Another Rookie Went to Alaska

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by 72 Yamaha RD350, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lake Wobegon
    Day 4 – Montney BC to Liard Hot Springs YT
    Tuesday, June 18 - 399 miles – 64F Rain

    We departed at 9:30am under sunny, clear skies. It started raining about 60 minutes later. The rain did not let up until 10 miles from Liard Hot Springs. We stopped at Boston Pizza in Fort Nelson to dry out, warm up, enjoy lunch, and escape the weather shitshow going on outside. I met Kim from Calgary filling up his R9T at the gas station next door and invited him to join us for lunch which he did. Kim elected to get a room for the night instead of pushing on to his destination. We mounted up for four more hours of riding in the rain to Liard Hot Springs.

    It was in this stretch of riding that Rick discovered a problem: The steel sidestand he had installed on the AT was slightly too long making the bike stand up too straight unless deployed on a leftside downslope. This, coupled with the damage to his pectoral muscle, made it difficult for him to dismount the AT safely without the bike falling over. When he could find a suitable slope, I steadied the AT while he dismounted.


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    #61
  2. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

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    I topped off my tank in the rain at a dilapidated store with one 70's style pump that appeared barely functional. I was confident of making it to LHS but the store was too quaint to pass up. The gas was the most expensive of the trip - probably the equivalent of $6US/gallon - but the short exchange with two senior citizen couples inside playing cards at a table was worth it. I have not been able to identify this location and did not see it on our return. I believe it was less than an hour south of LHS.
    #62
  3. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lake Wobegon
    Day 4 - Liard Hot Springs YT

    This herd of bison was on the road a mile outside Liard Hot Springs. We had to wait for a truck to come through and scare the bison off the road.

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    This is Rick sitting behind me growing impatient at the bison on the road. Not shown in front of me are Jimmy & Raul from San Diego. Jimmy was riding the only Versys I saw on the trip. IIRC, Raul was riding a Yamaha thumper - I didn't catch the model. With them waiting for the bison to clear was George from the Bronx on a blue Tiger 800 with a GoPro mounted on the crash bars.
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    #63
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  4. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 4 – Liard Hot Springs “Lodge”
    We stayed overnight at the work camp housing (typically used for oil & gas workers). Accommodations were comfortable and clean. The rooms are small but efficient with a shared toilet & shower between rooms. We were able to do laundry for free while George regaled us with tales of his exploits. It rained heavily all night long.


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    #64
  5. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 5 – Liard HS to Haines Junction YT
    Wednesday, June 19 - 496 miles – 50F Rain to Watson Lake

    I wish I could say this was the worst weather day of the trip - but it wasn't. That will be coming up.

    We departed LHS lodge early in the morning under heavy cloud cover and constant rain riding the curvy mountain roads of the northern Rockies. Jimmy and Raul got an early start while we departed 30 minutes later with George tagging along with us to Watson Lake. The rain and cold (dipping into the forties in the higher elevations) were brutal but we slogged it out 5-10 mph below the speed limit. George tapped out at Watson Lake. Rick and I took some quick photos at the Signpost Forest and filled up at the nearby gas station. I greeted Sam at the gas station who apologized for the leaky roof. She was a seasonal employee from Prince George.

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    #65
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  6. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 5 – Watson Lake

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    #66
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  7. jthomas82

    jthomas82 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Glad you mentioned the insurance. I’m planning on a June departure and had not been informed of that important tidbit.
    #67
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  8. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 5 – after Watson Lake YT

    The rain ended just north of Watson Lake but we were left with the cold. These two couples were southbound when we met at a rest stop at the top of a mountain. Conditions had been no better for them.

    After exchanging weather information with the couple in Hi-Viz, I said to the woman in blue, “I have no idea who you are but I’m sure glad you’re here. She responded, “I’m Lynn and I’m as glad to see you as you are to see me!” It was a tough morning for all riders that day.

    If I remember correctly, these people were from Ohio. My notes record that there were three to four road construction zones north of immediately north of Watson Lake but I don't recall any of them.

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    On the wall of the pit toilet was scribed this philosophical math.
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    #68
  9. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 5 - Teslin

    Mike had told us the First Nations tribe running the Yukon Motel & Restaurant at Teslin provided great food and great service – the best in the 500 mile stretch between Fort Nelson and Whitehorse. He was right.

