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Old 08-02-2009, 12:30 PM   #1
Flyred OP
Who is John Galt?
 
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Woodinville, WA Whine Country
Oddometer: 681
Prudhoe Joe

I never intended to do a solo ride to Deadhorse, Alaska.
It all started with a dinner conversation with an old friend and mentor in Denver a few months ago. At 71 years old he was lamenting that he had always wanted to ride the Dalton Hwy but was now too old.
Nonsense (my mom might be reading this) I say. I will go with you and carry you on my back if need be. But we will get there.
A week before launch and I get the dreaded phone call.
No, you sick bastard. He didn't die. He couldn't go because his savings had gotten slammed with the stock market.
So, since the planning had done and I had days off all set, away I went.



Crossing the border at Sumas, Washington. I was the only customer.

Day 1 707 miles
The road runs up the Fraser River canyon and is scenic in an arid, get me out of here kind of way. I was on a mission to get North fast. A turn at Prince George and thankfully am starting to feel like I'm getting into the wilds of BC.
A camp at Burn Lake was a warning that I didn't notice right away.
1) Biting bugs
2) They build tent spaces out of pit run compacted gravel that a tent stake will not penetrate.

Day 2 573 miles

Up at 0330 and rolling soon after. A stop at Smithers BC for breakfast at the last motel/ cafe on the right. Get the Loggers Breakfast and loosen you belt. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, toast and a gallon of coffee. I would last me until camp that night.

On to the Cassier Hwy. The road starts out in beautiful condition and slowly deteriorates as you go North during the day.
One thing to consider. If it's wet, the bridge decks are wood.



It is a must that you detour the 40 miles into Stewart/ Hyder on the trip North. Hyder, Alaska is a muddy, dusty little ghost town with more for sale signs than people.
The ride in was cloudy and foggy so I didn't appreciate the scenery. But after the obligatory pic at Mile 0...


The sun came out and exposed Glaciers, hanging glaciers, and raging rivers right next to the road.


I could spend a week just in this valley.

Northbound again and a tent space at Waters Edge Camp at Dease Lake. A minimalist camp with no electricity to recharge your gadjets.No cell service and a one hole outhouse with a half door. But they have WiFi.

Day 3 836 miles. The punishment day

It was a tough day. First my Outdoor Reasearch air mattress went flat on the right half side. Leaving me balancing on a 12" wide bed. It never really gets dark this time of year so up and rolling again at 0300 in the morning gloom. The road is more gravel than pavement and posted at 60-70 kph (HA!) 36-42 mph. The 990 cruises at 65-70 mph just fine. That's the nice thing about Canada. No cops. I saw one total in 6,000 mile of riding.


Worse than cops on the road are the Northern Speed Bumps. Moose, Cariboo, and Bison will be everywhere you don't want them. Like standing in the road on a curve or just ambling in front of you when you turn to look up at a lake. FYYFF.



Breakfast at the intersection of the Cassier and Alaska Hwy at Patty's Cafe. All homemade food. That is one thing about being up here. Most everything is scratch made because of supply chain is so long. You will eat well.
Even though I didn't need to go, but to say I had ridden to whole length of the AlCan, I side tripped into Watson Lake. A 30 mile detour. While ther I added my sign to the forest. That's me in the middle.


Refuel and roll.
Whitehorse YT is a real honest to God town with a headshop and disenfranchised Goth teens walking the streets.
This is also the only real bike shop you will see before Fairbanks so if you need anything, get it now.

The last 200 miles of the Can side of the AlCan are as close to a paved MX track as I have ever seen. I was moving at 85mph most of the time by now to make camp before 10pm. The road surface, while paved, was so frost heaved that I would get air off the tops and bottom the suspension in the G outs. Really fun. Seriously. Real fun.
You gotta stop at Buckshot Betty's for a burger in Beaver Creek, YT. It is the farrthest west town in Canada and only 50 miles or so to the border. I shared a table with the only cop I would see for the ride. Nice guy.
Back on the MX track AlCan and moving fast.


There are thunderstorms ahead and that makes me go a bit faster. WooHoo!
I enter Alaska after holding the Canadian speed laws in contempt for being posted at 100kph (60mph) over these vast areas only to see that here the posted speeds are 55mph!
The Hell with that.

