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Old 10-03-2013, 11:11 PM   #1
PDX Alamo OP
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Cool2 Operation AK13 ; 2UP 2 Alaska on a Wee

Operation AK13 was the code name for the Alaska Adventure me and my girlfriend set to embark on. We had done a few trips this year already such as Turkey and Guatemala and we had a blast.






Nothing like a trip to put a relationship into a pressure cooker and see what happens. I think you learn a lot about a person when on adventures and she is a keeper, not sure what she thinks about me though. Lets see how we do 2 up on a motorcycle in a 2 person tent for 2 weeks 2 Alaska, thats a lot of 2’s. So meet me and the lady, howdy yall.



Well that’s our bear masks to integrate with the grizzlies and become one with them, those mask make a few appearances throughout the trip since we didn't brig bear spray. I had to laugh reading all the stuff about bears on ADV when a guy chimed in with something to the effect of your chances of getting hurt or dying on a moto crash are exponentially higher than being attacked by a bear. Humm good point.

Here is a better idea of the cast



The trip prep became known as Operation AK-13 since the spending and prep got out of control. The plan was for me and my lady to leave June 1st on the Wee Strom DL-650 loaded down and camping pretty much the whole time. I intended to keep it to 300 mile days and be in Anchorage by the 14th so she could fly out on the 15th and I could be at D2D in Dawson City Yukon on June 20th , everything else we would play it by ear with no real plans just a rough idea.

Here is what the end result for the “Going to” part looked like in the end



I know ...I know ..another Alaska trip, I have read so many of these in preparation for the trip and they all helped a lot especially keeping my expectations very low. What I gathered from the theme for many of them was that it was awesome but would be difficult, gas was scarce, roads were desolate, expensive as f*$k, you might get some scenery on good days, I would be stuck behind miles of motor homes, cold, wet, be eaten alive by bears and mosquitoes. The mosquito part and expensive part was true without a doubt but the rest wasn't even close. I thought to myself several times “Why am I doing this, why am I signing up for a month of cold miserable riding?” If you check the milage Portland Oregon to Anchorage is about the same as Portland to Mexico City. Hummm bears or crazy Narco death squads but at least Mexico is warm.





Ultimately Alaska it was and we are so glad we did what never could be captured in ride reports is how the trip will exceeded your expectations. Thousands of miles of amazing country ; mile after mile which pictures can’t capture. When I returned and started going through my pictures they also seemed so boring and I remember being blown away by these places from the shear magnitude of the mountains and the deepest blue skies I had ever seen. While getting gas one day off the Cassier hwy the attendant said “Your from Oregon, its pretty much like this right?” Not even close, maybe Oregon on Barry Bonds strength steroids.
















So here it goes there will be no haul road, no breakdowns, no drama, just a month of perfect warm weather, unbelievable views, amazing people, and great roads. Whatever fears you have about making this trip, toss em. Granted most locals I talked to explained the weather was very very unusual in that is was nice. So like any prospectus your results may vary but I am here to tell you do it sooner rather than later. I will also try to breakdown the costs in a Jdowns style as I think its pretty helpful for planning your own trip.


Everything I read said June was the time to go and I would be gone for a month while she would fly home from Anchorage after 2 weeks since that was all the time off from work she could get. The longest she had ever been on the back of the bike was a 6 hour trip to Leavenworth Washington so hoping she would survive.

The bike was a 2009 DL-650 Wee or V strom however you prefer with about 12,000 miles on it and after a few bottoming out episodes on previous trips I sprung for a new Elka shock which was about 1/4 the price I paid for the bike. I bought the bike last September for $4,000 in a divorce fire sale but that shock was worth every penny. I’ll get into all the gear and bike mods at the end of this rr.

Stay tuned for great pictures and adventure but no one would ever pick us up for a reality TV show as no drama here, just smooth sailing.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:55 PM   #2
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Wicked June 1st; I’m on a boat MF’er don't you ever forget, Portland OR to GoldStream BC 273




Go Day ....June 1st Buzzzz up at 5:00 am and last minute packing commences, sooooo out the door at 6 am turned into 7am and with a little bit more hillbilly refugee look than I wanted but I had no choice.



