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Old 09-23-2012, 10:56 AM   #76
hiflynbrd
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Location: Eastern UT, land of no traffic lights
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In....yup

At 65, I'm just a pup....but I'm in.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:29 PM   #77
judgebill
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Hi John,
Great read. I'm 76 and this last June-July I rode my BMW K1600 GTL from Los Angeles to Fairbanks and back by way of Yellowstone. 9000 miles, 30 days, had the time of my life. No camping, just the expensive motels and meals. Love your tales My partner (Clif) and I posted here on AdvRdr under "Alaska on a BMW K2600GTL" and enjoyed quite a following . I envy your solo adventure. My girlfriend joined us on the way back in Kamloops and we rode together back to LA. Our wx was better than you are describing and we didn't do the top road but went form Watson Lake to Ft.Nelson to Prince George and down. Ride safe and enjoy the experience. We old-timers can't do enough. And you're right, it's mainly the willingness to get out and go that gets you there. So keep it up. Blessing and compliments from another old fart.
Bill
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:39 PM   #78
calimusjohn OP
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Location: Sprague River, OR & Salome, AZ
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Tok to Where?

Tok to Coldfoot
Do some of your days just seem to happen - without rhyme or reason? I seem to have a lot of the no reason ones. Today for instance; I wave "Goodbye" to Big hulking guy and head west. I figure I will stop at the first cafe I see. There aren't any little Blue and White Guv'ment signs along the Highway. Eventually I am in Fairbanks. I take an off ramp and immediately find myself on a detour that puts me on a one way street. It "Tees" into another one way and a second detour routes me down an alley with a 3 foot deep ditch running down the middle of it. About now, I am thinking I maybe better off on the Highway. Ha! That's a laugh. Someone has stolen it. I mean - drat - I tour up and down and around a parking lot for some time and don't get a glimmer of an idea. Maybe breakfast would help. Please note: There are no restaurants or cafes in Fairbanks. I locate a gas station and top off the tank. I note that the odometer registers 22 miles when I discover a section of Highway that has not been stolen, moved or hidden. It's now about 3:30 P.M. That is a little late for breakfast, or lunch for that matter. I'll just head up Alaska Highway 2 and I am SURE there will be something. No little blue & white signs. . . . . . . . Hmmmmnn
I find a sign. It reads - The Start of James Dalton Highway - well any Highway worthy of a sign must have a restaurant or two on it. I head up the Dalton- the locals call it the Haul Road. I ride 20 miles to Livingood. Surprise! No services. Well then, the Yukon River is only another 60 to 70 miles - surely there is something there. Yep. There is a bridge with a big old Alaskan Oil Pipe line dangling beneath it. The Arctic Circle is another 70 miles. . .. did I mention that the James Dalton Highway is dirt? Good, because it's not. It is some pavement, some gravel, some dirt, some calcium, some really big pot holes.
The calcium is sprayed on the dirt to hold down the dust. Great idea. The calcium and water make a slurry I call SLICKUM. Slickum is about as smooth as when you pour extra virgin olive oil on the rim of your bathtub and then tight rope walk it. What? You haven't tried. . . . oh. Well - ahem - uh I heard it from a guy I think tried it. Anyway - - - it is SLICK!
Ah HA! A little Blue & White sign! I am now at the Arctic Circle. I am 66 degrees and a bunch of minutes north of the Equator. As much as that warms me cockles . . . there is NOTHING TO EAT! Oh goody - another quandery. How many miles is it back to the last gas station. . . uh about 160 miles without so much as a building. . . . Let's see 160 plus 160 is 2 carry the . . . that's not right . . . calculator battery is dead. . . ah 320. Of course. 320! ! ! My 5.7 gallon tank of gas at 55MPG is 313.5 miles . . . Of course my sliding around in the Slickum has definately reduced my range of travel. The obvious solution - keep going North. So at 11:00 P.M. as the sun sets in the NORTH, after a puny, but gloriously entertaining, 549 miles from Tok, I find myself in Coldfoot. I fill the gas tank before attacking the cook in the 24/7 Coldfoot Trucker's Mecca. I order the "Trucker's Favorite." Who would have guessed the Trucker's Favorite would be two runny eggs sliding off a mountain of sausage gravy drowning a couple of Canadian hocky pucks, affectionately called bisquits in this here North Counrtry.
