjoyed themselves, they were disappointed because the weather had been so bad that they have not 'seen' much of the beauty because of the cloud cover. I counted my blessing at our good fortune as I let them know that it would be steller clear for them in the rockies now that they have talked to us.

Time to regroup and pack. I think he is helping...



Just before the Canadian Border there is a construction zone. As we wait for the pilot car I spy myself in the mirror. The first time in a while. Now I know why I have never had a beard before in my life.



We get to the Canadian Boarder Crossing which is about 20 miles south of the American Crossing, just at Beaver Creek. I asked the Boarder lady where was a good place to eat in town. She informed me, in a not too kind way, that if I went to the Visitor Center they would be glad to help me with that kind of information. It seemed that she would not stoop to be a lowly visitor center employee while she was protecting the country.

I packed my passport back into the zip lock bag, slipped it into my waistband, put my gloves on and started to roll away. Then I stopped, and looked back and her and asked, " so if you were me and you were looking for some really good food where would you go today". "Buckshot Betty's just down the road on your left" Thank you.



Betty's is back off the road and I would have never found it or stopped. there were three other bikers heading north. they had been putting on some miles and were tired. I sold them my bearspray as we needed the money now more than we would be needing that anymore.

OK guys and gals. You have to stop here for lunch. In my 50 years I have never tasted grilled sandwiches that good. Buckshot Bettys ding ding

Oh and the pie...



The three riders left. We warned them of the construction zone, and wished them luck. The told us the road south was in bad bad shape.

As we were leaving I asked a local about the elevation as we headed south. I could not remember if there was a pass to go through or not. they said no, but he road is crappy be careful. ah ok, we have ridden some pretty good stuff already and I think we will be ok.



We fueled up, and an RV'er chats us up. He is heading north. Back in the day he use to ride. He looks at our bikes and I can see his memory ticking over. He smiles, wishes us luck and says, oh by the way the road is really bad. We laugh, ok, thanks good luck.

So we head south and would you believe it. The road sucks. Holy Shizzle, this is the worst road I have ever been on. Heaves on heaves, huge cracks, pot holes, pot crevasses If you hit these you would be gone. We were out of our saddle 10 x more than we were on any of the dirt. Chris had to stop to remove his sheepskin because it was getting in the way of the ups and downs. In most towns this road would be closed.

I wish somebody had at least warned us!



It is about 8 pm. We are coming up to Burwash landing. We stop.



Grab a soda and take in the site.



So do you want to camp here I ask. How far to Haines Junction. About 80 miles. Nah, lets keep going.

We head south and the cool evening light is on full. There is no traffic. We come to Destruction Bay and Kluane Lake. Now I was not expecting this beauty. The lake is glass smooth. The road winds gently, my god this is where I want them to spread my ashes. I said to myself 10x to stop and take a picture. I couldn't stop; the bikes purrred through and we sucked in the moment, uninterrupted.

We fuel up in Haines Junction. The weather has been beautiful all Day.



We decide to head to Skagway and not Haines. We use our deductive skills to eliminate all of the other roads that don't go to Skagway and then we head out.



We stop at Pine Lake Campground and find a nice place with lots of woods and few neighbors.





We meet a single mom and her 15 hear old from Whitehorse. Great folks. Share a beer and chat for a long while. I can hear her thoughts take her to other times as she tells us that they have been coming here for the last 17 years. She shares with us that one of her favorite campsites is in Dyea, just before Skagway. It is in the heart of Grizzly country, but beautiful. Hmmm, did I just sell my bearspray?

The lions know the routine and move themselves into place. We gather around the fire and enjoy yet another wonderful, wonderful night together.




Now I am not sure what was in those beers but I swear, if you step back from your computer, the coals look like Freddy Kruger in an army hat. ymmv

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Old 08-19-2010, 10:33 PM   #103
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Ha, i love the bit about our border guard! You just have to remember they can be kind of cranky because they are in charge of keeping our border safe from all the terrorists and dangerous looking folks coming in on BMW's and they are still not allowed to have a gun!!! Great RR, keep it coming!
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:04 AM   #104
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:07 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by ewanwannabe
Thanks for the great report. This is inspiring to my 17-year-old son and I. He will be taking MSF soon and has been sitting on an F650GS at our local store. These photos have given us good "that could be us in a few months" discussions.
Kick that "could" make it a "will" and you will be on your way. You will both never forget it, And his 'never' is one hell of a long time

We were challenged in our planning. Many things, heavily disguised as reason, will try to get in your way. But obstacles are things that get in the way only when we lose sight of the goal. It will take some arrangment, some sacrifice, some money and some effort to pull it off. But nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

I hope to be reading your RR soon. GL
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