Perhaps a little bit of speeding as I had to be in Port Hardy at 11:30 am to check in for the ferry. We super slabbed it up I-5 to the 101 and all was smooth sailing. The lady and I both bought Firstgear heated Jackets and they were a life savers, they got fired up about 10 minutes into that trip. How did I run two 90 watt jackets and heated grips on that stator you ask? Well more on that later..

Stop to fill up with some gas and as I lean over water starts gushing out of my Camelback all over me, what thu f.. Great the mouthpiece bite tube has been sent to the I-5 graveyard someplace and fallen off. Ok where o where might I find a new one of these, guess we will have to find a place in Victoria. This is one of those things you don't even think about, the main and only way to carry water with me has failed and I don't have a spare. I highly recommend carrying an extra especially on a more remote trip. Anyway off we go just don't lean over or push on the bag and we will be just fine.

We arrive at the ferry terminal in plenty of time and and join the rest of the bikes waiting to get on the boat. Look across the street and its a sporting goods store with Camelback bite valves, I buy two so I have a spare now. Road magic

Grab some food and apparently the Clallam County Show was underway as well, I am surprised we even found parking for such a once in a lifetime event.



It wasn't so much the show but the pageantry revolving around it. The cats must have been exhausted from the crowds






Get a few pics in our bear masks. Bear mask you ask? Our plan was to wear them under our helmets and drive by cars and stare at them blankly to give em a good laugh. Unfortunately you couldn't see out of them and they wouldn't fit anyhow. The real reason was we didn’t carry bear spray and the plan was to put them on trick them into thinking we were one of them and live amongst the beasts.




While waiting we meet a guy from Ontario ( I think) who is on his GS and has done some long trips. Great personalized plate ONA2R. He shows me the ropes and how to tie my bike up as I have never been on a ferry with the bike before. Easy , no need to worry just sit back and relax we are about to go international ....we’re on a boat Mother F’er.





Not to get into a big todo but a guy on a Harley who was a nice guy had the most ridiculously loud pipes on his Fatboy with a “loud pipes save lives” patch on his leather vest while wearing a brain bucket helmet. You know what saves skin and lives? Proper gear not patches and pipes. You know what deafens almost everyone in the hull of the ship? Your stupid pipes, end of rant.













Smooth as glass and pull into Canada easy as can be, the customs lady was nice and we were in country in minutes and straight to the camping spot at the Goldstream Provincial Park for the first night in the tent.



I think we should celebrate with a beer or two so off to the liquor store right at the entrance to the park and I am introduced to BC beer prices, HOLY CRAP!!! I wont be drinking much on this trip I guess. A 6 pack of Lucky Lager for the low price of $12.54. I had never actually seen Lucky Lager before but a movie in the 90’s called Kalifornia with Brad Pitt and David Duchovny and thats the beer they drink. Ever since College me and my buddies have said in the redneck voice “Hey Bri this aint Lucky lager... dipshit” when we were given a beer so I paid the extra cash just to be able to have it.






Back at the campsite we figured a campfire was in order and tried to come up with a solution on hauling it back when to our surprise a truck came around selling firewood to you. Well Well I think this is going to be all right , I highly recommend this campground as it was first rate with showers and awesome spots all be it pricey, but you get what you pay for. My lady had freeze dried chicken, Kale, and green beans, bell peppers and other things before leaving so we had a delicious meal.





Got to get a bear mask shot



The great thing about traveling by moto is that people just want to talk to you. A older German fella came riding his bicycle right up in our site and asked what where we were going and our story. He said he tried to come to the USA in the 50’s but was denied immigration so he chose Canada and had a big wonderful family with plenty of grandkids. He invited us to his campsite with his kids for wine but we were tired and regrettably passed up the offer. Most of my trips are about the people I meet along the way and as I write this I wish I had taken pictures off all the folks the way bigalsmith101 does his ride reports. (Awesome story that guy has)

After dinner we slept like rocks except for some kid who I think swallowed a whistle and incessantly kept blowing it for about 30 minutes.

