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The slow ride home - Canada to Australia on a pair of CT110 Honda Postie Bikes

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tncpowell, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    It is nice relaxing here in Prince Rupert. Though we are feeling excited to start truly heading northwards soon into Alaska! Have to go and get Hyderised as well....Plus visit Skagway...I believe a small postie bike by the name of Dorothy has been there before
    Macl and B10Dave like this.
  2. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Nice video Todd. Looking forward to your Alaska leg...Dave
    tncpowell likes this.
  3. Cheap Ryder

    Cheap Ryder Ride for enlightenment

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    Great journey, remember the bears are bigger and faster than your bikes. If you come thru montana we live just between glacier and yellowstone and I still work on a quite a few posties or as we call them here CT 90 and CT110. We have tent space and are glad to have stuff shipped and held here. www.moto406.com
    tncpowell likes this.
  4. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    Wow. Thankyou so much!
  5. Fordfixer

    Fordfixer Semi Old Fart

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    Midland, New Brunswick, Canada
    tncpowell likes this.
  6. Rubiclonewr250r

    Rubiclonewr250r Adventurer

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    Nanaimo
    I commented on a photo you had in a another thread but finally found this one. I saw you at tim hourtons in Nanaimo, awesome seeing you riding these bikes all this way! A few years ago I did a trip and explored all of alaska, some amazing spots out there. For the bears, I was always told to bring a small air horn as it scares them, bear spray works but not when you are inside your tent :) just some food for thought. Check out McCarthy mine in alaska... definately worth the drive!
    tncpowell likes this.
  7. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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  8. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    Gday! Nanaimo seems like such a long time ago!! Will check out the details on that mine for sure!!!
  9. USA1

    USA1 Adventurer

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    Great video!!
    tncpowell likes this.
  10. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    This is just a quick summary of the last few days. We have been in Prince Rupert and were kindly offered a lovely little place to stay while we waited for our tyres to turn up.

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    We have enjoyed a few days off the bikes and just have been generally lazing about the place. We enjoyed a little bit of a walk around the town and treated ourselves to lunch at a fish and chip shop and a pub! Wooooo big spenders!

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    On Saturday it was such a glorious day that we decided to ride our little bikes up to the top of a mountain to see if we could get a nice view over the town. The track was quite steep in places and covered in large sharp rocks. But it was good fun and after around 6 km's, we reached the top. We were treated to some awesome views and some amazing clouds racing overhead.

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    We also spent a fair bit of time strolling along the water front and just watching the boats come and go. All in all it was terribly relaxing.

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    Something we really enjoyed was just sitting at Allan and Kristins house on their comfy couches and watching episodes of Friends. It was pretty nice!

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    The tyres arrived a few days early so we are heading out today and riding back to Terrace and then turning north through a place called the Nass Valley. Hopefully we will get to see some lava beds today and then camp at a place called Lava Lake. See how we go. It is raining at the moment so we are very much putting off the whole pack up and leave thing.

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    SmilinJoe and Dirt Road Cowboy like this.
  11. uncle m

    uncle m Been here awhile

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    Don't take the West Kalum forestry road north from Terrace towards the Nass valley because there's a bridge out about 35 km up the road. The Hwy is a nice ride anyway, and it goes right through the lava flow. There's a really nice provincial campground where the road splits in the middle of the lava flow, past Lava Lake. Lots of black bears chowing down on dandelions on the roadside. Enjoy the ride!
    tncpowell likes this.
  12. thepackrat

    thepackrat i can ride that

    Joined:
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    A few kilometers west of the provincial park at the Lava fields is the Nass valley hot springs. They show up on google maps. You park in a little pulloff along the left side of the highway, find the rope hanging down the rock at the back, climb up, then walk a couple minutes back into the bush. Well worth the visit, probably no one else there.
    tncpowell and uncle m like this.
  13. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    T - It was time to leave Prince Rupert and move northwards. Our tyres were here and we were ready to go. Until we looked outside. Ugh. It was raining. Alot.

    C – We rose early (and by early I mean 0630 – I do love that 0630 is now early!!!) so we could say goodbye to Allan before he left for work. Kristin made us a warming breakfast of porridge with maple syrup and berries as I kept checking to see if it was getting drier or warmer outside. It wasn’t.

    T - After a nice breakfast we set about packing up our stuff. Im sure our loads are getting bigger as it seemed to take forever to pack the bikes up! Maybe it was just because we didn’t want to ride in the stinking rain.

    Eventually we were ready to go and there was nothing left to do but say see ya to Kristin and little Larry the dog and hit the road. Both of us laughing at each others silly little overloaded bike with tyres hanging off the sides.

