Grumpy Travels the Americas !!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by davey1212, May 4, 2013.

  1. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Miles today 302 Total 3520

    Went to bed last night in the tent when it was mild but woke up at 2am ish and it was freezing so had to out on my sexy thermals and was still chilly. Hope I don't get the ladies too excited here !
    I was due to stay the night with Dave, who I have corresponded with on ADVRider, a bike forum. He suggested going a more scenic route, so after packing the tent and having breakfast at a cafe next to a trucker who could talk the hind legs off 6 donkeys I set off. Once on the "22" the rain moved in with the wind (just for a change) and the ride was unpleasant. The spray & wind made the roads uncomfortable for me so I changed direction to the main highway 2 which, as Dave said, was the most boring in Alberta. I had to stop and dig out the heated jacket which was at the bottom of my pannier as I thought I wouldn't need it until northern Canada. Oh, stupid me !!
    About 90 miles south of Edmonton I noticed a guy and a bike up ahead parked on the hard shoulder so I pulled over to see if I could help. Turns out he was only having a smoke and after I asked him if he was allowed to do that, he said " Sure, you can park anywhere you want to !!".
    The total trip was 300 miles and the rain stayed with me for approx 220 then at about 270 miles, just south of Edmonton, it started getting really warm.
    Arrived at Daves house at c 16-30 where I was made very welcome by him and his wife Wanitta. He will be making the same trip south starting August.
    Had a great evening in a local "Celtic" pub and he helped plan my trip north as he has been there a few times.
    Only three pics today as the ride was dull and in yukky weather. A real Canadian breakfast smothered with maple syrup.
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    North tomorrow so scenery better = pics !
    hanks for all the comments and encouragement...... they really help.
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    Dave and his bike ready for his Pan American trip.
    #41
  2. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    848
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    Vancouver Island
    look at you, all pro now at posting photos!

    It was great to meet you Dave, have a great ride to Alaska and beyond.

    Good to chat with you about pre-trip nerves and planning stuff that only folks who have done it can describe. I am so wanting to leave on my trip right now! Only 90 days to go.

    Watch out for those moose!

    D
    #42
  3. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
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    Oh and by the way Dave,

    Thank you for your kind donation to the charity! :clap
    #43
  4. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Miles today 268 Total 3788
    Said goodbye to Dave & Wanitta who were great hosts bearing in mind I had never met them before and headed off to a Yamaha & Triumph dealer to try to get Scottoil for my auto chain oiler. No luck but had a good chat about bikes "n" stuff as you should do.
    Headed west and weather heald out...a bit cool but I can live with that. After approx 180 miles I could make out the Rockies ahead of me. Impressive !
    Had lunch at an A & W which is a bit like a Canadian McDonalds but better. Bloke walked in and asked me about the bike, Triumph, BSA etc then the guy next to me states that he is from Canterbury, Kent although he lives here now.
    Signs warning of wildlife were on the road side and looking for bears I soon saw my first wild & dangerous.........long horned sheep that cars has stopped to take pics of. However, shortly afterwards a fox (I think) ran out in front of me. Did see a moose but by the time I stopped the bike and prepped the camera it was gone.
    No bears though.
    After taking a few picks of the mountains and popping into Jasper to buy Bear Spray ( $41 !! Jeez ! ), I backtracked to Hinton to a campsite. All the campsites are expensive here and some don't have showers and few internet. Obviously this one has.
    This site is close to a road that states "Scenic route to Alaska " which Dave told me about so that is where I am heading tomorrow. Hope I sleep as is is chilly and I am typing this in the tent as it is now raining !! And I missed it so much !
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    #44
  5. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Thanks for your help as I NOW see where I was going wrong. It's all easy when you know how.

    To all the others who tried to help this old man, thanks, but I needed face to face tuition !

    Dave
    :clap
    #45
  6. Keep Moving

    Keep Moving n00b

    Joined:
    May 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Lincoln Nebraska and Melbourne Australia
    What brand is that screen?

    Adjustable height?

