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Old 07-23-2009, 05:27 PM   #16
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Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Mt. Vernon, Illinois
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Enjoying you tale

Hope to be up that way soon--really soaking up all the details of your ride--and am so envious of you riding riding as Dad and son. My son lost interest in riding when he went off to college. Never thought that would happen---pretty dumb of me to think that I guess.

anyway---one question-------what was in Eagle--just camping--or was there gas, food and lodging ?????? I guessed it was a dead in run to there ???

thanks !!!!
2008 Yamaha WR250R/2006 KTM 450EXC/2014 KTM690/2013 Husky 650 TR650
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Old 07-23-2009, 05:44 PM   #17
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Txt msg with Dan right after he was paralyzed:
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:14 AM   #18
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Great trip fellas!
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:00 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Hamon


We were quite enjoying not having to deal with inclement weather or sloppy dirt roads.

Excellent Report! I was through that pass just days earlier coming down from Inuvik on my V-Strom running Tourances in the Mud. It was rather frightening

I wonder if those may be my be some of my tracks....

Good show,

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Old 07-24-2009, 09:56 PM   #20
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Day 9: Chicken, AK to Skagway, AK via Haines, AK

(Google maps is being a turd, so Mapquest for this 'un.)

After an earplugs-aided rest, it was time to cook up some breakfast and get back on the road. We hit pavement a few miles south of Chicken, and the Taylor Highway carrying south to the junction was uneventful in every way possible. Coffee time was fast approaching, so we agreed that Northway Junction was as good as any place to stop. Heck, they even had fuel.

This stopped marked the worst cup of coffee we encountered on the trip. I mean, you could see through the stuff. Who really wants that anyway, right? But, at least it was hot. We sucked it back (myself feeding the last bits to the potted plants outside) and snarfed down a Hostess baked pie, expiry date: end of time. As we were sitting on the front curb, enjoying the sun, we were hassled by a carload of natives, coming from (maybe?) Northway, heading some ways west. They were obviously still feeling the previous night's festivities, and sure did want a ride on our motorcycles. Something about the situation did not lend itself to safe riding.

The bicycle rider in the picture was from the UK, over in North America for a while. He'd started in Prudhoe Bay and was making his way slowly south, with a final destination of South America. We wished him well on his trek, suggested the Icefields Parkway if he really wanted some scenery, and carried on in the same direction, just a little faster than he.

We were once more into big country.

As we neared Destruction Bay, the winds picked up, as the locals say they're apt to do.

When we finally arrived at Destruction Bay for lunch, I was very much ready for a rest. Crosswinds and horribly frost-heaved pavement seem to take a lot out of a guy. I was definitely glad that I wasn't in one of those land-yacht RVs, bouncing their way through the gullies that the permafrost left.

I'm pretty sure this picture was taken to document my facial hair growth. Y'know, hardcore biker that I was..

Lunch in Destruction Bay was fantastic. It was definitely "the place," with trucks, a GSA, and random other vehicles parked out front. A couple with two kids was seated a couple tables over, and the one boy was a riot to watch. So full of energy, he was. At one point, he burst into the dining room and sprinted over to his mom, seated at the table. A little embarrassed about his lack of proper behavior, the mom told him to "do it again," this time walking rather than walking. Of course, the kid made a huge show of it, dropped his chin dramatically, and stomped his feet comically out of the room, then stomped back in with a ghastly sigh. I glanced at the mom and we shared a laugh. Ah, kids.

There was also a pretty thing seated in the restaurant who worked at the attached motel. She was enjoying her lunch as we got settled at our table. I think I left part of my heart there, and she will probably never know. Ah, the curse of travel.

Anyway, after lunch, it was back to riding.

We carried on along the side of Kluane Lake.

It was about time for some construction. I mean, we'd been fairly lucky up until this point, crossing through any gravel sections without too much drama except for the one fuel transport that was booking it in the opposite direction. I kid you not, I inhaled at least a kilogram of dust from that experience. Honest.. I swear..

Anyway, we were stopped at this construction zone with an unknown amount of time to wait, a full line of traffic behind us (the flagger had brought us to the front of the line), and a stressed bladder. There wasn't a tree in sight, but sometimes nature calls louder than an opportune shrub. I positioned myself in a rocky ditch, let fly, hopped back on the bike, and we were guided along this 5-10km section of construction by a pilot truck.

But not without some equipment rearranging hijinks first.

The lake was indeed that glacier-fed color that we all dream of from our concrete jungles.

A few more miles and some deft dodging of wayward rainclouds, and we found ourselves in Haines Junction for fuel. It was about 4:30 or so on a Sunday afternoon. We weren't quite ready to call it a night, but we had some decisions to make.

