Technicalities-northish to Alaskaish

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Almost There, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    This is a story about a trip that never happened but then it did after it almost didn’t. Confused already? So was I. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    A bike, a boy, and I heading off in a general direction with a general idea of what we were doing. No real plans. Well, sort of a goal. Don’t miss the boat!!<o:p></o:p>
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    We are home safe now but I’ll try to put this together day by day so you can ride along with us.<o:p></o:p>
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    There were no pirates, hostage taking, illegal border crossings, crashes, murders, strippers, drunken brawls, or encounters with alien species. Or maybe there were. Either way it was a couple weeks of unforgettable fun.<o:p></o:p>
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    So meet the players. You can figure out who is who.<o:p></o:p>
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    #1
  2. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    T-Minus 443 days (nothing like a little lead in eh?) We’ll skip a few days between then and now.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    I had just got home from picking up my first street bike. You can read about that here (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=574480) if you haven’t seen it. Why did I fly half way across the country to buy a bike just to ride as fast as I could back home? Why not………<o:p></o:p>
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    4 days to cross half of the country and get my butt back to work.<o:p></o:p>
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    The night I got back I promised my wife that the next trip wouldn’t be so far from home. About 30 seconds later this trip got started.<o:p></o:p>
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    Technically Canada, Mexico, even Alaska are closer to home than Dallas. I’m guessing she meant maybe a trip to central Oregon or something. The devil is always in the details. <o:p></o:p>
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    I break out the map and figure out just how far I could get while still technically being closer to home than Dallas. Pretty much anywhere that I can get time off for is in range.<o:p></o:p>
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    Mexico sounds like fun, so does Alaska…….<o:p></o:p>
    #2
  3. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,558
    Location:
    Over the rear wheel
    This one shows promise.

    :lurk
    #3
  4. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon

    Like I tell my wife...........

