Arctic project (Epic Arctic Ride)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by paulmondor, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Hey Hey hey!!! :freaky

    How is the winter going in your necks of the woods.? Here it has been a typical Victoria Winter. We had what they call here a snow storm. Somewhere else they call this a dusting of snow. A couple of inches and the whole British like town was paralyzed. But, faithful to my winter riding love affair I was on the road.. Actually what was funny is that in the midst of this two day white hell (That is what they called it) the news crews were out and somehow I happened to be riding by as they filmed this catastrophic event. You could see cars sliding and buses skidding, and then............here was this lonely little BMW bike riding by. Frosty and i were out doing what we like.
    By the end of the day I had a few Emails and Facebook messages saying "Hey? We saw you on the news you nut case!"
    By the way! I am not on Facebook anymore. I got tired of watching people writing about themselves making eggs in the morning or going shopping and finding this lifetime deal on leopard pattern underwear. Holy Crap!! What is happening to the human race??
    Anyway I deleted the account over three weeks ago and messages (Emails) asking me why I am not their friends anymore have stopped. Actually to answer one of them I walked out my door and knocked on his door and said "Give your head a shake! I live next door to you fer Krissesake!"

    Anyway! I got some exciting news. I am going to go for 4 1/2 weeks, 10,000 kilometres ride exploring the Arctic Circle and discover its people while riding a bike on the two of the most Northern roads in Canada. Fort Mc Murray to Fort St John and the Tuk Ice Road. We will ride two new BMW F800 Gs given to us for use by BMW Motorrad. And also a new BMW Gran Turismo as our support vehicle. I know! I know!! it is rough... An eternal "Thank you" To Robert Dexter and Norm Wells from BMW Motorrad.
    We have many sponsors behind us as well like Offices of tourism from BC, AB, Yukon, Ninuvit and NWT who are graciously supplying accommodation. Many motorcycle accessories and garments manufacturers are also jumping in. Verizon is onboard and so many others.
    We will film and document this epic journey with the amazing support of Rogers networks as well as Open Film and Curbsyde Productions.
    There will be Dog sled rides, Northern lights hunting, ice rallies and many other things are lined up as well. We are excited about spending time in the communities we will come across and partake in their day to day lives. I will finally be able to spend time with the very people so many, including myself have been saying I have blood and genes from. DO I smell time to drill some ice and go swimming??? Who knows.

    This whole thing is not about motorcycles or motorcycling in the winter. It is about going through some of the most beautiful places on earth, discover some of the world's most renown geographical wonders and also be blessed enough to be able to let the world meet and know some of the most amazing people. Northern Canada is known the world over. We want to show it in a way that has never been done. And all this from a Motorcyclist's point of view. And in winter!!! Does not get any better than this.
    We are not aiming at making the standard tourism documentary. NO!!! We want to put together an adventure for people to watch an say "Dagn! That looks like fun!" Even if they do not ride..


    What a blast.

    See more here http://www.rwcnorth.tv/

    I will post more as we go. Jump along and join us.. D-Day is on February 12th, 2011




    Hey Hey!! here we are. The launch was yesterday at Island BMW in Victoria. We had a great show up and I want to say thanks to them for all the work they did on the bike and getting us ready in time. it was great. Thanks Oggie and also to Heather as well for all the PR work. ;)

    Here is the link to the launch video that Ted Hill from the Victoria Newsgroup did. Thanks Ted!
    http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_south/saanichnews/news/115679729.html

    This link will hook up automatically to the OpenFilm site on the 1st of March and you will start to se the episodes appear shortly after this. We will upload videos and pictures as we go.

    We are leaving this morning (Saturday) on the 9 AM ferry to Tsawassen. We are more than ready. Our first night is in Merritt BC, then ClearWater and on further north. We will upload videos and pics as we go and I will do here as well as often as I can.
    I will post pictures of the bikes and rigs later on..

    I will also post the Spot tracker links in here so you can follow us on Google Earth.

    Looking back there has been a bit of change since I posted this.
    Two F800 GS
    One BMW X5
    10,000 kms
    6 weeks and all the way to Tuk. (Yep Rob! Will be thinking of you)
    And Fort Mc' Murray to Fort St-John to Slave Lake and then west, then to Inuvik, then Tuk.. Either way it is all good...






