Whatever/Whenever. RR Father/Son to AK

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by GR8ADV, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Pow right in the kisser

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    Well, we're baaaaak. Which kind of ruins the idea of a crafty ending, but the trip in between was remarkable.

    A little background first, then the report. First off, it is sunny here in Seattle, and after camping our way through Northern BC, the YT and Alaska for the last month, it is hard to be inside. So we will see how far we get today.

    I have been riding for years, Honda's, Harley baggers, BMW baggers and a few years ago my GS ADV. I am wondering how I ever did without the GS. Not only has it opened up tons of non paved areas, but it has taken me down paved roads that end in dirt that I previously avoided.

    Shady Pass in Eastern Wa

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    And thank you Clayton for the patience in Death Valley

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    I love it. It does everything as well as any bike I have owned in the past except for one thing; keep me out of trouble. But trouble is a relative term...

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    Why I am on Lippincott pass with a fully loaded ADV for a two week camping trip is a bit lost on me now :D

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    I bought the GS with thoughts of North and South on my mind. Now that I have been North, I now have thoughts of North and South on my mind. Those that have been there understand.

    This trip would be different in so many ways than anything else I had done. The biggest one of those is that my 17 year old son would be joining me for the ride of rides; 30 days to Alaska. This would take some prep; to harden the bikes; to improve his riding skills; and to get my mind right.
    #1
  2. Jigo

    Jigo Westbound

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    Looks like you had a great adventure. Keep it coming. :D
    #2
  3. kildala2000

    kildala2000 The GS Store.

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    Great report and doing the Yukon/Alaska trip for the past 8 years I must say the north will always draw you back. My first trip this year with my son's on his 19th birthday and have him follow along on his own bike was a dream that I've been waiting for many, many, years. :clap
    The bonding and the memories will never be forgoten.
    Can't wait till next year,
    Ride Safe,
    Rick
    #3
  4. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Pow right in the kisser

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    First things first, and that was for Chris my son to take the motorcycle safety course; that was last year some time. After that we began the bike search. For me reliability, ABS, and heated grips were my criteria. For him it was a Ducati or nothing. :deal

    We found a 2007 f 650GS in Oregon a few hundred miles south of us. (dad 1 kid 0, that will likely change greatly in the future). Looks good, low miles, throw in the Caribou bags and some good BMW riding gear that just happened to fit and we had a deal. We both drove down to pick it up in the Forerunner, and I was going to drive it home. Yes he now had his MC endorsement, but after the class it was really no more than saying yes, he can ride a 250 cc bike in a parking lot around some cones. So, we would leave the interstate for another day for him.

    Not to say he did not jump on it when ever he could!

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    Amazing ride for a single. I was expecting tons-o-buzz. No such. Not enough power at the low end to get him into too much trouble, but lots on the Freeway, and cruising at 70+ MPH is no problem while giving me 65 miles per gallon.

    The Adventure was pretty much taken care of regarding protection to make sure we would get home even with a bad get off. But the 650 needed some love. Engine and body guard, oil cooler protection, headlight protection, brake stop, flex shifter, a touring windshield, etc etc. Some PIAA lights, autocom and kenwood for bike to bike and xm (+1 on the communication +0 on xm in AK).

    We put on as many miles as we could to get him ready. A little sketchy for me to watch him I must say. But on the other hand seeing him in the mirrors is awesome! As neither of us had bike camped for this long of a period, we needed a couple shakedown trips to iron things out. The first was to the dry side of the state to the Grand Coulee dam area. Mostly highway riding.

    Nice country.

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    We found a few things that we would need that would seem obvious to most, but hey, we are simple folks. Hatchet, jacket to hang by the fire at night that was different than riding gear, non riding gloves and a hat. Typically, for my trips I ride as long as possible, stop as short as possible and then repeat as often as necessary. This trip would involve more hang time, and more multiple day stops, and I had to think a bit differently.

