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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by NomadGal, Jun 15, 2014.
Kinda looks like Carnival Kitty to me...
Going to try and pick up your tracks late july...I have to be on Maine coast for month of Sept ..riding the Portland bike east before that..I'm sure I'll recognize the shirt when I pass you g
No worries, better safe than sorry! You will still have ONE night of peace at Thompson's in Tok before the hordes arrive Wednesday. Just have the fire pit going when we get there.......Quite a few of us bring some type of meat to cook for the evening meal. There is usually enough to go around. It looks like we will NEED the fire to keep us warm this year:eek1
Vanessa said to tell everyone that the campsite is fully booked this year. She's gonna put me in overflow, i.e group camping area, or in the moss???? Not sure what that means, but as long as it is not "out to pasture" LOL
Good thing you reminded me of the meat cooking near the fire pit, I will camp as far away from it as I can then. You know us vegetarians don't really like the smell of burning flesh
As far as fire goes……….. does it burn when it's pouring??
This is a goood plan sista!
Too funny. I much prefer the moss under my tent anyway. SUPER comfy.
She's "booked" every year for Dust2Dawson but it's in the woods so there's ALWAYS room for more.
Happy trails, Mark H.
Just letting ya know I'm also in on the new thread!
I was trying to track down a more concrete idea of what I see in the back of your shirt and found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tara_(Buddhism) I keep seeing references to Tara as the "goddess of liberation" so I think that's pretty relevant. But a quick image search shows a lot of pix that come close to what I'm seeing.
Or it could be a kitty with a head dress on.
Either way, it came out pretty cool!
Howdy NomadGal! really looking forward to your ride. Kept up with the last one, it was great! Thanks for letting us ride along..
Looks like a psychedelic rabbit to me. Very nice, great job. Mark H.
well done Esther! glad to see you and Spirit ready to head down the road. im still following your adventure from sooke, bc. i love the new bike colors, tool rolls, t-shirts (i asked my bunnies what they saw, but....,) and your new flower photos. nothing like a little neighborhood drama before heading off - yikes! i hope no unpleasant whiffs from the campfire come your way at dinnertime. when do you think you and Spirit will be back in Kauai?
Hi Esther, been following your adventure for quite some time. Not sure what your general route across Canada will be, are you staying north? If you wander down towards the south east part of BC I'd like to suggest that I think you'd REALLY like the Kootenays. For one thing, we have gorgeous mountains. For another, the twisty roads easily take you away from urban centres to cute villages and on through remote farms and homesteads. But mainly I think the rural folk and lifestyle here would really agree with you. Whatever your path we'll be rooting for you. If you're down this way happy to share any tips and hot meal/spare room/shop space.
~Rik & Deb
In Dawson City right now, with really slow library internet. Will post more later!!
Dawson City. D2D.
Bike probably running well.
Safe travels! I bet it feels great to be on the road again!
I'll be cheering for you!
Dust to Dawson????
What was I thinking? LOL!
Thursday I was very proud of myself if I may say so, but let me not get ahead of myself.
Remember what the place looked like when I moved in?
This is how it is now.
I finally left Fairbanks on Tuesday morning, happy yet apprehensive to be on the road again.
It seemed just like 2 years ago when I left Port Townsend to go on my ride-about, and like that day, I had trouble parking my bike. I couldnt figure out why, I had a new shock spring a new tire and no more weight than last time.
I figured that the fact that I ended up with a 130/80/17 tire instead of my usual 14/90/17 might have has something to do with it. The tire is so much smaller! I must have lost at least 1½ inches in height.
Its only while I was riding that I realized why; I had never adjusted the shock thingy, it was still on 1!
I figured Id change that as soon as I park somewhere.
Part of me was rather disgusted by the huge drybag on the back of my bike. I really had wanted to have a smaller pack on the back.
But then I saw these guys parked in front of the North Pole MacD
I didnt feel too bad now!
The road to Tok started out warm, some clouds in the sky
But as soon as I got closer to Tok, it got colder and colder. Boy was I missing my heated grips!!! I stopped at a park to have a Lara bar for lunch
Spirit looked good!!
