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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Parepin, Feb 13, 2011.
Fuckin awesome. Thanks a ton, Jim. Good pics.
Lemme know if you want me to re-host them to my Smug Mug so we don't lose 'em. I may do it anyway...
On that note, if you feel like splitting this smugmug account, lemme know, seeing as our ride reports are gonna merge before long.
Very well done! Excellent adventure and photo report. Can't wait to see more!! Thanks for sharing
Edit: This is starting as the best one in a long time!
Yea what ever will work. I've got them hosted and still saved on the SD cards too! (for insurance). Haha yea I figure I better start my ride report summer 2008 when I got back into bikes so that mine merges with yours when we meet up LOL.
Patience, my friend. I just don't have the next installment ready yet.
Got up the next morning and just had to snap a shot from the vestibule. I soaked it in for several minutes before stumbling down to the house for some bad ass breakfast burrito concoction. We hopped in the truck in the early morning and headed back into town, grabbing Maureen a replacement battery as well as some other random accessories before shooting back to the ranch and performing some repairs. Javier and I took the time to show off our bikes. He's got a rather impressive KZ1000, and can't seem to speak highly enough of. Mid-morning leads to mid-day and we all geared up for a little tour and lunch. I gotta say, so far BC has been very impressive. Awesome roads and scenic views. We stopped in Kaslo, I believe, and had lunch. This is where I said my goodbyes and continued northwest, following route 6 to Vernon and making camp 20 miles outside of town.
Woke up the next morning to a light drizzle just outside of Cherryville. Reluctantly, I crawled out having donned my damp gear and roll the whole tent up, shoving everything haphazardly back into their bags and getting on my way. Once in town, I exchanged some currency and had a mediocre breakfast at a Denny's. I remembering having walked up to the front door shortly after a pair of bikers. The last guy turned around and locked the door behind him, turning to mock at his friends he locked outside. He spots me patiently waiting for pancakes and cracks the door open to let me in. His buddy comments Can you believe this guy? to which I just laughed as returned with a solid Hah. What a jackass. This got a good reaction out of them. I'd bump into one of these guys as I left and he questioned me about my travels. I asked me at one point, a bit surprised, You don't even have a map? I shrugged. I knew where I was going, north west. He ended up giving me a Harley-Davidson travel atlas. Good guy. Canadians.....
I followed the Trans-Canada highway into Cache Creek before heading north on 97 towards Prince George. The goal in the short term was to get to Hyder. This is one town I WAS aware of, and I knew that I wanted to check it out. I had heard about it quite a bit on ADVrider and, as I've already demonstrated, that's all the reason I needed to go somewhere. I got hit with a pretty gnarly thunderstorm while in Williams Lake and sought shelter in the Motel 8, mooching wifi and inhaling coffee. This is also where I started having chronic flooding problems, causing me to leave puddles of fuel wherever I parked. I learned to be quick with the petcock while at stops. I pitched camp that night beneath some power lines just outside some random Provincial Park an hour south of Prince George. I hoped that I wouldn't wake up with a tumor or something....
Lemme answer some questions real quick before I continue on too much further.
Flashmo: I absolutely intend to be there for WestFest. I'm hooked, man. You can count on it. Just don't go doing something dumb like running over your own foot two days before the trip this time around, numb nuts.
Tiernan: Lyons, NY. Just north of Geneva, about dead smack between Syracuse and Rochester. 315-er for life.
Truckin thumper: I'm just a different kind of crazy. And yes, this is before we met, by about a year. I referred to this trip as the Rootbeer run, mostly because for some strange reason I was addicted to Canadian A&W Root beer, and always had a bottle on hand. We met during the Chasing the Sun phase. Make sense? good.
I also want to make a point that I've been "sober" for over a week now, and I feel like my creative juices are fading. I might slow down on the updates again until I can score my next fix. I'd rather you guys have some good, somewhat humorous updates than just journal entries, which is what I feel I may be moving towards.
And once again, thanks for all the incredible feedback. Feel free to send questions my way.
I thought this was the trip before we met.
Hopefully we'll run into each other before.
Also, I am mailing you those gloves, yer camera, and a Raingear top (bottoms broke and in the trash).
Thoroughly enjoying the ride report, hope you find a cure to sobriety if that is your desire, or more inspiration for creativity. Bringing this great adventure to us all.
