Questor and Motoadventuregal goto Alaska

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Questor, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. Inselburg

    Inselburg Mister Retour

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Living in the Ozarks.
    I'm in.:lurk
  2. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,588
    Location:
    Diamond Bar, CA.
    We had been hanging out around town for two or three days, getting caught up on E-mail, cleaning our bikes, and taking in the sights of the area.
    But I was getting stir crazy, and wanted to get out of town and see some of the history in the area.
    Mostly, I wanted to see the huge dredges that ripped the tundra apart and extracted the gold.

    We woke up to a beautiful day at Camp Snuggly.
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    But first we had to do a valve adjustment on MAG's bike.
    The night before we had met a nice guy who was a Suzuki mechanic, and he offered to help with the adjustment.
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    It only took about an hour.

    Then, once the bike was running properly again, we saddled up and headed out of town to go see the dredge. :clap
    Dredge #4 is located about 15 miles outside of town up Bonanza Creek.
    For more information on these huge floating factories check out this link:
    http://www.questconnect.org/ak_gold_dredges.htm

    So we rode out of town.
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    Then as we turned across the valley we sat the massive structure.
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    To give you some idea of the size of this thing, it's about five stories tall.
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    Dredge No. 4 is a 2000 ton bucket line dredge. The bucket chain consists of 72 buckets each bucket holds 18 cubic feet. The dumping rate is 22 buckets per minute. It dug over fifteen thousand cubic yards of earth each day.
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    Basically it's a huge floating factory, that would dig up earth on the front end with the bucket line, and dump the debris into a large rotating cylinder, that would wash the fine flecks of gold into collection pans. The Debris would then get dumped out the back of the dredge.
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    So the bucket line is on the right, and the tailing would come out the back of the machine on the far left side.

    Here's a panorama shot. The Dredge is just too big to capture in just one picture.
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    We had a great tour of the Dredge, and got to go inside to see all the mechanical parts.

    These are some of the huge pulley wheels that ran the winches.
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    To give you a scale of the size of these wheels, here's another picture from up above.
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    And from the end of the assembly.
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    Simply amazing! :eek1
    More giant wheels and cable winches.
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    The big electric motors.
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    Going up to the upper level we get to the high pressure water pumps.
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    This was the third one made.
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    Here's the huge rotating cylinder that all the debris was put into and washed with high pressure to get he gold to fall out.
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    and a view of the inside.
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    The noise must have been deafening. :eek1

    Here's a view out the back where the tailings would get dumped.
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    We then went upstairs to the control room.
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    The operator of the dredge would pull these levers to activate the various winches, that would pull cables that would move the dredge from side to side, as well as raise and lower the bucket line.
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    A picture of the machine in use some 60 years ago.
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    And a picture of me, pretending to know what I'm doing. :lol3
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    After out tour of the dredge, we went back to Dawson to get ready for the big "Dust to Dawson" gathering.

    But along the way we stopped here, at the cabin that Jack London stayed at as he wrote his famous books.
    I remember reading his stories as a young kid. "White Fang" and "To Build a Fire" were my favorites.
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    It was amazing to be here in the Yukon and see it.
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    And here is where Mr. London sat all winter and wrote his stories.
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    When we got back to the RV park we saw this huge bus / RV.
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    It's part tour bus and part hotel.
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    and they even had a kitchen.
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    So we parked the bikes at our campsite and walked into town to check out the festivities.
    The streets were getting full.
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    Then we went to the Banquet Hall and joined the other riders.
    It was classy.
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    The dinner was good too.
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    After diner we walked down main street. It was lined with hundreds of Adventure Bikes. :clap
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    Here's the view from the steps of the bar.
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    It's about 11:30pm and the games had begun.
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    Such as the riding while blindfolded.
    :eek1
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    The water balloon toss.
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    And MAG doing the drive by Hot Dog eating contest.
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    The goal is to bite off as much Hot Dog as you can as you ride by.
    But MAG managed to almost get the entire Hot Dog and nearly choked.
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    The crowd went wild! :rofl
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    For some bikes, this trip to Dawson is a long standing tradition.
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    I met this interesting lady at the bar.
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    Then, at midnight the crowd got on their bikes and filled Main Street for the annual photograph.
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    There were several hundred bikes, and we had the picture taken.
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    But then police came, and told us to disperse sine we were creating a fire hazard.
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    And that was fine with me, because by then it was about 1:00am and I needed to get some sleep. It had been a great day. I'd seen cool stuff, eaten good food, drank lots of beer, and met many new friends. What could be better?

