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:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Cont.

    On the way to McCarthy I stopped in Chicken Alaska. Chicken is …well Chicken. There ain’t much like it anywhere else in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>. It’s a little eclectic, mostly irreverent collection of restaurants, shops and drinking establishments. Not surprising I ran in to a number of folks headed to the Dust 2 Dawson “gathering – don’t call it a rally”. Here’s some pictures.

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    This is Jacqueline.

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    She quit her job I think in April, left <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Florida</st1:place></st1:State> and has been on the road since then. She’s considering finding a job in <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State> and staying awhile. She has a GPS tracking device on the back of her Motorcycle so you can track her whereabouts. She is doing real time updates of her amazing journey. They can be found on this web site. <o:p></o:p>
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    I was initially going to attend the D2D but I couldn’t handle hanging around <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place> for 3 days waiting for it to start. Maybe next time. <o:p></o:p>
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    I’m about to make my 3<SUP>rd</SUP> pass through Tok. If you look at a highway map of <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State> you will notice 2 things. One, for as big as <st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State> is, it doesn’t have that many roads and two, you will go through Tok to get anywhere in <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>. <o:p></o:p>
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    I needed to do laundry and get a shower so I pulled in to one of the big commercial campgrounds in Tok. <o:p></o:p>
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    While there I met a couple from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Kitchener</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">Ontario</st1:State></st1:place>, Siggi and his wife Elizabeth. They pulled in next to me with their pick up slide in camper set up. They had just returned from <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> and were chuckling about the RVers fretting about the Top of the World road. We instantly hit it off and had an entertaining evening around the campfire drinking beer and shots of, gee I forgot, while trading <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State> and <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Dempster Highway</st1:address></st1:Street> stories. <o:p></o:p>
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    In the small world category they camped at <st1:placeName w:st="on">Happy</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Valley</st1:placeType> in <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> next to the 5 Germans in the rental RV that rescued Reinhold after he ran out of gas on the Dempster. Siggi said they were still drunk and never left the campground while they were there. <o:p></o:p>
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    Stopping at the <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Richardson</st1:place></st1:City> Highway Tok Cut Off Junction for lunch at Jeannie’s Java. Jeannie makes some really good sandwiches.

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    In addition to good food and a warm welcome, Jeannie offered some interesting insights about living in <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>. One such insight was that she felt the Glenallen, Elias–St Wrangell, <st1:City w:st="on">Valdez</st1:City> area was just as pretty as <st1:place w:st="on">Denali</st1:place>, had the same wildlife but was free and not nearly as crowded. I’m sure Jeannie was a little bias but she made a good point.<o:p></o:p>
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    Seems Alaskan’s have airplanes like the folks from the lower 48 have second cars. They are everywhere, mostly in people’s side yards with a little grassy laneand a wind sock.

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    I heard a statistic about the number of airplanes per person in <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>. I refuse to believe there are that many Airplanes but you sure see a lot of them from the highways. Some are fancy, some not so fancy.
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    At one point I happened to look down a driveway off the main highway and noticed they even have airplane bone yards like the lower 48 has car junk yards. I suspect they call them something clever with recycle in the title.

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    Ok, so I get to the beginning of the road to McCarty and the Kennicott Mine. It seems fairly tame. Actually nothing like the horror stories I heard. Then I got to the little burg of Chitina and the pavement runs out.

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    The woman at the gas station at Chitina warned me about the high winds and the idiots that fly up and down the road. Well she was right on both accounts.

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    #41
  2. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    About the Road<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    The road follows the Copper and <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Kennicott</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Rivers</st1:placeType></st1:place>. It was constructed over the rail bed that was built in 1908 to get the Copper out of the area. The road is very narrow, mostly gravel and rock with sandy spots. In places, the road hugs the edge of a canyon wall overlooking a river. Because of the narrowness, its difficult to get out of the way of on coming traffic. Only 60+ miles but mentally draining because of the concentration required to negotiate the road. The road is roughly 3 different roads. The first 3<SUP>rd</SUP> is probably the most difficult because of the gravel, winds, elevation changes, annoying ripples and narrowness. The middle 3<SUP>rd</SUP> was not challenging at all. The last 3<SUP>rd</SUP> was a little hilly in places, dusty and some sand traps. In short, it was a blast to run.

    Here are some pictures from the road.