    After a few hundred miles, it became clear, from the mouths of babes, that BMW seats SUCK! We took care of that with a seat from Rich's custom seats just outside seattle. My experience is that with these seats EVERYTHING else will hurt long before I even think of my butt.

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    The second shakedown was to the wet part of the state in the Olympic Rainforest. Here we were reminded how easy it is for things to get we wet if one does not pay attention, and how it will NEVER EVER dry again. Note, to self, we need to be waterproof from head to toe, OFF the bikes. Some off pave riding this time as we try to hone all of his skills. He is very good, either talented or naive. :D We bump into some very good lessons that will serve us well. He washes the front end out once and his bike takes the first dirt nap. In the Olympics we uncover absolutely great beauty

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    and we get a taste for the blood sucking bugs that we expect to find (hey we are testing everything :D )

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    We are also testing out a couple of packing methods as well. I am always amazed at how much gear it takes to commit to camping. Doing this trip via hotel would mean nothing more than side bags for both of us. Not so with a tent, water proof camp gear to wear, shoes for climbing around...hell food for a week takes up a crap load of room ( I was not going to shop every two days).

    Nothing left now but to wrap up the small things on the list, spare keys, tubes, brake pads etc and somehow get all this crap on the bike in a way that we could repeat in the field. He will be a senior in HS next year. We will be leaving the day after school gets out. Funny I haven't waited for school to get out for a long long time. :D
    #4
  5. suwee

    suwee Alledged Rookie

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    Awsome start! I'm looking forward to your report and would love to be able to do my trip next year with my 19 year old. However it just won't be possible. So I have to read yours and be envious.

    Glad you've made it home safe.
    #5
  6. Jigo

    Jigo Westbound

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    I passed Grand Coulee Dam too on my way to Oroville :D I love the backroads of Washington State. Nice country indeed.
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    #6
  7. TomTom63

    TomTom63 Motorradfahrer

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    Hey GR8ADV :clap! Good start, bring it on:lurk. I'm done with my report... :rayof
    #7
  8. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Pow right in the kisser

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    Our final service was done on the bikes two weeks ago so we are good to go. Only thing they found was a weep from the transmission seal. I could smell oil from day 1 on this thing but we could never find it, until now. They said it is a major tear down; not what I wanted this close to this trip. They also said it would not be a problem on the trip. Ok, we will put this off until I return.

    Chris's bike was solid. The best part was the loners for the Day. I took a 1200r, and he an 800s I believe. Too much fun for him. This did not help with the 650 over Ducati decision. :wink: He can't wait until the next service. Too funny.

    Ok, only two last 'hmmmms' before we head out. Tire choices, and Top Box or not. The AK tire issue is a tired issue, and if the topic itself had been a tire, it would have been worn down to the cords long ago. But I still agonized.

    For tires in AK here is my take. TKC on the Front and street on the rear and be done. TKC's are better off pave, no question, but I don't think that TKC's will make much difference at all on the slime they call mud in AK, but what do I know. For us, the thought of having a spare for the Dempster seemed like a good idea, so if I am going to take a tire anyway, why not TKC's front and rear and when we need to swap out in 3k miles we will keep the old as our spare for the Demptster. That, and with the co$t of tires in Canada :eek1 :eek1 , carrying our own for the whole trip was an easy choice.

    For the Top Box question, I don't really like they way they ride, high and back, and I don't really like the way they look either. But just like the tires, sometimes the results go the other way. We would stuff the box with dried food, lighter than the box itself, and the box would serve as a one stop shopping for food and cookware. It also served as a bear 'resistant' (but not proof) box that we could easily hang as required. It also freed up some packing room so on road packing had lots of freedom.

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    So there we go. I took the day before the trip off work such that there would be no last minute shuffles, or late night scrambles. We leave tomorrow. Hard to believe. Please no comments on the garage. Over the past two weeks the bikes have taken over and nothing, I repeat nothing, seemed to have been put away after use. :D
    #8
  9. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Pow right in the kisser

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    I love, love, love leaving on a trip. I love getting on the bike knowing I am on the first travel day. I love passing the cars coming the other way on their morning commute. And I love waving to bikes coming the other way doing the same thing. I love knowing that I will be driving by the regular turn off to work and going going going. I see the other riders look over at a fully loaded bike. They know too that my day will be much different than theirs.

