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. 'Bob'

    'Bob' Been here awhile

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    Very entertaining, great ride, nice pics, good narrative, funny dysfunctional relationship.
    This is not just a classic case of 'Schadenfreude' (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schadenfreude)... it's a rare case of the dreaded 'double Schadenfreude' :lol2
    #61
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  2. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

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    Wow what a story! Enjoy reading it thats for sure. More please!
    #62
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  3. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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    Day 12: Aug24th It was just after 7am when we headed out for Deadhorse, buddy had had his usual trucker`s breakfast and I a $10 toast and coffee. It was a cool damp morning but not raining yet so spirits were good. Buddy had made a few more suggestions to bring an overnight bag,… ``just in case`` but I wasn`t biting. There was some construction just starting up for the day so a few delays before getting to the Atigun pass. For the most part the road was damp enough to keep the dust down but tight enough for good running, we were able to comfortably cruise in the 100 to 120kph range. That would change once ascending with the sun still behind the peaks of the Brooks range we would be back on the slick snot like mud while the precipitation alternated between snow and rain as well as the odd pocket of fog but scenery was amazing. Found myself actually looking for every opportunity to stop and take pictures. As a roll reversal it was now buddy on the charge, at least here in the pass, he wasn`t stopping unless there was flat, designated pull offs which there aren`t many.

    Once over the summit there was a nice flat spot with a brake check pull off and I caught up to buddy pulled over and marvelling at the views surrounding him. He was running on pure adrenaline it seemed he had taken a few slides and then just about dropped his bike, as it rolled backwards on him when he made his first photo stop while still behind me as we began climbing the pass. He hadn`t noticed that I had found a trail, off the road, and pulled in to take pictures of the range. He had spent most of his pass crossing “Chasing” me, trying to catch up. The landscape really begins to change on the other side especially once past Galbraith lake. You begin to see more wildlife and it starts looking like the Arctic you expected; continually flattening out the nearer you get to Prudhoe bay. We had caught up to the Father/Son team that buddy had rode to Coldfoot with the day before and then we began getting into heavy construction. The state was raising the road through this area, raising it anywhere from 3 to 6 feet higher so that winter snow removal would be easier; the wind would be able to take care of it for the most part. Much of the road in the construction zone was mud, rutted mud and loose, freshly graded gravel all very tricky.

    We made it to Deadhorse about 12:30 and chased around quite a while trying to find a gas station, first going left when we should have went right and ended up at the airport. Buddy had put his 5L in some time back and I had been riding with the “You’re out of gas brain donor” message on my display for quite a while. Finally found it, fueled up and headed back over to the Aurora Motel and Café. Oops, sorry buddy, guess there are rooms in Prudhoe Bay, my bad. After paying $10 for toast and coffee in Coldfoot I wasn’t sure what to expect for lunch in Deadhorse. Well the restaurant was much nicer than you would expect for an oilfield cafeteria; free internet, nicely padded chairs, lots of room and a mud room to hang up your dirty gear and get a pair of booties to wear inside. Ended up having soup(Clam chowder), sandwich, juice and coffee for $8!! And the chowda was some of the best I’ve ever had; remember I was just in Boston and I would say that the Aurora’s clam to potato ratio exceeded what I had there! Well having lunch I was able to even whatsapp call the wife and wish her a happy Birthday, talk about chalking up the brownies! After a great, relaxing lunch the lady at the desk gave us a map to the gift shop and we rode over, got souvenirs, mailed a postcard to my daughter and then took pictures at the “Welcome to Deadhorse” sign before turning back south for Coldfoot at about 2:30. So it had taken us about 5 and a half hours to ride up, the sun’s been out, road should be drying up, the construction on the south side of the pass should be done for the day before we get there, should be back at Coldfoot say 7:30 8 o’clock. Let’s go!

