Rum Runners Run North

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by dwayne, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

    Joined:
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    So last year about this time my buddy 650freak goes to the high artic for work. He’s a dam engineer, don’t confuse that for a damn engineer, although I’m sure there are times when he gets called that. Anyway when ‘freak gets back he shows me some pictures of what the incredible reds the tundra flora turn in the fall, and being a colour junkie I ask “when are we going?”

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    Well that leads to this and before you know it dwayne (me), 650freak, and Bejebus have booked two weeks off starting at the end August. Very roughly the itinerary is; trailer to Fort Nelson, ride to Dawson City YK via the Dempster Highway, Top of the World to Tok, to Fairbanks, by Denali through Anchorage, Whitehorse and back home.

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    Even with almost a year of planning and dreaming there are still last moment details to take care of,

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    We elected to trailer from Calgary to Fort Nelson BC because it would hopefully save us a tire change and give us two or three more days riding in the north rather than &#8220;commuting&#8221; through less interesting scenery so we load the bikes,

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    650freak says goodbye to &#8216;freak family and Bejubus says goodbye to MicBane and were off!

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    The guys watch some West Wing while I drive

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    Say a quick hello to the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place>Peace River</st1:place>
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    and soon we know we are on our way to exploring new territory...

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    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    Look like a great trip is planned.. we'll wait to hear from you with your trip report and pics :thumb

    :lurk
    #2
  3. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    Once in Ft Nelson we need to find food, and brush up on how to ride.

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    Sleep, pack the bikes, and after more food we ride.

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    And an hour later stop to dress the way we really should have before we left.

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    First fuel stop at Tetsa River (edited for 'freak)

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place>Stone Mountain</st1:place> in Mucho Lk Park BC

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    Our lunch stop at Strawberry Flats

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    Where &#8216;freak indroduced me to landjager sausage
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    Ahh the <st1:State><st1:place>Yukon</st1:place></st1:State> at last&#8230;then BC again, then YK, then BC, etc until you get to <st1:place><st1:placeName>Watson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Lake</st1:placeType></st1:place>
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    Everyone has a picture of the sign post forest, and now I do to

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    I can&#8217;t belive they built the <st1:place>Alaska highway</st1:place> with these tonka toys!

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    Ok there was this really tempting quad track beside the highway, and I was eager to get off the pavment. Carnage report: One mirror. And some pride.

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    We stayed at the Robert Service campground in <st1:City><st1:place>Whitehorse</st1:place></st1:City>. Neat place. Ok now we&#8217;re going to start a game. How many different things does dwayne wear on his head during the trip&#8230;have you been counting? (that's me in the pic btw)

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    Well we had some rum, and some cream, and some sugar and presto! A new drink called the White&#8217;arse.

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    Stay tuned...next the trip up the Klondike Vally to start the Dempster!
    #3
  4. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    That&#8217;s a glimpse of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place><st1:placeType>Lake</st1:placeType> <st1:placeName>LaBarge</st1:placeName></st1:place>..but no Sam Mcgee. Today we turned off the <st1:place>Alaska Highway</st1:place> and turned on to the <st1:Street><st1:address>Kondike Hwy.</st1:address></st1:Street>
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    The river boats used to have to negotiate these rapids to get from <st1:City><st1:place>Whitehorse</st1:place></st1:City> to <st1:place><st1:placeName>Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>City</st1:placeType></st1:place>. At times they used to winch themselves through. The rapids are called Middlefinger rapi&#8230;no wait&#8230;Five Finger rapids.

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    Mmmmm Cupiccino

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    Heading: True North!

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    At the intersection of the <st1:Street><st1:address>Dempster Hwy</st1:address></st1:Street> and the <st1:Street><st1:address>Kondike Hwy</st1:address></st1:Street>, we found the Kondike River Lodge, which had a bunk house, with outside access to the laundry, and shower. Plus it had a carwash, this will become important.