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    I saw the difficult art of dip net fishing being demonstrated

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    And the labor intensive high maintenance art of Fish Wheel fishing

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    Here is a complete fish wheel dry docked and ready to be put back in the river.
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    <o:p></o:p>
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    About the Mine and Town<o:p></o:p>
    In early 1900, near the Kennicott Glacier, prospectors discovered large surface copper deposits. The prospectors had found one of the riches deposits in the world. In 1907, J.P. Morgan and the Guggenheim family set up a company to build the railroad and develop the mine. They named the mine Kennecott after the glacier but incorrectly spelled it with an “E” rather than “I”.<o:p></o:p>
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    The town at the end of the road is called McCarty. The town sprung up because of the mine to provide commerce and “entertainment” to the miners. The road, the town and mine are completely inside the largest National Park in the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">US</st1:country-region></st1:place> called Wrangell-St. Elias. <o:p></o:p>
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    The mine closed down in 1938 and the Kennecott Corporation gave the mine and rail right away to <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>. In 1998 the National Park System took over the mine site and recently as put a lot of money in to arresting the deterioration of the buildings and restoring some. Today the area has about 50 year round residence. In the summer time it’s a lot more to handle the tourist. McCarthy, because its so hard to get to is not overly touristy which gives it a nice relaxed feel. Here’s some shots from my little walk around. The nice thing about going to McCarthy on a motorcycle is you can ride across the pedestrian bride that keeps all the tourist cars about 5 miles out of town. <o:p></o:p>
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    <o:p>Here's some shots from around McCarty starting with their little museum. Worth stopping in. </o:p>
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    I overheard him saying he was going bear hunting tonite. Well armed and prepared to stay hydrated.

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    One of the recommendations I got off the AdvRider site was to stay at the Ma Johnson Hotel. Local lore claims it was a brothel for the miners, back in the day. I also recommend it.

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    The sign on the door said it was featured in the 1000 places to see before you die. Now I have 999 to go. More shots from inside the hotel. It was like a step back in time.

    The lobby. Sorry a little low lite fuzzy.

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    A nice deck off the second floor of the hotel for relaxing.

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    Someone is having a good time on a GS Adventure. Its been sitting out there since I pulled in to town.

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    The next morning I got up early and went up to the mine. Its about 4 miles further up the canyon. No one else was around so it was easy to let your imagination run wild while walking around. I could not help imagining the flurry of activity when the mine was in full production mode.

    I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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    <o:p>Seems the creek flooded recently and took out some of the structures</o:p>
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    <o:p>This is where they dumped the mining byproduct.</o:p>
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    Work progresses on the restoration

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    On the way back in to town for breakfast I ran in to Mike, the rider on the GS Adventure from Alaska Rider rentals. Mike, from <st1:State w:st="on">California</st1:State>, has taken several trips to <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>. On one of his trips he rode up to <st1:place w:st="on">Prudhoe Bay</st1:place> so we shared notes. Amazingly, Mike does not own a motorcycle but is obviously well skilled in riding and knows a lot about various motorcycles.

    Here's a picture of Mike in Valdez where we ran in to each other again and had dinner at this burger joint.

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    Next: stop is <st1:City w:st="on">Valdez</st1:City> and a ferry ride across the Prince William Sound to tour the <st1:place w:st="on">Kenai Peninsula</st1:place>.<o:p></o:p>
    #42
  3. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland


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    My next destination is coastal town of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Valdez</st1:place></st1:City>, the pipeline termination point and the departure point for the infamous Exxon Valdez. From <st1:City w:st="on">Valdez</st1:City> the plan is to take a ferry across the Prince William Sound to <st1:City w:st="on">Whittier</st1:City> and tour the <st1:place w:st="on">Kenai Peninsula</st1:place>. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    I crossed the magnificent <st1:placeName w:st="on">Thompson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Pass</st1:placeType> on the way to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Valdez</st1:place></st1:City>. What a spectacular road. Visually it lives up to all that has been said about on this site.

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    Vadez<o:p></o:p>
    On the way in to town, I rode down to the original site of the city of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Valdez</st1:City></st1:place>.

    The pilings are essentially what's left.

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    This is where the original city stood until it was wiped out from the 1964 earthquake tidal wave.