    don't get your hopes up.:evil
    #4
  5. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    So let’s start planning, at least let’s decide which direction to head. I should have a decent amount of vacation time so I start looking at destinations.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    Canada looks nice.<o:p></o:p>
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    So does Mexico.<o:p></o:p>
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    Alaska, well……..that is always an option.<o:p></o:p>
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    After careful consideration which lasted about 2 minutes I decide to head north. 10ish days up and 10ish days back. That should put me into Alaska, I guess, maybe.<o:p></o:p>
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    So that is the plan for the summer of 2011. Go north for 10 days then turn around. That was easy. And that was where the fun began.<o:p></o:p>
    #5
  6. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    T-Minus 211 days (see we skipped a few)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    I’m sitting on the couch looking at some maps. Do I want to cover a bunch of miles and see a lot or keep it slow and relaxed and probably not make it past Washington? Out of nowhere a 12 year old flies on to the couch and asks where we are going.<o:p></o:p>
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    We’re, Wait………what? WE are not going anywhere. I am going north, well northish. Now go play so I can look at some more maps. In a flash he is gone and hopefully completely forgotten this whole going somewhere idea. Crazy, I’m not going 2 up with a kid in a northish direction with no plans.<o:p></o:p>
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    And then he is back. Where, how far, how long, will there be bears? SERIOUSLY!! THERE IS NO WE ON THIS TRIP. <o:p></o:p>
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    And then it hit me………….. <o:p></o:p>
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    The older one is off to college soon. He is too cool to be seen with us old people anyway. The younger one isn’t far behind. Maybe a two up trip wouldn’t be so bad. And that is where my solo 2-3ish week trip in a northish direction came to an end. <o:p></o:p>
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    Two up on a Versys though with no plans for a few weeks? Sure, why not. What could possibly happen? Wait for it, wait for it, wait………..BAM!! He already has a list of places to ride to. My solo trip in a northish direction just got complicated.<o:p></o:p>
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    There was also a side trip to France thrown in just to make it interesting. So we sat down and redefined northish.<o:p></o:p>
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    #6
  7. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    I had been reading some great reports about riding in Alaska. Beautiful scenery and as much adventure as you wanted to make it. That could easily eat up a three week vacation and just scratch the surface. Then I considered that I rarely ride two up and my son has never been on a ride that lasted more than two hours. I should probably have some sort of a plan before we load up and head off into the unknown. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    So the planning begins…………about 5 minutes later the planning is not fun so it ends. I did decide that 2 weeks will be enough time on the bike 2 up so we will have to limit how far northish we go. <o:p></o:p>
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    A trip on the Alaska Marine Highway looked interesting. Seemed like a good way to break the ride up just in case we needed a break. I book a ferry from Skagway down to Prince Rupert. If we miss the boat we have to turn around and head back so now we have a goal. Don’t miss the boat!!<o:p></o:p>
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    Did I mention that I hate boats? Well not boats, I hate water when I can’t see the bottom. So it makes perfect sense to put my bike and my son on a boat in the ocean where anything unusual will send me running for a life jacket. This should be interesting.<o:p></o:p>
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    #7
  8. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    T-Minus 28 days (hang on, we are almost there)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    We are a month away from go time and haven&#8217;t done any rides together other than a couple quick trips around town. I figure that we should probably do a dry run so we plan an overnighter over to central Oregon and then a longer route on the way home. Should be about 3 hours over and 6 back. <o:p></o:p>
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    We start packing everything up and quickly realize that there is no way it is all going on the bike. Plan B, we hitch up the trailer.<o:p></o:p>
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    Seems like it will work. It is a strong 650cc bike but I can&#8217;t see a damn thing behind us.<o:p></o:p>
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    Unpack, repack, unpack, repack a few times and I think we can get it all on the bike. I stiffen up the suspension and off we go.<o:p></o:p>
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    I let him know upfront that if I hear one complaint he is out. If he can&#8217;t handle a quick weekend trip there is no way I&#8217;m leaving for a couple weeks with him. We get started and I last 90 minutes before my butt is killing me. Time to stop for a drink. Not a rest break, just a drink. No complaining from me either or I&#8217;ll have to give him the bike to head out on his own.<o:p></o:p>
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    After one night on the ground I decide that my back can&#8217;t handle two weeks of camping. Our list of didn&#8217;t bring but must have is growing. All bags and boxes are stuffed full and we don&#8217;t even have any food packed yet. The trailer isn&#8217;t looking so bad after all.<o:p></o:p>
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    So here we are all loaded up and ready to head home. No he isn&#8217;t dead. He did manage to fall asleep a few times though which didn&#8217;t seem like a good idea.<o:p></o:p>
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    One of the things I wish I had done on my first big trip was take more pictures. I figured this one out fast. I&#8217;ll just give the camera to my son and he can take all the pictures he wants. If that camera gets full we will transfer what we have to a memory stick and start over. One less thing to worry about, so I thought. It seemed great until I saw the pictures he took.<o:p></o:p>
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    I think this might be the seat.<o:p></o:p>
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    A great shot of my shoulder.<o:p></o:p>
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    No idea what is going on here.<o:p></o:p>
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    We did figure out how to use the panorama button.<o:p></o:p>
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    Must work on how to use the camera before we leave!!<o:p></o:p>
    #8
  9. Ramage

    Ramage needs improvement

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Gone Coastal
    I am really liking your style, AT. :rofl

    Can't wait to hear how this unfolds. :ear
    #9
  10. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    Thanks for reading! I'm putting this together so my son and I can remember it but hopefully somebody else enjoys it also.

    We are done with the intro. Tomorrow is day 1 and what a day it was.:eek1
    #10
  11. volkert74

    volkert74 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    11
    Location:
    Izmir/TR
    Great! :clap

