Chilling out-2up-Antarctica2Alaska @Canada

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lostmike, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    311
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    Alice Springs
    Well been too busy riding and working on the bike to get any updates done. We are going to park up for a week or so in Canada so will sort it out then. In the meantime....

    The bottom
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    Tuk
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    Prudhoe (yes we also had champagne toast on the beach and had a swim)
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    Deadhorse
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    Thanks heaps to everyone who followed along, sent well wishes and support, and helped out along the way. More to follow :)
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  2. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    18 Aug 2019
    Mike
    YT Alaska


    Right, catchup time. (Apologies for the out of order photos) Back to the 4thof July at Steve’s in LA. That turned out to be a great party with lots of fireworks, parades, music, and lots of laughs. The next day was more work on the bike and then firepit Friday which consisted of a fair bit of beer, food, a firepit and spinning more yarns around the fire. In between all these festivities a fair bit of work on the bike was happening, Steve had a spare rear subframe and front fairing which I put to use repairing the damage caused in the Peru crash. Also replaced a lot of worn out and mismatched fasteners from various roadside repairs, as well as a major service. I would regret it later but I didn’t do fork seals or replace the chain and sprockets as both seemed in good condition. My knee was giving me hell and not getting any better and we went to a doctor who put me on crutches then a ortho surgeon who pumped cortisone into it and gave me a heap of anti inflammatries and pain killers.

    The 9th of July came around too quickly and it was time for us to hit the road, a pretty sad day because we had had such a great time hanging out at Steve’s place. We loaded up the bike, said our goodbyes and burnt some rubber heading up Highway 1 on the Cali coast. That was a cool ride which we did over a couple of days, had a blast. One of the coolest campsites we stayed in was called the Butano state park in the middle of the redwoods.

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  3. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    Alice Springs
    After that we headed up to San Fran because I really wanted to ride over the Golden Gate bridge. When we got to it there was a fair bit of fog but was still pretty cool. From there we headed east to Yosemite and had a beautiful ride through there, camping at a little national forest site on the other side after having one of the best gas station meals of our lives on the north-western side of the park. That set us up for a cruise up Highway 50 named the loneliest highway in America. There was a fair bit of traffic on it and a few small towns scattered along the way so didn’t seem super isolated to us. In saying that the last part was pretty cool with amazing views. We pushed past till we got to the Great Basin national park and set up camp for the night, that’s well worth a look if your ever in that part of the world. I really screwed up here as in my rush to get our nightly beers at the little shop I accidently bought a selection of gluten free beverages. I’ll never make that mistake again!

    The next day we head out of the park and I spy what looks like a fairly decent shortcut to cut back through onto the highway instead of taking a huge loop around. Turns out to be a really cool little 4wd track through a lovely little valley and then snaking its way up over a pretty high ridge line before dropping down the other side. Probably a bit more than we should have taken on with my knee, it was pretty rough and muddy in places with a few water crossings, but we ended up getting through no worries, and had a beautiful ride to boot. The same day got to visit the Bonneville speedway, this meant so much to me and I got super excited. I had planned to strip the luggage off the old girl and do a speed run but there was too much water on the salt, probably for the best really. I did ride out and get some photos and rolled around in the salt a bit haha. Super cool. Unfortunately, after that we had a bit of interstate to survive before we got to Logan and found a cheap hotel for the night. I managed to find a hose there and gave the old girl a rinse to get the salt off. (The bike not Meg).

    Next stop was the Grand Teton National park and we had a spectacular ride to get there. We stopped for a great lunch and a few beers at the Moose Saloon in Alpine. Almost settled in there for the night but managed to drag ourselves away and finish off the ride to the Grand Tetons where we found a killer wild campsite just outside Yellowstone. I nearly arsed up getting into it, when I turned off the road to get to the little clearing I spotted. The ground was super soft (and I might have been carrying too much speed) and we went for a long front wheel slide. Luckily managed to stay upright…

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  4. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    Alice Springs
    Yellowstone was pretty sweet, we were early enough to avoid the worst of the RV’s and even got a good spot right in front of Old Faithful to see the action. On the way, out of the park we spot an old beaten up vstrom650 with a dog carrier on the back and stopped to say hello. It was being piloted by a friendly young guy travelling with all his worldly possessions and his dog. We were headed out towards the Bear Tooth highway and he came with us. On the way out we stopped for a bit of a picnic and as we were walking back to bikes came face to face with a large inquisitive bison. This necessitated a detour back to bikes haha. We found a campsite on a hillside just north of the park - it was a steep rocky track to get up there and I was surprised the vstrom made it. As we were setting up a huge hailstorm came through and I collected a fat lip. It blew through pretty quickly and apart from a bit of rain during the night it turned out to be a lovely spot looking out over the valley and glaciers.

