Chasing Summer

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Jean-Luc, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Thanks guys! I'm using a Panasonic DMC TZ3, very compact but with a 10x optical zoom. Best of all it wides up to 28 mm which is awesome for sceneries.

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    That said, I truly think that the reason for some of the great shots just came from being 'at the right place, at the right time' :nod. It was just incredibly beautiful at times. Teryk has some similarly great shots with a lower performing (on paper) camera.
  2. boyscout

    boyscout sittin' down

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    I've never ridden a 950 so I can't really compare the 640 to it. The shaking isn't a problem for me, although I have to keep an eye on bolts and such as it does tend to shake things loose. The tail light has been a constant problem, although I've gotten over 4000 miles out of the last one which is a new record.

    I'd say the main problem with keeping up on multiple long days is the wind noise and protection. The only aftermarket windscreen I've tried is the touratech clip on one and I found that, although it took some pressure off my head, it created a lot of buffeting. As such I've gone back to stock. At 5'11, it puts my helmet and shoulders in clean air, which is reasonably quiet up to around 75 mph but at 80+ does get tiring over time. The motor has no problem doing 85-90 all day long , it's just the wear and tear on my psyche that prevents that. Top speed on the trip so far has been 106.

    We've been cruising at around 75-80 unless the road is fun. The problem in Alaska is the roads are all dead straight, so there isn't a lot of acceleration, deceleration or turning to change the pace. I have an Arai Tour-X helmet that is a little loud. I'm using custom earplugs that help and have recently found that the combination of them plus my poly-pro baclava really quiets things down a lot and makes higher speeds more manageable.

    As far as the 640, keeping up with the 950 in the twisties. Riding with JL is a hoot. When I follow JL through the twisties I find myself hitting the throttle stop in 4th and 5th quite often :rofl . He could probably drop me on a KLR so it's the indian not the arrow but the extra power of the 950 certainly helps accelerating out of turns.

    The 640 has been relatively problem free other than the clutch cable and head gasket. I blame the head gasket on riding the bike too long after the water pump went south which I blame on using 100% water as coolant and letting it sit for 2 years. The clutch cable issue is strange. My bike has always been a cable eater. I replaced the clutch perch and cable before the trip and had a broken cable less than 2000 miles later. The cable I replaced it with was different, although they were both KTM cables. The new one has a plastic sleeve at the top, just like at the bottom and has lasted for over 8000 miles so maybe KTM figured something out.

    I've got a Renazco seat as well and as Jean-Luc pointed out the difference is amazing. It allows me to sit back and use different seating positions, while still allowing clearance for off-road.

    I love my 640. For the riding I do it is ideal. The lighter weight and maneuverability really help out off-road and in the twisties. Once you get the hang of it, it is easy to work on. There is a ton of setup and repair information over in the Thumpers forum.

    For this ride it is certainly not ideal. For much of Alaska a Harley or Gold-Wind would be the bike to have. Jean-Luc has been great but I am sure there are times when he would love to just open it up and cover ground but with the 640 in tow just can't do that. If you are planning a solo trip and 75-80 mph cruising speed is fine with you, I have no problem suggesting a well setup LC4. If you are going to be riding with someone else, think carefully about the bike they are riding and their riding/touring style.


  3. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    I positively LOVE it :nod. And its been lasting for 3 years now. It almost seems to me that the bike has been designed on my own requirements :D: Exhalirating engine, capable off-road (even in single-tracks), awesome suspension and incredibly sturdy. And at lower speeds like on this trip, the gas mileage is even surprisingly good (about + 10% vs. the 640).

    On the minus side: The weight is an issue in slippery conditions, both to ride it and pick it up :evil. I have no problem picking the bike up even with all the luggage but in some circumstances it was just impossible: like when stuck in the mud or when in a ditch (more on that later in this thread). For that reason, I would be reluctant to take it on an adventurous off-road solo trip.
  4. slide

    slide A nation with a future

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    Thanks to you guys for the great pix and narratives. Am looking forward to continuing following you all on the trip I can't make (at least for now).
  5. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Not sure yet why (I guess just 'because we could' :wink:) we've decided last night to not setup the tents :huh. We wanted to give a try to the wood stove of the shelter available in these Yukon CG.

