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Old 07-19-2013, 06:46 PM   #76
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Was running fine. Radiator was cleared off.

I went to White Horse to meet them. Waited three hours apparently the tow had multiple flats. At 3pm they were in Dawson City.

Wouldn't be in until tomorrow am. So I headed east.
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:27 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by 73datsun View Post
Was running fine. Radiator was cleared off.
I wish Mike had dialed the "help" line before Good Sams, maybe he had something, but there's a very good chance he didn't.

that motor uses a chain driven oil pump located behind the clutch basket. if it had failed, the motor would not be "running fine".
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:04 PM   #78
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Good luck with the Tourance on the Dempster. If it is sunny and warm it will work. I was worried about a Heidenau K60 but it was OK, a little squirrely in the mud. If I was going tomorrow it would be tkc's or Karoo 3 on both ends. They water the road for graders all week. You will absolutely ride in some mud. On the way up I only hit one thunderstorm, on the way down it rained for the first 300 miles. Have a great time, be safe.
I love your description of my ride last summer. Good choice on the tires. When dry the Dempster is a cruise, the problem is it is never dry!
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:31 PM   #79
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I wish Mike had dialed the "help" line before Good Sams, maybe he had something, but there's a very good chance he didn't.

that motor uses a chain driven oil pump located behind the clutch basket. if it had failed, the motor would not be "running fine".
Don't worry, he'll make it out just fine. That crazy old bastard is, well, a crazy, old bastard.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:03 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by jdrocks View Post
I wish Mike had dialed the "help" line before Good Sams, maybe he had something, but there's a very good chance he didn't.

that motor uses a chain driven oil pump located behind the clutch basket. if it had failed, the motor would not be "running fine".
He was in a bit of a panic and didn't have any reception.

Might be worth shooting him an email. I'm guessing he will have wifi soon.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:20 AM   #81
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Congrats on making it up and back. You've got a story you'll be able to share for many years to come. As per StrikingViking: "The adventure begins when things stop going according to plan."
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:58 PM   #82
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July 19 :: Finally some wild life :: White Horse + Muncho Lake

Started early from Carmacks. Headed into White Horse, hoping that I'd find Mike and John at the tow place or the motorcycle shop. Met up with the owner of the tow shop and he confirmed that the driver didn't get there until midnight. Regardless, they should have been here by now.

After a bit, I ask him where a good restaurant with wifi happens to be. A place to get a great sandwich. His recommendation, no shit, was McDonalds. I can't remember the last time I purposefully ate at McDonald's. But when in Rome.

I've also realized that I'm an idiot. The fuel gauge is fine. The screen was just so dirty that I mistook the temp gauge and the fuel gauge. The good news, I've been watching my temp gauge like a hawk. And it doesn't move.

After dicking around on the internets and catching up with folks, I headed back to the shop. That's where I learn that they had multiple flats on the tow. Truck problems and were now, at 1pm, in Dawson City. He didn't expect them back until 5am, the following morning. He suggested I hit the road.

So off I went. Figured I'd just jaunt down the road until I found a place worth stopping at. But I kept pushing myself farther.

Which suddenly became stupid. Because it gets dark earlier than it did way up North. And there are a lot of active animals. Namely, black bears, bison, caribou, and moose. All of which I saw. So now I'm looking for two things, gas and lodging.

Leading me to Northern Rockies Lodge. However, their pumps are closed. And don't open again until 7am. But luckily they have a room in the lodge or a tent space. Convenient. I opt for the tent space. $42. You have to be f'ing kidding me. For a standard grass pad. And it's a buck for four mins of shower time. At this point, I don't care and just pay for it.

That being said, they did open the kitchen and the beer up for me. So that was nice. The place was quite the joint. Made me want to be the hunter gatherer type. The lodge is the base and they fly folks out to other small outposts that they own for fishing and hunting. I might actually be game to try that sometime.

I've grown accustomed to the tent life. I don't mind it. My only longing is a clean shower.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure where I'm headed. Goal is Dawson Creek, but I'll hit that in early afternoon. Guess I'll just push on again.


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Old 07-23-2013, 09:01 PM   #83
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July 20 :: Rain. :: Grand Prairie, AB


On the road by 9am. I've finally got my seat sorted out, so I'm regularly pulling 100mi or 1.5hr shifts behind the bars. It's still not pleasant. But I'm more comfortable than when I started out.

