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
    Nothing to apologize for my friend We talk, we set things straight and we move on. Still would love to sit around drinks and chat and have fun.. At the end of the day we all are out here to share our passion.
    So Rockmuncher1???? No apologies needed. I for one, respect someone who speaks his/her mind and deal with the outcome.

    We good!:freaky
  2. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    We are at the Pelican right now. 5:28.
    We are on room 211
  3. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    I will post tonight. Got some crazy shot to put on.

    Cheers
  4. Oznay

    Oznay Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    258
    Location:
    Lake of the Woods,N.W Ont,Ca
  5. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    [​IMG]Ok! We made it to Fort Smith NWT. But since last post a lot happened. We left Fort Mc Murray yesterday morning at 9:30 AM. We were told that leaving before that would throw us in the worst gridlock in Canada. The road is wild enough without bumper to bumper traffic. The stay in Mac was great. The accommodation was first class at the Sawridge Inn. Thanks to Frank from Alberta Travel North who really took care of us.
    The last thing we did in Mac was to go on a flight tour over the oil sands.

    Untill you see this, it is impossible to see the magnitude of this site. It defies imagination.
    As far as the eyes can see they have marked the eland for exploration. the surface looks like a giant checkered tablecloth.
    [​IMG]
    We flew over a camps that lodges 8000 crews.
    [​IMG]
    this thing is in the middle of nowhere. it is so massive it is hard to describe. The plants themselves, whether it is Suncor or Syncrude are at a scale that can only be seen from the skies.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Like I said we took of from Mac at 9:30 and made it to the beginning of the Ice road. It was so nice to see this stuff again.
    [​IMG]
    The road literally turns into ice and is like this till Fort Chipewyan for over 200 kms.

    You go over rivers, marshes and all sort of land types. This road is not thee in summer and it is easy to see why. It goes up and down and around and the tundra like scenery reminds me of my dear Labrador.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The temperature stayed around -25 to -27 most of the day with a blue sky that was mesmerizing.
    About an hour into it. I am leading and I do not see Joe or the SV anymore behind me. I wait for a minute and turn around.
    There right over a crest I see the SV in my lane and behind the bike. Joe hit a groove and went down. In the process of sliding down the road, the left passenger foot peg hooked up and bent the frame holding it right up. To the point where the peg was right behind his leg touching it. Not good! If he rides like this and falls on the left side again. there is a hell of a good chance that he will get the peg frame to puncture the rear of his leg and in the process hot the femoral artery. Not good! This spooked him out and he slowed right down. Hell! I was worried too.

    Later, about an hour and a half later,before Fort Chip, I am in the lead and we are clocking about 50-60 Km/h most of the time. We were just about to come across our first one lane bridge before a river crossing. I see a B train dump truck that we had passed a while ago and that had passed us again when we stopped for pictures. The part of the road at that point is over a swamp/ marsh. I slow down and let the bike come to a stop about 10 feet behind the truck. In my mirror I see Joe coming. I know he is is coming too fast. I was hoping he remembered not to hit the brakes in a hurry. With the trailer's lights covered with snow i guess he did not notice the truck stopped. I had told him that if he finds himself in a spot where he cannot stop to aim for the snow bank. He tried to steer around the truck to pass him or clear it on th driver's side but he could. He hit the trailer at about 20 km/h.
    The plastics on the 800's having been at -27 all day were brittle to say the least. "Bang" he stayed up but the bike went down......without everything that use to be a front end.
    [​IMG]
    Beak? Gone!
    Fender? Gone!
    Headlight? Gone!
    Signals? Gone!
    Windshield? Gone.
    Dash and instruments? Gone!
    Body work? Gone.
    No need to say Joe was pissed and disappointed. 2500 kms into a 10,000 kms trip and looks like I will be riding the rest alone.:cry
    We loaded up the bike in the trailer and Joe rode in the truck till we hot Port Chip. There we had the Park staff loaning us their house for the night. We had to stop at the Warden's office to pick up the key. I stopped in the parking lot and a guy drove in in his truck. I hear "Paul!" I am thinking "Huh? I do not know anyone here"
    He is part of a group of riders who trailer their bikes to the beginning of the ice road and rie to Port Chip every year,
    Note: I must say that the reason they trailer to the gate is that they have the real long ice studs on the tires which makes the bike unridable on anything else than ice.
    accompanied by support ruck and cargo truck to bring materials and goods to the school in Port Chip. Their group is called North of 60. Great bunch. They asked me to join them at the school and if I wanted to put the bikes in the school's wood shop warm for the night and to join them in their potluck.
    [​IMG]
    We ended up spending about an hour there with them. They were also a blessing as we did not have anything to eat. The only food place in town and that we counted on was closed.
    I left my bike inside and Joe's in the trailer. When we got home We decided that I would try to fix the bike so he could ride it. In the morning I would ask Steve the shop teacher if i could use his tools to somehow make something so Joe could have a shield. He will not be able to ride on public roads where there is traffic without a light, but at least he will be able to ride the ice roads to Inuvik and Tuk.
    In the morning we got up ( Joe was down and out and also stiff an hurt.) and we made it to the shop.
    I had two things to do. First I had to figure out a way to hold the screen.
    I used a piece of Metal and duct taped it between the mirrors. I cut the shield on the band saw so it could fit and he could also tun the bars without the shield hitting the body work. (What was left of it)
    Her is the result. Works like a hot damn. I tested the bike to make sure the forks and bars were not bent and also tested the heated grips. All was fine.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    the second thing was to fix the foot peg subframe that was bent. I could not, so we hacked it off with the a grinder. the subframe will have to be replaced anyway