    Ride lots and stay safe

    See you soon ;D
    #1
  2. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Well! We made it to Merritt. it was pouring buckets till we started climbing about 20 clicks into the Coquahala, and then?? This happen.
    [​IMG]

    As we started climbing up the snow packed up pretty quick and before we knew it the traffic was stopped. There were rigs at the chain up area that were not able to climb and they blocked the road. The CVSE guys were there and one of them came to us and said

    "Damn! You are the coolest guys I have seen on the highway. Actually? I am jealous. Go on the side and get in front. If anyone has a tough time with this tell them I OK'd it" ;)

    We gave each other a high five and we pulled ahead. it was very slippery as it was not quite cold enough to freeze solid. it was packed slush and we were sliding all over the place, fishtailing and doing the "drag the feet" dance. Most of the climb for the next 2 hours, because we could not go faster than 20 km/h and it was one lane got worse and worse. It was dicey!!! :eek:
    it took us about 3 hours to get to Merritt. But we made it.. There was a lot of cars in the ditch and trucks as well. I am just damn happy that we stayed up and did not fall while riding that snot.. It was bad.

    Settled in at the Ramada! Hey! We deserve it! :mad:
    Tomorrow we meet the organizer of "The great Canadian Bike Rally" at nine and we go to Clearwater. DO not know what the weather is supposed to be like. We will see!
    #2
  3. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Well !We made it through our second day. Yesterday we ended up in Wells Gray National park in Clearwater BC. We stayed a the Clearwater Lodge.
    We also got shot of the falls which are absolutely stunning. The bottom of the falls gets engulfed in a naturally shaped snow as ice cone. Must be seen
    [​IMG]

    The road there was absolute nightmare. :eek: It was 3 inches of slush. Riding on this shit is like riding in snot. Not that I have before? but this stuff gives you [size=18pt]zero [/size]traction.
    [​IMG]

    It took about an hour and a half to ride 26 kms.. Not fun. Even the X5 was slip sliding all over the place.. Once we got there it made it all worth it. a beautiful log home with all the luxury a tired rider needs. ;)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I also met my new friend "Quinn" a 200 lb Leamberger dog.
    [​IMG]

    We got up from there and headed back out. This time it was another story. Plus we were escorted by Quinn's girlfriend whom I heard say I swear "He is mine you ass! Stay away from my boy"
    [​IMG]
    The slush had frozen ad it gave us more traction. The weather was kind of warm. it was about -5C.
    Once we made it out back to highway 5 north heading toward Jasper the road turned into a beautifully packed snow covered carpet where all you could see was white.
    For a while it was snowing quite a bit and it was like heaven. The silent rolling of the tires on the sow covered ice is something to be experienced. it is so peaceful
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Further down the road we stopped in Blue River at the Husky where the Waitress Alice (Her real name) was about as pleasant as a wrestler in a TuTu shop.
    [​IMG]
    We had a great Hot oatmeal breakfast after a couple of hours of riding. we kept on going in this snow for about two hours. this is what it is all about. Tonight they say that there is a severe weather warning in Grande Prairie with winds of over 100 km/h. It will be done by the time we get there in two days.
    We are spending two days in Jasper as there is a lot of work to be done. But first tomorrow we are being given a tour Moline Ice cave..
    SO so far it has been good but not cold enough.. I am sure that as we go up we will get into more stuff that could freeze the balls off of a brass monkey.. Right on!! 8)
    #3
  4. Ron from BC

    Ron from BC Long timer

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    Ride Safe partner...
    :lurk
    #4
  5. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
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    47,973
    Location:
    Gates of Moscow
    Reading one of your books now.

    :lurk
    #5
  6. hesnothere

    hesnothere adventure gear head

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Paris Ont. Canada
    Amazing trip ,ride safe(or at least as safe as you can on the ice and snow).Could not agree more about facebook.

