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Old 05-12-2012, 10:24 AM   #31
Solarmoose OP
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Location: Fairbanks
Oddometer: 688
south again

Day 18 05112012

Oh oh, the clouds have moved in and although yesterday temps were in the
high 70's, today we will be lucky to see 50. Its 41 when we pull out of Custer.

Stopping to warm up with hot coffee


The sky for most of the day


For a short time the sun tries to poke through and it warms up to 50


But not for long and temps stay around 42F all day. I'm truly chilled
when we arrive at the kids place and leave my warm clothes on for awhile.
The good part was we saw lots of rain clouds but not a drop fell on us,
and it started raining just a couple minutes after we rolled into the garage.
Can't complain about that!



A few more miles today


we're staying in Denver for a week before moving on and haven't
decided where we're going next, south? west? north? Stay tuned
for the final leg of this journey.

SM

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Old 05-16-2012, 05:30 AM   #32
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Good to see you safely in Denver. We head to Hyder on Monday. See you on the road or in Fairbanks.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:12 PM   #33
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Landed at Lander

Day 24 05172012

We've had a great time in Denver with our son and his family. Nothing better
than time with grandchildren. We went to see the new Avengers movie at an
iMax theater in 3d. That was fun since I'm a fan of the old comic book characters.
The weather also warmed up and we thawed out quite nicely.
Today its time to roll the wheels northward and we pack up and are ready
to roll out at 9:30, saying good byes,
Cee is looking strangely at her bike

Alas it won't start so we roll the bikes back into the garage to see whats
up. Turns out the battery has gone bad so Marc finds us one at a local
shop. We get one, get it installed and get on the road two hours later.

We can see fire smoke ahead near Ft Collins heading up I25.


Going west on I80 in Wyoming








we drive through several ominous looking rain clouds on US 287 but nothing falls on us






Cool looking cliffs


We stop in Lander Wy for the evening, not quite as far as we had thought we'd be but ok.
The motel elk is checking out the beemer


Today's stats, most of today was on interstates.

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Old 05-18-2012, 11:15 AM   #34
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Hi Granny Gone Wild Cee and Dave,

Looks like you're having fun out on the road again. I enjoyed seeing the WY photos as that's my home state. It's always nice to see the peaceful solitude of the wide open spaces again. I took my granddaughter to WY last year to meet some of my family and she was completely surprised to see miles and miles of wide open prairie with more cows and horses than people. Lander is a neat little town in a scenic setting. I'm riding there this summer to visit a cousin and her family and they said they might let me camp in a teepee on their property (her husband is Arapahoe). Cool!

Ride safely!
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:12 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HayDuchessLives View Post
Hi Granny Gone Wild Cee and Dave,

Looks like you're having fun out on the road again. I enjoyed seeing the WY photos as that's my home state. It's always nice to see the peaceful solitude of the wide open spaces again. I took my granddaughter to WY last year to meet some of my family and she was completely surprised to see miles and miles of wide open prairie with more cows and horses than people. Lander is a neat little town in a scenic setting. I'm riding there this summer to visit a cousin and her family and they said they might let me camp in a teepee on their property (her husband is Arapahoe). Cool!

Ride safely!
Was thinking of you while we ride through WY knowing you are familiar
with this area. This part of the country has a lot of very nice places!
And I'll bet you have some favorite roads? I'll ask next time.

have fun in the teepee!

GGW Cee and Dave

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Old 05-18-2012, 09:45 PM   #36
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Lewis

Day 25 05182012

We wake to a nice day in Lander WY and get packed. Nice motel with big room!


we get under way at 9am to a warm day, 60F.


We had planned to head northwest from Lander and go through Grand
Teton and Yellowstone but weather did not look good (again) at all so I decided
to head northeast to Thermopolis. We cross the lower end of Boysen Reservoir.


and enter Wind River canyon


We rode through here last fall so its fun to ride it again in the opposite direction


Coming to the north end of the canyon


We stop for a break just north of Thermopolis on WY 120 heading for Cody


We see a lot of not so nice looking clouds ahead


rain clouds to the east and west. We stop in Cody WY for gas, hot bowl of
soup and a great sandwich.


Just before the Montana border we run into construction with wet soft
dirt, good thing we have dirt riding experience, the bikes squirm around in
the soft sand but not too bad.


and then we catch up to the rain just before getting on I90 west, its 45F.


