Manboy in the Promised Land: Free Bike to Oblivion

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SleazyRider, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    an excerpt from the journals of Sleazy Rider aka Ryder Strong aka Pipe Adams aka Miguel Noche aka...

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    I actually spent about a thousand miles in French Canada.

    Kevin knew I had books. He called me a “literary guy.”
    Maybe it’s because I have glasses.

    I have a few books with me. I’ve been reading Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck. In it Steinbeck, at this point both an author of well-renown and old man, takes off across America with his dog Charley. He does it in a custom made pickup truck with a camper on the back. Look, Steinbeck did it the easy way, even coming across as bit of a tenderfoot at times (c’mon, French poodle?), but it’s been a great read thus far and I won’t begrudge him because of the fact that he was an old man when he did it. Plus he just kind of comes across as a really likeable dude.I’m still reading it so don’t spoil it for me (Charley dies at the end?), but I’m finding that there’s a lot of similar thinking going on in there. Maybe the thoughts of the wanton traveller resonate across our select minority, ubiquitous to all those who stave off into the night, into the darkness, to seek out knowledge that has so far been unobtainium.
    Well, regardless, Steinbeck talks about wanting to visit Fargo, ND on his trek across our nation. He wants to see it on a whim really, because for him it has always held a place in his mind as being a destination that was just so out there, so far away, so as to be become legend and attain a sort of mythrus status, similar to a Cathay or a Timbuktu, but of the mind really, and in America.
    Chibougamau has held a similar bookmark in my brain for some time now, and that’s why I went there. Because it’s there. I saw it on a map years ago and I would take a look at it every once in a while. It’s on most maps, but some maps have roads going to it and some don’t. It’s out there, really it is. A truly isolated, desolate place. Nowheresville, man.

    La Fin du Monde.

    I left Quebec City Saturday morning, heading up Hwy 175 through the Reserve Faunique Des Laurentides and yet another desolate stretch of nothing. Natural beauty abounds in Northern Quebec. Countless dirt and gravel roads shoot off into the bush. Hundreds, thousands of lakes, pools, and rivers stretch into infinitum, the earth blanketed in trees and rocks and water. There is not much out here. You reach Chicoutimi and find it, this seat of the Quebecois culture, to be unremarkable. Turn left here and head towards Lac St. Jean, which is remarkable in its immensity. Its waters stretch to the horizon and it is truly beautiful. Of course, it is ringed with RV Parks, asphalt campgrounds, miniature golf, and go-kart racing.

    Travel Tip: Don’t drink the water in Quebec. Buy bottled water. This is known to me from previous occasions. It has been told and you have been warned.

    Past Lac St. Jean, you come to La Dore, a small outpost and the last place to obtain gasoline before making the end run towards Chibougamau.

    Travel Tip: If you arrive in La Dore with no kopeks and no place to spend the night, take the gravel road on the left ¼ mile past the market, follow it into the forest, and set up shop in the clearing of your choice. Hide your rig behind the largest rock you can find for maximum stealth. Strain your eyes for the Northern Lights and your patience may prevail.

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    The CB500T gas tank only holds about 3 gallons or so of gas with a tad bit more in the reserve tank. And remember, it’s been a bit of a drag as of late in the mpg department. Best to fill up the spare tank you got in Chicoutimi so as not to run out of that precious fluid and be left to kill, steal, plunder etc. on the road Mad Max style.

    I’m just looking for safe passage through the wasteland.

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    But, aren’t we all?

    At night your thoughts turn to the Quebecois. They are a different breed indeed. A cursory glance into the eyes of the Quebecois will return an icy stare. These are the descendants of frontiersmen, trappers, soldiers, desolate loners on the fringe, madmen, and whores. The great North of Quebec is a foreboding place. Desolate. Cold. Alone. It is not easy to make it here. It never was. The heart yearns for a friendly face that speaks the English tongue. And maybe for one of Larry Russell’s delicious peanut butter crackers.

    The road to Chibougamau is long. 130 miles or so of nothing in between save for forest and the trees. This is the Ashuapmushuan Reserve and it is gargantuan. It will swallow you up. You have been warmed. Stop to slosh in the rest of you gas from the can you bought especially for this road because no one ever said that reaching Chibougamau was easy. There’s no romance without, right? While you’re there, at a picnic table at Lac Triolet, warm yourself up with some noodles, down some sardines, and spoon out some peanut butter. Because you only live once. Listen to some tunes. It’s been a week and you’re out alone in the world, this strange and terrible place. Thoughts are with you always. Memories. Regrets. They’re all there.

    Chibougamau is out there, somewhere, but apparently it has internet and it has young people. I was able to get a host for the night. I could have camped out off of a dirt road somewhere, and it did indeed turn out to be a beautiful night, but I wanted to meet a real life Chibougamauan. See how they live. Ask them why they are here. What are they doing in this outpost?

    Chibougamau was not really what I expected, because I expected it to be a logging town. It wasn’t because it’s a mining town. Mining towns are a different breed up here, at least the one’s with the big mines. There’s money floating around. They’re clean and safe, with plenty of bars and even strip clubs. No one gives a shit about some Manboy passing through on an old bike with squeaky brakes and a cooler bolted to the back. Chibougamau’s a fun little town. But that’s probably for about 5 minutes and I wouldn’t want to live here. I imagine a whole different place come the incredibly harsh winter. Loneliness and lack of precious sunlight breeds desperation in most folk. And I’m sure there are few couchsurfers passing by in winter.

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    Ontario!

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    I grew tired of French Canada today. I miss America very much so. But I’ll take English speaking Canada as a sort of compromise. I’ve made it to Ontario, camped just within the border on Bear Lake Rd on a little pullout. It was a long, hard ride today. But chin up young Turk, for now we head West again. Forever and always.

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    #21
  2. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    We need to keep this thing moving along because we're still in June now. I covered a lot of ground that month and had made the Badlands in less than two weeks. There's nothing to do but ride when your house is a tent that leaks.

    an excerpt from the journals of Sleazy Rider aka Ryder Strong aka Pipe Adams aka Miguel Noche aka...


    Onward and upwards forever into new and more exciting worlds.
    My great Canadian adventure ‘s end saw me holed up in Grand Portage, MN escaping God’s wrath and nature’s fury. This is becoming a common theme…
    Northern Ontario is yet another desolate wasteland, seemingly even more remote and more foreboding than the Quebec frontier. I guess that’s Canada for you. There’s just nothing up there.

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    Great trucks rumble past, big old road trains hauling lumber and ore and little white fluffy things that blow all over the place. They buffet you with wind and cold. Massive welded tubular steel bumpers adorn their fronts, assuring their victory of machine versus moose in this great frontier. Moose are big creatures. Large and in charge. They weigh a lot.
    I saw a dead one on the side of the road, crushed by one of the road trains, eyes open.


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    I never jettisoned the gas can from Chibougamau lore. It rode with me the whole time through Ontario and it was needed again twice. Like I said, there’s just not much up there.
    Lakes and trees and lakes and trees, truly a land of striking and monotonous beauty.
    Lakes of every color, one after the other for miles and miles. Dark blue, light blue, brown, green, and the magnificent but rare lake consisting of a turquoise hue, no doubt due to the presence of copper in its bottom. There are literally enough lakes in Northern Ontario to drive you insane.