Lucky Lager $12
Ferry Tickets $54 $17 for each of us and the Moto
Camping spot $36
Firewood $9
Lunch at Port Angles $27
Cat show was surprisingly free
Gas $17
Total $155
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:03 PM   #3
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Puke Crazy Crane! June 2nd GoldStream BC to Port hardy BC 300 miles



Up and atom! time to pack up which took ....2 hours! how and why? We made our way to the famous Tim Horton’s for wifi and food. I may start a Canadian / American war but the food was pretty weak, the coffee was great but the breakfast food was ok, either way you could always count on Tim’s for good wifi and coffee the rest of the trip.



Now back to camp to put the puzzle pieces of packing together. I will say no matter what we did the whole trip we never were able to pack up in a reasonable amount of time which was a bit frustrating. While packing up a couple who had been visited by the German walked by and yelled “You guys are going to Alaska” they told us how they rode their bicycles through Italy about 10 years ago and we shared some adventure stories. They wished us luck and we went back to the Rubik’s Cube of packing.





Ok off we go and see some nice sites along the way and I see a Texas BBQ. Power slide around for an amazing place to eat in the park with a view that cant be beat. Texas BBQ , lets see Mr. Canada what you think Texas BBQ taste like, as a native Texan I’ll be the judge of that. In the end not to shabby for a roach coach in the great white north.












As I am taking in the view I start looking at my headlight and notice that my headlight has broken off floating around in the housing. Well crap, I need to explain first and admit my ignorance on what seemed like a good idea at the time.



The DL650 has about 150 watts of extra juice on the stator from what I have read on the forums so how do I run two 90 watt heated jackets and heated grips at the same time. Simple it never gets dark in Alaska right, who need headlights right? I found two LED running lights that had an H4 base that would fit right in to the sockets. I put them in so people could see me during the day but wouldn't light the road up for shit at night. How much for these bad boys, two for $12 on Amazon and I got what I paid for. It must have been trainee day in Beijing China at Foxcon as these pieces of crap just fell apart and in retrospect were a joke and I would have done better to wear an LED headlamp. So how do I fish that out of my headlight housing and replace it? I made it Cambell river bought one headlight and one of those spring loaded grabby things. Luckily all my years of playing crazy crane to get the stuffed bear paid off.









Successes!! Replaced it and off we go for more scenery




















Make it to Port Hardy and go to gas up and discover my credit card has been cut off, crap! I forgot to put a travel notification on it. I was able to make a skype call to the bank and get it turned back on, oops. We rode around and found the North Coast Hostel ( http://www.northcoasthostel.ca ) which we can highly recommend. Secured parking for motos in an old grocery store and nice clean reasonable rates, not to mention paintings from the French renaissance







We were starving and only one place left to eat in town , the owner was nice enough to drive us there since the Moto was locked up for the night.

We walked back and prepared for our early wake up since we needed to be a the ferry terminal two hours before departure, seemed excessive but ok. We needed to roll out at 5:30 zzzzz

Dinner $29
Lunch $25
Hostel private room $67
Gas $20
Headlight and crazy crane $20
Total $161
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Old 10-05-2013, 01:47 PM   #4
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Great read!
Thought you had some hi-tec cycling switch to alternate between the two heated jackets. NO. Just unplug the headlamps! DOAH! Too funny! Thanks for sharing....


Sent from my weak AT&T iPhone
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Old 10-05-2013, 02:09 PM   #5
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We're planning on heading to AK next June so I'm immensely enjoying your posts. Thanks for the money totals too. Subscribed !
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:00 PM   #6
PDX Alamo OP
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Originally Posted by bdogone1 View Post
Great read!
Thought you had some hi-tec cycling switch to alternate between the two heated jackets. NO. Just unplug the headlamps! DOAH! Too funny! Thanks for sharing....


Sent from my weak AT&T iPhone
Well just one headlight eventually and we had no problems with two jackets, heated grips, and charging GPS and phone all at once.

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Originally Posted by terrapinneck View Post
We're planning on heading to AK next June so I'm immensely enjoying your posts. Thanks for the money totals too. Subscribed !
Glad your enjoying it, I hope the weather is as kind to as it was for us. I should be able to keep $ totals going to the end. I got the idea from Jdowns who's ride reports are incredible
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Old 10-06-2013, 12:37 AM   #7
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:07 PM   #8
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Cool2 June 3rd ;I’m on a boat MF, again. 325 miles Port hardy to Prince Rupert





Up at crack ass early and roll the moto out of the grocery store and get ready. The owner insisted we have time for a coffee, he made probably the best cup of coffee I have had in some time, the man is an artist.