    The following day as we were riding down the path to the road, the vstrom took a nap, lucky Fiona (the dog) wasn’t on the back and there wasn’t any damage, so we got it back onto its wheels and we went our separate ways. The Bear Tooth highway was pretty awesome - great scenery, and beautiful tarmac. Got a bit carried away overtaking groups of Harleys, and thought I was Rossi for a while until I came back to earth and remembered I was riding a heavily loaded oversized dirt bike two up. After the Bear Tooth highway we picked our way through a series of B roads and country lanes to avoid the interstate. A great gas station recommendation took us to the Thirsty Turtle in Big Timber for lunch. Man that was a great stop. Awesome food, beer and people. One of our faves. We pushed on from there through the Lewis and Clark national park and ended up in Great Falls. On the way there we got overtaken by a little can am looking thing. Two wheels at the front, two seats, and one wheel at the back. I was a little put out by this and put the hammer down to teach him a lesson. He had other ideas and nailed it as well. Man that thing was hauling. I got up to 170kms and he was still pulling away. I was afraid our boxes where going to blow off if I went any quicker so let him go.


    We cruised to the Glacier national park the next day but couldn’t find any empty campsites so ducked out again and went to the Hungry Horse lake where we found a ripper. It involved driving through the lake to get around the corner to a little meadow where we set up the tent. Back on the access track an old hippie with the awesome name Buzz Buzzyear had set up. He was pretty good value. I tried to catch a trout for dinner with no luck and we had to settle for beer, jerky and fresh cherries. After a good nights sleep we pushed on through Glacier, and up the Going to the Sun highway. I started off trying to get past the traffic, but it seems there is a dim view of overtaking on this road and we copped a lot of honking and one fingered waving. I’m talking about overtaking on clear sections of road with sight lines and room to pull in, not weaving in and out of traffic on blind corners. I eventually got sick of the abuse and gave up. We then crawled up the pass at an average speed of 20kmh in a line of RV’s and hire cars. I guess it gave us more time to soak up the view. Thankfully everyone seems to stop at the top and turn around so we had a nice run down the other side.There were a few bikers in the café at the bottom so we hung round for a coupla hours chatting and drinking coffee, before hitting the saddle and busting a move into Canada.
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  5. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    At the border we got asked if we were carrying any firearms and then straight in. No paperwork, didn’t even have to get off the bike. Last country of the trip and a big milestone for us. It was nice cruise through Westerton national park and Crowsnest pass before we spotted a brewery in Fernie and stopped in for a few beers and to get some supplies. There was a little gravel back road heading out to some lovely looking rivers so we went up there, passing a couple of DR650s before we found a nice campsite next to Bull river and got a fire going to dry out. It was a real buzz seeing a momma moose and baby moose having a wash in the river as well. We woke up to a grey sky and rain pelting the tent. Funnnn . We had a pretty cold ride and pulled the pin at the Fairmont hot springs. We spent the evening soaking in the hot tub, and relaxing in an awesome little cabin drying our gear out. The next day broke out clear and sunny and we kept tracking north. Icefields parkway was next on the list and that was stunning. We stopped at the Icefields campsite and set the tent up. The ranger stopped by to make sure we had our stuff in a bear box. I said it was locked in the top box but apparently, that wasn’t good enough as it wasn’t certified. I guess the bears up here can read, as well as kill everybody. The whole bear thing is crazy with people carrying guns and all kinds of stuff.

