Almost All The Way to Prudhoe Bay and Beyond

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Bigbore4, May 25, 2019.

  1. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    867
    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    It seems to have been unseasonably warm in a lot of the north. Someone posted it was mid-80’s in the Yukon a couple weeks ago. Alberta’s early wildfires are another indicator.
    #61
  2. X-wing fighter

    X-wing fighter Do or Do not, There is no try!!!!!! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    311
    Location:
    Ester, Alaska
    Yes it has been very warm. Crazy crazy spring this year.
    #62
  3. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,145
    Location:
    Apple Valley, Calif
    I have ridden up there twice, leaving on about April 20 in 2016 and May 15 in 2018. The 2016 trip was a bit early, but I plan to go again next year on about May 15.....not many travelling that early.
    #63
    black 8 likes this.
  4. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    We knew it would be a little iffy. BUT, highest altitude we have seen so far is maybe 4100 feet. That helps.

    ETA @Ol Man, Spoiler alert! The past couple days we have observed a HUGE increase in traffic northbound. We hit Watson Lake in the rain tonight around 4:30 and got one of the last rooms. Stuff is filling up early! On the way up, hotels vacant, roads vacant, it was NICE!
    #64
  5. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    Saturday, 6-1-19

    What a day! The best laid plans etc etc…

    We had ZERO connectivity in Coldfoot. Zip, Nada! We both have ATT and there was nothing. The place had guest WiFi but no internet access. So I must ask, WHAT THE FUCK IS THE POINT?!

    Ah well… We asked the counter guy to check the weather for us and up past Atigun pass it was good. Deadhorse was freezing mist and rain, cold, snow flurries and sustained winds above 25MPH. We decided to waive off Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay. Tough call but we are up here to have fun, not go missing on the Tundra. Hence the RR title change.

    We rolled out of Coldfoot around 8:00 or thereabouts. And the ride and scenery were everything promised. Thankfully it was dry. The road was murder. Pound your teeth loose rough. Stones, washboard, craters of the moon, it was ROUGH. And so worth every mile.

    We had decided we would ride ½ our fuel range, so about 120 miles up. (as it turned out we had about a gallon left when we gassed up on the return) and this took us a ways up past the top of Atigun pass. The scenery was just breathtaking. Some segments I didn’t even grab the camera, just enjoyed it. Some segments my eyeballs were rattling so hard I couldn’t see to take a pic anyway!

    Butch claimed if he had a uterus, it would have fallen out!

    When we turned back we were near the end of the good riding. Not far past where we turned we would have been on the Tundra the rest of the way.

    On the way back down we kept crossing paths with the other 2 guys on Super Tenere’s.

    So here are a handful of pics from Coldfoot north. In order as best as I can recall.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On the way back down we were starting to consider options for day end and were clock watching a little, but we still stopped and grabbed couple. Here are a couple from our turn around point.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And on the way down. Pretty sure we were the only bikes up there on this day and all 4 were Super Tenere’s. What are the odds of that?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Never miss a chance to do this to your riding buds.

    [​IMG]

    Caught up again at Atigun Pass.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This one will likely end up on a wall at home somewhere.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We stopped back in Coldfoot to gas up. We decided to roll on south. We got to Yukon Crossing and made the first of a few bad decisions. Based on the morning’s fuel consumption we decided to save a few bucks and not gas in Yukon Crossing. Second bad decision, we grabbed a snack and not a meal. Third bad decision, we decided we wanted to be in Fairbanks that night. And we headed down. We were off the Dalton and into the home stretch when we hit the first construction Southbound.

    It had rained all weekend down in Fairbanks, the construction zone that had been dry and no big deal at all on the way up, was a cold-hearted slimy bitch on the way down. Rutted, slick, nasty. Not blaming the pilot car, but it was going too slow (for the bikes) which exacerbated things. I moved over into what I thought was a better path. It was toward the end of a very long day in the saddle. I was tired and should have been up on the pegs. I wasn’t, and moved over a little. Front end started to knuckle under, I got on the gas, too little too late. It needed a big whack, I was in TCS1 so it didn’t whack good. The front bit and I augured in on the left side.