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    We had to back track a little bit back to Terrace. Around 140 km’s. But it was like a new ride as the view was one we hadn’t seen yet! Riding along the river was just so spectacular and there seemed to be very little traffic.

    C – We were travelling at our usual 60km/hr and a few vehicles overtook us, as they usually do. It wasn’t long after that we arrived at a long stretch of road works. The traffic controller spied us sitting at the back of the line and called us forward, explaining it was loose gravel for about 4km and she didn’t want us to get showered by rocks from the cars in front. We really felt like the cars behind us were giving us the old stink eye as once again they were going to be stuck behind us!!! As soon as we got out of the road works, we pulled over and let everyone zoom past again.

    T - We were quite lucky and only had the odd sprinkling little shower to contend with. In no time at all we made Terrace and after a quick dash of fuel we turned northwards onto Highway 113 towards Nass Valley. What a beautiful road. It was smooth and had some awesome curvey sections. Plus we saw only a few cars and they were all heading south. We rode along right next to lakes, with the road cut into the side of the cliffs. Just gorgeous! We passed Lava Lake and then rode into some old lava beds. The road was cut straight through the middle of them with lava rocks stretching off into the distance on either side.

    C – As we rode through the beautiful lava beds, I wondered about the history of volcano and the area. I asked Todd what he knew, but disappointingly, he couldn’t answer any of my questions and I felt disappointed I hadn’t actually learnt anything about the Nass Valley, other than apparently the volcano is the youngest in North America. Next time we have wifi, something to look up!

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    T - We got lucky here as there was a provincial park campground just off the road, and seemingly only just opened up for the season. So we had that all to ourselves. We lit a nice big warm fire and had hot milk and biscuits for dinner before going to bed.

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    Tomorrow we hope to make it to Stewart and Hyder.
    SmilinJoe, Dirt Road Cowboy and USA1 like this.
  14. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    T - It rained alot last night. So much so that we even ended up with water seeping in through the floor of the tent. Our fault though. We have a large blue tarp for a ground sheet and it sticks out past the tent on the sides. Making for a nice little funnel to channel the water into the space directly beneath the sleeping mats.

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    We packed up slowly to give the tent some time to dry out. While we were having our cups of tea one of the camp site caretakers came over for a chat. It seems that a young Black bear was harassing another young couple in their tent just a few nights earlier. Gulp!

    Finally we put the tent away slightly wet and rode out. We had to ride a short section of unmaintained dirt road this morning which would bring us out onto the highway heading north. This would mean we wouldn’t need to backtrack for another 200 odd km’s. We were hoping the road would be open! Déjà vu?

    The dirt road was a blast. It started out wide and potholed to the whazoo then became narrow and graded although terribly muddy and rocky. It was an awesome ride and we both really enjoyed it.

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    C – Wow, what a road. We had an absolute blast on the backroad from Lava Lake to Cranberry Junction. It started out with us both laughing as we watched each other bounce from crater to crater. Poor Rosie and Mabel. After the potholes ended, the slimy mud began.. What joy! Rosie and I LOVE playing in the mud and we were soon sliding around, giggling along, even getting some sideways action along the way. I even spied Mabel enjoying herself, sliding sideways around a corner!!!!!

    T - We came out on to the highway and headed north for a short while before stopping for our lunch break. There was some dark clouds coming in fast and after a few spots of rain we donned our wet weather gear before heading onwards.

    Then it started to rain.... hard little lumps of rain. It was bloody hailing on us! Mabel decided she didn’t like this, at all, and cut out dead in protest. Mabel you bloody so and so! (Replace so and so for some nasty swear words). I figured her electrics were sopping wet and gave her a squirt with some WD40. Except the can had run out of pressure. It was full of liquid but no way to get it out.

    Fudge.....

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    Nothing for it but to kick the little red cow in the guts and try to get her to start. Which she did on the first kick....Anyways, we started rolling and Mabel immediately cut out again. This went on for the next 30 km before we eventually pulled into Meziadin where we took shelter from the rain and cold.

    C – After Mabels little tantrum, we dripped into Meziadin Junction as we were in need of warming up. I opted for coffee whilst Todd opted for, yep you guessed it, chocolate!! As we were enjoying our warming treats, a guy walked in wearing the unmistakeable high viz wet weather gear of a fellow biker. We chatted to him for a while about all things bikes, camping and travel and learned that he was on his way from Pennsylvania to Anchorage to see his son. After comparing notes, we decided it was time to hit the road again.

