The Banks Tour Return - North To Alaska

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Solarmoose, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. QCORider

    QCORider Colorado Rider

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Colorado

    Just a quick note and correction. It's going to be Craig and his wife that are looking at moving back to Alaska. Marc (that's me) and wife are staying in the Denver area. However, we are always excited to get back to Alaska to see friends and family!
    #21
  2. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 11 05042012
    Today is a no ride day and we'll be here in Bozeman for four days to
    visit with the kids and see them graduate from MSU. Craig and Emily have
    a very nice salt-water aquarium:
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    and since they are moving the contents will travel in this which will maintain
    water temp and necessary conditions while they drive to their new home.
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    We walked around the campus in the morning
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    and then in the afternoon we toured a brewery which was "supposedly" a
    requirement of one of Craig's engineering classes.
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    Good beer.
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    and then looked at the completed trebuchet they had built, it worked very well!
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    And later in the evening our Denver son showed up giving Cee some much
    needed grandma time with Kerra
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    tomorrow the kids go through commencement
    #22
  3. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 12 05052012

    Today's the big day when our son Craig and his wife Emily both graduate
    from MSU. Emily's parents and Cee and I are very proud of these two!
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    Their friends had a party afterward with some very good eats!
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    Tomorrow (Sunday the 6th) we'll still be in Bozeman but Monday back on the road!
    #23
  4. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,038
    Location:
    Just over the rear wheel
    Hello Dave & Cee

    Just spotted this in RR and will do my best to keep up with your travels as you take your looping trip back toward home.

    Haven't visited Mark in several years, but it sounds like he is still as good as ever, which is damned good at anything he touches.

    Ride safe, enjoy yourselves - and don't hurry, it's snowing right now here in Glennallen. :arg
    #24
  5. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 15 05072012
    Monday morning starts with bright sun though its cool at 40F when we
    leave Bozeman. Today we'll ride to Helena to see friends who have recently
    moved from Alaska.

    My favorite sign
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    We stop to finish to our coffee and enjoy the morning
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    An hour or so later we arrive at Kevin and Annie's new place, its very nice. They are adv'ers too.
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    We go into town to see the capital buildings and artwork
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    After hours of grueling :lol3 touring of the capital building we are rewarded at a local microbrewery
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    Good beer with good friends, always the best!
    #25
  6. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Hi Jack!

    Snow? yikes. We've been close to snow too but trying to miss it.

    I'll bet you've probably already ridden quite a bit by now, probably more
    than the 1500 miles we've done on this trip so far.
    #26
  7. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 15 05082012

    We get a slow start waiting for temps to warm a bit, getting pictures:
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    and saying goodbyes but we'll see them in Fairbanks this summer as they
    ride their bikes north. They've already done a monster ride this spring.
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    stop for lunch
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    lots of wide open spaces
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    long wait here
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    she's napping
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    its gotten very nice out with temperatures in the low 70's
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    Coming into Billings MT where we'll spend the evening.
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    another easy miles day
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    Tomorrow we'll stop at Little Big Horn and Devil's Tower National Monuments before heading toward Sturgis.
    #27
  8. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 16 05092012
    Today is the first day we've started in temps not in the 40's, in fact it was
    almost 60 when we left Billings.
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    Our first stop
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    A lot has been written about this place so I don't have much to add. The
    visitors center was good though small and the memorial was well laid out.
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    And then we come to:
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    This is an impressive rock!
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    Zoomed into the top
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    Cool place, worth the trip.
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    A nice day with temps into the low 80's. We stopped in Sundance WY for the evening.
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    #28
  9. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 17 05102012

    We left the Bear Lodge and Motel in Sundance WY in bright sun and warm
    temperatures to rode into South Dakota.
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    We rode through Sturgis to see what it looks like since it is unlikely we will
    ever be there during the rally.

    Riding out of Sundance
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    Our first destination for the day
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    It costs $11 for each bike, same as a car, from the parking concession, a
    change from the other National Monuments where motorcycles were half
    the cost of a car at $5.

    The famous view
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    up close with Roosevelt and Lincoln
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    Up close with Washington and Jefferson
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    Interesting to see the markings in the rock
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    But in the beginning it looked like this
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    the carvers tools
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    This talks about Borglums fun with NPS. Ask an Alaskan what he thinks of NPS and stand back.
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    I did not know about this
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    We enjoyed the visit to Mnt Rushmore. The grounds and buildings are
    very elaborate, perhaps fitting for a presidential monument. The visitors center
    provides good history on this project and the people involved.
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    next, Crazy Horse.
    #29
  10. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 17 05102012 - continued

    We rode the short distance from Rushmore to Crazy Horse on some very
    nice roads. We should have planned to spend more time in this area since
    the roads are absolutely great to ride on and we did not do them all. We
    will come back.