I continued on in the early morning, following 97 north into Prince George, then west to Kitwanga where the Cassier Highway starts. I don't recall much else going on this day, just burned up as many miles as I could manage. I stopped to check out some locals dip-netting salmon out of hte river, then made camp at the only RV park in the area. I was a bit leery about camping in these parts. I admit that the locals had me spooked as far as the wildlife goes. I was sure I was going to encounter a bear or worse by the time I had gotten this far. After dropping 20 bucks on this campsite, only to realize that I had been placed right up against the woods with no fence in sight, I vowed to avoid campgrounds from here on out. $20 definetly left a bad taste in my mouth. I met a German fellow here on a BMW. He had had all his gear shipped over just to make a run at Alaska and was now returning from the loop. We shot the shit for a bit, but I don't remember anything significant being said. I spent the night watching Long Way Round, powering my laptop from a mooched extension cord I had found in one of the out buildings. I made a point to get my share of the hot water while I was here. At that price, I was content just standing under the shower head with boiling water just pouring over me for a good hour, till the tank ran cold. Good times.
Got up the next morning to find the German making coffee and toast over his MSR stove with some weird ass toasting contraption. I found it rather interesting that this guy would be jonesing enough for toast every morning to carry around such a tool, but to each their own. We shot the shit a little more and I discovered something about him.... the dude needed a shower, but clearly had no intent to do so. Alrighty then. He packed up as I spent a good chunk of the morning trying to track down a pinhole leak in my cheap self inflating air mattress and patching it with RTV and duct tape. I would continue fighting with this damn thing for the remainder of the trip as seams split, holes were punctured, and the valve just plain old didn't work. Buy cheap, buy twice. That's what they say, right?
Broke down camp late and left just before noon, following the Cassier highway north at a very leisurely pace. I made sure to pull over often for some quality fucking around. I'm a curious bugger, I admit it, and a schedule would go out the window quicker than shit if I saw something that I found in the least bit interesting. But that's what this was all about, right? I would regret passing up on something to save ten minutes than I ever would getting somewhere ten minutes late. I hit the intersection of 37A by mid-afternoon and hung a left towards Stewart and Hyder. Cool little towns. At one point I tried taking the dirt road up to Salmon Glacier, only to be stopped dead in my path by major construction equipment. The road had washed out ahead, and would reopen tomorrow. I vowed to return, and turned back, following some double track along the river before finding a nice little spot to get my head straight. I pitched camp at the local Lyons Club Campground, Rainy Creek or some such, on the Canadian side. It was a nice place, but packed, and I was limited on tent spaces. After unloading my gear, I headed back out towards Hyder to once again do some quality fucking around. I got Hyderized, and had myself a mighty bad chili burger. Not recommended. I kicked around the back roads a bit once a good buzz was established, but continued having problems with the bike flooding and leaving puddles of fuel wherever I had parked. I made a note to fuck with it back at the campsite, but darkness fell fast and I high-tailed it back to the tent. Fell asleep that night watching Long Way Round.
Not the best of panorama
Just a great, honest and laid back report. My kind of ride. Good job.
Hell of a start.
It's August 14<sup>th</sup> at this point, and I made sure to inspect the bike early in the morning to troubleshoot the flooding issues. Pulling the carb apart, I didn't notice anything obviously amiss, but made a point to hose everything down real well with some carb cleaner. I also shot the shit a bit with some of the locals. To the left there was a husband and wife duo, along with their 5 or 6 year old daughter. They were on bicycles, and nothing else. I recall them being foreigners and had some trouble understanding them, but what I did get was that they had ridden their bikes up from California with their daughter in tow. One bike was towing a trailer with their gear, and the other was a tandem with the little girl on the back. Wow, these people are hard-core. I, of course, failed to get a picture.... I packed up camp after re-assembling the KLR and headed back to Hyder. I was stopped on the dirt road just outside of town as several black bears crossed my path. A suburban stopped alongside me and a father with his kids hopped out to check out the wildlife. He looked over the KLR and went on and on about how he use to have the same bike, and what an awesome ride it had been. Unfortunately, he had to give it up when his family came to be. So it goes...
I continued on my way, heading up the winding gravel road past the bear viewing area and rows upon rows of RVs, some towing SUVs of equal size. Creature comforts, I suppose. What an awesome road, by far one of my favorites. Waterfalls, glacier melts, snow capped mountains, this place had it all. I just couldn't get enough, and fortunately enough, the road just kept on going. At the summit, I stopped for some photo ops and to converse with the local bear guy a bit. Lots of hiking opportunities, but I was quite content just laying low and hanging out. At this point, atop the rounded rocky ledge overlooking the Salmon Glacier as it pounded into the mountain before me and turning left in a heap of broken ice, time stood still. I didn't care about the world, I was merely consumed by the vastness before me. Serenity. Peace of mind. A rare occurrence in my catch-all of a psyche.