One of Dad's destinations on this leg was to check out the lodge at Dezadeash Lake and to get into the cabin he used to live in for a couple years, thirty-odd years ago. This cabin was a few miles into the woods off the beaten path, and was, in his opinion, going to be a bit of work to get into. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to explore, but we also had ferry schedules from Haines to Skagway that became a factor. In the end, we decided on this plan:

-Head to Dezadeash and find the road leading to the cabin.

-If we could get into the cabin (somehow making it through the legendary SWAMP), we'd play it by ear and possibly stay there the night.

-If not, we'd head down to Haines, find a spot to camp, and the next morning head north back to Haines Junction and onward to Whitehorse.

The fact was, the way the ferry schedule was set up for the day (8:30pm) did not give us enough time to properly explore, and the ferry schedule for the next day (10pm) was not at all enticing.

This entire conversation was a long one, especially after somewhere around 600km of riding which had already been done that day. This shot was taken from the Shell station where the plan was hashed out.

Dad took the lead down the Haines Highway, and, being the guy that I am, I had to take a picture. Dezadeash Lake is on the left.

We arrived at the lodge/motel. It was in ruins compared to its heyday back in the 70s and 80s. The lodge was completely gone, as were most of the peripheral buildings. The motel building was still up, but no longer in use.

Dad was taking it all in. There was a sentimental, yet melancholy air about the entire time here.

After wandering through the overgrown grass for a little while, getting a feel for where things used to be, it was time to find the cabin. The trail led us past a few houses near the highway and into the woods.

I'll be honest, as we carried further into the forest, seeing "No Trespassing" signs and the like, I felt less and less welcome. We pulled up to one driveway only to see a figure about 200m down the trail motioning for us to turn around. At least he wasn't holding a shotgun. I obviously was letting my fears get to me, but I couldn't help but think that it would be pretty easy to make a person disappear back in here.

When we turned around, we found the right path and were making good progress. That is, until this.

The way back sure looked more appealing.

Of course, Dad, whom I have inherited a fair amount of stubbornness from, would not let mere logs stop such noble motorcyclists. He searched for a path around. I, on the other hand, was not entirely happy about the situation. I was tired, about ready for a nap, and not at all prepared for this kind of challenge so late in the day. I uttered more than a few curse words at the situation and, regretfully, at my father. I've done this on occasion when the going gets tough, and it seems to be my stress-relief vent. That being said, I sure do feel horrible about what I say after the fact.

There's a path somewhere in there.

Instead of multiple raised logs to try to get through, this shortcut meant heaving our bikes over single, ground-based logs. It was hard work, the kind of work that cameras get forgotten in.

"Wait Dad! Hold on!"

"What, are you stuck?"

"No, this needs a picture."

Although he didn't say it outright, I know my dad was thinking I sure was a piece of work (or a piece of something else possibly).

In any case, we made it through (knowing we'd have to come back the same way), and pushed forward into our next obstacle. Once more, the hard-headed mules (maybe moose in this area) butted heads. This time, it was mud, and mud, loaded bikes, and more-than-half-worn tires didn't seem like a good idea, at least to me.

Dad had other thoughts, powered through, and stopped at the other side, urging me to get through. Well, if he can do it, I guess I might as well too.

Mm.. Mud.

At this point, Dad figured it wasn't far to the swamp. This would be the true test of whether we could make it to the cabin or not. The road dropped down, and we parked at the top, wanting to check it out before making any decisions.

This is probably rideable.

If you've never heard the term "muskeg," this is the definition:

At this point, we opted not to push further. The day was nearing its end, I was exhausted, and even if we were fresh in the morning, I'm pretty sure we'd not be able to make it through. This ain't no rock-bedded puddle. This is swamp.

(If I get out to my parents' place this weekend, I'll try to scan Dad's picture of when he got two trucks stuck in this same spot.)

One more shot of "over there," where the cabin was nestled somewhere in the trees.

We turned around, away from the swampy mess and back towards civilization, at least, northern civilization.

If bikes can look grateful, these do.

Back through the logs, this time with better photos.

I'm doin' it!

I'm doin' it!

C'mon you pig.. Get through.. One-.. more-.. push!


We got the bike righted, and to the last log blocking the path. It was the biggest of the windfalls, and posed the largest hassle.

After trying our darndest to get the bike over, I decided it was time to break out the secret weapon.

Here's to quick-release panniers! Caribous make me happy.

Just for the record, this is "exhausted Travis."

It was Dad's turn to do the same section, and I was set up for his glamor shots of making it through.


Hold that pose, my memory card's full.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity

Hamon screwed with this post 07-24-2009 at 10:11 PM
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Old 07-24-2009, 10:03 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by brerfox
Oh Hamon, you sweet talker you!!! Mid-20's what a way to win our hearts!! (We're actually in our earlyish...thirties)
Man, my most sincere apologies. Guess you fit into the "old fart" category then (at least to a 21-year-old).