I adjusted the shock and went on to Tok.
Halfway there I started shivering, I should have worn my sweater under my jacket!
My new drybag had one more con (other than being huge) namely inaccessibility!
My straps kept it secure, but the only way to get into the bag is to unstrap and unroll it. My other drybag opened from the side, so I could stuff a sweater on the end in case I needed it
The one good thing about being cold is not getting sleepy
Finally I arrived at Tok, and after a hot cup of coffee and thawing out at Fast Eddies, I headed to Eagles Claw.
It was pouring and I decided to take cover under the umbrella and wait for Vanessa to show me where to pitch my tent. When I stopped raining I walked around for a while taking pictures of her campground.
She converted an old ambulance into a place to sleep Im sure the folks in here were nice and dry
A toilet with a stone heart in it
Her kitchen is simple but functional, it even comes with a stove to warm up the cold well water she supplies in huge blue jugs
This is definitely the cutest sponge holder Ive ever seen
This is the inside of one of the cabins
A young girl from Idaho on a trip by herself in her car stopped by a little while later and we got to talking about being on the road. It was the first time she was out by herself, and even though she loved it she was happy to be heading home again.
Vanessa arrived a little while later and showed me where I could camp and she started the sauna before leaving again to go to a meeting.
As it was still drizzling I decided to test out my new tarp
Definitely big enough for my tent and Spirit
I took a nice long rest in the sauna and really got toasty warm again, it was awesome!
A few more people showed up at the camping, among them a couple from Germany who had work visas for the winter in Canada, and had worked at a ski resort. They were also heading to the D2D.
I had a rough night that night, not only did it pour all night, but ffI was freezing my butt off, again! My $175 insulated Nemo sleeping pad sucked all the heat out of me during the night. I couldnt believe it. Now I was really regretting getting rid of my nice warm comfy, albeit huge, Mountain Alps sleeping pad. I pretty much tossed and turned all night, trying to stay warm.
The next morning I decided to go into town and find something to put between me and the pad. The insulating blanket from Walmart was no help either.
Before I left a sweet couple on a GS showed up, and I called Vanessa to see if there was room at the overflow for them, as the other sites all had reserved signs on them.
She said they could, so I had some nice neighbors.
I decided to walk to town as Spirit was so nicely tucked under the tarp.
Purple flowers were everywhere
I went to a few stores looking for something, and I almost ended up with 2 foam insulated kitchen rugs before I struck gold at a health food store. They had one foam sleeping pad!! Only $12.95! Yippee!!
I walked back to the campground and put it on top of the other pad. Yep, very warm and comfy now!
After relaxing and reading a while people started pouring into the campground, all riders heading to the D2D. Within hours there was not an empty spot in sight.
The area I was camped at was the overflow group area, and a whole bunch of beer and liquor drinking rowdy guys took over my nice and quiet spot. Oh well, I knew that would happen.
Only once did I have to ask for one of the guys to please fire up the BBQ pit away from my tent. I told him I did not want to be bear bait, seeing as the smell of meat burning would probably stick to my tent.
He kinda grumbled but then complied and put it on the other end of the clearing. Phew!! I dont think he would have done it if I had said that I was vegetarian and just couldnt stand the smell of burning flesh.
I finally met Mark (AKDuc) that night, I am guessing the two of us were the only vegetarians there , and he introduced me to Emily, a girl from Anchorage.
The two of us decided to ride to Dawson together.
Cubdriver was there as well, so it was nice to know at least 2 people in the bunch.
Vanessa showed up to collect the camping fee from everyone and as I handed her my $10 for both nights she told me it had been taken care of already.
Turned out that Mark had paid for my camping. I tired to pay him back but he wouldnt take it.
I hopped around just a bit talking to Marl and Dick, and some other people, and retired into the sauna for a bit, before heading off to bed.
One memorable thing was that Dick was saying that one of the guys there didnt look to good, and that he might be having heart troubles.
