Wandering Around Alaska and Northern Canada in June 2007

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by H-Jay, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Cont.

    All clean again
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    GSNerd and I returned to the Rivers Edge campground and celebrated conquering the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Haul Road</st1:address></st1:Street> with a six pack before heading off to do the Dempster Highway.

    Here is a beaver in the river at the campground

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p>That same little red mini van we saw in Deadhorse beat us back to Fairbanks</o:p>
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    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
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    While in a Fairbanks McDonalds for breakfast I got entertained by the Gesser Club as they were reminiscing about the old <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State> days. The ring leader (the big guy) drove a rig on the haul road in the early days of building the pipeline.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
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    The couple had a son that works on the oil field, 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off. She proudly told me about his home in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Phoenix</st1:place></st1:City> were he spends is down time and the new Porsche Cayman he just bought with cash. The husband chimed in that it was the “S” version. The ring leader later said something I didn’t comprehend. When he heard our plans to go to Inuvik he said truckers hate to go to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> in June. I asked him why he said because the sun sits on the road. GSNerd and I later painfully found out what he meant. <o:p></o:p>
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    On to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place><o:p></o:p>
    You have to go back to Tok and take the Top of the World highway over to <st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType> to get to the Dempster (the highway in the <st1:State w:st="on">Yukon</st1:State> and Northwest Territory that takes you up to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place>)<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    While in Tok we ran in to none other than GusGus and Friar Mike. We also stopped at Fast eddies again. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Here’s some pictures from the Top of The World highway. It was a fun road with great scenery. You can see where it gets its name. At one point I was amazed at how much forest fire damage was in the area. We must have rode over an hour and while on either side as far as you can see, fire damage.

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    Here’s some pictures heading in to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place>. <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place> is interesting. Bid tourist draw and gambling to boot.

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    That night we stayed at the Yukon Campground located across the <st1:place w:st="on">Yukon river</st1:place> from the city. I think this is also where my GS decided to lay down on its side and rest as I pulled up and stopped on the gravel.

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    This picture was taken at midnight as we were waiting for the ferry.

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    In the morning I discovered this critter in the adjacent campsite looking for leftovers.

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    <o:p></o:p>
    After getting all packed up it was off to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place>. We kept all our gear with us for this trip because we were not sure where we were going to stay and we got a recommendation for a good place to camp in <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place>. Here’s some pictures from the road.

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    More of Road Evil Doer's friends at work making things slippery

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    The road was initially pretty civilized. <o:p></o:p>
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    At one point we stopped to take pictures and GSNerd asked me why I was sweating so much. Discovered that my second Home Depot gas can also leaked and had drenched the back of my ‘Stitch and the bike with gas. I beat it back to a campground we just passed and was able to dilute the gas on my jacket and get it off the motorcycle.

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
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    About 10 mile short of Eagle Plains we got a little too complacent and the road jumped up and bit us. Seems we hit a stretch on what I’ll call silt.

    [​IMG]

    We were going about 60 MPH and the front wheel just sank. Whoa … do the chicken dance….throw the out riggers out (bad habit/reaction that leads to broken legs)… and hold on for dear life. Fortunately we both made it through without going down.

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
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    We stopped at Eagle Plains to get gas and eat. As we were leaving guess who walks up. Its Rhindhold. Seems his KTM’s tank crossover pipe came lose and left him on the road without enough gas to make it to Eagle Plains. As he was trying to figure out what to do next a Rental RV pulled up. In the RV was 5 guys from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Germany</st1:place></st1:country-region> on holiday. As they opened the door for Rhindhold they handed him 2 cold Buds and off they went to Eagle Plains where we met up with him. This is the second time Rhindhold had issues with gas. Rhindhold managed to get a ride back to his Motorcycle and continue his trip to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place>.

    Rhindhold telling GSNerd about his problems at the gas pump...
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    After getting something to eat and gassing up GSNerd and I decided we should keep going. Besides it wasn’t going to get dark and the ferries run late.<o:p></o:p>

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    Things were going Ok on the road. An occasional spot of gravel or soft dirt but nothing outrageous. We made it to the first Ferry in plenty of time to make the second Ferry before they shut down for the night.