Bigdog, as far as Eagle goes, there is at the very least both gas and camping. Lodging and food may have been originally dealt with at the lodge on the river's edge, but that's a few months in progress to be restored. You may be able to find a B&B, but I promise nothing.

Twistn', I have a good deal of respect for anybody running that road in the wet, especially on Tourances. Who knows? It very well could've been your tracks I was sniffin'.

Thanks to all for comments! Time for bed, more later.

Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 07-25-2009, 02:32 PM   #22
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Ferry to Skagway

Hey Travis,

I thought you looked familiar.... we were on the ferry to Skagway that night and wound up camping together in that shitty RV park. Your Dad spared me some quarters for the shower! Thank him again for me! I started my RR here as well, you'll find it.


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Old 07-25-2009, 08:08 PM   #23
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Now, where were we? Ah yes, the ol' memory card. Of course, the one time during the entire trip where my memory card got filled happened at what could very well be the least opportune time possible. I snapped a shot, Dad made it across all three logs without a hitch, then got hung up in a bush upon trying to make the final corner to redirect to the trail again.

He was none too pleased about his motophoto obsessed son at this point in time.

We finally got his bike back onto the path, and stopped to take a breather. It had been a workout getting the bikes (namely the piggie KLR) over the logs and we were both pretty sapped as far as energy went. Our clothes were drenched in sweat (myself still wearing a fleece from the chilly morning) and we were more than tired enough to forget about the swarming horseflies and mosquitos.

It was a hop, skip, and jump, back to the highway.

Southward we carried, with our sights set on Haines for the night.

The landscape between Dezadeash Lake and the Alaska border was nothing short of spectacular.

I rolled up to the crest of this hill, pulled over to the shoulder, slowed to a crawl, then finally stopped. The sun was out, the mosquitos were gone, and the wind was tame. It was one of those moments, y'know, when the world stands still and you can only feel peace.

We sat for quite some time, soaking the experience all in. Words seemed trivial.

Made for good glamor shots though.

We carried on to the border at a relaxed pace, ready for the quiet ride down into Haines, a happy campsite perhaps, and a good night's rest.

When we got to the border, it was 8:50. We soon realized, as we crossed into Alaska, that this meant we were back on Alaska time, which put us at 7:55 after border formalities (no sir, we're not carrying any guns). The ferry to Skagway, I remembered, was set to sail at 8:30 from Haines, which was 45 miles away. A quick bit of math told us it was possible, although we'd have to be moving, traffic would have to be non-existent, and the road would have to be in reasonable shape.

I glanced back at Dad, who had just made it through the border, advised him of the situation, and we agreed that we might as well try.

The next 44 miles (which needed to be traversed in less than 35 minutes) were a bit of a blur. It was about this time that we each were wishing for the "warp speed" option on an 800 or 1200GS. Nevertheless, we gave the singles a flogging in their own right.

Of course, what's a story without pictures?

As we got into Haines, the signage for the ferry got more and more vague. I ended up taking the correct turns, but Dad got a bit turned around at one intersection, forcing him to ask directions.

The last five miles from Haines to the ferry had to be a gravel construction zone, naturally, and I kicked up a fair cloud of dust as I whipped around corners as quickly as I deemed necessary.

I got to the ferry right around 8:30, as cars were being loaded onto the boat. 3 bikes were waiting to be loaded yet, and I sure had their attention as I zoomed into the parking lot. A quick request of where to buy tickets led me into the terminal, and I gave all the information I could to get our tickets purchased as soon as possible.

I ran back and forth between the terminal and the queuing line, searching in the distance for any sign of the DRZ. It took a couple minutes, but finally, flying around a corner and passing a car at the time, was Dad, doing his best impression of a Hollywood-calibre stunt driver. He pulled into the lot, and I grabbed the necessary identification I needed from him. As Dad was registering, the guy letting us board was asking whether we were carrying extra fuel. Already in a time crunch, I told a wee lie that neither of us were carrying fuel, even though Dad may or may not have been carrying an extra 5L in oil jugs. In any case, we hastily made our way onto the ferry: the last to board.

I ended up recognizing one of the other bikes that was ahead of us in line. He was from Vancouver, and I'd seen his fancy-painted KLR with the XS Twin fairing at a DSBC Newbie ride. Him and his brother (on an 08) had been on the road for nearly a month, doing both the Dempster and Haul roads. The other rider was Steve (Twistn'roads), a V-strom rider who had done the Dempster in the rain and experienced some fairly goopy conditions (extra man-points). We shared our experiences as we enjoyed our sunset ferry ride.

As I socialized, I noticed that Dad had disappeared. As we neared Skagway, I tracked him down near the front of the ferry. (From a later discussion, I think at this point he was seriously contemplating whether he would cut loose and do the rest of the journey alone. He'd not appreciated my verbal offensiveness in the woods at Dezadeash and was understandably getting sick of me.) I mentioned to him that we might as well camp with the other riders tonight as the day was almost done, and he agreed that that was the way to do it.

