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Old 08-07-2007, 01:27 PM   #46
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A+ Alaska report.
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:25 PM   #47
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Easily one of the best Alaska reports I have read! 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!
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:42 AM   #48
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Track V Haines and Skagway


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.

The new Home Depot Snow Blower from China?

Of course I made the mandatory stop at Alaska Leather in Anchorage to see Barb and look at motorcycle stuff

Rain is still in the forecast for North of Anchorage, Denali and Mount McKinley. 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 Mount McKinley before from the air.

So its off to explore the Cassiar Highway and see towns Haines and Skagway.

On the way I did a little detour to Hatchers Pass and a tour of Independence Mine.

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.

Hatcher’s Pass – Great views. Not very difficult except for some thick gravel patches in the swithcbacks.

Glen Highway was a lot of fun to travel. Great views. No wildlife but more glaciers.

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!

Got to the town of Glennallen 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 5th 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.

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.

On the road to Tok in noticed the Alaska Government is getting tuff with the drive by gun crowd!

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?

Of course I needed to do my 4th trip through Tok Alaska to 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.

Unfortunately while I was off doing laundry, dinner and interneting, a kid decided to use the back of the GS as a Jungle Jim.

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

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

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

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

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

And for good reason.

She stopped to check me out and then took a dump in front of me before...

Stolling off with her little one. I got the message and rode off also.

Next: Haines and Skagway
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:42 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by H-Jay

About an hour down the road we run in to a couple from Alberta on a Goldwing. He had to be a good rider to do 2 up on a Goldwing on the Dempster. They had a flat and his friend from Inuvik drove down to help him. We offered to help him plug his tire since we had everything needed.

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.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:06 AM   #50
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Great ride report. It looks like you both had a great time. Thanks for taking the time to share.

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Old 08-08-2007, 11:59 AM   #51
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Alaska Ride Report

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....
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:34 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by FotoTEX
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....
I agree, wriring it makes me want to return....
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Old 08-10-2007, 03:38 PM   #53
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Wow, Great report!
Freedom Is Not Free

"The thing to remember when traveling is that the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you will miss all you are traveling for." Louis L'Amour
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Old 08-10-2007, 04:30 PM   #54
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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.
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:25 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Dirtduck E900
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.
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.

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Old 08-12-2007, 07:06 PM   #56
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Haines and Skagway



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.

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.

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.

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

After lunch I took a ride around the area including Mud Bay and out to a nearby Chilkat State Park.

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.

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

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

A pleasant surprise was the Sheldon Museum. 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 Alaska and northern Canada. 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.

The picture doesn't do this item justice in terms of its visual impact. The precurser to the modern day gortex?

Slowly returning to its orgins.

Threatening to start raining again.

Good pizza in Haines.

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

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.

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 Skagway 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.

Although its only a little over 10 miles between Haines and Skagway by water, we didn’t arrive until 5:00AM.

Since everything was closed in Skagway I rode out to the old Dyea town site, about 7 miles from Skagway. There is no longer a town there but it’s the location of the historic Chikoot Trailhead.

After docking in Skagway the miners used the Chilkoot trail to get up in to the interior of Alaska and the gold around Dawson City. They endured an incredible journey that included having to pack over 1000 pounds of provisions up the steep pass on foot.

Here is the road along the Skagway River.

On the way back into Skagway 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.

Rode around Skagway, toured the National Park Service Klondike Museum. It was OK, had some interesting displays and historical facts but not very elaborate.

Had a good Alaska breakfast at the Sweet Tooth, read big, a little too much grease but delicious.

As I was suiting up to leave Skagway Fast Eddie from North Carolina came by on his pretty GS Adventure. He was working his way up to Inuvik. Eddie has been to Alaska 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 Canada before returning to North Carolina.

I told Eddie he would really enjoy the city of Inuvik. 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.

Eddie and I had lunch at Carcross before going our separate ways.