    I'm watching. :lurk
    #11
  12. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    Time to get this thing moving.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    Day 1- 422 miles, 14.5 hours, yes, 14.5 hours.<o:p></o:p>
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    Wow, what a day. The only thing I wanted to do today was avoid Seattle traffic and get near Whistler. Should be about 7 hours of riding. Not many pictures today but it was interesting.<o:p></o:p>
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    Originally I thought a ride up the Washington coast and then jumping a few ferries would be fun. After looking at the total mileage/time though we decided to superslab it up through Washington. It wouldn’t be much fun but if we put in some miles today we could slow it down some when we got to the good stuff. Right or wrong that decision would drastically change the outcome of our ride. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here. <o:p></o:p>
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    We are up early and plan on hitting the road at 6. That should put us near Whistler in the early afternoon and still have some time to explore the town. I fire up the bike and my fuel injection light stays on for a few seconds. I’ve never seen that before but I have 18k on this beast with no problems so I don’t give it much thought.<o:p></o:p>
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    Off we go.<o:p></o:p>
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    I ride to work whenever I can but never go through downtown Portland. What a crazy mess. Bumper to bumper at 65mph isn’t really how we wanted to start our morning but after an hour we cross into Washington and leave most of the rat race behind us. Canada here we come!<o:p></o:p>
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    About an hour into Washington I see a rest area with free coffee. Time to stop for a break and recheck our packing job. So far so good and we have already covered over ¼ of the miles we are trying to do today.<o:p></o:p>
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    We jump back on the bike and fire it up. I should say try to fire it up. It slowly cranks and then starts to purr. That was not a good sign but I’m trying to not think about it too much. I can’t think of any reason that the battery would be having issues but it sure didn’t want to get us moving. I turn off the grip heaters and unplug the GPS. I haven’t added anything electrical in over 5k miles so I’m starting to wonder what could be causing a low battery.<o:p></o:p>
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    We stop in Tacoma for gas and a quick break. We get ready to move and Kermit is dead. Nothing, no lights, no fuel pump, no sign of life. Three hours from home with a dead bike on day 1. I haven’t had a single issue with this bike and now on day 1 we have a dead battery. We fire up the GPS and find a battery shop right up the road. Now how do we get there?<o:p></o:p>
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    We had stopped at a scale and weighed in at 900lbs. Now we are stuck at a gas station trying to bump start the bike. My 100lb son can get us moving but not quite enough to fire it up. We sit and wait while we discuss our options. I hit the starter one more time and it fires right up. We shoot over to the battery shop hoping for some good news. I hit the starter there and once again, nothing. I can deal with a dead battery so we tear into the bike.<o:p></o:p>
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    I have all kinds of tools with us but not a single thing to check for electrical issues. Luckily the battery guys are ready to help. We pull the battery and it has a dead cell. Perfect!! Just pop in a new battery and we are ready to go. Kermit jumps to life and the knot in my stomach gets a little smaller. Before we head off though we grab a volt meter and check the battery. Lots of juice but not charging at all. We check connections and it is obvious that we have other issues. I figure we either have a dead stator or voltage regulator. Could our trip be over 3 hours into it?<o:p></o:p>
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    As we put the bike back together another customer walks over and offers to go get his trailer for us and get us to a shop or his place until we could pick it up. Although grateful we are not ready to throw in the towel yet. <o:p></o:p>
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    There must be some bike shops around here so we grab a phone book and start calling. I don’t have one of those fancy phones like most of you. Mine makes calls and that is it. To make it worse it is T-Mobile so it makes calls if it really feels like it which is never when you really need it to. I only mention this because finding an actual paper phone book was a challenge. Think about how you found things before the internet and smart phones were around. That was us. A paper phone book and a piece of paper to write down directions.<o:p></o:p>
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    The first shop we tried wasn’t interested in looking at a Kawasaki, the second put us on hold until I hung up and tried again with the same result. We finally tried Kent Kawasaki and got right through to the service department. After I explained our situation they said bring it around back and ask for Steve. Finally some good news! So off we went using some scratch pad notes for directions hoping to find this place.<o:p></o:p>