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    In the campground I talked to a couple that lived thru the 64 earthquake. I heard some incredible stories. They unfortunately some of their friends perished on the <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Valdez</st1:place></st1:City> docks as the tidal wave reached shore without any warning.<o:p></o:p>
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    ..... More later. Smugmug is acting up....
    #43
  4. 46Harley

    46Harley not soon enough

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    28
    Jay, great writing & pics ( worthy of National Geographic! ). Many thanks for coming back with more for your RR.
    #44
  5. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Cont.

    The victims list from the Good Friday Earthquake and Tide Wave.
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    Valdez is has a picturesque harbor. The low clouds and threatening rain add to its drama.

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    Hey, maybe a kayak ride is in order?

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    The rain wasn’t going to let up anytime soon so I decide to move on and catch the ferry to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Whittier</st1:place></st1:City>.

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    Not much of a line to get on the ferry

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    The ferry was a 5 1/2 hour ride, just right for my short attention span.

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    The National Park Service put a Park Ranger on board the ship as a nature interpreter. She was interesting as she pointed out geological features of the shoreline and, of course, the wildlife in the sound.

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    We passed close, about 15 miles, to the Columbia Glacier. To help with the perspective the iceburg in the forgroung is about 25 feet high.

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    It is one of the popular tourist boat destinations on <st1:place w:st="on">Prince William Sound</st1:place>. In <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>, you can’t help but see a lot of glaciers of varying sizes. This one is massive. The Park Ranger said its about the size of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Los Angeles</st1:place></st1:City>, according to the NPS person.
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    <o:p>She told us why the iceburgs are blue but I gorgot. I think something to do with the age of the ice.</o:p>
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    On the ferry I met 2 Canadians on Suzuki thumpers and Jerry (?) from <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Baltimore</st1:place></st1:City> on a loaded down Goldwing. We shared road stories and recommendations.

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    As we arrived in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Whittier</st1:place></st1:City> we found Motorcycles are at the end of the line for going through the 5 mile car/train tunnel. More rain!

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    Looks like until this tunnel was built <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Whittier</st1:place></st1:City> was only accessible by water. <o:p></o:p>
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    Seward

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    It stopped raining as I arrived in Seward in the evening. Great, I can do some exploring, maybe a sightseeing boat ride and rent a kayak tomorrow.

    Found a place to camp in the public campground a little south of downtown right on the waterfront. It was OK but a little too close to the public roads and private homes. As I rode around I found another campground south of Seward, I think its name was Miller Campground. It looked like a better place to stay.

    But the following morning the rain returned.

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    Checked the weather and saw rain over the next 3 days for the entire peninsula, <st1:City w:st="on">Anchorage</st1:City> and <st1:place w:st="on">Denali</st1:place>. The peninsula is pretty but not very entertaining in the rain.

    So its time to head north. <o:p></o:p>
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    #45
  6. GSPD750

    GSPD750 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,627
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    A+ Alaska report. :clap
    #46
  7. anomad

    anomad not in storage

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,144
    Location:
    Alexandria, Virginia
    :clapEasily one of the best Alaska reports I have read!:clap No bragging or showing off, just enjoying the trip and sharing the memories. Well planned and safety concious, I admire your style.


    I lived in da'banks for 3 years, my old house was almost visible in some of the campground pictures you took. That was also the first place I camped in Fairbanks way back in 1993, never thought I would live there at that time. Used to ride my bicycle through there on the way home from work to see where all the tourists were from. I am jealous of your travels around Alaska, you got to a few places I never did!


    Looking forward to the rest of the trip!
    #47
  8. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Cont.

    The road to Anchorage is scenic and entertaining. Here is a guy putting on a show on Turnagin bay. I recall Captain John Cook's disappointment in not finding a northwest passage but many dead end bays led to the name.

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    The new Home Depot Snow Blower from China?
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    Of course I made the mandatory stop at Alaska Leather in Anchorage to see Barb and look at motorcycle stuff

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    Rain is still in the forecast for North of Anchorage, Denali and <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeType w:st="on">Mount</st1:placeType> <st1:placeName w:st="on">McKinley</st1:placeName></st1:place>. So that’s out. No sense going that far to see only the bottom of the mountain or not at all. Besides, I’ve seen <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeType w:st="on">Mount</st1:placeType> <st1:placeName w:st="on">McKinley</st1:placeName></st1:place> before from the air.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    So its off to explore the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Cassiar Highway</st1:address></st1:Street> and see towns Haines and <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Skagway</st1:place></st1:City>.<o:p></o:p>
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    On the way I did a little detour to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Hatchers</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Pass</st1:placeType></st1:place> and a tour of Independence Mine.