    We were told by the North of 60 Riders that the first 55 kms of the ice road to Fort Smith was a narrow and really rough road that was barely a lan and a half wide, and to be careful as meting a truck or car was dangerous. So we decide to put the Support vehicle in front. The north of 60 guys were also riding to Fort Smith, so we would see them on the road.

    Holly shit!

    Rough:huh That is one understatement. Ruts, rocks, roots, grooves and deep soft snow was just the start. then many humps and lumps and bumps with curves and crap all over. This was by far the roughest road I have done in winter. Judging by how fast the north of 60 guys passed guys it was obvious that their studs were the best. But hey? We are out here to have it tough and tough is what we have.
    Then Joe took his first tumble of the day. did not break anything as their is nothing left to break. His back is sore and so is his wrist. I can see he is bagged and that he is pushing it.
    Then we come to the first big river crossing. The ice dropped four feet and left the river ice ramp in a pretty steep angle. The X5 goes up and makes it up.
    I look for line. take off in second gear for torque an not "wheel breaking HP"
    and make it up. Joe comes up in first gear, stats fishtailing and then loses grip. He slides backward down the embankment and down he goes.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    There was a guy who drove to the bank to check it out as he has to pull a trailer next week through this road. I talked to him and he says there is no way he will make it up this hill. But he stayed there just in case we needed help. I made it up with Joe's bike. By this time he was bagged and really struggling. remember that he has NEVER done ice riding. He has beeb doing awesome. Most if not all i know would not even dream of doing this. So Hats off to Joe for keep pressing on.
    [​IMG]

    We kept on going and the road got really fraking bad. it had been forty clicks so far and it had taken us close to 3 hours.
    We slowly crawled our way towards the end of the 55 kms from hell and after about another half hour I took my fist dump at about 15 km/h. No harm, no damage and was back up in 5 minutes and kept it. Joe told me that watching me falling helped him. Hell! it helped me. I knew I would, I just did not when. You can't ride in stuff like this and not fall. Anyone who says he does not is full of shit.
    DO not get me wrong, these guys have been doing this for nine years and it is an awesome cause. But their ride is 400 clicks and that is it. There is not toughing it that way on a 10,000 kms trip covering two provinces and two territories. After we got out of the 55 kms from hell, we were stopped on the side of the road putting the GoPro camera on my bike to film me going 100 km/h on the snow covered iced road to Fort Smith when a big Dodge dually 350 pulls over and asks us if we are OK. it was Ziggie!
    At one point i am looking at Joe's in my mirrors and it is obvious he cannot go on anymore. I pulled over, walked to him and told "Joe? Loading time! You stop here. this is too much for you right now and you will only screw up your back even more or hurt yourself. Get off the bike for a couple of days and live to ride more!"
    He looked at me and said "You read my mind, I was just about to stop!"
    We loaded up the bike and got out of this mess.
    [​IMG]

    We had about 150 something kms to Fort Smith and I gunned it. 100 km/h most of the way.We made it to the Pelican Rapids Inn in Fort Smith NWT, unloaded and ran to the restaurant and ate.. We had not eaten all day..