    About halfway to the pass, with the roads drying out enough to even get dusty, we begin catching small groups of 2 and 3 trucks at a time. The road in this area is fairly wide with great visibility for passing. There is definitely some psychosis going on with buddy and trucks; again he quits trying to pass and we go from him keeping up at 120kph to following and hanging back at 60 to 70. I end up having to wait and/or turning around several times to go back and look for. It’s always “No, no problem” “Just go, I’ll catch up” How?! The Father/Son team have given up waiting and taken off at their own pace and I’m yo-yoing in between. Makes for some fun speed for me but is likely playing hell on my fuel consumption. I wait for him at the start of the pass, he’s made it this far and I enter cruise mode. I’ve caught the other guys again at the bottom on the south side and they put their spare gas in while we wait, and wait, and wait. Just as I decide to go back and look,… AGAIN, buddy arrives. I ask if he had troubles; no just wanted to take a few pics that I didn’t get this morning. Fair enough, are you feeling good enough to give er a bit from here to Coldfoot? “Oh Ya, I’ll be right with you!” Father and son have already left but buddy needs to top up with his reserve gas so once we’re geared up I select performance mode and we’re off too. Buddy wasn’t kidding and where the road allows we’re clipping anywhere from 150 to 170 and end up catching back up to the other guys well before Coldfoot and arrive at about a quarter to 8. There’s no line up at the pumps so I decide to gas up now so I won’t have to in the morning, buddy chooses to wait til morning.

    After dropping our muddy gear in our bunkhouse/room we make our way over to the restaurant for vittles and shine and spend the evening sharing adventures with our new riding friends. We relive some of our old racing experiences, buddy shares some of his recent boat racing stories and as we get closer to last call buddy reveals that, if he wasn’t so old now, he would probably take up motorcycle racing as well. He proceeds to tell us about his solo journey from Inuvik to Eagle Plains and that how he was running so fast and hard north of the Peel that vehicles he was passing, at warp speed, were radioing ahead to other trucks and the ferry pilots about this amazing rider headed their way! It was so vivid and amazing I almost expected to hear that Gordon Lightfoot was releasing a new single; “The Ballad of the Dempster Legend” The table got very quiet, as if to say “Did you forget we rode with you today?” On that note I decided to call it a night and turn in, fatigue was obviously setting in!


    IMG_1000.JPG PHOTO_20180824_083040.jpg PHOTO_20180824_084525.jpg PHOTO_20180824_085025.jpg
    #63
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  4. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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  5. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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  6. Gestalt

    Gestalt Been here awhile

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    I would also love to read Buddy's side of this, I bet he has a totally different slant to the story, from experience there are few times two riders do well together, you need to be real close or real lucky, lone riders or bigger groups are the way to go, in a bigger group you expect some pain, it’s all part of the group thing.