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    The bunkhouse

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    In the morning we need to get underway, because I can only see when we are moving... note the stunning blue eyes:wink:

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    Here we are!

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    Gut check

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    About 70 km up the road you will find <st1:place><st1:placeName>Tombstone</st1:placeName> <st1:placeName>Territorial</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Park</st1:placeType></st1:place>, where they will give you a booklet with some information about what you can expect to see on the road.

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    The rest of the day hit me like a hammer. I had enjoyed the ride from Ft Nelson enough to make the trip worth while, but the Dempster exceeded my high expectations. It occurred to me that remotness seems to increase the beauty of a location, and that seeing some of the most amazing places in the world require coping with a runny nose. <st1:State><st1:place>Yukon</st1:place></st1:State> is not really a warm place at the end of August. I feel ambiguios about showing picturs of what I saw. There is no way my talent or equipment is capable of capturing but a tiny bit of how spectacular this place really is but if you take a look over &#8216;freaks shoulder, you can see why he&#8217;s smiling!

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    Here&#8217;s a bit of a teaser

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    #4
  5. ditchbanker

    ditchbanker Owner of dull user line

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    Between the quality of places you rode through and the fact that you've got "rum" in your title, you really can't hold out on us :lol3
    Keap going!
    #5
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    Wow!! Great pics! If you can post pics bigger 640 x 480 would even better!! Great ride and report and pics :thumb

    :clap :clap
    #6
  7. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

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    Looking good! keep the pics coming.
    #7
  8. scottr

    scottr Banned

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    That pic witht he clouds/mountains/lone rider is front page.

    :lurk
    #8
  9. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    aww shucks:shog thanks...

    This is my first RR, so I'm still figuring it all out...

    and trust me it wasn't just the title that had rum in it!

    just to let you all know these pics are a compilation of all of the 'runners photos...but the lone rider is one of mine.
    #9
  10. 650freak

    650freak dam engineer

    Joined:
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    Calgary
    Keep the report coming, we haven't got to the Dempster carwash yet (video required).

    650freak
    #10
  11. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    The Tombstones are one of the three mountain ranges we will cross on the Dempster. You probably shouldn't go there. It's cold, and remote.

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    where we had lunch in the Ogilvies

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    #11
  12. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    ETRW...Not so much:lol3
    #12
  13. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    A few more of the Tombstones to the Ogilvies...

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    Lunch in the Ogilvies

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    Time to get on the move

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p>Looking back into the Ogilvy Mountians.</o:p>
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    <o:p>I call this photo "When Geeks Ride", but one of their wives prefer "When Lazy Geeks Ride"</o:p>
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    Eagle Plains is about halfway from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place>Klondike</st1:place> junction to <st1:place>Inuvik</st1:place>; we fed, fueled and stayed the night at this outpost.

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    Hmmmm, hope we don't need one of these...

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    As you climb the foothills of the <st1:place><st1:placeName>Richardson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Mountains</st1:placeType></st1:place> you come to the artic circle.

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    The Artic circle is defined as the latitude that one day a year the sun never sets and one day a year the sun never rises.

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    Exactly one year ago I was here, which is where there are 12 hours from sunrise to sunset every day. I wonder what will happen next year, maybe the prime meridian.

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    #13
  14. Effervescent

    Effervescent Sexiest ADVrider '14

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    Lovely pics! Bravo!

    -Eff
    #14
  15. jmetteer

    jmetteer Filler...

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    :lurk

    Looking forward to the rest of this one. :nod

    Later,
    #15
  16. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    North of the Artic Circle we saw this, check out how many bands there are on this rain bow

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    Some of the views from the foothills of the Richardson Mountians

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    The pass is also the border between here...

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    and here


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    It started to get a little wet here, but hey this is an adventure right?

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    The colours and road here kept us captivated...

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    But eventually the weather came down enough that the adventure became keeping our bikes rolling on their wheels, by the time the day was over we rode in this clag for about 4 hours.