    The road stretches for miles and your eyes glaze over. I fell asleep on the bike at around noon on the second day. A really short cat nap man, about a second. The road is straight so no matter.


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    Moonbeam, Ontario


    Strange billboards tout resplendent feasts at upcoming restaurants. The pictures on them look just like Hungry Man tv dinners.

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    Ample opportunities for bush camping exist up here. Hundreds of dirt trails lead off into this godforsaken country. For what for, who knows. Take one, any one, please. Set up your pup-tent and you’re golden, but don’t forget your mosquito repellent. Tenting it on the summer solstice will yield a bright sky well into the night.


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    This is wilderness and it really is beautiful, but it’s pretty clear that God doesn’t want man up here. At least on a motorcycle. I pined for the states man, big time. Fucking Canada. Gas is almost $6 a gallon and people are still speaking French 20 miles away from Minnesota. And it’s cold and wet.

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    Bush Camp night #2 Summer Solstice edition


    Riding down from Hearst on Trans Canada Hwy 11 it just started raining and wouldn’t stop; hours and hours of rain and cold. And all the time that chain stretches and stretches and I was praying that I would not have to source a chain somewhere in fucking Ontario. The road to the states passes through Thunder Bay. Across the bay lies a sleeping giant, a great guardian of the land which lies reposed and made of rock. It is truly a sight to behold so I hear, ah but if only I could see it! The storm was so great!
    A return to the states yielded a small victoy. Still cold, still wet but with chain intact and back in America, holed up in Bordertown awaiting the storm’s passing . $40 will buy you a palace for the night in this great Northern Kingdom.

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    Timmy Hortons Timbits: a real steal at $1.99 for 10 (extra timbits for the lonesome dove traveller)


    I think it had just been over a week or so at this point. Looking back at those pictures of Ontario I get a chill remembering how cold it was. It was cloudy and/or raining about half the time and cold. Don't be fooled by the azure blue and resplendent skies shown in those great photos above.

    an excerpt from the journals of Sleazy Rider aka Ryder Strong aka Pipe Adams aka Miguel Noche aka...

    Au revoir Canada. I’ve made it home alive.
    I started hating Canada a lot.
    Holed up in Grand Portage Minnesota waiting out the rain. The rain isn’t going anywhere so I’m making a break for it this morning. Chain is stretched to its absolute zenith. Will need to source one somewhere soon.
    Picked up a riding buddy and we’ll likely break West after Duluth. Maybe strike for Fargo, ND.
    Just gotta get out of this weather.
    Cold and wet begets a miserable boy.
    #22
  3. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island

    OK, fixed all of the photos and updated the opening pic to reflect the creepy obsession with dirt roads that seems so prevalent here
    #23
  4. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    an excerpt from the journals of Sleazy Rider aka Ryder Strong aka Pipe Adams aka Miguel Noche aka...


    …ever onwards.


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    A great wood paneled palace in Grand Portage MN was where I spent the night, drying up but not drying out. This truck stop came complete with a gift shop selling all sorts of worldly goods, even beer and cheap ciggys. It even included a new riding buddy at zero cost with no down payment. A cool dude no less, but of course you got to be cool to be on your bike in a world like this. The storm didn’t break until morning, and even then just for a split second, enough time to pack the bikes and blast off. Just a couple of international playboys on the move.

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    The hunt was on for a new chain, for that current chain just wouldn’t last. 2800 miles is what a brand new chain will get you these days. That’s not a lot and it’s not enough. A pit stop in Grand Marais yielded Grand Malaise for it was told that I would find what I was seeking, but only in Duluth, a scant hundred plus miles away. Would the CB make it? Of course it would and new was swapped for old in the motoshop parking lot. Dul(l)uth is good for something now, isn’t it?


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    Ah...a scant $700 for a defective plastic riding garment. What a steal!


    A quick stop at Aerostitch to gaze at some tremendously overpriced riding garb and we were off, AP’s other riding buddies having procured a cabin for the night in Albert Lea, some 250 miles to the south. Sometimes you just have to ride the highways, to escape time or to escape the storm. Better to ride the bike than to ride the dog though.


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    Decidedly lame and expensive KOA cabin.

    The CB blasted down I-35 through Minnesota and through Minneapolis. I hate interstates.
    We rode out the storm and made it before night. I’ve never been to a KOA before. They’re pretty nice I guess, although they’re expensive. The cabins are cool, I admit, but only make sense for the traveller on a budget if you’re travelling in a tribe because they cost as much as a hotel room. They’re just little log cabins with beds in them. There’s no bathroom or running water, although there is electricity. I slept on the porch.


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    SPAM Museum and American Mystery School

    In the morning I parted ways, striking for Austin MN and the SPAM museum. Look, if the sardine industry is dead and dying in America, the salted and canned pork products industry is alive and it’s absolutely kicking. The SPAM museum is better than the Guggenheim. It’s free, it’s cleaner, and the staff are incredibly kind and patient, especially to the lonesome adventurer. Pure Americana baby. The displays and framing are better too. You can tell an incredible amount of thought, care, and lots of money went into this museum. You wouldn’t think that a huge meat manufacturer like Hormel would even give a shit about one of their products, especially when that product is basically inedible garbage, but they do and it shows. The SPAM museum is absolutely top notch, a road trip staple. Don’t miss it! Look, I really like SPAM, but it truly is filth. Don’t eat it.
    I got off the interstate after Albert Lea and explored some of the Minnesotan hinterlands. There’s just not much out there, really. But I’m glad to be in America, really. Rolling farmlands stretch horizonally in all directions. Great fields of green. Don’t forget to stop in Blue Earth for a chance photo with a 50 foot tall Jolly Green Giant.


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    Anatomically Correct Jolly Green Giant Statue able to terrify children.

    Travel Tip: Should you find yourself in Blue Earth tuckered and tired towards the end of a long, dusty day, take heed that this particular Minnesota city provides FREE camping to those passing through. Set up shop in their fairgrounds. It’s free! And there’s a Walmart across the street. Stock up on beans.


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    It was a good day. SPAM museums and giant roadside attractions send the heart aflutter for the American rubber tramp, you know, the one in search America. A brief stop at Pipestone National Monument yields a glimpse of ancient petroglyphs and quarries held sacred by the Native Americans for their most excellent pipe making stone. Pipeadamstone?

    But a stone’s throw away from Pipeadamstone lies the municipality of Jasper MN, a scant 3 miles from the SD border.

    Travel Tip: Should you find yourself in Jasper MN tuckered and tired towards the end of a long, dusty day, take heed that this particular Minnesota city provides $10 camping to those passing through. A short trip up main street will lead one to what looks like a little park but which is also a campground. Although it feels like you camping on someone’s front lawn because there are houses across the street and an apartment complex 50 yards away in this bustling metropolis of 655, know that this is indeed a campground. There is a port-o-potty and electrical hookups. Don’t forget to put your 10 kopeks in the box, lest the Jasper Lyons Club come hunt you down and slay you like a wild dog.


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    Campsite and advertisement for cheap Walmart pup-tent

    Yup, Jasper MN was where I spent the night. Oh, I forgot to mention to watch out for the shirtless mentally ill man. This denizen of the dark will catch you off guard while you’re taking a leak outside in the night air. Sure, he might startle you, but he’s harmless and merely out for a brisk shirtless stroll in the middle of the night. Muttering to himself.
    Pay him no mind, for South Dakota awakes.