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    Loaded and ready for lift off from Seattle. Wife, Ms. Adv, take the official pic and we are good to go. This spring has been the worst in history weather wise. One of the coldest and wettest to date. It looks as tho we have caught a break as the forecast is for decent weather until we get into the interior of BC where it should be good.

    We will be taking the Westerly way to AK for those who read the Milepost. That means Cassiar Hyder/Stewart and the likes.

    Checking in with Chris, he has no desire for 3 hours of slab up I-5 (I like him more already). We opt for a trip to the west to the Olympic Peninsula. From there we will ferry to Vancouver Island and Victoria where we will visit my sister. Whatever, whenever at work and we have just left the driveway.

    On the way we drive right by Rich's Custom seats again, so we stop. The great thing about his place is that there are always bikes there, and real 'riders', no show and tell guys here. Only those who put serious time on their bikes cough for the dough to be comfortable. There are always good folks to chat with. And of course he always has the coffee on!

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    One such Harley rider made the trip to AK a couple of years ago on his ultra. He said the TOW was a mess in the rain. He paddled his way in the mud for hours; but he had a big ass grin on his face! Now that is my kinda guy. :clap We hung for a cup and then made our way to Port Angeles for the Ferry to Victoria.

    Here we are waiting for the Ferry. Note the young woman leaning on the back of the Goldwing.

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    She is a 13 year old girl traveling with her dad from Colorado. He is all chatty and having fun, she has her face planted in her hands facing away from the group. Not particularly in the mood at the moment and I guess it has been a long trip. Dad notes that she lost her communication wire that allows them to talk, so she has just had her Ipod. He also says that this is the second trip where that has happend. Can you believe it?? :rofl Maybe he would take the hint? haha. They were both having fun later on the boat, and likely this was just one of those moments.

    Chris does his best imitation of Brad Pitt on vacation as we head to Canada.

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    As we approach Victoria harbor, or is it harbour, we see a large cruise ship that is likely heading to AK as well. The border crossing is interesting as the series of questions for chris was unique. Is this your dad? Does your mom know you are here? Do you live with your mom? How long have you had the bike? Ever been on a bike trip before? How long was it? Where did you go? The one that through him was "Where do you live"? We always say Seattle when we travel because more people know that than Bellevue, where it says we live on the passport. She looked down at the passport, then back and him and asked again. He got it right the second time. Chris refers to the Q&A as the "Do you love your mother border crossing"

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    The weather was now hot and we have lucked out. We park the bikes and tour the fine city on foot. The Empress hotel is just beautiful. They said they were full for afternoon tea, but I think maybe they didn't want us radical adventure dudes in their tea room.

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    We also took a tour of the Parliament build. Quite impressive to see where not very much gets done. :wink: I think it was Mark Twain who said, "thank the lord that we don't get all the government we pay for".

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    As we left we took the one and only highway out of Victoria up to my sisters. 25 years ago they were in the boonies, now they are just out in the woods. Nice place and a great twisty road to get us there. Outside of the worst traffic jam I have been in in a while, the drive was nice. My niece comes by, we all have few homebrew and a great chat.

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    We share stories of 35 years ago when they toured the US together for several months on motorcycles. He was on a 750 Honda, and she was on a Honda 350 four. Things have changed a lot since then as he looks over our bikes.

    He still has his 1972 (I think) Honda 750 tucked away in the barn. It was so crammed in I could not get a pic. He needs to bring that baby out and restore it. It was THE bike in the day, Windjammer fairing and all.

    We then all sit down to what will be our last home cooked meal in a while. My sis is a great cook.
    #9
  10. Jigo

    Jigo Westbound

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    Great shots! I love how you positioned your camera. Keep them coming.
    #10
  11. SparkyL

    SparkyL Been here awhile

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    This looks like it will be a great RR! I'm in.