    We were right behind the pilot car so EVERYONE got to see the dumbass eat it on the Super Tenere. Left pannier broke the latch and came off. Left controls all shifted, but bars and lever OK. Shifter OK, peg OK. Leg hurts like a mofo. No break, no cut, bruised and sore as fuck.

    By the time Butch got his out of the ruts and found a place to get the side stand down, there were 5 or 6 guys around to help. I got up, they got the bike up, we backed it around and aimed it in the right direction. The crowd moved on and I lashed the pannier back on, gathered my wits and rode it out.

    Guy that I ASSume was one of the construction foremen was very apologetic. I just asked him to make sure the flaggers let riders know if there is a morass like that one. I usually cheat up to the front in construction so I don’t have to eat all the dust, and I can see better what is coming. A slow pilot negates that. Also that is when DRY. In the future I will cheat to the rear of the string in WET conditions. Let them get out ahead so if you need to you can whack the gas and straighten up.

    When we finally got off, and gassed up we went back to the motel. I had noticed a broken weld on the left rack while sorting the bike out. Ultimately we decided Sunday would be a day off the bikes. We went and washed them, I had what I needed to repair the latch. Adjusted controls, got the bike back in order.

    Researched welding shops and canvas shops (Crash bar bag tore off the retention straps and opened a seam). And figured to get after it Monday morning then roll out.

    TLDR, wet clay sucks ass, The scenery above Coldfoot is magnificent, Don’t push too hard, wet clay sucks ass.

    Here is the bike just before going to the car wash.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #65
    Phoenix101, Amphib and black 8 like this.
  6. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    The guest WiFi is hosed and we looked all pouty-face, the nice lady gave us the pass-code for the ADMIN router! Still not cable fast, but I got me some pics uploaded!

    Sunday, 6-2-19

    Off the bikes

    Monday, 6-3-19

    This morning we set up to divide and conquer Fairbanks. I needed a canvas shop to fix the crash bar bag that tore open. And I needed a welding shop to repair the damage to the side case rack. Even though the owner was playing with his dog, and I ASSume the shop owner at one time was a welder, they were too busy to help and sent me to another shop. These guys pulled a guy off something and got me taken care of in less than an hour. And I spotted a broken weld on the right side rack they fixed that too. And only $62. So if you need welding help in Fairbanks, Interior Welding and Fabrication are your go to guys!

    @Pca1957 took the bag to Custom Canvas and they had the bag stitched up in no time and did it gratis. Take your business to these guys if you need something in Fairbanks!

    Once the bike was squared away we headed south for Cantwell. I have eaten a lot of gas station sandwiches over the years. Let’s just say they are a necessary evil. I had the worst one I have ever had in Cantwell. When I wrestled it out of the wrapper, it was frozen. I went in and asked what’s up and the sourpuss behind the counter informs me I went to the wrong cooler and grabbed a frozen one. WTF? I have never seen a frozen gas station sandwich before. Rather than make it right, she told me I could use the microwave. It was nasty.

    Out of Cantwell we picked up the Denali Highway. We rode that across to Paxson, then south again ending the long day in Glennallen. The ride across was amazing.

    I am just going to dump the pics in. The ride was gravel, sections were rough, my leg was killing me and I was lucky to just get some pics.

    These first few are from near Healy. The weld shop guy pointed us to a spot where we might see some Dall Sheep. The sheep were a bust, but we found the spot and the scenery was great. There were sheep tracks in the road, they were likely in the bush watching us dummies glass for them up on the hillsides.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And not far from there we got on The Denali Highway.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And we got a moose!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Back on the pavement and heading for rain. We probably spend 15 minutes on the side of the road trying to figure a way out of it. Not enough road and gas options up here. Just gear up and go.