Back at 85mph and tooling towards Tok and a bed and right into a downpour from that Tstorm.

You have to camp at Thompson Eagle Claw motorcycle Camp


It was raining a little and all the tough guy riders were in motels. I had the place to myself and was rewarded by the owner with a sticker that says " I wasn't a pussy. I camped at Thompsons Eagle Claw.
Thompsons has a wood fired sauna /shower. So I sit in there sipping Irish whiskey and writing in my journal until I am totally relaxed and ready for bed.

Day 4 261 miles
Early up because it never gets dark. Note to all. Carry a sleep mask if you come up here.






The road between Tok and fairbanks has more homocidal Moose than anyplace along the route. You will have several max-braking events to avoid these FF's from trying to kill you.
Another Loggers Breakfast. This time in Delta Junction and then finish the day at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks at the dorm.
Before reaching Fairbanks though you will ride along the runway at Eilson AFB. Of course that's where the only moose that wasn't camera shy would be standing. Actually standing near the sign that says No stopping or standing. No photography for the next 2 miles.
Oh well


The dorm room in Fairbanks was so small that the lens of my camera couldn't capture it. Lets just say it was sparse at 6' x 12'. Painted a featureless white with one window and no A/C. It honestly could have been confused for a prison cell except it was missing the Stainless Steel pot in the corner.The bathroom down the hall was decent except when I came out of the shower there was a girl washing her hands in the sink. A quick glance at the door just said Bathroom-no sex specified- so maybe this was a uni-sex bath???
I had to ask and the girl says, No, she just didn't want to go to the 1st floor where the girls bathroom was.
Oh. Well that's okay then?

Day 5 527 miles
Now the fun begins. The meat and potatos of the ride.
The Dalton Hwy
This kind of says it all


Away I go. Keep the gas tank full and watch for the potholes.
And the flowers. Freaking things were everywhere. For miles in every direction.


The bugs were swarming around my head so I couldn't take off my helmet. I did get in a shameless plug for Lynwood Motoplex, my local KTM dealer.

Lunch in Coldfoot Camp


Vast areas that get a little overwhelming





A stop to brew a cup of coffee at Atigun Pass. but the wind was blowing so hard I was worried my bike would tip over. I will try again and fail later for different reasons.
Like a hailstorm.
Right after I took this picture, the truck you can see approaching nailed me in the chest with a wall of slush. Thank you Sir! May I have another.




Finally, exhausted and hungry I ride past the Coldfoot Inn. It's the first "hotel" you pass on the way into town. Even with 40 knot winds blowing and the building being a hundred feet off the road I can smell the dinner cooking. A quick U turn and I am home.

This was my favorite place on the whole ride. The rooms were $200 but considering I was on the Moon, the price was reasonable. The dinner that night was all you can eat Prime Rib, Deep fried Prawns, Clam strips, Salmon, Fresh baked Croissants, rice, veggies, salad, 2 kinds of pie, 2 kinds of Ice Cream.
Again, the shared bath was down the hall.


There isn't a tree for 300 miles, so the boys at Halliburton made their own National Forest

Next up. The ride South.
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Old 08-02-2009, 03:48 PM   #2
Flyred OP
Who is John Galt?
 
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Woodinville, WA Whine Country
Oddometer: 681
Going South

Day 6 533 miles

Up early again because it is light out and I smell bacon.
So I wander into the galley and see that it's 0400. Screw that and back to bed.
Up at 0600 and have another all you can eat meal of bacon, reindeer sausage, eggs, potatoes, toast, oj and coffee. Good stuff.
Time to re-fuel at Nana out by the airport and get a pic or two





There isn't a tree within 300 miles, so the boys at Haliburton made their own.
Going south I increase my speed since the day is sunny and the road is mostly good. Problems though at mile post 13o when my low fuel light comes on 50 miles too soon.
At MP 134 there is an intersection that has a wide spot so I can refuel. There is a mailbox there and since there isn't mail service I have a look inside. It is stuffed with cookies, candy, and sodas all for free. Just leave any reading material that you can spare.

