1 cylinder, 13,000 kms

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by squonker, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Good advice, Mac! I didn't do Alaska this year but I'll be back and hope to remember this at the time!

    Thank, man! Lots more to come...and once I leave Dawson I'll actually start to put some narrative in as well....

    Spicy, you put up my fave picture before I did! That's it - your fired!! Oh well...I'll just put it up again in a while - no biggie (it's the one of us all outside the restaurant before we leave).
    And as for Dave - is that why he wasn't in any of the late night or early morning shots? I thought it was just 'cos he's a grumpy old bastard!!!:D


    Here's Sgt. Marty doing the famous Sour Toe Cocktail at the Downtown Hotel.
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    The toe itself...
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  2. Spicy McHaggis

    Spicy McHaggis Darth Peach's cracker...

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    Sorry brudda...I took care of it!
  3. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Hey bud, you didn't have to go that far - but I appreciate it! The only reason I care is because of the few words I'm going to write with that pic - it's special to me because...well, you'll find out in a day or two! Thanks, man.:thumb
  4. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    And so it all came to an end. I guess it had to sometime. The last morning there a bunch of us had agreed to meet for breakfast at 10am. JuneauDave had left early, as had Motomac (them old guys never sleep anyway!) and while we all packing our gear, Spicy was generous enough to let a couple of us take the Ural around the block. Good on yer Spicy!

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    I have to say that I don't know how you even made it to Dawson on that thing, let alone to the Arctic Circle. It's a pig to drive! You apply the gas and it wants to steer one way. Put on the brakes and it wants to go the other...but it's a way cool machine and I'm very glad to have got to ride it. Of course, if I'd had boobs or a nice butt I'd have even got to go in the sidecar!

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    When breakfast was all said and done I think that quite a few of us were actually quite reluctant to leave. I know I was - I had mixed feelings that day because I was keen to continue my ride and the adventure, but I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to the gang. These folks weren't just some people I'd been hanging out with over the previous few days, they were my friends. They still are my friends. Granted, I've kept in touch with some more than others and, regrettably, some not at all, but almost everyone in this photo means something to me. Thank you all.

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    Left to right: Greg, one of the Alaskan crowd, Sgt. Marty, Spicy McHaggis, Keith (sitting on the sidewalk) Keith, I must have written your username down wrong - tried to PM you but your name wasn't recognised the way I'd spelt it. If you see this pic, drop me a line, bud! Sander (back on the bench), me, The Chanteuse (on the sidewalk), Homeontherange (back on the bench), and Paul. I'm going to look real bad now if I have any of them wrong!

    Several thousand more KMs to go yet before this RR is over.....
  5. the Chanteuse

    the Chanteuse Adventurer

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    I love that picture!! you guys were so much fun that weekend! The fat old Brits who took the photos were pretty funny too...you were the only one who seemed to understand what they were saying! Dont they know we speak Canadian, eh?!
  6. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    That's so funny! I'd totally forgotten about that English couple - we had a conversation and you guys were all, "What were you saying to eachother? We didn't understand a word!"

    It's on my resume, you know - I'm bilingual. English and Canadian. :D
  7. Spicy McHaggis

    Spicy McHaggis Darth Peach's cracker...

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    Ahh yes, I had not a feckin' clue what you guys were saying. Might as well have been speaking Chinese! :lol3
  8. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    It's a local dialect called 'Village Idiot'. I'm fluent - am surprised you couldn't understand it...:rofl

    I took this one somewhere in Dawson - up on the Dome Road I guess, but it doesn't look quite the same. Anyway.
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    On the way out of town I wanted to stop and look at Dredge #4, one of those old mining behemoths from a few decades ago. These things are wild - I'd read about the Jack Wade example in many RRs here, but wanted to see one for myself. It's only a 10 minute ride or so from downtown.

