Alaska 2014: Hotel Budget Zero

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jfman, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 23 (Salmon Glacier, bear story and running out of gas)

    Travel tip for this part: Gas station in Stewart closes at 7pm

    Filling up at the Tatogga Lake resort I spotted yet again another sweet European rig.

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    I had skipped the trip to Salmon Glacier on the way up the Cassiar but not this time.

    I rode the 60ish mile detour to Stewart to go check it out.

    Here's little interesting fact about the Cassiar I learned from an old man in Williams Lake BC:

    In the beginning the stretch between Kitwanga and the Meziadin Junction did not exist. The road only came down from the North to the Port in Hyder because they were shipping the minerals they were mining and that was the best way to get the product out to sea. Only later on did they add the stretch to connect it to Kitwanga. This is why the Meziadin Junction (the intersection of 37 and 37A) looks the way it does; because 37A was the main road prior to the construction of the stretch of 37 that goes south and connects to 16.

    When I came thru the Meziadin Junction they were building a new gas station so next year there will be this new fuel stop for riders right there.

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    This is a small Glacier on the way to Hyder/Stewart

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    I arrived in Stewart and crossed into Hyder. There was no US border agents btw - open border.

    On the way to the glacier area.

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    Getting closer to the glacier

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    This is the main overlook for the glacier.

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    A little past the glacier

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    On the way to the end of the pass, I ran into some areas that were still covered with snow. Even tough there was plenty of dirt on the left, I still rode thru the snow for fun.

    Of course I ended up losing control

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    This tunnel was barricaded with rocks on one end and covered in a snowdrift on the other.

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    This one road was in a state of abandon; let's go check it out.

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    As far as I went: beaten by snow drifts again.

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    On the way back into town I spotted a boardwalk that was running alongside a shallow river. One lady there said that salmons run up the river and then grizzly bears go there to fish. Unfortunately I was still a few days too early for the salmon.

    No fish but I did spot this fresh beauty. A small grizzly was in the river when I pulled over but by the time I got the camera he was gone.

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    I rode another mile or so then I spotted this little guy.

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    I took a bunch of pictures of him but eventually he ran away. Probably back to his mom.

    I was in a pretty good spot to relax and eat so I decided to cook myself a gourmet meal: a can of stew.

    The can is barely warm then this happens!



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    Ended up being a terrible idea... (sorry for the quality, the picture was taken from afar)



    Ok I made that last part up.; those two bears aren't related. The first picture of the little bear was truly from the side of the road. But the last picture is actually from the dump in Hyder. A lady told me that a few bears live in the dump and you are pretty much guaranteed to see bears when you go there.

    While foraging thru garbage that bear rolled that big tree trunk like it was soccer ball. Not too long after that I mounted up and left.

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    I then went to the harbor to check it out.

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    After this I rode back into Stewart Canada. They had border agents. When they asked me about the reason for my visit to the US. "Went to check out the bears at the dump sir" They got a kick out of it.

    Now this next story is very real.

    I roll into the gas station for some much needed fuel. It's only 7:20 but the station is already closed. I was so mad at myself for not filling up before checking out the glacier. I thought for sure that the station would be open later than 7. I ask a few people in town but nobody has fuel to sell. The bad part is that I have to be in Vancouver soon because I have to go put my bike in storage at Lucie and Pol's home then catch a flight home. If I sleep in Stewart, I will be dangerously behind schedule.

    So I pour the left over fuel from my trusty jerry cans into my bike and I do some simple math in my head. If I go super easy on the throttle I may have enough gas to make it to Kitwonga.

    I get on the bike and I ride south. About halfway there I realize that I probably wont make it: I run out of gas at around 9 pm - 35 miles away from Kitwonga. I wait for over an hour before a small car rolls thru. The folks in the car tell me that even if they bring me to town, the gas station will be closed and I will have to wait outside until the morning to buy some gas. Since I don't want to abandon my loaded bike I decline their offer for a ride and I set up camp off the side of the road.

    (picture taken the next morning)

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    My only chance for the evening would be if a car carrying a fuel can rolls by but only a truck carrying gravel for the road construction rolls thru for the whole night and he doesn't stop.
    I do not sleep well on and empty tank.
  2. #1Fan

    #1Fan Been here awhile

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    Crap!!! Sorry to hear this!
  3. mcmarcia

    mcmarcia Been here awhile

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    Maybe the bike runs on whiskey????:1drink
    Old Codger likes this.
  4. Conundrum29

    Conundrum29 Unter den Linden

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    I had labeled this whole adventure as being "inspirational" in a past post...still is!
    Excellentes, tes photos. I feel like going.
  5. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    Thank you for the comments guyz.



    Ha ha ha: this is the best post of the whole thread. You made my day!!
  6. TurboBonefish

    TurboBonefish Been here awhile

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    Ok, back up at the picture of the bar in Chicken. I gotta know, what does "Fireweed Flavored Vodka" taste like? :beer
  7. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Entertaining write up..
  8. the_doc

    the_doc Street Convert

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    Such a cliff hanger! Does our Hero ever find fuel on the side of the road????
  9. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    There's one sure way to find that out :wink:
  10. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    Actually you can use the white gas from your camp stove in a pinch. Great ride report. Great to see one with a Versys 1000 in it too.