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    We jump on and off highways and finally make it to the shop. We pull around and Steve is checking the bike out before we can even get the seat off. I think the last time I took a bike to a dealer was about 10 years ago. It was the last time for a reason and also the reason that I learned how to work on my own bikes. At this point I’m thinking that this place may actually be worth dealing with. Not that we have much of a choice. We check the battery again and it is definitely not charging. After checking the regulator it appears to be bad. Good news, we know what the problem is. Bad news, they don’t have one in stock and after a few calls nobody nearby does either. <o:p></o:p>
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    Crap, we have enough battery to get us started and back home but is our trip really over already? As we are packing up Steve comes out and says that they have one bike on the floor with the same regulator. They will tear it apart and get me on the road if I will pay the labor to tear apart the other bike. The newer Versys use a different regulator now for some reason so they are taking it out of some other Kawasaki sport bike. <o:p></o:p>
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    We head to the lobby to wait. It is strange to have somebody else working on my bike but if this keeps our trip together I can live with that.<o:p></o:p>
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    Can you feel the excitement as we wait for the bike to be saved!<o:p></o:p>
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    After a while Steve comes to get us. I’m up and ready to go but he has some bad news. The regulator didn’t solve the problem. They did some more testing and the stator is working intermittently but not enough to charge the battery. Worse news, nobody has a stator and they are back ordered. Our trip is over. Steve heads off to put the bike back together and we start making calls. Do we limp home and jump in the car? Do we try it again next year? The ferry has one car spot left and will hold it for an hour. We would be a day behind which would really eat into our relaxed timeline. As my son and I discuss our plans Steve comes back with an idea.<o:p></o:p>
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    They have a new Versys on the floor which has the stator I need. The boss already said no but after some convincing the new Versys is on the stand getting torn apart. I’ll have a running bike in an hour. The trip is back on. We run over to grab some food while Kermit is kept on life support. I had planned on doing a chain in Prince George but we decide to do that now since the bike is already up.<o:p></o:p>
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    Steve comes back with good news. We are ready to roll. Then the bad news. He prints out the bill for us and I nearly pass out. Bikes are expensive. I’m cheap. It had been so long since anybody touched one of my bikes that I had completely forgot about labor. On top of that I’m from Oregon and we don’t have sales tax. New stator, new chain, labor, tax……..add it all up and we are just under a grand. Considering all they had done for us I can’t complain. So thank you to Kent Kawasaki for keeping our trip alive. I thought we were done but they managed to give me some faith that there might still be decent dealerships out there.<o:p></o:p>
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    I’m now 7 hours into the trip and have spent more money than I expected for the whole thing. Crap again. If I had not just bought a house it wouldn’t have been so painful but now I’m stuck with deciding to continue or not. Head north and spend money I don’t have or call it quits. Like a good American I break out the credit card and off we go. I can already taste the Top Ramen in my future.<o:p></o:p>
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    Two hours later we FINALLY make it past Marysville and get close to the actual speed limit. I don’t know how you Seattle people do it. We must have gone 30 miles in first gear. We were full ATGATT in 80 degree weather going 10mph. Not a great start for our trip.<o:p></o:p>
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    We are finally moving though. Running great as usual but every stop makes me nervous that we won’t restart. We cross our fingers and keep heading north. Before we know it we make it to Canada and get our picture taken at the border.<o:p></o:p>
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    On my last trip up to BC I had just got a new passport and forgot to sign it. The guy we got that day was not amused and kept us at the booth for 10 minutes while he explained why signing it was so important. On this trip I think we must have had the nicest border guard ever. I dropped a glove and she ran out and got it for us. Then we asked her to take a picture for us and after she agreed the batteries somehow shot out of the camera on to the ground. Once again she came running out and rounded up batteries while the line behind us grew. She took a picture and then we got out of there before we got her in trouble. She was a very good example of what we experienced in Canada.<o:p></o:p>
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    We managed to hit Vancouver near the end of rush hour but made it through without many issues. Once we hit Hwy 99 out of Vancouver the good stuff started. We were so exhausted at this point that we only took 2 pictures which I really regret now. That is a beautiful stretch of road between Vancouver and Whistler.<o:p></o:p>
