GrizzLee Stories from the North

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by GrizzLee, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

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    Thanks guys...

    I am loving the Rallye.

    Currently at Happy Camp in northern California. If you've never been on the stretch between willow creek and Happy Camp... OMG. ... it's an awesome ride. So scenic, mountains and twisties, sunken grades and no warning signs. Oh, and bigfoot country. I spotted 3 of them yesterday... all static displays.


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    #61
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  2. toowoomba

    toowoomba Certified BMW Therapist MCCL Supporter

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    I'll add that to my route - Glad you're enjoying your trip and the Rallye is treating you well. When you do finally come across the real thing, Big Foot, don't make eye contact... Continued safe journeys and continuing great weather.
    #62
  3. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

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    Ok folks, getting back on track here. A new video.


    GrizzLee Stories From The North: Episode 5 - Finishing the Canol Road

    A little out of Sequence.
    Continuing from Episode 4.....

    Going back out the Canol wasn’t as exciting as it was coming up. Time constraints, and the rain just dampened the mood. It was turning out to be a very wet summer up here. The Yukon interior is usually pretty dry and arid in the summer. Perhaps climate change was the reason. This type of weather would haunt me for most of time on this trip.

    My next destination… Dawson City, The Dempster Highway and Tuktoyuktuk

    #63
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  4. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks again for the great video! To bad it was so wet. I might have missed it, but what month were you doing this ride?
    #64
  5. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

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    I left my home in Arlington, Wa end of June. So I was there 1st or 2nd week of July.

    2nd time there. 2nd time I experienced rain :-( As you can tell by my report, it was pretty wet up there June and July. Most unusual for the Yukon. The interior is pretty arid with thunder storms rolling in and out. But nothing like the consistency I experienced on this trip.
    #65
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  6. BCBackRoads

    BCBackRoads Travels with Gumby

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    Hi Grizz

    I'm a bit late to the party. I just finished viewing episode 2 and in spite of your misfortunes with the tires and all, your still producing outstanding videos. I've got a lot of catching up to do and I'm looking forward to more.

    Cheers, Wayne
    #66
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  7. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

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    That's the beauty of the digital age. You can binge watch everything. Grab a beer, make some popcorn and make an evening out of it. :lurk

    Thanks for joining me on this adventure. I have to make my way back to kelowna for some bar-b-que and a beer.

    Cheers mate. :beer
    #67
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  8. BCBackRoads

    BCBackRoads Travels with Gumby

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    You're welcome any time my friend. I've taking some time off this summer so if the stars align I may be able to join you for a few days if you come up this way.

    I'll keep the fridge stocked. Wayne
    #68
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  9. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Thanks Lee. Updates always appreciated.
    #69
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  10. Bob Benton

    Bob Benton MotoBob

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    Many thanks Lee. Cheers!
    #70
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  11. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

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    Grizzlee Stories From the North: Beyond Dawson City

    So I left Dawson City in the afternoon after checking out Gold Bottom, Solomon’s Dome and the Midnight Dome. All great places to ride to with history and scenery to keep it interesting.

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    Top Of the World views

    I once again, took the ferry across the Yukon River at Dawson to tackle the Top of the World Highway. Weather started out pretty good and I was thinking that hey, maybe, just maybe, I can escape the rain for a day. And I did initially. However, Mother Nature wasn’t going to let me off cheap today. She decided that while I was riding the nice compacted dirt road of calcite, that it was time to fool with me. And so the skies opened up again for another spanking of rain. She let me have it. I had to eventually pull over to a pullout and wait it out as the road got greasy and worse yet, the high humidity wouldn’t allow for my helmet to be fog free. I was essentially riding blindly through the greasy mess.

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    Wet, but not beaten at Poker Creek Alaska. Population 3

    I waited it out for about ½ hour and the elusive sun appeared long enough for me to grab a snack.

    From there I was able to witness the 1st Nations folks harvesting a Caribou. From the distance, I saw a herd upon the ridge, when I got below them, I could see the natives had shot one and were loading it into their truck.

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    I made my way to the Yukon/Alaska Border crossing, known as Poker Creek and the rain gods pissed on me some more. I then followed the US side of the border for about 18 miles or so of new pavement. WOW, I thought, this wasn’t here last time. I was riding along at a decent clip when I had to brake abruptly. Another herd of Caribou had decided to blindly cross the road in front of me. They seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Form thee, I had a wet ride all the way to Chicken Alaska. I pulled in and got some of their free coffee and mingled with a couple of other riders. A father/son team that just got off the Dempster. They had an interesting riding up to Tuk. It seems they rode up to Inuvik in one day. Spent the night there and made a run out to Tuk and then came back to Dawson city in one day!! They stated that ti was so wet and miserable, that they just wanted off the road. This gave me good confirmation that I had made the right decision by waiting.

