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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joris van O, Apr 26, 2019.
What a finale.
Ah, to return to "normal".
Little red might still be towing other bikes around Chile!?
Thank YOU for this report and others to hopefully follow...
I visited and enjoyed Amsterdam and Rotterdam many moons ago.
I clicked on this RR one New years Eve. What with having Google Maps open on a companion page to track your movements, it has taken the better part of two days to read through. Not knowing what the outcome would be, when your posts in March turned to the virus and borders, and your proximity to Ushuaia, I was literally on the edge of my seat. Would you make it out alive? Were you locked down in Argentina or Chile? And then relief and a tear when your taxied away in Punta Arenas. Abandoning Little Red was an "Old Yeller" moment too. No novel reads better.
Thanks for the RR, really enjoyed following your adventure. I nearly didn't recognise you in the CORONA picture, its the ONLY photo in the whole RR where you are NOT smiling :)
interested in getting one also but i'll hold off due to too much work. maybe later.
well Joris....congratulations and i feel very proud of you. your RR took us to many places that most of us will never get the chance to see or in the same way you saw and experience it.
glad to hear you're home.
take care and look me up if you come to SoCal.
Alright, one more then.. This was way back in June 2019!! (There is more on the way)
I never got round to posting these photos before, but as you will see this was still at the very beginning of the trip. (See page 3, 4, 5 and 6 ) Way back in June 2019 I stayed a few days with Dave and his family (@landyguy) in Calgary and then headed North to attend the 2019 Dust to Dawson motorcycle event in Dawson City. Which would take place the 21th, or right at the summer solstice. After stopping in Banff National park to see some stuff and share a campsite with a German family (see page 6) I continued North along the Icefields Parkway, and that is where I want to pick up this report.
After visiting Lake Louise and Moraine Lake I shared a camping spot at the Mosquito Creek Campground with two German guys traveling in their Defender.
After a good night sleep I continued my merry way along the Icefields parkway. It didn't take long before I again felt the urge to pull over for another photo. Those partially snowcovered mountains surrounding Bow Lake were just to good to pass up on.
A little loop in the road near Parker ridge, with some elevation gained you are provided with a great view into the valley.
After being lucky with campsites for the last two days, I thought it was best not to push my luck so instead of waiting until the end of the day I pulled into Wilcox Creek Campground around noon and pitched my tent. I then jumped back on the bike and road a little further to the Athabasca glacier and the Icefield Interpretice Centre. This glacier is one of the six biggest glaciers from the Columbia Icefield and is very accessible for us tourists as it's just off the Icefield Parkway. However, it is retreating 2 to 3 meters (10ft) every year so you better hurry or you're in for a long walk.
To give you a scale, I zoomed way in (135mm) on one of the tourist busses that can take you up onto the glacier. It looks tiny, but it's not small at all. Sadly one of those massive machines was involved in an accident last summer, it tipped over and rolled down the hill, killing three passengers and leaving many wounded.
While visiting the glacier it was raining, so after not to long I went back to the visitor centre across the road, grabbed some lunch and used the Wifi while waiting for the rain to pass. The rain cleared, and then returned.. so back at the campground I made good use of the shelter next to my camping spot. While my pasta is cooking I hear a rumbling sound, which turns out to be a couple on Harleys. As they ride past I ask if they want to share the place, they do! Later around a fire we talk some more and they (can't remember their names) tell me they have just moved from Anchorage (Alaska) to Yakima in Washington. Everything had been moved already but they left the bikes in Alaska to ride them down and complete the move.
Waking up with the rain hammering down onto the tent, I thought it was best to postpone my departure for a while. But rain can be a persistent bugger, so after about an hour I gave up and got on the road. First stop was the rather damp Sunwapta Falls. With the melting snow and recent rain the river had swollen and the sound of the water rushing through the gorge was impressive!
Quick stop along the 93A, a by-route of the Icefields Parkway.
Reason for taking the 93A instead of the normal route was one, small roads are infinite times better. And two, there's a little side road leading to Mount Edith Cavell. The mountain, named after the heroic British nurse from the first World War, has another interesting feature. The Angel Glacier, which earns its name by the distinct 'wings' on each side. Altough it probably looked even better a few years ago, back when they came up with that name.
Past Jasper the sun came out properly, coupled with a few days of missed showers (most campgrounds don't have showers) it was time for a bath! Fortunately Miette Hotsprings wasn't far off the Yellowhead highway, which I was on now. To be honest, there wasn't much of a spring.. more a thermally heated pool but nonetheless there were hot baths, cold baths and medium warm baths, perfect! With rains imminent, I stayed put in the hot bath and enjoyed the rain.