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    Ah, splendid memories indeed. I remember camping just within the border of Minnesota. Because of superstition, I would take the bike up to the border of South Dakota that night, but not cross, save for the morrow.
    #24
  5. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    an excerpt from the journals of Sleazy Rider aka Ryder Strong aka Pipe Adams aka Miguel Noche aka...


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    South Dakota greets you with vast rolling prairies that stretch to the horizon. Gusseting wind blasts threaten to tip manboy from bike in this vast cartoonish landscape. But they are no harm. Blast forth and breakfast at the Corn Palace in downtown Mitchell. Truly a palace of corn, the Mitchell Corn Palace is of the purest Americana. $2.50 will garner you a couple of egg sandwiches and a coffee. Don’t pass it up man. I’m warning you.


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    But only stop in Mitchell for the briefest of intermissions, for the Badlands await! Get on that bike and ride young gun. The West indeed is waiting for you!
    I struck for the Badlands and made it a couple hours before dark. A long hot slog on the SD interstate will get you there with no style and no grace, but you’ll get there. The Badlands are instantaneously recognizable as something remarkable. They are a delight and they are truly awe inspiring. BNP hosts two campgrounds. The first is right across from the visitors center and boasts cabins as well as tent sites, and running water for 15 kopeks or so a night. I camped the night at Sage Creek, a more remote campground with no running water that is free. Prairie dogs have set up shop here as well and they are indeed an adorable subspecies. Watch for Bison strolling through in the morning light.

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    The weather has been abysmal on this long hard ride. At this point, nearly 3 weeks out, it had rained every single day. I was completely and utterly drenched. The video speaks nothing to the thunderstorm which passed over the previous night. Great volleys of wind and hail threatened to take the tent, my only means of shelter, out into the Badlands. I sat in the middle of the tent, gripping both the wall and rain fly with white knuckles for 45 terrible minutes, praying that this Walmart puptent would not disintegrate into scraps. That shit makes you question what you’re doing out there. I had a job and an apartment.

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    Great sticky gooey muck awaits you after a stormy night at Sage Creek


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    I went into Wall in the morning and got a room at the Sunshine Inn. The name of the place speaks to the disposition of the owner, really it does. Great service and the cheapest place in town @ $39.


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    Travel Tip: Haggling for a cheap motel room over the phone seldom or never results in any form of success. Go in and meet the man face to face. A ruddy complexion and adventurous spirit do wonders in winning over the hearts and minds in small town America.
    I dried out and waited out the passing storm. I wanted to spend some more time in the Badlands. I couldn’t give up on them just yet and there was no riding that could be done that would get me out of the wet. I waited it out, went to Wall Drug and spent most of the day there. Interstate signs signal for miles the coming of Wall Drug. It’s like South of the Border if you’ve ever driven I-95, but way better. They have free bumper stickers, ice water, and nickel cups of coffee. It’s pure kitsch man and you can’t beat it. But there’s an undercurrent there, a mellifluous vibe, and a real wink and a nod to those in search of America. A great collection of western paintings line the walls. They’re brilliant, really, and thoughtfully written descriptions of both subject and author enlighten the traveller. Should you stop at Wall Drug, and you should, be sure to grab yourself a nickel coffee and ride out the storm. It’s better than the Guggenheim.
    I couldn’t let the Badlands slip from my grasp man. I went back and spent the entire next day there, camping out in the same camp ground. A 5 mile hike into the middle of park will get you out there, alone in the bush. Few park goers venure forth into this terrain, nary the least bit eager to leave the 10 foot safety radius of their million dollar motorhomes. The night was resplendent and a million stars filled the sky. The first day without rain, and I gotta say it was a good day.

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    Sage Creek campground as seen from a nearby peak



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    #25
  6. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    an excerpt from the journals of Sleazy Rider aka Ryder Strong aka Pipe Adams aka Miguel Noche aka...

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    Troubles with the bike, no matter how small, must always be addressed.
    Our rear tire was wearing precariously thin and a new one would have to be sourced.
    Somewhere.
    But first, the niggling business of “seeing America” would have to be taken care of.
    Camp was broken in the Badlands and the mad rush to see America’s gems was on. Mt. Rushmore was had. Crazy Horse was begotten. A trip down Iron Mountain Road and a trip up Needles Highway were taken with verve and aplomb astride the legendary CB500T.

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    Devils Tower: For lil' Devils ONLY

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    Blasting up through Hill City and on our way to Sturgis to source a tire, a chance encounter with one more American original was had. One of “only two independent shops left in the Black Hills,” Sic Vic’s House of Horsepower is a real oasis in this American desert of the mind. Look, Sic Vic is a real character. He hates Hondas but has a soft spot for those with an adventurous spirit. Stop in and talk to the man the next time you’re in the Black Hills. He might just hook you up with a brand new Dunlop and a can of sticky chainlube, all for wholesale through his connections in Rapid City. If you’re lucky, he might even just let you spoon on that new tire in the back of his shop and then balance the thing for free. And if he’s lucky, you might even just restore a little bit of his faith in that rare breed of fierce individual, the one that roams the wastelands in search of America, that rugged lonesome traveller who is so close now to the brink of extinction.
    That dangling apple.
    El Dorado man.
    It’s out there. Somewhere.
    Sic Vic, a quality gent.
    But don’t you dawdle at the House of Horsepower too long, for the sun grows short in the sky! A ride into the Black Hills will find you a place in the forest for the night. Remember that a PBR tall boy will ease you to sleep in these magical hills, and help to drown out the horny bleats of most Elk.


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    On the morrow we struck West again, finishing the day in Ten Sleep, WY. And on the morrow after that we kept going, setting up shop in Shoshonee National Forest, having crossed the Rockies over a 9,000 foot pass. The mountains maintain an icy grip and are reluctant to give up their last snowfall. The snow piles high on the banks and air is crisp, clean, and cold in this American outpost. Breath it into your lungs, if you dare, and feel the spirit of the West, for you’ve made it.
    #26
  7. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    ...ok, time for an update, maybe some good will come of this, I dunno. Almost a year later and we're still on the road, but we have to do it right, in chronological order, and venture on.

    ...Tales from the Promised Land:

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    We’re (the 500T and me, didya see?) gonna need a new front tire too. Best to place a call to mommy and have that old one that’s been dangling in the garage for far too long shipped to some point on the map. Say, Missoula, Montana? Sure, why not. You’ll need that tire to make Alaska and Missoula’s on the way. It’ll be there in a week and July 4<SUP>th fast approaches. We’ll need to find a place to hole up and hide out, and what better place to do so than America’s gemstone: Yellowstone? Score a free campsite in the nare travelled Northeast corner and you’re golden, boy. </SUP>
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    <SUP>But first, we’ll need to check Thermopolis off the bucket list. It’s every bit as awesome as it sounds and piping hot mineral baths await, refresh, and requicken the tired traveller. Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis WY provides free soaks to all comers. Be there or be square, but definately be there to soak up those mineral waters and restore some of that lost youth!