    Tomorrow we are heading to Hay River NWT. ABout 260 kms of ice again.
    Right F%%#@ on!!:freaky
  6. northern

    northern Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Whitehorse YK
    Don't worry about the road tomorrow, nothing like the winter road. 270 kms , 110kms is great gravel and the rest is black top.....well with the snow storm white top!
  7. Oznay

    Oznay Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    258
    Location:
    Lake of the Woods,N.W Ont,Ca
    :clap:clap:clap:clap:clapDamn,what a trip!I cannot imagine you NOT makin'the entire trip,I'm along on the ride with ya in spirit buddy.As usual,ride like hell,take lotsa chances....Nose
  8. Spaggy

    Spaggy Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,139
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Now that were friends again, I'd like to ask you something of a more personal nature. Do you find that your gigantic balls help to lower your center of gravity?
  9. Oznay

    Oznay Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    258
    Location:
    Lake of the Woods,N.W Ont,Ca
    :rofl:rofl:rofl
  10. Lornce

    Lornce Lost In Place

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    19,722
    Location:
    Way Out There.
  11. Ray-zer

    Ray-zer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    The Hammer (Hamilton, ON)
    Paul, was there ever a consideration of doing the trip with sidecars? Or is this trip pushing beyond that too? Great report. I'm clenching my guts as I read.

    Ray
  12. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

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

    Actually! I cannot feel them most of the time.. So can't answer this..:D
    I like to think that having only two brain cells is more useful than big Kahunas!!
    :freaky
  13. atk_nut

    atk_nut and atk_nut_wife

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    622
    Location:
    Duncan, BC
    It sound like an awesome adventure so far!!

    Keep safe amigos!
  14. Norry

    Norry A Great Bloke

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Straya.
    "I like to think that having only two brain cells is more useful than big Kahunas!! " Paul Mondor said this ?

    Paul maaate, yes, having two brain cells would be much more useful to you than your much discussed kahunas, but it is fairly obvious to us all that if you had another brain cell it would be very lonely! And because of this fact I would suggest you take very good care of those kahunas of yours, they appear to be your only option for a fulfiling and meaningful life. " look after what you already have, not what you pine for" norry said this.
  15. Yukoner2

    Yukoner2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    183
    Hey Paul, sounds like the trip is going good, aside from one bike missing alot in the front department.
    Looking forward to following along with you on your travels. Right now the weather is not good in the Inuvik area, storms keeping Northwestel repair people grounded so there has been no telephone service or internet service to the outside world for a couple days now.
    All is good here in Whitehorse though.
    Jon
  16. jnorton1

    jnorton1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    294
    Location:
    Loveland Colorado
    Crazy trip. Enjoy the cold!
  17. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Hi there! No there was no consideration about it. Not that it is beyond that. I mean sidecars work great in this too i suppose. Rob1313 did the Tuk ice road a couple years ago on a Url and it worked great.
    I for one did Labrador in 08 with a sidecar attached to my Frosty (650 Dakar) and I hated it. To me might as well drive a car. it takes the "Fear" factor out of it. Knowing what I know now I would use a one wheel trailer to crry my survival equipment if I needed to..

    Hope this helped
  18. ooner

    ooner I wanna ride

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Ashland, OH
    I think this would have made a wonderful Prelude to your RR. This is great stuff, fuel for the soul.

    I have never had a problem riding in snowy or flat out bad weather, but you take it to extreme. I can't get enough of this.
    :lurk
  19. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Hey Hey Hey! we did the 300 clicks today between Fort Smith and Hay River NWT. this road reminded me of Labrador. Wide open spaces and a whole lot of nothing. it is nice to be somewhere where there is 300 kms space between town and places. No gas, No stores, No stops, nothing :evil
    You got to love it.

    The temps was warm and hovered around -10 C. that was nice. But there was a nasty sidewinds that tossed us all over when we hit soft snow. Our lane was covered in snow and was not ploughed. Only few patches where you could see the ice. So for about 150 kms we rode in the incoming traffic lane. I stayed about 1000 feet ahed of Joe and the SV and when I saw a vehicle coming I put my right signal on. This way Joe had time to slowly come down in speed without using the brakes and move over in our lane. For the whole 300 kms we saw about 10 vehicles.