    Really enjoyed the chain, you are both however tougher than me, big mileage, cold weather and crappy roads are really not my thing but I love to sit warm and comfortable and read about more manly men’s exploits. Plus my Ducati Desert Sled would need a fuel truck following as to date I don’t think I have gotten more than 170km out of a tank, shockling poor, but I still love the bike regardless.
    #66
  7. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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    Day 13: Aug 25th I’m one of those people who can rarely sleep in, add to that the sunset/sunrise time and 3 hour gain from CST at home and even though it was a pretty late evening the night before I was still up around 5:30. Tried not disturb buddy, he sleeps with ear plugs anyways, but when I returned from coffee it was seven and still no sign of movement. I had told him the day before that I wanted to stop at the dealership in Fairbanks and change the bike’s oil. I gave him a shake and asked what his plan for the day was. He wasn’t sure, wanted to sleep a while longer, maybe leave closer to noon and do a short day to Fairbanks. Whatever works for you, I’m going to head out now then and we’ll see each other when we see each other. I was on the road by 7:30 and the day started off mostly dry, which of course changed by the time I arrived at the Yukon river crossing. From there it would be off and on showers but not bad for the most part. It even sort of cleared up as I neared Fairbanks. I made it all the way from Coldfoot to the filling station on the North side of Fairbanks where I had waited for buddy on the way up, it was pretty empty though. So far I still hadn’t required the gas I had been carrying since Whitehorse. Filled the bike and called Northern Powersports to see if they had time or at least the filters and screens so I could do it in the parking lot. No problem, bring it right over and we’ll get on it. Perfect it was about a quarter to 12 so I figured they would be taking a lunch break before I could get there so I might as well find a car wash and get the layers of glacial silt off. That stuff hardens like cement! While in the carwash there were a couple of small, rental RVs in as well. Apparently they had started up the Dalton and quit at the Arctic Circle marker, they were worried they might wreck the RVs. It’s a good thing they never tried the Dempster, they wouldn’t have made Ogilvie ridge! The Dalton is a freeway compared to the Dempster. We had met one RVer who had made it to the Arctic Circle marker on the Dempster; everything he had packed into it was on the bed. He said most of the cabinet doors had shook off and half his kitchenware was broken! This was his personal rig and according to him, rental outlets in the Yukon will have you sign an agreement not to take them on the Dempster or you become the owner! Anyways, back at the dealership, bring the bike around and walk over to a small café recommended by the service manager. It takes them quite a bit longer than I expect giving buddy more time to catch up. I’m ready to hit the road again by a quarter to 3 and have tried calling and texting buddy but no signal or reply from his end. Gotta go. I stop in Tok at just after 5 to gas up and there’s a text from buddy, I call but no answer so back on and gone. I cross the border then stop for the night in Beaver Creek, notice I said cross then stop. This, I think, is the longest distance between border and customs house that I’ve ever crossed. I’m talking at least 30k! I mention it to the border agent and he laughs then reading my passport notices I’m from Dryden. Turns out he used to be with the OPP in Sioux and recognizes my name from when I owned a Polaris dealership in Ignace and we end up talking about common acquaintances and old times. He finally sends me on my way after recommending a motel and restaurant. Get checked into the motel and then walk down to the restaurant which ends up putting up the closed sign just as I reach the door. It’s an hour and a half earlier than the open hours indicate on their sign but oh well, lets check the other options. There are only 3 and they’re all closed. There’s a girl working at the fastGas and she explains that there’s a town party tonight, at the campground behind the motel I’m in. Everyone’s invited except her, she sounds bitter. She offers to bake a frozen pizza for me and sell me a 6 pack of beer. On the front porch I meet her boyfriend and we have a beer while the pizza cooks. He works for the hwy construction company that’s doing work south of town and advises me to get an early start or be stuck in long delays. Thanks bud, pizza’s ready and I head back to my room to call it a night.
    Turns out buddy had made it to Fairbanks at 6:30 and continued to Delta Jct in hopes of catching up. Texted him the next morning to let him know I was leaving Beaver Creek.

    I didn't take many pictures today, had already seen most of this part of the ride but here's a shot looking up at the slick bridge crossing the Yukon river.
    PHOTO_20180825_092801.jpg



    The last pic I would take of buddy and the AT on this ride! IMG_0998.JPG
    #67
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  8. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile Supporter

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    I truly can't believe that you would hold back the "motorcycle racer". You sir are a very bad man! Sometimes you just can't beat the legends in other peoples minds. Certainly, you possess much more tolerance than many mere mortals.
    #68
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  9. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer Supporter

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    Your story is remarkably similar to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Riding", or at least in my perverted mind, and which I am also now reading for the first time. Really enjoying them both. Guess that isn't too bad , to be compared to a modern classic. Many thanks.
    #69
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  10. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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    Well you know, I truely hated to be that guy. That's why, leaving Coldfoot that morning, I had probably already decided to live by the old adage:" If you love something let it go, if it returns it was meant to be" or If you run and they can't catch you you're free,... I don't know, something like that applies I'm sure. Either way, as per my ground rules on day one; If I don't start the day with you, Catch Up! or not............
    PS. I had been been told by several doctors, back while I was racing sleds, that I had a very high tolerance for pain, guess it comes in useful still!
    #70
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  11. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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    Thanks!
    Haven't read that, will have to try finding it or ask you to leave a link for those technology challenged members on here like me!
    #71
  12. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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    Thanks, I had actually been eyeing a Scrambler last year, too bad it's mileage sucks. Definitely a deal breaker, especially for this ride. Still a nice bike tho
    #72
  13. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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    Thanks
    #73
  14. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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    It it's funny you describe buddy with the gloves; another friend, I occasionally ride with, is just like that. Everything has to be done, music on, gloves tucked in, etc. etc. I looked at him once in Wyoming and said man, we're only going 100 yards across the parking lot to the gas station. Same routine. Once rolling though he's awesome, he keeps up for the most part and rarely a complaint!
    Good luck on your ride, I don't think there's a good time, any time of the year to avoid snow up there!
    #74
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  15. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer Supporter