    Cheers and Good Luck !
    #6
  7. Oznay

    Oznay Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    258
    Location:
    Lake of the Woods,N.W Ont,Ca
    Wishing for trouble free travel,good luck my friend,if anyone can pull this off,it's you!:thumbup:thumbup
    #7
  8. ArthDuro

    ArthDuro quarantined

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
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    3,118
    Location:
    Westsideistan
    :bow

    oh yeah and Leambergs rule

    good luck Paul!
    #8
  9. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Well! For the duration of the trip I have to take back what i said about Facebook. :huh

    It looks that no matter how I generally have no use for it that for the purpose of doing some PR for this trip that there is no better tool than Facebook.

    Sharing personal stuff on it???? NO!!!!! Sharing stuff like this??? I have to admit that it is becoming the most powerful tool you can use.

    Cheers
    #9
  10. RumRunner

    RumRunner Sit there, turn that

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,395
    Location:
    Great White North
    You be safe there Paul :thumb

    No pictures of Timmies yet? I thought you were addicted to their "potage":lol3


    DW
    #10
  11. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
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    Victoria BC God's garden
    Yep!! But we have not come across any yet that was passing us by during our schedule :huh
    Yep! Timmies and winter riding. They go hand in hand like Lawyers and cockroaches. Perfect match!!:D

    Thanks Buddy:freaky
    #11
  12. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,165
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    You guys remind me of my much younger days. Used to do that kind of stuff on street bikes and had no fear. Now I am older and worry more about broken bones, staying warmer, etc. Still get out in all kinds of weather, but don't get out in that kind of weather so much.

    Keep the commentary and photos coming so that us old buggers can live vicariously thru you, and dream of our younger days.

    Keep safe and enjoy your ride. Build those memories for when you get old.
    #12
  13. nofate

    nofate what blackflies?

    Joined:
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    2,878
    Location:
    Chapleau, ON
    Sounds like another great trip. Do you have studded tires for this winter riding?
    #13
  14. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Mar 11, 2008
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    1,316
    Location:
    Calgary
    Fantastic report Paul
    How can we get this over to the ride reports section so more people can see it?
    Cal
    #14
  15. Ridemuch

    Ridemuch SUP

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
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    2,284
    Location:
    GTA,Ontario
    :*sip* ride safe
    Looking forward to a good read.
    #15
  16. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    OK! I am going to extend on the notes here a bit.. First! I am used to do these things on my faithful Frosty. My god ole 2007 F650 GS Dakar. She has been good to me, and to do this without her is making feel like I am cheating on her. After all we crossed Canada twice together, survived the first Frozen But Tour and many other wild rides. I know what she feels like on ice and how every fibers of her metal, plastic and rubber body react on this type of roads.
    Plus I have something with her that few have with their steeds. I know that if I came out of Labrador alive in 2008 after going up there alone and came out alive is because she never let me down.
    I know what o do when she dances on the ice and how to follow her lead. Maybe sometimes she just lets me know enough that I know what to do and together we do our ice and snow riding thing like a good tango team.

    I was a bit apprehensive this year about how I would react to this F800 GS partnership. They are great bikes, and I know after watching Patrice Roux on his in the 2010 FTB over 3000 km of ice that it could to it. I am very blessed that BMW has enough trust and faith in me to lend me the bikes for this year thing and also will be on the 2012 FTB as well. My relationship with BMW is important to me, and I know they feel the same way. So having the chance to do 10,000 km of winter riding on my way up to Tuk on two of them was a great chance for both of us.

    At first when I brought it back to Victoria from Vancouver, I was not sure what to think. The front end felt light in dry and grippy condition and I did not know how it would feel on snow and ice. Our first day going across the Coquahala was the best way from hell to find out. I had said I wanted bad stuff and we got it.. a storm that stopped rigs on their tracks and even the tow trucks that were trying to help them. 6 inch of slush and snow is the worse. No traction and no control. Stopping was hard cause taking off again was challenging. I know how Frosty felt in this and her weight is something I am familiar with. I know how much to squeeze her and how to use my weight to work with hers.
    This DID NOT work on the 800! I had no feedback from the front end. It felt vague as if floating on this crap. In a way it was, but I felt I could not use the bars to steers the bike at low speed. 10-15 km/h was incredibly hard to do. Frosty has enough weight on the front end that just me putting my weight back on the seat at times or low on the pegs was enough for us to work well together. Not on the 800