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    Look, I never intended to go to Yellowstone at all. I had always figured that it was just another crowded mash of RV’s, Harleys, and truculent old folks living out their ends of days. And it is to a certain extent, but Yellowstone is just so goddamn huge and magnificent that you don’t really notice and you don’t really care. This is an awe inspiring place. Another vast and cartoonish landscape that’s even badder than the badlands. 10,000 foot peaks give way to lush and rolling and expansive meadows which give way to bubbling cauldrons of mud and sulphur. It is truly vast. Get off the road, take a trail, and get lost. As with all National Parks, a mile walk into the bush will get you out there, alone in the world. You won’t see another person. And remember, if you choose to set up shop at Pebble Creek campground, don’t forget your Adventurous Spirit membership card, had at any Sic Vic’s House of Horsepower through the nation. This will entitle you to VIP treatment and other campers </SUP><SUP>will then compete for your love and affections. Beers, steaks, burgers, margaritas, pup-chairs, offers of future jobs, offers of places to stay, and even an impromptu early-morning wolf-viewing mission come pro-bono as part of the deal. Cap it all off with a Fourth of July viewing of Old Faithful and an Elk burger. Because you are an American in America.</SUP>
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    The less travelled Lamar Valley abounds with wildlife and the occasional Wildboy. Named after Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds? An inquiry at the Ranger Station will get you nowhere. You be the judge...

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    Travel Tip: When entering Wyoming for the first time, be sure not to miss the Vore Buffalo Jump. This ancient archaeological site will provide you with the visceral thrill of knowing that Plains Indians once used this great sinkhole in the scrub to meet their buffalo quota for the winter. You have been warned…

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    Hey man, Yellowstone was awesome. It really was magnificient, truly. Seeing ol' Faithful on the Fourth was an amazing cap. Everyone was super cool at the campground, which was sort of an anomaly, and I received no dissaproving looks. And it only rained once for like 10 minutes.
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    #27
  8. thomas.tc.young

    thomas.tc.young Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    909
    Location:
    NYC
    Hey rich it's Tom the guy that bought your ninja 500 a while ago. It's good to see your living the dream your journey looks great. Keep it coming!
    #28
  9. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    Please enjoy some panoramas and more tales from the wayback machine. The economy sucked and still sucks in America and I wasn't seeing anyone on the roads except old codgers in motorhomes and on Harleys. No young people. And I got nothing against Harleys...it just got old seeing stereotypes riding them (I didn't see any rich nerds in plastic outfits on Beemers until Alaska).

    But I got something against RV's.

    I hate them.

    ...tales from the Promised Land

    [​IMG]
    Yellowstone
    &#12288;
    riding on the range I’ve got my helmet…on

    I’ve got my boots…dusty

    It has been said that all good things must come to their end, and it has been told that there will be a day when even I meet my fate. But for now…we venture on.

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    Oops, the Yukon, how did that get in there?

    I need to start taking more notes, because I forget a lot of things and the days blur together. Now, was it yesterday, or the day before, that I met that boring older couple from England at camp? The post office is closed because it’s…Sunday? Right. What’s the date? No, what year is it?

    Sarah Connor?

    I meet a lot of people on the road. And always the question, you know the one. The answer is obvious: I’m travelling around America and maybe more on my motorbike. No, I don’t have a job. I quit. Yes, I’ve come a long way. Look, I’ve got an adventurous soul and eyes ablaze with glittery wanderlust. And with such a loquacious tongue I answer all their questions and with such a charm as to win over all. But I tire of all these questions and I can only hold the masses at bay for so long, for it’s starting to feel more like a rehearsed speech each time. These questions are asked because there are so few others who pick up and do the same. Few young people roam the roads; a shame really. If there were more, the questions would cease, or at least it would just be understood. You could just say, "I’m adventuring." And then, say your family,when asked, where their son or brother or whatever is could just say, "Oh, Richie? He’s just adventuring in the Pacific Northwest. Yea, he’s just having a ball of it. Maybe he’ll return to us someday." And of course, it would just be understood.

    [​IMG]
    Badlands

    But what you have out there on the road instead are these great caravans of RV’s and motorhomes. They tow SUV’s behind them in addition to having golf carts strapped to the back. Lots have 4 or 5 bicycles clamped on as well. They’re massive beasts. Expensive and truculent chariots, full of unnecessary garbage that belongs not to a life well travelled. Most are nicer than my old apartment, and bigger. More expensive than a nice home. Look, you could just stay in a nice hotel every night for years and drive around the country in a car. It would cost less. Buy new clothes in every city instead of washing them even. No need for luggage.
    And then there are the Harleys man. Thousands of them, pulling trailers bigger than the bikes themselves. What’s in those trailers man? Certainly not tents, for I’ve never seen one at a campsite. Clothes maybe? Microwaves? Able bodied riders wheel about on Harley trikes, 3 wheel variants that allow their riders all the pleasures of the most gentlemanly way to travel without the risk of tipping.

    Everyone out here is old and fat.

    They’re all ripe for the taking baby.

    What we need is for a new breed of American pirate to emerge. Plunder these lumbering road hogs! All of them!

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    Badands

    A small band of like-minded souls on some fast bikes could rule the roads man, make a killing, and have some serious sport!

    Alas, it will never be.

    [​IMG]
    Badlands

    Few desolate loners roam the wastelands on vintage Honda twins…
    #29
  10. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    ...it's hard to believe that this was two years ago.

    [​IMG]

    Tread North from Yellowstone and you’ll find yourself in Montana. This is big sky country baby, for big boys only, so saddle up and get a move on or put your tail betwixt your legs and go home Meriwether (it says this on the sign when you first enter Montana). Ghost towns abound here, but be careful man, for there are more than a few tourist traps touted as ghost towns that really aren’t. Call me a purist.
    Go ahead, call me a purist.

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] New Chain picked up in Phillipsburg. Gettin' ready for Alaska.

    But, I think that ghost towns should be the stuff of memories’ forgotten past. No one should live there and I shouldn’t be able to buy shitty trinkets or even the ubiquitous t-shirt depicting an airbrushed wolf howling at the moon. Virginia City, MT is like this. Bypass it if you’re man enough (but then you should have read that welcome sign) and head up Montana Highway 1 towards Philipsburg. Stop there and load up on sweets at the world famous Philipsburg Sweet Palace before facing the vertical climb to Granite for a better example of a ghost town (although it has been placarded by the NFS). A steep unmaintained dirt road will get you there, over wash outs and ruts that are a real delight on the way back down. This is an awful road on any bike and you have been warned, but then you should have heeded that sign and now nothing should surprise you. You’re here right, so you can handle it. But hey, when you get to the top, try your best not to overheat your kickstart only 70&#8242;s Honda twin and stall out, furiously kicking it back to life as you lock both wheels and slide backwards down the mountain. But listen, it’s a little known secret that all adventurous types love abandoned places and ghost towns, especially those accessed by terribly steep and awful dirt roads. And as noted before, these ghost towns abound in the West. They are nearly as ubiquitous as that aforementioned wolf t-shirt. And indeed, the wolf seems to be the self-proclaimed and adopted spirit animal of many. I haven’t figured out what my spirit animal is yet. The ornery Bison perhaps? Some sort of Jay? What’s yours?

    There’s a free NFS campsite about 20 miles outside of Philipsburg. It’s full of mosquitoes , but it’s got water and comes complete with Larry Nielsen, first American to summit Everest without oxygen. And his story checks out. He’s got EVEREST license plates.

