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Old 07-27-2009, 04:39 PM   #1
Doogle OP
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DRZ400S to Prudhoe&Inuvik from Cincinnati

I got home from my trip to Prudhoe Bay and Inuvik Sunday night 7/19.This was not a sight seeing trip.It was for the ride.It was my 5th time to Alaska.I have an 08 Ultra Classic and a 72 Superglide.Both have been to Hyder Alaska.I wanted to ride the Dalton and Dempster highways.And riding alone,did not want to be on a big bike.Also thought all the dirt and gravel would be extremely destructive to the Harleys.In rain,mud,gravel,wind,and snow it would have been close to a death wish.I decided I would try it on my 07 DRZ400S.Not exactly a road machine.But decent on the road,and better than anything else I saw on the Dalton or Dempster.I was thinking about doing this ride next year,until my wife suggested doing it this year.So I planned for this trip for 2 weeks before leaving.

About 300 miles into my trip I realized my windshield was too low.Too noisey and not enough protection.I stopped and bought a Rubbermaid
box and 2 one inch clamps.I clamped the box lid to the windshield.The best $13 I spent on my trip.




My first real stop was in Tisdale,Saskatchewan where I visited friends.Then I rode to north of Edmonton and stealth camped.The next morning my bike wouldn't start.It just grunted.I thought the battery was dead.Lots of people stopped to help.One guy jumped my battery and it eventually started.Then it died a minute later and we couldn't get it to start again.I told him to go because I needed to do some time consuming things.Pulled the tank bags,seat,tank-just to pull the spark plug.It was soaked.Hit the starter and a column of gas shot up in the air.That meant my vacuum operated petcock was leaking and the float valve was leaking too.So,for a while,when I stopped I had to pull the carb hose off and plug it with a 1/4" socket extension.I finally got an inline shutoff valve.I forgot numerous times to turn that valve off.Twice I had to pull the tank off and remove the plug to purge the gas from the cylinder.


On the road again,I hit some hard rain.When I stopped for gas, 2 people told me not to ride for a while.There was a tornado ahead and behind me.I waited about 10 minutes and thought it looked more likely to hit where I was than anywhere else.
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Riding through Stone Mountain and Muncho Lake in British Columbia I saw a lot of wld life.A grizzly and 2 cubs,12 black bears,3 fox,3 moose,buffalo,deer.
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In Watson Lake,Yukon my rear tire had no tread on about 1/4 of the circumference.850 miles from my new tires in Fairbanks.



Dawson Creek-The begining of the Alaska Highway.
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I rode to Whitehorse where they had bike shops.None had 18" tires.I was about to see how long I could ride on a casing.

I made it to Fairbanks.I went to Northern Power Sports to get my tires.Well,they were closed on that Saturday for the 4th of July.And their normal closed days are Sunday and Monday.That news will take gas out of your tank.3 days to kill.I went to Walmart and changed my oil.Then I rode to the front of the store where I saw 2 loaded BMW's.I asked them where I might camp for 3 days.After being told,I asked if they had heard of Advrider (a motorcycle forum).Yes they had.Then I asked if they knew the name "AKtracks," the only name I remembered from this forum.And the guy said it was him.I didn't believe him till he pointed to his license plate "TRACKS".Unbelievable!We talked for half an hour and exchanged phone numbers.We would meet and ride the next day.Then I was off to find that camping spot.After 10 minutes,I was riding into some nasty looking clouds.I decided to turn around and wait for the weather to pass.I had time.Then my phone rang.It was AKtracks telling me not to go where he told me to go.There was a bad storm there.He told me to come to his parents house for there grillout.And he said he had my camping problem solved.I ended up staying there for 3 days.I did my laundry,ate with them,changed my tires.And they wouldn't even let me take them out to eat.They let me leave some of my bulky things at there house when I rode to Prudhoe Bay.This was the highlite of my trip.You just don't find this type of hospitality.And AKtracks dad was worth the trip.He just knew soooo much about motorcycles.I really enjoyed talking with him.Many thanks to the whole family.