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    On my way to Chicken... Views galore in between rain showers.

    From Chicken I rode to Tok. While the road was paved, it was very rainy and lots of sunken grades. I almost got clobbered on more than one occasion by big semi trucks cutting the corners in the turns to avoid the sinking grade of the road. It was actually pretty dangerous. I approached each corner with the utmost caution. When I finally hopped on the Alcan Hwy to head for Tok (~12 miles or so I believe), I got dosed with a continuous cold down pour. My plan was to camp in the Eagle Claw campground, but I was shivering and soaked to the bone when I arrived at Fast Eddies in Tok. I checked on the availability of a room at Youngs Motel (owned by the same folks) and got the last one. I happily paid $100 to get out of the cold and take a warm shower. Afterwards I made my way to the restaurant and had the all-you-could eat salad bar and a beer. The father/son team pulled in on their KLRs and we had a nice visit.

    The next day was still wet. I made my way toward Fairbanks in mixed weather. My goal for the day was to end up at the University of Alaksa Fairbanks and claim a dorm room. Along the way, in North Pole Alaska (yes, this is a real town up there outside of Fairbanks), I met up with another group of riders that had come off the Dempster. They made it as far as Inuvik … barely they stated and turned around the next day because the conditions were so awful. Their story included staying in a maintenance camp after experiencing many falls/crashes from fatigue. They stated that folks are not normally allowed to stay at the camps, buts the crew opened their garage and let them spend the night in it. The gov’t workers, brought them pizza and fired up the stove. They said it was downright cozy and a godsend for them. A pretty miserable experience for sure.

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    Greetings from North Pole Alaska ... I asked Santa for Sunshine

    I arrived in Fairbanks still concerned about the weather. I was able to get a dorm room at the University for $40 for the night. This is a bargain and I loved staying there. They have free internet and laundry included with your stay. The best part is, it is a mecca for other like minded riders of my ilk. I met up with a guy from Texas, riding a GSA like me and we went to dinner at the Pump House Restaurant on the Chena River. We got a table outside and basked in the rare evening sunshine with a local brew and a steak. It was the best meal of the entire trip and well deserved.

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    Drying out in my Dorm Room

    Back at the Dorm, I checked the weather conditions on the Haul Road (aka, The Dalton Highway) going north toward Prudhoe Bay. The weather seemed OK. Nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year. But the word on the street was, that they have been experiencing very wet conditions up there as all summer.

    So, the next day, I packed up my bike and headed out towards Prudhoe Bay on the Dalton Highway.


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    So I had one question on my mind; Will the rain gods continue to pummel me?
    Stay tuned....
    #71
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  12. eemsreno

    eemsreno Super Tenere Rider.

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    Great report Grizzly!
    I'm a big fan of that North Canol also. Just fantastic riding but it really helps if it's sunny.
    #72
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  13. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

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    Everything on a bike is better with sun. Doubly so for the canol.

    I must say this though. My video doesn't do the canol justice. The northern mountains at Mac pass are spectacular.
    #73
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  14. cptnwightwen

    cptnwightwen Been here awhile Supporter

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    I've been at that sign three times and I still want to go back. Less than a mile further and the pavement runs out and the gravel greets you on and off (mostly off) to Dead Horse. I love it.
    #74
  15. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

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    Ok, you getting ahead of me. You are correct though.Hang tight and you'll see what i experienced beyond the sign... it's a different experience every time.

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    Father son ride in 2013.

    Hot as heck too. 2013 Temp in Coldfoot.
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    #75
  16. Phoenix101

    Phoenix101 Long timer

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    Grizz on the 1200 what did you run for tire air pressures on the dirt?
    #76
  17. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

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    The road , for the most part, is hard packed. So I run with recommended tire pressures.

    With that stated, I ran into folks who were riding the greasy parts in rain mode on their GSs. These new electronic ride modes work really well .
    #77
  18. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

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    GrizzLee Stories From the North: The Haul Road

    I got up early and left Fairbanks heading to the Dalton Highway. I made pretty good time, even with a stop for coffee and some breakfast.