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    We finally pull into the Whistler RV Park at 8:30. 14.5 hours after we left home. What a rough day but we managed to have fun. <o:p></o:p>
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    We brought a bunch of Mountain Home dehydrated food things for dinner and were ready to dig in. Just as our water comes to a boil I manage to bump the pot which then dumps directly into the burner. We are exhausted and hungry with a burner that won’t relight. Granola bars it is for us. Better than nothing I guess. What a day.<o:p></o:p>
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    I fall to sleep thinking about the stator. What caused it, when did it go bad, will it happen again in the middle of nowhere instead of 10 miles from a shop, do we continue north on our trip without a plan?<o:p></o:p>
    #12
  13. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    Day 2- 315 miles, 8.5 hours<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    It is still dark when something wakes me up. I saw signs posted that there was a bear in the area last night and sure enough I hear a bear snorting and breathing nearby. We made sure to buy some bear spray before leaving and it is conveniently still in the package somewhere stored away on the bike. The noise is getting louder and louder and I’m about to scream like a little girl. Just before I can get anything out of my mouth I realize that it is just my son snoring. Whew………that was close.<o:p></o:p>
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    Now I’m awake though and the light is starting to come up. I see a shadow outside the tent moving around. It gets closer and bigger as I hear footsteps approaching us. It rubs against the tent and then claws followed by a paw come through the material. CRAP!!! Then I really woke up. Enough with these bear dreams! I get up get moving.<o:p></o:p>
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    First job today is to get the burner working. I left it upside down last night so it would drain and dry out. It isn’t interested in working though this morning. It will randomly shoot out a 2 foot flame but won’t stay lit. Finally after a few very impressive fireballs I manage to get it up and running. There will be warm food tonight.<o:p></o:p>
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    We get up and head towards Whistler. It is Saturday morning and we are about 2 hours too early. We manage to find a small store open with an ATM. I confirmed with my bank that my card would work in Canada so sure enough it doesn’t. So now we are a couple hours into BC and only have US cash. The clerk says not to worry about it since almost everybody will take US money. We are on a stretch of road that gives us no options for finding an open bank today and tomorrow is Sunday. Do we keep going for 2 days hoping everybody will take our US cash? Of course we do.<o:p></o:p>
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    We pull out of Whistler heading towards Pemberton. We are on a nice newer paved road with lots of curves and beautiful scenery. This is what we came for. As we work our way up and down through the forest I remember a conversation I had yesterday. An older mechanic at the dealership was telling us about all the riding he had done. He said that he had always wanted to ride to Alaska but never got around to it. I don’t know that he couldn’t do it tomorrow if he wanted to but the regret in his eyes was obvious. That is exactly why we started this trip and that is exactly why we kept moving yesterday instead of limping the bike home.<o:p></o:p>
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    I’m still nervous about the stator and decide to pick up a volt meter so I can check things out if needed. After we find the cheapest one in Pemberton is $250 we decide to push on and hope for the best. We will get one tonight in Prince George.<o:p></o:p>
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    After leaving Pemberton the road gets narrow and rough. It isn’t bad but we definitely have our eyes open at all times. We start to pass over small wooden bridges and realize we are an hour from even the smallest town as we head towards Lillooet.<o:p></o:p>
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    The scenery starts to change and we leave the forest and start into a rocky canyon. As we approach Lillooet it is obvious that this is a popular outdoor playground. <o:p></o:p>
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    We manage to lose track of time and it is suddenly noon. We have only gone about 130 miles out of our planned 400. We finally hit hwy 97 and head north. In my mind I expected this highway to be another boring part of the ride but it is actually very beautiful. Lots of lakes and mountains with good pavement all the way.<o:p></o:p>
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    We had decided to try to make it to Prince George today but that isn’t going to happen. We had been on 97 for a few hours but were getting tired. I think we are both worn out from yesterday so we decide to ride until we see a campground. We see a few that don’t look very exciting so we keep pushing north. <o:p></o:p>
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    Finally somewhere between McLeese Lake and Quesnel we spot a sign for a private campground so we pull in to check it out. It is a beautiful place but seems deserted. Somewhere around 30 sites but not a single camper. We finally find the office but nobody is there.<o:p></o:p>
