Canadian Arctic Winter Ride; Ice Roads and the Dempster Highway

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Northern Rob, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. dusty308

    dusty308 wanderer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    444
    Location:
    CT, USA
    ??? helmet?? whats the set up here???:dunno
    #21
  2. ImageGuy

    ImageGuy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Whistler, BC, Canada
    The trick here is to keep spare batteries warm and let the camera stay at the same temp as outside. Whenever I was shooting outside in the winter I would have one set of batteries in the camera (rechargable NiMH work pretty well in the cold) and one set in an inside pocket. I would switch batteries when needed. The worst thing you can do is keep taking the camera from warm to cold - you'll get some serious condensation on the outside and inside of the camera and that might cause electrical issues or even freeze up the camera. Keep the camera in some sort of case all the time and when you go from outside into a warm building, keep the camera in the case for about 1-2 hours to let it warm slowly to keep condensation from developing. I've been doing this for years without issues (I probably just jinxed myself didn't I :eek1)
    #22
  3. saywut

    saywut Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Kelowna
    Hi ya Rob. This sounds like a great ride, for sure man. Which bike ya takin? Your profile lists the big GS, I imagine that one would do the trick, gonna put a spankin' new batry in it? Do you know any of the BMW riders up here in Vernon? Good Luck and Happy Damn Trails!:thumbup
    #23
  4. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Hi Rob!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Buy yourself a pair of wrap around Heated grips (Not the Oxfords! They catch on fire! Don't ask!) and put them at the bottom of your tank bag like I did last winter on my way to Labrador. Then connect them to your power source. Put a towel over them and then sit your equipment on the towel inside and close the bag. If your equipment is outside, the same applies! Just wrap a small towel around your camera, don't block the lens obviously and then wrap 1 heated grip aorund it and VOILA!!!!

    Believe me it works to -45 and below.



    Or if you want! ZZRon made me a heated pad that would fit just perfectly around your camera if it is Bike mounted. I can send it to you! His stuff is incredible. You might want to check with him! Hey Ron! what da ya think

    Iceman:freaky
    #24
  5. Gregster

    Gregster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    999
    Location:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Hey Iceman Paul, where are you and Frosty the GS headed this winter? (Hopefully somewhere warm).
    #25
  6. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Hi there Buddy! How you doing? Good to hear from ya! Frosty and I are not going anywhere for now but next summer we are! Melanie and I are going to Central America as a practice run for our world trip in July 2010. Besides this I am busy working on the construction and development of our project here in Victoria and I am also busy putting the last touches on my books which are coming out at the end of February. I am kind of nervous about this. I had an amazing amount of feedback on this already and I Just want to make sure that they will come out the way I am. Raw! In your face and saying things for what they were. I was asked many things by thousands (And I mean this) and one thing is mentioned all the time. "Paul Make sure you write your books the way you talk and the way you wrote on the blogs! So you can imagine that with around 300 pages for each book and over 130 pictures in each, that it is a lot of work. Besides this I am healthy! I lost 68 lbs and feel like a million bucks I could not do these trip as easy as I did before though:huh [​IMG] Damn! Handsome devil! Oh Yes! My brother just bought a bike here in Victoria (I helped him as he lives in Ottawa) and he is coming here to pick it up and we will ride together across Canada. I got him a 2008 KLR. That will be cool besides this! Nothing new. You take care! You ride safe and hopefully we will meet again soon! Iceman:freaky

    Back to Rob's stuff now! Sorry Rob!:D
    #26
  7. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Hey Paul! Good to see you again! Holy smoke! I barely recognised you now that you're so skinny. If you were a chicken you'd hardly be good enough for soup! :rofl
    #27
  8. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Paul, if you're still online, can you tell Dusty about your Bomber helmet? Its got some pretty cool features. Paul talked me into using it

    #28
  9. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    jwalters, imageguy and paul. Thanks for your camera tips.

    If I have the tank bag just warm enough (say just around freezing?) that the batteries hold a good charge, do you think I'll still have condensation problems with lenses etc... opening up the bag, taking a few snaps at -20 and putting it back in the bag? Paul did you have condensation problems with your setup?

    I could put some spare batteries in an insulated container (insulated drinking cup?) and throw a chemical hand warmer bag in there to keep the spare batteries warm maybe?

    So far, I'm be using a sony point and shoot pocket camera, I'll have some kind of digital hand held camcorder, and a helmet cam (POV1) with a separate recorder box. So the tank bag will be pretty full.

    Will want to be able to stop and get to the camera gear quickly. You know, just before I hit the deer...
    #29
  10. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Hi Rob! I did not have condensation problems as my 627 pictures show. I do not know what you have for camera but I have the Sont digital SLR and it worked fine. My batteie for my Sport Shotz helmet mounted camera was fine too in the tank bag. I had a spare battery and never used it. When my heating system FUBAR'd, my stuff did not work anymore at -60C but I suppose it is to be expected. I am sure you will not run into the same temperatures.

    Ask Dusty to PM me or I can do it! Dusty? PM me?

    Iceman:freaky
    #30
  11. Cordless

    Cordless Two Wheel Addict Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,189
    Location:
    Spokane WA
    I followed the Ice Road Truckers series on US television. You might be able to contact them at the History Channel and find our what they did to keep their camera equipment ready for action. I do recall a radio interview in which the producers admitted they went through thousands of $$ worth of cameras during the shooting.

    I will be following this thread.