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    #16
  17. MicBane

    MicBane n00b

    Joined:
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    Great job on the ride report. I'm enjoying it so far. So do I get to bust you for copyright infringements on the photos I took?? :evil
    #17
  18. Surlyguy

    Surlyguy Guest

    Ok your pics are better than mine when I was up there in the fall one year.

    And I didn't miss my Dakar until I see it used for it's intended purpose.
    Take care of her..
    #18
  19. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    "Great job on the ride report. I'm enjoying it so far. So do I get to bust you for copyright infringements on the photos I took?? :evil"
    from post #9:fitz :D

    You had so much to do with keeping us fed, warm and happy, and even though you couldn't make it I think of you as a 'runner :getiton (ummm that's meant to be a compliment)
    #19
  20. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    We never intended to get all the way to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place>Inuvik</st1:place>. We decided that the <st1:place>Mackenzie river</st1:place> would be enough. The weather, as it often does, changed our plans. We never did get to the Mackenzie; we had to turn around at <st1:place><st1:placeType>Fort</st1:placeType> <st1:placeName>McPherson</st1:placeName></st1:place>.
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    The "resturant" in for McPherson is the corner of the Grocery store.

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    The locals were all very friendly, and every one of the older folks that we saw came over to say hello, and so did most of the younger folks. This man was telling me that at the end of the sixth day when God created the world he had a big pile of mud left over, and eager for his day of rest, he kind of gave up and hurled it at the earth. It became known as <st1:place><st1:placeType>Fort</st1:placeType> <st1:placeName>McPherson</st1:placeName></st1:place>. We believe.

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    The <st1:place>Peel river</st1:place> ferry only has mud embankments to load on.
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    The rain didn&#8217;t stop and the road was worse heading back. It is a well packed road, which mostly means you don&#8217;t sink into the mud, but you do slide all over the snotty surface. I had several exciting cross road slides at about 40-50km/h before the call over the radio Bejubus is down! Luckily just bent panniers.
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    Then it was my turn to wipeout. I would have taken pictures but my hands were so covered in muck that reaching into my tank bag for my camera was just too messy. Besides the visibility was a hot 100 feet and there were the (very) occasional pickup trucks to worry about. I also escape with bent panniers.
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    &#8216;freak and my rads were turned into pottery by the kicked up mud, and we both had to stop to clean them as best as we could, until Bejebus spotted a Honda water pump that the road crews use to drain ditches. The Dempster carwash came in pulses that lasted for about 2 seconds but could easily be 30-40 liters of water. We giggled allot. In the background you will see 2 of the maybe four vehicles we saw between the artic circle and the peel river ferry. Note the cyclist...that's hardcore!

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    We camped at the artic circle that night. Al (I think) was travelling the Dempster from Canmore solo, on a KLR and redered assistance tweaking my touratecs into a serviceable shape.

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    'freak needed to adjust his steering head bearings after some serious pounding

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    Back at Eagle plains the next day we began to understand that we had a muddy slippery day ahead of us!

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    <o:p>And so it was...</o:p>
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    But tombstones were even more beautiful on the way out, and it hurt to leave.
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    We stayed at Klondike Junction the next night and pressure washed our bikes and each other&#8230;no kidding! We did several really big loads of laundry, ate the now infamous Black Bart dehydrated chilli, and might have celebreated with a few drinks:beer

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    At this point it was becoming clear that 1100km of dirt and mud would become a major and distinct part of this trip. We all had our low points; I laughed and got teary at the overwhelming beauty and remoteness of this place. I have had some great rides though some astonishing scenery, but this has topped it all. I am ecstatic to have seen this part of the world in its prime, but I wonder if the future will live in its shadow. The north has been described as magnetic by many, and it&#8217;s easy to be charmed. This is one of the few places I have literally said good bye to.
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    But wait we&#8217;re not done yet. There&#8217;s still over a week of riding to be done!
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    #20