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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Fuzzy74, Jun 4, 2019.
Looking forward to all the details.
After Top of the World and after getting gas in Chicken, go on into the little town and get some home made pie at the little cafe...farthest shop on the right in the cluster of shops. continuing on the loop you will see the big dredge.
Best bike shop in Whitehorse is Yukon Yamaha and you might consider new knobbies there if going on up the Dempster to Inuvik and Tuk. they will also let you pick through the discard pile where we found some remarkably good tires for more roadworthy tires to reinstall for the trip back. It was $35 per tire to change them when we took the wheels off ourselves last year about this time.
One thing I always pack is the “hot hands” hand warmers. You know the the type when exposed to air heat up. I have used these for over a hundred years. Well, maybe not that long. But ad long as I can remember. I have a pair of heated heated gloves, but have never wired them up! I have used these (2 per hand) in sub freezing weather.
I have also used the dishwasher gloves. Once I had to wear large inside my gloves, because that was all I could find. The weathers made a change and it was raining in the low 40’s and high 30’s. Kept my hands dry and warm!
Enjoying the RR. Don't skip going in for a dip at Liard River hot springs! The road around Muncho Lake is very enjoyable... Watch out for Buffalo on the hwy!
Day 11 continued.
We made it to Lake Louise area and traffic was awful. We ignored signs of "lot full" and carried on. At the lot we were waved in and directed to MC specific parking at the top of the lot next to sidewalk. So many tourists it was an effort to get picture of lake without people stepping into shot. We did get into hotel dining room for a great lunch then took the path around the lake Not quite as thick with tourists on the 3 mile round trip. We declined the additional 4 miles up hill to the tea house at bottom of glacier. A few pics of lake and chateau.
We then headed up to Lake Moraine. This tine road was totally blocked but they waved us through barriers on motorcycles. Not much time so just stopped for a couple pics. This is the shot used to make the Canadian $20 bill. Sorry if you hoped to make some easy money, but the picture has been replaced on current bills.
We said we wanted time to stop and smell the roses this trip. The wild roses are in bloom.
The icefield parkway is a beautiful as everyone says and then some. Many glaciers visible from road.
The big one which comes right down to the road is Athabasca Glacier which feeds the Athabasca River. When visiting 30 years ago they told us the army had lost a vehicle down a crevasse and they were predicting when it would emerge in many years. Unfortunately we were too late to get in visitor center so I didn't get an update.
We headed down to Jasper and as we approached rode into a thunderstorm with wind blowing us around the road (Well me on my Versys anyway)..Nuke was in lead and claims he didn't see the campground when we passed and we found a hotel in town with a vacancy sign. For some reason those of us who saw the campground didn't try to get Nuke's attention between thunder claps. By the time we got checked in the sun was shining.
We took care of some business in town and got a late start as rain was beginning to fall. Gave me a chance to test out my home made controller, Works fin but with the all or nothing the switches get a workout, We gassed up in Hinton then headed north on 40. Nice ride up to Grande Cache for lunch and fuel. Pic from our lunch stop,
670 had seen a bear the day before that Nuke and I missed, We all saw one on Icefield Parkway with a dozen cars stopped to check it out. We saw another between Grande Cache and Grande Prairie that was approaching road until the semi in front of as scared it back into the woods were it stood watching us go by. No bear pics so here is one of a goat on Icefield Parkway.
We stopped in Grande Prairie for supplies. I had to stop by the old homestead. A lady on the street confirmed that everyone I knew was gone. She did take a pic of me in front of my former home.
We went another 20 miles west of Grande Prairie to Beaver Lodge for a nice campground in town for 17 $C for a night tent camping.
Red sky warning today may have been for us. This interesting sky was at sunrise over Rockies to SOUTHWEST. It had some rainbow characteristics.
After getting gas next stop the sign in Dawson Creek for necessary pic. Wonder the meaning behind jacket below monument Hard to believe it was forgotten.
We took the side trip to see the curved wooden bridge that was part of original highway.
Climbing hill after bridge saw a magnificent beaver dam.
North of Dawson Creek the road was busy with lots of heavy truck traffic Lots of dirt on road creating a lot of dust. It got worse when the rain started and the dust was mud. I thought it was the Dalton or Dempster that was supposed to get bikes dirty. Found out goldwings can't be ridden dirty because few are tall enough to see over windshield.
We had a good lunch at Pink Mountain and with lest traffic there was wet but no mud to provide some level of cleaning. Temps wer high 40s and raining mostly. We ran through about a 200 yard section of snow on the road which was a bit disconcerting. First time my bikes tires had touched snow when not parked in the driveway.