On to the ferry into the belly of the beast and to our surprise the ship is empty, no one was there, uh oh did we get here to early? Nope turned out almost more crew than passengers ...58 crew and 59 passengers on this ride, seriously.









The crew on the boat was super friendly and in a great mood, wandered around the ship which I assumed it would be umm a car ferry but this thing was luxury. The M.V. Northern Expedition was a brand new German boat that they bought after the last one sunk. It was super nice and was very surprised not to mention it was a ghost town, I was pretty sure they were losing big bucks on this passage but I guess thats why cost averaging comes into play.







One of the crew offered to show us around including the cabins you could rent, we even got a tour of the high tech helm. I highly recommend the trip but to be honest I think 14 hours is all I can take of being on a boat even if its a luxury liner.







We met Jesse and Jackie two Canadians on a bicycle tour from San Diego to St. Johns now that is a long trip. I picked there brain on how they could fit all their stuff on a bicycle and I could barley fit my crap on a motorcycle. They had the same problems we had but in the end we decided we had the same amount of stuff but they had it spread over two bicycles . Either way they were on a real adventure. My trip didn't seem so hard after listing to their travels, give em a look at their blog ( http://arbutustrillium.ca )


Met an Australian fella and his wife who were on their way to an Yukon bush camp while he was over here for work. His wife looked at my lady like she was crazy when we told her she was on the back of a motorcycle for the trip. “And you like that?” This was common amongst most women when they were told what we were doing. Of course the man thought it was bad ass. I did see a whale but this is all I could get picture wise as he wouldn't pose.



I’ll let the pics tell the story, sunny for most of the day and a BBQ on the back deck midway through the day.



































We landed in Prince Rupert and made our way to the Black Rooster hostel ( http://www.blackrooster.ca ) after getting a bit lost me mad it, the owner was nice enough to even let me park the moto under the front porch. Nice clean comfy rooms and I can recommend it all the way. This was the last night of luxury, camping from here on out, well one more night in a closet of a room.

Hostel private room $ 66
Ferry Rates for us $194 x 2=$388
Ferry Rate for moto $ 222
Food on ship $55
Total = $786 (ouch)
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:02 AM   #9
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June 4th We made it to Alaska, kind of sort of.. 278 miles Prince Rupert to Hyder A



This was the ladies first day of photo taking at high speed so most pictures didn't make the cut, sorry about the quality.

After a good nights sleep I got to doing a little chain maintenance and saw a guy loading up his KLR so asked where he was heading. He told me he was going to Alaska but the road had washed out in Dease Lake so he camped on the side of the road for 4 days waiting for it to open up. He got tired of that crap and turned around, backtracked, and booked a ferry from Prince Rupert to Homer. He told me that the road opened up today and he has been rained on every day since he started his trip. Nice guy he recommended a campground near Dease Lake where the owner let him set up his tent under the car port, waters edge campground (http://watersedgecampground.ca ). He also recommended places to eat and stay in Stewart and Hyder and said the camping was a parking lot called run a muk which sucked.






Ughhh 4 days suck on the side of the road!!! that could be us. Well this is what I expected from my trip and it was raining today so everything was going according to plan. Well off to Tim Hortons for good coffee and wifi. I quickly wished I had a pinlock as I couldn't see crap through my fogged up helmet. Luckily I had some motosolutions anti fog wipe which worked great. We ran into Mr. KLR again at Tim Hortons and he told us about a geisha bear that we may see on the way out of town. This is a white bear I guess, but with the fog and rain I doubt we would see anything.

Off we went into the rain, my lady put on her super sexy frog togs Michelin man outfit but they kept her dry as could be. The road out of Prince Rupert was pretty amazing even in the fog I can only imagine what it would have looked like on a clear day. Most of the pictures were taken at 60 mph by my pillion. We had a Nikon waterproof camera in my backpack on a tethered leash, think janitors key ring on a sting. She would take lots of pics as we drove ; many of which included a thumb in the corner, she's no Ansel Adams but what can you do at 60mph in the rain.

