The Gap Year: Montana

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by 95Monster, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. boristhebold

    boristhebold Been here awhile

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    Brilliant read George. What really made it for me was you having your dad following along (and chipping in) I feel privileged to have been an observer on your trip (so far)
  2. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Having had to turn back on the Dempster, I decided to try the Dalton. I've been on both these roads before, in a truck, in the dark, in the winter. This time time was different. The Sun was shining all the time and it was mostly warm, mostly. Dalton Sign.jpg Crossed the Arctic Circle again. And again, it felt pretty cool. Arctic.jpg Coldfoot Camp is the halfway point to Deadhorse. ColdfootSign.jpg They have fuel, food and rooms. ColdfootPumps.jpg This is what $200 a night buys you in the Arctic. Coldfoot Room.jpg Coldfoot Room2.jpg Hallway.jpg Now you do have the option to camp. But it's light out nearly 24 hrs a day and there are bears. I like bears from a distance but I did worry about getting bit by one. That would be bad.

    And Coldfoot has pretty decent food. It's buffet style fare for breakfast and dinner. The folks there are friendly and it's a nice place to recharge. And there's not really much for 250 miles in either direction. From Coldfoot, it's 240 miles to Deadhorse. (I'm on a standard GS and I've never managed 240 miles on a tank so I carried a 10 liter fuel can.) Just north of Coldfoot the road is paved! Pave1.jpg And there's this big pipeline that runs alongside it. You may have heard about it:) Pipeline.jpg
  3. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    The pavement didn't last long and soon enough I was back on the dirt. There is a lot of commercial traffic on the Dalton so the road is kept in great shape. Hard pack dirt, sometimes gravel, sometimes dust and sometimes a mile or three of pavement. PipelineDirt.jpg PipelineBike.jpg I'm guessing that's Atigan Pass ahead. You go up over and through those mountains and down onto the North Slope where the landscape and the weather really changes for the worst (unless you are a polar bear!) Atigan Pass.jpg The North Slope seems to go on for ever.. NorthSlope.jpg and ever PipelinePermaFrost.jpg until you finally approach the lovely town of Deadhorse. PrudhoeBay.jpg I had planned to spend the night but it was wind and cold. Really windy and cold and not a very inviting place. And I made it all the way to the fuel pump on one tank! 240 miles... the farthest the GS had ever been on a tank. So I went to the general Store and got the obligatory shot. Deadhorse Gen Store.jpg added my sticker to the wall and high tailed it the F out of there! StickerWall.jpg Heading back towards the Atigan Pass anxious to get to the buffett at Coldfoot. Atigan2.jpg I saw a group of bikers in a pull out so I slowed down and gave them the thumbs up or down sign. They replied with a thumbs up and waved me on. As I was pulling away, I saw a green KLR way way out in the tundra! A few miles down the road, I passed an ambulance heading towards them. That ambulance was coming from a long ways away so I figure those guys were there for a few hours. After seeing the bike way off the road and the ambulance, I stopped to move my InReach from my tank bag to the pocket on my jacket sleeve! Atigan3.jpg
  4. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Thank you! I'm glad you're on board and I feel privileged to have my Dad following along too!
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  5. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Hey Matt! Great to ride with you guys too! Thanks for the photo! That cigar at the Circle sure looked inviting but I must fight that demon off : )))
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  6. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider Supporter

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    Haha! It was nice I must say! Yes keep on keeping on with that! Keep the demons at bay. I finally got some time to check out the RR. Nice work brotha! I didn’t know I was riding with a rock star. Hahahaha. It’s nice to see you got up the Dalton but that room doesn’t look nearly as nice as the one in Eagle Plains. I was a flea bitten mess after that!!! Thanks for getting a picture of me too. Epic stuff!!

    Here’s one of You and Gary and I’ll indulge myself in the same place as you!! Cheers Man!!