    T - We emerged around half an hour later to sunny skies and drying roads. The road from here to Stewart and Hyder is called The Glacier Highway so we had high hopes for the scenery. And wow. It was spectacular. Big glaciers hanging from the mountain tops, lakes and smooth tarmac. It was a blast of a ride!

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    C – Talk about spit in your face, kick you in the crotch fantastic! What a ride!! The scenery was beautiful and we stopped (illegally, whoops) at the Bear Glacier for some photos. It looked as though there had been a recent rockfall on the side of the road here and there was a very large no stopping sign!!

    T - We finally pulled into Stewart and followed the signs to the border crossing into Hyder and Alaska. We really wanted to go to the Salmon glacier as the pictures of it looked incredible! We followed the dirt road to the glacier for about 15 km’s before finally being pulled up by a security guard. The road from this point onwards was closed until Friday due to blasting works for a new transmission line for a mine. Damn it. We had no choice but to turn around and head back the way we had come. Feeling a little cheated we headed back to the border with Canada.

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    C – As we were stopped at the border, chatting with the border guard, we saw a mumma black bear crossing the road with her three little cubs! Right in the middle of main street Hyder!!! The cubs playfully danced across the road, it was very cute. We are really lucky to have seen three sets of triplets so far on this trip!!!

    T – We started heading back towards Meziadin and just out of Stewart we found a little Recreation site and decided to camp there. What a camp spot! We pitched our tent right on the lakes edge and just sat and stared at the mountain across from us. Shame about not seeing Salmon glacier, but this camp made up for it!

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    C – We had a mug of red wine each as we just sat and stared across the lake, up the majestic snow covered peak in front of us. We were just starting to think about getting organised for bed time, when we heard wolves calling. What a perfectly Canadian moment! We were thankful to Grahame again for showing us the different calls so we could recognise the wolf call.

    T - Tomorrow we shall strike out towards Dease Lake some 450 km’s to the north. Theres some hot springs along the way where maybe we will have a bath.
    SmilinJoe, Dirt Road Cowboy and USA1 like this.
  15. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    T - We woke up today to not just beautiful blue skies, but also the sounds of wolves howling and the massive waterfall across the lake pounding into the river. This was one of my most favourite free camps yet.

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    The dismal attempt at last nights fire sat mocking me. We had barely managed to get smoke out of the very damp wood let alone flames. Stupid fire. I didn’t sleep well last night for some reason and I spent alot of the night laying in the dark listening to the sounds of the forest.

    After we packed up I checked the tyres on the bikes as we had ridden across some pretty nasty sharp rocks yesterday. Both bikes needed a little air, nothing more than usual. We normally check them every 3-4 days and put air in once a week.

    Then it was time to head off. Today was going to be a long one by our standards. We wanted to cover a bit of ground over the next few days, just until we get into Whitehorse. We were looking at around 400 km’s to the next camp. Around two days worth of normal riding!

    We had to retrace a little of our route but neither of us complained as it was back along the Glacier Highway. So beautiful! We tut tut tutted at some tourists who were taking photos in the ‘No Stopping’ area where we previously had stopped. Bloody tourists hey?

    Then we were stopped by a bear on the side of the road. We approached it carefully, unsure if we should stop or race past. I had images of being beheaded on the fly by a set of razor sharp, laser guided bear claws. So we stopped. And waited. And waited. The bear started eating grass. Or sharpening its blood drenched fangs. The smell of fearful yet oh so tasty Australian tourist in the air obviously driving it towards an insatiable thirst for our blood. Obviously...

    Then a car came the other way and the bear scurried off into the forest. Throwing us one last glare from its red flame filled eyes as it disappeared down the bank. Thwarted from its lunch time meal.

    Actually it was a beautiful animal, and about as close as I ever would want to be to one of these guys in the wild. Around 40 meters away.

    C – After about 45km we arrived in Meziadin Junction again. We put some fuel into our bikes and then filled up our water bottles. As we were pulling out, Rosie felt like she had a hand brake on. We stopped about 100m up the road and after a quick visual scan decided I was imagining it. Not long after that though.........

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    T - Rosie decided enough was enough. She had a flat tyre. AGAIN. So far we have put two new tubes into Rosie and all we have is some patched tubes until we get to a larger town. We ripped her tyre off to find she had a small gash in her tyre. About 1cm long. Sigh.

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    We fitted one of the patched tubes, and also replaced the sliced tyre for a new one that we had been carrying for the Dempster Highway. After we pumped her up and she held pressure we were off again.