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    We decide to set up and hope for the best. Finally we track down the owner and pay for the night. We get a quick shower and do laundry since this might be our last chance for a while. Then it is dinner time.<o:p></o:p>
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    Boil some water and wait 8 minutes. These things were actually really good. Of course after granola bars almost anything would have tasted good.<o:p></o:p>
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    We light a fire and then begin what will be forever known as the Great UNO Battle of 2011. The battle rages on the entire trip until the champion is crowned on our last day. Right around dark 2 other campers pull in for the night so we share our private campground but never hear a word from them.<o:p></o:p>
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    #13
  14. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    Day 3- 370 miles, 9 hours<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    We wake up to a beautiful morning. The sun is out and blue skies are back. It had rained fairly hard most of the night but the bike was covered and tent had a rain fly so everything stayed dry. <o:p></o:p>
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    After a quick breakfast of rock hard granola bars we pack up and head out. I was hoping to get onto the Cassiar Highway today but that would be a lot of miles. My GPS had quit charging for some reason yesterday and I couldn’t seem to find any lose connections. With it now dead we rely on our original plan of head northish. We head off towards Prince George in hopes of finding a decent map.<o:p></o:p>
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    I’m still nervous about the stator and not having a way to check it so we plan to stop and find a volt meter before we get past Prince George. Coming out of a corner I roll on the throttle and all the sudden a burst of smoke comes up from the engine through the handle bars. I can’t see anything and my helmet is quickly filling up since I had the visor open. As I start to pull over I get a mouthful and realize this isn’t smoke. Kermit had been eating bugs the whole trip but managed to catch a bird this time.<o:p></o:p>
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    After removing most of this victim we clean out the radiator and get back on the road. Soon we are in Prince George but without the GPS have no idea where we are going. I know there is a Canadian Tire here somewhere so we wander through town. Just before downtown three foxes decide that the sidewalk isn’t working for them so they shoot across the street right in front of us. <o:p></o:p>
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    We get some directions up to the Canadian tire and find a Walmart right next door. After loading up on food and a volt meter we see a Tim Hortons just before the highway. Of course we had to stop and check it out. It is Sunday morning and is a busy place. The sun is still out and it looks like it will be a nice day to ride so off we go full of coffee and donuts.<o:p></o:p>
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    As soon as we hit the road though we get into some light rain. Late July and it is raining!!! I had picked up a free rain suit before I left thinking that I wouldn’t use it but I would bring it just in case. After trying it on over my riding gear it was obvious that I needed a bigger size. I grabbed some old rain gear that would have to work the night before we left. It would definitely get used on this trip.<o:p></o:p>
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    We made it to Vanderhoof before the rain really got started. After putting on the rain gear we keep heading west into some very dark clouds.<o:p></o:p>
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    After about an hour the sun came out and we found out quickly that rain gear on top of riding gear combined with sun equals getting hot fast. The coffee wore off but the donuts were working great. Time to lay out and enjoy the sun.<o:p></o:p>
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    Can’t remember the name of this lake but it was a great place to stop and take a break.<o:p></o:p>
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    We stopped to smell the roses. They look different up here.<o:p></o:p>
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    Stopped in Moricetown to check out the river and watch some fishermen. Didn’t appear to be much luck here today.<o:p></o:p>
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    We were getting ready to stop for the day so the search for a campground began. After a stop in New Hazelton we decided to continue on to Seeley Lake Provincial Park. <o:p></o:p>
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    It wasn’t far but there was plenty to see on the way.<o:p></o:p>
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    The campground was fairly small and mostly full when we arrived but we got a decent spot overlooking the lake.<o:p></o:p>
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    After dinner and sending a few texts to prove we were alive we went down for a closer look.<o:p></o:p>
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    Plenty to see around here.<o:p></o:p>
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    Halfway through the night I wake to to hear something scratching one of our side cases. We had a loaf of bread in one but I never managed to get a look at whoever was hungry. Tomorrow we hit the Cassiar and get to the good stuff.<o:p></o:p>
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    #14
  15. Asatrur

