Our Life Behind Bars – Father & Son Doing Time in The Northern Frontier

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GrizzLee, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Yukon Johann

    Yukon Johann Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    35
    Our Life Behind Bars – Father & Son Doing Time in the Northern Frontier


    Day 20 (July 18, 2013)


    Disaster strikes.

    [​IMG]
    Quick stop at the Dempster Highway Sign.
    We wish we had time to go.

    We were one the flip side and returning home when something bad happened. I crashed the bike just 85 miles South of Dawson City, Yukon on the Klondike Hwy. We were going about 60 miles an hour, we were coming up on a corner, just before it my steering started wobbling slightly, it didn’t seem like much at first, it started to correct itself. I couldn’t have been more wrong though, I must have hit something in the road that made the wobble more violent. The rear wheel swung out to the right and got caught on the soft, gravel shoulder which had quite the steep drop to it. The bike got sucked into the gravel and now both of my wheels were in the dirt with one going all over the place. I didn’t want go down the steep slope (more like a cliff with trees) to my right so I turned the bike over to the left and slid the bike all the way across the road. I remember looking back toward where I came from when the bike spun around and seeing all of the things flying off the bike, the mirror snapping, the right turn signal light breaking off and pieces of my boot being shredded to pieces and being thrown all over the road. The bike spun around a little more, facing the ditch on the side of the road I was sliding into, I remember seeing the ditch. The next thing I saw was the bike flying right over my head, barely missing me. I stood up almost immediately and thought "WOW! i cant believe this just happened." Immediately after I got up someone pulled over to help us, he offered to get all of my gear and put it in his truck and take me to the nurses office. We went to the local nurses office in Dawson City, she told me I was one of the luckiest people to ever come out of a motorcycle crash at that speed and come out walking with only scratches, burns, and bruises. Despite how fast I was going, and what happened, the bike is in really good shape and looks like it can be repaired.

    [​IMG]
    About an hour later...disaster

    [​IMG]
    where we left the bike for a while.

    [​IMG]
    as you can see, the right side of the bike really isn't looking well.

    [​IMG]
    the bent handlebar, and a messed up chain, the bike is definitely unridable

    [​IMG]
    Thanks to ATGATT (all the gear all the time) i escaped all serious injuries

    [​IMG]
    both of my boots were shredded, yet my toes were not touched

    [​IMG]
    my jacket took some damage too

    [​IMG]
    the padding saved my back

    [​IMG]
    My shirt and pants got ripped and shredded.

    That same night, we unpacked everything and looked all of the things my dad would need and set that all aside, and the things he didn't need we packed into my panniers. The following morning we took all the panniers over the airport and got them checked into the flight. we said our good-bye's and departed. I could tell my dad was very sad about what happened, so was I, but I was just really glad that I came out okay and I'm able to tell about what happened.


    My dad's account

    The evening we came back from the Arctic circle and we were back in Fairbanks, Johann mentioned that he experienced some wobble. We discussed this a bit as he said it occurred over an area with severe frost heaves. Unfortunately, I dismissed this discussion to something minor due to the road conditions. In hindsight, should I have been more diligent? I don't know.

    I did a bit of research on speed wobble and discussed this with my experienced mechanic here in Seattle. There are many factors that contribute to it. Higher suspension bikes are more susceptible. Load the bikes up for a long trip and throw in a few frost heaves.. who knows... I am in the process of seeing if I can get a steering damper installed. Johann seems to have no fear on getting back on the bike, but I am afraid now.

    Read the next chapter of the journey... The Long Lonely Ride Home
  2. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    Our Life Behind Bars &#8211; Father & Son Doing Time in the Northern Frontier (Mile 4439 to Mile 5228)<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Day 21-22 (July 19-20, 2013)
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>