Break at a rest stop on the I90 racetrack


everywhere we look to the north, east and west we see nasty looking rain clouds


I think we're going to get wet,


and we do. It rains pretty hard on US191 between Harlowton and Moore.
Our plan was to go to Great Falls tonight but its 4:00 and that is another
90 miles in heavy rain. So we turn east on US87 and go to Lewistown MT
to spend the evening. I'm not a masochist for cold rain.



Tomorrow we enter Canada at Sweetgrass and weather forecast is for clear!
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:40 AM   #37
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Canada

Day 26 05192012

Late last evening the clouds moved away, I suspected it would cool off
overnight and it did, when we walked outside in the morning we saw
frost on the bikes, we'll wait just a bit for the sun to warm it up.




we're on the road a little before 9am to a beautiful day rolling west in Montana


flat plains and rolling hills, very enjoyable riding this morning


We stop for a break not far from Great Falls, Montana has nice rest stops on US 87


We enter Canada at noon in Sweetgrass and only one line is open so its a
20 minute wait. Not bad.



The ride north today from Great Falls is on I15


It continues to be four lane to Calgary. I've driven this route several times and each
time the roads are bigger, traffic is heavier and there are more buildings. Normal I suppose,
Canada is a growing place, at least this part is.



We stop for the evening in Airdrie just north of Calgary and find a very nice
Italian restaurant run by someone from Figi. great food.

Todays stats


Next up, we ride to Dawson Creek and the beginning of the Alcan!

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Old 05-20-2012, 11:11 PM   #38
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low battery and four lanes

Day 27 05202012

Today we are riding to Dawson Creek BC, it is a long
haul from Airdrie so we want to get on the road by 8am.

But Cee's bike doesn't want to start, low battery again. I hit
the button one more time, it has just enough battery to
spin 'er up and it fires and runs! Yay!

I think something is running the battery down at night so tonight
we'll disconnect the battery at the end of the day and see what
happens in the morning.

Its a beautiful clear day! Another day of boring four lane but the weather is perfect!


Our first gas stop is at LeDuc AB and we have a lot of trouble using the
credit cards. I have to call the bank, AGAIN, to clear it up. We're here for
about an hour getting that cleared up. Seems my bank auto-blocks
transactions from Canada without telling me. They work the rest of the day.
Lesson. Call bank before leaving home and be specific about being
in Canada. And carry phone numbers of who to call if there is trouble.
They blocked my ATM card too.
I was not a happy camper this morning.

Our second gas stop is at Whitecourte AB and its a lunch break too


Carry On. We are back in forest country.


I like this sign!


Going to the north country!


Cee's self portrait


And into British Columbia


Today's stats, long day in the saddle, at least by our standards. We are
not iron butt types.


Tomorrow we start up the Alcan, one of my favorite roads, I
think I've been over it about two dozen times, more than most
folks but I know a few guys who have way more time on the road.
I've driven it in a VW microbus, an old Pontiac, Subaru, Suburban,
motorhome, pickup and of course several times on bikes. I've been
on it in the winter, spring, summer and fall. I hit a moose in the VW
at 2am in the fall. On another run coming home from Illinois in December
the motor in the '65 Pontiac exploded. Had to hitch hike the rest of the
way. The new '78 Subaru froze up at -40 in Teslin on a January run
bringing it home from Seattle.
Every trip has a story. Thats part of the adventure!

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Old 05-22-2012, 09:57 PM   #39
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:59 PM   #40
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I'm Getting Closer

Day 28 05212012

Today we start up the Alcan, I always look forward to this part of the trip
and love seeing some of the sights again and see what has changed. We
stayed at a nice place in Dawson Creek, they are giving the old place a new
look and the rooms are good too. after getting coffee at Tim Hortons
across the road we are underway.


The Peace River bridge is a steel grate type and a long way above the river.
If you've never ridden a bike across a bridge like this you are in for a "treat!"
The bike twitches around and its a bit unsettling the first time. The technique
is a steady speed, not slow, loosen up on the bars and let it wander a bit.


We stop in Fort St John for gas, its gotten to be a big place. Buying gas along
the Alcan is not a problem if you plan your stops ahead. Our comfortable
range is around 200 mile and we don't carry spare gas as its not necessary.


There are lots of straight stretches from Fort St John to Fort Nelson, like this.
I take the opportunity to blow out some carbon, like it could ever build up...