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    The stove worked very well but the 'room' was so open that it was a case of 'burning' on one side and freezing on the other :vardy. Not our best night so far but it was fun to try it :D.

    Today, the road will mostly consist at covering miles to reach Liard Hot Springs. It&#8217;s not that the road is bad or anything but there is nothing &#8216;special&#8217; to notice and too few turns to make it fun. Yes, we&#8217;re getting spoiled and just think as &#8216;normal&#8217; to see beautiful forest of green and yellow trees with lakes and rivers along the road and mountains in the horizon :norton.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    What is new however is that we saw Bisons on the side of the road :eek1.
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    And for our second encounter, there were many of them.

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    Better not hit that at full speed, eh? :arg

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    This one is dedicated to my daughter Agathe :raabia


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    Still more long miles...

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    We finally arrive to the springs. The public campground at the springs is quite nice and we&#8217;re happy to learn that the springs are open 24/7.

    A 3/4 miles boardwalk leads to the springs. View from the side...

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    And the springs baths

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    It's never as fun as more "natural" places but it was great anyway to relax in them without too many people around.
    <o:p></o:p>
  6. C-Dub

    C-Dub Clean Air Hog

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    We're thinking of doing Copper Canyon, would you be interested?[/quote]

    Do you mean copper canyon Utah? If so I kind of doubt it.

    Will you be passing through the Southern California area?
  7. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    NO, Copper Canyon in North Mexico. We'll be crossing Southern California but not really staying there much...
  8. C-Dub

    C-Dub Clean Air Hog

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    Well, let me know when you expect to be in the area and we'll see if we can hook up somehow, don't forget I have a kegerator and it is never empty!:slurp :beer :dutch
  9. slide

    slide A nation with a future

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    Are you planning on pausing back in the NoCal area for your southward swing or are you just riding through?
  10. ADKbeemer

    ADKbeemer Understanding Serendipity

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    ...another great trip and thread guys, thanks for taking us along!

    Best of luck...:clap
  11. massspec

    massspec -mah

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    I've been following along with your trip and it has been excellent so far! Way to go guys--looks like you are having a ball:clap
  12. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    We decided to have 2 long days of riding to have more time at Jasper and <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Banff</st1:place></st1:city>. One of the reasons for going pretty quickly is that we suppose that the road will continue to be ‘ordinary’. We were so wrong! The whole morning is a real delight with a narrow, twisty road with beautiful scenery. The colors are spectacular: sometimes with a perfectly balanced mix of dark greens, light greens, bright yellows and reddish yellows. Sometimes the whole forest is dark green with just a few accents of bright yellows.

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    <o:p></o:p> <o:p> </o:p>
    We’re also seeing an amazing amount of game. For a while we have to stop almost every mile for Mountain Goats or Reindeers. :eek1 First encounter with mountain goats...

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    Then more...

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    <o:p>The only reindeers that I could photograph before they ran away.</o:p>

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    Before <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Fort</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Watson</st1:placename></st1:place> however the scenery becomes flatter and the road straighter. We have lunch at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Fort</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Watson</st1:placename></st1:place> in a restaurant that’s also a bowling. We’re almost the only customers and decide to give a try to the ‘Canadian Bowling’: smaller balls (with no holes), only 5 pins and 3 shots each time. It’s just as fun!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Everyone we talk to there complains on how bad the weather has been in August and September. It has also rained the last 7 days :huh. It looks like we’re lucky again because it’s warm and sunny for us. Continuing the Alcan going south is not quite interesting.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Along the way, we’ve asked several time what would be the best road to go to Jasper from Ft St John: the longest one (+ 150 miles) that goes West of the mountains or the one that goes through <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Columbia</st1:city></st1:place>. We heard different opinions but finally decide to go west because it’s supposed to be more scenic.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Just before <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Fort</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">St John</st1:placename></st1:place> we take the West cutoff by the road 29. It’s a welcome change! Not only it offers very scenic views of the large <st1:place w:st="on">Peace River</st1:place> but they are also great curves on it.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    We camped just after <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hudson</st1:place></st1:city>’s Hope, by the river.