It rained. All. Day. Long. Started at Muncho Lake, which I'm sure is beautiful when it's not overcast and raining. As I pulled off to take some photos. Two beautiful dogs ran up. Irish Golden and an Irish Golden/Black Lab. Their owner was sleeping in his RV in the turn off. He came out in his robe, older gentleman, probably mid 70's. We end up talking for 30 mins. He first came to AK when he was my age, late 20's early 30's. He too, was from MN. He subsequently made over 35 trips. Finally, he bought some property outside of Fairbanks. He's on his way back to MN for his wife's family reunion and a 100 y/o birthday party.

All this time, his two dogs are just leaning into me and enjoying a good rub down. What great dogs. Makes me miss our Springer. I'd pay good money if she was half as patient and obedient as those two.

The ride through Muncho is pretty. Even in the rain. Then you start getting further south. By then, the beauty has dwindled and it's pretty typical countryside. At least I'm assuming. Mostly because I couldn't see from all the rain and dirty splashes off of all the tankers. It truly was a miserable day. 550+ miles. Probably 475 of it in some amount of rain.

In Dawson, I found my way to the start of the Alaska Highway. The one I'd just ran backwards. Pretty cool to realize I'd just completed it. Well, I almost didn't complete it. Early in my journey I'd encountered metal grated bridges. But I was on the factory street tires. Now I'm on knobbies. Whole new ball game. The shorter bridges, fine. But the Teslin and the last one before coming into Dawson Creek, oof. I basically hold my breath and tunnel vision it down to the end. All while going like 30mph. And trying to block out the fact that there is a wideload truck headed my way. Meanwhile, I have visions of taking a tumble and shaving my fingers off in the grates. Hate those things.

After Dawson Creek, I decided to press further south. Tomorrow I'll do Jasper and Banff. I was originally shooting for Grand Cache. But I'd already done 550miles, so I didn't really want to lay off another 110.

During today's rain and buffeting ride, I was really starting to rethink the whole return route. I'm going to drop the Utah, Grand Canyon and Colorado leg. I've realized that I really should be spending more time enjoying the areas, off the bike. I'm absolutely loving the rides and the places I've visited, but I find myself wanting to spend more time and really do things right. Not just tick boxes.

So I'll probably do Glacier. Black Hills. Badlands. But save Yellowstone and Teton for another trip. But if things go well tomorrow. I could change my mind and be doing it all the same.


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Old 07-23-2013, 09:04 PM   #84
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July 21 :: Trifecta of awesome. :: Jasper + Lake Louise + Banff + Eureka, MT

Damn. Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff. Trifecta of incredible. What an absolutely stunning place. I rode the Icefields Parkway. It was long, winding and incredible. Made a backpaper lunch and sat at the beach at the Cold Springs. A vast milky blue lake that was maybe 2ft deep. People, and their dogs, were wading around all over. It was the most people I'd seen in one place in some time.

After that, it was back south. But first let's stop and admire the Rock Sheep. Just chilling by the side of the road. Until he got bored of the photos, then it was his precarious climb back up the wall.

Yet again, I hosed myself on gas. Luckily, the Rotopax was full, so under the gleam of a glacier, I refilled it for my continued trek.

The area was alive with high end sports cars and bikes up to tom foolery and shennigans. Multiple times, I had cars crossing into my lane. As they overestimate the turn. Or their driving ability. My last stop was Lake Louise. Beautiful. And if it wasn't for all the horrible tourists jabbering around and using their tablets as a camera, it would be a tranquil place to just sit and bask in awe. As for awe, the Fairmont property has now shot to the list of places to use my Fairmont certificates on. If I wasn't such a horrible skier, winter would be a great time to visit.

I decided to continue pressing south. Which quickly became a bad idea. I drastically underestimated my remaining hours of day light. Before I knew it, it was dark. Everything was closed. My visor was smeared with bugs. Refracting oncoming light and leaving me temporarily impaired. Then it finally happened. Deer. Two extremely close encounters. The ones that leave a lot of tire noise and and racing pulse. l have to get off this damn road. The border is only a short 15 more miles. Just take the last bit easy.

At the border patrol, it was a bit of an interrogation. I asked him for advice on where to stay and he said Eureka. Just a quick 8mi down the road. I mentioned the deer and he told me to get off the road ASAP, unless I had a death wish. At this time, I do not.

Eureka. Well, it has a few hotels. All of which close at 10pm. It's now 11pm. They don't even have a late arrival phone. So after riding around, trying to decide to find out where to urban camp, I remembered a tip. Find the police station. Off to see the LEO, I go. They point me towards the city park, I can camp there. Surprising, but awesome.

