Adventure ride of the Odd Couple or "I wish I had gone alone!"(to Tuk & Deadhorse)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Gone_Ridin, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 8: Monday August 20th Up about 6:30 check on buddy at 7 and he’s having a slow morning, says he really regrets not getting a souvenir from Tuk, whine, whine. This that. Finally I let him know the road is still there. Also, the weather forecast has turned real ugly for the stretch between here and Eagle plains so we should get our asses on the bikes. Naw, he wants to get a bit more rest maybe head out between 10 and noon. Alrighty, thinking I’ll do laundry and give the bike a spongebath so I can look things over,… in Dawson City! I’ll be there for a day, that’ll be your catch up opportunity. See ya! One stop for gas, quick coffee and chat a bit with the guy in the station and on the road by 8. Slow going because of road construction until past the airport then the roads are so nice I’m hitting stretches that a buck thirty and forty are comfortable. Even squeeze a couple 150’s and 60’s out of her. Make the Mckenzie river ferry by 9:15, the deck hand asks where my riding partner is “You saw him, needs way more beauty sleep daily than I do” He thinks that’s pretty funny. We talk a bit about the boat and I find that the captain/pilot is a young guy and this is his first solo season. Amazing, he can sure read the current and runs it amazingly smooth. Back on the road and making great time, hit the ferry landing at the Peel river just as it’s arriving as well and sneak to the front of the short line nodding to the deck hand as if he’s waving me forward. Making great time running solo but the closer I get to Wright pass the scarier it looks. Was looking forward to taking a few more pictures at the border, now that I’ve somewhat figured out my cell camera problems but we’ll have to see when I get up there.

    It's only about 10 past 11 when I reach the top and the fog, clouds, rain and snow are so bad I can barely see 30 feet ahead. There will be no pictures taken on this stretch. I’m trying to maintain a slow descent but it’s so steep and greasy there is zero margin for error. I find myself constantly going 20 to 30kph faster than I should be, which really makes it touchy when I hit sink holes and have to crack the throttle to lift the tire. It’s only about 100k from the border to Eagle Plains but it takes just under 2 hours to get there. Conditions are so bad that the last 30 k to Eagle there are 5 vehicles in the ditch, the Eagle plains water truck (Used to fill their water storage) has been abandoned at the river filling site and the parking lot is full of tour buses, commercial vehicles and tourist’s rental RVs and SUVs scared to continue North. I pull up to the gas pump and the Hotel owner, Stan, pulls up in a bobcat, goes in and activates the pump for me. I gas up and go inside to pay and he asks how bad it is north. “It’s a fackin mess!” Yup, first time since he started for me that Water guy wouldn’t try driving back up from the river Stan says. Are you continuing south? He asks. “I hope to, what’s it like that way?” Shit from what I’ve been told, at least the first 60 or 70 miles anyways, why don’t you go in and have a soup, sandwich and beer. Warm up a bit and make a plan, but scrape some of that mud off before you go in. “Sounds like a good idea, I’ll do that”

    I’ll tell you an important lesson I learned in that last 50k(coincidentally buddy would also learn it) about riding the Dempster; there is no creature that is more of a threat to your life and well being, on the Dempster, than a tourist in a KIA, Hyundai, Honda even BMW & Merc CUV(miniature version of a real 4x4). And the next statement is not made with any racial undertones. Specifically, if the pilot is from the same southeast countries that certain CUVs originate from. They actually believe the toys they have rented are off-road capable, even though the tires are smooth, speed rated, highway models. Once they realize they have little to no control they compensate by running down the middle of the road, driving like they are the only ones on it. There were a few highway department employees that were not opposed to putting bounties on a family that nearly took me out coming down the approach to Eagle River and had forced the highway department truck into the ditch shortly after.

    So I took my time with lunch, warmed up a bit, dried out a bit and then went out to see what was happening. A grader was working the stretch in front of the hotel and Stan said that when they were done there, they were heading South. Shit, don’t want loose, fresh graded road. Gear on and I’m out of here.

    Road wasn’t great, ok, mostly shitty for the first 80k or so but then things kind of dried up, the sky quit leaking and I was able to pick it back up to 90 and 100k. I was even able to make some nice picture stops the rest of the way down. Made it to the end of the road just after 6pm and got some pictures, to replace the lost ones, at the Dempster hwy sign, stopped at the carwash just before Dawson City and showed the 1090 I still loved her, then cruzed into town to get a room. Ended up with a cabin at the Triple J, just in case buddy showed up(not likely tonight but should be tomorrow) and it was time for supper an a beer of 5. Called it a night a little after 10.