He was right and before long an ambulance showed up and took him to the hospital.
I slept soooo much better that night. It was still cold and I tossed some heating pouches (hand warmers) into my sleeping bag, but I was no longer loosing body heat through the pad. It also stayed dry that night! Awesome!
The next morning the whole camp was up and packing, and as usual I was one of the last ones do ne. I really had to get back into the swing of packing. Emily had gone for breakfast at fast Eddies and I told her Id meet her there.
Right before heading out I thought Id check my oil, it seemed just a tad low, so I put a bit more in. I got my gear on and started the engine. What the heck????!!!!!!
A loud roaring sound hit my ears. Then I remembered hearing it before. I looked down and saw
.. no oil cap! Ahhhh, this is the second time Ive done this, putting the cap on lightly until I closed the oil bottle (just so nothing would fall into the engine), and then forgetting to tighten it. The last time was in Pasadena at my in-laws. Luckily I had not even left and the cap was right there on the ground, still, what a mess those few seconds made!
Finally I left, Mark was still there and we said till later.
I did have to stop by Napa to get a clip for my little jack. I had misplaced my other one.
Emily thank goodness was still at Fast Eddies and the both of us left for Dawson.
There were quite a few bikers sharing the road with us, but once in a while we had an open view.
After a little while I realized that it was not as warm as it had seemed, and I was getting chilly again. But seeing as the weather forecast was warm and sunny I thought Id just hold on a while.
So much for weather forecasts!!! It started pouring on us the closer to Chicken we got. I pulled over as it felt like my water-proof riding pants were not exactly waterproof. As I put on my raingear (boy was I ever happy I had kept it), Emily walked up to me and said that she felt that she was just not ready mentally to go to Dawson. She said that skill wise she could probably do the dirt road but that she was just lacking the will and energy that morning.
Part of me had taken comfort in knowing that if one or the other dropped her bike at least wed have each other to get it up. Now it seemed I was on the road by myself. I told her it was all right, that she should always listen to her gut.
So she turned around and went back home and I set off in the rain.
Not too much later the pavement ended and mud started
I have to admit that I was scared as hell!! I dont do well in mud.
Occasionally I felt the bike slipping and my heat would stop at those moments.
Then I saw the sign to old Chicken which Mark told me was a must see, but the sign also said 2.5 miles. There was no way I was willing to ride 5 miles in mud just to see an old town. I rode into the gas station at the intersection and had a cup of warm coffee, while listening to my internal debate. Part of me wanted to forget going to Dawson and just turn around and hit the safe pavement. The other part of me figured that I needed to learn how to ride mud, and that there would be more people on this road, even though I had left last. As I was standing under the awning watching it rain and drinking my nice warm coffee, a few guys showed up on their bikes. I asked one of them what the trick of mud riding was, I told them my partner had just bailed and I wasnt used to riding mud.
Then one guy asked if I wanted to ride with them, and I happily agreed!
After the first guy rode off, the other guy told me to go next. I stayed about 15 feet behind the first guy and literally went where he went. Before he had told me, Just plan where you go and just rev through it! Well it would be the planning that would get me in trouble!!!!
The first half hour was the most nerve wrecking, after that I started feeling just a bit more confident. Still, there were moments that I almost lost control of Spirit, one was when we came up to a group that was really going slow, and I learned that going slow in mud is not a good idea. I just barely held it together and as soon as we could (after a huge RV passed) we hit the throttle and passed the whole group.
Phew!! Yep, soooo much easier. Another time was when I saw the guy in front of me all of a sudden hit really thick mud and his rear end was just swinging left and right. A split second later Spirit started to do the same thing. All I could think of was keep going dont fall, keep going dont fall
.. I made it!
By the time we hit the border I was spent!!! Mentally and physically.
We had been plowing past everyone we met on the road, going 50 mph in areas that I would have never dreamed of being able to go 50.