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    At that point every thing changed. On the ferry they mentioned some construction between the ferries for about 40 miles. As we got off the ferry we ran in to what must have been 6 inches of fresh gravel dumped on the road. Back to the chicken dance as the front wheel had a mind of its own and the rear had a hard time getting traction. Normally you can accelerate out of the deep stuff but the traction issue made it difficult. Long story short we made it to the last Ferry just in time.

    [​IMG]We

    We thought the worst was over since we were only about 60 miles from <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> after getting off the second ferry

    …wrong!
    <o:p></o:p>
    #21
  2. Ensey

    Ensey KLR Combat Touring

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Oddometer:
    739
    Location:
    Duncan, Ok
    Excellent report!!!!!!! Thanks for taking the time to post....keep it coming.
    :lurk :lurk
    #22
  3. Popey

    Popey Nutter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
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    SF, CA
    Good stuff - keep it coming. :thumb :thumb
    #23
  4. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
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    1,743
    Location:
    4 8 15 16 23 42
    Ahhhhhhhhh :1drink


    Nice report. Looking forward to more!!
    #24
  5. Maggot

    Maggot De Oppresso Liber

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    central Maryland
    Absolutely fantastic trip report, except for two things....I was not part of the trip and you have not finished it! I'm waiting here with envy for the rest of the trip report!:clap I can't wait to try it next summer!
    #25
  6. alaskaOE

    alaskaOE Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    Girdwood, AK
    great report and pictures, keep 'em coming!
    #26
  7. ghostryder

    ghostryder Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,438
    Location:
    Atlanta
    :lurk
    #27
  8. Jace

    Jace Bellevue Rider

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    Bellevue
    I hope you made the last stretch to Inuvik without breaking anything....literally...I highsided on that stretch in 2004...shattered my collarbone and cracked a couple ribs.

    I am really enjoying your posts. :clap

    Thanks,
    Jace
    #28
  9. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,403
    Location:
    Da UP, eh! (Marquette, MI)
    Incredible journey!!!!!


    .....someday......
    #29
  10. Stonewall

    Stonewall The Wild

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2003
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    1,809
    Location:
    Bishop, CA / Castle Rock, CO
    :lurk
    #30
  11. Benjava

    Benjava ?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,920
    Location:
    Location Location
    Thanks I'm really enjoying this report. What days were you on the Dempster?
    I was there June 25/26/27
    #31
  12. BIG-E

    BIG-E AKA; Mongo-E, Sexy Grande Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,906
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

    WOW!! What a ride!! You guy's are Iron Butt's for sure!! Thank you for the post, Please keep it coming!!

    Take Care Brothers. God Bless, Eric.
    #32
  13. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Glade you are enjoying it. We went up to Inuvik June 19 and returned the following day. What a ride.
    #33
  14. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Sorry to hear about you misfortune. Yes we were fortunate to make it back in one piece but not without some challenges.
    #34
  15. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Enjoy it. I didn't do the plains in Canada on the return. I understand its much like the US...just plain, but if you are pushed for time its shorter.
    #35
  16. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    452
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    Michiganland
    Yeah, my reaction also but it was clear he enjoyes all kinds of experiences on 2 wheels. He had a lot of stories about taking his GS in to the ruff stuff.
    #36
  17. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Looks like we missed a good side trip. ...you do have a swim suit on????
    #37
  18. Twister