Even in the less than stellar conditions we were blown away by the sheer cliffs with 10 waterfalls cascading down the sides, looked like Lord of the Rings or something, wow. This is going to be pretty kick ass.






Pretty soon the rain stopped and it was just a bit cloudy and the heated jackets kept us nice and warm. I planned on hitting some dirt on a forest road outside of Nisga where we got some gas at a $1.50 a liter, thats not bad I guess. Humm lets see thats $5.55 a gallon, wait a second I liked the price better in liters. I told my self I wasn't going on this trip to save money so deal with it.

We soon hit a pothole dirt road for about 38 miles and I was riding like I was in Dakar on the pegs at 55-60mph or so. The new Elka shock was working its magic, never would I have tried that on my old stocker. My lady had a lovely view of my ass in her face as she bounced around on the back. She later told me that she was pretty sure that wasn't the recommended speed but figured I knew what I was doing. Jokes on her I didn't really know what I was doing. No pics since she was holding on for dear life.

We hit the Cassier Hwy and made our way to Bear Glacier and Hyder Alaska with a quick stop at Meziadin Lake Provincial park. Nice campground and we were thinking about camping there if we left and headed back that night, we opted for hotel.



Bear glacier was pretty bad ass, my lady was cold as soon as she unplugged from the bike but we took a few pics and sat in aww of the Glacier , I will say it a few times but pictures don't do it justice.






We made it to Stewart and understandably my lady who had been bounced around on the back, spent 300 miles in the cold and rain, had not eaten since breakfast was a bit cranky and I have to say I might have been a bit as well. We ate at the King Edward Hotel and it was delicious, caught up on the wifi and asked about a room. Well over a 100 bucks!, pass no thanks. We made our way into Hyder so we technically were in Alaska, I guess we can go home now.



Went to the hotel recommended by Mr. KLR and some serial killer looking dude came out eating an Ice Cream sandwich and gruffly told us “Nuttin available” Copy that sir, we both got the creeps from Creepy McCreeperson hotelier. We headed back into town and saw a Motorcycle friendly sign at Sealaska hotel and bar.





“Howdy mam, how much for the cheapest dirtiest room you have”

“What , Im sorry what kind of room do you want”

“The cheap kind”

“Well we have one with shared bath for $48”

“Sold”

It was pretty much a closet but warm, dry, and clean. I went to unpack and I had used ratchet straps on my panniers as a safety net for my Pelican cases attached with Happy Trails pucks. Good thing I did since as soon as I loosened the strap it fell off. Yikes, this was an isolated incident probably due to my Dakar action on that forrest road. The rest of the trip the cases never loosed whatsoever and I think the pucks are the way to go.

The moto bomb exploded in the room and I took a Michael Jordan style shot to show the size.


We went for a little walk taking in the amazing views and my lady tried to get her workout in.








We walked to the border for some pictures at one of the original border markers where I proceeded to slip on the rocks and bust my ass, nothing much hurt but my pride.








I had heard of the Hyderized stuff but I still didn't know what it meant. My best assumption based on the illustrated pictures accompanying the term it means “Shit faced drunk”. I hit my friend Wikipedia who says

“Hyder has some notoriety as the place where people become "Hyderized."[8][9] Two of the town's bars issue certifications to patrons of being "Hyderized" if the patron consumes a shot of 150 proof (75% alcohol) Everclear.” I can tell you from my university days that my friend did that shot and burned his throat and it wasn't a pleasant experience.

We made it back to the room and decided to have an Alaskan beer in the bar, sniff sniff whats that. Cigarette smoke, WTF Its been years since I saw people smoking cigarettes in a bar or restaurant. O well just what your used to , we went as far away as we could and I started looking at the pictures on the wall. I had no idea this was where the Iron Butt guys go for their run. I couldn't believe that Ron Ayers did 49 states in 7 days!! Incomprehensible to me, shit I couldn't even stand 10 minutes in a bar with 3 cigarettes burning away, so back to the room. Sure is bright outside, guess we better get used to this. Zzzzzzz. Just a note, if the food prices seem high keep in mind thats no drinks, no dessert, nothing fancy usually just a sandwich or low cost meal with water. You might think $46, you guys eating steaks. Nope thats just what things cost.