Our second gas stop is Pink Mountain, milepost 140. The next is Fort Nelson, mile post 283.
The road gets much more interesting and scenic.


We start seeing Fresh Snow along the road!


going up Steam Boat on the way to Summit Lake, one of the highest places on the route


Stone Mountain


Taking a break at Summit Lake to change camera batteries


as we roll away we see this little fellow


We get our pictures and then honk the horns and yell to scare him away,
being along side the road is not good for a little guy like this


Lots of twisty road, light traffic and great scenery


another steel grate bridge


don't look down, too late


Cool geology












We stay the night at this place along Muncho Lake. Have seen this place
and wanted to stay here once. And once was enough. Its a beautiful log
lodge and location but it was really more money than its worth to me.


Today's stats


Today was good. Despite ugly looking weather it wasn't cold and I love
the section of road from Fort Nelson to Muncho Lake.

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Old 05-22-2012, 11:44 PM   #41
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too close

Day 29 05.22.2012

The wifi didn't work at the lodge despite a fiber connect, Cee thinks its
a problem with their wifi router and goes to the desk to inform but they're
too busy and won't talk to her.

I look out the window at 6:30am and see its been lightly raining overnight,
but its just a mist now. We get ready to go and are out the door before 8.


The rest of this report will have to wait as the motel we're at in Whitehorse has poor wifi too.

I had a very close call today, as we approached a lodge on our left
we see a pickup and trailer pull away from the gas pumps heading for the
exit and moving right along.

I start to slow wondering if they will stop before entering the highway
and just as I get there the pickup not only doesn't stop but speeds up
and pulls directly into my path. I'm on the brakes hard and steer toward
the ditch just as the rear of the trailer passes my front wheel within
inches. I get it stopped just before going off the road but for a second I
was sure I was going to impact the side of the pickup.
The gal at the wheel never looked to see if there was traffic.

I'm glad I lived. That was too close. I'm glad I practice hard braking every
year and if you don't, go do it now. How fast can you stop your bike?
You never know when its your turn.
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:42 AM   #42
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GLAD your Alive

Stay safe 3 weeks to D2D. GS is ready, RT about ready for Sedalia.

Boat is ready, first trip down the Tanana is friday.

I'm woried about your eyes.. Your Motel Elk is a Pronghorn.

Bob
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:41 PM   #43
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Day 29 continued

Day 29 05222012

Its a bit wet out but not really raining as we ride away from the lodge.


I like riding through the mountains






Lots of these guys around and they don't care about traffic so you have to slow down


These guys really don't care about traffic but we don't see any on the roadway,
though I have had to drive around them in the past.


We see lots of black bear, maybe a dozen or so.




We stopped at Watson Lake for gas and eat lunch at the 'sign forest"


This is the insignia of the 50th anniversary of the Alcan, I have a license plate with this hanging in my shop.


Watson Lake, like many places was a fuel stop for aircraft headed to Alaska during WWII


tells a bit of the story


There are potholes to be watched for along the road, worse on the
northern end, but I hit one yesterday that compressed the front
suspension to the stops. Tic managed to touch down on the fender
and leave skid marks!


more scenery


lots of snow along side the road


We stop at the Airport Chalet in Whitehorse for the evening


todays stats


It was an enjoyable ride today from Muncho Lake. We should have
stayed at the lodge near Laird River Hot Springs last night and spent
a few hours in the hot springs pool. my older version of the Milepost
indicated it was not open, but it was. I usually get a current copy because
lodge and gas stops between the main towns may or may not be open.
The Milepost is mostly accurate about current status and is THE best
resource if you are considering driving the Alcan.
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:13 PM   #44
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Start to Finish

Day 30 05.23.2012

We roll away from the motel in Whitehorse at 8am with the idea to make the
600 mile ride to home today. That is a lot of miles for us on fast roads and
today's ride will include several sections that demand a slower pace so we'll
evaluate how we feel at Tok before riding the final 200 miles. Whitehorse is
milepost 887, from Dawson Creek, and we did that in two easy days.

Leaving Whitehorse


Its in the high 40's F but we'll be in higher elevations this morning so it'll be cooler.


We stop in Haines Junction for gas at the corner Shell station and use their
new card pumps. Many of the stations along the Alcan do not have credit
card reader pumps.

We are ascending Bear Creek Summit just north of Haines Junction and as
expected it is colder here. Elevation is 3,294 ft. There are three summits
in succession in this stretch.