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  7. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    There is a stop between Coldfoot and Fairbanks that has fuel and food; the Yukon River Camp. I pulled in to top up and met a guy I had seen up on the Dalton. He was on an 800GS and was having to stop every 10 miles and add air. That just won't work where we were. He had a tube but no tools. I had tools but no spoons. Another guy on a KLR showed up with spoons and another guy had the actual skills to do something with our contributions. Flat.jpg Hands.jpg Any of you Baja 1000 guys need crew, look elsewhere : ) Helpers.jpg I made it to Fairbanks, had a good night's rest and woke up to a very hazy morning. The weather app on my phone said Dangerous Air Quality! I had no idea what that meant but got on the bike and headed for Anchorage down the Parks Highway. Once I started heading south towards Denali, I realized I was riding through smoke. I didn't know but there were many fires burning in Alaska and visibility along the Parks Highway was extremely limited. So much for seeing Denali. So I tucked into Talkeetna and checked into the Talkeetna Inn, where I met a very lovely bartender and fell in love. Drinkees.JPG Well, she worked way past my bedtime so I stumbled out of the bar at 2am into the daylight and went off to bed. Next morning I woke up to find a pizza box in my bed??? Anyway, Talkeetna Inn is good people. They make good drinks and, apparently, order pizzas for you. Talkeetna Inn.jpg It was too smokey for Anchorage, Homer, Sitka, etc so I headed back East to Tok and checked into the Three Bears Motel. I could tell I was on an amazing road through the mountains, glaciers and stuff but the smoke was too thick to see anything. Tok Motel.jpg From Tok, I hit Whitehorse, did my laundry, washed...oh wait... back in Fairbanks, I did go to Trail's End BMW and had the bike serviced and put on a fresh set of tires...TKC 70's! Forgot that bit.

    Since I came up the Alaska Highway, I wanted to go back down the Stewart Cassiar Highway. It's a little more remote than the AlCan and it goes by Hyder, AK which I was curious about. Junction.jpg But first, I took a run into Skagway. I had been told the ride into Skagway was one of the best and it did not disappoint. And the hotel I was recommended got a rise out of me. MorningWOod.JPG

    Attached Files:

  8. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider Supporter

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    Good on ya for going down the Cassiar! Salmon Glacier is worth the trip!
    95Monster likes this.
  9. FlyingSkeet

    FlyingSkeet Adventurer

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    Great to see the Update George. Your exploits documented here are an amazing testament to your tenacious personality! Thanks for the picture of us in Eagle Planes Mat. You guys have no idea how you made my trip epic to me! Hope to meet you all again...

    Gary
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  10. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Gary! It was great riding over the Top Of The World Highway with you! And I believe we came up with some great ideas to solve all the World’s problems in the bar that night. Too bad I can’t remember any of the details:)
  11. FlyingSkeet

    FlyingSkeet Adventurer

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    we should have written it all down! Next time!!
  12. Bulldog Buddy

    Bulldog Buddy Adventurer

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    You must be headed South. The pipeline is on your right hand.
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  13. Bulldog Buddy

    Bulldog Buddy Adventurer

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    Good to hear from you George. Mom and I are doing great, she's out tonight but will check out the your latest posts when she gets home. It looks as if The Boy is doing great in Hungary. He won the preliminary cup, the main competition started today, July 15. We'll be in touch. Hungary is about 7 hours ahead of us.
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  14. shiryas

    shiryas Dragon with matches

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    Funny, two years ago I was heading north out of Whitehorse and met the Bukovina boys on the way to Dawson. I recognize Bogdan (The Great) on the right with the pony tail, looks like Bogdan (The Serious) hidden on the left and I never met the third Bogdan but they do the Dawson run every year.

    They wanted to go with me on a Baja trip and I said sure, fun guys to ride with. They notified me they were coming down last July, I said no way to Mexico in summer but we went all over Colorado and Utah.

    @95Monster you did a great job on the ride report and passing the baton along. Heading south is my next plan but probably in some smaller chunks, thanks for stoking the fire.

    Cheers, Chris
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  15. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Yes, the Bukovina guys were good fun. Stoke that fire and go, Chris... in whatever chunks you can get : )
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  16. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    I left Skagway and went back out to the Stewart- Cassiar Highway to head South. Junction.jpg


    My stop for the night was the Tatogga Lodge Resort. The lodge was pretty cool with a Moose (and other dead things) in the dining room:) Moose.jpg Met a young german woman riding her bicycle thru the Yukon with her 11 month old son! How cool and adventurous is that? BC Sign.jpg Map.jpg Probably not the place to stop and fix a sandwich... Grizzly.jpg No cold drinks to be had here... Saloon.jpg Farther south, I made the turnoff to Stewart and Hyder. Another beautiful road. RiverRoad.jpg First stop was Stewart, where I checked into the King Edward Motel. Then I crossed the border into the bizarre little community of Hyder, AK. PostOffice.JPG