About 50 miles short of Fort Nelson I had a sudden loss of power and here on my Pactalk that something fell off my bike "a strap or something". I lost my chain Not to worry I packed 3 spare master links. After many efforts we could not get the links far enough in to get the clips on. Finally 670 noticed the chain is RK and I had DID links. I told my dealer to buy DID chain and had not noticed he put something else on. So it was MacGyver time. We put the link in as far as it would go. Held a wrench for something heavy in back and used the hammer end of my hatchet to brad the pin. Stopped at Honda Dealer 50 miles up road in Fort Nelson and they were ab le to improve the bradding with a heavy steel block in back and hammer and punch to brad. I have a Tutoro oiler to keep it lubed as that link in now not o-ring protected. I will call in morning to see if I can arrange new chain or correct link in Whitehorse. If not I believe it will hold with enough brad to keep it from comio9ng off. Next opportunity would prob zbly be Prince George on return south. Be advised a 520 DID X-ring link does not properly fit an RK 522 chain.
I am sure Nuke will have a much better explanation of what really happened and probably pictures.
We are camping tonight in Fort Nelson and met up with some riders we had previously met getting gas in Grande Cache.
In, thanks for sharing! Ride safe.
A2A - Part 7 The Story Takes a Turn
Every good story has key elements to make it interesting. An unexpected hero, a beauty to fight for, and the dramatic turns that threaten a good outcome. Today was one of those days. Not so dramatic, but just one of those days.
It started easy enough. We all got up when it turned daylight. Now for some of you, that would be when you open the curtains. For us, night didn’t start until late and daylight came extra early. But the point here isn’t how early we got up. The point is that we broke camp quicker than usual and were ready to ride the 350+ miles to Fort Nelson.
First stop gas. That’s when I ran over my own foot with the motorcycle. I know what you are thinking. Hey, Kevin used to be a gymnast and there may be some way he contorted his body to run over his foot, but I just don’t see how that is possible. Clearly, this is an embellishment to the story. I wish it was.
The gas pump I selected was out of order. So I decided to make a tight turn and go to the next pump. Unfortunately, my engine speed died, and I found myself with a 900 lb motorcycle about to fall over with me between the bike and the pump. So I did the rookie mistake. I put my foot down. There are times as a parent when putting your foot down is a good thing. This was not one of those times. As the bike continued to move forward, my foot didn’t. Soon it was under the crash guard of the bike which was attempting to squeeze my foot through a tiny space between the bike and the asphalt. Fortunately I righted the bike in time so the only residual pain is a sore ankle whenever I try to raise my toes up. Good thing this is the brake foot and not the shifter foot.
Gassed up, we took off on a cold day with rain looming ahead of us. In fact, we dodged many thunderstorms. And hit a few. The trucks on the highway were clearly carrying loads of mud, because every time we encountered a truck we were sprayed with a curtain of wet dirt that covered us head to toe. Even the injured toes. Our windshields became useless. You do know that there are no windshield wipers on a motorcycle, right? Good thing I changed my windshield before I left to one that I can see over. All I had to do now was constantly wipe the mud from my face shield.
Heading on, we had just emerged from rain to ride up a hill where we suddenly found the road covered in snow for about 200 feet. It was the only thing snow covered. If I hadn’t of known better, I would have accused one of the trucks of deliberately dumping snow. Another 100 yards down the road, and it was dry. Go figure.
On to lunch we went. The parking lot of the restaurant was a mud pit. And of course we had to remove our boots to enter the establishment. That meant taking odd several layers to get to the boots. Oh, I also found out that removing my right boot was not pleasant for my right foot. I figured at this point I had better start the day over so I ate breakfast for lunch. A delicious three-egg omelet with potatoes and toast. After this feast, I knew we were going to have a better day.
This was the last gas stop, or for that matter any stop for the next 100 miles or so. Our bikes had the range, so all was well. Until we got about 50 miles from the next town and I noticed something fall from Fuzzy’s motorcycle. Looked like a strap. Except he noticed he had no power. Seems his motorcycle chain broke. So we all stopped on the shoulder of the highway to fix his bike.
This was the perfect time for all those trucks to fly by at 60 mph spraying even more mud on us. I think God tried to help though, by causing it to rain so we could be washed off. He, no doubt, has a strange sense of humor.
Fuzzy was prepared. He had replacement links to repair the chain so off came the appropriate parts to repair the chain. All went according to plan, except when we discovered that the links did not exactly match the chain on his bike. After an hour or more trying to make it work the right way, Fuzzy resorted to man’s way. He hit the link repeatedly with a hatchet. Really. It was the blunt end, but we all know if it doesn’t work hit it with a hammer. The hatchet was the closest thing we had. The result was to flatten the offending link pins, which would hopefully hold them in place. I was a big help. I kept watch for grisly bears.