    Asatrur KLR adv rider

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,404
    Location:
    Longmont, CO
    Very cool. I have an 11 yo who is excited about going on a trip. Now I need to show to the Wyf and start planning our trip on the KLR. Thanks for the inspiration!
    #15
  16. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    DO IT!! They are only small enough to ride 2 up for so long.

    Working on day 4 now. The Cassiar was incredible.
    #16
  17. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    Day 4- 365 miles, 9.5 hours<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    We woke up early to a beautiful morning. Nobody else in the campground seemed to be up and moving so we decided to run down to the lake again before we woke everybody up while packing.<o:p></o:p>
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    I had pretty much guaranteed seeing a bear today so I was hoping to catch one out early this morning doing something exciting. No luck so after checking out the views of Seeley Lake in the morning we got moving. Still no movement in the campground so we tried to sneak out quietly.<o:p></o:p>
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    Soon we were at Skeena Crossing and around halfway to the Cassiar.<o:p></o:p>
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    Hey this looks familiar!<o:p></o:p>
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    We fill up the bike and head off onto the roughly 450 mile Cassiar Highway. I had read about this part of the trip and it saw plenty of pictures. It was almost too much to believe but I had my hopes up that this would be worth the time to get here.<o:p></o:p>
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    Ten minutes later……………….our first bear. Just a little guy but it was a good sign.<o:p></o:p>
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    About two minutes later a massive black bear crossed right in front of us. We slowed to get a picture but then realized it could have been five feet off the road and we wouldn’t have seen it. We were not ready to be bear food so we kept rolling. After only seeing deer so far it was one bear after another.<o:p></o:p>
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    There was so much to see today that we kept the camera ready at all times. The only way I can describe it is to compare it to a local scenic route. You might get a few decent miles of great scenery. Stretch that out so it is 450 miles and that is the Cassiar. Just a really beautiful area.<o:p></o:p>
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    With a few tourists thrown in to keep you awake.<o:p></o:p>
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    Another familiar place.<o:p></o:p>
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    We had decided to skip the Hyder/Stewart side trip and keep heading north. The weather wasn’t looking very good so we pushed on towards Bell 2.<o:p></o:p>
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    I think this was our first metal grated bridge. We did NOT enjoy these. Maybe it was the tires but we just stayed on the gas and let the bike wander around.<o:p></o:p>
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    More beautiful scenery heading north.<o:p></o:p>
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    We round a corner and the road is full of birds and chicks. They don’t seem to be in any hurry to get out of the way.<o:p></o:p>
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    As we approach Bell 2 the weather is starting to look even worse. We haven’t had rain yet but our future looks wet. As we are cruising down a straight away I notice a chipmunk dart out then back to the bushes then just as we get there he darts out again. Don’t do it Kermit. Don’t do it! Then in slow motion…………..NOOOOOOOOOO. Splat.<o:p></o:p>
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    We turn around to make sure the poor little guy is dead and don’t believe our eyes. Close yours if you don’t like dead furry creatures.<o:p></o:p>
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    I’m not sure how it happened but imagine Chip’s buddy Dale ran out at the last minute to warn him of the danger. Sorry guys, when Kermit is hungry look out.<o:p></o:p>
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    As my son is off the bike doing a photo shoot another biker approaches and sees what is going on. I’m waiting to see his ride report with the two morons taking pictures of dead chipmunks. I’ll save the other pictures for never. My camera’s macro setting will never be the same.<o:p></o:p>
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    Just after we get moving another large bear crosses in front of us and heads off into the trees. He is hiding behind a tree here.<o:p></o:p>
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    We make it to Bell 2 and have a quick lunch and fill up the bike. An older couple heading south in their motorhome tells us how bad the roads are to the north. They had us a little worried until we found out they were worn out after doing almost 100 miles today. I thought we had a relaxed pace but they put us to shame. Just as we are leaving it starts to pour so on goes the rain gear.<o:p></o:p>
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    We definitely needed it later but for now it is a quick shower and then back to sun.<o:p></o:p>
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    And MORE bears. I think we ended up seeing a total of 8 today. The little ones sat in the ditch and just watched us go by. We would circle back for a picture and they didn’t seem to care unless we slowed down. Then off they went.<o:p></o:p>
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    We stop for a Coke in Iskut and disaster strikes. They have NO Coke. Not a single one in the store. Seems to be the drink of choice as this is not the first place we settled for something else. Just as we are putting gear back on a friend finds us and wants some of our time before we go.<o:p></o:p>
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    We get moving and hit our first real stretch of gravel. We go down, down, down to the river below.<o:p></o:p>
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    Then up, up, up as we leave a beautiful valley.<o:p></o:p>
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    As we approach Dease Lake the weather gets interesting. We went from light rain to rain to heavy rain to try to get off the road without drowning. Unfortunately everywhere we saw to pull over was just as wet so we slowed down and tried to avoid the ruts and potholes we couldn’t see.<o:p></o:p>
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    Another gas stop and then the sun is back. We make it to the terrible stretch of gravel that we had heard about. I’m not sure what was so bad about it but I guess it a motorhome it would be different.<o:p></o:p>
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    We had started looking for a campground when we left Dease Lake and finally found the one at Joe Irwin Lake. It looked beautiful and was nearly empty. <o:p></o:p>
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    As we pull in I see a sign that says $2 for all the firewood you can carry. Sign us up! After we park a lady comes out and we ask for a tent spot. She tells us $10 which seems ridiculously low so I ask again. I felt bad when she asked if that was too much. We gladly paid and picked our spot.<o:p></o:p>
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    We still hadn’t found an ATM that worked for us but did manage to trade for some Canadian money. Of course at this point we were running low so we skipped the $3 shower and hit the pool.<o:p></o:p>
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    After a few tries with the camera’s timer I gave up on getting a shot of us with only heads out of the water. It was COLD! <o:p></o:p>
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    We got into some dry clothes and got the fire going as quickly as possible.<o:p></o:p>
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    The view from our site.<o:p></o:p>
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    I’m usually in bed pretty early but managed to get a shot at 10pm just as the rain started to come down. Still light enough to do just about anything.<o:p></o:p>
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    We drift off to sleep again to the sound of rain drops. What a great day.<o:p></o:p>
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  18. Asatrur

    Asatrur KLR adv rider

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,404
    Location:
    Longmont, CO
    awesome pics and story! I am on a KLR and am wondering what size the versys is? How often did your son fall asleep and how did you keep him from falling off?
    #18
  19. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    The Versys is also a 650. I had an older KLR that I rode mostly dirt on so I can't really compare the two bikes. The Versys is decent on gravel but I wouldn't want to do anything tight on it. It has plenty of power but is pretty darn heavy when it starts to go horizontal.