Just a few miles after the hotsprings I came across this sign. Say no more!
It was already late when I arrived in Grande Cache, it also had been raining considerably for the last hour, so I wasn't looking forward to setting up camp somewhere. But standing there in the rain at the gas station I was yet again amazed by how kind people are. A man, Paul, asked me where I was heading to. I'm looking for a campsite I responded to him. "Have you had any dinner yet?" No, not yet! "Oh, you want to go get some pizza?" Sure, I'm quite hungry actually. And so Paul lead the way to a pizza restaurant. I fully expected to just get myself a nice tasty pizza, pay the bill and head out into the rain to the local campground. But Paul woudn't have any of it, not only did he buy me a pizza and a beer.. While having dinner he told me he just bought an old Ford Econoline campervan and if I wanted I could sleep there. Well, since it was still wet outside it wasn't a difficult choice really. After dinner we dropped of my stuff at his place and together we checked out his motorcycle, a Kawasaki vn2000. With a massive 2 liter v-twin. I sat on it and it probably weighs a metric ton too, but very comfortable.
We then jumped in the truck for a tour around Grande Cache. First to the Sulphur Gates, two gaint rocks rising up on either side of the Smoky River like it were a gate.
Then we went to the railway yard. Paul, who is originaly from India, works for the Canadian National Railway Company and drives these heavy long coal trains from Grande Prairie to Vancouver and back. He showed me some pictures later, and I'd say he probably has the best office view in the world.
In the morning, after a wonderfully comfortable nights sleep on the plush sun faded red bed, Paul and I got breakfast and then he escorted me a ways along the route. He couldn't ride to far because work might call and there's no cell service out of town. It was yet again a reminder that there are many many great people on this planet, and moments like those are the ones that I will still remember when I'm old. So thank you Paul, for going out of your way to help out a stranger! :)
Almost done now
I really do wonder what has become of Little red, hope that someone is still riding it somewhere :)
Got some photos of last summers holiday ride, two weeks in France with the CB450. Could do a little write-up of that ride?
That's great to hear, thank you! Sorry for robbing two days of your time
Hahaha well there was one of me at the very beginning, when the engine wrecked itself, but yes other than that no reason not to smile :)
Thanks @NSFW, like others here have inspired me to go on this adventure. I hope that maybe this rr will also inspire someone else to go for it!
I'm not done seeing the US yet, so I plan on returning at some point! Likewise, if you're back in Europe feel free to shoot me a message!
Oh, no -- I'm sure nobody'd be interested.
Fergawdsake, let me know if you're coming through New Mexico.
Leaving Grande Cache and the populair national parks of Banff and Jasper behind I was now really on my way to the far north. No lines of rental RV's and tourists anymore (well, alright maybe some), just the vastness of Northern Canada to explore! I also started seeing more and more bikers heading north. Stopping for lunch in Grande Prairie I met Hans @NoDad, we would meet each other a lot of times leapfrogging our way to Dawson City.
Beaverlodge has something to do with Beavers I think..
Arriving at Mile '0' of the Alaska Highway Hans was there as well, so we helped each other with the mandatory photos. Another guy, Mark, riding a KLR also arrived. He told is that there was another Mile '0' monument in town, the original one. So we followed him to the original marker, and then got some more photos of course.
After getting a coffee together we decided that we had done enough riding for the day and headed to the Mile '0' campground just down the road. I was enjoying this northern adventure very much, there are so many friendly people on the road. Most if not all share this common goal of reaching Alaska, and everyone knows its a long way to get there so best to help one other when needed.
Right next to the campground was the Walter Wright Pioneer Village. A really well done heritage site where you can get a glimpse of how life was for the early pioneers. We took our time looking through all the houses and shops with memorabilia.
And then went to get some dinner at the Rockwells pub, a place the owner of the campground had recommended us. From left to right. Mark, Hans and me.
Back at the campground we were joined by Dejan, who had come all the way from the US east coast on his way to Alaska.
We could already notice the difference in daylight, the sun would set later in the evening and would rise earlier the further north we went. Today was another beautiful day for a ride, no problems reaching Fort Nelson.
There wasn't much along the Alaska Highway between Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson, but every now and then you can get off the main route and ride a part of the old Alaska Highway. The Old Kaskatinaw Bridge is on one of those older parts. Building commenced in 1943, this bridge was the first of its kind with a 9 degree banked curve.
The rest of the route to Fort Nelson looked something like this, a more or less long straight road with clearcuts on each side to spot animals from a distance.