    [​IMG]

    Once back on the pavement we were motoring to get somewhere for the night, which ended up being Glennallen. This was the first day of our new theme and potential new thread title, the last 30 miles in the rain.
    #66
    phreakingeek, daBum, misterk and 3 others like this.
  7. Phoenix101

    Phoenix101 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,852
    Location:
    Right Side of WA
    but, but... you missed the wonderful experience of driving in slop all the way to Deadhorse, just to turn around and ride thru all the slop...again LOL

    2018 wife was still smiling...
    upload_2019-6-5_22-16-16.png
    #67
    eemsreno, knight and Bigbore4 like this.
  8. Coldstreak

    Coldstreak Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2015
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    St. Paul, MN
    If it makes you feel any better you missed one of the colder MotoAmerica weekends at Road America. Cold, windy and rainy all day Saturday, then sunny but a cold wind all day Sunday. Of course Monday was beautiful, on the way home. Enjoying the RR, keep up the great pictures and dialog. M.
    #68
    Bigbore4 likes this.
  9. THogland

    THogland Back in Alaska!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    126
    Location:
    Wasilla-ish, Alaska
    Your latest mistake was that you stopped in Cantwell. You're supposed to stop in Healy (at Midnight Sun), get gas and feeds, then wave as you ride through Cantwell without stopping. They make good BBQ there.

    The new station on the north side of town might be okay - haven't stopped there since they rebuilt it. But the station across from the turn to Paxson, I've never had a good experience there and don't stop there any longer.
    #69
    Bigbore4 likes this.
  10. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    Now that would gave been good Intel a couple days back!

    Real time update. Leaving Watson Lake and doubling back a bit to get on The Cassair Highway. Had enough brains to get a reservation midway this time!
    #70
  11. RedUly

    RedUly Esse Quam Videri Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,245
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I'm guessing that will be at the Bell 2 Lodge :) It's a pretty nice place.

    I enjoyed riding on the Casier. It kind of defines out in the middle of nowhere.
    #71
    Bigbore4 and Phoenix101 like this.
  12. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    Tuesday, 6-4-19

    After breakfast in the Mexican restaurant at the motel, we headed back up to get back on the Alaska Highway and ride the section we skipped on the way up.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Gassed up in Tok, and headed east. I knew he was inbound and watching for him, but east of Tok a bit we spotted my friend Steve and stopped for a chat. After a chat and a toast on the side of the road, we headed east for Haines Junction and Steve headed south for Glennallen. He’s on here, don’t know his user name. He is heading to D2D via Coastal BC.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The first bit of the Alaska Highway along here was ho-hum and I thought we were in for a long day. WRONG! As the miles piled up the scenery got better and better and even in on and off rain we had a great ride! Some of the pics have rain drops on the lens, oh well!

    And construction. I seem to be more skittish around construction now.

    [​IMG]

    We did get to see a Cow Moose with her twin calves. We tried but could not get pics, she was justifiably skittish and protective. We left her be and moved along.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And then the score of the trip. A Grizzly a little ways east of Destruction Bay. WOO WOO! And I did get pics!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Motored on around Kluane Lake and then into Haines Junction. Scenery around the lake was great, much like the rest of this trip!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I at first thought it was fog off of ice. Nope, she’s kinda low and dry. DUST!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Haines Junction either was really busy or has a bunch of hotel owners that can’t be bothered with late arriving guests. We had a tough time finding a room. But we did, and the view from right out front aint bad! And why yes, yes we did the last 30 miles in the rain!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have moar written, need to go to sleep, I will try to get them up as soon as I can.
    #72
    daBum, SLUGGO, DarkLeftArm and 4 others like this.
  13. JoeBiker25

    JoeBiker25 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    187
    Location:
    Gilroy, CA
    Awesome pics and writing! Keep it up!
    #73
    Bigbore4 likes this.
  14. DarkLeftArm

    DarkLeftArm prissy coffee snob

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Tucson AZ USA
    Hiya Bigbore. I've read your whole story so far, and have loved it.
    You see, I also have a black 2012 Super Tenere, and will be riding my wife and I on our big Alaska adventure in just a couple weeks.
    I have a question for you about those crash bar bags you got fixed awhile back-
    What do you carry in there?
    I've looked at bags like that, they seemed pretty expensive, and I'm afraid I'd lose it and not notice til too late.
    But then I look at em again and find myself really wanting them!