Gas $24
Dinner $46
2 Beers $14
Breakfast $9
Hotel room shared bath $48
Total = $ 141
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:22 PM   #10
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Food

Maybe I need to throw out all the camping gear, tools, and clothes and just pack food. and beer. Great trip report
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Old 10-11-2013, 06:02 PM   #11
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Cool. You got yourself a real pretty gal and a nice Wee. Congrats. Keep the photos coming.
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Old 10-12-2013, 04:21 AM   #12
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Enjoying your report...

...and along for the ride!
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by terrapinneck View Post
Maybe I need to throw out all the camping gear, tools, and clothes and just pack food. and beer. Great trip report
Not a bad idea but that $45 room was the cheapest the whole trip and rooms were sparse to say the least.

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Cool. You got yourself a real pretty gal and a nice Wee. Congrats. Keep the photos coming.
Thanks, Ill keep her around for a while I think. Now I need a Multistrada to match the lady.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:59 AM   #14
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Talking June 5th Family that rides together stays together ;253Miles Hyder,AK to Dease Lake



The bed here is something to be desired but hey I asked for the cheapest room they had right. Pack it all up enter Canada again and stop in the King Edward for Breakfast. Off again with another stop by the Bear Glacier and then onward north. The skies opened up and we got some blue here and there and really no rain to speak of just a bit cloudy. This day was very uneventful, I simply remember a massive power line project under way getting electricity further up north. We stopped in for lunch and gas at Tatogga Lake Resort in Iskut. Good food and the staff was great, this is where the guy said “Oregon is pretty much like this right” Yeaaaa No. I believe today was the first day we saw a black bear and me lady was so excited she started hopping up and down in a show of excitement on the back. This of course almost dumped the bike over but a quick grab of the knee conveyed the “stop” message very well.















We were able to see our first moose today all be in the restaurant, as in the taxidermy kind. The riding was good with lots of lakes along the way but my lady was done at 250 miles. I wanted to make it to Boya Lake that day but I’m flexible. We grabbed the spot Mr. KLR told us about at Waters Edge campground at Dease Lake( http://watersedgecampground.ca ). It was a real nice setup and Chuck the owner let us set our tent up under the car port as it looked like it might rain. He made this campground a few years ago and a really nice fella. Beautiful place to stay, thanks Chuck; I highly recommend this place. Dease Lake has a large grocery store with fresh vegetables and fruit, nice place to stock up and only a few miles from the campground.










Of course Walter Winnebago guy ran his generator for the first couple hours we were there, enjoy the beauty of nature man; you can watch the price is right when you get home.





Three more motorcycles rolled in with some far away license plates one of which was attached to a Yamaha 660 I had never seen. I was obliged to chat em up and get the story. Meet the coolest family, Mike, Aad, and Jeanette . Aad and Jeanette were from Tasmania and had toured New Zealand ( crazy expensive according to him) on their bikes with their 17 year old son Mike then shipped the bikes over to Vancouver BC.




He told us that when Mike was just a little kid they would run around London with him in a sidecar and he has been on motorcycles ever since. They had done a US tour a long time ago and have now made it a family affair with the plan of touring Alaska, the rest of the US, then down south until the money ran out. What an amazing experience at 17 years old, hell amazing at any age. Wonderful family and they have been motorcycle touring forever. Their gear was failing and wasn't nearly as waterproof as they had been told. I think they were jealous of our heated vests when we explained how we had been toasty and warm every day. They sent me an email the other day and they have started a travel blog here. They also had one of those fancy pants Hilleberg tents which was first class. I guess when its your new house for well over a year you can drop some dollars.

http://blog.travelpod.com/members/earth-roamers

The campground had great wifi but no running water, how’s that? Anyway we were treated to a beautiful view and great company. This was our first night of never ending daylight which was no big deal we just cinched up our sleeping bags and cocooned; it was...dark as night. Only weird part is when you wake up in the middle of the night and you are not sure if its 3 am or 8 am until you look at your watch.



Lunch $40
Gas $26
Groceries for dinner $7
Campground $20

Total $93
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:01 PM   #15
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Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Prescott, Arkansas, USA
Oddometer: 238
Cliff hanger...

waiting patiently for an update.....how can I ever get to the great white north without your post ?
terrapinneck is offline   Reply With Quote
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