    Q~
  3. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,588
    Location:
    Diamond Bar, CA.
    We decided to stay in town one more day. Partially to recover from the Dawson event, and part to explore in the area a bit more.

    But first I decided to change out the worn front tire on Tiger with the Battle wing I scored for free.
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    Then we went to our favorite restaurant for breakfast.
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    Eggs Benedict again. :wink:
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    Above the town of Dawson is "The Dome" a fantastic viewpoint.
    We rode up there and checked out the view. It was breathtaking.
    Here's a panorama.
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    On this detailed picture looking south you can see all the tailing piles left by the dredges. Those big "worm trails" at the bottom of this picture are visible for miles, even from Google Earth.
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    The west, you overlook the city of Dawson.
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    And to the North the Yukon river.
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    We actually fell asleep up here for a while.

    Then after our nap, it was time to cross the river again.
    We had been told there was an old "Steamship graveyard" where all the old paddle wheel boats had been run aground and left to rot once their service lives had ended.

    We rode along the edge of the river...
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    and there they were.
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    Amazing! It looked like there were about six of them all "parked" up on the shore.

    I had to go exploring! :eek1
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    You could see the old smoke stacks.
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    and parts of the old paddle wheels.
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    I crawled around inside them.
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    I found one of the old steam driven pistons that drove the paddle wheel.
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    Closeups of some of the old paddle wheels that would drive the ship.
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    Over time the decks had all collapsed.
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    You can almost make out the name of the ship.
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    Crawling inside I found to old boiler that created the steam for the pistons.
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    Looking form the inside of the hull, out into the river this fins ship used to travel up and down.
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    It kind of made me sad to think of the past, and how this land had changed. It's rich history, and now, how these pieces of historic engineering were now just laying here like dead skeletons. Memories of a time and an era that has passed.

    Solemnly, we took the ferry back across the river to Dawson.
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    I had to stop here at the KTM Co. :thumb
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    Then it was back to camp to have dinner.
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    As we ate, we got new neighbors in a really nice airstream. MAG and I secretly lust after airstream trailers. But right now we are on the tent budget.
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    It turns out they had a flat tire.
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    We offered to help change the tire, but they had it all under control.

    Later that evening I met the brother of a good friend of mine from CT.
    He was also on a motorcycle trip. Small world.

    Then sleep happened even though it was still daylight at 2:00am...

    Q~
  4. Dblarrow

    Dblarrow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    192
    Location:
    Kila, montana
    Looking forward to this ride next year with the daughter.

    Nice set of pics on the old river boats. With as many Alaska trips as I have read about that is the first I have heard of those. That is definitely on the list to see.

    Thanks for sharing the trip.
  5. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,388
    Location:
    Central PA
    I liked the bus/hotel. I wonder if each of those windows was a sleeping berth? Next time sneak inside for a cple pics hehe
  6. Timmer

    Timmer Curious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,820
    Location:
    Burien, WA
    There's also a cool riverboat in Whitehorse that is open for tours.

  7. cloudshaver

    cloudshaver marcusorass

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    124
    Location:
    pocatello, id
    Loving the report guys- I tune in every day.
  8. EgyptianRider

    EgyptianRider adventurer & Musician

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    almost there
    Great, i am enjoying all details :lurk
  9. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,154
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    I've finally figured out what this thing is. It's a lunch truck for cannibals. First you choose the person you want to eat from the automat...

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    ...and then they cook him/her for you!

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    Ingenious, but I'd rather just have a slice of pizza.

    --mark
  10. thepackrat

    thepackrat i can ride that

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    southern Ontario
    Q: What happened to the wiener afterwards!

    A: She threw it at us, as we were making the most comments!

    You're a good sport MAG

    Attached Files:

  11. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,588
    Location:
    Diamond Bar, CA.
    Awesome picture Packrat. :thumb

    Dawson was a hoot!

    Q~
  12. Christian RA40XT

    Christian RA40XT Don't Panic!