    The Long Ride Home<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>

    I said a long sad goodbye to Johann. He had airfare to Whitehorse, from there he would change planes and fly to Vancouver, where his mother would pick him up and drive him home to Seattle He would be home in less than 8 hours. I was looking at a minimum of 5 days and over 2,100 miles before I would arrive home.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I stopped by Advanced Northern Mechanical in Dawson to check with them and tell them again where we left Johann&#8217;s motorcycle along the road. They were going to go and retrieve the bike and ship it back to Whitehorse. I tried to give them GPS coordinates, but they didn&#8217;t have a GPS. Hmmm&#8230; so I did the next best thing, I told them that according to my GPS the bike was located about 79 miles along the Klondike hwy. Good enough they said. They reassured me that they will find it. I told them I would leave a rock cairn there and the bike would be hidden in the bush on the opposite side of the road.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I left Dawson in a pretty somber mood. I knew I would have a long time to reflect on the previous day&#8217;s events. The ride toward Stewart Crossing went by pretty fast and as I got closer to the site of the accident, I must admit that I began to cry a bit. I saw the bike and recalled the images of Johann in his mangled riding gear. It was like someone turned on a faucet. I couldn&#8217;t help myself. All the planning, all the time, all the dreams&#8230; it all seemed to be in vain now. It took me awhile to compose myself. And because I was stopped and off my bike walking around gathering rocks and off the road grabbing some brush to camouflage the bike, I had a few drivers stop and ask if I was alright. I must have been a pathetic sight to see&#8230; a grown man with tears in his eyes out in the middle of the bush, scurrying around in the brush. Not something one normally sees while traveling down a remote road. I must have looked out of place doing all this in my riding gear. Oh well, I really didn&#8217;t much care at that point.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Arriving at Pelly Crossing (a native 1st nations village)</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>The weather ahead looks iffy at best.</o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>The Pelly River Bridge</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Fireweed and the Pelly River</o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>My steed looking south into the wetness that was to come.</o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Arrival at Five Finger Rapids</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    From there, I took off hoping to reach Carmacks to have a hamburger at the Coalmine Campground at a decent hour. The Coalmine campground is a special place for me. For those that have never been, it is located in Carmacks, a native village located along the Yukon River. It is the only place where the Klondike highway crosses the Yukon river between Whitehorse and Dawson. When you paddle the Yukon river, such as we have done, it is an oasis of sorts out in the wilderness. They have a nice campground that is relatively bug free, hot showers, a phone and they have real food. Good food. We always treat ourselves to a hamburger, a large order of fries and a soda. They have other things as well (Ice Cream, for example), but the burgers are the best in the territory.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    However, before arriving at Carmacks, I had to pass through a few rain storms and I made a stop to view Five Finger Rapids. Something must have clicked at the rapids, I found my mind wandering and myself reminiscing about our paddle trips and how I feared the rapids every time. The rapids are a couple of hours downstream from Carmacks, and they are not particularly challenging if the paddler approaches them correctly. However, like motorcycle riding, one wrong decision and/or a lapse in judgment can lead to disaster. Being the cautious type, I studied them and talked to others on how to proceed safely. The first time Johann and I paddled the river, he was 11 years old, paddling his own kayak. No problem for him and he asked why all the concern. As a little boy, he had no idea what thoughts race through a concerned parents mind. Even though I was scared for his safety, Johann went through the rapids with a smile and screaming wildly with joy. I smiled back and was thankful that he was having fun and came through safe.


    [​IMG]
    Johann at age 11 on the Yukon River (2007)
    [​IMG]
    GrizzLee & Yukon Johann Paddling the Yukon River (2007)

    [​IMG]

    Yukon Johann campfire on the Yukon River (2007)

    "Some things are learned by experiences not found in any book" ~ GrizzLee Yukon Journal 2007

    [​IMG]
    Yeah, the weather is looking good. That's what I kept telling myself.
    <o:p></o:p>
    So I arrive at Carmacks and the place was just jumping with people. Upon further notice, they were all firefighters. They were dirty, sweaty and HUNGRY. They were rejoicing that it had rained. The road to Faro had been closed and the paddlers were advised not to proceed down the river because of the smoke and fire dangers. This was a route that Johann and I were going to take on our way home. As it was, we wouldn&#8217;t have been able to ride it because of the fires. I don&#8217;t know why, but I found some comfort in knowing that. Maybe it was because Johann wasn&#8217;t with me and it didn&#8217;t really matter now. In all the hustle and bustle, the owner walks by and yells to me Welcome back, where&#8217;s you boy?&#8221;. I couldn&#8217;t believe it, he recognized me. He even came over to chat a bit. I felt like I was home. And I truly believe I was. There are some places that just feel right, like you belong. This the feeling I&#8217;ve had on my 1st visit to the north. It has never left me. We exchanged pleasantries and then he went on his way to work his business. I told him, that I would more than likely be back next year and he asked if Johann wanted to work there next summer to which I replied, that I am certain that Johann would like to and that I would check with him. I had my burger and answered numerous questions about my bike and my trip. It was hard to show enthusiasm, but I did my best.
    [​IMG]
    The Coalmine Campground Canteen Restaurant.


    The Canteen restaurant has the best burgers... But don't take my word on it.

    "I've travelled a lot around on this planet, I'm always hungry and the best burgers I ever tasted between Melbourne, Australia and Inuvik, Canada is at the canteen of the Coal Mine Campground. Recommendation: Double Cheeseburger and Bacon." ~ Uwe Seeger, Ichtershausen, Germany<o:p></o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    "Try the chicken burger, the best I've ever tasted!" ~ Joe Sarnorsky, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

    <o:p></o:p>
    "The best burger I've ever had" ~John Palmer, Queensland, Australia