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    There's nothing in the pics I took of it to give any sense of scale, which is unfortunate. I expect it looks like it's as big as a house in these pics, but it'd be more accurate to say it's the size of an apartment block. Unbelieveably huge.

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    I remember two things in particular about this. One is that the dredge was up a dirt road. I hadn't ridden my bike more than about 5 kms over the past two or three days, and on the gravel up to the site I found myself being overly cautious. Just the week before I'd ridden 1500 kms of gravel to Inuvik and back, and here I am scared of a 10 km road to a tourist attraction. Out of practise I suppose, or in the wrong head space. :dunno

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    The other thing is that Parks Canada, who manage this heritage attraction, were giving tours of the dredge and I never went on one. I knew at the time it was stuipd, but a few things were working against me (other than the fact that I'm an idiot!) I was in a strange mood because I was very aware of my new found friends, still, and wondering what adventures they were having on their ways home, or on their respective journeys. I missed them, I guess. I was also extremely tired from a night of revelry, and I was keen to get back to Whitehorse and the bed that Kate and Shane had kept for me. Shame, though - I'd have loved to have seen inside it and found out more about how it worked.

    I had spoken to Hecktoglider about the possibility of stopping in Keno on the way back and maybe bumping in to him there, but I knew I was that tired that I just had to get home. As it was I stopped twice to snooze. I'd leave my helmet on and that acted as a bit of a pillow - I'm one of those lucky people who, if I'm tired enough, can sleep anywhere.

    I made it back to Whitehorse at about 9pm that evening, absolutely exhausted. Kate and Shane were away for the night so I showered, threw some laundry on, ordered a pizza, ate it with a cup of tea infront of the TV and was asleep pretty much as soon as my head hit the pillow.
  9. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

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    Great report, looking forward to the rest.

    :thumb
  10. motomac

    motomac Mac

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    I left Dawson City early and stopped for fuelin Whitehorse. It started to rain as I left heading for Watson Lake. I fueled at 1 and 37 and decided to stay at the convenient campground there. About midnight a bear decided he wanted to play and slashed an 8" gash in my tent fly and cut the netting inside the tent. I let out a tremendous yell and by the time I unzipped out of the bag, tent door and fly, he was nowhere to be seen. Took quite a while to get back to sleep!!! Next day it was rain down the Cassiar until 100 miles south of Deese Lake.
  11. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Mac, I remember your email about that! I was well aware of what you'd told me when I spent a night in the same area about a week or two after you - stayed tuned!

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    I spent most of the next week taking it easy and hangin out with Kate and Shane. I did some bike maintenance and went on a day tirip to Carcross - Tagish - Atlin and back to Whitehorse. I'd been to Atlin before, and there are pics of that amazingly beatutiful place coming up in my next post. These ones were all taken in the Carcross/Tagish area, I believe.

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  12. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    It's only a two hour ride from Whitehorse to Atlin, but Atlin is in B.C. I first went there about 5 years ago to the Music Festival, and came back telling everyone that I thought it was the prettiest place I've ever been. Didn't see much to make me think otherwise this time.

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    By the way, there are better shots of it coming. All these ones are taken from downtown. I stopped there first because it was lunchtime and I remembered a fantastic restaurant, but it was all closed up and apparently only opens for a month or two a year. Like most businesses in town they simply can't find staff. It's not that no-one wants to live there, quite the opposite, but Europeans are buying it all up and it is simply that most people can't afford to live there. How do you pay $1000/month in rent if you earn minimum wage at a restaurant?

    So I went to the one place that was open, a hardware store/coffee shop and had a cinnamon bun or something. I remember a really cute puppy being parked outside but for some reason didn't take any pics of it. There were a couple of funny signs there, though:

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    If you're reading this and planning a trip up the Alaska Highway, take the time to stop in at Atlin, you won't regret it. Hopefully by the time you've seen all the pics you'll understand. There's no shortage of places to camp in the bush there, either. And there's gas.