    In dirt you can count on the resistance of the dirt or sand to help you slide your way into control or out of a line. In snow and slush and ice it does not work unless you have ice screws. And on the asphalt they do not work.
    So what I quickly found out on the 800 is that if I shifted my weight forward to load the front end by leaning harder on the bars and also loading the weight on the pegs a bit, it worked. But this was counterintuitive for me after 35k of winter stuff on Frosty.
    Once I survived the first day the 800 was starting to grow on me. To that point the power to weight ratio was addictive and I was enjoying this part of the bike. The rest?? Well- not so much! I preferred my Dakar’s amenities. On the third on our way to Jasper from Clearwater, we came though our first true snow and ice riding. 2 ½ hours of nothing but hard packed –ice like snow. This stuff I can do at 90 km/h on Frosty and sty sit upright. On the 800 I have to slide forward to balance both ends of it. Uncomfortable? But you get used to it.
    What was funny in a way is that I am used to riding Frosty and by scanning at the road ahead of me I know how she reacts and I adapt. This allows me to take my eyes off the road and take in the mind numbing winter scenery. I tried to do this once on the 800 and I almost wiped out. Joe said the same thing. In all fairness the 800 works great in this stuff, and proof of this is that Joe had never done this before and he was doing fine.

    On dirt as you gain speed you can count on the resistance dirt has on you and you can steer through slide and point and shoot. On ice on normal roads the same techniques do not work. If you do not shift the weight where it has to be on the bike, you will stat your slide and you will not be able to stop. You will spin around and crash. All fine and fun on dirt and trails, bit not fun one freaking bit when a 40 ton 10 wheeler is coming towards you while you are in a right hand turn curve.

    The Aerostich studs give you some control. The harder the ice and packed snow surface, the better they work. At one point we had so much traction that if you gunned the throttle it was hard to make the rear end break loose.

    Because of the front end light feeling of the 800, going downhill on snow and ice was actually working in is favor. That was good. At one point I looked in my mirror and saw Joe sliding sideways so much that he was perpendicular to the road at about 50 km/h. But he saved it. This shows that the 800 can be forgiving in this.
    So far I still prefer my Dakar. But I believe that by the end of the trip I will love the 800 some more. To replace Frosty??? NO! But If I were to lose Frosty I would be confident to bring an 800 in and call it Frosty II.

    That is it for the bikes. So far the weather has been too warm for my own liking. The coldest we have seen is -6-7 C. If I want this, I will ride in winter. I want -20 C and colder. The reason is, that the colder it is on ice, the more traction you get.
    Also some of the gear that some have is not that good in wet conditions. Joe could not get the Sorel Alpha Traks boots I have because since Sorel was bough by Columbia or vice versa, they have not brought the Alpha Traks to Canada. Now they have the Alpha Paks… They are rated at -50 while the Alpha Traks are rated at -85C.
    They get wet in the front because the material used in the front part of the boots is not waterproof. It will be fine in cold snow (Not melting) but other than that they take in moisture.
    We also have Zox snowmobile helmets with heated visors. So far they are pretty good. They are light and my Lord, are they ever quiet. They have to be the quietest helmets I have ever put on. I always use earplugs with any helmets. But these helmets are so quiet that if I forgot my earplugs, I would not be worried about riding without them.

    To this point we have been wearing out Aerostich Darian suits. I know first hand that in 2007 I have worn it from Victoria BC till I reached Riviere du Loup and the temperature dipped to -40C. At this point I switched to my North 40 Arctic ATV suit.
    I am sure that if I had wanted to layer up more with the Stich that I could have done colder then this. So this year I will push the Stich to its limits. So far all I have worn under my Darian was my long johns from Georgia Mountain. I t is a Mil spec fleece undergarment. How warm is it? When I ht -61 C in Labrador in 2008 it was the only layer I had under my North 49 suit.. Does this help?
    Mind you the Stich is thinner and not arctic rated. But I think that if I put on another outdoor tech insulation layer under it that I can wear it for the whole trip. We will see.
    I will at one point switch to my Bombardier Helmet for one reason. The built-in breathing mask! This solves 100 % the moisture issue when you use the heated double layer vacuum-sealed visor.
    My gloves are the 3 IN 1 Arctic snowmobile gloves from PolarPaw I bought at Canadian Tire for $35.0. Let’s just say that they beat the hell out of $200 + gloves I have used in the past. They have a removable fleece liner ad are waterproof and wind proof.