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    The Independence Mine is a gold mine that is near the summit of a mountain. Its not as picturesque as the Kennicott Mine, but still interesting.
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    Hatcher’s Pass – Great views. Not very difficult except for some thick gravel patches in the swithcbacks.

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    <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Glen Highway</st1:address></st1:Street> was a lot of fun to travel. Great views. No wildlife but more glaciers.

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    This is one of my favorite landscape scenes on the Glen Highway facing the mountains in Wrangell-St Elais National Park. It was taken close to midnite!

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    Got to the town of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Glennallen</st1:place></st1:City> late at night and needed a place to pitch a tent. The campgrounds with vacancies had plenty of RV sites but no tents.

    So I rode on out of town and found a state campground in the wilderness. Only about 15 people in the entire campground, mostly 5<SUP>th</SUP> wheelers and a 2 other tents. Really pretty area but the mosquitoes were horrible.
    I had to break out the 100% Deet and finally put on my idiot looking mosquito net hat. I wasn’t alone with the net head look. <o:p></o:p>
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    The following morning on the way out I saw some droppings that maybe came from a bear or something big. Glade I didn’t see it the night before. This may sound strange. It was easier for me to sleep in a tent in the wilderness here than in the lower 48. When you hear a strange noise you can always look out and see what it is, since its always light. <o:p></o:p>
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    <o:p>On the road to Tok in noticed the Alaska Government is getting tuff with the drive by gun crowd!</o:p>
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    But the shooters don't seem to be taking heed. I often wonder what happens to those bullets as they exit the sign in to on coming traffic?

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    Of course I needed to do my 4<SUP>th</SUP> trip through Tok <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska to </st1:place></st1:State>pick up my street tires. I found it fairly easy to find people willing to stash your spare tires if you don’t want to carry them with you. Gas stations and repair shops seem to be the best options.

    This time in Tok I stayed at the Sourdough Campground. They are a bit of a novelty, not like your basic campground. They serve a really good dinner and breakfast making it unnecessary to cook or leave the grounds to eat. The owner, along with a local musical group, entertains the crowd during dinner. <o:p></o:p>
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    Unfortunately while I was off doing laundry, dinner and interneting, a kid decided to use the back of the GS as a Jungle Jim.

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    This was the first time I didn’t put the cover on when I left the motorcycle for a while.

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    Well it was time to do some maintenance anyway. All this just to get the air filter out????

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    Worth the effort given the dirt that came out of the filter.

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    Ahhh, Zip-Ties! Second only to Duck Tape! Tail lite good to go!

    [​IMG]

    As I left Alaska and entered the Yukon I started looking for a campground. I decided not to camp here.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>And for good reason.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p><o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>She stopped to check me out and then took a dump in front of me before... </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Stolling off with her little one. I got the message and rode off also.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Next: Haines and Skagway</o:p>
    #48
  9. Scratch33

    Scratch33 you're going to feel a little pressure Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,566
    Location:
    But That's OK Corral
    Cool pics & report. My friend & I did the Dempster right around the same time as you, me on my red WeeStrom and my friend 'Redfox' on her black 955i Tiger. We met that Gold Wing couple at the Fire Station in Inuvik while we were there washing our bikes. His coolant overflow reservoir was gashed from being loaded onto the truck; a not uncommon occurrance (I own a GL1800 myself). My opinion to him was that his tires were shot anyways and he should prolly look into getting the Wing trucked back down to Dawson. Dunno what they finally chose to do.
    #49
  10. ipaqpoweruser

    ipaqpoweruser Enjoy the Ride

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Great ride report. It looks like you both had a great time. Thanks for taking the time to share. :clap

    Jim
    #50
  11. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,009
    Location:
    Granbury Texas
    I just returned from alot of the same areas of Ak, after reading your report, I am ready to leave again, my wife has other ideas... Your report is excellent. I am glued to it and my memories are fresh. Thanks for taking the time to place this super ride report. Makes we want to do this trip again and I have only been home a month. Texas heat makes me want cooler weather....
    #51
  12. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    I agree, wriring it makes me want to return....
    #52
  13. SLUGGO

    SLUGGO A Lone Drifter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    220
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, Taxnfeeafornia
    Wow, Great report! :thumb
    #53
  14. bajaburro

    bajaburro Ancient Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,228
    Location:
    Huntington Beach CA
    :clap That's one great trip you guy's had.Kind of supprised to see you adjust the valve's out there like that.The air filter,was it new when you started the trip?If so people really need to carry a spare up there.Sure hope I get a chance to do that trip myself.
    #54
  15. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Thanks Dirtduck, glade you are enjoying it.