Skagway awaited.

We piled off the ferry, went down the main street, and found an RV park that also catered to tents. They were closed for the night, but assured us that we'd be fine to find a tent spot for the night and square up in the morning (we'd regret this arrangement later). We found our respective campsites, set up our tents, and spent a couple hours BSing over whiskey while the younger of the two brothers changed out tires from knobbies back to street-biased meats. They didn't have tire spoons, so I offered them mine. He was most appreciative and after using actual levers, he knew what his next purchase was going to be.

It was bedtime; it'd been a long and eventful day.

Final mileage, July 5th:

This was all road mileage as I turned off the GPS for the ferry portion. Although 800km ain't that long a day on most roads, when you factor in that an hour or 2 of that was offroad shenanigans, it makes it a much longer day.

Tomorrow promised to be an easy one. We had Whitehorse as our destination, a new tire to spoon on, and laundry to do.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:09 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Twistn'roads
Hey Travis,

I thought you looked familiar.... we were on the ferry to Skagway that night and wound up camping together in that shitty RV park. Your Dad spared me some quarters for the shower! Thank him again for me! I started my RR here as well, you'll find it.


Steve, I'll send him your thanks when I see him tomorrow! Shitty RV park indeed. I'll have to check out your RR!

Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:46 PM   #25
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Great pics and fun ride!!
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Everyone should be so lucky as to be able to ride a motorbike through the Himalayas.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:55 PM   #26
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Day 10: Skagway, AK, to Whitehorse, YT,-97.15369&sspn=28.795555,78.837891&ie=UTF8&z=8

We got up when we got up, packed up the tents, and assessed our situation.

The tent sites had no picnic tables, so it wasn't much use to cook up breakfast here. There was the odd bug kicking around as well, so we decided that downtown Skagway would make a nice breakfast destination. We went to pay.

After pulling teeth to try to get somebody to the front desk, I mentioned to the girl that we were wanting to pay for tenting sites from the past night. We were two bikes and two tents. We'd be paying separately.

"That'll be $26 please"

"No, I said we'll be paying separately."

"I know"

"You've gotta be kidding me."

Begrudgingly, we forked over the cash (an absolute ripoff by all accounts) and rode, feeling noticeably lighter in the pocketbook, towards the White Pass railyard.

There were picnic tables in the park, and nobody was even going to charge us money to use them! (Can you sense some bitterness?) We figured this was as good a time as any to make breakfast. Out came the stoves, pots, and oatmeal, and we had ourselves a tasty, sun-soaked morning.

The idea of taking the White Pass rail route had crossed our minds the night before, but Dad decided that it wasn't necessary to do this trip. The plan is that he'll be coming back up here with Mom eventually anyway, and they can do the White Pass at that point.

After a delicious breakfast, we bid farewell to Skagway.

Goodbye, you quaint, trendy, lackey of cruise ships and tourist destination for the masses. We'll take our money with us, where it's bound to stretch further.

Anyway, once we got past the city limits (and I shed my angst), we were welcomed back to motorcycling with beautiful mountain twisties.

Ah, sweet corners, how I have missed you.

We climbed higher, every so often catching a glance at the White Pass tracks across the valley. The views were world-class, and we revelled in the glory of it all.

Goodbye Alaska, see you again!

As we neared the Canadian border, the land flattened out in an alpine landscape. It was, well, bouldery. I don't know how else to describe it. Once more, the terrain was like something I'd never seen before. Very cool.

After a pleasant crossing back into Canada, we carried on northward to Carcross.

The roads returned to their uninspiring southern Yukon ways, and we made good time to Whitehorse. The destination was Yukon Yamaha, where a Kenda K761 was waiting for Dad, and we hoped to be able to return the unused AC10 that we ended up faring fine without.

We walked into the dealership with the tire and got to talk to Doug, the very man who had put up with all my phone hassles from Inuvik. We explained the situation and he happily exchanged the AC10 with the K761. We asked about whether we could do a tire change outside and were more than welcome to pull onto the concrete pad out front. When we asked about oil changes, they were less enthusiastic. They've had environmentalist issues around here, and public oil changes were frowned upon. No worries, they welcomed us back after hours to change oil.

We took them up on the shaded concrete out front though. It looked like just the ticket for a tire change.

As we sat, working on the bikes, a BMW GS1200A pulled onto the concrete as well. It was none other than Errol Goodenough. I recognized the grumpy bugger immediately and walked briskly over. He glanced over, happy to see another rider greeting him, and then the wave of recognition hit him. We shook hands and had a laugh about coincidence.

He recounted his tales of Inuvik and his return down the Dempster. First off, they'd taken the flight up to Tuk the same day we'd gotten back to Dawson. During the tour, at the opportunity to dip their toes into the Arctic Ocean, they'd gone one further, stripped down to their pasty skin and hopped in with gusto. He mentioned something about shrinkage. It must've hurt with cajones the size of his.