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    A real interesting and incredible gent who’s got a soft spot for adventure-minded types. He’ll ply you with beers and regal you true lies well into the night.
    In the morning break camp and strike for Missoula, for your tire awaits! You don’t need it yet, in fact your still carrying it weeks later, so strap it to the back and motor on. Best to hit up Idaho and the Lolo motorway. Idaho 12 blasts through Lolo pass, an elegant mountain road with long sweeping curves and the occasional tight switchback. This is motorcycling zen baby, pure Nirvana, and the art of the lean. It’s even great with a spare tire and a bunch of other shit strapped to the back of your seventies twin.

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    Blasting through Idaho in a single shot takes you to the two gross border towns of Lewiston and Clarkston, WA. The sun hangs low in the sky now and you find yourself in a teepee for the night.

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    On the up and up: Field Spring St. Park: Recommended by the kind Forest Rangers at Snake River Gorge welcome center, camping here yielded the choice of sleeping in my very own pup-tent or a teepee. Which would you choose? A really nice deserted little state park. Hot showers and flushing toilets await the few campers who choose to set up shop here. Another little shelter comes complete with wood stove, tables, and even an outlet where you can plug in your chargeables. Magnifique! Just like the real Indians.

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    Weird museums abound in small town America and, often enough, in the middle of nowhere. Now, should you find yourself on Montana highway 1 and south of I-90, keep your peepers peeled for a big ol’ welded steel mastodon and chrome bear. These are the works of Bill Ohrmann, a real artist and true gentleman of the plains. His museum is free and is yet another undiscovered American gem. An untrained 90 year old artist, Ohrmann started painting when he was 78 and his life’s work is contained within this museum. His paintings give a peek into the workings of the man himself, themselves painting a sad picture of man’s inhumanity to man and contempt for nature. His paintings are great, if all similarly themed, but his carvings and sculptures belie the touch of a master. Absolutely superb. Masterful and intricate. Step in…(if you dare).

    The great basalt desert of Washington stretches for a hundred miles from the state’s eastern boundary to the Cascades. It was all carved out millennia ago, these great scablands, by massive rivers which spilled over melting ice dams at the end of the last ice age. 60 story high walls of water made their way from Montana to the Pacific Ocean, creating the scablands and destroying all in their stead on a scale so incomprehensibly large that it can only be comprehended from space. Hmm…great floods you say? 11,000 years ago? I wonder…

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    It’s becoming cliché now, but man there really is nothing out here. Well, there are “towns” out here. I mean , they’re on the map. But there’s no people. A card-lock gas station maybe. That’s all. There’s wheat and there’s sage. Fields of each stretch to the horizon. On one side deserts of sage and scrub; on the other undulating fields of wheat roll to the edge of the world. Storms blow way off in the distance, somewhere in the world. And dust-devils churn up fallow fields. Ride for an hour and you won’t see another person; you won’t see another car.
    You are alone.

    Route 21 will take you through all described and channel you into the living dead town of Lind, Washington. This is a real 20<SUP>th</SUP> century ghost town. It’s on the map but it doesn’t exist. Trust me. Signage in that 50’s style, that iconic font that is so quintessentially American, marks the last great exodus from Lind. Whole streets lie abandoned. Empty. A coffee shop proclaims that it is open and yet there is nothing inside, not even a cup. Nothing. A card-lock gas station and a couple of F-150s are the only indicators of life. A bridge on the outskirts of town lies in ruins, looking for all the world as a testament to the lost city of Lind, Washington. You’re not wanted here so get out.

    Just past Lind, through the nothingness , lies Odessa. Another out there town on the outskirts and namesake birthplace of good chums born on the other side of the pond. Just one more point on the map whose soil must receive my boots and be trod upon. And a free museum no less! Harangue the elderly caretaker into letting you in off hours. In a performance you know all too well, watch his heart warm and them melt as you receive the grand tour of small town Odessa’s meteoritic rise and then, as an aside, secretly bear witness to its present fall into the scrapheap of history. Like Lind, Odessa is another railway town where the train just doesn’t stop anymore; just rumbles through, an ironic reminder of good times forgotten past. What will the next twenty years bring?

    Travel Tip: Odessa is home to a Lyon’s Club which, unlike those filthy dogs in Jasper, provides free camping to all Odessian tourists. Make sure to get there early to beat the mad rush and claim a nice spot. Flush toilets, fresh water, and even an unsecured electrical socket await the traveller. Why, there’s even an alarm clock in the guise of church bells to rouse you from sleep on Sunday morn. Just another nice free campsite that feels like you’re camping on your parents’ front lawn.

    [​IMG]
    #30
  11. hennikerjd

    hennikerjd I am Jack's wasted life

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,187
    Location:
    Idaho
    wow, talk about picking up a cold trail!

    great read, keep kicking
    #31
  12. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    [​IMG]

    Travel tip: BLM lands North on 21 outside of Odessa yield notice of several defunct craters and a hiking trail that will take you there on a wing and a prayer. That is, of course, if you have the inclination and the time. Well, I have both. Nothing spectacular but be warned, should you venture out there know that the trail is not oft visited and rattlesnakes abound. Some slight bushwhacking will put you into one of the craters where solitude waits. Again, watch for rattlers.

    [​IMG] view from Camp

    But enough of this desert. Like a great shark, we must keep moving or we die. This dry, beautiful, and arid rain-free desert must be left in our stead, for the rainforests of the Cascades call us by name. Rain and wetness reign supreme here on the Western slopes of this great forest. From melting glaciers spring great torrents of water which carve out canyons and gorges and rivers and streams. Tremendous glaciers grind rock into a fine dust and meltwater carries it to Lake Diablo, whose color is an intoxicatingly brilliant azure hue. This is beyond pleasuredome and idyllic camp sites await you on the shores of Diablo. Stay there for a couple nights. I recommend campsite #6. It’s the best one and right on the lake. Man, they just don’t make campsites this spectacular in the Northeast. There’s a ranger station here and 90 other campsites. This sounds terrible but it’s not because this is the road less travelled. Only five sites were taken on my first night, 10 or so on the second. The rangers also give an informative lecture most evenings as dusk sets next to a roaring fire. You’ve been warned.

    [​IMG] dinner

    [​IMG] Breakfast

    But listen, Seattle looms large and this great exodus would not be complete without a visit to the Pacific Northwest’s counterculture cauldron. Damn, I’d been sleeping outside for what seemed like ages and it was time for a little urbanity man. I was gonna skip Seattle and just keep striking North, but I felt like I deserved a little R & R at this point man. Ah Seattle, what can I say? You’re a cool city. I like you, I really do. But you can’t live here and have a vehicle because there is no free parking at all.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG] great aquarium

    [​IMG]

    Seattle is on the upswing it seems and displaces New York readily when it comes to coffee, beer, and food. It’s really hard to get a bad coffee here and you have to go out and look for a bad beer. Good food is ubiquitous and the same rule applies. There’s a great art scene but the museums are better in New York. Their aquarium is alright. Look, go visit and judge for yourself but remember to judge not lest you, yourself, be judged.