Fully fortified with food and feeling frisky, I make the FIRST small error of the day. I have determined that I could ride the extra 240 miles to Prudhoe Bay/ Deadhorse - a milestone in any long distance rider's log book. I decide. I can ride the Dalton. I have proven that. The 5 inches of snow that has just coated the last 100 plus miles to Deadhorse reduces the attraction. I decide I will leave Deadhorse as a goal for some other night. Was that the error? Nope. I pass up the tent camping area at Coldfoot and head South during the three hours of darkness they call night here-a-bouts. I don't normally ride at night - for good reason - there are scary things that go BUMP! I have a heavily loaded motorcycle. Much of the weight is over the rear wheel. That aims the headlight into the higher branches of the trees - that is if there were trees here in Tundra Land. It only takes me 8.5 miles to determine that I can't see all that well. Another solution is at hand. Stop. Adjust the Spiffy Denali 2 L.E.D. driving lights in about 12 seconds and be on my lighted way. Great concept. I stop. Neutral light is on, kick stand down. I lean the bike over and crawl off. The pavement evidently is not quite as level as I thought. uh oh. . . no, NO! ! ! OH NO!!! SPIT! ! ! The bike follows me - as I go around the end of the handlebar, it falls over and knocks me down. spit. . . spit. . . gag. . . I crawl out from under the dam thing. I turn off the ignition. I hear a humming sound. . . . I wonder what . . . MOSQUITOS! Lovely. Just Lovely. I am 8.5 miles from the middle of nowhere. The bike is resting in the middle of the road and I am being attacked by Alaska's State Bird.
I have tried to lift a naked Vstrom - can't. I remove all the camping gear, the top trunk, and the topside saddlebag. I can't remove the other saddlebag with the bike lying on it. I dig my mosquito netted hat out of the stack of gear. At least with ATGATT and a mosquito jungle hat, I won't be drained of bodily fluids. I have all of my reflectorized equipment aimed at both ends of the road. I wait. 10 minutes become 20 and then 30. I hear a vehicle coming from the south. I turn the emergency flashers on, wave my flashlight and jump up and down as the pickup truck swerves around me and keeps going. WHAT? HE DIDN'T STOP? His brake lights flash about a 1/4 of a mile away. He backs up. Whew! The driver jumps out and yells, "What are you doing?" The question stumped me. I thought of about a dozen smart ass retorts, but finally mumbled, "I dropped the bike. I can't pick it up. Can you help me?" He speed hops over to the bike . . .lifts it up. . . I get the kickstand down again. . . he lets go. The bike stands alone. He asks, "Anything else?" I am still speechless. He hops back back to his truck and zooms off.
I start putting all the "Essential" gear back aboard. Another vehicle arrives from the south. I reactivate the flashers. Two young Air Force men from Eilson AFB are going caribou hunting. They help me re-load. They refuse to leave until I get the bike running and they follow me back to Coldfoot.
I park in the camping area. Throw down a tarp. Pop up the tent, left the rain fly off - not raining, slide into my sleeping bag atop my self-inflating air mattress. I count my blessings and stare upwards. The adrenaline wears off. I check my watch as it is getting light. 3:10 A.M. It's been a pretty long day. To sleep. . . perchance to dream.

The Dalton


Dust on the Dalton

Finger mountain
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:50 PM   #79
calimusjohn OP
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Cool2 More of the Dalton

More time on the Dalton

Finger Mountain

Note: Nothin' to eat!

Hungry me at Coldfoot.

Not my first rodeo!

The thing I have enjoyed the most with this Report = The number of MATURE riders that have sent notes. WE ALL ROCK!!! Don't let others control our futures!
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:13 PM   #80
WaywardSon
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Thumb

Just a youngster here at 64....hope I am able to continue another decade as you have and are. Best wishes down the road and thanks for taking the time to bring us along.