Second, he told us of his adventure on the way down. Not far out of Inuvik, cruising at a good clip on loose gravel, his GSA swapped ends on him. As he explained, there was a point when the TKCs were pointed skyward. In any case, he managed to stay apart from the bike during the tumble and mentioned that there was a point as he was sliding on his arm down gravel that he thought to himself, "hey, this is pretty neat."

He came out unscathed, but his bike fared worse. He buggered up one of his Jesses fairly well, broke both driving lights, and removed a turn signal handily. He was on his way now to BMW in Edmonton for a little fix-up. In Whitehorse, however, he figured it was time for a Tourance once again.

As he waited for the shop to change out his tire, he wandered over to our side of the concrete, where I was giving unappreciated advice to Dad, who was struggling with getting the beads unseated on his rear tire. Finally, he'd had enough. He told me off, advising me that he didn't enjoy having eyes over his shoulder while he wrenched.

This was totally fair, and I mentioned that if he wanted, I could change his tire for him. Well, that was all I needed to say. I mean, who wouldn't take up the offer for a free tire change.

As I toiled, the boys-at-heart got ahold of my camera.

This is what I get for offering to help.

A Yamaha V-Star of some sort had arrived whilst we worked and had gotten to drain his oil in the parking lot. We asked if we'd be able to do the same since he did, and they, hands tied, let us do a quick oil change in the gravel too.

Finally, after pinching a tube, putting a phantom hole into the second tube, and remounting the tire for the third time, we were off. We asked Doug where the good place to eat was, had lunch at the Airport Chalet (I think), and made our way into town.

The afternoon was taken up by registering in the motel, getting a couple loads of laundry done, stocking up on groceries, and wandering around town. We settled down in the evening to TV, a good shower, and beer.

Final mileage, July 6th:

A short day, but productive.

Atlin was on our minds for tomorrow. We were far ahead of schedule, and we could afford to take some side trips. Sleep, however, came first.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:36 AM   #27
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Day 11: Whitehorse, YT to Dease River Crossing, BC, via Atlin, BC, +Stikine+Region,+British+Columbia&hl=en&geocode=%3B%3BFW4mgQMdChE_-Cm3OZCamHf5UzEiqNsQFzUBJg&mra=pe&mrcr=1&sll=59.845885,-132.74901&sspn=2.798403,9.854736&ie=UTF8&z=7

It was a bit tough to get started this morning, as it had been the morning prior as well. Today marked the last day we'd spend in the Yukon, and the start of the journey back home. We'd seen and experienced a lot, but also learned that there was far more to explore in the territory, given enough time.

In any case, it was time to go. We were ready for all that may come: our clothes laundered, our larders stocked, and our bikes prepped. Of course, we couldn't just go home. There were still several routes that we wanted to check out that would extend our homeward journey. I think this is the way to do things: not being pressed for time on the way home, making good time on the way up, but savoring the moments on the return trip.

We took the Alaska Highway to Jake's Corner, filled up with fuel, and headed south for another gravel excursion, down to Atlin. Props go to Squonker on ADV for mentioning the ride down to Atlin (and Telegraph Creek, tomorrow) as a destination. He was right. It's amazing.

A quick pee stop as we carry southward.

Although the road was gravel, it, like most northern gravel, was smooth, with some loose sections to keep the enjoyment level higher than on pavement.

We carried on into Atlin and had to stop by the docks for some photos. The town still seemed to be sleeping when we got there. Maybe Atlin always has that feel to it. In any case, my impressions were of peace and rest.

It was coffee time, so we checked out the General store. We were welcomed by a young girl, no older than 12, who sure made us feel like we'd found the right place. Extremely personable, got us coffee and muffins, and then set about her duties of tidying up the store, pricing things for the shelves, and generally, being a model employee. She'll go somewhere.

As we sat down for coffee, an older gentleman came over to make conversation. He ended up spending a fair amount of time with us, telling us all about Atlin, the lake, and the surrounding area. He was also a photographer, and showed us the Atlin postcards that lined the doorframe. They were his. Very cool.

The conversation in the store between locals was like any other local conversation. It was about stuff that we had no clue about: why a trail (that sounded like a shortcut) was being blocked off by a police truck, what each person's plans were for the day, and basically things like that.

The store also had well-made Swedish and Scandinavian knives in a display. I, not having purchased a souvenier on the entire trip, decided that this was as good a time as any to add another bladed tool to my arsenal. Being a knife guy, I couldn't pass up the chance for a good quality knife at a general store. Too often they're inundated with Chinese made folders for the undiscerning public.

Anyway, we were in Atlin, and more photos had to be taken.