The border guard asked the guys a bunch of question, how long will you be here, do you have a job, how much money? I was hoping he wouldnt ask me all those questions as well. As he came to me the riders we passes showed up, and he just said going to the same place as those guys? And I could truthfully say Yes!! I didnt have to say how long I was planning on staying in Canada
He then told me to move so there would be room for others, which I gladly did. I was in Canada!
I look like a chipmunk! My cheek-pads are a tad snug
I took some pictures of the top of the world and rode of toward Dawson.
I was happy the worst was over
Hmmmm, I was told that the road after the border was in great shape
I think my heart just about fell in my boots, more mud????
After riding a while longer I noticed that Spirit was overheating. Yikes, what now?
Then I started thinking that maybe she couldnt cool off because of all the mud and maybe the radiator was muddy too.
I pulled over as soon as I could
Sniff, so much for my nice clean and new looking Spirit
Yep, the radiator was covered in mud, about ½ an inch thick!!
It took me a while to get it off by poking sticks through the grid jabbing the clay-like substance loose. Then I used my water bottles to splash water on the now better-looking radiator.
That helped and she no longer heated up.
I stayed close to the guys while riding to Dawson, and before I knew it we hit pavement!! I guess maybe one of these days I will like riding the dirt as much as I like riding the pavement, but that day is not yet!
Dawson City in the distance
I was the last one aboard the ferry!
As I rode into Dawson I realized that I had not a clue as where to go, so I just followed the person in front of me. Which was luckily the right thing to do as he rode straight up to the Tripple J? Hotel
I had heard one of the guys at Vanessas place mention that they had a hose there, and the only thing I could think of then was getting the mud of Spirit.
There was a line, but I happily joined them, and before too long I got to put the hose on her. I cant say that it helped much, but at least the huge clumps of mud fell off and I figured I could do the rest later.
It had started raining again and I had to go find a place to camp.
There was a place near the airport I heard, but then someone local told me that past the bridge on the right were two campgrounds that might still have space available.
I really didnt want to pay for a campground, but I was too wet, hungry and tired to care. The first one was filled up, but the second one next door still had space available.
It was called the Bonanza. I had to laugh and remembered that I always loved that show growing up. I found myself humming that little TV melody.
I got a spot right next to Walter who owns the ceramic coating business.
The Campground also had showers and a Laundromat. It also had a pressure hose for washing Spirit, perfect!!
It wasnt too expensive either, only $14, so I couldnt complain, but I knew that I couldnt afford to do this every night. I would never make it to Labrador that way.
I pitched my tent and strung a line to hang up my muddy raingear.
Then off to the shower I went.
I had been able to pay with American dollars, and she had given me $6 Canadian back. The one dollar coin is called a loony!!
Anyway, its a loony for a shower so I jumped in and put the coin in the slot. Nice hot water was pouring down on me, heaven!!! After shampooing my hair I put in conditioner, and got myself all soaped up when clunck
. The water stopped
Here I was soaking wet and no water to rinse off.
I could have sworn she told me the slower was 10 minutes!!! Turns out you only get three minutes for a loony, and I was out of loonies.
My little towel was not big enough to wrap around me, so I quickly dried off the soap, and put my clean clothes on. The laundry was next door, and the machine that changed bills to coins as well. I got myself another 5 loonies.
As I was there I saw a sign saying the cutoff time for starting a new load was 8:30. Looking at the clock I saw it was 8:32. Sh
So I ran in the shower stall, got my dirty clothes and put them in the washer. I looked around me for the soap machine, no soap.
There was a guy doing laundry and he told me the soap was in the office, but she was closed now. He was very sweet and handed me one of those soap balls to put in the machine. After the laundry got started I got back in the shower and got the conditioner out of my hair and the soap of my body.
Then I had to figure out where to get more Canadian money as I had not enough left to dry my clothes. There was a lady in front of the Laundromat who traded me a Canadian fiver for a US one. It was 10 by the time I was done and back in my tent.
After heating up some dinner and eating it, I crawled into my sleeping bag and crashed, or at least tried to. Looked like I would need my earplugs one more time, as there was an RV or something across the road making a bunch of noise. Then I did sleep.