    McKenzie River Ferry
    IMG_0937.JPG

    Peel River Ferry IMG_0946.JPG

    Nearing Wright Pass IMG_0950.JPG

    And nearer to Wright Pass PHOTO_20180820_132510.jpg
    #21
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  2. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    PHOTO_20180820_174120.jpg PHOTO_20180820_165444.jpg PHOTO_20180820_181319.jpg PHOTO_20180820_193200.jpg
    When I was finally getting out of the wet stuff I noticed oil on my right leg. Forks had picked up some fine shale silt and were leaking. Drank a bottle of water and cut a piece of plastic out of it to clean the wipers. Had to do it a few times but by the time I was back on the Klondike hwy all was good.
    PHOTO_20180820_174120.jpg PHOTO_20180820_165444.jpg PHOTO_20180820_181319.jpg PHOTO_20180820_193200.jpg
    #22
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  3. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 9: Tuesday August 21st Slept in til 8am. Made a pot of coffee and sorted out laundry I would be washing(Who am I kidding, it was all going in one load) The triple J had a laundry room for guests to use and it was already full when I got there. Not wanting to miss my turn I left my stuff on top the machine and came back in the 45 minutes it said was left on the cycle. Was done laundry and checking the bike over by noon so went for a walk around town to find souvenirs for the family and see what this place was like. Found a spot for lunch and then back to the cabin and make some calls to see where buddy might be. There’s no cell service after you leave Inuvik so I knew that once my calls quit going directly to voicemail it would mean he was in cell range. By mid afternoon, when it was still going to his voicemail, I called up to Eagle Plains and they confirmed he had arrived the evening before, spent the night and had left sometime before noon, probably between 10 and 11 sometime. They said he had had some troubles the day before. Based on his riding style and the distance from Eagle Plains being about 400k, I figured he should be good for 8 hours. It was around 7:30 when he finally answered his cell. He was checked into a room on the outskirts of Dawson and in a panic because his fork seals were also leaking. Told him to cancel the room cause I had a cabin and ride over and I would fix his seals. Nope, he wasn’t moving, he was beat and sore and had already started unloading his bike. Then in a sarcastic tone he says, “Didn’t think you’d still be here.” Well that was the plan buddy, guess I’m going to head over and drink the toe. Be here in the morning, early, if you want to ride into Alaska with me.

    Cabin at the Triple J, my girl looking all shiny and new after the Dempster PHOTO_20180821_080245.jpg

    The TOE!
    PHOTO_20180821_211118.jpg

    Touched the Lips and got my Certificate, and lost it somewhere in Alaska PHOTO_20180821_211400.jpg

    It was raining pretty heavy that night
    PHOTO_20180821_222201.jpg
    #23
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  4. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    You know mechanic hands, lucky I'm two finger typing much less grammaring or punctuating!! Thanks and I'll try harder!
    #24
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  5. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    I hear you, seen so many of those, with giant top boxes, fall over and have to get 3 or 4 guys to lift them up. Must be why they travel in packs!
    #25
  6. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks! Hey you wouldn't know Troy K? Lives in your neck of the woods, rides a Tenere. If so say hi
    #26
  7. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    Well as you said, I warned him. Still friends, he's hinted at a ride in Baja, think because he saw the bike I'm building to ride to Argentina, I never replied to that one. Will probably just continue riding solo. Although I have a place in Spain and the wife and kids have been telling me I should do Euro bike tours as a retirement job. Don't think I could handle the types that do the green vest tours though.
    #27
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  8. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    And then there's those who haven't but think it'll be easy. Gonna be a sunny day every day, 5 star rooms and smooth roads.... Ya right
    #28
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  9. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    What's a type A ? Thanks
    #29
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  10. dovetailredux

    dovetailredux bakery hound

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    It's an expression used for someone who is very driven. No offense intended.
    #30
  11. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    I was just screwing with you, no offense taken!
    #31
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  12. twowings

    twowings Comfortably Numb... Supporter

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    You're an extremely understanding and patient man...the only way this could have ended for me was his funeral and my trial...enjoying your report very much!
    #32
  13. minisoda

    minisoda Been here awhile

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    Yes, I would say SOLO is definitely a good plan.
    #33
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  14. Vacillator