    I checked the stats and one person was killed by a bear last year. You’ve got more chance of being abducted by aliens basically, anyway… The evening consisted of drinking beer and whiskey by a roaring fire looking over to the massive mountains and glaciers. We carry on out of the park slowing down to check out a baby bear, we didn’t get off the bike to approach it and take photos like a few other intrepid tourists were. Didn’t want to become the 1st person of 2019 to be a Mumma bear’s dinner. It was more nice riding and we stopped in Jasper for lunch and to grab a new lens cap and UV filter for Megs camera. It turned out to be a fairly long day and we pressed through to Prince George which was a pretty rough looking place. It was here we saw the news about the two Australians murdered just ahead of us at Dease lake. We had a fairly big discussion whether we carried on with the two offenders on the loose. The next day I went to the doctor to try and sort my knee out to keep riding. I hadn’t been able to use my back brake very much, and dropped the bike because my knee had been to stuffed to put a leg down. Found an awesome ex ED doctor who changed the medication around and pumped it full of steroids. He also owned a brewery so went down in my books as one the coolest doctors I’ve met.

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  6. XR Valdeez

    XR Valdeez Been here awhile Supporter

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    Outstanding job and update! Glad ur doing good!

    Your old fairing piece is hung in a place oh honor in the garage!

    [​IMG]


    Ride Red!

    Cheers!
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  7. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    After that we push towards Smithers and on the way get the dreaded back end weave on a nice hairpin corner. This indicted a critical lack of air pressure and we were stoked to have the first proper flat of the trip on the back tyre. (We had one in Peru but that’s because I stacked the bike). Pulled over had some lunch, and got her patched before hitting the road again. About 50kms later the wobble reappeared. Somehow the patch had delaminated and was lying on the ground next to the wheel! Pulled the wheel off to repair it again. We were stuck against a barrier, on a median strip on a bad corner, down a really long hill with no way to get the bike to a safer spot. About 20 bikes passed us without stopping which really pissed me off. I’ve never ridden past a bike that looks like it might have broken down. I guess all these guys had their heads too far up their arses to see us. In the end a really nice fella who had just started adventure riding stopped on his vstrom. He had just completed the Tuk ride, which was impressive as it was his first ride on gravel. I was glad he had stopped because our compressor had shat the bed. We managed to top the tyre off with some Co2 cartridges he was carrying. I tried soapy water, bouncing the tyre, and kicking the hell out of it, but still couldn’t get the bead to set. He offered to ride our tyre to the nearest town to seat it! Super nice as he still had a long way to go in the other direction.

    I didn’t really want to put him out that far, so banged the tyre back on, and rode it down the road until it heated up enough and seated the bead. He followed us for a bit to make sure we were all good then banged a uey and headed back towards Prince George. Thanks again mate if your reading this. We got a cheap motel in some little town, and woke up to the tyre going flat again. I pulled it off and walked it to a tyre shop. Turns out I had missed a tiny hole next to the main one. He vulcanised a huge patch over everything which held till we changed the tube in the next town. I also scored some more (better) patches and a can of vulcanising fluid which came in very handy a bit further down the track.
    We finally got to Smithers where we hit the local brewery for some much needed rehydration and then headed to municipal campground and set up.

    While we there a couple of misfits turned up on an old Harley sportster with apehangers, and a mid 80s bmw K100. Matt and Alex had met earlier that day and we decided to jump in with them. Matt was heading to Tuk and Alex was going to Fairbanks via the Cassiar. We had a great run the next day up to the Dease lake area. The town wasn’t fantastic but there was booze and gas, so we loaded up and headed to another awesome free campsite called Sawmill Point. Much whisky and beer was consumed around another cracker of a campfire. While we were complaining about how tired and how hard riding motorcycles around the place were, Sven turns up on a pushbike having ridden 120kms that day. On top of the 240,000kms he had ridden around the world up till then… puts things in perspective. The next morning, he got me to do a little piece to camera for his video blog. Unfortunately, I had just had a swim in the lake and was only wearing my trusty merino boxers and a jacket. I’m sure that’s going to increase his followers massively… We cruise into Whitehorse the next day, stopping at the Yukon sign for a few photos for the lads.

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  8. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    We stayed at very average bed and breakfast that night. I lost the plot as the host was an absolute knob and the place sucked. Lucky Meg was there to calm things down. After dinner we had a few thinking beers to help us decide whether to hit Tuk or Prudhoe first. The weather wasn’t amazing for either but Tuk looked slightly better so the decision was made. I made a few frantic calls in the morning trying to find tyres (I had planned to change in Fairbanks) and managed to find a Motoz adventure rear and a Mitas E07 for the front. I wasn’t overjoyed with the Mitas but it was the closest they had apart from a full-on MX knobbly. While we were there we met Harold who was also putting new rubber on his old XR600 for his Dempster run who we run into again later in this story. The other issue was during the tire swap the tech noticed when he balanced the wheel up that the rear wheel bearing was a little rough. I hadn’t noticed it and it wasn’t too bad, there also weren’t any wheel bearings available in town. So we pressed on and I figured I’d have a look at Dawson City.