    Usually about mid afternoon I would feel some helmet to helmet contact and need to wake him up. We stopped about every hour to stretch our legs and take a break. Between the yellow bags, back box, and me there wasn't much chance of him actually falling off but I didn't want to hear him snoring back there.:lol3
    #19
  20. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    566
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    Day 5- 295 miles, 9 hours<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    We wake up to another dry morning. It had rained most of the night but now the skies are mostly clear. We decide today to just go ahead and start with the rain gear on. It is summer right? <o:p></o:p>
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    After loading up we head back out on to the Cassiar. If I remember right there was around 40 miles of gravel and we were near the middle of it. We still hadn’t found the really bad roads that we had heard about yesterday.<o:p></o:p>
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    The scenery is nonstop out here. We saw a bunch of people riding their bicycles. At the time I thought they were crazy but now I wouldn’t have minded the slower pace. Of course that may also be why all those bears were just sitting in the ditch. Can’t be that hard to run down a tired bicyclist.<o:p></o:p>
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    We make it to Jade City but don’t have much interest in jewelry so we keep moving. A few miles north though we have to slam on the brakes. We had seen quite a few hitchhikers along the road but out of nowhere comes this foxy little redhead just hanging out. Of course being the fine gentlemen that we are we stop to make sure she is ok.<o:p></o:p>
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    She gave us a look and then walks right in front of the bike shaking that tail all the way. WAIT, WAIT, WAIT…………that didn’t happen. Well it did but our foxy lady was a little more foxy.<o:p></o:p>
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    So after blocking our path she sits down and poses for pictures.<o:p></o:p>
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    We told her some jokes.<o:p></o:p>
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    I’m guessing she was looking for a handout but we were fresh out of granola bars and didn’t feel like breaking out the burner to heat up a dinner for her. She looked disgusted as we finally pulled away.<o:p></o:p>
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    It appears Canada has found a solution for when you tell your kids to go play in the street. Just slow down and they will be fine.<o:p></o:p>
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    We continue north <o:p></o:p>
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    As we get closer to the Alaska Highway we enter an area that has been recently burned. I happened to have a magazine with me that said there was a major pine beetle infestation in the northern BC. After the trees were dead a fire went through burning 40 miles in a few hours since everything was dry. I’m guessing that this is the area that I had read about.<o:p></o:p>
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    Made it to the Yukon Territory<o:p></o:p>
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    My cheap rain gear is not doing so well.<o:p></o:p>
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    We decide to head into Watson Lake and check out the sign post forest after having something to eat. After having the world’s most expensive grill cheese and ham sandwich we head across the street. My parents had put a sign here and we thought it would be fun to find it and get a picture with it.<o:p></o:p>
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    After looking<o:p></o:p>
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    We gave up. There is somewhere around 37 billion signs here and they all start looking alike after an hour. Maybe another time.<o:p></o:p>
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    So west we go. We had been in and out of rain all morning but it looked like blue skies for a while. I took off my rain gear though which meant we would get wet any minute.<o:p></o:p>
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    After two days on the Cassiar the Alaska Highway felt like I-5. The views were not as good and the road was just a long, long, long straight stretch with a corner thrown in to make sure you were awake once in a while. Soon we were totally bored and decided to find a campground for the night.<o:p></o:p>
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    We dipped back into BC then up into YT again where we came to Teslin.<o:p></o:p>
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    Home of the longest and most slippery bridge of the trip. It had just rained so we took it nice and slow.<o:p></o:p>
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    We had decided to stop at Mukluk Annie's for the night since they had free camping. When we got there though they were closed for the season. We left wondering what season they were open since it was the middle of summer. We finally stopped for the night at what I think was Teslin Lake Provincial Park.<o:p></o:p>
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    After setting up camp I headed off to find some water. It was raining and had been for a while. Luckily this campground had free firewood so we loaded up and got a fire started before dinner.<o:p></o:p>
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    Then down to the lake to check it out.<o:p></o:p>
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    We hadn’t had a cell signal for two days now so I decided to find somebody that might be able to send a text for us. We had promised to send a “we are alive” text each night to my wife and to my son’s mom. After missing a day we figured that we better take care of it before they sent out a posse. <o:p></o:p>
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    We spotted somebody with Alaska plates and I figured they might be willing to send a text for us once they got back to where they had a signal. I was a little surprised when they said they did have a signal but were too busy to help us. Thank you, rude lady from Alaska. <o:p></o:p>
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    Back to the campsite we go to get ready for bed. After some more UNO battling I grab a few more pictures before heading for bed. The campgrounds in Canada are completely different than what we are used to. These were all within 30 feet of our tent.<o:p></o:p>
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    Into the tent just as it starts really pouring. Another night of listening to the rain.<o:p></o:p>
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    #20