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  13. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    My first trip to Atlin I was in my wee Honda Civic and I hadn't bought my bike yet. This time I made the most of the opportunity, checking out all the dirt roads in the area. Most of the roads around there are unpaved and there's some good exploring to do.

    There are lots of small mining claims around there - mostly gold mines. The majority of them are small mom and pop operations, but a few are surprisingly big, and most seemed to have recent (or current) activity.

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    I decided to do a little panning of my own using my mess kit and even found a small nugget! Here - I took a photo of it having named it and made a sign to commemorate the occasion with:
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    I explored several of the roads, but there were many leading off in all directions. Some came to dead ends at mines, some I never found the end of. At one stage I came to a much larger operation, so big that I parked the bike and went into the security shack to ask what it was all about. Buddy told me it was a molybdenum mine, and about to employ several hundred people. I wasn't allowed to go any further up that road because of mining activity, but the chap was a nice guy and he came outside to check out my bike and told me about a friend of his who had a BMW that he took off road all the time. A GS, I presume.

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    It's a beautiful are and I only wish I could afford to buy a place there. As it turns out, I can - but it needs some work...

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    I think that's known as a 'fixer-upper' in the biz.

    Here's a shot of downtown.
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    Here's a pic that shows the road in to Atlin, following along beside the lake - it's very, very sweet!
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  14. motomac

    motomac Mac

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    Great stuff Ben, in all my trips up there I haven't been to Atlin, maybe next summer. Will the Wing do that road??? Just remember, I did the Dempster on a Wing in '99.
  15. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Mac, I highly recommend Atlin. Of all the pics I took, only this one:
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    comes anywhere close to letting on how pretty it is. It's a small place, too - the population is likely only a couple of hundred, so there's a great feel to the place. Check it out next time you're passing by the turn off! And if you can do the Dempster on a Wing (and a prayer?!) you'll be able to do the road into Atlin on that same Wing standing on the handlebars with one arm and one leg duct taped behind your back.


    I spent a couple more days in Whitehorse beginning to think about hitting the road again. I'm a runner but I'd not bought my gear with me because I just didn't have room, so for excercise I'd walk in a bush area out the back of kate and Shane's place. There were clear signs saying that no motorized vehicles were allowed in there, yet almost every time I was there there'd be at least one dirt bike that had squeezed through the gates, and I was pissed 'cos asshats that do shit like that give us all a bad name. One day a KLR was back there, and I thought about flagging the guy down to ask him wtf he thought he was doing. I can't see much harm myself, but that's not the point - all you need is some old woman to be scared when you ride past her too fast, or to upset her dogs, and now she hates all bikers and starts telling her friends about the Hells Angels she ran into that day, and as far as public relations between riders and the general public, we're screwed.

    I finally set off on Saturday June 28th, having had breakfast with Shane and Kate at the airport restaurant, which is worth a visit for the waitress alone. Wowzers! :raabia It was raining that morning and Kate and Shane tried to persuade me to stay for a day or two more until the weather cleared up again, but I was in the right head space to keep moving, and anyway had come up with a bit of a plan. On my way to Vancouver Island I had always been intending to go over the Duffy Lake Road (for those of you that don't know it, it runs from Mt. Currie to Lillooet in B.C. and is a fantastic dual sport road), which would mean I'd be able to stop and see my friends Robyn and Christiaan in Squamish. It had occurred to me that they'd probably appreciate it if I were to show up on a weekend, so I now wanted to be in Squamish that Friday night.

    It was a reasonable goal, but I couldn't afford to waste too much time as I not only had a habit of spending a fair amount of time exploring trails and such that I'd see leading off the road, but I also found that much more than 500 kms in a day on the KLR started to eat into the fun.

    Within half an hour of leaving Whitehorse the rain had stopped and the weather only became better and better. It would have been a perfect day but the wind was very strong and a couple of times I thought it was going to blow the front wheel right out from under me. I stopped for gas at Jake's Corner and the attendant there traced the outline of my license plate - he did wood carvings and wanted something to work from.