I'm pretty stoked about my spot. Well, until some town drunk stumbles over. This guy smelled like the carpet in a frat basement. At a second tier school. He asked if I had an extra blanket. Nope. Would you mind sharing the tent? Yeah, that's not going to happen. He finally wanders off. I'm assuming that I won't get any sleep after that. Fearful that I'm going to get Deliveranced. However, I immediately passed out. 600+ miles will do that to you. Especially after three weeks of riding.


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Old 07-23-2013, 09:11 PM   #85
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July 22 :: Hail and hellish cross winds. :: Glacier National Park and Hardin, MT

I was awoken at 6am. I open my tent. Find a guy in socks, flip flops, shorts and a tank, dumping the waste from his 70's RV. I chuckled, as it looked identical to the scene in National Lampoons, "Shitters full!" Guess I picked a prime spot.

Frankly, my demeanor is in the dumps. I'm tired. Physically. Emotionally. My rear tire has started acting up, randomly getting squirrelly at speed. The transmission continues to do weird shit. Most of the time shifting, sometimes not.

I really just want to get home.

My shitty outlook rubbed off on everything today. I get to Glacier. Expecting to be blown away by the Going to the Sun Road. Only it's a slow moving parking lot with a smattering of construction. At one point, I waited 20+ minutes to go through the zone. On a cambered turn, with no way to put my kickstand down.

Then some jamoke in front of me, decided to hold up the whole parade. Driving 10-15mph. So I went two hours. Cursing to my helmet. As a lugged along a 500+ lbs bike in first and second gear, constantly feathering the clutch in and out. Realistically, what I should have done is just pull out in one of the areas that he kept avoiding (you know to let traffic by) and hiked around or took pictures. Instead, I did none of that. I just kept grumbling. I didn't take a single picture. Two fold, it was stunning, but it was kind of a been there seen that moment after Stewart, Haines, Skagway and Denali. Finally, I'm scared of heights. Can't shake it. I had no desire to pull to the side of the mountain. I just had visions of missing the kickstand and going overboard with some Rock Sheep.

After I get out of the park, I enter some desert slum. Mobile homes with tires stacked on top. Dilapedated playgrounds. Random horses running around. (that part was cool) Turns out I was on a reservation. A lot of the kids were wearing shirts declaring, Rez Made. Interestingly, there was a PSA billboard, "Drinking can lead to an empty lodge. The alcohol spirit is strong and ..." It was way too long for a billboard. Come on folks, that's advertising 101. Keep it to under six words.

The sky is completely clear. Minus that area over there. That's black. Storm. And has lightning. Check the GPS. F! That's the way I'm going. So now I'm getting battered with hail. Hail. It's 86 degrees. Finally, I push past the storm. But not until my rear tire gets loose for the fifth time.

Then what comes? Oh just 50 mph wind. 50. You have to be kidding me. I'm riding. Or attempting to, at a 45 degree angle. Going 10mph under the speed limit. Getting pushed off the road. Then when the barge of trucks come by, I'm getting sucked over into oncoming traffic. I had to stop every 30mins. Just to massage my hands and try to find my balls. But I think I left them on the Dempster. Which I'd rather do over crazy crosswinds.

I get into Billings as the sun is on it's last legs. Just sit on the high overlook and watch the city. It's so weird to see masses of people. And gas stations that are open 24/7. I mean Anchorage was a city. But outside of that, I've been out of pop culture and population hubs for some time. It's almost overwhelming. Imagine people who are doing journeys like this in South America, Africa, Russia, etc.

Like a dummy, I keep pressing on. I just want to get home. Each mile takes another one off of my subsequent days. But then it gets dark. Damn it. Did it again. I sit in Hardin, MT. At a KOA. My first visit. Something about it feels like true Americana. Yeah, it's the Applebee's of the camping world, but it strangely feels ok.

Tomorrow, I take 90 East. Visit Deadwood, Sturgis, Black Hills and Bad Lands. Then I find a place to camp and take one more day to get home. I underestimated how much I'd end up missing home.

On home, I decided to cut my trip short about six days. This trip opened my eyes to so many new adventures. So much so, that I felt greedy. I want to share this discovery with my wife, friends, family. As much as I can't wait to tell the stories, part of me feels like an ass. It was a very selfish trip. And I'm so thankful I was able to do it. But I also learned, 1. shared experiences nearly always trump, 2. it's how you get there, not just the destination. Too often, I found myself riding in and out of places. Never really getting anything more than a photo or 14. To layer on the Grand Canyon, not only adds a couple days, but it also doesn't do it justice. After talking with John, guy that was hit by a car, it was his suggestion to hold it. He suggested spending a whole week there, hiking and camping. Which would sure beat the 30mins I'd allotted myself.