    On the way, I checked out a little line on the gps that headed towards a lake and found another great campsite. We weren’t the first ones there, as there where a few fire rings, but it was deserted and had a great view. Beer drinking, an oil change, and firewood gathering commenced. Matt (on the Kbike) was still with us, Alex had gone the other way to Fairbanks. He wasn’t too keen to try the Dempster with road tyres and ape hangers. Bloody soft Harley riders. Had a fairly lazy start the next day and carried on towards Dawson City. Since travelling with Matt we realised how snobby and assholy adventure riders can be (qualities I had only associated with BMW and Harley riders in the past). Lots of condensing talk at gas stations and often just plain ignoring us. I guess being two up, and riding with someone on a 35 year old sports tourer disqualifies you from the club. I am generalising a bit here and there were riders that where really nice and friendly, they just generally weren’t the ones covered in matching brand new gear, riding shiny unscratched brand new bikes…. Anyway back to the RR

    We reach Dawson city and stock up to head out of town to a campsite. While we were there I decided to pull the rear wheel to have another look at the bearing. I’m glad I did because it was total cactus. To the point where even riding it 5kms back to the campsite was iffy. The next morning, having visions of airfreighting or waiting a week in Dawson for wheel bearings, I went across the road to local NAPA. The guy on the parts counter said there was no chance of a motorbike part there and my heart sank. I gave him the bearing number and he went to look out the back anyway. Lo and behold he had two sitting on the shelf! I raced back to the campground and went to work changing them. Not easy without the right tools but managed to do it without stuffing anything up.


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  9. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    I was pretty pissed off when I pulled the old bearings. I had been running out of time when I was prepping the bike back in Aus and had taken the wheel to a local shop in Alice to get new tyres, and all balls bearings installed to replace the stock ones that are prone to early failure. I don’t know how they’d managed it but they had punched a hole in the outer seal, and ripped the dust seal as well as scuffing up my hub. It looked like it had been installed with a screwdriver. It wasn’t from my removal as I could see the damage as soon as I pulled the dust seal. This had basically trapped water between the dust seal, and the bearing and then the bearing itself had filled with water. I was surprised it had lasted as long as it did.

    Anyway got it all bolted back together and we were about to hit the road when I noticed a pool of coolant underneath the Kbike. This necessitated a strip down to tighten up a loose crossover and feed hose. Also while all this was going on a young German couple on a Yamaha TT500 and GS650, decided they wanted to do the Dempster run with us. He was about ready to go but his bike said no. He pulled the carby and found a blocked jet and heap of crap in there. By the time all this had been remedied we were all pretty keen to get the front tyres onto the Dempster! We set out anyway despite it being pretty late in the day. The road was in great condition, a little bit damp so no dust and a beautiful clear evening. We were hauling ass but the Germans were going a bit slower so we stopped and arranged to meet them at Eagle Plains. We ended up pulling over a bit sooner and found a great campsite on top of a ridge with pretty much 360 degree views of the countryside.

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  10. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    The next morning pulled up cold and wet, and we rode into Eagle Plains pretty dishevelled and filthy. It was raining further north and little did we know worse was to come. The German couple decided they were going to head back as they didn’t want risk it in the rain, but we decided to press on. There were tales of crashed bikes and riders getting medevaced out, at the roadhouse which increased the anxiety levels. Just as we were leaving Ralf on a BMW GSA turned up, and joined us. We cut a track through the slush, I had tons of rear grip but the front was pretty sketchy. It progressively got worse and everyone had some close calls. Ralf had a huge slide and ended up slithering to a stop on the side of the road to collect himself. I got on the power and managed to get past him. We passed a crashed bike, I think it was a KLR after that, but they were okay and didn’t need any help. The surface conditions were constantly changing and very hard to predict. Matt was on the pegs of the BMW the entire time trying to keep the big girl on the road.