    "The best burger in the Yukon Territory" ~ GrizzLee, Sammamish, Wa

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>North of Fox Lake.. It's beautiful, even in the rain. </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Leaving Carmacks to Whitehorse, it began to rain off and on. Stopped and took a few pictures before Fox Lake. I arrived at my buddy&#8217;s house (Shawn) in Whitehorse. We had a couple of beers and talked about our adventures. I slept really well that night and woke up much later than I wanted. Shawn, being the great guy he is, made a delicious breakfast before I left. As I told him how much I feel guilty and responsible for Johann&#8217;s accident and maybe I was a careless parent, Shawn pointed out that living a life in a shell, is not living and these things happen. He reassured me that I was a great dad and he sees a special relationship between Johann and I that he hasn&#8217;t seen with other dads. For that, I should be grateful. As I left Whitehorse, it began to rain. It rained all the way to Watson Lake. I was hoping to get a break in the weather and camp, however, I opted for a warm, dry bed at the Air Force Lodge again. I talked with the owner, Mike, and of course he asked about Johann. I told him what happened and then went to bed. But not before checking the weather forecast, as I was unsure if I was going to go to Liard on the ALCAN Highway or take the Cassiar highway down. The weather looked pretty crappy in either direction. The forecast indicated that good weather was just south of Bell II. So that is where I planned to go the next day.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]
    Things are looking up. Rainbow just before pulling into Watson Lake.

    A couple of more days and then I am home... Hang in there with me.
  3. theofam

    theofam Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    505
    Location:
    Denver
    Grizz,

    It's good to see a pic of the Coalmine Campground Canteen. That's the exact spot where my dad and I met you as we were grabbing breakfast on our way north from Carmacks. Too cool!

    Hope the three of you are well. Are you going to do a bike rebuild thread of the 650? Is it back home yet?
  4. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    Too funny that you mention that. You and I have the exact same bike, same year, same color and same riding apparal. I thought you stole my gear and bike. I now even have my rotopaks mounted on the panniers like you do. I was going to make a citizens arrest and reclaim my gear. :rofl

    The Coalmine Canteen is an interesting place. It is the crossroads for the adventure travel minded folks. I have met people traveling around the world on bicycles and motorcycles there. Of course there are the people who paddle and last year we met a gal who had a canoe with her bicycle in it.She was paddling to Circle Alaska and then going to ride her bicycle back home to Boston. Last year we met a couple traveling form Germany on F650s. They started in Fairbanks and went to Prudhoe and down to South America. I still get emails form them time to time. I also met GPS Kevin (here on ADVRider) and of course you and your dad. I met a biologist on a bicycle trip from Vancouver who does field research work on the Canol trail (a place I am planning on hiking within the next 2 years... 200 miles across the tundra to Norman Well in NWT) and we correspond from time to time. Even met a hiker who was finishing his round the world hiking trip hiking up to Fairbanks to finish. Amazing what folks do. I have fond memories of camping there over the years. Lots and lots of great folks come through there. One of the things I enjoy most about traveling up there, is meeting the different folks from all part sof the world doing their own adventure. What I have done seems insignificant in comparison. As such, I have since come to subscirbe to the saying "Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone". Absolutely true IMHO. :thumb

    Johann and I are already talking about going back and finishing the trip together. He really wants to complete it. He felt a bit cheated. If possible, next summer. He will be 18 this fall and college bouund.. so time will be at a premium. I am going to modify the bike (maybe smaller front wheel and return the suspension back to stock. The Dakar has a 21" front wheel and it came with after market suspension in the forks... Normally all good, but Johann is a not as bulky as me). Under no cirumstances will he ride the bike untill I am satisfied that the wobble condition will not occur again. He is also going to take some off-road riding safety classes. My mechanic and I are going to look at a steering damper as well. No one should ever see their kids in a crash like that. I don't think we'd be so lucky a second time.

    His bike is currently in Transit from Skageway via barge to Seattle. I will get the insurance estimate and fix it up this winter. It will make a good father-son project for us. Johann wants his bike back. I told him we'd sell it and get something that may be safer (like a stock F650). He not only says "no", but heck NO!!!. He absolutely loves the Dakar and thought it was the perfect bike for the trip. And damn, all agree he looks good on it. Lucky for him, the kid got the good looks from his mom. He has no fear of getting back on it. I have to agree about it being a better bike off-road than my bulky R1200GSA. Thus the the reason I bought it. So I could ride the logging roads in the mtns around here in Washington state.

    I will be posting an epilog and I have some videos nearly ready to go. Titled, "Our Life Behind Bars" The video series. So far the videos are looking pretty good :wink: I didn't want to post them yet, until we finshed up the ride report and I wanted to have all of them ready to go. I took a heck of alot of video, more so than pictures. There is alot you folks have not seen yet becuse I have video and no pics. I also wanted to have some more surprises for the unsuspecting audience.

    Stay tuned for the final leg home and concluding thoughts.