    BTW, how did you ever convince Mrs. GR8ADV to agree to Chris getting his license and a bike? My 21 year old got his license and a bike last year, and his Mom is still pissed!

    Have a great trip and safe travels. Keep it coming. I hope to copy you some day.
    #11
  12. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Pow right in the kisser

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    Hey Sparky. Well, I am not sure exactly. I can understand it when I go on my trips alone as I think I am worth more dead than alive. :lol3 But it is different with your kids, especially for a mom. Most likely because he is 17 and this was an adult supervised process. I made the bike choice; the MC safety course was a requirement; all his prep miles were riding with me. I am an ATGATT guy and stress that a lot. Although he still does not get it; maybe your 21 yr old will. I am sure this all helped. But I must admit it is a risky business. Don't get me wrong, it is not that there was/is not concern on both our parts.

    In the end, this is someting that we will both look back on for the rest of our lives. I hope you make the chance happen for you and your son.
    #12
  13. enumclaw

    enumclaw I just....don't know

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    This sounds so familiar. My then 17 y/o son did the MSF training, got him a great bike to start out with, a KLR250. Prep miles all with me, ATGATT minded as well. He graduated from high school last year, shortly after we traded up to a KLR650.

    Not long after that we headed out on a 6 day ride through eastern WA, OR, ID, MT, and back. It is a great feeling having him in the rear view mirror, or out in front.

    It is also scary as hell.

    Late August we're heading up for a week on Vancouver Island. Next year we're doing the Deadhorse trip. These are some great times.

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    Not to stomp on your report, you understand. Keep it coming, looking forward to it. :1drink
    #13
  14. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    Sub-scribed!

    :lurk

    Wanna adopt another son? I have my own career...come equipped with Grandchildren and LOVE to travel far and wide....

    Just sayin....?
    #14
  15. BusyWeb

    BusyWeb Adventurer

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    :clap
    #15
  16. Hari in Gila

    Hari in Gila Adventurer

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    i love these parent/child rides. Let's me make my dream a little more real. She's only 6, but a 50cc is in her future. ATGATT is the way to go.
    #16
  17. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Pow right in the kisser

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    Woke to beautiful broken clouds in Victoria. Nice morning to relax and sip a coffee before heading out to catch the Ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay back on the mainland. Except for the fact that we screwed up and the boat leaves one hour earlier than we thought last night. :eek1 Quick pack and we are outa there

    Backing my bike out of their garage I look up, and there, starring right at me, is a clock, clearly as sign from above.

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    As we head north or 'up island' as it is known to the locals, we run into everyone from the Boat yesterday. It appears that everyone hung out in Victoria before continuing their journey. We all wave like we were long lost friends.

    We get to the ferry in plenty of time. The lineup has lots of bikes from all over creation, heading every which way possbile. Some on their way, some heading home. Great stories abound.

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    One is from Cesar, who seemed to be from CO. As we talk about trips I mention my potential trip to Honduras next January. His eyes light up and he says I must stay at his hotel in Guat!! Damn, that's cool. We exchange information and I make a note to Google the Hotel Marbissa when I get home.

    On the Boat I notice Chris's chain is a bit tight. After a quick fix we settle to the back of the boat with the young folks doing thier best to burn as much BC bud as they can. We sit in the warmth of the sun, kick off our shoes and enjoy (the view).

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    Horseshoe Bay is at the foot of the Whistler Highway about 10 miles north of Vancouver. Very nice part of the world. And the highway is awesome!

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    On the way north we run into a couple German riders at Shannon Falls who have just come across Canada. Damn isn't it amazing how cool all MC riders are. :clap We talked about their trip, how expensive Canada was and how they are now very bummed now that I have told them they have just missed D2D :cry

    The falls were in fine form today.

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    We get into Whistler and check in to the timeshare we have for the night. Whistler is the gateway to gods country.