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    Over mountain passes and around lakes we went. The scenery changing from thick forest to almost arid type as we went. The road was smooth and relatively quiet and we played leap frog with quite a few cars. Slow and steady wins the race every time. At one point we stopped to offer some assistance to a girl who had managed to drop her car off the road and halfway down a steep bank. She had help coming though so we continued on.

    C – At one point along the ride, we crossed a long bridge and, snap, just like that, everything changed. The scenery completely changed, as did the colour of the water in the streams. The scenery was still beautiful!! We started to climb and didn’t stop climbing for the rest of the day. Rounding of the many bends, I suddenly saw quite a large black bear right on the edge of the road. Todd was a bit behind and I had a moment.... so I decided, for some reason, that the appropriate reaction to this was to scream ‘bear’ repeatedly into the headset and sort of half stop and half keep going. The bear and I had a stand off, neither of us knowing whether we should keep moving forward or stop. Luckily, Todd then rounded the corner, and obviously deciding to not confront both of us, the bear loped off into the forest.

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    T - We eventually made it to camp around 530 pm. Around 6 hours total riding time today. We were both exhausted and I was looking forward to sitting down for a bit. When Rosie decided she wanted another flat tyre. Damn you Rosie. Damn you! Again? Why?????

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    After pulling her apart it turned out that a small rock was inside her tube and had rubbed through the tube creating a nice new hole for me to fix...

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    C – We pulled into a recreation site near Gnats Pass, which is about 4000ft, and could feel the chilly, icy air that comes with the elevation. We both agreed it was going to be a cold night! We took a walk down to the lake, making the most of the long day light hours and giving the eagle size mozzies for their dinner. Then it was dinner and bed by 9.30pm after a long days ride!

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    T - Tomorrow we shall hopefully get to Watson Lake. Another 350 odd km’s and the point at which we head west again for Whitehorse and Anchorage! Yipee!!
  16. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    C – I awoke during the night to hear Todd shivering and shaking in his light sleeping bag. He has debated a number of times about whether he should upgrade his bag, and I think last night might have cemented his decision!!! After offering to hurl everything I could find in the tent over him in an effort to warm him up, I drifted back to sleep, completing snug in my warm bag.

    C - The morning was quite chilly and so I hung about in my bag in the tent until about 0830am, when the beautiful sun rays began to warm up our camp. Todd, by this time, had ventured out of the tent to make himself a hot cup of tea, successfully clanging every piece of cooking equipment we own! I must admit I got way too excited when he announced that the water had frozen in our water bottles – so after putting on every piece of my clothing, I inspected the water bottle and checked our thermometer. Wow, it got to -2.5 last night – our coldest night ever camping (although this is definitely not cold for Canadians!!!).

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    C - We set off after making Rosie promise us a million times that she would not get a flat tyre today.

    C - We rode the rest of the way over Gnats Pass to Dease Lake. We stopped here to give the girls a drink and I was standing in line to prepay the fuel when a man burst in, urgently told the lady behind the counter to put our fuel on his account and left. I was left standing there with nothing to do but ask the lady behind the counter what just happened!!!

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    C - We left Dease Lake with high spirits, still blown away by the generosity. All was going swimmingly well, it was a beautiful clear day with lovely riding.

    C- Then...... Rosie’s front tyre felt weird, like it was starting to swing from side to side. Within about 15 seconds I had pulled up next to Todd, asking him to check the tyre. He thought it looked ok, but the movement got worse and I immediately pulled over to see the rest of the air in the tyre escaping. Yep, Rosie had disgraced herself yet again.

    C - After threatening to leave her in the ditch, we discovered that this time it really wasn’t all her fault. Although I am sure I heard her say something about being jealous of all the attention Mabel was getting during the rain the other day.

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    C - We had decided to try our best to reach the junction with the Alaska Highway today and we were happy to make it there at 5.30pm. We stopped in at the junction gas station and when I went in to prepay, the guy behind the counter announced “you don’t need to prepay, you are in the Yukon now”. Its always so exciting to cross a border, even a state border!!!! We picked up a map and found a camp site about 50km up the road.

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    C - When we arrived at the camp we were pleasantly surprised that free firewood was supplied! We had a nice quiet evening by the warming fire!!

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    C - Tomorrow, we are aiming for wifi, laundry and a shower (trust me, we both need it by now!!!) – here we come Whitehorse!!!
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  17. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    T- After yet another cold night of almost no sleep I climbed sighing out of the tent. If I couldn’t sleep I may as well get up and light the fire. It was currently -1.5 degrees. No wonder I was cold. My sleeping mat barely inflates anymore and in my thin sleeping bag the cold coming up from the ground is making sleep near impossible. Time to stop being a tight ass and buy some new gear.