I just couldn't take enough pics as I continued along the dirt road, determined to follow it to the end. What a ride. Every couple of miles some rutted dirt road would veer off down towards the glacier, or up and over the top of the mountain. It killed me to drive past them, but I knew that if I tried to ride them all, I would never get down off this mountain. I passed along what appeared to be an avalanche detour of the road the cut straight through the mountain, shaving off a good mile or so of road by going straight through the mountain. At the end of the road, I discovered what appeared to be Dr. Evil's lair. Holy crap, how had I not seen this thing as I cruised up and over the top. If course I was going to check this out. Veering off the road and careening down an embankment I crossed the rocky clearing towards the concrete fortress before me. I quickly came upon a truck parked just outside an open steel door. A woman was waiting inside, sitting in the passenger seat, watching me as I baja'd towards her. Removing my helmet, I asked her what she knew of the place. With a shrug, she said Not much and informed me that her husband had just gone inside to scope it out. I laughed and asked if he'd mind if I joined him, and she countered, insisting that I do so as she was worried for him. You don't have to tell me twice. This place was HUGE. I quickly came upon the man just before an open door deep within the building, out of which hurricane force winds seemed to be blowing. Introductions were passed and we continued on, hopping from rail timber to debris in hopes of avoiding the flooded pathway. My god, there's a train in here. They left a full size train. Several engines and dozens of open topped cars shone in the dim light of my cheap mini-mag. Sheet plastic had been haphazardly thrown over the engines in an attempt to stave off the elements, but it was of no use. The condensation had taken it's toll and everything was covered in a thick layer of flaking rust. Amazing... I didn't manage to get any pics of any worth, however. The air was full of dust and the wind seemed to keep it all from settling...We wandered about for several minutes before the man stated he had better get back to his wife before she begins to worry. I laughed and informed him he was too late, and we both returned to the surface.
As the duo pulled away, an official looking truck had taken it's place. An amber light on the top peaked my curiosity and I wondered over to a guy with a vest and hardhat, holding what appeared to be a sat-phone and some sort of meter. He was taking soil readings and recording some info. Apparently the mine has leeching copper into the surrounding rock. I picked his brain a bit and he told me the mine, known as the Granduc mine (I think), burrowed clear through the mountain and popped out the other side at a vacant airstrip. That would explain the wind. Apparently they mined mostly copper here, but also hit pockets of gold and silver. He told me a story of several surveyors that had hiked through the mine, only to come out the other side with all but one headlamp dead and everyone holding onto belt loops like kindergarteners being led across the street by Mrs. Garrison. This did nothing more but agitate my curiosity, but I was severely under prepared for such an endeavor and forced myself to return to the bike and make my way back towards Hyder. Its here that I noticed the wires jutting out from beneath my fuel tank, right about where my air horn was once mounted. Man, this is getting old. As I slid back into the saddle and go through my cold starting routine, my thumb finds... a distinct absence of choke lever. That fucker was long gone. I did, however, manage to find the air horn on the way back into town, but not before it had obviously been run over by who knows how many vehicles. Cursing myself, I threw it into my pannier and continued on my way.
I dicked around town a bit, grabbing yet another mediocre burger before leaving shortly before 5pm. Heading back out to the Cassiar highway, but not before grabbing some quality photos, I soon found myself once again careening down the desolate highway, the place I'd come to be most at home. I stopped at one of the few gas stops and ran into three guys on BMWs, heading south after their own Alaskan circuit. One barely spoke english, but the other two and I conversed for quite a bit. I suggested they stop at Hyder, and one mentioned reading about this place on ADVrider. Small world. I grabbed some coffee and headed north once again after topping off my tank. It had begun to rain by this point, and I just wanted off the highway. I pulled over in the rest area and dropped down an overgrown path towards an unnamed lake. There was another tent down here, and what looked to be a bicycle bungied up in a tarp like lawn furniture in February. I chuckled and quickly pitched my tent, eager to meet my neighbor in the morning.
Hey Alex. Love the report.
So are we really going to see you in Darby in July?
Subscribed!! Keep it coming.
Thanks for the vicarious ride.
Great Ride Report, keep it coming Alex!
You are telling a story that I have only dreamed about, someday.................
I awoke to a pleasant surprise. Sunlight.... and a frenchman. At least, the bicyclist spoke with a french accent, I assumed he was French. We chatted a bit as he finished packing up his gear. I marveled at his luggage setup on such a small bike, and he took pride in showing me all the features of what appeared to be a quite well built road bike, but what do I know. He had oatmeal, I burned one and offered my neighbor a share. He declined, stating that he wouldn't be going anywhere if he went down that road. I laughed and told him that's why I don't have pedals. With that, handshakes were exchanged and I wished him luck as he headed south like so many others.