    On adjusting the valves in the field, I just make sure its not a windy day and the area around the heads have are clean to avoid contaimination when removing the heads.

    Yes the air filter was new when I left. I don't think you need to carry an extra because its simple enough to shake out the stuff you pick up in the dusty dirt road environment and keep going.

    H-Jay
    #55
  16. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Cont.

    Haines<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    The road to Haines lives up to its AdvRider site billing. It has nice scenery, a mountain pass and plenty of twisties. Approaching Haines you go through an American Bald Eagle Preserve.

    [​IMG]

    I got a lot of pictures of just blue sky as I tried to capture eagles soaring. Sorry I deleted them. The Haines area boasts the largest population of Eagles anywhere in the world. I understand the eagles are attracted to Haines because the river never freezes and has a lot of salmon.

    Here is a better picture of a fishing wheel that the locals use for sustainance fishing.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> [​IMG]<o:p></o:p></o:p>

    Once I got in to town I found a good place to eat based on a local's recommendation. It was away from the bay. No view but good food. I also felt a tug on my jacket as I walked in and it was Siggi and Elizabeth so I joined them for lunch.

    [​IMG]

    The sun was out. Notice how the dogs seem happier in the sun.. in the pick up.

    [​IMG]

    After lunch I took a ride around the area including <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:placeName w:st="on">Mud</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Bay</st1:placeType> and out to a nearby <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Chilkat</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">State Park</st1:placeType></st1:place>.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The following day I poked around Haines. Haines is a picturesque little town. It sits on a beautiful bay surrounded by snow capped mountains and has a picture perfect boat harbor.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here is a baby Eagle. I found out they don't get the distinctive white head until they are 4 or 5 years old.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These are former military buildings when the area had a fort. They are now private residences.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A pleasant surprise was the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Sheldon</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Museum</st1:placeType></st1:place>. Sheldon was a local merchant and an avid collector. His family sponsored the museum to display his collection in a historical context and to pay tribute to the indigenous people of <st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State> and northern <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canada</st1:place></st1:country-region>. It’s a well done proper museum and not one of those excuses to sell local trinkets.

    This was a display iin the museum that clearly described the background of the various groups that orginally inhabited the areas.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The picture doesn't do this item justice in terms of its visual impact. The precurser to the modern day gortex?

    [​IMG]

    Slowly returning to its orgins.

    [​IMG]

    Threatening to start raining again.

    [​IMG]

    Good pizza in Haines.

    [​IMG]

    More fancy KTMs in one place than I've ever seen. Two not shown.

    [​IMG]


    The campground was fine but need of some serious maintenance. It was the only option to tent near town that had a shower. Maybe just my luck but I found myself next some young kids that were a bit on the wild side. They were friendly but loud and mostly drunk the entire time I was there. The first night I finally got to sleep but at about 2:30AM it got noisy again. Obviously the bars were letting out. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The following night was just as problematic at the campground. I needed to get a little shut eye because the only ferry running over to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Skagway</st1:place></st1:City> boarded at 3:30AM… yes AM. I ended up packing up around 10:00PM and headed out to the ferry terminal. The ferry agent let me crash in the lobby until boarding time.

    [​IMG]

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Skagway</st1:place></st1:City><o:p></o:p>
    Although its only a little over 10 miles between Haines and <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Skagway</st1:place></st1:City> by water, we didn’t arrive until 5:00AM.