    Oh and it took me 16+ hours to clean the Dalton hwy off my bike. That stuff is nasty. My panniers, I am afraid, will stay dirty looking. The Calcium Chloride seems to corrode aluminum pretty good. Try as I as might, I cannnot get them to look shiny and new to my normally anal standards (I tried scotchbright, but it doesn't return them to shiny new). They look field tested now and I guess some would say they give me "street cred". That is fine with me. My Gretchen still looks sexy and as long as she keeps up her appearance, I'll have no problem riding her. No dirty women for me :rofl
  5. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    Our Life Behind Bars &#8211; Father & Son Doing Time in the Northern Frontier (Mile 5228 to Mile 5999)<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Days 22-23 (July 21-22, 2013)<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    After a good night sleep in Watson lake, I took off toward the Hwy 37, the Cassiar Hwy. Just outside of Watson Lake I nearly hit a young bear, maybe 100 yards from the Sign Post Forest. The bear ran unexpectedly out in front of me and darted back into the bush. Undaunted, this bear started feeding on the side of the road. So I put my GoPro Camera to use and attempted to get my camera out for some more video. Unfortunately for me, the creature ran when the next pickup truck drove by and I was unable to get even a picture of this cute little creature.
    [​IMG]
    Leaving the Air Force Lodge in Watson Lake... I highly recommend this place to stay

    [​IMG]
    A brief reprieve from the rain at Good Hope Lake
    [​IMG]
    Shortly there after the sky opened up and it began pouring rain. It poured and poured until I got to Good Hope Lake. From there, Jade City wasn&#8217;t too far and I stopped in to say hi to my friend Kendra and a new employee there, named Jessica. I wanted to dry off a bit and they always have free coffee and cocoa. So I stayed a bit to chat They told me that they may be opening a restaurant across the road from the store. I told them that it would probably do good business in the summer and that I look forward to having a burger there on my next visit. I said my goodbyes and took off, only to be greeted by more rain showers. From here on, all the way to Dease Lake I would be in and out of the rain. Once at Dease Lake I grabbed some lunch and the weather began to show signs of improvement.
    [​IMG]
    Jade City. Free coffee and good company. :thumb
    <o:p></o:p>
    It was still heavily overcast when I left, but as I go toward the native village known as Iskut, I could tell that I was out of the rain for good this day as I could see blue skies of in the south. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Somewhere near Kinaskan Lake</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Gretchen looking great in the Fireweed.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Another phallic rock ... oh boy...</o:p>

    [​IMG]
    Near Bell II Lodge

    [​IMG]

    It was pretty uneventful, save for the few times I stopped to take some pictures and film some video. I happen to play leap frog with a couple that each had their own motorcycles. The lady had a lowered F650 GS while her husband had a big Harley and a tent trailer.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>My Camp at Mezidian Lake Provincial Park</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Later that evening, I met up with them again at Mezidain Lake Provincial Park. Camping was tough there as the campground was nearly full. I happened to run into the couple and they invited me over to their spot. I said I&#8217;ll have a look around and eventually found a spot with a view&#8230; one of the last 2 campsites left. After dinner and some visiting it was off to bed. But I found it hard to sleep. All the light coming into my tent was keeping me awake. This time, it wasn&#8217;t sunlight. No, no, it was nearly a full moon and the moonlight was brilliant and lit up the lake and the sky and reflected off the midnight clouds. It looked like I had a fluorescent lamp on outside my tent. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Meet Earl and his apprentice</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The next morning, I quickly packed up and headed to Gitanyow (A Ksan village near Hazelton). They have very old totem poles. Some over 200 years old. There happened to be two wood carvers working on a big cedar Totem Pole. While younger of the two men worked, the older gentleman introduced himself to me. He told me they were replacing totem poles as the older ones rot and fall over. They also introduce new ones. He briefly gave me a quick lesson on how to read totems, and discover the meanings and symbolisms of the poles. One thing he mentioned to me, something that I would never forget is how, the white man came and initially destroyed and/or burned the totem poles when the first white men arrived in their country. These folks he told me were missionaries and they viewed the totems as statues to gods. Nothing could be farther from the truth he told me. The totems, tell a story, each of them unique. The most important figure in a totem is the individual sitting on the ground, holding all the others up on their hands, shoulder hands/or head. The least important person would be placed on top. In many totems, one sees the white ma at the top. As the white man was the least important person to them. White people thought they were being honored as they were at the top of the totems. In any event, the elder gentleman&#8217;s name was Earl. He asked me where I was from and I told him Seattle. He told me he helped carve and oversee the totem pole found at the Seattle center. It was carved in 1970. The Seattle Totem features from top to bottom a hawk, bear (holding a salmon), raven and killer whale. Earl was rather proud of that carving and told me he likes Seattle very much and had lived there for many years. I asked about the carving they were currently working on. He said they have been working on it for 5 months. The artwork was fantastic and I watched as the younger gentlemen took Earls instruction to make the finer details seen on totem poles, like feathers and how to make the character look like it was in motion. I found it odd that I run into Earl out in the bush. Of all the people I could have run into, Earl was the man for that day. I felt honored that he even gave me the time of day. After talking shop about the totems, he told me about the sacred headwaters of the Stikine, where the Nass, the Stikine, and Skeena rivers start flowing, all within 300 yards of each other. These are large rivers of the north, the lifeblood for many of the natives that live up there. He told me that I should make it a point to go back there and see the place for myself. Something I plan to do sometime. Earl also told stories of how they battled Shell Oil and the Canadian Gov&#8217;t to stop mining on their lands and prevented them from building a dam on the Stikine River Canyon. This was incredible canyon Johann and I had ridden down to the town of Telegraph Creek a couple of weeks earlier. Earl finally told me, that he didn&#8217;t much care for the white man and their ways. I think I surprised him, when I told him that I agree completely. There are some sacred places that we should let be. The Stikine region is one of those sacred places.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Earl told me that they have been working on this totem pole for about 5 months</o:p>

