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Old 02-29-2012, 08:41 PM   #16
Gale B.T.
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Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Pagosa Springs, CO.
Oddometer: 1,477
Forgive Sasho

Quote:
Originally Posted by grub View Post
How's the cabin fever treating you this year Gale??
Grub, you got me dead on

I shall hit Wolf Creek xc trails tomorrow roads permitting, , several up hill intervals at 11,000 ft until I see black spots, come home, pat the 640 on the ass several times and then read some more of this RR
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:15 PM   #17
dogger54
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Location: Florence, Montana
Oddometer: 56
Preparations

Sorry for holding up the show….Alex is chomping at the bit to post day 1.

Bike preparations
I do a bit of back country camping so I already had most everything I needed for the camping part of the trip…I just needed some way to pack everything on the bike. I already had a top box fashioned from an action packer but I really wanted some hard panniers. The commercial panniers were bank busters for me so I struggled for a solution.

After Sasho and I began talking about the Alaska trip we had to take a road trip for work, luckily this took us through Idaho Falls, ID where we found this well stocked military surplus store along the interstate…WOOHOO!…they has these sweet ammo boxes, not the puny 50 cal. boxes I had seen up to this point, but some cubic foot capacity boxes with a hermetic seal and, although made of steel, relatively light weight at 17lb…and only $15 each!

Ok, so now I need to mount these bad boys, I looked at commercial pannier racks but they cost way more than I wanted to pay…since I had plenty of time I decided to build my own out of tubular steel purchased from the hardware store.


There was no way I was going to poke holes in the boxes and destroy the seal so my solution, however cheesy, was to build a carrier for each box that would then attach to the pannier rack. A few pieces of aluminum angle and strap purchased from the hardware store and I managed to kludge together something that, while not pretty, would do the trick.


After assembling the panniers and top box on the bike I proudly showed them off to my wife, she got this disapproving look on her face and promptly stated "It looks like a hobo bike!"…YES!! The KLR aesthetics were still intact!

I added highway pegs with engine guards and strapped a section of 4" PVC with clean out plugs to the highway pegs to carry tire tools, pogo stick, wrenches and rags.



I replaced the clutch springs with heavy duty springs and added a 12V outlet to my instrument cluster to keep my GPS and camera batteries charged.

Spooned on a new set of Heidenau K60 Scouts.


Changed the rear brake pads.


My sister-in-law gave me an Air Hawk butt pad that literally saved my a--.


Greased everything I could think of and double checked every nut and bolt I could find.

Gear

I laid everything out on the floor for a couple weeks before we left so I could look at the lot and make adjustments.

We used The Milepost to research routes, sites, and fuel locations, these were loaded into my Delorme PN-60 along with the western US, Canada and Alaska road and street maps.

I packed a netbook for e-mailing home and setting up reservations while on the road and a SPOT locator which I triggered each evening to keep family and friends current with our location.

I found that my cheap pay-as-you-go phone worked everywhere but the Yukon.

I carried basic tools that would get us through all but the worst mechanical issues, a Clymer manual, a hatchet, a folding tree saw, a folding camp shovel, a rubberized canvas bucket, water purification pump, some camping cooking pots, heavy duty plastic camping utinsils, ramen noodles for emergency, a couple heavy duty tire tubes, tube repair kit, slime, a small bicycle tire pump, a couple quarts of oil, visor cleaner and chamois, a small bottle of dish soap for dishes and tires, waterproof gloves, clothes for varying weather conditions, and a mosquito net hat.

I brought along $400 Canadian which came in handy at times.

Sounds like I brought along everything but the kitchen sink…but I should have packed more. The loaded panniers weighted in at 35lb each and the top box probably weighted about the same. I had to be careful with all the extra weight up high and did manage to lay the bike down five times during the trip…no damage to the bike or me.

This Forum was an indispensable source of information for planning routes, places to see, things to do and watch out for and people to contact.

On to day 1.
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'02 KLR 650, '96 XR200R
'79 Suzuki GS1000EN, '88 XR600R - WOOHOO!!!
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:40 PM   #18
sasho OP
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: MT/Bulgaria
Oddometer: 533
Day 1--May 14

I didn't hear anything definite about the job in Russia... This has got to be the slowest bureaucracy in the world, argh... May 14th is coming up quick, at least my boss showed understanding and gave me the time off despite the situation.

And so the departure date arrived. I got up early and got my luggage packed. I tied it to the bike and did a test ride around the neighborhood. Everything seemed to stay secured, so I decided I was ready. The bike is started and ready to go:



So I waited, waited and then waited some more... Eventually I get a call from dogger54 that he had a problem with the departure--I'll let him explain if he wants. Meanwhile I was getting egged on by colleagues what am I still doing online, I should be gone on vacation already...