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Since everything was closed in <st1:City w:st="on">Skagway</st1:City> I rode out to the old Dyea town site, about 7 miles from <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Skagway</st1:place></st1:City>. There is no longer a town there but it’s the location of the historic Chikoot Trailhead.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]


    After docking in <st1:City w:st="on">Skagway</st1:City> the miners used the Chilkoot trail to get up in to the interior of <st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State> and the gold around <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place>. They endured an incredible journey that included having to pack over 1000 pounds of provisions up the steep pass on foot.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Here is the road along the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Skagway</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType></st1:place>.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    On the way back into <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Skagway</st1:place></st1:City> I found a nice city overlook with a bench.
    I hide the bike from the road and took a nap after enjoying the view for a few minutes.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Rode around <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Skagway</st1:place></st1:City>, toured the National Park Service Klondike Museum. It was OK, had some interesting displays and historical facts but not very elaborate. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Had a good <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State> breakfast at the Sweet Tooth, read big, a little too much grease but delicious.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As I was suiting up to leave Skagway Fast Eddie from <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">North Carolina</st1:place></st1:State> came by on his pretty GS Adventure. He was working his way up to <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place>. Eddie has been to <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State> 3 or 4 times before. This ride was a major for him. He planned to be on the road for several months including hitting northeast <st1:country-region w:st="on">Canada</st1:country-region> before returning to <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">North Carolina</st1:place></st1:State>.

    [​IMG]

    I told Eddie he would really enjoy the city of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place></st1:City>. Eddie warned me that I shouldn’t short change myself by skipping Telegraph Creek. I was getting worried about my worn knobby tires and getting stranded so far from any help. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Eddie and I had lunch at Carcross before going our separate ways.

    Next: Telegraph Creek<o:p></o:p>
    #56
  17. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p>Cont.</o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    A few shots of the road between Skagway and the Cassiar Junction

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At a campground at the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Cassiar Highway</st1:address></st1:Street> junction, I met another GS rider that hangs out on AdvRider. It was CRainier from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Olympia</st1:City> <st1:State w:st="on">Washington</st1:State></st1:place>. That evening we sat around and traded stores. CRainer (get it? See <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeType w:st="on">Mount</st1:placeType> <st1:placeName w:st="on">Rainer</st1:placeName></st1:place>) is an interesting person. His Alaska/Canada trip plan involved some remote locations around the Canadian Oil Roads. In addition to the motorcycle hobby, CRainer is a real outdoorsman and hiker/climber. Earlier he had hiked the <st1:placeName w:st="on">Chilkoot</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Pass</st1:placeType>, and then paddled over 600 miles down <st1:placeType w:st="on">Lake</st1:placeType> <st1:placeName w:st="on">Bennett</st1:placeName> and the <st1:State w:st="on">Yukon</st1:State> to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dawson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place>. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    When we met, CRainier had just resumed his <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State></st1:place> trek after a serious interruption. Earlier his final drive bearing carrier gave up the ghost while on the <st1:place w:st="on">Alaska Highway</st1:place>. Luckily, he noticed oil leaking during a gas stop and avoided the catastrophic failure. He was towed 800 miles back down the <st1:place w:st="on">Alaska Highway</st1:place> to the Edmonton BMW dealership. What a tow! Fortunately, his insurance company covered it. CRainer was not at all bummed out because of what happen. I got the impression that he is the type of person that lives “looking through the windshield and not the rearview mirrors”. Cool guy. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The following morning we enjoyed breakfast at Sally’s Restaurant and struck out in our separate directions in the drizzling rain….with a smile on my face <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    No pictures of CRainer. It was raining so the camera didn’t come out. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    As I started south towards the lower 48 I decided to take the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Cassiar Highway</st1:address></st1:Street> rather than repeat the <st1:place w:st="on">Alaska Highway</st1:place>. The Cassiar is the road less traveled through the <st1:State w:st="on">Yukon</st1:State> and <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">British Columbia</st1:place></st1:State> and runs closer to the Pacific coast. The area is isolated, not many towns and best of all not very touristy. The road is on the narrow side and mostly paved. Traveling through the area gives a good feel for the <st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State> and <st1:place w:st="on">Northern Canada</st1:place> wilderness. It was easy to envision the area through the eyes of the original inhabitants from <st1:place w:st="on">Asia</st1:place>, the early Russian trappers, the gold Stampeders, pioneers and the early road builder survey teams. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The Road to Telegraph Creek<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>Well here is another challenging road that has been advertised as especially suited for the GS’s capabilities.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>