In this next shot, the mountain on the left is actually an island. Our "tour guide" in the general store had mentioned that this was actually the world's tallest freshwater island, and that it had its own glaciers as well. Once again, very cool. Pun only slightly intended.

We retraced our steps, enjoying both the paved and unpaved sections of the road back up to Jake's crossing.

Onward and eastward we carried, along the Alaska Highway. I apologize for taking very few pictures of this road. Long, windy, and straight sections don't really make for exciting photos.

The lunch stop was Teslin.

Once we pulled in, several other motos joined the party. This one was owned by a Swiss fellow who had already done 40K Km on his trip, starting in South America. He was on his way to Prudhoe Bay.

Those GSPDs are such sexy bikes.. 33L tank.. Stock.. I drooled more than a little.

These other riders that had pulled in at a similar time were from somewhere in the States. They were on their way up to Inuvik, one on a KLR and the other on a Sportster. We didn't talk quite as much with them as with the Swiss dude, but they seemed legit.

After lunch, we did about 90Km in a windy, sleepy din. Finally, I'd had enough. I could no longer keep my eyes open and I pulled over at the next available rest stop. I got off the bike, walked over to Dad, and mentioned my need for a nap. He was in the exact same boat, and had fought his own leaden eyelids during the last section as well.

There were no picnic tables, so we propped ourselves up against signposts and rested with the sound of a running parked diesel tractor trailer as our lullaby.

We stayed there 15 minutes, which seemed to be the magic number for rest. It was time to get back on the road.

That was my last shot of the Alaska Highway. Farewell, Alcan, one day we shall meet again.

On this section of road, we came upon oncoming traffic consisting of 2 campers and 2 bikes (Beemers, one a big GS, the other a 650). This was only significant due to the fact that as we met them, the big GS was still passing one of the campers. I actually had to move over in my lane to avoid a collision with this idiot. If the rider who this was ends up reading my report, I have one thing to say. I didn't not wave 'cause I didn't see you. I didn't wave because you endangered both of our lives with your asshat display of stupidity. We, as motorcyclists, have enough dangers (moose, motorists, bison, and road conditions) to deal with already. To make yourself another danger to riders is ridiculous, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

We drew ever nearer the junction to get us to Highway 37: the Stewart-Cassiar. I was getting excited now. A change of scenery! The promise of more twisties! Oh my, I can hardly stand it!

First, fuel.

(The truck in the background ended up spilling diesel everywhere. I felt sorry for the guy.)

The day was nearing its end, the sun was low in the sky, and we decided that Boya Lake campground was probably as good as any for the night. We pressed onward, back into BC, the Promised Land.

Corners please.

The views were nice, and the road was without lines. It was sometimes tough to judge apexes without the defining marks of road markings. It was also tough to judge where your lane ended and the oncoming lane began. Caution was taken in corners.

As we neared Boya Lake, a sign for Dease Crossing Campground stood out. It was 93Km away (as the sign foretold), promised showers, reasonable rates, and sounded like just the ticket. I conversed with Dad, suggested we press forward, and he agreed that it was probably a reasonable idea.

We rolled into Dease Crossing Campground, met the camp hosts who were some of the friendlies, most generous people around, and set up camp in their well-maintained, homey-feeling facilities.

A couple sites over, there was a young man on a bicycle. His bike was an older 15 speed street bike unlike a lot of the cross-country stuff we'd seen up in these parts. He was from Japan, spoke very limited English, but through enthusiastic hand gestures and the odd word, we got our points across. He'd started in Anchorage, and was on day 33 of his voyage south, into South America. Very cool. He had balls.

Dad and I poked around the bikes, ate supper, set up camp, and talked a bit over whiskey and pipe smoke.

Final mileage, July 7th:

Since we had made it so close to Dease Lake today, the plan was for Telegraph Creek in the morning and hopefully Stewart for the night tomorrow.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:29 PM   #28
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Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Texas, USA
Oddometer: 475

i love this report, man. great stories, pictures and commentary. i'm headed that direction in a couple of weeks so it's really making me drool...
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:02 PM   #29
Hamon OP
I just like riding
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
Day 12: Dease River Crossing Campground, BC, to Stewart, BC, via Telegraph Creek, BC,-130.57419&sspn=1.461399,4.927368&ie=UTF8&z=7

The skeeters were out in numbers this morning. Never as bad as what we experienced in the Yukon, but still enough to warrant a fire and a hasty break of camp. At least it was dry, though. It sure helps a person get motivated for the day when the weather cooperates. We'd gotten the packing procedure down pretty well, and we fired up the bikes, suited up, and set out to take off.

Nothing yet to do but click 'er into gear.

Hm.. Stalled.

Try it again,

same thing.

Must be the sidestand safety. Back off the bike, open the visor, take off the gloves, and get visited by the buggies. Pop off the cover to access the safety switch. Hm, well there's yer problem, the cable that activates the switch was gunked up with grit and dust.. Where the heck could that have come from?