After a good while dogger54 arrived in Missoula, and we took a departure photo:



And so off we went!!! First planned stop was in Eureka, where we would gas up before crossing the border and stop for a "Bubba Burger", supposedly the best hamburger in the USA 2 or 3 years ago:



We passed Flathead lake, where we ride often. Flathead Lake is the largest natural fresh water lake in the western USA, and is a popular recreational destination. This day I noticed a bit more "nature" than usual, barely covered by swim suits . Sorry, I didn't get pics of that, there was also a police cruiser parked nearby.



More about Flathead Lake:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flathead_Lake

We continued towards Eureka while the strong wind did a good job of trying to take me down. In addition we had to avoid the dear, which were about during bright daylight. In Eureka we experienced the first disappointed of the trip--the "Cutting Board" was closed down:







We turned around to get to the gas station and filled up. We knew that we wouldn't see gas prices like ours in MT for a while. I also grabbed some beer and we headed towards the border:





At the border crossing we were asked the usual questions--do you carry arms or alcohol, etc... Did not take long at all. Once pass the border crossing, it immediately became clear to us that we were in Canada--everywhere we looked we saw postcard views:



I believe these photos are from when we went by Columbia Lake:








Around early evening we got to Fairmont Hot Springs. We headed towards the resort to look for dinner, but the fancy wooden resort sign deterred us right away. We decided to find something more affordable and in no time we found Tony's grill, a "hole in the wall" type restaurant with delicious Greek food:



Tony and I started talking, and he asked me where I am from. We started chatting about the old world, traditions, and so on (my mom's side of the family is of Greek heritage). The Souvlaki was delicious, I even returned for seconds...

After dinner we found a campsite--the office was closed but we decided to make ourselves comfortable and pay in the morning. We claimed a spot:



Looking around the campground:





Dogger54 recorded the stats for the day:



At the end of the day we congratulated ourselves with the start of the trip:

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Old 03-01-2012, 10:52 PM   #19
PacificPT
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Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Monterey, CA
Oddometer: 982
Looking good so far, waiting for more. Go mighty KLR!
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There's roads and there's roads and they call, can't you hear it? Roads of the earth and roads of the spirit. The best roads of all are the ones that aren't certain. One of those is where you'll find me till they drop the big curtain. Bruce Cockburn
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:09 PM   #20
dogger54
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Location: Florence, Montana
Oddometer: 56
Day 1

Sasho and I were going to meet at his place at 11am but I kept finding last minute tweaks to my packing that were putting me behind schedule. I was finally ready to get going about ½ hr late…just before pulling out of the drive I twisted around to check that everything was secure when I let the bike lean too far over center and down it went. I hurried and tried to lift the bike but with all the gear and a full tank of gas I couldn’t budge it…I had to call Sasho and let him know that I would be a bit late. I pulled off the camping gear and the panniers and even then I barely got the bike up…great start! I finally arrived at Sasho’s place about 12:30pm.

We headed north on Hwy 93 towards Eureka, MT, it was a sunny day but we had a horrendous quartering headwind. At about 140 miles we stopped for gas…I wanted to find out what my fuel economy was so I could plan my fuel stops…I was only getting 40mpg, about 13mpg less than normal…this had me concerned. We filled up again in Eureka after 70 miles of riding in calmer air…this time I got near 50mpg so all was good.

Big disappointment in Eureka, no Bubba Burger, so we headed for the Roosville border crossing deciding to stop when daylight began running out…this brought us to Fairmont Hot Springs, BC.


At Tony’s Greek Grill I opted for a very tasty Donair.


We found a nearly vacant camp ground.


A nice secluded spot nestled in the willows to pitch out tents.


A couple beers thanks to Sasho and some quiet time to sit back and reflect on the day…we were free with nothing but the open road and unimagined experiences ahead of us for the next four weeks…life was good. Then it was time to hit the sack and on to day 2.
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Do not go gentle into that good night
- Dylan Thomas

'02 KLR 650, '96 XR200R
'79 Suzuki GS1000EN, '88 XR600R - WOOHOO!!!
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:20 PM   #21
jnorton1
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Loveland Colorado
Oddometer: 261
Looking forward to more !
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:17 PM   #22
sasho OP
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: MT/Bulgaria
Oddometer: 533
Day 2--May 15

The next morning we got up, and I made some coffee on the little dry alcohol stove I had brought along. I forgot to add it to the gear list above, but I grabbed it during our raid of the Army surplus store in Idaho Falls where dogger54 bought the ammo cans. So, while sipping coffee, I looked around the campground some more:





After we packed the tents, we stopped at the office to pay for the camping spot. That spot turned out to be probably the most expensive patch of dirt, $34 if I remember correctly . Well, we should have asked in advance...

We headed towards Radium Hot Springs, and I still regret a little that we didn't stop at the hot pools once we passed by.