    [​IMG] free dinner at GT Hostel

    Travel Tip: Note that should you stay at the Green Tortoise Hostel that parking at the garage across the street is $6 daily for motorcycles. I recommend the GT. It’s probably the best hostel I’ve ever stayed @, although it’s a possible tie with Nathan’s Villa in Krakow. Sumptuous breakfast feasts, bicycle rentals, free dinners (although these are a bit of a clusterfuck), decent staff, and a tits location right next to the Pike Place market round out the package. The beds even come with little curtains and individual reading lamps. And the bathrooms are private.
    #32
  13. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    haha this is true...was getting wistful for the road.
    #33
  14. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    [​IMG]

    The American West has been tamed, albeit quite easily too, and all on the back of that brown and bucking steed, the CB500T. Jefferson should have just waited 200 years and then given me a call instead of sending Lewis and Clark. I would have done the whole thing in 1/10 the time, but for top dollar man. Rumor even has it that Lewis’ first name was Meriwether. Cmon, man.

    Well, regardless, we’ve made it baby and the continent has been straddled. At this very moment I sit penning this very journal entry from the Vancouver Public Library. Ah Vancouver, such a town! One gets the feeling, that the kind of vibe put forth by this city is the same kind of vibe that propelled New York to the top of the cultural food chain lo so many moons ago for all the world to see and to shudder. I’m a young duck and was never around for all that jazz back in the New York heyday; but I’m sure it must have a real time to be alive back then, to navigate the Big Apple badwaters with real zeal and zen. But look, if that’s the case and we’re talking Vancouver now, this might just be a great place to be alive if you want to be dead. Van city is alive with vermin of all sorts. Look, I don’t mean to be harsh, I’m just reporting the facts here as I see them, and maybe someday a born and bred Vancouverite will wax ecstatic on the virtues of their Pacific City some 20 years hence. We’ll see. $10 will buy you a bed for the night in the worst hostel in the world right on the edge of society. Take a walk down Hastings Street on Van city’s skid row. Breathe in the Funk. Junkies and Runaways litter the sidewalk. Step over and around and do not make eye contact. Eyes forward young Turk! Smoking crack and injecting your veins with heroin is bad for you and while you shouldn’t do it at any age, people the world over make mistakes and we can forgive them for the most part. But there’s just something off-putting about a man in his fifties dressed like a teenage runaway openly smoking crack in the street. Sir, should you even exist and should you have dreadlocks? Even when you’re balding at the temples? This is the end of the line man, a no-man’s land where no law applies. Winters suck in Vancouver and I wonder how many of these dregs freeze to death each year. Does anyone even care?

    [​IMG]

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    But hey, lets juxtapose this with the next block over. A quaint little steam clock, the first of its kind and a real delight, blows its melodious whistle signalling you’re arrival in Van city’s Gastown district. Million dollar steak dinners and artisanal wines are all yours to be had! Don your Ralph Lauren Versace Polo turtle neck and get ta steppin. You will blend right in, if you dare!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Steam Clock

    But you don’t. You’re a traveller baby. Best to pick up some day old dumplings at the Vietnamese supermarket for $1.50, devour them outside next to a garbage can like a hungry dog, and wipe your greasy hands on your filthy jeans. Maybe do a few pullups on some scaffolding while you’re at it because, to the untrained eye you’re just another filthy junky with hair akimbo, soiled clothes, and a sunburnt weathered and unshaven face.

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    Now go get drunk and wonder who the real animal is…
    #34
  15. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    wow..it's been awhile. In this installment we make it all the way up to the Yukon! Not bad for '75 Honda twin!!

    It's good to look back..at this point in time i was barreling up north to make it Alaska before it started getting really cold.

    A Vancouver exodus leads us through Whistler, a world renowned ski-town and all-around gorgeous place to some and all. The manboy, however, doesn’t bite and knows what to look for. Quaint little out of the way mountain ski towns shouldn’t have electronic metered parking (it makes them less quaint) and cops tailing you at the posted speed limit of 30 km/h (18 mph) all the way out of town. Whistler, BC: playground of the rich and an all-around unfriendly place. Warning: Do not stop here and keep moving. C’mon, 18 mph?


    [​IMG]

    Continue North and begin anew your brutal slog through the cold and wet. The northcountry is a foreboding place for the motorcycle adventurer and it will take every ounce of courage and strength to see you through. Cold. Wet. Alone.

    But look you’re not always by yourself out there in the world. Kind-hearted strangers drift in and out. They offer up their lakefront cabins as shelter on cold and windy nights, hotel rooms to get out of the pounding rain, and campsites to share for commiseration and bear protection. There are others out there now, riding North, and enduring. The occasional passing wave lets you know that they are indeed out there, themselves questioning their motives in sopping wet clothes and boots.


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    I ran into Olaf near Francois Lake up in BC...dude was a Godsend. He was riding around on a little trail bike and I asked him where I could camp. Dude took pity on me and let me stay at his cabin for the night. Plush digs man...and much better than a tent in the rain!

    [​IMG]

    But hey, if you wanna be a player, best to get used to the game. There is no turning back and you must ride your bike ragged to make the North where some respite awaits. Get there and drink up that midnight sun when you see it boy.

    Lap it up like a dog while you still can, man.


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    ...getting Hyderized. For those not in the know it's taking a shot of grain alcohol. Alaska had been breached, technically.

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    You’re now in the Yukon.

    You’ve made it this far.

    A small victory no doubt, but in a small battle in life’s great war.

    Regardless, you’ve come a long way.

    Know that you’re still here and that you’re out there, in the world.

    Just like Papillon clinging to his coconut raft.

    I’m still here. Don’t you forget!

    Travel Tip: Internet service and cell phone reception is sporadic, terrible, or non-existent in the Canadian northwest. Campground Services campground in Watson Lake, YT offers free wi-fi and tent sites for $10. Really, a reasonable price in these parts. Listen, things are strange here and people are a mixed bag, especially business folk. They really have you by the balls up here in the middle of nowhere and they know it. Some like to gouge but there are some that pride themselves in being respectable shop keeps. It’s a toss up man. You can usually avoid paying $2 for a package or a Ramen noodles but sometimes you have to buy gas for $7.80 a gallon.


    [​IMG]

    Liard Hotsprings: Magical energy abounds here and a hot tip yielded this gem. These are idyllic hotsprings enveloped in a Provincial Park off the Alcan. A long walk will get you from tent city to these piping hot hotsprings. Indeed, they are hot(!) and a perfect point counter-point to the cold misery you have endured thus far. I was adopted by a nice new family here. My new dad and brother took me fishing and I caught my first fish of the trip with my collapsible pen-sized rod, a bull trout. The only fish of the outing no less! Isn’t that something? Feeding the family already!

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    haha..i was really proud of that fish.

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    This couple was travelling from Brazil to Prudhoe Bay. This didn’t speak very good English but we managed to exchange contact info. They even have a website and it appears that they had this to say about your humble adventurer:

    “We met several riders on the course, but what caught my attention was a young man who left New York and goes to Alaska on a bike very old and poorly maintained. The tail oil vasa and has paint all spoiled. The boy is shy. We met him three times on the road and he stands alone resting. In the first meeting, when he saw the name in the Celestine Brazil, he came all curious. I have asked in the second stay in New York his home. He handed me the email and said he is facing there will be a pleasure. His site is more or less well, the letter was not readable"
    #35
  16. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,894
    Perhaps there might be an update coming soon?
    #36
  17. Mikepotter86

    Mikepotter86 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    193
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    This thread makes me want to quit my job, sell my newer bike, and go riding on my old bike.
    #37
  18. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    Looking back..man, what an incredible day this was. I was really itching to get to the Arctic Circle and was a little wary of the Dempster, being as you hear so much about it being a horrible, dangerous road. It was not. I got lucky I guess and it was dry for most of the way up and back. I did the whole thing up to the Arctic Circle and back in one shot, no small feat on a cb500t.