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    #46
  7. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Miles today 309 Total 4097
    What have I done to deserve this rain ???
    It poured all night and the temperature dropped (Weather.com predicted 4c and it felt like it), it poured while I packed the tent and put the very wet tent away and it continued 'til late afternoon. Rode through Route 40 which is the "scenic" route to the Alaskan Highway. It would have been but the rain and low cloud restricted the views. A number of people told me to be careful on this road due to the number of animals I would see and they would/could be on the road. Sounds great ! As I started, I saw two deer who scarpered quickly then...............nothing for the whole route ! I reckon they heard Grumpy was coming so they waited 'til I passed then had a party.
    They warn you of the distances between gas stations but I have learnt my lesson by carrying a two litre & a four litre cannister.
    Once off the 40 and heading towards Dawson Creek the rain started easing off and as I was descending a slight hill a few brake lights lit up ahead and I saw my first bear ! Black and, for me, a big one. He quickly disapeared and I saw a bike parked on the shoulder so I stopped to check he was ok. He said the bear was at the side of the road so he stopped but a large truck frightened him and he ran off. He was Bob and he is also going to Alaska (again) and just camps where he feels safe. he is from Michigan and on the 4thday of his trip. He stated that on one of his rides here he had rain every day of his 40 day venture. Hells teeth ! I don't want that.
    Going through Dawson Creek ( Google it, it is interesting) it started to rain again, the clouds were looming, I was still wet, so the chicken part of me wanted a motel. Expensive in that place so carried on. Dawson Creek it the start of the Alaskan Highway and once on it my GPS told me to continue for 969 miles. It is actually (according to the internet) 1442 miles !
    After a few miles arrived in Taylor, saw a sign stating "clean rooms" and it is above a Bar ! Choice made ! It is chucking it down as I type this.
    I am enjoying this little trip but the rain does get me down a bit and I wish Jayne was here to see the sights. No room for straightners, lippy, varnish, hairspray etc, etc, etc.
    And the bike is FILTHY !!
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    #47
  8. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Hi, It is a Givi and am sure you can get it in the States. Very adjustable up & down but not back & forwards. You can take the top part off for shipping (as I did) or hot weather (what is that ??). Works very well but can be noisy round the helmet but everything is.
    #48
  9. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Miles today 237 Total 4334
    After a good nights sleep I had a quick Skype chat with Jayne then on the road by 10-15. The bar was vwey quiet last night (Friday ??) but was offered a "Redneck" job at an oil plant !!! Should I ?

    The weather today has been fantastic with sunny skies & warm but with acooler breeze while riding. The road has been great with good surfaces overall and fantastic views. I have only covered 237 miles but stopped here in Fort Nelson, as there is a campsite and these are now few and far between.
    Met a couple of Russian bikers who are also heading to Alaska but to Anchorage, then a ferry to Vancouver Island. Cant recall their names but wouldnt be able to spell them anyway.
    I should get to Whitehorse, Yukon the day after tomorrow and after that .......??
    18.30 and it is still warm and I am typing this on my office table by my tent.

    I forgot to mention yesterday that I passed Greg Lake (ELP as some of the older people will remember) and Swan Lake !! Today went past Pink Mountain....just for Jayne !
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    #49
  10. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
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    Grumpy!! where are you?
    #50
  11. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

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    Hi, Just arrived in Dawson City, Yukon and have not had access to the internet for the last couple of days and have been camping a bit "wild". Gonna stay here for at least two nights as have been riding every day for two weeks and need a break. Have you ever ridden the "Top of the World Highway" ?
    #51
  12. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Indeed I have, it was brilliant! you're going to love it.

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    #52
  13. alcanrider

    alcanrider alcanrider

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
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    Location:
    Back in Superior, Colorado!
    Lol, you Britts still call the US the colonies? I guess its ok, we have only been the United States for what, uhhh 237 years.:rofl
    #53
  14. Exploron

    Exploron exploron

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Prescott, AZ
    Enjoying your ride report and your perspective from abroad.
    You mentioned that you were offered a "redneck" job in the oil fields. I believe the term is a "roughneck". Probably pays well, but is serious work.
    Rednecks, on the other hand, are the good 'ole country boys in the small towns of America that chew tobacco, eat fried everything, live to hunt and fish, and listen to nothing but country music. Alot of us colonists are at least, part redneck.
    #54
  15. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

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    Sorry ! I meant Roughneck but it was the hangover talking there !