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Old 07-23-2013, 09:26 PM   #86
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July 23 :: Sick of I90 :: Chamberlain, SD

Is this over yet? I'm now glad that I took the plains of Canadia out west. It was a much easier ride.

I feel beat up. Sore all over. The wind. The high traffic speeds. Brutal. And now the 700 feels lightweight and underpowered. I long for a Harley or 1200GS who seem to be cruising with no problem. It's a struggle for me to maintain 70-75mph. With the wind. The trucks. The traffic. Lots of stops to gain composure.

I'm sick of I90. I did jaunt off through the Black Hills, Deadwood and Sturgis. Which was a welcome reprieve from the highway. And the requisite stop at Wall Drug.

Deadwood is cute. But commercial. Black Hills are great. I'll certainly come back to explore. Sturgis is gearing up for the Rally. Kinda cool to see it. Can't imagine what it's going to be like in a few weeks. Stopped at The Knuckle Saloon. Parked amongst a see of cherry and chrome. Oddly, I got all of the attention.

People congratulating me on the ride. Telling me it took stones. Was funny listening to them complain about sunburn. Wanted to tell them if they wore gear, they wouldn't have to worry about that, but opted to bite my tongue instead. They also confirmed that my bike was a sail in the wind. Said it was a struggle, at times, on their bigger bikes, but overall, not an issue.

Decided to press on. My goal was Sioux Falls. I ended up in Chamberlain. About 140mi short of my goal. But I'm beat and it's getting dark.

Only 140 more miles of 90. And it's supposed to rain. Then into easy highway on the way back into Minneapolis. Just 375 more miles to go.

Now I've got to figure out what my next trip. Or bucket list item is going to be. I'm actually, digging the idea of some of these destination tours. Fly in and rent a bike.

Hopefully, I'll awake in better, yet likely waterlogged spirits.

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Old 07-24-2013, 07:49 AM   #87
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Sounds like a serious case of the horse-galloping-back-to-the-barn syndrome. It's a natural tendency, I think. In retrospect the good/adventurous parts of the trip will outweigh the not-so-good bits. Good on you for seeing it through.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:20 AM   #88
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Sounds like a serious case of the horse-galloping-back-to-the-barn syndrome. It's a natural tendency, I think. In retrospect the good/adventurous parts of the trip will outweigh the not-so-good bits. Good on you for seeing it through.
HAHAHA. Slowly meandering back to the barn.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:28 AM   #89
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July 24 :: Home

I was up around 7am. Out by 745a. Off to the Corn Palace. Got my snapshot. Walked around. As I'm all geared up, a guy comes over to talk to me.

Turns out he's an ADVRider and saw my sticker. We move our bikes over by one another and grab a couple photos.

Caleb is on a two month journey, on a 1200 Bandit. We shot the shit for a good 30-45mins. Talked about what works. What doesn't. The moment where you just hit a wall and realize how alone it is. He said, about three weeks in, he started to feel depressed. But once you get past that, it gets better. He's meeting up with friends and his girlfriend is flying in to meet him midway. That should help.

After that, it was a pretty easy ride home. My wife had the house decorated with balloons and signs. Was so great to see her. We've already started talking about doing some sort of adventure (albeit not on a bike) like this together.

I started weeding through the pictures from my actual camera, and I really didn't take enough.


Later on I'll give my thoughts about what worked, what didn't, what I'd change, what I loved, etc.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:26 AM   #90
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The pictures.

One of my favorite moments, on the ride into Skagway




Jasper (the first time, in the rain)







Falls near Mount Robson, BC





Some horse

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.n...93710522_n.jpg




Bear Glacier in Stewart, BC




Black bear on the roadside




Metal decked bridge in Teslin. Oof.




One of my favorite roadside stops, Taggish, Yukon.









Carcross, YT




Klondike Highway, coming through to Skagway. Awe inspiring.












Denali.






Denali Highway. First time on dirt and gravel.






The pipeline.




Top of the World Highway.








Dawson City, YT






Arctic Circle, Dempster




Bison (?) near Muncho Lake




Muncho Lake






Awesome dog is awesome. Black lab and Irish Golden mix. Guy was originally from MN. Fell in love with AK and moved there. He was on his way back to visit family.




Survived it.




Rock Sheep in Jasper






Jasper/Lake Louise/Banff













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