Next: Telegraph Creek
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Old 08-13-2007, 06:45 AM   #57
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Track VI Cassiar Highway, Telegraph Creek, Hyder and the Kootinay Area


A few shots of the road between Skagway and the Cassiar Junction

At a campground at the Cassiar Highway junction, I met another GS rider that hangs out on AdvRider. It was CRainier from Olympia Washington. That evening we sat around and traded stores. CRainer (get it? See Mount Rainer) 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 Chilkoot Pass, and then paddled over 600 miles down Lake Bennett and the Yukon to Dawson City.

When we met, CRainier had just resumed his Alaska trek after a serious interruption. Earlier his final drive bearing carrier gave up the ghost while on the Alaska Highway. Luckily, he noticed oil leaking during a gas stop and avoided the catastrophic failure. He was towed 800 miles back down the Alaska Highway 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.

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

No pictures of CRainer. It was raining so the camera didn’t come out.

As I started south towards the lower 48 I decided to take the Cassiar Highway rather than repeat the Alaska Highway. The Cassiar is the road less traveled through the Yukon and British Columbia 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 Alaska and Northern Canada wilderness. It was easy to envision the area through the eyes of the original inhabitants from Asia, the early Russian trappers, the gold Stampeders, pioneers and the early road builder survey teams.

The Road to Telegraph Creek

Well here is another challenging road that has been advertised as especially suited for the GS’s capabilities.

The road runs 75 miles, mostly dirt and gravel, between the Cassiar Highway and ends at the town of Telegraph Creek, about 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

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.

The last 35 miles of the road meets up with the Stikine River. 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.

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

Of course, the road is narrow, guardrails are non-existent and I discovered the meaning of “Free Range” up close.

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

Telegraph Creek – the Town

The town of Telegraph 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 Stikine River 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 Pacific Ocean in about 5 hours from Telegraph Creek.

I stayed at the Stikine RiverSong Lodge, my third and last stay in a hotel during the trip. Originally, the lodge was a Hudson Bay outpost.

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

I enjoyed dinner at the Lodge's restuarant.

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

I recognize that begging look from my dog. It doesn't work at home either!

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

A surviving Callbreath in front of his grandfather's outpost teurned repair shop.

The blending of cultures that happens everywere

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.

Here is the common area of the RiverSong Lodge. The deck was useful for drying my equipment.

I’m still being watched, now from the back of the Lodge.

Next: Back to Alaska one more time?
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Old 08-13-2007, 10:20 AM   #58
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Stewart/Hyder Alaska


OK I couldn’t resist one more opportunity to drop in to Alaska so I took the cut off road to Hyder Alaska. It was only about 30 miles out of the way and promised up close looks at glaciers and bears.


Report of bears in the far end of the campground made me a little skeptical.

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.

As it turned out the 3 guys were a pretty interesting trio from Spain 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.

In about 30 days, they plan to end the adventure in Inuvik. In keeping with most of their journey, they had no plans beyond Inuvik other than to celebrating the accomplishment.

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.

Here’s some shots from around the area.

Hyder does not have a US Boarder crossing station. It felt funny entering the US unchecked after so many boarder crossings.

First commercial fishing boat out in the morning.

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

Next: Kootenay
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Old 08-13-2007, 10:52 AM   #59
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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.

On the road again … nice to get away from the clunk, clunk, clunk and back to the smooth ride again.

Burns Lake 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 Canada!

Fortunately I found a campground with shade. I think these were the only trees in 20 miles.

Morning and time for breakfast before the day heats up.

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 5th 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!

Here is one that lumbered off the road a bit while leaving the campground.

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.

I made a quick stop at the new Kelowna Southwest BMW dealership.

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.

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.

Paula helped me with a new Arai face shield.

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.

The road, route 6, between Kelowna 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!

Waiting for the ferry that crosses the Columbia River I met James on his extremely clean 1150 GS.

James was headed to west to Vancouver 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”!

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?

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

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.

More pictures heading through the Kootenay area to the boarder

Always good to find the Mountain Pass Gates open!

Next: Back in to the US and a few more detours….
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:16 AM   #60
The GS Store.
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Thumb Great story.

Keep the great report coming.

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


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.
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