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    120
    Location:
    Ruhrpott, Germany
    I love this RR....:clap
  13. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    995
    Location:
    Gearing up to ride...
    Hay Packrat! Thanks for diagnosing (and FIXING!) my DR650's running issues. amazing what a little love can do to a motorcycle! :norton

    <input id="gwProxy" type="hidden"><!--Session data--><input onclick="if(typeof(jsCall)=='function'){jsCall();}else{setTimeout('jsCall()',500);}" id="jsProxy" type="hidden">
  14. KTMforget

    KTMforget Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    958
    Location:
    Sandpoint, ID
    Subscribed. Great RR. It may even motivate me enough to do a RR from our Alaska trip last August...
  15. Gramp-Z

    Gramp-Z Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,023
    Location:
    Maple Valley , WA , USA
    Questor ; thanks for another great ride report . I always enjoy any report by you or MAG . In your shots of D2D festivities I was surprised to see Will (job3-14) doing the water balloon thing with Amanda at the controls . Then in the next picture of MAG consuming the hot dog , they are right behind her . They are quite the couple , here is their report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=515712 . Hope to do a run up to Deadhorse this summer myself , so paying attention to your ride . Thanks again !
  16. 2whelman

    2whelman addict

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    716
    Location:
    KC
    Nice report as usual Questor, Glad you made it up to the big state.
  17. RevyRider

    RevyRider Intrepid Traveler

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Revelstoke, BC
    Great ride report you two, I am very much enjoying your pictures and the story telling aspect. Love the history around Dawson.

    I also appreciate your "glorp" concoctions, ..I have for many years made similar styled meals, one dish and simple, but I called mine.. "gorp", ..too funny, ..lol!

    I look forward to reading/seeing more.

    Cheers
  18. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,588
    Location:
    Diamond Bar, CA.
    We had been in Dawson for five days, and while it was everything I was expecting, and more, it was time to move on.

    But first I had to get the wild animal out of my tent.
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    Look at those fierce teeth! :D

    Once the wild animal was evicted from the tent, and fed, we packed up camp and hit the road. Today we would cross into Alaska!

    We took the ferry across the river.
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    And started on the Top of the World Highway to Chicken and Tok.
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    MAG is right behind me.
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    The Top of the World Highway lives up to it's name. Once you climb up on the ridge, it's a 79 mile long section of road so named because, along much of its length, it skirts the crest of the hills, giving looks down on the valleys below.

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    Alpine Tiger country.
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    See the rainbow?
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    Finally after two weeks of being in the road, we crossed into Alaska.
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    Alaskan Tiger.
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    Passing a gas station.
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    We hit some rain and the road became very slippery.
    I had a nearly bald street tire on the front of the KTM, and steering was 'exciting'.
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    Turn left to Chicken.
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    MAG took the lead for a while.
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    You don't see this kind of community every day.
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    We stopped to get some gas.
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    As I mentioned before, some vehicles have big fuel bills up here.
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    A little further down the road we stopped for lunch.
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    We're in Chicken now. :lol3
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    I fed the "attack Chicken".
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    And then ordered...
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    Chicken of course!!! :lol3
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    After a relaxing lunch, we decided to head on down the road.
    On the way out of town we saw another large dredge.
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    Headed to Tok.
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    We rode through a very recent forest fire.
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    I later found out that it was less than a week ago.
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    In Tok, we stopped here to get more supplies.
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    In Tok we stopped at a store to get postcards and stickers.
    I took pictures of the animals they had on display.
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    It had been raining for hours now, and we went to the Tundra campground because they had free hot showers.
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    Here I gave Tiger his Alaska sticker. He had always wanted to go to Alaska, and now he had. Good Tiger. :wink:
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    and yes, there are big mosquitoes here too.
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    This actually became a game for us. We took pictures to see who could find the biggest mosquito...
    In a few days we would find bigger ones.

    Stats for the day:
    189 miles Moving average 39.9 Moving Time 4:49 Stopped 3:47 Total 8:32

    Q~
  19. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
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    10,823
    Location:
    Andover, N.J.
    OK, just spent my Sat and Sun am catching up here. Huge trip Q ! :clap
  20. RockyRoads

    RockyRoads RockyRoads

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    250
    Location:
    Aptos, California
    I'm following your story with great interest, as I will be traveling much of the same route this summer during our family's 2 1/2 month journey from California to Alaska and back (not on bikes, however, as the kids are dynamos on their dirt bikes but still too young--8 and 11--for street licenses). It's great to see photos of the places that are just pushpins or dots on my Canada/Alaska wall map right now. I've heard a lot about the mosquitoes . . . looks like we might invest in some ThermaCell devices!

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to post about your adventure. I'm eagerly waiting for more!