We drop down to Kluane Lake and find the frozen lake shrouded in a mysterious looking fog


When we came through here last September the temps were about the same but
we had a beautiful sunny day, here's a pic from Sep 7, 2011


Leaving Kluane Lake. This next section of road is known for nasty bumps
and dips. Its not much fun if you are towing a heavy trailer or driving a
motorhome. Really not so bad on a motorbike but we keep a close eye on the
road directly in front of us and I give Cee advice on where not to ride via
our helmet to helmet intercom.


Always be on the look out for wildlife.

bumpy road sign


We stop in Beaver Creek for gas and lunch. The road from Kluane to here was
in the best shape I've seen it. They've obviously been working on making it better.


Coming into Alaska! This always feels so good.


US customs was a breeze and the officer was quite pleasant. He had us
ride up together, park side by side and then stood in front of us between
the bikes to ask the usual questions since we are together. He did want to
see inside my trunk but didn't take anything out. Its important to have the
passport handy, answer questions directly and open or take off the helmet
so they can see your face. Make sure to take your ear plugs out so you
can hear what they say. Do that and it'll generally go quick.


We ride away but see several large thunderstorms ahead


Then the roads turns away and the outlook is sunny!


But then the road turns back toward those dark clouds and I'm thinking we're
going to get wet again. We do.


We stop in Tok for gas. We're making really good time and although
we've already ridden 400 miles we feel good to ride the 200 miles home
today. Tok in the rear view.


Its a great day to be on the road.


Especially with rain clouds behind us


We are close to town but get slowed down by road construction at
Eielson Air Force Base. We sit here for quite a while waiting for the pilot truck.


Riding past North Pole Alaska and Santa Claus House


Since there is very little food in the house we decide to stop by our favorite
Thai restaurant for take out. Cee phoned in our order on the road so it was
ready when we arrived.


Then its the final six miles to our road, we stopped here for a photo on the
way out last September, we're excited to be home again


Its a one mile ride up the dirt road to our house


Posing for the camera before riding into the shop


One of our longer days. We're tired but happy to be home.


The first leg of this trip, Sep through Oct 2011 was 11,100 miles.
The return leg, Apr thorugh May 2012 was 5,700 for a total of 16,800 miles of smiles.

Bike statistics

We changed tires twice and came home with tires in good shape, Michelin
Road Pilot 3 at the last change. Cee had two flat tires on the first leg that
we fixed with plugs. No problems with the Michelins.

Did two bike services, oil change and etc. Mechanical problems were minor.

2007 BMW K1200GT - replaced front wheel air pressure sensor, intermittent
on/off button for cruise control temp fixed with rubber band, final drive
seal replaced, and problem with front wheel ABS sensor (yet to be fixed.)
Trip average gas mileage was 44.4 mpg. The Russell Day-Long custom
saddle I used worked very well and was more than worth the expense
as was the Aeroflow windscreen. These are both great products.

2009 Moto Guzzi Norge - The Guzzi experienced two problems on the
return leg, grabby front brakes and broken center stand. Both problems
were annoying but not show stoppers and I'll fix them now that we are
home. The front rotors may be warped thus causing the grabby brakes.
There is an excellent Guzzi forum and this is a known problem with a
couple potential fixes. The center stand will just require a bit of welding.
The battery drain problem has turned out to be a problem with the
delicate wiring for the trunk and I'll fabricate a more robust alternative to fix this.
The cruise control problem was documented previously in this report.
Trip average gas mileage for the mighty Guzzi was 45 mpg.

Gas prices in Canada for 91 octane were $4.82/gal in Calgary to a high of
$5.81/gal in Fort Nelson. Our highest prices for gas was $6.19/gal for
87 octane at Muncho Lake and $6.01/gal at Pink Mountain, both places
as well as a few others did not offer 91 octane gas. Prices are USD and
include a 1% exchange fee VISA charges me.

Supreme, 91 octane, at a Fairbanks Chevron yesterday was $4.74/gal
but can be found for less. I used $4.50/gal trip average for budget
purposes and that turned out to be about right. Both bikes call for 91 octane.

I'll add more comments as they come to me. Feel free to ask questions
about the Alcan (aka Alaska Highway in Canada) if you're about to ride it.

I got to demo a 2012 BMW K1600GTL last night on a 100 mile ride with
local friends down to the Monderosa for dinner. That is a sweet bike!!!

till next time

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