    I made it as far as the junction of the Alaska Highway and the Cassiar that night. I was taking the latter of those two roads back south and was excited for what I expected to see - by all accounts the Steward/Cassiar highway is absolutely beautiful. But just a week or so previously Motomac had been rudely awoken by a bear clawing its way into his tent at the campground here (see last post on previous page) and I wasn't really keen for the same thing to happen to me, so I rode about 3 kms past the campground and found a nice spot in a pullout beside the road on the edge of a lake.
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    I usually like to be a bit hidden when I camp, but having spent the last week with friends I was hoping for some company that night and was happy to be within sight of the road. Within the first hour of my being there I must have seen ten bikes heading north (northbound traffic couldn't see me) and I could have sworn that the first of them was Hecktoglider. He'd told me he was going to take this road, but he'd have been heading south - it just wouldn't have surprised me if he'd agreed to guide a bunch of people back up north! Although they weren't all in one group, I think that these bikes might have all been together as they were wearing almost exactly the same gear.

    After an hour or so a south bound bike slowed down a bit as he passed my spot and I waved, but I don't think I got a wave back. Five minutes later it had turned around and come back again, and this time it pulled up. The rider asked whether I minded if he set up camp there too, and I said by all means - I was happy for the company.

    Kevin is a super guy. He's a lawyer from L.A. and was riding a Kawasaki GPZ 1100. He had taken that thing all over the world on bike trips and said he'd dropped it about 35 times, "All of which were on gravel". Kevin did not like gravel! We had a great chat - he'd been at law school with Obama, amongst other things, and his girlfriend worked at one of the swanky hotels in downtown LA and he told me celebrity stories. After another hour a mini-van turned up, driven by Wolfgang who had made it all the way from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island to that spot in 2 days. That's impressive. Wolfgang was on his way to Whitehorse to visit his son, who was home on leave from Iraq or Afghanistan. The three of us got on well and we had a good evening. Wolfgang slept in his car, and because the wind was still up I put several rocks in my tent to stop it from blowing away - the ground was too stoney to put pegs in.

    Kevin and I agreed that we'd ride south together as far as Steward/Hyder at the south end of the highway, and the next morning (having thankfully had no bear incidents that night) we backtracked the 3 kms to the junction to gas up.

    There we met dm_gsxr who was on his way back south from Alaska - on his Hyabusa! That's cool.

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    Kevin and dm_gsxr
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    The Hyabusa was doing a very solo trip and he sped off in short order, having first told us about how he'd got a flat somewhere in Alaska and had been ripped off to the tune of about $1200 by the time he'd got everything squared away and was on the move again. That's an expensive puncture!

    Kevin and I were a few minutes behind him, and were to have a lot of fun over the next few days. Kevin is a class 1 guy, and I thoroughly enjoyed riding with him.

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  16. motomac

    motomac Mac

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    "one arm and one leg duct taped behind my back standing on the handlebars". I don't think so!!!! Son, I'm drawing Social Security and have a Medicare card!!!! I will be in Atlin next year though. Thanks for the tip.
  17. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Wow! A Hayabusa and GPZ to Alaska? I've been dreaming of an Alaska ride, but didn't know if it was possible on my bike. Think I could handle those roads on this? I guess my biggest concern would be falling down and breaking the plastic into little pieces...
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    I'm loving your photos! Excellent RR!
  18. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    Amigos

    Keep going I am glue to your posts, since the pics and comments are so cool, and yes I too want to go, one day

    Damasovi
  19. motomac

    motomac Mac

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  20. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Dave, Mac is right - you'll be fine. I'd say it's more about the rider than the bike...

    Thanks Damasovi - you have excellent taste in threads!
    Yep, you should make it up there one day - you won't regret it.
    Cheers.