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    The author had an IQ of 170, he had the same mindset as you....terrific read....yours and his. ( You can get it for about $8 on Amazon, good read during the still bad riding weather. )
    #75
  16. Kiwi Canuck

    Kiwi Canuck Been here awhile

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    #76
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  17. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Long timer

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    Interesting read. Yep not easy to ride with another person or with a group. Travelling together can destroy a friendship, doesn't matter what the mode of transportation is.
    #77
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  18. BruceT

    BruceT Been here awhile

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    wow, a great read, thanks for posting, well done
    #78
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  19. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile

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    Day 14: Aug 26th Leaving Beaver Creek I had still not decided whether or not I would turn South at Haines Jct. I had originally hoped to ride to Haines then ferry to Skagway and run back up through Carcross to Jakes Corner. Now my concern was that the detour would allow time for me to be trapped; Buddy could surely make it from Delta Jct to Whitehorse in a day and depending on the ferry, I may end up late. Well not going to think about it until I have to.

    It’s 7am and I’m hitting construction just as they’re starting up so delays are minimal. What is slowing me down is the beautiful morning and scenery along the White river, the low fog in the mountains and the way it’s all coming together with the sun. What a great way to start a morning, by myself, on my bike. It’s -3 but I don’t really notice, man this is the life! Soon I’m riding around Kluane Lake and Destruction Bay; BEAUTIFUL! Later, after I arrived home, @UKbri stayed over on his way west and showed me a video of a riding mate being chased by a grizzly here. Fun stuff!

    By the time I arrive in Haines Junction, the fog is thick and it’s damp and cold. The thought of losing my safety buffer in these conditions really doesn’t appeal to me, especially when the sun’s not out to tempt me. I decide to ride on to ride on to Nugget City and take 37 South there; avoid being backed into a corner. I make Whitehorse by 2pm and am amazed by the difference in the landscape entering from the west as opposed to the terrain along Hwy 2 to Dawson City. Almost range like, with numerous beautiful ranches. I tank up in Whitehorse and my next stop is in Nugget city, can’t remember the name of the place I stopped but they had a whole story about the Scandinavian family that built it and how the generations have been involved. I treat myself to a Buffalo burger and beer and while waiting for my meal I ask how the lady running the restaurant how fire situation is on 37, smoke hasn’t been too bad today and I would like to take a different route. She advises against it saying that anyplace with a motel that isn’t under evacuation orders will be full and I might have to go all the way to Prince George before I will find anything. Fack. It’s only 5pm so I don’t really want to stop yet; If I stayed here tonight I could Prince George tomorrow, if I don’t run into any delays. Shit, what to do. I guess this is a sign that I will have to return, solo, and ride the west sides of Alaska and BC in the future, it is meant to be. Ride son, ride. I jump back on and continue toward Fort Nelson, let’s see how far I get.

    South of Watson Lake, in the Laird river lower post areas, a few fires have jumped the highway since I came through on my way up. Still lots of smouldering bush and even the odd flare up and flames. No crews stopping traffic so I cruise on. The buffalo/bison, whatever they identify as these days, are really active and in several spots between here and Muncho lake I have to slow down, sometime even stop before making my way through herds on the road. I have noticed that at just the right rpm, the Leo Vince can really catches the attention of the big bulls and intimidates the younger ones. I really tried hard to avoid that rpm range after the reaction in the first herd! This also applied to the tone at idle and bull muskox; on the Dalton I had stopped to take a pic of a few on the side of the road, before I could get my camera out a large bull turned and came at me. Found out later that they are very protective of their herds. Never got the picture. Anyways, I would continue riding until just after 8pm that night when I had arrived at Toad River. Coincidence? I think not. So I grabbed another discount cabin, think I must now be a regular, and packed it in for the night. Texted buddy to see where he was at but no reply. Actually, don't think I had cell service so the text may have just stayed in e until Fort Nelson, oh well I tried. Another good day!

    Along White River
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    Water looks low IMG_1025.JPG
    Looking to the West somewhere along White River IMG_1030.JPG
    Back in BC, somewhere Between Muncho Lake and Toad river. Back to the smoke with a touch of low cloud IMG_1032.JPG
    #79
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  20. powderzone

    powderzone Been here awhile

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    Beautiful country up there. Thanks for the fun RR.
    #80
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