    [​IMG]

    To La Fin Du Monde!!

    The road goes on after the Arctic Circle.
    It stretches into infinity.

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    Let it be. Leave it alone.There’s nothing there, you know. You’ve
    seen enough of nothingness, the thrill is gone, and to go on would mean nothing
    to you anyway and it would shake your bike to bits.

    You’ve made it.

    And everything else is a vacation.

    Just outside of Dawson City, under the light of the waning
    midnight sun, I spooned on another rear tire and called it a day.


    [​IMG]

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    When the road to the Arctic isn’t paved in gold, it’s paved
    in mud. And gravel. In fact, it isn’t even paved at all. This is top secret
    intel between me and you.

    The Dempster Highway starts about 25 miles east of Dawson
    City in Canada’s Yukon and stretches all the way north past the Arctic Circle
    and onwards up to God and Santa. It is the longest uninterrupted stretch of
    road in North America between gas stations. It’s all dirt and gravel.
    Conditions vary and it is impossible to get any sort of reliable, useful
    information regarding the condition of this road. Everyone has their own
    comfort level on unpaved roads, be they on bikes or in cars. Do it. Don’t do
    it. Your tires will be shredded. You will never come back. You will die. You’ll
    be fine. Magnificent horror stories abound and swirl about the Dempster and add
    to its lore.

    Indeed, it’s been an awful season to ride the North.
    Punishing rains soak all and turn dusty road beds to slimy marbly muck.
    Ill-prepared tourists in lumbering RVs disobey the local sages and try to force
    their way onto and up these true route isolées in a last ditch attempt to
    squeeze yet another great view or moose sighting out of their action packed
    Northern Vacation adventure. An older gent on a brand new BMW motorbike takes
    refuge in a shithouse for 5 hours, his doughy puffy frame buckling under the
    weight of impending doom. A European couple in a rental sedan grind their way
    to Eagle Plains with 4 shredded tires riding on battered rims. An inexperienced
    female rider fractures her hip when she is thrown from her rental bike and then
    airlifted to safety.


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    For 140 miles I rode the snake to the lake, the ancient
    lake, under sodden skies and over muddy holes. A relentless wall of wetness was
    lifted then; and I basked in sun, and bathed in dust. The dust works its way
    into everything, everything(!), and attempts to clog air filters and grind away
    precious chain and sprockets. It gets into your pack and you will be brushing
    your teeth with it for many moons yet to come. It sticks to your wet bike and
    adobes itself. It loves you and will follow you for some time.

    The views along the Dempster are transcendent and one will
    often catch himself staring off into the eyes of God. Far into the distance,
    over rolling green valleys steaming with rain, mountains erupt from the earth. Rock is folded, pushed, and twisted up and up and the unimaginable forces of
    creation are visible to the naked eye.

    After the rain stops the ride to the top is dusty, hot and
    fast. Don’t forget to stop at Eagle Plains Lodge for gasoline and a chat with
    Igor, the friendly mechanic who makes a living swapping tires and swapping
    tales with adventurous souls. He might even have a free tire for you, but only
    if you’re lucky!

    And the Circle of Lore is yet another 25 miles or so past Eagle Plains. Ah, so close!


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    man, what a beautiful, resplendent day! Best weather of the trip thus far at the top of the world!

    The Arctic Circle: Step foot into the North! Magical energy
    abounds here! A cup of coffee and some Faith No More will complete the journey. Bask in the sun!

    You’ve come a long way now and you are far from home, young
    spirit bear! Treat yourself to something nice why don’t you? A burger and fries
    at Eagle Plains Lodge will fit the bill. At the end of the world, a burger and
    fries costs the same as at a Long Island diner. They have wi-fi even, and give
    you no guff about using a credit card.

    Ah, the edge of the
    world.

    But ride on young buck and get off that dirt! You must! Steel
    yourself for that wet wall that greets you once more, 140 miles out from the
    safety of the pavement and the Klondike Highway. Ride the Dempster at midnight
    and more and into the dark and the wet. And all the while that chain stretches,
    skipping over sprockets and grinding down precious metal teeth. Make it back to
    camp, pup up that tent and collapse into a heap, exhausted and elated. 510
    miles of dirt.

    I didn’t even have to cower in a shithouse for 5 hours!


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    headed back now

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    high-tech luggage system

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    this shot was taken just before midnight...crazy! I rode the last 100 miles or so in the dark and got back to set up camp at around 3:30 or 4 in the morning.
    #38
  19. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
    damn...into the wayback machine we go..August 2011..back into the North and into Alaska having already breached the Arctic Cirlce:

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    Alaska was never a real destination for me. It was a trophy. The real aim of this journey was to see America, to bathe in the sun of an endless desert, and weep at the feet of the Dinosaurs from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. I’ve been in the North for over a month and I’m coming home to the USA. I’m cold and wet and tired of being cold and wet. Alaska is not America, it’s Alaska. The Yukon isn’t Canada either. Both exist unto themselves and each has earned its rightful place upon my imaginary mantle, bathing in the heat of the internal eternal flame of the quixotic loner. I’ve conquered the North and I feel it is a better place now.

    Dawson City, Yukon. A cool place no doubt with a beautiful vibration. Deadwood should take lessons here, although the only thing that prevents Dawson from becoming more of a tourist trap than it already is, is its isolation. People still mine here and the locals still drink. A great place to drink to get drunk and then drink in the history of the gold rush. There’s a hostel here, but be forewarned that it has no electricity or running water. There is a sauna however that is somewhat proper, in that it gets hot enough for my tastes, and a “prospectors bath” in which one heats up water to a boil in a wood furnace, then creates a lukewarm mixture with cool stream water, and finally douses himself to a sudsy cleanliness in a wet-room. Methinks Dieter, the German owner, is just a cheap fuck. A man of my own ilk really. I tip my hat to you sir.


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    ferry to Dieter's hostel

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    ...seriously man, it felt so good to sleep in a bed with a roof over it and four walls around it instead of a wet tent

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    paddleboat graveyard a short walk down the river...great beasts which once roamed the Yukon.

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    From Dawson, the Top of the World Highway garners one entry into mainland Alaska. Here it is folks, the culmination of a long midsummer’s dream. Pick up that trophy polish in Boundary, population 4, and don’t forget to stop in Chicken, the next town over, and grab your visa to Alaska, the Land of Misfit Toys.

    Alaskan Travel Tip
    : Remember, you can’t run away from yourself.


    From Chicken to Tok and from Tok to Fairbanks and into the arms of kindhearted Ukrainian host-dolls Igor and Sveta. These real-life living dolls are an attraction unto themselves and they let me set up shop in their wall-tent for a few days, killing time and seeing the sights. It was here that I dined on boiled moose, feasted on Muktuk (whale’s blubber), supped on fried Chum Salmon, sampled Cloudberries from heaven, and munched on mushrooms. Delectable! An early morning hike even saw your author down on all fours culling wild blueberries like a real spirit bear.