    We got through the rain and the road started to dry out a bit. It was still slushy but with a bit more traction. I went to overtake Matt and he hit the gas so we ended up side by side racing up a nice smooth hill. We hit about 130 and he hooked another gear, I got on the gas as well and blazed past him. The next thing I saw in the mirror was his bike skidding wildly from one side of the road to the other. He somehow got the bike stopped and got of the bike very shaken. Turns out he had spun his back tyre on the rim and ripped the valve stem off the tube causing instant deflation.
    He had a spare tube for the front wheel and luckily and we had a beer that Ralf magically produced from his side case. As we were doing this a couple on a rental Vstrom pulled up to see if we needed a hand. They had ridden up when the road was dry and were pretty nervous about heading back in the mud. As they took off Matt had his second close encounter with death. It was hilarious to watch, the bloke riding somehow screwed up taking off, and accidentally did the massive swerve towards the Bmw and Matt, who was reinstalling the back wheel. Matt jumped forward and the big strom wobbled over where he had been sitting and towards where our bike was parked. Luckily he managed another wobble to the right and continued off merrily down the road…

    We get going and push to Inuvik to set up camp. We finish off our beer there and the whiskey also takes a hit for the team. Bit of a run-down campsite but it does the job. Lots of excitement and anticipation about the run to Tuk in a few hours. (We accidently stayed up till about 1am) it’s pretty hard with it never getting dark.

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  11. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    Up and at em the next day for the final push. The road from Inuvik to Tuk was a killer with everyone getting pretty beaten up by a combo of deep gravel, ruts, and massive clouds of dust from the passing trucks. This is also where we met Harold again. He had let us know via text that he had lost the chain from his XT and smashed the biggest hole I've ever seen into his engine case. Instead of turning around he had bought an old v8 Chev ute from another traveller and chucked his bike on the back to get to Tuk. We met him on his way back and shared our commiserations with him for the breakage and congratulations for making it anyway.

    The road didn’t get any easier and the bikes were all over the place. It was a huge relief to get to the Tuk sign without any offs. It was hard to believe we had made and Meg and I were pretty stoked, as well as being absolutely exhausted. We hung around Tuk for a bit. I was pretty emotional but didn’t really have time to process everything. We grabbed some food at a little food van and went for a swim in the Arctic. It was pretty awesome. Everyone was pretty pumped and the energy levels were good so we hit the road. I’d had a gutsful of riding like a wimp and getting the snot beaten out of us, so just opened the bike up with the hope of getting over the top of all the crap, but also out of frustration. Three hours to get to Tuk and about an hour and a half back. It was awesome, big power slides and lots of big gravel rooster tails. Matt and Ralf also hammered it and we ended up in Inuvik with huge grins on our faces. We grabbed some tacos and had a few beers which did wonders so we decided to stock up on booze and hammer another couple of hundred ks out. Partly because the Inuvik campsite was crap and also because the weather for the next day was looking a bit grim. We pulled into Fort Mcpherson at about 11pm after a massive day. Beers and whiskey went down well and we sat around talking shit for a while. In the background Matt’s back tyre slowly deflated but everyone was too knackered to fix it. Meg went to bed and eventually it was just me leaning against the bike having a quiet whiskey and thinking about the last eight months. I reckon I would have finished the bottle but luckily for me, Meg woke up and suggested it might be a good idea to come to bed haha.

    I woke up at about 9, Im not sure who was feeling dustier, me or the bike. I wandered over and hammered the bmw horn to wake Matt up to fix the tyre. We pull it off and manage a fairly impressive patch job, complete with flaming vulcanising fluid. That delayed the departure a bit, but with the road being in such good condition on the way back we made pretty good time. I couldn’t believe it was the same road. We managed an average speed of about 120kmh pretty much the whole way back out. We also stopped for an impromptu 50000k birthday party for Athena (our AT) complete with shots, and a dance off. We were about 200kms from the seal when we pulled up to check on a guy underneath a new bmw, I think it was an 800. I ask him what the problem was, he said dirt was getting on the bike, I assumed he meant it was blocking the radiator. Nope he was just really worried about the dirt getting on his bike, and was trying to wash it off with a water bottle. Hilarious. He also said he hadn’t seen his friends for a while and could we tell them he was waiting for them if we saw them. I figured if he was that worried he could turn around and tell them himself. We left him in a quandary whether he should carry on as he was pretty worried, after seeing our filthy mud encrusted machines. He also had full on road tyres on his bike. As in slicks with a few rain grooves cut into them. Anywho we left to him to his bike cleaning duties and roared off. Bout 100kms further on we flew past his four friends who were crawling along at about 30kmh on one of the dry patches. Didn’t bother stopping.