    :1drink
  11. mcmarcia

    mcmarcia Been here awhile

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    The suspense is killing me. Been thinking all day about this and I have figured out what most likely happened next.

    After running out of gas, you would have been pissed and drank all the whiskey hanging out by the roadside waiting for help. So no whiskey left for the tank. You probably used all the white gas to cook your last can of stew and stay warm hoping the stove fire would keep the beer from coming back to get you and your dinner again. So no white gas for the tank!

    Not real sure from that point on but my 6th sense is telling me a beautiful gal on a big GS with extra gas saw your bike and the gas can and stopped to help and she filled your "tank" and then some. :wink::wink:
  12. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    I think your 6th sense has watched a lot of Baywatch episodes as a kid.:photog
  13. mcmarcia

    mcmarcia Been here awhile

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  14. TeacherDan

    TeacherDan Adventurer

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    This is such a well written and photographed R.R.! I am reading with a map from Milepost and showing the pics to my wife talking her into a trip!
  15. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    I'm envious... fantastic photos and cool route planning..
  16. onip

    onip Adventurer

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    Beautiful pictures, great r.r.!!!
  17. LTRyder

    LTRyder Been here awhile

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    We still on the roadside?
  18. hunter306

    hunter306 Original DOT C2 Reflective Decal Guy!

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    Yup last update was the cliffhanger.
  19. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    What can I say; It takes time to go fetch gas on the Cassiar :1drink

    Coming soon guyz... just been busy.
  20. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 24-25 (Nightlife on the Highline)



    Still on an empty tank I woke up at 6:30am and packed up all my gear. It took an hour and a half before the first car rolled by. It was a brand new quad cab dodge truck. With my thumb high up in the air the truck rolled on by without even slowing down. I was so bummed out at this point. I lost the truck in the distance but about 4 minutes later the same truck came back to help. Two guys from Whitehorse were on their way down to the Okanagan Valley and they were so puzzled by the sight of a stranded bike in the middle of nowhere that by the time they talked it out they were a few miles out. They had gas in a can on the back of the truck so I did not even have to do the whole hitchhike back to the bike deal. They actually told me that they wound up in Stewart by accident as they the kept going at the Meziedan Junction rather than making a left. They saved the day to say the least.

    I then made my way to Prince George to head south on 97 to get to Lillooet. The weather that day was extremely hot for Canada - 37 degrees on the bike for most of the day. The heat and fatigue got to me a little bit so around 4pm I stopped in Williams Lake to eat at an A&W and in the cold AC I slouched on the table in front of my lunch for a few hours.
    I hit the road again and made it to 99 where I headed west.

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    99 is a great ride and leads you to the area where the Highline is located.
    The whole area reminded me a lot of Hell's Canyon in Idaho. Its very hilly/mountainous but it is mostly dirt with rivers forming canyons.

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    From Lilooet I took Bridge River Road to make it to the area where the Highline begins.

    Bridge River Road is perfectly graded

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    I still kept the speeds in check

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    I am pretty sure this is Carpenter Lake Road

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    The dam (Not sure which one it is exactly as there might be more than one)

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    This is last picture with enough sunlight to make the camera happy. From that point on the pictures are a little crappy because my night shooting skills are lacking.

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    Just on the other side of the dam there's a road on the right that lured me in

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    Unfortunately it is closed off only a few hundred meters in.

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    I think this is Shalath Road. A steep dirt road that snakes you down to Seton Portage.

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    It was dark already so once in Seton Portage I went into the only bar in town for a beer then I hit the Highline.

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    The view were even good at night so I can only imagine how nice it is during the day. In areas the road was so steep coming down that the oil light came on. I had to shut the bike off and coast down to avoid troubles in that one stretch.

    This is a parting shot at the end of the Highline.

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    I then got back on 99 and rode to Whistler. A great ride at night but I bet that those narrow windy roads are very trafficky during the day.

    You gotta be a -

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    A picture of Barrel Bay past Whistler

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    Sea to sky nearing Vanvouver

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    Once in Vancouver I check the area out but it was 4am on a Saturday nigh at this point. Needless to say I did not see the city in its best light. I probably wound up in the bad part of town. I then rode to Surrey to wash the bike.

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    After this I took a quick nap then headed to Pol and Lucie's house in Surrey where their son showed me the way to my steeds resting place. I am very grateful for this act of generosity. Their offer allowed me to spend about 4 more days in Alaska than I had planned for.

    I threw some essentials to take home in the top case then I took a bus to the skytrain.

    I did get a few odd looks here and there in public transit and at the airport.

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    Once at the airport the joys of air travel hit me quickly as I found out my flight to Toronto had been canceled. Luckily for me I was early enough that they were able to put me on an earlier flight and I made it to Pearson in time to my connecting flight to Montreal.


    So the ride report is over with the bike in Vancouver. This can only mean one thing: There will be a part deux to this somewhat soon. The ride starts in late December and the loose plans are taking shape shape right now. I can only make one prediction right now. There should be a lot less bears and a few more sombreros.