    The road runs 75 miles, mostly dirt and gravel, between the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Cassiar Highway</st1:address></st1:Street> and ends at the town of <st1:City w:st="on">Telegraph</st1:City> Creek, about 100 miles from the <st1:place w:st="on">Pacific Ocean</st1:place>. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The first 40 miles were dull going except for the wild life. Was I duped?
    No. I have to say up front that this road and the town at the end of the road became one of the trip highlights.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The last 35 miles of the road meets up with the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Stikine</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType></st1:place>. It is a fast moving river, with rapids, that carved a deep canyon into the landscape. The area is called the Grand Canyon of British Columbia. Image riding a road along the rim of the US Grand Canyon, suddenly descending the canyon rim to the river below and back up, several times. That pretty much describes the last 30 miles.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I’ve never seen a 20%+ grade on a public road till that experience.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Of course, the road is narrow, guardrails are non-existent and I discovered the meaning of “<st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Free</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Range</st1:placeType></st1:place>” up close.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p><o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    anybody misplace an old Combi? Its on Telegraph Creek Road.

    [​IMG]

    Telegraph Creek – the Town<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The town of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Telegraph</st1:place></st1:City> Creek and the nearby surrounding villages make up, probably has less than 400 residences. The area was originally the homeland of the Tahltan people that still inhabit the area. The first European contact predated the gold rush era when the Hudson Bay Company set up shop in 1838 to use the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Stikine</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType></st1:place> as a trade route to the interior. Thirty years later gold was discovered in the area. Now the area is a destination for camping, kayaking (Class V+ rapids), fishing, trekking and hunting.

    In a fast boat you can make it all the way to the <st1:place w:st="on">Pacific Ocean</st1:place> in about 5 hours from Telegraph Creek.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p><o:p> </o:p>
    I stayed at the Stikine RiverSong Lodge, my third and last stay in a hotel during the trip. Originally, the lodge was a <st1:place w:st="on">Hudson Bay</st1:place> outpost.

    [​IMG]

    The building retains many of the original architectural features including the tongue and grove interior walls and pine floors. It was highly recommended by several people on the AdvRider site and I support the recommendation.

    A picture of the lodge when it was the Hudson Bay Outpost

    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I enjoyed dinner at the Lodge's restuarant.

    [​IMG]

    During dinner I glance out the window and see that I’m being watched.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    <o:p>I recognize that begging look from my dog. It doesn't work at home either!</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]

    After dinner I grabbed the camera and walked around town to talk to some of the locals.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>A surviving Callbreath in front of his grandfather's outpost teurned repair shop.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The blending of cultures that happens everywere

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My room at the RiverSong Lodge. What? Open windows in the buildings with no screens. A pleasant surprise is no mosquitoes. Maybe its because of the constant winds through the canyon.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Here is the common area of the RiverSong Lodge. The deck was useful for drying my equipment.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I’m still being watched, now from the back of the Lodge.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>Next: Back to Alaska one more time?</o:p>
    #57
  18. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></st1:State><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p>Cont.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    OK I couldn’t resist one more opportunity to drop in to <st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State> so I took the cut off road to Hyder <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>. It was only about 30 miles out of the way and promised up close looks at glaciers and bears.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    <o:p><o:p>[​IMG]</o:p></o:p>

    <o:p>Drama...</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Report of bears in the far end of the campground made me a little skeptical.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>

    But when she showed me a site my fears evaporated. In the next site over were three guys on bicycles. They were having a good time grilling salmon and King Crab legs. I knew then that I would not be the most interesting thing to a curious or hungry bear that night.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    As it turned out the 3 guys were a pretty interesting trio from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Spain</st1:place></st1:country-region> celebrating the final stages of a 7 year, all continents, bicycle journey. Yes…SEVEN YEARS! They invited me over to share some of their beer and salmon. It was an amazing evening listening to their stories. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    In about 30 days, they plan to end the adventure in <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place>. In keeping with most of their journey, they had no plans beyond <st1:place w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:place> other than to celebrating the accomplishment. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Early in the morning I was awaken by wolves howling. It started with a soft low guttural growl that got progressively louder. After about 4 minutes, a chorus of higher louder growls joined the solo growl. It was eerie sounding stuff.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Here’s some shots from around the area.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Hyder does not have a US Boarder crossing station. It felt funny entering the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">US</st1:place></st1:country-region> unchecked after so many boarder crossings.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    First commercial fishing boat out in the morning.

    [​IMG]

    Well it was too early for the bears and road to Glacier was closed because of deep snow. So I pushed on.

    Next: Kootenay
    #58
  19. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Michiganland
    Cont.