Anyway, some WD40 solved that problem. Stitch up the bike and git 'er done.

We carried on to Dease Lake, tossed some fuel in the bikes and set out for Telegraph Creek. We had no idea what to expect, but figured it was as good a time as any to find out.

Sometimes I think Dad might have almost enjoyed himself.

We ended up staying at a good distance from each other for this outing. The dust was particularly bad at times.

The scenery, on the other hand, was pretty darn fantastic.

Met a couple guys on 09 KLRs along the way too. We'd see them once more as they tractored by during our lunch stop.

There's one section that if you've done this road, you'll remember it. It was the super straight section with some rises and falls, but no corners. In this section, we encountered thousands of moths. I was riding with my faceshield down for the simple fact that if I had lifted it, I would've captured the creatures in the opening. Later that day, I would take off my faceshield only to find dead moths wedged between the shield and the peak. Pretty amazing how many were kicking around. They sure were bred for quantity, not smarts.

But, enough about moths. Did I mention the views were splendid?

As we got into Telegraph Creek, the gravel was moist. We thought to ourselves, this is awesome! They've watered down the road, the dust is down, and we can actually enjoy ourselves. Little did we know that this would be our encounter with (what we think was) Calcium Chloride: the corroder of all that is aluminum and the bane of a motorcyclist's existence. In any case, we went through it, and there wasn't much we could do about it.

We stopped for coffee at the general store, just as they were opening.

The girl who helped us was friendly and cheerful, giving us a detailed description of the goings-on in Telegraph Creek, why Telegraph Creek and Glenora existed, and what drew people to live here now. It was originally a Gold Rush stettlement, and once the rush passed, turned into a community of folks who just wanted to be a bit separate from the rest of the world. It was mainly a ghost town these days, but definitely had character.

In any case, the coffee was good (probably the best of the trip) and the pie was fresh, even though we spent $20 between us on our coffee/pie. The tip was generous, but the pie was expensive too.

Not wanting to deal with any more Calcium Choride, we decided to head back to Dease Lake. We bid farewell to Telegraph Creek. Something tells me I could spend a lot of time here.

We carried back eastward, through the canyon roads that led us back to Dease Lake. The roads were pretty intense, and there was one hill that was marked as a 20% grade (I think) where tanker trucks actually parked one of their trailers at the top, carried a single trailer into Telegraph Creek/Glenora, then went back to bring the second one in. I have a fair amount of respect for these drivers.

This was also the section in which I was passed by a pickup. The way he took the corners and kicked the back end out every so often told me that he was either ridiculous or a local. My diagnosis: both.

The rest of the trip back to Dease was spent grinning, gassing, and getting loose on gravel. I really enjoyed this road, especially when at the end I realized I hadn't even broken anything. The nice thing was, the technical aspect of the road let me completely forget about the Calcium Chloride too.

That is, until we stopped in Dease. This, folks, is an unhappy bike:


We asked around for a car-wash in town, which directed us to the local RV park. I went into the office of a fairly deserted RV campground, asked the older fellow if he indeed had a car wash. He reluctantly pointed to where it was. Something about our dealings with him inside led us to believe that we weren't really welcome.

Ah well, at least we could clean our bikes.

This picture is for Dad: he needed to prove that his bike was in fact dirty on this trip.

At this point, after spending one loonie on the car wash, I was using the low pressure hose (when the pump wasn't activated by a coin) to wet my bike down a bit to save a bit of money and keep from harming pressure sensitive items (ie chain, bearings, and the like). This was also the point when the ornery old bastard came out from his office, grumbled at us for only spending 2 dollars on the car wash, then wandered back inside. I had to wonder if it was really necessary for him to do so. I mean, the best case scenario is that we put two more dollars in the car wash machine. Some people can just be miserable though.

We had originally planned to eat lunch at the RV Park too, grabbing a spare picnic table, but the sour experience with the proprietor led us to get out quick.

We packed up,

and rolled on, finding a place by the river instead.

We grabbed some provisions out of our food stock and sat on the rocks, watching the water tumble past.

The sound of the raging river was all the conversation we needed.

After a nice, relaxing sit by the river, it was time once more to move south. We were full of fuel and ready for a few hundred kilometers. The only problem with this was the same problem we had yesterday: after about 100km this time, our eyelids were drooping and we sought a catnap on conveniently located picnic tables.

Ah.. Refreshed and ready to roll onward, we carried further south yet. The roads, although better than the Alcan, still had their moments of boredom.

We gassed up in Bell 2, a very nice little gas stop, and pressed onward. The day was nearing a close, but Stewart still beckoned in the distance. We put on a few more miles.

We hit the junction to get to Stewart, and headed west, not anticipating the breathtaking landscape that welcomed us.