    Managed to find another average bed and breakfast in Dawson City and had a few victory beers, the most expensive takeaway pizza I’ve ever eaten and a pretty quiet night. Matt decided he wanted to see if the BMW would also survive the Dalton, I admired his stupidity and terrible judgment and we decided to keep riding together. Ralf was heading back south so we parted ways. As we were washing the bikes a French and American bloke turned up on a farkled KTM790 and Dr650 respectively. They were just heading up the Dempster so we shared some road info with them, he had spent the last day ripping his 790 apart with the help of his mate and a kindly stranger. Why? you may be asking, or you may not as it is a KTM… Anyway, he had ridden it into a lake for a photo shoot and in the process of turning around got in a bit over his head. Well the air intakes in this case and swallowed a heap of water. Don’t know how he didn’t bend a rod or hydraulic the motor. Must have been pretty funny to watch.

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  12. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    We pushed on over the Top of World highway, and into Chicken for a coupla coldies before carrying on to Tok to stay at the Eagle Claw campground. We both needed to do a fair bit of work on the bikes and this was the perfect spot to do it. We met a cool Australian chick called Sarah there who was riding a borrowed bmw? I think. She was just finishing an oil change when we pulled up. A paramedic back home and in her spare time worked for Compass expeditions on their big overseas tours. She also had a corkscrew (ours had committed suicide a few weeks back) and helped Meg drink her bottle of wine. I stuck to beer and whiskey.

    We woke up and Matt took the twin for a spin and laid it nicely on its side when he had finished haha. While he stripped the Beemer back, I went to clean the air filters on Athena. Then I decided to pull prolink to check the bearings as she had been a bit shocky. They were dry and a bit rumbly so I cleaned and repacked them with grease, then while I was at it I pulled the swing arm off which was just as bad. I’ll do a full replacement when I get home. So my easy air filter clean turned into a whole day’s work. Funny how that happens. It was great having the fully equipped workshop to use, and the sauna and beer later was pretty sweet. While in town, we stopped in at the little market they were having. I bought a cool skinning knife, a local kid was making them out scrap metal from the local mill. Old sawblades, files etc, etc, really impressive craftsmanship and he will be making good money with a bit more experience.

    Our run up to Fairbanks was a bit cold and wet, the highlight being a bison burger, and a heap of different jerky and smoked salmon from Delta Junction. Matt decided to put some fresh rubber on the next day, and I really wanted to ditch the E07 which I really didn’t like. A local workshop there had what we needed so we went up. I chucked a TKC80 on the front. The guy who owned the place was pretty dismissive of my Motoz on the rear saying it was no good for Alaskan conditions, and as far as he was concerned the only tyre worth running was a Heidanau. Well I can tell you right now that adventure on the back has taken an absolute hammering from Whitehorse, up the Dempster, the Dalton, and back into Whitehorse and still has plenty of life left in it, with the traction control turned off on the dirt…..