    We were going to aim for a town called Teslin today. Only about 200 clicks west from us. Here we figured we would stay in an RV park for the night and do some washing and showering and hopefully update the blog! I get a bit annoyed if I go too many days without updating it. Instead typing it into a word document so I can cut and paste it across when we have interwebs.

    With a hot fire going I settled down to read a little more of the book that had influenced us to think about the Honda CT110 as world touring bikes. A young British fellow once rode one of these little machines from Sydney Australia all the way back to his home in England. I enjoy his books as they are all about the raw emotions and ups and downs he experienced both mechanically and mentally on his journey. Then he rode his little bike, Dorothy, across the USA and ended up finding himself in Skagway Alaska. Which is where we were headed next.

    We were on the road by 815am today. Probably one of our earliest starts to date! We were going to stop along the way somewhere for breakfast as we had exhausted our breakfast supplies by now.

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    As we cruised down the old Al-Can highway we came across a sign for a bakery in the next few km’s. That would be our breakfast stop!

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    We filled up on cheap coffee and eggs and toast and continued on our way. All too soon we were crossing a horrible steel grate floored bridge into Teslin. We made a decision here to keep moving as we thought we may get most of the way to Skagway.

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    Then the highway slog began. Mile after mile of tarmac slipping away behind us. The scenery always stunning. The road always monotonous.

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    We turned south onto the Klondike highway with another 158 km’s to go to Skagway and 400 km’s behind us for the day. What a days ride. Our asses hurt. Our heads were tired. It was nearly time to stop. We figured we would knock a few more km’s off for the day and then find a nice free camp on the side of the road. We wanted to be within spitting distance of the Alaskan border for an easy short ride tomorrow. But....

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    The scenery changed drastically and became so amazingly stunning that I just can’t put it into words. Sharp mountains rising straight up to form towering snow covered peaks. We were hooked and we couldn’t stop staring. Ooh baby we wanna get closer and take your picture...... (thanks Sir Mixalot!!)

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    The road was draped across the sides of these majestic monoliths. Rolling and climbing past lakes and cliffs. We rose higher and higher in terms of altitude and attitude! Every new turn making us swear and laugh in delight. Holy F**K could it get any prettier!

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    Why yes it could. And it continued to do so. And then we were there. The Alaskan border crossing.

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    What happened to the last 100 km’s? We descended from the border crossing down into Skagway. The town I had been so keen to see. A gorgeous sleepy little place with wooden boardwalks and hundred year old timber buildings. Very nice!

    We found ourselves an RV park and after over 550 kms in 12 hours of riding we setup camp and proceeded to unwind.

    Tomorrow we stay put. We shall spend a day walking and stretching while we wait to board Mondays ferry to Haines and then continue our journey northwards to Anchorage.

    Finally, just a quick little bit to say thanks Nathan Millward for giving us inspiration for this trip and for putting Skagway on our radar.

    If you haven't read Nathans books the look him up at www.nathanmillward.com/. They are a great read an you wont be disappointed!
  18. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Hey T&C. Really like the change in writing style with you both commenting. Sorry to see Rosie being so hard on her tires. You really must give her more pampering to keep her happy. Congrats on reaching Alaska. Keep riding safe and riding far.:lurk...Dave..PS, Todd; did you really remove your beard? No wonder you get cold at night.:jack
    USA1 likes this.
  19. motopoet

    motopoet The Moto Poet

    Joined:
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    Welcome to Americs guys :)

    Sorry about all the flats, althought I'm beginning to think this Rosie is doing it on purpose to get some rest and enjoy the view

    What kind of thermometer is than? Also what tent and camping gear are you guys using? and Todd, have you made up ur mind on what sleeping back you're getting?

    As usual, thanks for sharing guys. Ride on, blink slow!

    D.L.C.L.
    @motopoet

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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  20. tncpowell

    tncpowell Long timer

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    Haha. Yes I think Rosie is doing it on purpose! She probably punctured my sleeping mat too! The thermometer is one we picked up from a Canadian Tyre in Terrace. Seems to do the job so far!

    We use a Vango Halo 300 tent. Which we love! Though we did have one of the poles break the other day. No biggy though! We are currently working on a blog article about our camp gear and I will post it up here too. Our current mats are self inflating Denailis. They are ok but are only fairly thin. I havent really looked around for a new one yet but I did spy a Big Agnes one i thought looked ok. It was around the $200 mark though!!!!
    USA1 and motopoet like this.