Climbing the Brooks Range again is impressive. The scenery is just vast out here.
The speed I'm riding and the conditions have a song that I hate playing in my head.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ2pI1NglLM

Today I am Jonah Street and Cyril Dupre as I race across the Tundra.





The other road hazard up here are the monster modules that are being brought up. This one was 20' wide and had a pilot car telling everyone to get off the road NOW!


What's cool is they will stack a couple pusher trucks behind to shove the loads up the grade.


Going way too fast for conditions and before you know it I am back in Coldfoot for my daily burger.
Out again and this time get a couple "Oh Shit" moments.
One is while passing a semi on a long straight. The semi decided he didn't want to be passed and started moving left while I was beside him. The shoulders on the Dalton are deep, soft gravel and to get into it would be bad, I stayed on the gas with 6" of road left as I gave the driver the bird.
Then back at my dorm room for a much needed shower and some chow.
I called Alaska Pizza and the conversation went like this.

Me: I want to order a pizza to be delivered to the University of Alaska.

Dumb Ass: Where is that?

Me It's the big buildings on the hill north of town.

DA:What's the address?

Me: It's the University. There's only one!

DA: (yelling to the driver) You know where the University of Anchorage is?

Me: No! It's the University of Alaska in Fairbanks!
Wait. Where are you located?

DA: Were on University Street.

Me: Okay. Go north on University Street until you see the University. There's a lot of buildings.
I'm in the Moore Building. It's the dorm on the left of the three.
The door requires a code key so I will wait in the lobby.

DA: (to driver) You know where the More code building is at the University of Anchorage?

Me: No! The Moore Building. It's a dorm!

DA: More...M.O.R.R.E.?

Me: Ask the driver if he knows where the dorms are.

DA: He does. What would you like?

Me: A small, thin crust anchovy pizza.

DA: Our anchovies are chicken.

Me: What?

DA: The anchovies are chicken. If I push the anchovy button the cook puts chicken on the pizza.

Me. Oh. Pepperoni then.

DA: Okay. That will take 45 minutes.

The pizza showed up 15 minutes later.

Flyred screwed with this post 01-20-2010 at 10:37 AM
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:01 PM   #3
Flyred OP
Who is John Galt?
 
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Woodinville, WA Whine Country
Oddometer: 681
Day 7 216 miles

Another rest day. Slept in so late that I had to have a burger for breakfast.
I picked up my stashed new rear tire that the Harley Dealer was so nice to hold for me.


The Mefo super Explorer wears much better than the TKC80's I'm used to. So I have to carry it for a while
The road to Tok again is full of homicidal Moose and I get to do some panic stops with that tire sliding into my back.
Before you get to Tok you see...


and you can only ask...WTF?
The owners have been here since 1985 and it is a collection of "stuff" acquired around the area. The name sounds like a kiddie park. It's not that at all. But if you are a gear head like me, you can spend hours looking at all the old snow mobiles, mil-surp stuff, engines, and this...


You don't see that every day.
Into Thompsons Eagle Claw and my wall tent again. It's hot out now so the Gobi's get put to work.




I even met the Japanese guy riding his Honda Ruckus across North America.
The Ruckus gets 200 mpg and tops out at 30 mph all loaded up with camping gear.
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:18 PM   #4
Flyred OP
Who is John Galt?
 
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Woodinville, WA Whine Country
Oddometer: 681
Day 8 296 miles The Top of the World

The turn off is a few miles east of Tok and away you go on gravel to Chicken, Alaska and the Top of the World Hwy. So named because they cut the road along the top of a ridge that has unobstructed views for miles.


This drops you into Chicken and a great breakfast.


Try the cinnamon rolls. Everything is fresh baked.

Up the hill again and head for Boundary, Alaska.


There's a sign saying they serve the best coffee in Boundary. Of course the place is closed.

New TourTech Arctic accessories




Just a few miles and into the coolest border crossing I have ever seen.
Miles from nowhere. The staff works 7 days on, 7 off. The views are tremendous.


Just so you understand where this is...


It's all downhill to Dawson City but first you need to ride the free ferry caross the Dawson River. This little boat hauls ass all day and it just crashes into the bank and drops the ramp. Every one scrambles off and the next group jumps on.


Then there's this boat on the main road. Don't know why...



nd if you ride a KTM you have to stop here.