    Vacillator Adventurer Supporter

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    How you liking the 1090, good choice for the trip, comfortable, wind noise???
    #34
  15. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

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    I love to ride solo. There are 2 people that I will ride with, my son, on his 250 makes me slow down and look around. Not a bad thing. Then there is my buddy that shows up once a year. Love riding with him but it kills my liver every trip. Neither of them ever complain about putting in the miles, and we all get along well. I've only once ridden with another rider that drove me crazy. My hats off to you for not killing him!
    Great report! Keep it coming.
    #35
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  16. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 10: Wednesday August 22nd I’m up and ready to go early and buddy shows up about 8:30, no problem, I’ll just strap my tank bag on and we’re good to go. Oh man, lets go have breakfast, you won’t believe the ride I had from Inuvik he says. I’ve already spotted the scraped up crash bars, hand guard and duct tape panier. “Oh I bet I will!” It’s drizzly with off and on rain so maybe another coffee and it’ll clear up a bit before we head out. Ya right.

    Turns out buddy cut it close to the check out time at the McKenzie with the sole intention of only going as far as the Eagle Plains hotel, spa and resort(Think he was sweet on the young Czech girl and was hoping to regale her with stories of his motorcycle adventures) . Well similar to my day, riding was great until a bit after the Peel ferry. By then the shit I had run into on the top of the Wright pass had made it’s way further down the mountain. He said he spent hours fighting mud, rain, snow, fog and Honda’s traction control interference. Remember I had mentioned that buddy would also learn of the tourist threat; Finally, with the end of his day’s ride within grasp, and descending the steep hill towards the Eagle river valley he met the dreaded Eastern Tourist in a Mercedes CUV. Being they were in a rented 4x4 they obviously owned the preferred track and held their ground and speed. Buddy went right, too far right and was sucked into the depths of the Dempster’s shale mud. His attempt to right the situation with an aggressive twist of the throttle was thwarted by a Honda traction control request denial and into the ditch he went. Luckily the mud was soft as he landed from his launch over the bars but several boulders, hidden in the mud, were not as kind to his left pannier. Buddy laid there waiting for the arrival of angels until he realized the only sound was the gentle pitter patter of the rain. He crawled up to the road only to see that he was alone, the tourists, obviously worried that he might be upset, or maybe just oblivious to what had just happened, had continued on their merry way. He said he spent 40 minutes trying to get the bike out of the ditch, even removing all of his luggage to lighten it up and had only managed to stand it up. The mud being so thick, there was no need for a kickstand to keep it upright. Finally, an old German couple, in a camper van, stopped and using a tow rope freed him from his shale restraints. He then continued the final few Km’s to Eagle Plains only to find that many stranded travellers had beat him to the few remaining rooms. He would end up spending the balance of the afternoon eating, drinking, licking his wounds and begging for a bed at the Inn. Finally, a bed in the employee end of the complex, was freed up and buddy would have a place to sleep. Based on his eventual arrival time into Dawson, he must have gotten a very late start the next day. I didn’t ask and wasn’t interested in what took so long, just wanted to get him done with his 7 course, trucker’s breakfast so we could get on the road. It would be about 10am by the time we got rolling and the weather had not improved at all.

    We rode up to the ferry that would take us to West Dawson and the start of the Top of the and World highway and got inline for our spot on the ferry ride over. There were 2 new beemers with huge panniers and top boxes, the riders wearing nice new Klim outfits ahead of us in the line. Shortly after taking off the road turned to slick muddy shit and the beemers slowed to a crawl. Once past them I was able to pick up an acceptable pace. It wasn’t 30 or 40k into the ride when buddy disappeared from my rearview. I turned around and rode back to find him parked on a pull over. Asked what was up and he replied “ I‘ve had enough of this shit, not riding another day in these conditions” I told him that we were only maybe 30 or 40k from the border(White Lie one) and once we made Chicken the weather was supposed to clear up(White Lie two), he could turn around if wanted to but I would be continuing to Fairbanks to source a new rear tire as the Dempster had pretty much destroyed the soft Trekrider I had bought in Grande Prairie. He, under protest, agreed which didn’t matter to me either way. Then the real snow began and continued all the way to Poker Creek. They the scenery along the TOTWH is beautiful and I'll have to take their word for it or return because for the most part all I saw was snow, clouds, fog and rain.