I pretty much spend all Friday morning cleaning Spirit at the carwash site, and cleaning the bags in the bathroom. Afterward I rode to town to find a bank. I changed my $316 into Canadian and ended up with $335. That was kinda cool.
I also found the library and tried for half an hour to cancel my car insurance at Geico. Those suckers have set it up in such a way that you have to call them!! Crap, I didnt have phone that worked in Canada, and my Canadian cell phone it turns out, no longer has a working sim card.
I guess until I get one Ill just have to keep paying for a car I no longer have.
I also tired to upload my photos to photobucket, but the internet in Dawson was just too slow.
I found Marks campsite but no Mark, and as I didnt really know anyone, nor knew what some of the ADVers that had gone to Dawson looked like, I went back to the campsite to relax and have dinner.
It had been a nice and sunny day, and all my washed gear was dry!
I had not purchased a banquet dinner as I found $20 a bit much for a potato and some salad, but around 8 I went back to town to see where the meeting was. A tourist gave me directions to where everyone was, as I had no idea where the banquet would be held.
I took a few pics on the way
The road was lined with bikes
Spirit right in front
As I got there I found Mark, and also saw Dave S again whom I had met in Spokane at the start of my year on the road. He didnt have a place to stay yet, so I told hime about my camp site, and that he was more than welcome to share it.
I sat next to Mark while the prize drawing went on, but I felt really out of touch and disconnected from all the happenings around me.
I did enquire about a road I wanted to ride, but no one knew about it or had ridden it.
After the banquet was done the games started in front of the Motel.
I think I was on of the few in riding gear as most stayed in town and walked there
One race was called the slow race, and the slowest person would win
Mark was number 8 and he had to show everyone what to do before the race started
Off they went!
in another race you were blinded with a hood, and had to go straight toward a plate on the ground listening to the audience tell you when to stop.
The goal was to stop as close as possible to the plate
After that were slaloms, and then guys had to partner up with a gal on the back. She had the job of biting into a hanging hot dog. Yeah, rather gross as they didnt change the dog at each attempt. I wondered if they had vegie dogs.
The games ended right at midnight when people stood in line to get their D2D sticker. I couldnt believe I had made it that late, as I was falling asleep around 9.
Luckily the sweet couple from Vanessas camp ground was there to talk to, and also on guy from Whitehorse who talked about obesity, diet, cancer, sunblock and all the ways to get sick from food etc. Very interesting fellow, but I hope he goes back on the diet he was so enthusiastic about, because he was getting a tad heavy too.
I couldnt find Dave S to say goodbye, so I followed Mark to his campsite, he gave me one of the blue D2D stickers.
We said goodbye, and I rode back to the campground.
I was so eager to get my sticker on my fender, that I didnt even bother to look at what it said. As a result I have two of the same lines stuck underneath each other. Awwww, why hadnt I waited till the morning when I was a tad more awake?
I slept very well that night.
It rained during the night, but it stopped early in the morning.
Looks like it was finally summer! The Fireweed is starting to bloom
I took my sweet time packing up, and headed to town to get paper towels and fill up the gas tank.
One really good thing about Canada, they have dark chocolate Bounty!!! Yippee!!
Finally it was time to head south, and boy, this time I did not take the chance to get cold, so I wore my really nice thick woolen sweater which made me overheat while in town, but which turned out to be awesome while riding!
As I no longer had heated grips, I ended up putting my woolen handmade mittens inside my too large leather mittens form last year. The result was some nice toasty hands!! The only drawback was that I couldnt take any photos while riding this way, so my right hand ended up wearing the leather glove I had bought in Fairbanks at the BMW dealer not as warm, but ok.
The road toward Carmack was very quiet, only a few cars heading the opposite way, and a handful of bikers.
I took a break at a rest stop on the side of the road.
While eating my Bounty I noticed lots of wild life
This shot turned out better than I had hoped!!
The road got even quieter afterward, and after I took another break in a small town I realized that I wouldnt make it to Carmack, I was just too tired.