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    chicken AK

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    Thompson’s Eagle Claw Motorcycle Park: Located in Tok, Alaska, Thompson’s Eagle Claw provides tent sites and various forms of enclosed shelters for bottom dollar. I spent the night in a kitted out ambulance to escape the rain. They also have a wall tent, cabin, and bunkhouse. Ah, and don’t forget the motorcycle workshop, free for all to use, and steamroom, which doesn’t quite get hot enough for this steamqueen, but is a welcome respite from the punishing Alaskan cold. Thoughtful host Vanessa provides all that one might ask for and more, except running water and electricity, which is fine because there is water in jugs that one can drink. Touch lights abound! Cool place, really nice again to sleep in an ambulance en route to nowhere and out of the rain. Met up here with another ADVrider: "Bush Pilot" a cool dude...he was on his way Patagonia!!! check his thread!!

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    whale blubber

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    Chena Hot Springs: 55 miles or so one way from the fair shores of Fairbanks. A nice diversion but I wouldn’t do it again and wouldn’t recommend it as a destination. Hot Springs should be held sacred and be as minimally developed as possible, if they are to be developed at all, which they shouldn’t. See: Liard Hotsprings. If moose is your thing, there’s a lot of them to see on the way.


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    As noted previously, Alaska is the truly the Land of Misfit Toys, a giant lost and found bin of souls. Most people come up here to escape something, to run away, but remember people, you can’t run away from yourselves. About a third of the people who live up here really love it. Another third openly hate it. The last third hate it but delude themselves into believing they like it. It’s called cognitive dissonance. There’s a lot of insanity up here, a lot of drug use. The winters here are long, cold, brutal, and dark. Auroras flash the sky like psychedelic nighttime wallpaper. A perfect recipe for mental illness.

    I expected grizzled bearded men, lumberjacks, and bawdy dames to make up the majority of Alaska’s population. Of course, I knew that wouldn’t be the case, or would it, but I was real curious to meet real Alaskans and check them out. To me that is the real wildlife. Like I said previously, there’s a lot of craziness in Alaska, but I expected that. I mean, just to make it up here and live takes some character and that sort of ambitious insanity will always be married to that. But I didn’t expect to find such a glorious, tremendous amount of white trash.

    Fairbanks is a complete dump. It’s a city but it’s all spread out and there’s nothing there anyway. A ghost town. Another pseudo-city of the North. The most happening place is Wal-Mart and it’s rife with Melungeons. Same as anywhere else really. There’s a free museum in the old city hall and a decent coffee shop next door to that, that’s it really. I discovered pulltabs in Fairbanks. Pulltabs are advertised everywhere, in every store window and on every corner. There are even whole stores devoted to them entirely. Well, what are they? They’re like scratch off lottery tickets, but instead of scratching them you pull back a little cardboard tab to reveal whether you won or not. They are ubiquitous and everywhere. Alaskans are gaga over them.


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    Man..I'm reading this over again and this seems really harsh. But Pulltabs are really retarded and Fairbanks WAS a dump.

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    Ah, Denali National Park. What can I say? F--- you, I guess. Another clusterfuck of fools. Chock FULL of motorhomes and old codgers! DNP is the home of Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain on the North American continent. If you want to see the mountain you don’t have to actually go to the park. You can see it from the road, if you’re lucky and it’s not ensconced in mist, for miles. It’s the biggest thing out there. It’s white and looks like a big ol’ scoop o’ ice cream plopped out on the horizon. You’re not allowed to drive within the park and if you want to go anywhere you need to take a bus. A bus trip to the base of Denali costs about $100. Man, I was really pissed off at all the assholes in RVs and tourgroups and all the crap they bring with them...see: Cinnamon Bun Boy(grown man)

    ...to be continued
    #39
  20. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Long Island
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    the original caption reads "Holed up on the side of the parks highway under picnic area enduring 16 hours of rain" All my possessions wet and laid out to dry under the awning at a rest stop. Miserable, man.

    My quest to find the real Alaska led me to the Talkeetna Blues Festival. For the last 30 years, armies of Alaskan white trash have descended upon a gravel pit off the side of the Parks Highway each summer to listen to Bluegrass for 3 days. That is the theory of it really. It was a weird scene man and a sloppy, muddy rain soaked mess. No one was listening to the music. Tarps a plenty. Rap music blasted from shitty car stereos in the muddy parking lot. People getting completely fucked up. The tar stink from the gravel pit mingling with people burning anything they could was pervasive. Fires constantly hissing out from the rain. A weird apocalyptic scene. I drank gallons of coffee and finished a bottle of cheap whiskey, picking up on the vibes and going crazy in my tent from the rain and the cold. Hating Alaska.

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    I really was starting to lose it here. Since leaving NY it had rained every single day of the trip. Sure, some of those days it was a light rain and maybe only for a half-hour or so all added up; but for the most part it was all drenching punishing rains. To be continuously wet for that was totally demoralizing.

    Helmet Fever

    Ah..Alaska.
    Sometimes when it rains, it pours.

    And sometimes when life gives you lemons…

    And sometimes when it rains in Alaska you get drunk in your tent on cheap booze and watch Tango and Cash. It’s all that you can do really, because it’s cold and wet outside.
    The little DVD player that you’ve been given as a gift and have been carrying for over 10,000 miles has endured many hardships and, as a result, skips at times. You are forced to fill in the elaborate maze-like plot lines and come up with your own witty retorts. An offhanded quip about Cash’s substantial porcelain doll collection? A dis about how Tango wet the bed until he was 15?

    Listen, it’s all good because in Alaska no one can hear you scream.

    No one but the bears.

    I picked up a used copy of Jim Morrison’s biography for 30 cents and have been reading it diligently since yesterday. The future is uncertain people. And the end? The end is always near. And so far that glorious end has eluded me. I’m still here, hanging on, although there is still time aplenty to be mauled and eaten by a grizzly. But not without a fight!

    Until then I roam the roads, endlessly searching.

    The ruler of the wastelands.

    Nothing can escape.

    Nothing.

    And onwards I trudge, through the wet and through the muck.

    I look at the sky. It weeps and I weep with it. I feel its pain and venture on. It is me and I am it.

    I’ve got helmet fever baby

    ...and for that there is no cure.


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    Anchorage

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    Gakona, Alaska and HAARP: This is your future. High Altitude Auroral Research Program. Let me in!

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    I holed up in Tok for a couple days before striking for Haines and the ferry, my ticket out of this wasteland. Listen, next time your in Tok, Alaska don’t pass up a chance to visit Mukluk Land, home of earth planet’s biggest Mukluk, and say hello to George and Betty. A true slice of Americana in the separate nation of Alaska. Don’t forget to play skee-ball while you’re soaking wet.

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    Destruction Bay: Caviar wishes and Yukonian dreams. For the most part, the weather in the Yukon was always cooperative. It is like an imaginary wall is erected between Alaska and British Colombia and the sun always shines there, in the Yukon. When I got to Destruction Bay, it was the first time that I had seen the sun, and taken off my rain pants, in two weeks. Note that Yukon government campsites are pretty nice, and well stocked with free firewood, water, and covered shelters with wood stoves in them. No one, it seems, ever comes to check that you paid. So don’t. But also note that it is unnecessary to utilize the one on Destruction Bay, for ample bush camping opportunities abound. The setting was entirely picturesque, almost comically so, and the Beardar remained silent. I threw up the tarp in a mad dash, such is paranoia of the rain and the wet.
    #40