    Twister Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    Keep it coming. I need more, more and more. Please don't leave us hanging. Thanks for this great report and pics. I'm hooked:lurk
    #38
  19. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    Michiganland
    The Going Gets Tough<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Sorry, no pictures but here is the story. As we got off the ferry we again ran into heavy gravel. Fortunately the little bit of traffic put some ruts through the gravel maybe 9-12” wide. OK no problem. Stay in the rut and rock on. As we got out of town and the road straighten out and headed north. Just then the word of the “Lead Gesser” at McDonalds made sense. Earlier in the day the sun went crazy. It would be over head for a while then and hour later behind you. An hour later the sun was off to your right then off to your left, all while you are heading north. <o:p></o:p>
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    Now the sun played its worst trick on us. It blinded us as it settled right in front of us with the bottom of the sun touching the road. No amount of helmet lowering, sunglass adjusting or sun blocker worked. The only way to see the useful ruts was to hold your left hand up in the air to block the sun. Imagine approaching 2 guys on these strange looking motorcycles riding down the road with their left arm raised … we surely looked like idiots. <o:p></o:p>
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    So, the best we could do is 15-20 miles an hour with one hand in the air. But then the rut runs out, the violent wobble starts. Your immediate reaction is to lower your left arm and grab the handle bar, which immediate causes you to get blinded by the sun, run in to the thick gravel and resume the chicken dance. We had to then come to a complete stop, scout out the continuation of the rut, slowly motor over to it and resume the left hand in the air routing until the rut runs out. Then repeat. Well you can image how long it took us to go 60 miles using this routine. <o:p></o:p>
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    We finally made it to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> at 2:00AM without dropping our motorcycles. Funny it was still broad daylight and we didn’t realize how late it was. <o:p></o:p>
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    We stayed at the Chuk Campground in the Pak park about a mile outside of <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place>. It was a really nice campground with very clean facilities.

    [​IMG]

    I fell asleep as soon as I climbed in to the tent only to wake up in every couple of hours thinking I was still fighting the gravel.
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    The next morning we rolled in to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> to take a look around before heading back. We ended up staying most of the day because <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> was so interesting. As we got into town I saw a 2007 GS Adventure with <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Michigan</st1:place></st1:State> plates in front of the McKinsey Hotel. He was from the <st1:City w:st="on">Grand Rapids</st1:City> area and immediately wanted to know if we were aware of any shipping company that could get his motorcycle 500 miles back down to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place>. As we were talking to him another guy came out of the hotel with the same request. He and his riding partner wanted to have their motorcycles shipped back to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Whitehorse</st1:place></st1:City>. We tried to convince them that they had done the hard part and the return trip would be easier. We even encouraged them to join us. Not sure what happen to them. Someone told me they thought they came across the GSA in Eagle Plains. Hope so.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>

    Anyway here are some shots form the town.

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    Rode up into the neigborhood. All of the houses are built on pilings because of the permafrost.

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    And Inuvik is experiencing its own form of urban sprawl

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    Notice the silver tube that runs beteen the houses. Its a heated pipe that contains all of the utilities. They are also above ground because of the permafrost.

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    Who should we run in to again but Rhindhold. He had just got in to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place>. Seems he missed the last Ferry and had to camp by the side of the road. Sounded pretty miserable to me!

    We found him sipping cofffee in this little sandwich shop.

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    The shop makes good sandwiched and muffins and the people behind the counter are great. <o:p></o:p>
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    The CBC was sponsoring a picnic in the park. I’m not sure what they were celebrating but it was free food, music and a good opportunity for me to meet some of the locals. They were very welcoming.
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    <o:p>Death grip on mom's hand</o:p>
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    I don’t think Mom knows the significance of FUBU. Well maybe she does. They do have the internet.

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    <o:p>Another Mom Daughter</o:p>
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    This guy told me about driving up to Tuk on the frozen river in the winter time. He said he had a bush camp about half way to Tuk and encouraged me to take a flight or boat up to Tuk. Maybe next time.

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    Interesting license plate for the Northwest Territories (Wonder why its plural. Is there more than one?).

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    Living with that horn between your eyes has gotta be a challenge

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    Is It “All Night Long” when the Sun Never Sets?<o:p></o:p>
    We finally decided to hit the road and head back to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place> about 4:30PM.<o:p></o:p>
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    The road was a lot better since traffic had spread the gravel to the side of the road.

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    <o:p>More dust to look forward to</o:p>
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    <o:p><o:p>[​IMG]</o:p></o:p>

    About an hour down the road we run in to a couple from <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alberta</st1:place></st1:State> on a Goldwing. He had to be a good rider to do 2 up on a Goldwing on the Dempster. They had a flat and his friend from <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> drove down to help him. We offered to help him plug his tire since we had everything needed.

    He declined and said he’d just as soon take his motorcycle back to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> and fix it there. We offered to help him load the motorcycle in to the back of the truck. He said he could drive it up the ramp…oh boy! We convinced him to at least let us get on either side and help guide him.