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    #69
  10. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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  11. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Lake Wobegon
    Day 5 – after Teslin YT

    As we left lunch at Teslin the clouds parted and sunshine appeared. About a mile north a construction zone with a pilot car guided us through shallow mud for six miles. I waived Rick ahead and dropped behind the last car so my street tread tires could deal with the mud. While I was focused on the mud and traction, a black bear stepped out of the brush on the left to cross in front of me. He got halfway across before he stopped in his tracks at the sound of the Harley's engine.

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    You see in this picture that Rick remained mounted on the AT as it became more difficult for him to dismount.
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    #71
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  12. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 5 – Haines Junction YT

    Accommodations for the night was at Wanderer’s Inn Backpacker Hostel. They had a copy of “Jupiter’s Travels”.

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    I had tried to find a copy of JT earlier in the year at the library and came up empty. I was able to read both of Simon's Jupiter books after completing this Alaska trip. There are paragraphs in each book that are as well written as anything I have ever read.
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    “To be worth making at all a journey has to be made in the mind as much as in the world of objects and dimensions. What value can there be in seeing or experiencing anything for the first time unless it comes as a revelation? And for that to happen, some previously held thought or belief must be confounded, or enhanced, or even transcended.”
    Ted Simon
    "Riding High"


    "I first thought of becoming a god as I was riding north from Madurai. The fever was gone. I felt more than just healthy, I was bursting with life and joy, floating as you do when you have put down a heavy load. Without exhaustion or discomfort to blunt my senses, without the distorting effect of fever, I saw myself to be in paradise.

    First there were trees. Paradise would be unthinkable without trees. The neem, the peepul, the tamarind, countless others stood stately intervals alongside the roads and fields, like giant witnesses from another age. By their presence they transform everything, framing the landscape, giving it depth, variety, and freshness, making green-glowing caverns under the sun and casting pools of dappled shade where people and animals can feel at peace.
    ...
    Memories of Madras, of ashes, and honey, gods and temples, were strong in me. In India it is quite plain that there is more to life than what the senses can perceive. I was thinking about my plan to meet Sai Baba, the holy man, wondering how it could happen.

    "There is no cause to bother," a devotee advised me. "He will know. Just go there. He knows everything. If he wants to see you it will happen."
    ...
    That was how the notion of being a god came to me originally. As a joke. After all, there were so may gods in India already, in such wild and wonderful guises, why not a god on a motorcycle?"
    Ted Simon
    "Jupiter's Travels"
    #72
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  13. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 6 – Haines Junction to Fairbanks
    Thursday, June 20 – 492 miles – 76F Partly Sunny – 3,022 miles from home


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    #73
  14. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

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    The pavement quality degrades significantly the last few hundred miles from the border. The frost heaves are frequent and varied in severity. It is prudent to ride no faster than the speed limit or perhaps even 5 mph below the speed limit as some are unmarked. This is not a place you want to break a bead or bend a rim beyond repair.

    On more than one occasion I was thrown from my seat by the sharpness of an unmarked frost heave. Rick frequently rode standing and said that he was hit in the ass several times by his seat on the worst of them.

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    #74
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  15. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 6 – Kluane Lake YT

    Of all the pictures I was able to take on the trip, this is the one that sticks in my head. I can pull this image up in my mind before I go to sleep at night, at 3:30am when I've wakened and need a peaceful image to get me back to sleep, or any time I think of my trip to Alaska. The landscape was epic.

    I never discourage anyone from going to Alaska, but I do tell them that the Yukon and BC rival Alaska in beauty IMO.

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    #75
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  16. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 6 – Pickhandle Lake YT

    Pickhandle Lake was spectacular both ways for us. There is a pit toilet there within view of the road which makes it a convenient place to stop and enjoy the scenery.

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    #76
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  17. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

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    #77
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  18. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Day 6 – Beaver Creek YT

    Buckshot Betty's provided a tasty lunch at Beaver Creek after filling up at this gas station.

    An astute observer will note that my helmet is missing the top vent cover. Rick had seen it fly off the day before but I elected not to look for it. With the extra height windshield on the Road King the airflow and rain passed above my helmet making the vent cover superfluous. Schuberth sent me a new one under warranty when I got home.

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    #78
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  19. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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  20. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Lake Wobegon