    I continued to tempt faith with my worn knobby tires as I headed south in to the Kootenay area. Maybe it was time to look for someplace to swap out my street tires. Besides, I had enough of carrying around the tires on the back of the top case looking like a member of the Clampett clan. I came across a Harley Davison dealership in Smither that willingly agreed to stop what the were doing and mount my street tires.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    On the road again … nice to get away from the clunk, clunk, clunk and back to the smooth ride again.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Burns</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Lake</st1:placeType></st1:place> to Cache Creek was not very scenic. I didn’t take a single picture. Coming down the mountain in to the Cache Creek area I slammed in to summer. The riding temperature went from 60 degrees to 90 degrees in 20 miles. I didn’t know I was heading in to a desert area in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canada</st1:place></st1:country-region>!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Fortunately I found a campground with shade. I think these were the only trees in 20 miles.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]

    Morning and time for breakfast before the day heats up.

    [​IMG]

    I know our SUVs, houses, TVs and couches have all been super-sized. But I didn’t realize the trend happened with motor homes and 5<SUP>th</SUP> wheelers. It is entertaining to watch the RVs pull in to a site with gears and motors whining as the sides expand, self levelers deploy and the generator crank up the A/C, TV and washing machine. Ahhh roughing it in the wilderness!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Here is one that lumbered off the road a bit while leaving the campground.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>

    I also noticed the explosion of rental RVs. Note to self. If you see this on the side of an RV, give it a wide berth.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I made a quick stop at the new <st1:City w:st="on">Kelowna</st1:City> <st1:place w:st="on">Southwest BMW</st1:place> dealership.

    [​IMG]

    While there I got the engine and transmission oil changed, looked at leaky transmission boot and replaced the rivets on the side case exhaust shield. The Dempster wiped out another rivet. I was down to only one holding the exhaust shield on and I didn’t want to melt the case and the contents. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Ken, the owner, took me on a tour of the dealership including the service area. Ken said he is the highest selling dealership in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canada</st1:place></st1:country-region> last month. Nice looking dealership that also sells Ducati.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Paula helped me with a new Arai face shield.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Oh boy temperatures were rising again. This is as I was leaving the dealership. The local bank temperature read 102 F degrees. I gotta get out of this desert and back in to the mountains.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The road, route 6, between <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kelowna</st1:place></st1:City> and Nakusp was a sport bike paradise. Several riders told me about it being highly rated in some Canadian travel magazine. I saw a lot of sport bikes on the road, some in the tucked over position, hanging off the side of the bike with a knees sticking out. It was a fun road, nice scenery but no dirt or gravel. After only about 30 miles in to the road the temperature dropped to 80 F degrees. Phew!

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Waiting for the ferry that crosses the <st1:place w:st="on">Columbia River</st1:place> I met James on his extremely clean 1150 GS.

    [​IMG]

    James was headed to west to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Vancouver</st1:place></st1:City> but he was traveling the same way I was going, east. Not wanting to sound too much like a smart a_ _ I asked …. James said he met up with some sport bike riders who also recommended Route 6. So he had to take a little detour…ahh a fellow “wanderer”!

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Here is a local Fire Fighter name Leslie we met while waiting for the ferry. She said “if we wanted to stop in Fauquier there was a nice campground just across the river. I wan’t sure what she just said so I said excuse me?

    [​IMG]

    Anyway she was talking about Guy and Helen’s Tukaluk campground, in the town of Fauquier, on the opposite bank of the river.

    [​IMG]

    It was a nice place to stay. Back in the woods, very few mosquitoes and a claim of NO BEARS by Guy. Funny there were Grizzle Bear warning signs posted about 20 miles up the road.

    Met Jim again as I was finishing up breakfast at this café in Nakusp.<o:p></o:p>

    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p><o:p> </o:p>
    More pictures heading through the Kootenay area to the boarder

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Always good to find the Mountain Pass Gates open!

    [​IMG]
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Next: Back in to the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">US</st1:place></st1:country-region> and a few more detours….<o:p></o:p>
    #59
  20. kildala2000

    kildala2000 The GS Store.

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,163
    Location:
    Northern BC Canada
    Keep the great report coming. :D

    Correction, don't you mean Kelly the owner?
    Best BMW dealership to deal with. :D

    Rick

    Ken, the owner, took me on a tour of the dealership including the service area. Ken said he is the highest selling dealership in Canada last month. Nice looking dealership that also sells Ducati.
    #60