I burned alotta miles after this encounter, fueling up at random overly-decorated fuel tanks wherever I found the opportunity. I remember the road getting pretty gnarly here, where as before it was like any other highway I had been on. Cracked and uneven pavement gave way to seemingly random patches of loosely compacted gravel that seemed to enjoy sucking me and my rig into tire tracks at irregular intervals. Made it to Watson lake and took the opportunity to find some Wifi and send out emails. My cell had long since stopped working, so this was now my only lifeline back home. I also looked up the numbers for several moto shops in Anchorage and managed to secure a rear tire from Alaska Leather. I grabbed a decent meal at Archies and stopped by the Signpost Forest as well. Interesting place. Alotta signs. I remember several drunks hanging out deep within the forest, with obscenities being thrown about with alarming frustration. Alrighty then, moving on. As I geared up, I waved at a passing Vstrom that quickly doubled back and parked besides me. This was an Australian fellow, Richard I believe. We talked a bit, the usual banter, and I went through what had now become a routine tour of my rig. I believe I also made this guy's online blog. He'd been everywhere, and couldn't get past that I was just now going up to Alaska. He seemed to find it necessary to remind me that it was cold up there. Fuck, it's cold HERE.
With that I gassed up and bumped into the Australian once again, who was eagerly trying to find a beer. With a shrug, I wished the guy best of luck and moved on, heading towards White Horse. I camped a few hours east of the city alongside yet another unnamed lake. This is the first time that I really began to question my decision, and it doesn't change with the coming of the new day. I'm riding in the cold, wet, and downright miserable weather. I admit that I don't have the best of gear, and am merely moving from one point of hypothermic recovery to the next. I feel miserable, and am incredibly homesick. I longed for the warmth of my home back in NY. To hug my dog and see my family. To lay on the couch and drink some GOOD coffee for a change. The only thing keeping me moving on is the knowledge that going back won't be any easier than moving forward. That, and a tire in Anchorage.
Here's a direct excerpt from my journal. It's only mid-day, but I've been doin a lot of thinking and figured I should jot something down. I've only been using this journal as a record keeper of my travels and scheduling more than my personal thoughts, so here I go. First off, this emotional rollercoaster is killing me. I'm finding that at night and in the morning I just don't have the ambition that I should have. That I need to have to complete this little journey of mine. It took all I had last night just to keep moving and even then I pitched camp an hour earlier than usual. I just couldn't keep moving. I'm obsessed with not failing, but I have no objective or goal in mind. It's fuckin with me. Then I get on the bike, all be it reluctantly, and I get moving, I'm usually fine as long as I'm not cold. Even the light rain we've been having isn't bothering me as much as the cold. 50 degrees and no sun is no fun, even fully layered up. All I can do is try to stay warm and keep moving, stock up when I can. The amount of people that I see going the other way (south) has me worried, though. I've been sitting here on a smoke break for 20 minutes now, and havn't seen anyone going my way. Not cool. The traffic itself has picked up, too. At least compared to the Cassier highway. I'm not used to having to check my mirrors and actually having to keep pace with others. Other than traffic, though, there isn't much out here. I'm going 80-90 miles between active gas stations. There are so many places out here that are closed down. Easily every other road sign advertising has a big CLOSED sign screwed over it. I wonder how recent they are. Did the recession do this?
Thanks. I'll be at WestFest if I have any say in it. Who knows what life will bring, eh?
I'm actually quite enjoying writing up this ride report. It's been a long time overdue. Despite all the words of encouragement, I'm not completely satisfied with the way this is coming out. I'm gonna chaulk this up to the fact that this is a ride I took nearly two years ago and some details just aren't as fresh as they should be. The journal has been indespensible in terms of refreshing my memory, as have the photos. I'm starting to encounter gaps in the journal now. In fact, I've just come up to a 15 day gap in the story line, and while I know the series of events in terms of where I ended each night, the rest is all whatever memories the photos are kicking. As a result, I'm having to go through and read through my entries two or three times, in various states of mind and edit as I go. I promise that "Chasing the Sun" will include many more pictures and a much fresher memory.
Someone mentioned before that this was an honest report, and I wanted to say something before but... I just didn't. Honesty is what I'm going for here. I'm laying everything out, in as accurate detail as I can. Nothing is being changed to save my ego, and the only time that I may leave out some details will be when others are involved and haven't given permission to post whichever sensitive info I come across. This is just as much therapy for me as it is a form of record keeping. Series of events along this trip have caused some personal demons to come to the surface, ones I thought I had long since banished. Maybe I'm hoping that through reviewing these past few years, maybe I can gain some insight. Or maybe I'm just looking for attention.
Be that as it may, I'm not gonna loose interest in this, and I want to point out that so far we're only at maybe 5,000 miles out of over 30,000. I hope to continue with the momentum that I've gathered, but I'm not gonna sacrifice quality for consistency. I'm sure you'll all understand.