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    Here it is, this is a work in progress
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    The envisioned statue
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    and the rear
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    in the beginning
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    The excavators look very small compared to the size of the job
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    And it is intended to do the backside too, these people think BIG
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    The large multi-building visitor center has a lot of artifacts, history and
    recent art work on display. We took a bus tour up to the base of the
    mountain which was very interesting. There are also artists on-site
    working in their respective crafts. I really liked this place, its more inviting
    and less grandiose which is how I reacted to Rushmore. The organization
    has refused federal funding and I think that is a good move, for many
    reasons. I want to come back here in several years to see progress
    and maybe be around when a blast takes place. I watched blasting
    during the construction of the Alaska oil pipeline and it was impressive
    to see a mile long blast sequence take place opening up a ditch, (parts of
    the pipeline are buried.) They had some videos of blasting at Crazy Horse
    including a night-time blast that was spectacular.

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    Short ride today and we stay at a motel in Custer SD.
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    tomorrow we ride to see our kids in Denver
    #30
  11. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 18 05112012

    Oh oh, the clouds have moved in and although yesterday temps were in the
    high 70's, today we will be lucky to see 50. Its 41 when we pull out of Custer.

    Stopping to warm up with hot coffee
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    The sky for most of the day
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    For a short time the sun tries to poke through and it warms up to 50
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    But not for long and temps stay around 42F all day. I'm truly chilled
    when we arrive at the kids place and leave my warm clothes on for awhile.
    The good part was we saw lots of rain clouds but not a drop fell on us,
    and it started raining just a couple minutes after we rolled into the garage.
    Can't complain about that!

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    A few more miles today
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    we're staying in Denver for a week before moving on and haven't
    decided where we're going next, south? west? north? Stay tuned
    for the final leg of this journey.

    SM
    #31
  12. KHuddy

    KHuddy Big Sky Country

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,054
    Location:
    Pterodactyl Outpost
    Good to see you safely in Denver. We head to Hyder on Monday. See you on the road or in Fairbanks.
    #32
  13. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 24 05172012

    We've had a great time in Denver with our son and his family. Nothing better
    than time with grandchildren. We went to see the new Avengers movie at an
    iMax theater in 3d. That was fun since I'm a fan of the old comic book characters.
    The weather also warmed up and we thawed out quite nicely.
    Today its time to roll the wheels northward and we pack up and are ready
    to roll out at 9:30, saying good byes,
    Cee is looking strangely at her bike
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    Alas it won't start so we roll the bikes back into the garage to see whats
    up. Turns out the battery has gone bad so Marc finds us one at a local
    shop. We get one, get it installed and get on the road two hours later.

    We can see fire smoke ahead near Ft Collins heading up I25.
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    Going west on I80 in Wyoming
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    we drive through several ominous looking rain clouds on US 287 but nothing falls on us
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    Cool looking cliffs
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    We stop in Lander Wy for the evening, not quite as far as we had thought we'd be but ok.
    The motel elk is checking out the beemer
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    Today's stats, most of today was on interstates.
    [​IMG]
    #33
  14. HayDuchessLives

    HayDuchessLives Loquita

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,195
    Location:
    Anchorage
    Hi Granny Gone Wild Cee and Dave,

    Looks like you're having fun out on the road again. :clap I enjoyed seeing the WY photos as that's my home state. It's always nice to see the peaceful solitude of the wide open spaces again. I took my granddaughter to WY last year to meet some of my family and she was completely surprised to see miles and miles of wide open prairie with more cows and horses than people. Lander is a neat little town in a scenic setting. I'm riding there this summer to visit a cousin and her family and they said they might let me camp in a teepee on their property (her husband is Arapahoe). Cool!

    Ride safely!
    #34
  15. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Was thinking of you while we ride through WY knowing you are familiar
    with this area. This part of the country has a lot of very nice places!
    And I'll bet you have some favorite roads? I'll ask next time.

    have fun in the teepee!

    GGW Cee and Dave
    #35
  16. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 25 05182012

    We wake to a nice day in Lander WY and get packed. Nice motel with big room!
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    we get under way at 9am to a warm day, 60F.
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    We had planned to head northwest from Lander and go through Grand
    Teton and Yellowstone but weather did not look good (again) at all so I decided
    to head northeast to Thermopolis. We cross the lower end of Boysen Reservoir.
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    and enter Wind River canyon
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    We rode through here last fall so its fun to ride it again in the opposite direction
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    Coming to the north end of the canyon
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    We stop for a break just north of Thermopolis on WY 120 heading for Cody
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    We see a lot of not so nice looking clouds ahead
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    rain clouds to the east and west. We stop in Cody WY for gas, hot bowl of
    soup and a great sandwich.
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    Just before the Montana border we run into construction with wet soft
    dirt, good thing we have dirt riding experience, the bikes squirm around in
    the soft sand but not too bad.
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    and then we catch up to the rain just before getting on I90 west, its 45F.
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    Break at a rest stop on the I90 racetrack
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    everywhere we look to the north, east and west we see nasty looking rain clouds
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    I think we're going to get wet,
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    and we do. It rains pretty hard on US191 between Harlowton and Moore.
    Our plan was to go to Great Falls tonight but its 4:00 and that is another
    90 miles in heavy rain. So we turn east on US87 and go to Lewistown MT
    to spend the evening. I'm not a masochist for cold rain.