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    Here Chris and I get some great time to talk and share both memories and the future. We (over)enjoy a buffet BBQ, a dip in the pool, and some quality time in the jacuzz and Koala room (the name for the steam room per my daughter when she was 8 because it smelled like eucalyptus :D ).
    We are fortunate enough to be able to come here often. One of Chris's memories is how much fun it was to put shampoo in the jacuzzi tub. A pic from those days.

    Our last night in civilization comes to a close.

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    #17
  18. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Pow right in the kisser

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    Damn that is cool. I clearly remember asking my Dad for a 'mini bike' back when I was a kid. No such luck for me. 6 is a cool age; you are both lucky. Enjoy
    #18
  19. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Pow right in the kisser

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    We bought breakfast last night and ate in bed this morning. A feast of Rhubarb/Blueberry pie. Add a glass of milk and heck we even had most of the food groups covered. Could not get out without a quick trip to the Koala room. Popped the suits in the dryer while we packed so we did not have to carry any wet gear around.

    Broken clouds and 65 degrees. Better that I had hoped. Today we head north on Hwy 99 then just after a few miles we hang a right onto the Duffy Lake road and beauty becomes second only to great beauty as we head through the pass from Westen BC to the interior. At the turn-off we seem to lodge ourselves between a set of Jap bikes infront and a group of HD riders behind; looks like we have the bike world covered. We all stop as construction crews have everyone stopped. The river is flowing about 3+ inches deep over the road. My heart sinks to think about the 10 hour detour this might require. But all for not, they let us pass. Our Our first water crossing :D . Fun making waves on this great day.

    This is one beautiful stretch of road, and almost no traffic. Steep mountains and a deep valley.

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    It gets cool in the pass and we are both glad for our heated grips as the temp drops to the high 40's briefly before climbing quickly to mid 70's again.

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    Lunch at a great Greek place in Lillooet. Hey the first food shot!

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    From here it is across the Fraser river and east on 99 through Marble Canyon. One of my favorite roads of all time to ride. High on the bluff above the river, winding past pretty teal Pavilion lake and others; great pavement, and a wonderful engineered road. Sorry no pics, can't stop now we are 'in the flow'.

    This was our longest ride day, showing up in Likely BC around 6 pm. It showed as we were both a bit road tired when we arrive. The smallest of small towns, yet wonderful, nestled nicely on the Quesnel River. Most people blow right past this area and head through Quesnel, hurrying past some of the most wonderful country, on their way to Prince George and other places north. This trip will be different. I am really glad we have time. Dead quiet, quaint, and very very green.

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    We need to figure out what we are going to do, so we grab a couple sodas and something to eat and ask around. As this market IS the town, everyone eventually shows up. When asked about the temperatures in the winter they said, "well the school busses stop running at 30 below, but that only happened 5 or 6 times last year"

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    One very old prospector, smoking a hand-roll, or was it smoking him, said he would never camp around here - "hell, bears everywhere, what the hell is a matter with you". Others had some other ideas. The best was Quesnel Forks, at the fork of the Quesnel and Caribou rivers. 8 miles away. And it is on a dirt road, so even better:D Steep downhill at the end. "why did you slow down so much dad..." Punk.

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    Creepy but cool old ghost town from the Gold rush days. It was the first European/Asian settlement in BC not associated with the fur trade. Partially restored buildings, an old cemetary. This was once the biggest gold rush town north of San Francisco. One old couple in a camper there. Did I mention damn creepy...but cool. We toured around the 'town' and cemetary. Bear shit everywhere. Just got a bit creepier.

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    We kick back after our self guided foot tour and self taught gold rush history lesson. Assuming we don't get eaten, this is a great place. A good fire put a wraps on this day of steller riding country. Here is the first of many many nights in the tent.

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    Tomorrow we head out on the "Back Road' from Likely to Barkerville. A dirt backroad to explore the back country of the BC Cariboo.
    #19
  20. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Pow right in the kisser

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    Here is todays plan:

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    #20