    United States ??? What ? They are not British ? I wish someone had told me.
    #55
  16. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
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    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Miles today 227 Total 4561
    Had a few drinks last night in the camp-site bar with a young american guy whose tent was a couple away from me. He was great company, has just graduated and is very knowledgeable about just everything. When we were talking about backgrounds he said that he had just about the most Scottish name ever...and he had. Rob Roy McGregor. Have a great summer Roy.
    One photo shows the bar stools....saddles.
    From Fort Nelson I continued on the Alaskan Highway and after 30 miles or so saw a bike parked at the side of the road. Pulled in to see if he needed help, then noticed there was a black bear in front of him and he was taking photos. It was the same guy, Paul, I bumped into at the last bear sighting. After taking pics we decided to ride together, although when he said he travelled at only 75 to 100 I thought me meant mph (as he was American) so sped off. He meant km,s so we travelled a bil slower then. Stopped at a "famous" rustic cafe (they are ALL very rustic here) to have a cinaimon bun. It was superb.
    After that we saw animals galore, bears, caribou licking the road for salt, large fox & plenty bison. The scenery was just incredible all through BC and I will let the pics speak for themselves. The weather was great so another superb day. Paul lives out the way in Michigan so likes to camp in the wild. I knew I would have to try it some time so joined him. After looking at a couple of back roads seeing semi frozen rivers while the air was really warm, we found a secluded spot and set up camp. The meal was meat out of a tin then he hung all his food 20 feet up in the tree. I didn't have any but toothpaste etc went up as the bears like that also. There was evidence of bears around our spot.
    The last couple of picks of the river were taken at about 23-20 and it was still light !! Sleep was ok but there were noises !!!................and it was very cold.
    I will write up yesterday & todays report tomorrow as have just arrived in Dawson City and am knackered.........also a saloon may await !!
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    #56
  17. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Miles today 360 Total 4932
    Up and packed early we decided to ride separately. Paul is a great guy who like to ride at his own pace when he can.
    Almost straight away I rode into the Yukon. For me this is a place I have read about, seen in the movies etc and never ex[ected to be there. Scenery, as expected was/is stunning and again I will let the pics explain. The problem is you want to stop and take a photo after every bend, bridge crossing and hilltop.
    Leaving Watson Lake you pass an amazing & famous place which I had completely forgotten about...."Signpost Forest". It was started in 1942 by a GI working on the Alaskan Highway and now has over 70,000 signs. Again, Google it. Took one pic for Jason at work.
    Once in the Yukon the animal sightings reduce but it is still like watching tennis as your eyes and head are looking left & right all the time just in case they run in front of you but also for the scenery.
    Plenty of ice on rivers & lakes and those 'orrible metal bridges. The sheer number of lakes is amazing and one (cant remember thr name) is 132 miles long. Imagine that in Somerset.
    I wanted to get to Whitehorse so I could reach Dawson City the following day so wanted a campsite north of the town. Riding through there was a "wooly" Mammoth (see pic) so I rode into the car park to take a pic. There in the middle of the empty park was a ladies handbag with the purse sticking out and nobody around. Took pics, just in case, and looked for ID so if sh was local I could deliver it vian the GPO. Ontario !! Oh, oh ! There was an airport next door so I headed for that but couldn't get parked despite trying all the roads. After 15 mins or so I returned to the carpark just in case and saw a lady looking behind a fence, and a small red Kia, When I rode up to her she give me a wary look (all alone with a dirty biker ????) until I asked her if she had lost anything. She was relieved to say the very least.
    Time was getting on now and couldn't find a campsite until about 30/40 past town. Had to ride about 1k down a dirt road to an unattended site, mainly for RVs, and you register on an envelope, put $12 in it and put it in a post slot. Ground was rock hard so had to pitch the tent between pitches on sloping grassy-ish land.
    By the lake bumped into a young German couple, Sina & Jarno, who had beers !!!!! I only had two Mars Bars and Canadian Whisky but they were lovely people and we drank and talked aroung a fire until midnight. They have travelled quite a bit and I wouldn't be surprised if I bumped into them again in future years.
    It got very cold that night and as I was all alone on my side of the site I was concious of all the noises............and there was plenty of them. Sounded like wolves in the distance ....!!

    More pics on Blog below.
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    #57
  18. Keep Moving

    Keep Moving n00b

    Joined:
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    8
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    Lincoln Nebraska and Melbourne Australia
    Impressed with your saving the day for that lady. I'd do the same but you run the risk of appearing to have stolen the item. Pics a good idea!