    [​IMG]
    The village of Gitanyow the community of the Gitxsan people

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I parted ways with Earl and shortly after getting back onto the Cassiar hwy, another little bear darted in front of me. This time, the bear startled me and I nearly dumped my bike. The little black bear just sat there staring at me a bit while I struggled to get my camera out for some more bear footage. However, just as I was nearly ready, the bear took off for the forest, disappearing as fast as it appeared. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    At the junction of the Cassiar and Yellowhead Highways, I gassed up and headed toward Smithers. From there it was long slog to Prince George&#8230; about 5.5 hours later. As I was gassing up, I inspected my tires, particularly my rear tire. Back in Watson Lake I made a mental note of how much tread I had left. I was carrying more with now as I had some of Johanns&#8217; gear with me. I noticed that my cleat was nearly gone and that some cracks were forming in the rubber. I was a bit uncomfortable going the last 1000 miles or so home on this tire. It happened to be Sunday Evening and all the bike shops are usually closed on Sundays and Mondays. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Instead of camping, I got motel with wi-fi to begin my search for a bike shop that would a) be open on a Monday and b) would have a tire for my bike. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>All-in-all a remarkable day. With the rain gone, and Johann's accident behind me, my spirits were lifted and I began to enjoy the ride again.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Stay tuned to see what the next 2 days had in store for me.<o:p></o:p>
  6. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    Our Life Behind Bars – Father & Son Doing Time in the Northern Frontier (Mile 5999 to Mile 6762)<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Days 24-25 (July 23-24, 2013)<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Morning came early on this day for me as I was anxious to find a rear tire and be on my way. I made a few inquiries on ADVRider and got some leads as to where I might find a tire. Prince George has no BMW motorcycle shops. Surprisingly, every shop I called was open on this Monday. I check around and found a KTM dealer, but they had nothing, neither did the Harley dealership. I was becoming a bit disappointed and concerned. The last shop I called was a Yamaha shop. Bingo!! They had a tire for me. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it will have to do. So 2 hours later, I have a new Shinko 705 installed and I am on my way. I am feeling confident about my ride and even think I could ride some dirt roads on the way home. Yes!! I had lunch and rolled out of Prince George about 1:00. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>The rocky mountains along the Robson Valley are stupendous</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I decided to take the Robson Valley route on the Yellowhead highway. I know it was shorter by taking hay 97 south, but I was looking at 2 days to get home to Seattle, so I decided to take the more scenic route. I am glad I did. The weather was perfect and the road was lonely. I saw several bears along the way and came upon the remains of a charred semi that had rolled off an embankment and caught fire. It wasn’t pretty. I only hope the driver was alright. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I ended up in camping near Clear Water that evening. It was to be my last night out on the road. So I celebrated by getting some beer. I found some local IPA that sounded good. Once at the campground, I downed two beers before I even had my tent setup. The beer hit the spot. I had a quiet evening and finished off all six beers. I slept like a baby that evening. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Last camp on the trp. See the empty beer bottles </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The next morning I awoke, refreshed with sunshine and was giddy with excitement. I knew if all went well, I would be home today. I would meet up with my son and the trip would be over. My arse was extremely sore from 3.5 weeks and over 6700 miles on the bike. I was looking forward to a break and sleeping in my own bed. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Kelly Lake.. Always Refreshing</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I took hwy 24 over to 100 Mile House and then south to Clinton. From there, I took the Pavillion Road from Kelly Lake over toward Lilloet. I was now retracing our ride on the first day. It was wonderful and the views were fantastic. I rode through Fountain Valley and back through Lilloet. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Coming down the back side Pavillion Road toward Fountain Valley</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    The Fraser River flows through this magnificent land