    Well he got up as far as where the ramp met the bed of the truck and his Wing bottomed out. Before we could lift him in to the truck the rest of the way he gunned the big ole Wing. It leaped in to the back of the truck… to our collective inhale and amazement.

    He then did the unexplained. I guess it was sort of the in-zone victory dance. He locked the front tire hard up against the truck bed and proceeded to do a burn out. As the rear tire broke lose those of us on the ground watching did a collective exhale as we all saw the fluids pouring out of the bottom of the injured Big Wing’s underbelly. Seems it came down hard on the angle iron that formed the edge of the truck’s bed.

    I latter got a report that he made it back to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> and was waiting for some parts to be shipped in.
    <o:p></o:p>
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    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
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    <o:p>GSNerd kicking up some dust</o:p>
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    <o:p>Seeing these signs iis getting old... not really when you remeber what this circle looks like on the globe</o:p>
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    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
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    Eating more of GSNerd's dust

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    Maybe I'll just pass him!

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    We got to Eagle Plains, my mental halfway point, got a sandwich and gas and decided to push on to the next campground. That turned out to be a mistake. The campground at Engineers Creek was deserted and full of mosquitoes.

    So we pushed on.

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    We finally got to the next campground but realized we were only 100 miles from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place>. So we pushed on.

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    The last 100 miles was the hardest and coldest. It was hard because we were sooo tired. <o:p></o:p>
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    Here is what kept me going and...

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    ...of course the spectacular views

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    At one point, the temperature got in to the 20s. Being cold and tired is a big PITA but we made it. I think we figured out we arrived in Dawson City 14 hour after we left <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place>. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>

    I later found out that the group of Goldwings we passed on the side of the road on the trip up were not so fortunate. They ran in to that same silt stretch and 3 of them went down. One of the guys on the busted his nose real well as he went down. Interestingly he later walked up to me in a gas station in Seward. He was also from <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Michigan</st1:place></st1:State> and had just returned from a fishing trip with his local buddy. I told him he had become part of the June road horror stories getting passed around. He said he knew. <o:p></o:p>
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    Here is an observation from both roads. It’s a waste of time trying to understand the road conditions in advance. It seems that the construction, weather and traffic patterns continuously change the road. Areas that were treacherous on the way up didn’t even register on the return trip and vice versa. <o:p></o:p>
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    Dempster Victory and GSNerd heads Home<o:p></o:p>
    We never intended to do <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> in 2 days but we did. GSNerd and I had a victory breakfast at the Downtown Hotel in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place> having conquered the Dempster. After breakfast GSNerd pushed on toward <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Whitehorse</st1:place></st1:City>, having to get back to work. After bidding GSNerd goodbye and safe travels, I returned to the <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Yukon</st1:place></st1:State> campground and crashed with a big ole grin on my face. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>

    Next stop was to backtrack to the Exxon station that had the car wash and get some of the bad stuff off before it could do any harm to the metal. As I inspected for damage I found that I unknowingly gave up my MSR gas bottle and holder to the Dempster. I hope who ever finds it needs the gas. I also found that the side case heat shield was down to being held on by only one remaining rivet. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

    After getting the bad stuff off it was time for some maintenance. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    After building a fire to keep the mosquitoes away, it was time to replace the real brake pads and adjust the valves.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
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    Its amazing how help seems to show up just when you need it. I’ve replaced plenty of disk brake pads but never on my GS. I got to the point of trying to knock the retaining pin out and started questioning if it really drives out, like most, because it wasn’t budging.

    [​IMG]

    Just as I was about to scream, a cool looking 1150GS pulls up. Its Jan from <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Utah</st1:place></st1:State>. He comes over, takes a look and assures me that you just have to pound it out hard. That is all I needed to finish the job. The valves only need a minor adjusting so we spent the rest of the evening BS’ing.

    Fishbone, who showed up early for the Dust 2 Dawson was camping next door and joined the gathering. We had a good time and talked on in to the next day.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Next: I’m off to see an old copper mine and challenge the road to McCarthy to get there.<o:p></o:p>
    #39
  20. GSAnderson

    GSAnderson Wandering Swede

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2001
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    2,824
    Location:
    Miles away
    My hometown. Best report ever! :clap
    #40