The Triple G Hideaway seemed like a good place to spend the night. After I pitched my tent I went into town to resupply and to find some oil. I had been racking up the miles and with a 3000km (2000 mile) interval it was again time for an oil change. I then had a great conversation with @Cal about our little bikes. He also recommended me to check out the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum next door, it was already closed but I wandered around the place for a bit nevertheless. Lots of old vehicles and stuff laying around.
There's Cal's Kawasaki Super Sherpa in front. The bicycle behind belonged to a Dutch guy cycling all the way to Tuktoyaktuk. Pretty insane if you ask me.. As the distances here are so long it took him three to four days to go from town to town. A week later I met him again on my way south, he was still making his was north. Almost 23:30 and there was still some light left.
Another long haul from Fort Nelson to Watson Lake, but with a few interesting stops inbetween.
I was on the road early, and not long after leaving was greeted with the first beer sighting.
Lunch in Toad River, then along the shore of Muncho Lake
A herd of Bison crossing the road, quite the sight!
Not far past Muncho Lake lay the famous Liard River Hotsprings. The walkway through the swamp, the cristal clear hot water and the green pine trees lining the spring. It was as beautiful as I had imagined it to be!
The last part to Watson Lake the weather turned bad and when I stopped in front of the Sign Post Forest it was bucketing down. I hastily walked around, and then spotted Hans across the street taking shelter from the storm. I joined him, and together we decided against camping and just share a room. We found the last room available in town (at 75 dollar each the most expensive night of this whole trip).
"France with the CB450" trip? Yes please!
During the night the rain had been pouring steadily, but by the time we woke up it was dry. Hans said that there was a little hostel named Takhini with thermal pools just past Whitehorse, so that was the objective for the day.
When I got to Teslin I remembered that there was some sort of ' dangerous' bridge that you had to cross cautiously. The metal grated surface of the Nisutlin Bay Bridge apparently makes riding a motorcycle across it a hair-raising experience. But once across I didn't get what all the fuss was about, it was comparable to crossing a centerline on the road. A little wobble.
Reaching Whitehorse I first went to see Miles Canyon, a narrow canyon through which the mighty Yukon river flows.
Following the road along Schwatka Lake I soon found myself in Whitehorse and the first thing that you're greeted with riding into town is the SS Klondike. A historic paddle steamer used during the gold rush. I stocked up on supplies and cash and then continued to the Takhini thermal pools hostel, where Hans had already checked-in.
Almost there, one day of riding left before reaching Dawson City. And I even was a day early for the 2019 Dust 2 Dawson gathering!
Whitehorse by J van O, on Flickr
Quick break to stretch the legs and enjoy the wilderness.
After a few more hours I finally rode into Dawson City, and I was happy to be there. As was everybody else. The town had a great vibe, especially with around 200 motorcycles and riders arriving for D2D and the summer solstice. I hadn't arranged anything, but after asking around at the Goldrush Campground Steve (@squiffynimrod), who I had met at the Liard Hotsprings a few days before, said I could set up my tent at his pitch. Thanks a lot man, nice to meet you :)Together with Steve, John (@Red-hungarian) and a few other guys that had also arrived (lost their details when my phone drowned) we went to celebrate our arrival with some drinks! (Borrowed your photo John).
After drinks it was time for food, and more drinks
Since our judgement was getting a bit clowdy, we decided it was a good idea to get our sour toe cocktail at the Sourdough Saloon. It's been dipped in alcoholic beverages so many times you don't even notice it
Around midnight I got back to my tent. Plenty of daylight, but with a good buzz going I was fast asleep.
It was another day before D2D would commence, so I took some time to ride up to the Midnight Dome viewpoint before gathering information and supplies for next weeks' ride up the Dempster.
I should have taken better notice of the ferry schedule...
Dawson City was filling up nicely, most campgrounds and hotels were filled to the brim.
And who would've thought that this far north the weather would be this good. It was 27c or around 80f the whole weekend. And with almost 24h of sun, we had to resort to drinking beer in the shade.
I had the feeling that the whole town was just one large festival, such a great atmosphere. But it might have had something to do with the amount of beer being consumed. In one of the bars there was a Karaoke evening, and Martin from Michigan (@Red label) did a really good job with Alan Jacksons' Little Bitty. Everyone was cheering for him to do another one. (Sorry for the video Martin :) )
Joris. i'm following along with great interest, i have the time and means to see Western Canada and Alaska. though not sure if the Canada border will be open in the next 5-6 months, still optimistic but every day it's getting dimmer. haha, the glaciers will be farther out and more walking.
well, taking us there in your RR is very much appreciated.
Yo tambien. Joris has been a big inspiration. I'm just beginning to restore the bike for the trip. I think about it pretty much constantly.
Joris you are a great pictorial/story teller!