No doubt the angels ran along side us for the next 50 miles to get us to town. There are no motorcycle repair facilities here, but a local shop professionally flattened the pins with a steel block and a hammer and punch.
The day’s journey ended, with us setting up camp. Tomorrow, we continue on our way to Whitehorse. Hopefully the angels will be running along side for the next two days.
Oh, it will get dark about midnight and start to lighten up about 4 am. Anyone have curtains?
This was after the rain washed it off.
Note the chain lurking like a snake ready to bite us again.
And here I thought we would have a beautiful day.
Bob1956—-I am very interested in why—- you switched from your Tenere to a versys 300 — and why you are so pleased about the switch.
I am in the market for something—not sure what. Something of a dual sport, more road than dirt, but not opposed to heavy on the dirt. I thought the Honda xr600 was going to be it. Took a very low mileage bike (dealer) for a test ride. Worst riding and running bike I have ever been on. And I have been riding over 50 years, and owned dozens and dozens of bikes. The thing stumbled and lurched at low rpm’s. My 60’s BSA was far better. As was my 1969 Honda CL175!
I had that CL175, too! My first "dirt" bike. I had a '64 Triumph (in '65) rather than a BSA.
Can't speak for @Fuzzy74 but my goal in switching from a 2011 BMW F650GS (800cc motor) to the Versys-X was less weight and less power. Couldn't handle it any more. In particular, at very low speed the throttle was like a light switch and I was tending to drop it when making tight turns at really low speeds (0-5kph-ish). Then I couldn't pick it back up by myself.
Great stuff guys. Sounds like an adventure!
Surely you haven't written off a motorcycle because a 30 year old carb'd bike you demo'd didn't run right?
I'm showing them to my 90 year old mother who has been on a past trip to Alaska years ago and will get a kick out of seeing these, thanks!
It’s a strange world
Yesterday I ran across you adventure. And this morning as I was leaving Bozeman heading towards Columbia Falls..... there he was...
Heading west pulling his wagon with the American flag on top ❤️
If I’d been on my bike (moto Guzzi Stelvio) Id have turned around and given him a donation and mentioned you guys. But. We’re retired and full Time rv’ers. And stopping on a freeway is frowned upon
He definitely looked determined.
I will page back to get his charity’s and donate in his name
God bless our Troupes.
Air Force 65-69
I was shocked at how poorly it ran. I had read such good things about it. I had a 2012 KLR and it ran like a top. I just want something different. I am eyeing the Tenere and have ridden it. I really like it. I have been riding for over 50 years. I Have owned a 7 ZX14R/ZX1400 since 2007. Still have one. But I want something I can take to AK without worrying about gravel.
Rather than take this adventure too far off topic I've entered a response in the Versys-X 300 thread:
@Fuzzy74 also hangs out there when he has time on his ride.
A2A - Part 8 Eat my dust.
Yesterday was a day of rain and travel boo-boos. Today was a beautiful day with no rain in sight. The day started with the birds chirping the morning awake and the sun slowly bringing color back into the world. It was 3:30 am. No going back to sleep now. But that’s okay. The early morning was balanced by the late evening when it sorta got dark about midnight. Did you know that if you scrunch down into your sleeping bag and zip it closed you can almost block out the light? If you need to, take a buff and put it over your eyes. Bet you won’t see that in their advertisements.
We headed out early from Fort Nelson (see the above paragraph) to journey to Watson Lake. The cool day was promising for a comfortable ride. For 46 miles, we didn’t see another vehicle. Then came a long string of trucks, RVs, and cars traveling in the opposite direction. Shortly after, our ride seemed a bit bumpier. What was a nice road, turned into a rough asphalt road and then transitioned into loose gravel pits placed into the roadway. While we weren’t exactly riding on marbles, the stability of the motorcycles was not ensured either. Mile after mile of this gave us the feeling we were miniature cars being pushed down a washboard. Then we saw the first of the behemoth trucks headed our way. The first sign was a dust cloud rising into the air like the start of smoke from a newly started fire. We realized that we were facing a two-eyed monster that was heaving gravel and dust straight at us. Rather than ride into that onslaught, we slowed to a near stop off the side of the road to let this monster pass at 100 kph and ducked behind our windshields. Then we moved forward slowly, because friction is still a scientifically proven fact, only to be greeted again and again by other such monsters. On RV owner later told me that they now have a newly cracked windshield.
After many miles of this wonderful experience, we came to a stop for construction where we could observe the dreadful practice of putting gravel out in the road. Once again being on motorcycles helped because we were directed to the front of the line. It was there that we had an interesting conversation with the flag man. He was of “First Nation” descent and proceeded to tell us that everyone in his family were hunters except for him. He then said that in the old days, they would have made him the babysitter. Stories from interesting people.