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    At the start of the Dalton Hwy is an elevated sign signifying the start of the road. The elevated sign was presumably to keep folks from plastering stickers all over it and defacing it. Somehow, many travelers are undaunted as the sign is still plastered with stickers from folks of all walks of life. The town of “Livengood”, yes, you read that correctly, is nearby. There is such a place and a name. Apparently, its' population has dwindled to only a handful of folks now.

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    From there the weather was ok. The road was in excellent condition. I endured a few sprinkles here and there all the way up to the Yukon Crossing at Mile Post 57. I stopped at the visitor’s center and spent some time looking around and even going to the beach to dip my toe into the Yukon River.

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    Yukon River... Beeeutiful

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    Yukon River Crossing

    Afterwards I headed north to get gas in Coldfoot. Along the way I would cross the Arctic Circle and so forth. The weather gods were being nice and in fact, I got a nice break in the weather as I came upon finger rock at MP 98. Finger rock sits upon a high plateau above the tundra. It is rather unique as the ground is not soft and spongy. Lots of granite rocks lie scattered about for miles and miles. The rocks are pushed up as water freezes and expands underneath them in a process known as frost heaving. One of the biggest and most unique of these rocks is Finger Rock. It stands like a beacon on the plateau and can be seen from many miles away.
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    Finger Rock... A Beacon on the tundra

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    Looking North form Finger Rock

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    Gretchen

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    From there, it seemed like a short ride and I arrived at the Arctic Circle (MP 115). The weather gods were being nice to me. Sunshine mixed with filtered sunshine was the weather menu for this evening.

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    From the Arctic Circle, it didn’t take long and I found myself in Coldfoot another 70 miles or so north. It is here, north of pump station number 5, where I refueled. I was able to slip in and get in on the all-you-can-eat buffet. Coldfoot is an oasis out here in the wilderness. I met a few folks, including some riders coming back from Prudhoe Bay. They said the ride was wet, cold and rainy. In fact, they stated that it was snowing at Atigun Pass. I decided then and there that I’d only go as far Atigun Pass and then turn around. It was now about 8:00 in the evening. I left Coldfoot thinking I would ride as far as I could into the evening sun and then turn around and camp at Marion Creek, a designated campground about 10 miles or so north of Coldfoot.

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    Arctic Inter agency Visitors Center at Coldfoot

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    Stuffed animals on display :-(

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    Marion Creek nestled in the heart of the Brooks Range

    As I made my way north, the sun was shining and the skies were clearing. It was GORGEOUS. I kept riding in the magical light with very little traffic. I think I saw only 2 trucks for the rest of the evening. The sunlight was splendid. A few miles before milepost 204 I could see Sukapak Mtn and it was a religious experience that I will take to my grave. I made several stops and had a hard time pulling away from its beauty. The warm sunshine and the total stillness of the air was incredible.
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    Incredible Evening Light

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    I slowly made my way to the Deitrich camp and bridge. Lots and lots of beauty here in the mountains. Mountains formed of limestone, pushed up from the ocean to form the Brooks Range. Absolutely stunning. To my dismay, it looks like they are paving this section of the road. Interesting to see if it can be maintained with all the frost heaves and such.
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    I saw a few moose, and before I climbed up to the Chandalar Shelf, I witnessed 100s of hares on the road. As a result, the birds of prey were swarming in near locust-like fashion. I was wondering if I was to camp here, if I would see wolves coming to feast. I have never personally seen so many long eared hoppers gathered in such density at one place.

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    As I rose in elevation, it started to get cold and I could see dark clouds just swirling. I was told that it was snowing earlier in this area. Sure enough, the road became a bit squirrely the higher up I went and fresh snow began appearing. The area just got a fresh dusting from what I could tell.

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    At the top of Atigun Pass I had a small celebration and victory dance. It was now near midnight and I had sunshine mixed with dark clouds. It was quiet and beautiful. My adrenaline was pumping as I hopped on my bike and went down to the valley on the other side. For a few brief moments I gave thought to making a run out to Prudhoe bay, or at the very least pulling in at Galbraith Lake (MP275) and spending the night. However, with the threat of snow and the greasy road, I turned around and went back to Marion Creek, about 10 miles north of Coldfoot. I was exhausted but was filled with giddiness beyond belief on my experience. I believe I made a good choice, as I encountered bits of drizzle on the way back and the sun gave way to overcast and clouds. The temperature dropped and I setup camp well past 1:00 am.

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    Looking South of Atigun Pass

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    Twin Peaks rising off the Chandalar Shelf

    All tucked into my tent and sleeping bag, I was awakened by 2 motorcyclist pulling in around 4:00 am. I would find out more about these folks tomorrow…
    #78
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