    I also look forward to seeing photos of the spiked ice tires and how they perform on the ice roads.
    #31
  12. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Paul, talking about good winter helmets is in no way a hijack! You're too polite buddy. Its good stuff, right in line with the thread and I'll be using the same helmet without field experience, so pop it in here...:D

    #32
  13. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Good idea. I'll drop them a line. I promise we'll talk tires when I've had more miles on them. So far, they've been great on icy roads - but only a few 100 kms experience.
    #33
  14. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,558
    Location:
    Over the rear wheel
    It's really the other way around. When the cold camera/lens is exposed to warmer air, moisture from the warm air condenses on the colder surface. From your other comments, I'll bet you knew that and just explained it backwards. Been known to do that myself when my fast fingers get ahead of my half fast brain.

    Regarding batteries: So far I've had very good luck with lithium batteries in cold weather. The batteries do far better than the autofocus mechanism in my Sony cameras, which refuses to function much below 0F. A 12 volt electric blanket for the tailtrunk on my Wing is in the offing. And if you're using grip heaters or other 12V heaters, there are simple little thermostats called Temp-Stats that can turn the current off and on to maintain a maximum temperature within a confined space.
    #34
  15. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,558
    Location:
    Over the rear wheel
    In 1975 a rider took off from Prudhoe Bay December 2 on a BMW 750. It was -35F/-37C when he left, with a 10 knot tailwind. Got a chance to talk with him about the trip a couple of years ago. This is a little of what he told me, as I posted on another forum:

    "On his feet he was wearing Bunny Boots. (How about that, all you nay-sayers who claim you can't operate the foot controls with bulky boots on your feet?). ;^)
    At the other end, a full-face helmet with pieces of foam stuffed under his eyes to keep cold air from getting all the way up to his eyeballs. A snorkel ducted exhaled air to the back of his neck for exhaust so that it wouldn't frost up the inside of his faceshield.
    A scrap of an old air mattress served as a windproof cover over the front of his jacket to keep the breezes out. He related that he had layer upon layer of clothing - down, as well as anything else that would keep him halfway warm. He was the ripe old age of 22 when this ride occurred.
    He pulled out of Deadhorse on Dec. 2, and hit (IIRC) -64°F at Coldfoot. While his arrival time/date in Fairbanks wasn't mentioned, he stated that he was determined to leave that fair city on Dec. 10th, which he did, at the relatively balmy temperature of -53°F. Passing through Tok that afternoon on his way to Beaver Creek for an overnight stop, the temperature was an official (again, IIRC) -63°F at the junction town.
    He made his ride down while the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was in full swing, with lots of traffic on the Haul Road. Reports of his progress were passed up and down the highway by CB as truckers kept each other informed, and he said that he would often come around a curve to see a truck or two stopped alongside the road and a driver stepping out with a camera to capture the image of this strange apparition doing what no one in their right mind would even consider trying."

    He also mentioned that he had a large supply of clean rags along, and whenever he detected cold air seeping through anywhere he would stop and attempt to seal the opening with a rag.

    Technology has made vast strides toward keeping us warm despite our foolishness, but sometimes the simple things still come in handy. Nevertheless, after riding many miles in below zero (F) temps with my faceshield cracked open a bit to keep it from frosting up, I finally gave in and bought a helmet with a heated visor. It sure is nice to be able to see where you're going. :D
    #35
  16. ImageGuy

    ImageGuy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Whistler, BC, Canada
    After a little bit of research I found out that lithium batteries are good to -40.
    #36
  17. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Well, ImageGuy I'm good then! I'm not planning on riding in -40 -60 unless somethings gone really wrong. As i said before, I'm not going for the hardcore award.

    And thanks Alcan for that story and tips. I think as a backup I'll add a heated visor to Paul's helmet setup, just in case. Pretty cheap insurance to increase the odds of a more enjoyable ride.
    #37
  18. Yukoner

    Yukoner Motorcycle Addict

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Yukon,Canada
    Regarding temperatures you may already have this info but this link gives average conditions for Dawson. http://www.climate.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/climate_normals/results_e.html?Province=YT%20%20&StationName=&SearchType=&LocateBy=Province&Proximity=25&ProximityFrom=City&StationNumber=&IDType=MSC&CityName=&ParkName=&LatitudeDegrees=&LatitudeMinutes=&LongitudeDegrees=&LongitudeMinutes=&NormalsClass=A&SelNormals=&StnId=1535&
    Temperatures are fairly nice by April. One of your challenges make be when to put on your studded tires so they don't wear out on bare road surfaces.

    I find condensation problems happen going into a warm moist building. If you keep wet stuff out of your tank bag there shouldn't be much of a humidity change as you take the camera in and out.
    #38
  19. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Thanks Yukoner. That's better than the historical weather site I was using. I've bookmarked it. Dawson looks downright balmy for April (+7 to -7 degrees C). No problem. Amazing what a differerence going a bit more North makes. Inuvik daily average temperature -7 to - 18 C. Tuktoyaktuk and the coast -12 to -20. Still not too bad, and that's why we're going for that time of year. Hopefully good ice AND mild weather (fingers crossed).

    These studs I'm using are supposed to be good for 1000's of clicks of dry highway. I've put them on the bike already and am riding around with them. On dry road, it sounds like a 100 girls tapdancing in high heels. So far, so good. I don't see any wear yet. So the plan is to ride with studded tires right from the start at Whitehorse.

    Thanks for the camera comments and your help.

    Rob

    #39
  20. roninwva

    roninwva Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    467
    Location:
    Hurricane, WVa., USA
    Good luck Rob. I'm in for this one. Rode up the Dempster the summer of 2007 and am looking forward to your reports and pics from your winter ride. Is your support vehicle following closely or at a distance? Any other bike riders going with you? I too watched the Ice Road Truckers series and some of the weather shown would be extreme to ride a bike through. Have fun!!!!
    #40