    In Lilloet, I was nearly hit by a cager who wasn’t paying attention. I had my GoPro on at the time, so I have it on video. I wound my way through toward Lytton and had some sheep dash in front of me. I would have stopped to get some pictures and possibly some video, but I had another idiot in a pickup on my ass.. nearly kissing my rear tire. I was afraid that he was going to hit me. The road was narrow, curvy and bounded by cliffs. As soon as I could pull over, this guy took off past me like a banshee out of hell, sliding his truck around corners and such. I hate to say this, but he was driving like he was drunk and as far as I could tell, he was a native. I wish my cell phone had service, I would have called the RCMP and reported him.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Fraser river as it passes by Fountain Valley</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Beauty eh?</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    From there, it was a relatively benign ride through Hell’s Gate and the Fraser River Canyon. All very beautiful and a ride that I had done a few times before. In fact, I have driven this route many times on our way north. So the wonder and excitement was nothing new here for me. I was wanting to get home now. And the traffic was beginning to increase. I had to be more cautious of other drivers now. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Home at last</o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>The family dog is checking for some signs of life</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Not dead yet!! The ADVRider double salute says it all. :eek1</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I had an uneventful crossing at Sumas into Washington State. I arrived home in my driveway around 7:30 pm. I MADE IT!!! I was spent, tired and hungry. It was great to meet up with Johann. I had tears in my eyes and we hugged each other and chatted about my solo adventure ride over the last 2100 miles. I couldn’t believe that I had made it. This was a dream that I always wanted to do. Despite what happened with Johann, it all turned out OK. He was home safe and I was now home safe. We could now take some time to reflect on the trip together.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Gretchen... I love this big girl. She has never let me down once... </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Hey, there he is,.. father and son reunited. He even has his boot. :freaky</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    It has been fun to post this report and relive the trip. As I sift through the hours and hours of video and pictures, I can recall nearly every mile and nearly every corner we rode on this trip. I am putting together a series of videos that highlight sections of our trip. It was magical. :deal<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The story isn’t over yet. We are both waiting for the Dakar to arrive and assess the damage. Both of us are looking forward to getting it back into tip top shape for our next riding adventure together. A door has been opened for both of us. He has embraced this adventure riding activity with enthusiasm. I think I may have a riding buddy for life. Only time will tell. It will be neat to see what the next couple of years bring as he goes through many life changing events. College, career and more than likely girls… As a father, I only hope that he remembers his old man and wants to continue on with more of these types of adventures. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Father-Son B.C. Kayak Expedition, 2005 :thumb</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Father-Son, Mt Rainier, 2005 </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG] </o:p>
    Father-Son B.C Canoe Expedition, 2004

    I feel fortunate to have had these unique opportunities over the course of his life to share with him and be a part of the grandest adventures I have ever had. Not every child has the attitude or aptitude to do these kinds of things. We can both thank his mom as well for being supportive and patient with us “boys” over the years and encouraging these types of adventures. Not every mother is so understanding and so willing to let their children embrace the kinds of challenges and adventures that we’ve shared together. Lori is too be commended for her role in our adventures. Not only has she not ever said, no.. never once… She encouraged us every time, helped us with gear, food and logistics.

    [​IMG]
    Father-Son, Yukon 2007

    Thanks for riding with us.

    The father-son adventures aren't over...
    The pictures only show part of the story.
    Videos coming soon this fall... "Our Life Behind bars - The Video Series".

    Check back often or subscribe to our channel and receive updates as they happen RubiKon Adventures
    (http://www.youtube.com/user/RubiKonAdventures/videos )

    Thanks again...
  7. luloadventure

    luloadventure - LULO -

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    144
    Location:
    England - UK
    .
    Great trip!

    ... father & son :clap
  8. Got2Moto

    Got2Moto Got2MotoGraphics

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    507
    Location:
    PNW
    :clap:clap:clap awesome! Thank you!!
  9. Yukon Johann

    Yukon Johann Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    35
    thank you very muuch for following us, it was a great trip and my dad and I had a great time writing it.

    Remember, there may be more being posted later...
  10. Earendil

    Earendil Anywhere Outside

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    11
    Location:
    Outside
    Memories are what matter most! You and you son have shared more than most ever will. :clap:clap:clap
  11. theofam

    theofam Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    505
    Location:
    Denver
    Great write up, Grizz! You're right about Lori. Not alot of wives would be as understanding and supportive. You and I both got lucky!!

    Glad the crew is reunited.

    I hate to break this to you, but I sold my GSA about a month ago. I know, I know. I took it on a technical trail outside Idaho Springs - the type I'd like to do more of - and it was a P-I-G PIG!!

    Wanting something lighter, more nimble and more who-cares-if-I-drop-it-able, I just picked up a 2000 DR650 a couple days ago. So, the adventures will continue, they'll just be slower and less plush on the tarmac!

    My fingers are crossed you and Johann will do a rebuild thread on advrider of the Dakar. :lurk
  12. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    You sold your 1200 GSA :huh You heretic!!

    In all seriousness, the reason you bought your DR is why I bought the Dakar. I wanted something to do more in-state travel to the remote gravel roads around here. Gretchen is a tad too big for those activities. Now that Johann has laid claim to it (and I never dreamed that we'd get to go on this ride.. the planets aligned or something). I guess I will have to re-think the finances... I'm probably stuck with my 1200 for now. It just turned over 42K miles this weekend. (They go by so fast). Maybe when she is worn out, the R1200 LC GSA will be proven. However, I am liking the F800 Adventure model as well. Too many choices.

    We will try and see what we can do about a "rebuild" of the Dakar. I hope it is more of a "repair" than a re-build. :cry We'll see when it arrives at port. And we will see what the insurance will pay. :deal Definitely going to address the wobble issue.