A few more miles of construction and we made it through to a very enjoyable ride. Six bears, four bison, two moose (is there a plural for moose?), and a bunch of goats later we arrived in Watson Lake. More and more motorcycles are joining the trek to Dawson City. One individual told us he flew from the Ukraine to Key West where he picked up a motorcycle and started for Alaska. Another from San Francisco. Everyone has a tale, and we keep seeking them out.
I have been remiss in not giving you a periodic history lesson. So let me tell you about Carl Lindley. Do you remember him from school history lessons? Yeah, me neither. Carl was a soldier with the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1940’s helping to construct the Alaska highway. As part of their work, the Corps erected mileage posts that listed places, distances, and directions to other major cities. One such sign was in Watson Lake and showed the direction to New Zealand, Chicago, Edmonton, etc.
One day Carl managed to smash his foot (sound familiar?) building a platform for dump trucks. Unable to work, his commanding officer asked him to repair/rebuild the signpost. I guess signposts back then couldn’t withstand being run over by bulldozers. Anyway, Carl was homesick and missed his girlfriend so he asked if he could add his hometown of Danville, Illinois to the sign post. That started it. People began adding their home town to sign posts. Now, with over 80,000 signs, Watson Lake has the Sign Post Forest. Carl is now a hero to the people of Watson Lake. By the way, the original Watson Lake sign post was the only one to survive the Alaska Highway construction.
Next stop, Whitehorse. We hear there is more construction on the way, but our all terrain motorcycles are up to the task.
Our typical view.
Brings new meaning to the “What’s your sign?” Pickup line.
The ultimate toy hauler.
Day 14 - Fort Nelson to Watson Lake
Leaving Fort Nelson we had the road to ourselves, for 46 miles did not see one other vehicle. Then the road started degrading with lots of new chip seal and loose gravel. A string of vehicles started coming the other way and next thing you know we were at a road construction area. They directed us to the front of the line where we were entertained by the First Nation flagman for much of the half hour wait. (First Nation is Canadian for Native American.) He told us he was the only one of his people who does not hunt. In the old days he would have been a baby sitter.
Now I heard a lot about chip seal up here and thought no big deal, we have chip seal back home. Don't like it but can deal with it. The chips up here would be boulders back home . Here is a look.
For the new chip seal they were putting down they gave you a warning.
My absolute favorite structure on the highway is the Laird River bridge. I can say I have ridden across "Galloping Gertie" . In Engineering classes 45+ years ago we were frequently shown movies of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge failure. The pieces were picked up and put back together over Laird River as part of the Alaska Highway war effort.
Here is link to movie they would show us in school to ensure we considered resonant frequencies in our designs.
We stopped at the sign forest in Watson Lake. Would take a week to fully check it out.
Here is a 360 view:
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We counted 4 Black Bears, 2 Brown Bears, 4 Bison, 2 Moose and some mountain goats.
One of the moose was on a winding road along a stream in mountains. Saw him entering the curve and hit my brakes. He saw a High Vis Yellow Monster on top of the Kawasaki Green Steed and turned tail to run back up the hill into his woods. Probably took his a few hours to feel safe that I was gone before he attempted again to get to stream for a drink.
Stopped at Air Force Lodge in Watson Lake. It was by the military during WWII and current owner had to totally rebuild it for a hotel. When you make a reservation listen to what he tells you. One fellow a bit upset not realizing he would have to go down the hall four or five times in the middle of the night to empty his bladder. We just figured down the hall couldn't be as bad as the 200 yards through campers we had in Fort Nelson. I told him to do like us and have a pee bottle in his room. I'm not sure his wife appreciated the suggestion.
MacGyver fix to chain is looking good. Left Fort Nelson to early to call shops in Whitehorse and no cell coverage anywhere in 538 kilometers to Watson Lake. Now it's Sunday so will check shops tomorrow before leaving town. Confident repair will last trip but would feel better with new chain or at least proper link. Increased drip rate from Tutoro Oiler as extra insurance.
Repaired Link after 400 miles.
With over 300 miles between cell towers I believe the roads are safer up here. No one is texting and driving.
We have made good time this trip. We allowed for weather delays and breakdowns but so for no major delays. We don't want to get to Dawson City a couple days early so will probably do a circle of Whitehorse to Haines ride Ferry to Skagway then back to Whitehorse. Ferry runs once a day at a different time every day. Will spend a night each place to look around. With ride over Top of the World and the side trip to Hider on way south we will have traversed all the road border crossings into Alaska.