    Attached Files:

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  17. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    So Hyder is known for getting "Hyderized" and their local bears. You walk into the Glacier Inn bar and ask to get Hyderized. They hand you a shot of 151 proof alcohol. You can't smell it. You can't sip it. You shoot it. If you puke, you have to buy everyone at the bar a round. I chose not to get Hyderized. In fact, I chose to not go in the bar altogether. I went to see the bears instead. BearSign.JPG ECEC6440-2223-4A82-B5F9-6C417DFDBC83.JPG
    There's a creek where all the bears hangout to eat sushi. Black bears, brown bears, bear cubs and a bunch of tourists. The tourists watch from a walkway that didn't look to be much of a bear deterrent. But I wouldn't know. I got there two weeks early. No bears. No tourists. Just a bored Park Ranger who said that every couple of days a bear comes out of the bushes, checks the stream for fish then pops back into the bushes. No fish today, Mr Bear. BearCrick.jpg
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  18. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    COuntryStore.JPG Crossing from Stewart, CA into Hyder, AK you don't have to go through immigration. But crossing back into Canada you do. From the signage I'd guess the folks in Hyder are a little testy about it. Hyder.JPG It's a pretty drive back out to the Hwy. Glacier.jpg From the southern end of the Stewart- Cassiar HWY I went East on HWY 16. Ran into this group traveling from Mexico City to Anchorage! 4A0278A5-7F3D-435B-A819-30524721BE5C.JPG One of the poor fellas chose to ride an 848. He was lying on the ground in pain. He'll need a chiropractor to finish the ride :) IMG_6739.jpg Must be getting back into the land of the bad people. IMG_6738.jpg
  19. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Pretty wet, cold ride into Prince George where I spent the night dreaming about an adventure rig. One too many wet days and now I've got Unimogs on the brain. On the way North, I had skipped Jasper and the Icefield's Parkway since it was too wet and cold. So I joined the caravan of RVs into the park. It was pretty but every so often you'd come upon a mini traffic jam...RVs stopped on both shoulders and a mob of people circled around some poor bear trying to eat a salad. He should change his diet to tourists. They're plentiful. Road.jpg Park.jpg IceField.jpg caps.jpg From the Icefield's Parkway, I went West towards Idaho. My plan was to ride the Idaho BDR North to South. Spent the night in Cranbrook, BC then crossed a small border the next morning and gassed up at the Northern end of the BDR. BDR Finish.jpg The final section of the Idaho BDR, Section 8, is pretty mellow as it tracks through farmlands and a State Park to Clark Forks. Farm.jpg Field.jpg
  20. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    I stopped between sections 8 & 7 in Clark Forks, ID to fuel up and grab a bite. I pulled my BDR map out of the tank bag, stuffed it into my pocket with my phone and went in for sandwich. After placing my order, I walked outside to a table and pulled out my phone but no map! After searching the parking lot, store, bathrooms, garbage cans, I came up empty handed. No map. One couple sitting at a table asked "What cha looking for, Old Timer?" Dang, Old Timer. THat's a first. The beard is working : )

    Anyway, without a paper map, I was tentative about continuing on the BDR. Yes, I had the gps tracks loaded and they work very well. But I've been having problems with the NAV 6 GPS freezing, zooming and just going haywire. I knew it probably wasn't the best idea to venture into the woods with a map and a misbehaving GPS but I did it anyway and didn't regret it. Section 7 is cool! Dirt1.jpg Dirt2.jpg WarningSign.jpg Between sections 7 & 6 I stopped off in Wallace, ID for the night and continued the next day on pavement to the Lochsa Lodge on US 12. What a great road! 99miles.jpg The lodge was nice. Gas, good food, and just beer...sadly. LLodge.jpg The cabin gave me some time to think about the BDR and how to proceed. I had skipped Sec 6 and taken the pavement out to Missoula and back into Idaho on US 12. Section 5's dirt section began just across the street from the lodge. This section was known as the Lolo Highway, approximately 100 miles through Idaho's backcountry. I decided to take a look see. Powell.jpg Sign.jpg It looked okay so I went for it. The route under the trees was stunning. Then you'd pop out onto some long, rocky climbs that were exposed. The rocks were exhausting. But I kept pushing on and finally reached Pierce, ID where I saddled up to the Timber Inn's bar. 100 miles of backcountry and I didn't see a single soul all day. Bailout.jpg Baillout2.jpg