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  13. Whammo

    Whammo Nature's toothbrush

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    Beautiful stuff, guys!!:thumb

    It's amazing that I've been up there twice now (and Tiny 3 times) and you're seeing stuff and places that are completely new to me.

    Keep it up...We'll see you Saturday!
  14. WarLlama

    WarLlama belligerent cameloid

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    So many beautiful pics. Well done!
    :clap
  15. Mercury264

    Mercury264 Once you go Triple...

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  16. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Another long day of riding with very few pictures. But I couldn't miss Mt Robson, just at the entrance of Jasper National Park. At close to 4,000 meters it's the highest point in the Canadian Rockies.

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    3-way communication :D

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    As you can see there was just no time for stopping...

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    The TEAM :thumb

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    We camp in the state campground a couple of miles from Jasper and then head to town. Jasper reminds me of Tahoe which I guess makes sense since it’s also a ski resort in winter. It's pretty fancy and busy (we're a Saturday night) and of course, rather expensive. We enjoy a fine dinner but it's feels a bit weird to be in such a place after crossing Alaska and Yukon...<o:p></o:p>
  17. boyscout

    boyscout sittin' down

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    Jasper is a really weird place. It has a reputation for being beautiful and rugged, however, when we got there it had more of a feeling of Disneyland than anything. Ton's of hotels, expensive restaurants and stores. I had been wanting to get out for a hike or run for awhile and definitely needed to experience the natural side of Jasper. One thing about motorcycle touring is it provides very little exercise in and of itself. It is easy to fill your days with riding and camping. The second day in Jasper, I decided to go for a hike, while Jean-Luc hung out in town working on the thread and catching up on other things.

    I asked the visitor center for a 3'ish hour hike somewhere off a dirt road that might scare away camper and rental car drivers. They suggested a hike to Lake Geraldine which is 8km up a fairly steep dirt road. The trail follows a river up through a valley to a series of four lakes. It was 6km up to the second lake which is where the guy at the visitor center suggested I hike to.

    :clap .... perfect.

    Doesn't sound too far but the trail is steep and rugged gaining almost 1500 feet over the 6km.

    Here's the river it follows

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    And here's what the "trail" conditions were like up to the first lake :huh

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    And here's the first lake

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    After the first lake, the trail became a series of talus fields separated by thickets of black spruce. More rock hopping than hiking. It became a bit of a scavenger hunt finding the cairns among the fields of mottled pink granite covered with lichen.

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    Pushing out of the last thicket up to the second lake made all the climbing worth it. Even though it was starting to rain a bit, it was still breathtaking.

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    This is the waterfall at the outflow of the second lake. You can see the first lake in the background.

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    I sat and read until the wind picked up and it started to cloud over. I figured I'd better start making my way down. With the clouds coming in and the sun behind me, finding the cairns in the talus fields became even more difficult.

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    In the end the "three hour hike" took me about 5 and a half hours with time for losing the trail a number of times, a fair amount of pondering and losing my third pair of sunglasses of the trip. :stoned

    If anybody is contemplating this hike, I would suggest reasonably stout hiking boots. I did it in my running shoes and could definitely have used better ankle support.

    Here's a description of the trail from trailpeak.com
  18. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    UPDATE: Scuderia contacted Rev'it about that issue and they reported that a batch of pants liners were improperly sealed so they will replace ours with new ones :clap.
  19. darmahman

    darmahman "Illogically Deluded" Supporter

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    Jean-Luc - Looks like St. Christopher is aligned with you guys both in safety and timing! What a neat trip. Good Luck the rest of the way. I will be following daily along with plenty of the rest of the inmates. Copper Canyon should be great this time of year. Don't forget to take the "shortcut between Urique and Batopilis!":D

    Mike
  20. KTMforget

    KTMforget Long timer

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    I wondered what the rest of that mountain looked like. Here is a pic I took 3 weeks earlier the year before - no sun in my picture. Very jealous.

    Amazing thread guys. Very impressed with the photos and the dialogue.

    Enjoy the rest of your "trip of a lifetime" and thanks for taking us along.:freaky

    Where are you guys now?
    Kurt