    Thanks for your hard work and vigilance keeping us posted!
    Ride safe.
    #74
    RedUly likes this.
  15. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    They have held fast for 6200 plus miles. The one was torn up when I crashed in the construction, but easily repaired. Could not even tell it was damaged.

    I have rain gear and bear spray in them. Camp rain gear. My riding gear is all waterproof.

    Yes they are spendy. Yes they are handy.
    #75
    DarkLeftArm likes this.
  16. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,773
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL / Sylva, NC
    great trip, awesome pics. Thanks for making the effort to post up!
    #76
  17. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    Wednesday, 6-5-19

    Haines Junction was also quiet and mostly locked up in the morning too! We were chafing about Breakfast and then we remembered the joint in Whitehorse with the cute sassy waitress that could also drive a mean flat-top. So we motored off to get gas and breakfast in Whitehorse. And she did not disappoint. Someone else was driving the flat-top this day, but the cute and the sass were present! Sorry, no pics, that’s too creepy!

    After breakfast we headed for Watson Lake. We rolled into town around 4:30 and again had to scramble to find a room. Tourist season is upon us! Traffic was noticeably heavier than on our way up just a couple weeks back!

    Not too many pics today, well, there are a few, I will just drop in what I have. In the morning we are riding the Cassair Highway south. Oh Yea, last 30 miles? In the rain!

    This first one is just for laughs. My Galaxy S8 does not fit well in the Ram Mount grabber. One of the arms rests on the lock button. On the rough roads it does weird stuff, one of which is double tap the lock to turn on the camera. Then I don’t know if it was rain drops or what but the camera reversed to selfie mode and when I dumped the phone I had a bunch f these.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cow Elk, all she allowed me was her ass.

    [​IMG]

    This one was just too cool, switched it up to B&W. @Pca1957

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And a wrap up with one of the more common scenes from the road.

    [​IMG]
    #77
    Phoenix101, DarkLeftArm and Amphib like this.
  18. kitsapjoe

    kitsapjoe Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 23, 2017
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Port Orchard WA
    Great pictures and your writing keeps it fun. Thanks
    #78
  19. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    Thursday, 6-6-19

    We left Watson Lake and got on the Cassair Highway. Almost right away we were starting to see why this route gets rave reviews. Fantastic scenery, pretty decent road, but rattle rough in spots. We had learned our lesson in the last 2 towns and had a room booked at Bell 2 Lodge. As it turns out we could have got a room, BUT, booking ahead got us a ground floor room and by the end of this day my leg was really bothering me. Bruising, swelling and pain all much worse. Stairs on a gimpy leg would have sucked!

    Rained off and on again, and yes we did do the last 30 in the rain!

    A good sized bruin right off the bat!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A slice of mountain.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here’s a youngish Yoggi up a tree on the side of the road!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have yet to confirm that bears do in fact shit in the woods. I can confirm however they do shit in the road. A lot. Like it’s a badge of honor with them.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Picture in our room. This lodge is a huge helicopter ski lift joint. Hundreds of drop off points.

    [​IMG]

    I used my WiFi minutes (30 came with the room on a hard timer, cut me off from the missus!) and WhatsApp to call home and chat with my wife. Between her and my riding partners RN daughter it was decided I need to see a Doc aboot the leg. So we asked around the lodge and Terrace BC was the closest town with medical facilities, so in the morning we will be heading there.

    Fuck AllaY'all I am OK. No broken bones, some infucktion, Antibiotics for 7 days
    #79
  20. DarkLeftArm

    DarkLeftArm prissy coffee snob

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Tucson AZ USA
    :clap glad you're okay.
    I was worried.
    #80
    Bigbore4 likes this.