    The Hippo Handz?? THE MOST IMPORTANT piece of equipment we have. Bar none!!! Enough said? DO NOT RIDE IN THE COLD WITHOUT THEM!
    So! So far the trip has been awesome. The scenery is 100% holy crap mind numbingly beautiful. I have had a couple of pucker moments. One was a 8 on te pucker factor scale.
    We are behind a B train an hour out of Jasper and the roads are messy, muddy, salty and sandy. I have been in front of the pack the whole trip and they copy my moves. I know better than to scrub my visor clean at times like this. I see the “Truck lane 500 feet” sign go by. But he decides to stay in the passing lane. We are going about 90 km/h at that point. I decide to go in the truck lane, which to this point looks clean.

    I hammer down and as I go in the truck lane I find out in one nano-second why he did not go. Two reasons!
    A) The lane is about 200 feet long. Not long enough to pass anything except gas after eating a burrito with 5 lb of refried beans.
    B) What I thought looked like clean line turns into some path going to hell covered in 4 inches of snot-like slush mixed with sand and debris. If he weighing in at 130,000 lb did not want to go, why would I at 500 lb go? Well! I still do not know. But I know how I felt as the 800 started fishtailing as I admire his salt covered aluminum bud wheels get closer to me.
    Remember what I said above about the 800 being not too good in slush? I do not think that riding it past a French Canadian dumb ass crushing Super B train rig, fishtailing like mad, and not being to touch anything whether it being clutch lever, brake lever, throttle or the auto-eject button will improve it. Normally at times like this as some you know, I rely on my ability to invent stress relieving, tension reducing French Canadian swears and curses. This time I did not want to. Just in case my lack of blood going through brain-blue lips would cause a vibration that the handlebars would sense and send me under this monster that would have never reacted while driving over me.
    Somehow I just stayed on it and I guess that the resistance of the soup I was riding in slowed me down and I was able to get back behind it still alive. Thank God for Teflon Underwear! :huh:eek1:bow:bow:asshat
    Joe was behind me and saw that. He noticed that I was noticeably sitting straighter after this. This was to prevent the shit in my underwear from being squeezed up my back and making its way up my helmet, inevitably making whatever was in my BM drip down my helmet, effectively blinding me an making me crash anyway. I am sure there will be many more pucker moments. But this one was SPECIAL… it was the first. And like any “First” it leaves an imprint in your mind. In my case, on my seat too.

    We made it to Jasper where we are spending two day at the Bear Lodge. We went to Maligne Canyon. Chek it out a http://www.malignecanyon.com/tour.html where Mother Nature does amazing things with ice at this time of the year.
    Tomorrow we head north toward Edmonton and then Fort St-John and Fort McMurray where the real stuff will start. I am stoked.
    Stay tuned. This will get better and colder and better. I said that already, didn’t I?

    See you soon
    :freaky
    #16
  17. Norry

    Norry A Great Bloke

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Straya.
    Looking good so far except for the log palace you stayed in. lose big adventure points for that one ! Now if you guys are fair dinkum adventurers you will have to camp out a couple of times,at least set the tent up in the snow,even if you don't sleep in it. The twits on twitter will never know the difference. (i just feel sad for twitter folk. that's LIFE ? )
    Rode in the snow a couple of times here in Oz. Can still remember the pain in my hands,felt like they were in a vice.
    Dave Ball said it all for me and i'm actually sitting here with a bike related broken leg.
    Stay safe and thanks for taking me along. norry.
    #17
  18. repsolrider

    repsolrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    128
    Location:
    Vancouver island
    Facebook is just a tool. As any MECHANIC will tell you leave it somewhere safe you never now when it may come in handy.

    Great pictures buddy,keep them coming. I am happy to be following along.

    Cheers Scott.:clap
    #18
  19. Lornce

    Lornce Lost In Place

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    Aug 17, 2003
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    Way Out There.
    Tabarnac!


    :lurk
    #19
  20. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
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    8,366
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    Best of luck, Paul!
    #20