Ride safe..........John
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:29 PM   #81
Motorrev
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Location: Texas Panhandle
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Cushman Eagle

John,
Another great report today. I think our generation had to be tough or we'd all be dead. I delivered the local paper for 3 years to save enough for the scooter. $360.00 I think. I remember the Whizzers and always wanted a Mustang, but had a glorious time on the Eagle. Yes, wish I still had it today. In fact I wish I had all my old bikes back. Just never works out that way.
Keep the great report coming. And thanks again for the effort.
Bob
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:34 PM   #82
horseiron1
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I'm in, subscribed.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:08 PM   #83
calimusjohn OP
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Location: Sprague River, OR & Salome, AZ
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Originally Posted by Motorrev View Post
John,
Another great report today. I think our generation had to be tough or we'd all be dead. I delivered the local paper for 3 years to save enough for the scooter. $360.00 I think. I remember the Whizzers and always wanted a Mustang, but had a glorious time on the Eagle. Yes, wish I still had it today. In fact I wish I had all my old bikes back. Just never works out that way.
Keep the great report coming. And thanks again for the effort.
Bob
I wanted the Mustang or a Powell. Neat bikes. Didn't have the personality of my '34 - $21,00 Harley. It had no head bearings. Above 15 MPH was High speed Shimmy time. Leaked oil as fast as I could pour it in. EPA would have impounded it. Mississippi could have used it to fog out skeeters. . ..
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:11 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by horseiron1 View Post
I'm in, subscribed.
Welcome aboard. I may be slow on posting next few days - driving Smart car to Indiana for 55th High School Reunion. Good grief! 1957 was 55 years ago? I think I may still have underwear that old.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:13 PM   #85
calimusjohn OP
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Originally Posted by WaywardSon View Post
Just a youngster here at 64....hope I am able to continue another decade as you have and are. Best wishes down the road and thanks for taking the time to bring us along.

Ride safe..........John
Don't limit yourself to just one decade. My goal is to be named in a Paternity Suit when I am 100.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:16 PM   #86
calimusjohn OP
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Originally Posted by hiflynbrd View Post
At 65, I'm just a pup....but I'm in.
Weaned yet?
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:25 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by judgebill View Post
Hi John,
Great read. I'm 76 and this last June-July I rode my BMW K1600 GTL from Los Angeles to Fairbanks and back by way of Yellowstone. 9000 miles, 30 days, had the time of my life. No camping, just the expensive motels and meals. Love your tales My partner (Clif) and I posted here on AdvRdr under "Alaska on a BMW K2600GTL" and enjoyed quite a following . I envy your solo adventure. My girlfriend joined us on the way back in Kamloops and we rode together back to LA. Our wx was better than you are describing and we didn't do the top road but went form Watson Lake to Ft.Nelson to Prince George and down. Ride safe and enjoy the experience. We old-timers can't do enough. And you're right, it's mainly the willingness to get out and go that gets you there. So keep it up. Blessing and compliments from another old fart.
Bill
Good on ya'! I just bought my first BMW. It's a 2011 R1200RT with 1,200 miles on it. WOW! The torque is amazing. Thought about running it to Indiana - but thinking of dinner/dance etc. car will be more PRACTICAL.


On the way home.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:31 PM   #88
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Cool2 Being Practical

Here is another of my PRACTICAL machines:



It is an RAF 2000. Former Kit factory in Canada. Company sold to somewhere in Africa. Subaru engine. Cruise 75 mph tops at 100. 10,000 foot ceiling. 250 mile range.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:34 AM   #89
Eagletalon
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Originally Posted by calimusjohn View Post
Here is another of my PRACTICAL machines:



It is an RAF 2000. Former Kit factory in Canada. Company sold to somewhere in Africa. Subaru engine. Cruise 75 mph tops at 100. 10,000 foot ceiling. 250 mile range.
That's a cool machine you got there!!!
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:52 PM   #90
calimusjohn OP
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Coldfoot and South