I then realized that I really hadnt been able to take a day off in a really long time.
First work, then fixing Spirit on time, then cleaning the garage and having a yardsale, and finally the fun but tiring trek to Tok and Dawson.
I was due for some R&R!!
I kept riding for a little while longer when I noticed a small dirt road veering off the left, a minute later that same road popped up again, a loop!!
I slowed down and spun my bike around to go back and check it out. It was a short easy dirt road, but no place to camp, until I was almost back to the main road. There it was, the perfect spot!! Close enough to the road in case I ran into trouble, but hidden enough for some solitude.
The place felt perfect!
I pitched my tent up and charged my solar battery as the sun was shining bright
I was a happy camper!!!
Only once in a while a car would pass, but other than that it was really quiet.
As I lied in my tent relaxing listening to the birds chipper away, I realized that this was it, riding and enjoying doing nothing, total bliss!!
I am trying now to live each day to the fullest, not caring if or when I run out of money or what to do when that happens, I will face it then, right now, I am happy and content.
And while lying there, being content, I realized something else!
I was not worried about whether or not I was allowed to camp here, I had finally gotten to a point of I dont care, and no longer felt guilty or imagined someone coming up to me and tell me to pack it and leave.
I have no words to describe the lightness that comes with being this way.
The next day I decided to stay there, it was Sunday after all, and the chance of Telus being closed on Sunday was to big for me to ride to White Horse.
I spent the day reading, knitting and
.. I actually drew something!
I had been carrying this little faux leather bound sketchbook with me for months, planning on drawing a lot. Now I want to see if I can make myself sketch something little once a day. Todays sketch took me way too long, shows you how out of touch I am. But all in all it didnt come out half bad.
I also typed up my RR up to now and ate heartily all day
I really did not want to go to White Horse to begin with, but I think my dad will appreciate being able to call me once in a while.
I also wanted to get another canister of gas for my stove.
The bummer is that when Im done I have to go North again to Carmack, as I really wanted to ride the road to Ross and then Watson Lake
I got up at 8 this morning, having slept great!!
I took a while eating breakfast and packing, and was out of there by 11.
The road to White Horse was quiet and beautiful!
I did have one exciting moment!!!!
I saw a grizzly bear right on the road !!
As I road toward it it just stood there and looked at me, did not move at all, so I slowed down just a tad, I didnt want to hit him/her.
I veered left, the bear did the same, I veered right and he followed my move. Meanwhile I was like 20 feet away, punching my brakes as I really did not wan to crash into a grizzly. At about 10 feet the bear turned and ran down the slope!! I past him/her within feet!! Absolutely gorgeous animal, shiny brown coat and what movements, I could see the muscles ripple under the fur.
No time to take a picture though, had to keep my hands on the handlebars for that one!!
I am in White Horse now, it too me hours to set up my new sim card, the internet is so slow, and I kept running into trouble.
Its almost 8 now and the camping store is closed. I am going to have to camp nearby and come back in the morning, as I am low on fuel for my stove. Bummer!!
Great stuff! Mud races without crashes, grizzly encounters, and you managed to catch one of the most restless butterflies of all, in a close up. Lucky shot! That breed rarely lands for more than a second at a time. Took me over a year of daily wildlife shooting before I managed my first close up.
But djeez..what's up with the grey coif, grandma?
Howdy NomadGal! I am enjoying your ride report. The narrative and the personal touch you put into it is great! I live in the Port Townsend area, IronDale to be exact, I suppose you know where it is and am looking forward to my ride to Alaska when it happens. Thank you for the effort it takes to make such a memorable report of your adventure! Spirit looks great!
Aaaaah back into the reality my dear sister...
Liiiife iiisssss SIMPLY gooooood!
Great ride Nomadgirl!
The dude on the right is far away from home too, his license plate is Dutch!
Sounds like you were in a real adjustment phase back into travel but I think you are "getting" it again. Too bad about the krappy weather across the top of the world. It really is a spectacular ride in decent weather. Relax and enjoy.