Otherwise I camped at Moose Creek Campground. If I could recommend. Don't stay here. There are a lot of places farther along. I was just being lazy and I paid for it the next day when I did the Campbell HWY

Flyred screwed with this post 08-02-2009 at 05:45 PM
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:44 PM   #5
Flyred OP
Who is John Galt?
 
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Woodinville, WA Whine Country
Oddometer: 681
Day 9 521 miles of shit

What a crappy day is what I write in the journal.
The first 100 miles is just to get to the Campbell Hwy. If I hadn't been lazy I'd have been there hours earlier.
So breakfast at the junction. Have the "quicky" breakfast sandwich and a coffee. The owner comes out and shows me on my map what to expect. Bad road, ruts, holes, dust, and if it rains, slimy mud.
It didn't rain but the Hwy crew were watering so I had all the slip without having to button up the rain gear.
The holes were mostly just potholes. There was one that was about 6' x 6' x 12" deep and sharp edged. The other thing was at intervals the surface would turn in sand whoops the entire width of the road. Again, no problem if you see it coming. I stood up on the pegs about 6 hours this day and rode the bike like I was on a MX track.
The other reason I stood is because there is little air behind my windshield and I was cooking in my gear.
There were some forest fires in the area and the smoke started to inhibit vivibility.




The watering undid the wash job I gave Jumbo while in Tok


Near the end there are a couple lakes with campgrounds. The bugs were bad and I wanted to sleep in a real bed tonight so I pressed on to Watson Lake.
I make bad decisions in the evening.



The map shows that the last 30-50 miles should be paved. I am exhausted but can handle a high speed run into town. The map was wrong and in fact this was the worst stretch of road so far. They were rebuilding and had ripped everything down to the base. The road had ruts, mud, dust, large rocks, and heavy equipment working that you needed to dodge.
I was cooked and badly dehydrated when I arrived in Watson Lake. At the gas station next to the sign forest an employee watched me climb off Jumbo and slowly strip my gear off and head for the door to get a Gatoraid. He watched me struggle up the stairs in my sweat soaked, sticky gear. He saw me rattle on the door knob.
The GD place was closed.
Across the street was another gas station and I knocked back a 1/2 gallon of GatorAid.
The search was on for a motel. I grabbed the last room at The RCAF Pilots Barracks. Now run by Mike the German. Another bathroom down the hall place with no A/C. It was still clean and nice and I was happy to be there

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Old 08-02-2009, 05:01 PM   #6
GB
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Stunning beauty!

Love the rocket launchers on the sides of your bike

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Old 08-03-2009, 07:24 AM   #7
Stretch67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyred
and you can only ask...WTF?
The owners have been here since 1985 and it is a collection of "stuff" acquired around the area. The name sounds like a kiddie park. It's not that at all. But if you are a gear head like me, you can spend hours looking at all the old snow mobiles, mil-surp stuff, engines, and this...
You're not going to believe this, but I've ridden in that thing, or one just like it, in Athens, Georgia. Ages ago, back during the Space Race, the Sears store here in town made a really big production of the Christmas season. The basement of the store was transformed into one huge toy department, and Santa's Space Sleigh (pictured above) would take families on a tour of the parking lot while Santa walked down the aisle with a microphone plugged into the onboard PA system, asking the kids what we wanted for Christmas.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:19 AM   #8
Flyred OP
Who is John Galt?
 
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Woodinville, WA Whine Country
Oddometer: 681
That's the story I got from the owner of Mukluk Land. Two were built and used in the south. He found them in Minnysocold and drove 1 back to Tok while the other needed to be towed. He did say that Santa sat on the roof in the chair that's bolted down.
Their intentions are to clean the Rocket Ship up and drive it in the 4th of July parade in Tok.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:29 PM   #9
Stretch67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyred
That's the story I got from the owner of Mukluk Land. Two were built and used in the south. He found them in Minnysocold and drove 1 back to Tok while the other needed to be towed. He did say that Santa sat on the roof in the chair that's bolted down.
Their intentions are to clean the Rocket Ship up and drive it in the 4th of July parade in Tok.

He owns both of them? Oh, wow.

I found this on Roadside America.com...

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/529
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