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    Tomorrow we enter Canada at Sweetgrass and weather forecast is for clear!
    #36
  17. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 26 05192012

    Late last evening the clouds moved away, I suspected it would cool off
    overnight and it did, when we walked outside in the morning we saw
    frost on the bikes, we'll wait just a bit for the sun to warm it up.
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    we're on the road a little before 9am to a beautiful day rolling west in Montana
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    flat plains and rolling hills, very enjoyable riding this morning
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    We stop for a break not far from Great Falls, Montana has nice rest stops on US 87
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    We enter Canada at noon in Sweetgrass and only one line is open so its a
    20 minute wait. Not bad.
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    The ride north today from Great Falls is on I15
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    It continues to be four lane to Calgary. I've driven this route several times and each
    time the roads are bigger, traffic is heavier and there are more buildings. Normal I suppose,
    Canada is a growing place, at least this part is.
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    We stop for the evening in Airdrie just north of Calgary and find a very nice
    Italian restaurant run by someone from Figi. great food.

    Todays stats
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    Next up, we ride to Dawson Creek and the beginning of the Alcan!
    #37
  18. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 27 05202012

    Today we are riding to Dawson Creek BC, it is a long
    haul from Airdrie so we want to get on the road by 8am.

    But Cee's bike doesn't want to start, low battery again. I hit
    the button one more time, it has just enough battery to
    spin 'er up and it fires and runs! Yay!
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    I think something is running the battery down at night so tonight
    we'll disconnect the battery at the end of the day and see what
    happens in the morning.

    Its a beautiful clear day! Another day of boring four lane but the weather is perfect!
    [​IMG]

    Our first gas stop is at LeDuc AB and we have a lot of trouble using the
    credit cards. I have to call the bank, AGAIN, to clear it up. We're here for
    about an hour getting that cleared up. Seems my bank auto-blocks
    transactions from Canada without telling me. They work the rest of the day.
    Lesson. Call bank before leaving home and be specific about being
    in Canada. And carry phone numbers of who to call if there is trouble.
    They blocked my ATM card too. :huh
    I was not a happy camper this morning.

    Our second gas stop is at Whitecourte AB and its a lunch break too
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    Carry On. We are back in forest country.
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    I like this sign!
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    Going to the north country!
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    Cee's self portrait
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    And into British Columbia
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    Today's stats, long day in the saddle, at least by our standards. We are
    not iron butt types.
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    Tomorrow we start up the Alcan, one of my favorite roads, I
    think I've been over it about two dozen times, more than most
    folks but I know a few guys who have way more time on the road.
    I've driven it in a VW microbus, an old Pontiac, Subaru, Suburban,
    motorhome, pickup and of course several times on bikes. I've been
    on it in the winter, spring, summer and fall. I hit a moose in the VW
    at 2am in the fall. On another run coming home from Illinois in December
    the motor in the '65 Pontiac exploded. Had to hitch hike the rest of the
    way. The new '78 Subaru froze up at -40 in Teslin on a January run
    bringing it home from Seattle.
    Every trip has a story. Thats part of the adventure!
    #38
  19. beamertwin

    beamertwin Paul

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,072
    Location:
    the end of the rainbow
    :lurk
    #39
  20. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 28 05212012

    Today we start up the Alcan, I always look forward to this part of the trip
    and love seeing some of the sights again and see what has changed. We
    stayed at a nice place in Dawson Creek, they are giving the old place a new
    look and the rooms are good too. after getting coffee at Tim Hortons
    across the road we are underway.
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    The Peace River bridge is a steel grate type and a long way above the river.
    If you've never ridden a bike across a bridge like this you are in for a "treat!"
    The bike twitches around and its a bit unsettling the first time. The technique
    is a steady speed, not slow, loosen up on the bars and let it wander a bit.
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    We stop in Fort St John for gas, its gotten to be a big place. Buying gas along
    the Alcan is not a problem if you plan your stops ahead. Our comfortable
    range is around 200 mile and we don't carry spare gas as its not necessary.
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    There are lots of straight stretches from Fort St John to Fort Nelson, like this.
    I take the opportunity to blow out some carbon, like it could ever build up... :rofl
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    Our second gas stop is Pink Mountain, milepost 140. The next is Fort Nelson, mile post 283.
    The road gets much more interesting and scenic.
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    We start seeing Fresh Snow along the road!
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    going up Steam Boat on the way to Summit Lake, one of the highest places on the route
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    Stone Mountain
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    Taking a break at Summit Lake to change camera batteries
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    as we roll away we see this little fellow
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    We get our pictures and then honk the horns and yell to scare him away,
    being along side the road is not good for a little guy like this
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    Lots of twisty road, light traffic and great scenery
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    another steel grate bridge
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    don't look down, too late
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    Cool geology
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    We stay the night at this place along Muncho Lake. Have seen this place
    and wanted to stay here once. And once was enough. Its a beautiful log
    lodge and location but it was really more money than its worth to me.
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    Today's stats
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    Today was good. Despite ugly looking weather it wasn't cold and I love
    the section of road from Fort Nelson to Muncho Lake.
    #40