    Arriving at the Ferry crossing
    PHOTO_20180822_102853.jpg
    On the ferry across PHOTO_20180822_103150.jpg
    Just as we started into the snow storm, wind was keeping it sideways, stinging the eves if unprotected PHOTO_20180822_120512.jpg
    Finally getting on the other side of the snow at Poker Creek PHOTO_20180822_122704.jpg
    At times there was as much as 2 to 3 inches of snow and slush on the highway. We stopped early in the storm to take a picture at a pull off; surprisingly buddy is laughing and all over the photo op, so I stayed quiet, took some pictures and boot it for the border with buddy in tow. Upon arriving at the Poker Creek border crossing we’re greeted by the customs office sliding the window open, shaking his head and asking “What the hell were you guys thinking?!” Takes our passports and tells us to pull around to the side and come in and have a coffee, which we gladly accept. It’s just past noon when we arrive and we spend a little over half an hour with him, swapping stories and then he takes our pictures in front of the sign before we leave. He warns us that the road ahead had been closed for a washed-out riverbank and a mudslide this morning but expects that at least one lane should be open by now. Descending from the border crossing, the snow lightens up and eventually quits and we get past the road repairs with relatively minimal delays. We stop in Chicken for gas, souvenirs and a light snack before continuing on to the junction of Hwy 2. We stop at a Shell gas station, convenience store and gun shop in Tok and It’s here that Buddy’s decides he needs to find a can of chain lube as he’s emptied his this morning. This means we will be stopping at every gas station and convenience store from here to Fairbanks until he finds some. Luckily there’s a Napa store next to the Ski-doo dealership in Tok that has some on hand and stops are cut to a minimum, or so I thought. Arriving in Delta junction, buddy pulls into a gas station, kind of soon, even for the Honda I think to myself. Then he informs me that he’s had enough and isn’t going any further. I mention that it’s only 5pm and we’re maybe an hour or so from Fairbanks but he’s not interested which is OK. I tell him I’m continuing into Fairbanks so I can be at the KTM dealership first thing in the morning for another new rear tire, he can take his time getting to Fairbanks and we’ll hook up north of the city towards the Dalton. Adios

    Arriving in Fairbanks, I pull into a Fred Meyers, somewhere in the middle of the city, gas up and start looking on google for a nearby motel, hopefully not too far from the dealership. A lady in a blinged Denali pulls up and in an Eastern Europen accent asks if I need help. I tell her I’m just looking for a motel. She tells me That the area around here or over that way, the direction the bike is facing, isn’t safe and I should continue up to the north side of the city. Really? Ok then. So I head up to the area she directed which is near the Johnson expressway intersection with Hwy 2 north. Well this won’t be bad, I guess. Problem, only a handful of motels in the area. Problem 2, they’re all full. The Hampton suites has a room; it’s a handicapped suite for the bargain rate of $240/night. Apparently it’s the last week of some midnight lights tour festival majiggy which is a major thing. The helpful young lady at the desk calls around to other area motels and nada. Oh well, check in and they let me park the bike up next to the lobby entrance, under an overhang. Unpacked, gear hung up to dry and I walk over to Friar Tucks for a beer, eats and a few more beer. Back to the room and tuck myself into the kingsized bed for the. This would be a treat/deal in comparison to the accommodations and rates I would be experiencing the next couple nights.
    #36
  17. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    I think I took this one the first time I had to stop and check on buddy
    PHOTO_20180822_114604.jpg
    Arriving at the Alaskan border PHOTO_20180822_122500.jpg

    Getting on the other side and out of the snow PHOTO_20180822_145943.jpg

    I think the coldest that day would be -4 but took this one at the first stop in the snow storm and wasn't stopping to take another after, you can see the build up on the w/s and nothing but white to the left. PHOTO_20180822_120353.jpg
    #37
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  18. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    I've always ridden bikes without windshields or fairings so this is pretty good. The adjustable windscreen is nice but the tank shape on my 990 smt actually blocked more and the rad venting made it easier to warm your hands while riding. It's also the heaviest Adv I've owned but lowering it and the progressive spring have made it handle much sportier/feel lighter. Comfort, power and mileage are all excellent. Especially when compared to buddy's AT. Overall I was happy with it for this trip.
    #38
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  19. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    Yes, when it comes to riding with others I only know 2 guys here and one in Europe that are matches. Like the old break up line goes; "It's not you. it's me" well maybe not but whatever.
    #39
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  20. nk14zp

    nk14zp Long timer

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    I like 3 in my group........Me.......Myself.........And I. Till the bickering starts.
    #40