The GPS led us through Kootenay National Park, where wildlife abound:





Kootenay National Park also offered breathtaking views:



We stopped somewhere in the park to take a break:



Trusting the GPS, I think we missed Bannf National Park completely... We headed North, towards Jasper National Park, but first made the short detour to stop at Lake Louise. A guy from a group of cruiser riders came over to us and we started chatting. He wanted to know about our trip. Once at the lake, we ran into hoards of tourists, and the huge château didn't help either:



We spent some time to look around anyway. Lake Louise was still frozen:




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Old 03-03-2012, 11:22 PM   #23
sasho OP
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Day 2--May 15 continued

We headed towards Jasper National Park, and ended up on the Ice fields Parkway after paying the entrance fee. Everywhere we looked the scenery was absolutely stunning:













This little guy kept following me around while I took pictures:



The weather was clear, but I was freezing. At that point I wore all layers that I had brought with me, along with 2 pairs of gloves... I was wondering how I would get to Alaska, if I already ran out of layers.

We also passed a gas station in the park, which dogger54 didn't see, and I didn't stop him. At this point I think the next gas was around 150 miles away, in the town of Jasper. Dogger54 was getting significantly lower gas mileage, and we realized our mistake here going through this pass:







A bit later we stopped so he could transfer fuel from the other side of the tank:





Not much in there, oops:



Dogger54 had a hand pump with a hose for fuel transfer:



We continued, thinking that the gas in his bike might run out. This is the first time we saw elk on this trip:





I stopped for pictures, but dogger54 kept going to get to the gas station.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:30 PM   #24
sasho OP
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Oddometer: 533
Day 2--May 15 continued

Once in Jasper, we found the gas station and saved ourselves from running out of gas and embarrassment. During this time this couple stopped and we started chatting. Meet Mitch and Kathy:



Mitch is also a motorcyclist--they have traveled to Florida on their bike. They gave us a recommendation where to stop and eat. Not only that, but they offered to help with anything we might need. We got Kathy's business card, and they invited us to get together once we go through Grand Prairie.

They recommended the restaurant right next to the gas station, and I attacked the calamari:



We didn't miss this gal while we were eating, but I think the KLRs caught here eye too:



We stayed oh maybe 2 hours there. Kathy and Mitch came back to check up on us if we needed anything .

At this point the day started to run out, and we headed out of Jasper to find camp. We looked for a campground, but if there was one we missed it. I threw out an offer to find a place to stealth camp somewhere, but that didn't go too well. We found a motel with cabins, but the prices were appropriately grandiose for a National Park. The guy at the desk recommended that we head up the road to a campground, and go around the gate because it was still closed. We found the campground, but dogger54 didn't want to ride around the closed gate, and also the mosquitoes came out in full force, during May!! Oh well, ahead we go.

At some point I pitched the idea to set up camp somewhere along the road again. We were already gone quite a bit after Jasper trying to find a place for the night. At least the views continued to be awesome:



At the end we were running out of daylight, so we pulled off the road before we exited the park to pitch our tents:



The mosquitoes were merciless, so we looked for head nets in no time:



After setting up the tent, dogger54 went to check out the surroundings. When he came back, he said "We have neighbors." So I went with him to take a look. There was a clearing nearby, where the neighbors had been seen:



And the neighbors :



We tied the food some place away up in the trees and went to sleep. Dogger54 recorder the stats for the day:

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Old 03-04-2012, 02:08 AM   #25
BUMOT
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Location: Bulgaria
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Congrats for the trip.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:07 AM   #26
sasho OP
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: MT/Bulgaria
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulgaras View Post
Congrats for the trip.
Thanks brother Maybe I can coerse dogger54 to come and ride in
Bulgaria
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:24 AM   #27
jnorton1
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Location: Loveland Colorado
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Any issues with the local wildlife? The worst I've encountered is mountain lion. The scream of a mountain lion in the dark definitely puts you on edge.
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jnorton1 screwed with this post 03-04-2012 at 08:41 AM
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:36 AM   #28
sasho OP
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Location: MT/Bulgaria
Oddometer: 533
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorton1 View Post
Any issues with the local wildlife? The worst I've encountered is mountain lion. The scream of a moment lion in the dark definitely puts you on edge.
We tied the food up in a tree whenever we felt that was needed, but other than that, there were no issues with unexpected wildlife encounters.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:01 AM   #29
Gale B.T.
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Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Pagosa Springs, CO.
Oddometer: 1,477
I wish we had been in contact, I lived in Tete Jaune Cache, 50 miles west of Jasper and I have many friends that would have given you free camping spots , fed you, shops to to give TLC to those bikes, etc.

Great RR ,keep it coming and as you go through Tete Jaune Cache, I hope you give a loud YAHOOOOOOOOO for me.

Ride warm/dry,
gale

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=572583
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:46 AM   #30
sasho OP
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Location: MT/Bulgaria
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gale B.T. View Post
I wish we had been in contact, I lived in Tete Jaune Cache, 50 miles west of Jasper and I have many friends that would have given you free camping spots , fed you, shops to to give TLC to those bikes, etc.

Great RR ,keep it coming and as you go through Tete Jaune Cache, I hope you give a loud YAHOOOOOOOOO for me.

Ride warm/dry,
gale

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=572583
Thank you so much for the kind offer Gale!! Actually I liked Jasper so much that I returned during Christmas/New Years again.
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