Coldfoot and South
Shortly after 3:00 A.M. the voices in my head agreed to stop arguing and allowed me to go to sleep. At 7:10 A.M. I awaken. The voices are all back screaming, "Get out of the tent!" I get out and am violently ill. Either I overate yesterday (one meal) or the "Trucker's Favorite" discovered that I'm not a Trucker. With my food processing system completely emptied from - end to end - and since I am up, and it is light out, I may as well ride. I collapse the tent, store the gear and steal away.
I pass up breakfast at Coldfoot. I know it is a mere 255 miles to the next gas station and (Oh God-) Truck Stop Cafe. Today is Monday. Road crews are busily spraying the roadway for 38 slickery miles. And THEN I reach the - follow - the Pilot Car section that lasted another 9 miles. Oh boy! The crew has turned the asphalt over, watered it and then rolled it flat to squeeze the water out and have it float on the surface. I think the Honda Trike sitting in my garage at home would have been a good choice of machine for today. I doubt that my fingerprints can be removed from the hand grips. To ride successfully through "Slickum", I need to relax and guide the bike gently. Yeah right! So much for the Theory of Guiding . . . instead I strangle the hand grips and scream inside my helmet a litany of "Oh no. - Oh no. - Oh Dear God - Oh no. . ." Between the areas of smooth Slickum - the roadway is; shall I say - slightly rough. The bike shakes and vibrates violently - complaining about being forced to do what it is not designed to do. I promise that when and if we ever get off this road - I will treat her with much tenderness and love. She shakes and now rattles as we continue.
At 2:00 P.M. we reach the gas station. Only seven hours of hell on wheels. I try to turn left - I CAN"T! I can turn right, but can not turn the handlebars more than 10 degrees to the left. W.T.F.? I do a 270 degree turn to the right to get to the gas pump. I gas up. Inspect bike. Front fairing is loose, bolts holding brake lines to fender and fender bolts are missing. I can move the fairing about ten degrees right and left, and a bunch up and down. It ain't supposed to move. I leave the bike parked and go eat.
I return. The bike has not fixed or cured itself. Zip ties and a smattering of duct tape and we are prepared to ride. Turing right is no problem - I figure I can counter steer enough at speed to get around most left hand curves. Away we go. From a post on ADV or HU, I remember a guy named Dan Armstrong as the person to see if you have a problem. I remember that he is in Anchorage, only 350 miles to the south. I am good to go. We skirt most of Fairbanks and head south to Nenana. Yesterday's endurance run, three hours sleep, a bodily system in revolt, and a bike that won't turn has impacted my morale and has me close to the end of the tether. I stop at the Town's Information Center and ask for help in locating a Motel. The nice Lady telphones every Motel. Full or reserved. She gets an idea. She telephones the Railroad Museum. Why yes, they sometimes rent out the upstairs : "Engineer's Bedroom". I ride to the Railroad Museum. Yep. It is the Town's former Train Station. No longer in use. The bottom floor is filled with Railroad memorabilia - kind of what you would expect to find in a Railroad Museum. (Who wouda' thunk ?) I creep up a narrow squeeky staircase to discover a 1920's era bedroom with a Bronze name plate on the door that reads: Engineer. Next door: Brakeman and next to that a bathroom with a much later addition of a shower stall. It looks like Heaven to me. I convince Christina, the exchange student from Moldavia or Moldova(?) that my pile of camping gear adds to the ambiance of the Museum and does not have to be hauled up that flight of stairs. She agrees. Whew. A shower - pure BLISS.
Freshly scrubbed and still hungry, I walk a block to the Cafe recommended by the Information Center Lady. The "Special" is a turkey sandwich and a bowl of home made potato soup. I order the "Special". The soup is colored green. Potato(?) soup? No idea why it is green. Ah, the main ingredient is not potato - nope - SALT! Gag.... The sandwich - two slices of white bread, a thin emaciated single leaf of lettuce, a tomato slice I can read through and then the slice of turkey. It was a single slice taken from a deli-cut turkey where 32 slices equal a pound in weight. Might I add that it was some what thin? The ice water was cold. The T.V. blaring a story about a corrupt police department somewhere added greatly to the dining experience. Filled to overflowing ( Oh God! Please not again.) I return to the Railroad Museum. In my room, I disrobe, fall on the bed and immediately am asleep.
Those of you who have seen the Movie - My Cousin Vinny - may have an inkling of what comes next. Why yes, the railroad tracks are still there. They lead from Fairbanks to Denali and Anchorage. Duh! My next recollection is when a large locomotive blows its horns from a distance of 27 feet and 3 inches from my sleeping body. The dent in the tin plate ceiling holds a close approximation of my profile. So ended another Day of Discovery, so richly endowed with one pleasureable experience after another.

The Dalton


View from A Railroad Museum
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