    That was it.
    [​IMG]
    There were times where we had to slow down to about 30 km/h. There was some snow drifts in our lane and after yesterday Joe was a bit weary of the soft stuff. But he did awesome today on his Mad Max 800!
    We had to duct tape his bike a bit more. Some of the body panels were flapping in the wind. As of today another thing he owns is duct taped. His sunglasses. The lenses kept falling off. So FLora duct taped them while we were on the move. How great is that?
    [​IMG]

    When we made to the end of highway 5 we took a break. I had this sense of peace all over me. It is hard to explain the peace one has seeing this hostile scenery go by from behind visor and at the same time be warm and comfortable.
    [​IMG]
    Tomorrow we are heading to Fort Simpson and it is a 425 kms leg with nothing on it. At least that is what we are told. So we filled the three five gallon Jerry cans and the bikes. We stocked up on water and food. We are leaving at 7:30. This could take from what we know so far up to 9 hours of riding or more. They are forecasting 80 + km/h winds and the temps are supposed to dip quite south of the -20's. We will see. if the storm hits us hard we have agreed that we will put joe's bike in the trailer first and that I will keep at it till I cannot anymore. We bought some extra cargo ratchet type straps just in case it gets nuts.We want to have some wild videos of this, so I will push hard..
    [​IMG]



    We are two days in Fort Simpson. I think it will be good timing. if the storm the locals say we are heading toward is there. We might see it blow by while we are there.
    [​IMG]

    Sorry! I have plenty of pictures but I cannot upload them. I got a blender on my counter at home that is faster than this connection.
    I will try to make up for it tomorrow
  20. justanotherider

    justanotherider justanotherider

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Ontario
    Paul:

    Perhaps you need to grow a bit thicker skin, to appreciate support in tough situations. Siggy was just encouraging you to stick with it. He does that to all of us when we are having a tough time, (as sometimes happens when the snow is deep near Moose Island). As for him being tough, he works on our bikes bare-handed on the roadside, regardless of the temperature to get us going when we are broken down. In all the years he has wrenched on our ride, he has only had one bike he couldn't get going again, and it had a catastrophic mechanical engine failure. A blooming idiot he is not. A dedicated, tenacious mechanical wizard he is.

    Your comment that the group is "a bunch of guys who are derogatory towards others" would seem to fly in the face of the reality that the group feed you, arranged a warm place for you to store and work on your bikes, offered to help you with your repairs, offered you parts for your bike, gave you information on the road conditions you faced west of Fort Chipewyan, and slowed down to check that you were ok when we passed you on the road. In fact, you comment seems to me be downright ingracious. If you want free dinners and support a second time from hosts, you might try a little humility and gratitude.

    All the bikers I know tease each other about our various choices of bikes, our lack of riding capability, our gear, how fat or skinny we happen to be and how ugly we are. I think it's called comradeship. If you can't take a little teasing about needing a windscreen on your bike in cold weather, then you ought not to hang with any of the groups of riders I know.

    Any of the riders or support drivers in our group would go out on a long skinny limb to help a friend or a stranger, and you were the recipient of some of that kindness. You might want to think about that before posting derogatory comments about the people who help you in the future.

    Some of our riders do use heated gear, and our ride is only about 400 kms. long. You seem to suggest that this makes them less of a rider or less of a man than you. So who's wagging their Johnson?

    By the way, you aren't the only guy who's done long distances in nippy weather mate. I've done Tuk to Rupert to Halifax in twelve days, (and we all know there ain't no summer road to Tuk) and I didn't come away from it posting derogatory comments about any of the riders I met along the way, whether they were supportive, indifferent, or told me I was nuts. (There, now you've seen my Johnson).

    I hope you and Joe have a safe and pleasant ride to Tuk. The Dempster can be tricky in winter if there is a strong crosswind up north of Eagle Plains with drifting snow, and the tendancy for the wind to blow you off the road. If the road crew advise you to wait out the wind, I'd listen to them. As far as I know, the rest of your ride should be relatively easy, as I think you are correct in your view that the bit from Fort Chipewyan to Moose Island can be a bit difficult.