Just for the record, the real color of glacier-fed lakes is brown.

The area was amazing, and once again, very difficult to capture in photographs.

We carried on, wowed by the craggy mountains that dropped down right beside the road. It almost reminded me of what I thought the Alps might be like. In any case, I enjoyed it.

We made it to Stewart in decent time, and as the sun hid behind the mountains, we carried on into Hyder, AK.

We had considered camping in Hyder, as it seemed like the thing to do. After riding around town a little, we realized that it was a pretty strange place. It, in the end, didn't give us the right vibe for what we were looking for, so we headed back into Canada after a quick search made us realize that there was very little selection of cheap booze in the States.

We got the picture, at least.

We camped at the Stewart Municipal campground instead, which was fairly vacant. The attendant said we could set up anywhere, so we found a nice spot for our tents, took up a healthy amount of room, made our supper, and exploited the excellent hot showers.

I also ended up swapping around my front tire here as the sun began to set. It was cupping pretty bad, and my lack of balancing the TKC before the trip had taken its toll on one side of the tire. The hope was to get the tire wearing more evenly, both in terms of cupping, and in terms of where on the tire it was wearing. We'd see where that would go. For now, though, it was bedtime.

Final mileage, July 8th:

The end was near. Conceivably, only 2 more days on the road. After a day like today though, I sure as heck didn't want it to end.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 07-30-2009, 10:16 AM   #30
Hamon OP
I just like riding
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
Day 13: Stewart, BC, to Prince George, BC,+bc+to+prince+george+bc&sll=49.891235,-97.15369&sspn=28.795555,78.837891&ie=UTF8&z=7

The morning brought cool weather and cloudy skies. It looked as if rain was a possibility, and heated grips set on high an actuality. After a morning shower, I played catchup in putting my gear back on the bike. Dad and I were pretty evenly matched in our packing up times, so the head start I gave him made me have to pick up the pace a little bit. In any case, sooner than later, we were on our way out of town. As we reached the city limits, I realized something. We'd forgotten to get fuel. We had to fill up before we'd reach the Highway of Tears, and I'd completely forgotten to stop in town to fill up. In any case, we turned around, got gas, and got on our way.

The clouds brought very cool effects.

As I was doing my on-the-fly thing, a bear appeared on the side of the road. I did what I could to get him in the frame.

Far left:

Far right. I'm pretty sure the tan coloring is his nose.

We pressed on.

The glacier was bluer this morning.

We hopped back on the Stewart-Cassiar and braced ourselves for the rest of the day: the map promised very little good scenery.

We had coffee and toast at the junction, talked with a guy on (I think) an R1100S wondering about fuel on the way up the Stewart Cassiar, and carried further on, through the little towns, and further eastward.

Getting into Smithers

We stopped for lunch in Houston, a great little town with a large Dutch reformed population (my origins, at least half of them).

We once again searched for "the place" for lunch, and found this:

As soon as we got in, we knew we'd found it. The lunch special was affordable, included coffee, a starter, and a dessert, and the waitress (who could've had a bit more than just hours invested in the restaurant) was friendly, efficient, and everything that you expect from a successfully run business. This was one of the most positive dining experiences we had on the trip. Anyway, we still had some miles to put in, so, back on the road.

As per the past two days, after about 80km, it was nap time.

Talked with a trucker for a little while. He griped about being in debt while owning a Harley, a pretty fancy truck, a boat, a house, and all that jazz. He said there was something wrong about still being in debt.. Some folks just need to spend less and live on a more humble means.. I mean.. C'mon, if you don't want to be in debt, don't put yourself in debt. In any case, he was extremely friendly still, and we had a good chat. Take care, trucker dude.

He'd mentioned that there was rain near Prince George 3 hours ago. We'd see if that was still the case.

As we neared Prince George, we were followed by a clan of Harleys out for a weekend ride. This was all well and good and, as they were travelling faster than we, they ended up passing us. The part I was not so pleased with was when one passed me on the right while oncoming traffic was passing me on the left. I was pissed that these (insert expletives) gentlemen thought themselves to be far more important than I that they'd be willing to risk my life. Jerks.

We carried through Prince George, and looked for a campground. All the places we saw looked pretty RV-oriented, until we finally swung by one a little further out of town. It was a honey-store/RV park, had reasonable rates, and free showers. We'd hit the jackpot.

After running up to the local convenience store, we settled down to Colts, a campfire, and whiskey. The ground was damp from the rain they'd had earlier, but oddly enough, there was not a bug to be seen. It was like a cruel joke, and we waited for the bucket of skeeters to be unleashed on us. It never happened, and we had ourselves a relaxing evening.

Final mileage, July 9th:

Tomorrow we'd take it easy, set up camp in Lytton, and the following day we hoped to get a bit more challenging offroading in.

(I hope to get this report wrapped up tomorrow, we'll see.)
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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