    I should post some pics of my Gretchen showing how clean I got her and the pain staking process to get her back to factory showroom condition. :lol3 16+ hours to get that calcium crud off (yeah, I'm picky about her cleanliness). Just in time to...I'm heading to Bella Coola , B.C. again (labor Day week) for a week on more gravel, back roads and grizzlies (not GrizzLee's, but Grizzlies). She's going to get dirty again. It is futile I tell you. :eek1
  13. theofam

    theofam Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    505
    Location:
    Denver
    And I thought spending five hours cleaning the PO's trip to Moab off the DR650 was extensive! 16+ hours on Gretchen? Alaska is beautiful, but it sure grimes up a scoot!

    I'll be curious to learn what you find regarding the wobble. My guess is steering head bearings worn or misadjusted. But, given Johann is lighter than most of us fully developed ADVers, I'm wondering if the front end was oversprung for his weight and pogo sticked a bit to contribute to the wobble.
  14. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,288
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    Hi, I enjoyed your report so far.. I think it is my second Father/Son RR and I really like this one too! The first one I read, father was carrying his 12 years old(I think?) son on his motorcycle up to Alaska but you both are riding as a team. It is unclear if Yukon Johann is still in high school or ? But I think I can see two of you riding south of the border after Yukon graduate from high school??

    Yukon Johann, now that you spent the night in college dorm, do you think you are ready for college?? :evil:deal
  15. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    I believe so. Many good times and no incidents, save for this one. We've been fortunate for sure.


    Not the steering head bearings... I am pretty certain of that, They were just replaced before we left. I spent about $2500 on the bikes (service, maintainance, tires, gear, tools, etc..) before the trip. I left nothing to chance. I had my trusted mechanic, Alex, go over both bikes with a fine tooth comb. With that said, the Dakar does have after market springs in the forks and yes, they are stiffer. And that is one of my prime suspects.
  16. Yukon Johann

    Yukon Johann Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    35
    i am still working on getting my high school degree, i am doing a running start program so i can get some college credits along with my high school degree.

    i am getting prepared for college when attending this new school :)
  17. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,640
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    I don't read a lot of RR's, but Grizzlee posted up on my recent RR so I wanted to come on over and read this one.

    I guess I'm not a true Adventure Rider because every time I read an RR about going to Prudhoe Bay I come away with the same conclusion--I NEVER want to ride to Alaska!!! Eye candy scenery and all that but OHMYGOD the misery this trips seems to inflict! And the awful roads!

    Anyway, clearly great pics and a great adventure for father and son. I think, though, my favorite pic of the whole trip was this one--

    [​IMG]

    :lol3:lol3:lol3

    Did you mention what kind of boots they were?
  18. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest

    I can't recall the make of his boots. Maybe SIDI or BILT. The armour was ripped off of both boots. His right foot was swollen from somthing that poked through his boot (you can see it in the picture). His other boot looked nearly identical... the toes shredded and the sole was ripped off. Amazing that his toes were uninjured. He did the right thing and didn't put his feet down. The panniers, the handle bars and the crash bars gave him a protective cocoon. Had he put his foot down he may have been thrown from the bike or broke it (and/or his leg) pretty bad.. who knows...

    Regarding never wanting to ride to Alaska. I wouldn't hesitate to go again. It is a challenge, more so than riding in the states. Inclement weather is always to be planned for as are tools and extra parts. A trip to Alaska requires a big time commitment, more so than most other lower 48 trips. The remoteness alone makes planning more of an issue and one should always have their gear in top shape before leaving. But, &#8220;sheet&#8221; does and can happen at anytime. In our case, I don&#8217;t think there was anything that we could have done to avoid this problem, other than not go. Not going because of the unknowns isn&#8217;t any fun and not a reason not to do something. It&#8217;s part of the adventure. I&#8217;ve done a lot of soul searching on this over the past month. Believe me, it isn&#8217;t easy to think about what could have happened vs what actually happened. When I didn&#8217;t see my son in the rear view mirror and I turned around to go back to see what happened, the last thing I expected was to Johann standing there with his boots all ripped off, his pants shredded and his bike in the ditch. This image is vividly etched into my mind. I still wrestle with it, but I think I have come to some resolution. We&#8217;ll see. I just got a call today. Johann&#8217;s bike has arrived in the port of Seattle. I am not sure what will go through my mind when I see it again.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    We hope to go back someday and finish the ride. Johann feels a bit cheated. If we do go, it won&#8217;t be all the way to Prudhoe bay though. We will go somewhere else. There is always the ferry option in Washington State... take our bikes up and then ride back...



    BTW Drone.. You are an Adventure rider. Just as much as the next guy.... Keep on doing what you do. Hope we can meet up in the PacNW someday. If you keep riding, it will just be a matter of time when our paths cross :1drink
  19. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,640
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    The reason I said what I said had nothing to do with the crash. I'm not interested in Alaska because of the bugs, the bad roads, the bugs, the cold weather, the bugs, the hot weather, the bugs, the rainy weather, the bugs, and the difficulty finding gas, food and respite from the bugs. For most guys, the adventure and the scenery and the fun make it all worthwhile. For me, I don't think so. I've gotten too soft! :cry
  20. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    This story was incomplete without knowing the final fate of the Johann's Dakar. It took a couple of months and such to get the bike to Seattle.