    The work took a bit longer than we thought, as we also needed a set of rear brake pads ground down to fit the back of Matt’s bike. With dire stories of bear attacks and the dangers of Alaska ringing in our ears, we left to attack the mighty Dalton. It was 5pm at this stage and just to make things more pleasant it starts pissing down with rain. We arrived at Coldfoot camp pretty tired, wet, cold, and bedraggled. There was a couple of Ducati street bikes out the front on street tyres. Matt had a chat to the couple riding them and it turns out they are taking them to Ushuaia. Rather them than me. Warm soup, coffee and toasties revive us and we decided to press on to Wiseman. Nearly got taken out on the way there by a huge owl that flew up in front of me. I managed a half pie swerve to the left and just missed him by a feather. It looked like a ghost coming towards the bike. Gave us a hell of a fright, I described it to the girl at the Boreal lodge in Wiseman and she said it was most likely a snowy or a great grey. Definitely big enough to knock us off the road at any rate.
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  13. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    311
    Location:
    Alice Springs
    The next morning, I adjust the chain as it had been a bit noisy, although it didn’t seem too bad. We turned off the driveway and she was making a horrendous noise. Stopped again and found some bruised and stuck links. Pulled off the front sprocket cover and that was pretty hooked as well. Weird because I’m pretty carefully about cleaning and oiling. Managed to free them up and carry on. But she didn’t sound happy. At least the weather played ball and it was stunning, albeit a cold ride. The road was a bit wet which was nice as it kept to dust to a minimum. We got to the top of the Atigan pass and pulled over for some photos. Mat noticed fluid dripping from my left fork…. Awesome. We stopped at the bottom of the hill for lunch and cleaned both seals. Didn’t help and she kept haemorrhaging precious fluid, which turned the front end into a nightmare. It was on the compression side and the bike felt like a pogo stick for the rest of the ride. Anywho I wasn’t going back even if meant screwing my fork cartridges. We were way too close to finishing. The road was beautiful with lots of animal sightings on the way to Deadhorse. We rolled in pretty late and found a room at the Arctic Oilfields hotel. We were pretty pumped about making it and spirits were high. In the morning, we had a quick breakfast and rode to the tour office to catch our ride to the ocean. Was pretty cool with heaps of information about the oilfield.


    When we get there Meg decides she wants a swim as she hadn’t joined us earlier at Tuk. So we strip down and get in again, yelling and dancing around like nutters. No one else went under so we felt pretty cool. We broke out the champagne and had a few toasts. It was cool having Matt there to celebrate with and also a pretty impressive effort on his part getting the old Beemer up there. It was a real buzz and I can’t really put into words what it felt like. I dreamed about it for so long, and when I met Meg she got fully on board and made it her dream as well. We made an awesome team and I couldn’t have done it without her, and was so stoked to be able to have done it together (even if I was sometimes jealous when I spotted 690s one up with soft bags). No matter how tough the going got she never complained even after two pretty major stacks and a heap of low speed drops in mud and sand. We managed to smash some pretty serious roads and tracks, and took the bike quite a few places we shouldn’t have two up. All I can say is its been bloody fantastic, and if you are considering doing it with your better half give it a go. You won’t regret it.

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    Attached Files:

    Vrode likes this.
  14. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    311
    Location:
    Alice Springs
    We rode back as far as the Arctic Circle and set up camp for the night. It was a beautiful day but went past in a bit of a blur for me. The next morning, we woke up find the Beemer leaking fuel from the tank, and upon investigation found the mounting rubber had jolted out and consequently the vibration had broken the welds on the mounting tab on the tank. We broke the JB weld out and patched it up well enough so he wouldn’t explode on the way back to Fairbanks. We were lucky enough to get an Airbnb with a garage for a couple of nights, to sort out my fork seals and get the tank repaired properly, so after the appropriate amount of celebratory drinks (this turned out to be quite a few as we had survived the bears, the weather, and all the other perils outlined quite graphically to us before we left)

    The next day was spent running around for bits and pieces, I found seals but none of the shops could fit them, so I needed enough stuff to do it myself, as well as getting the bmw tank welded up. I can’t remember the name of the engineering place but their tig guy did a beautiful job at short notice for a bloody good rate. That took longer than expected so we ended up finishing the seals at 2am. (The next day Matt ran into a rider that had his done at one of the bike shops, they had charged him $700 and they were leaking two days later) so I was pretty glad we did them ourselves even if it was a bit of a piss around. It had been great riding with Matt and it was sad to see him go as he had to hightail it home while we were going to Anchorage for a new chain and sprockets. We left in the morning pretty tired and rode through to a pretty good campsite, not quite as far as we had planned, as a stop at the Denali brewery took up some of our day haha. Meg had a friend in Girdwood just past Anchorage so we cruised over there and spent a cool afternoon and night with them.