    Wow, I'm thinking a future trip may follow the route you've taken. Awesome.
    Keep up the great reporting:clap
    #58
  19. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Miles today 289 Total 5212
    Didn't sleep that well due to the cold, the slope of the ground and the noises ! They were everywhere and, yes, I am a coward. Had a wash, including hair under an old fashioned pump which gets the water from a well. That was COLD but it woke me up.
    On the road for only a few hundred yards as, on this long dirt road, there was "Mom's Kitchen" or smlilar. A small rustic house (remember, everything is rustic here) and had Bison Pie followed by Bumbleberry Pie. It was yummy and set me up for the day.
    From there it was a 289 mile stretch of great, quiet roads and, again, fantastic scenery, There was more road damage due to the snow & ice and most of them had temporary repairs marked by red flags but it is best to avoid then so plenty of "zig, zagging" was going on. One set of roadworks meant riding on loose gravel while the bulldozer in front of me dug it up. It was pushing the debris into the centre of the road and I eventually had to ride over that and onto the tarmac side of the road. Interesting !
    More metal bridges, snow at the sides of the roads in places (it snowed here last week) and animals to watch for. Eventually arrived at Dawson City at about 18-00 and this place is unusual to say the least but incredibly friendly. Google it and look at the pics. It was THE frontier town in the gold rush and likes to stay that way. No tarmac, just dirt roads and wooden sidewalks just like the westerns. The buildings are the same and if they look as if they are leaning in the pics it's because they are. Been to two bars but tonight it is the brothel (now a pub) and "Diamond Tooth Gerties" which is a western saloon with can can dancing girls.
    DC is right on the Klondike River with a ferry I have to use to get to the "Top of the World Highway" when I move on. That road, which leads into Alaska, is not even open until today, Thursday.
    Had my hair cut (half inch) which is the shortest it has been for years.
    Downloading all those pics earlier caused a problem with the internet so I may be banned for a while !!
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    #59
  20. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    133
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Miles today 191 Total 5403
    Dawson City. Couldn't finish the last DC notes as the laptop crashed and it took ME, an IT caveman, 'til about 22-30 to get it back.....All by myself ! Chuffed at that.
    On the previous evening I went to "Diamond Tooth Gerties" saloon which is a drinking, & gambling joint with the old time dancing girls. My camera died so only took one pic. I meant to go back on the Thursday to take more oics but the laptop took care of that.
    Packed up early but had a chat with the 80 year old man & his daughter opposite as he cycled part of the TOTWH yesterday and intends to start cycling the Dempster Highway ! Amazing at any age, but 80 !! I was & am humbled.
    After breakfast caught the ferry across the Yukon which was a challenge in itself as there is deep soft sand as you get on & off. Once on the other side the gravel road started almost imediatly. Now, other motorcyclists who have ridden this may make it sound quite easy but I thought it was like being in a boxing ring with Mike Tyson and.......someone who was a major pain at work. Mike was going to be tough & challenging, to say the least and the other.....a pleasure to pummell.
    There was 103 miles of "dirt " road the surface of which which changed every quarter mile or round every bend. It went from reasonable bedded in gravel to loose grave,l to wet clay with a bit of gravel, to wet mushy stuff with tight bends and steep climbs & descents. There was also quite a camber in places which made the tyres slip downwards ( or felt llike it).
    One thing I didn't want was rain so obviously that is what I got. To be fair it was not for long but it was heavy in places with hail. The scenery, when I dared look at it, was stunning and the very light traffic allowd me to stop and take pics. Due to me and them taking photos I kept swapping and passing the Vietnamese couple as well as a German & Swiss couple all day.
    After passing through the US border I passed into ALASKA....Wow !
    Eventually came to a town/village called chicken. A name it makes the most of. About two miles after there there was TARMAC !!!!! I felt like kissing the road.
    I had travelled 113 miles at that point and at 167 miles I saw my first other vehicle ! So that was 54 miles without seeing any sign of life....apart from a young hitchiker who was going to have a long wait.
    From there to Tok where I stayed at the Surdough Campground. The owner is "barking" and holds a "sourdough" pancake throwing contest each night, You get two goes and have to get a real, small pancake into a "Buckit". Out of all the campers only a youg American & I succeeded and won a free breakfast. Then we were asked it we would like to double our chances of winning something better. Well, nothing ventured etc. The other guy won moose droppings and I, a genuine Alaskan, magnetic, moose bag holder !!! And even better, it is made in China !! Jayne's birthdy present !!
    For tea the had reindeer chilli served in a sourdough loaf. Yum.
    Then a Brit asked me about the bike (only the second brit in 3.5 weeks) and turns out he has a house only 2 mile from my relation, Joan, who lives in Naugatuck, Conecticut and his wife lived in the next street to me in Palmers Green, London. Small world........but big Canada & USA.
    The internet was a problem at this site so all is late.
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    #60