    <?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    This pannier probably saved Johann from getting severely injured or worse.


    If you ever need to ship your ride home from the North, it can be a pretty complex problem.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The good folks at Northern Mechanical in Dawson City (NAPA Auto Parts Store) recovered the bike out of the bush and stored it in Dawson until I returned home. I called around to see if I could get a direct shipment to Seattle from there. Unfortunately, I could not. Furthermore, I could not get my insurance to pay for the recovery and shipping within the Yukon. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    In my research for shipping options I found that I could get the bike shipped to Seattle via Alaska Marine Freight out of Skagway. The costs would be just over a couple of hundred dollars. The biggest hurdle was getting the bike shipped from Whitehorse to Skagway. It would cross int’l borders and an export license would be needed by whoever delivered the bike, unless it was me as I could show proof of ownership. My plan was to fly up there on a looong weekend, rent a pickup (or borrow one from a local friend in Whitehorse) and deliver the bike to Skagway myself. Skagway is only a 2.5 hour drive from Whitehorse. After much deliberation about the costs, I got a timely email from my buddy Shawn, who lives in Whitehorse, he put me in touch with a local Canadian buddy who does deliveries between Skagway and WH. Unfortunately, it turns out he didn’t have an export license. However, the good news was, he had an American friend, Luke, who ran a tour business in Skagway. So I contacted Luke. Let me just say that Luke is awesome!! He was super friendly and very understanding of my dilemma. He mentioned that he had to go to WH to get building supplies and would pick up the bike for me if I could get it to WH from Dawson. All he asked for in return, was that I pay for his gas. DEAL!!! When I asked about the import license, he said no problem, ‘cuase he was friends with the border guards. So it was all set. Only, Luke didn’t go to WH for a few weeks.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Eventually, I had the folks at Northern Mechanical ship the Dakar via Kluane Shipping to Whitehorse. Having sympathy, they waved all storage fees. From there I was able to arrange transportation with Luke where Luke got it on the boat to Seattle. All total it cost me ~$1400 to get the bike back to Seattle. Not bad at all. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the hospitality and friendship of the people in the north. They are all fantastic.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Once the bike arrived in Seattle, I had my mechanic, Alex pick it up and get me an estimate to repair it. Now Alex runs his own motorcycle repair shop, (AlyxMoto, http://alyxmoto.com/ ). He loves BMW motorcycles and is a damn fine mechanic. He told me informed me that it was going to be close to being a total. Especially if I wanted the bike returned back to it’s “factory Showroom condition”. Alex knows me all too well. Of course, I would want the bike restored to pristine condition. I also scheduled to have the insurance come take a look at it.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Alex Guth (AlyxMoto) If you need your beemer serviced in the Seattle area.
    Ale x is your man. Great service with a smile,very reasonable prices and a love for the bikes.
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The bottom line was, that the insurance totaled the bike. They reimbursed me more than $600 of my shipping charges in addtion they offered me nearly what I paid for the Dakar a year ago. I have had nothing but good experience over the years with GIECO. Additionally, my insurance stated that I could buy the bike back for $1000. This worked out great for many reasons. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    GIECO insurance adjuster giving the Dakar the "once over".

    [​IMG]


    It turned out that Lisa and Simon from “2Ride the World” (http://2ridetheworld.com/ ) were in Seattle. Both Lisa and Thomas have been on the road for over 10 years riding BMW motorcycles. Lisa, in particular rides an F650 GS. They were giving presentations at Touratech in Seattle and the local BMW dealers (South Sound BMW and Ride West). They are sponsored by TouraTech and the Alex is their “go to” guy for mechanical issues. The bottom line is that Lisa’s bike had something like 200,000 miles on the engine. It was time to get another. So they bought the engine from our Dakar. Additionally, they needed a couple of other parts, most notably, the lower swing arm. So the next time you see and/or read about Lisa and Simon on their worldly travels, know that a good part of Johann’s Dakar lives on and its journey didn’t end in the Bush outside of Dawson. In fact, it’s journey is probably just beginning.
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p>Lisa and Simon - 2 Ride The World. Follow them on their adventures</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    It was hard to hear the adjuster tell us that Dak" couldn't be saved.

    [​IMG]
    Another shout out to Alex Guth - Owner of AlyxMoto in Puget Sound, Wa

    So we now have the remains of the Dakar in our garage. No Motor, no swing arm.

    The future? Well, we are looking at getting another F650GS or a Dakar. We will use the remaining parts to build another adventure bike for Johann. You can count on that. Once done, we will sell the remaining parts. Oh, and yes, we've been researching steering dampers. It seems that one can be installed on the Dakar. You can bet we will make the bike safe and secure for any and all future endeavors.

    Thanks for riding with us.