    We couldn’t find a bike shop open on Monday in Anchorage, so ended up staying at a pretty nice air bnb. The chain and sprockets also turned into a complete disaster. Getting the parts was easy but the shop couldn’t change it. I bought a new motion pro chain breaker to replace mine that had been stolen in Bolivia, and parked in front of Autozone to change them over (so I could use their torque wrench and heavier gear than I was carrying). The chain breaker broke pretty much straight away,. so it was a bit of bastard separating the links on the old chain. I got that sorted, put the new sprockets on and went to fit the new chain. I got it on and went to put the clip link on. Hell, its way too bloody short even with the adjusting blocks out. Turns out the shop had sold us a 20 link instead of a 24. I rang them up and they sorted out a cheap and cheerful 30 link firepower brand chain (there was nothing else to be had apparently). I asked them if they could take it to their shop and knock off 6 links. The chain was delivered pretty quickly to their credit and I banged it on. IMG_6109.jpg Frame-18-08-2019-10-58-31.jpg Frame-18-08-2019-10-58-37.jpg Frame-18-08-2019-11-03-18.jpg G0022406.jpg GOPR1480.jpg GOPR1641.jpg
  15. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    311
    Location:
    Alice Springs
    I still had the adjustment blocks out, and was fighting with the DID clip link that wouldn’t work (the chain was heaps thicker than a DID and the pins were too short). I was pretty tired by this stage so didn’t notice the thing was way too bloody long. I pulled it off again and walked it up to the shop to get another two-links knocked off to take it the correct length of 24. I was starting to lose the plot at this stage and skinned my knuckles putting it back on. It had started raining as well so Meg kept a discrete distance as I directed a tirade of abuse towards the bike, the sprockets, chain manufacturers, and the world in general. Surprisingly this didn’t help.

    Finally got it all together and hit the trail out of town. We got to a pretty miserable sort of campsite on the edge of a lake you couldn’t see. The camp caretakers obviously didn’t give a rat’s ass about it and it was filthy and run down. On top of that it started raining and we were woken up at 2am by a bunch of weirdos walking around chanting I was tempted to make use of the stupid bear spray we had been carrying. Couldn’t get out of the place fast enough. We rode down to Tok too tired to camp and got a cabin at Fast Eddy’s. Since reaching the top I felt absolutely shattered and lost a fair bit of motivation, I wasn’t looking forward to riding or particularly enjoying it. We had planned to stay a week on a little island near Prince Rupert and figure out where to go next. I was pretty keen to get there. We left Tok and rode down the Alaska highway through Beaver Creek into Canada. That was a stunning ride which cheered me up a lot. We got as far as Whitehorse and found an air bnb for the night. Meg rang up the ferry company in the morning to book our tickets on the ferry and found out they were booked solid for two weeks.

    That was an outstanding piece of news. We booked another night at a divey motel in Whitehorse and looked for somewhere close to park up for a week. A local lady we met the day before had mentioned Lake Atlin. Meg found an Airbnb and booked it for a week. Job done.
    It was a freezing cold windy rainy ride the next day to get here, but the apartment had a little fire and is pretty sweet, up on a hill overlooking a beautiful lake and mountain ranges. There’s even a sauna downstairs. So we’ve got a bit of time to work out what our next moves are. So there ya go. All caught up. I’ve missed heaps and there is so much more, but heres the general outline!

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    Attached Files:

  16. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    311
    Location:
    Alice Springs
    Meg
    Just a wee add in from me. So much has happened in a short space of time and it will take a long time to process all that we have seen and done. It’s been completely amazing and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It has also been really challenging and I am so proud of Mike who has worked so hard to achieve his dream. He has kept us upright 99% of the time and saved us from many perils (including flat tyres and adolescent bears). We feel so lucky with all the support we have had from home and people we have met along the way, it’s been incredible. Thanks team! xx
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    Pipeman and roadcapDen like this.
  17. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    311
    Location:
    Alice Springs
    Looks better up there than it did on the bike haha
  18. ztaj

    ztaj jatz

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,296
    Location:
    Nelson-ish New Zealand
    Was good to meet you 2 @ Yukon camp and then again south of Fairbanks. Thanks for the updates.
    I'm the kiwi guy on the new v-strom with the almost new matching outfit :augie
    Also... posting this from the campsite you recommended on icefields parkway. Good suggestion:thumbup
    Lostmike likes this.
  19. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    311
    Location:
    Alice Springs
    Haha no worries mate, our outfits match as well....... was great to meet you guys too, that campsites a cracker hey.
  20. Scinap

    Scinap Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    11
    Hey guys, this is Dom from the hot springs. Just putting this out there for the record, this lovely pair rescued me and let me share their campsite when I turned up after sunset. I've been relaxing today, going through the ride report, looking for tips.
    Lostmike likes this.