Starting up the Dalton Highway
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Back to my trip now.Riding to Prudhoe was warm at first.89 degrees at the Arctic Circle.
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Atigun Pass
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Then it got wet.And then there were a few flurries.The dirt is slick when it is wet.And the gravel is difficult anytime if it is thick.I was glad I was on my DRZ with knobbies.Did I mention it was cold?At 3am I got gas at the Prudhoe Bay gas station/room.It is a self serve credit card place.You scan your credit card inside,then go outside and pump gas.I moved my bike away from the pump after filling up and went back inside.Inside this 8x8 85 degree room was a milk crate.I sat on it to warm up and thought "could I sleep here till someone ran me off?"Couldn't go to sleep,so I rode about 1/4 mile out of town to camp.And it was very windy.It's tough to put a tent up in high winds.Especially when it's cold.And I had to tie the tent off to the bike to keep it from blowing away.
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So between 3:30 am and 6am I may have gotten 1 miserable hour of sleep.I had a tour of Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean at 7am.So,at 6am I am packing up my cold wet tent.A night to remember.

The only way to get to the Arctic Ocean is to take the $40 Prudhoe Bay bus tour.The 2 hour tour starts with an informational film.Then the bus tour past many drilling rigs,repair facilities,and the ocean.
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Carribo and fox didn't seem to care that humans had invaded there space.When the tour was over,I went back to my bike and another pleasant surprise.Forgot to turn the gas valve off.Get out tools.Pull tank bags,seat,gas tank,spark plug,and clear the cylinder again.And yes,it is still cold.An hour later I'm on the road.250 miles later I stopped at at a small town named Wiseman.I setup my tent by a river to get some much needed sleep and dry the tent out.I slept about an hour then packed up and headed to Fairbanks.I camped near Fairbanks that night.

The next day,I returned to my gracious hosts' house to retrieve my front street tire and box of non Dalton Highway bulk items.Then I was off to Chicken,Alaska.On the way there,I ate at Fast Eddie's in Tok.I had eaten there on my way into Alaska.Very good food.From Tok,you ride the Top of the World Highway to Chicken and then Dawson City,Yukon.I camped in Chicken in the parking lot of the Chicken Creek Saloon and Cafe.
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Throughout my trip I met a lot of people that I would like have to talked with more.One was John,a semi retired neurologist from Florida.He was exploring Alaska on his Harley.I advised not to go to Prudhoe Bay on the Harley.Plenty of good stuff to see without getting on the dirt and gravel roads.There are a lot of wrecks and deaths on the Dalton & Dempster Highways.And riding on a big bike or with street tires just increase your chances.Going up the Dalton Highway I had upper 80's and sunshine till the Arctic Circle.Then it turned to rain,wind,fog,and as previously mentioned cold flurries.Imagine a 900 pound machine on a wet dirt road covered with 3" of snow.And there are some extremely steep hills.


Anyway,the next morning I left for the Dempster Highway.It goes to Inuvik,North West Territory.It's s far north as you can ride.I think I rode an hour or two to the Yukon River.A free ferry takes you across the river to Dawson City.
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From there it's 30-45 minutes ride to the beginning of the Dempster Highway.Then 500 miles to Inuvik.
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Then the Arctic Circle again
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And the Northwest Territory
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My plan was to ride straight through to Inuvik.I stopped at Eagle Plains,NWT to get gas.It's about the half way point.The attendant told me the ferries only run till 12:30am and I wouldn't make it there in time.I said I would ride to the ferry to camp and be first on in the morning.He said it wouldn't be safe because of bear activity in the area.He showed me a camper he built on his pickup because of his concerns.I decided I would stay at there campground,shower,eat, and get a good nights sleep.Then the next day I would ride to Inuvik and return at least to Eagle Plains.Clyde from St.Louis was camping there also.He was waiting for a battery for his BMW.I told him on my return trip,if he was still there,I would do what I could to help him.
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The next day I was off to the Peel River ferry.Then the McKenzzie River ferry.
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Both are free and operate when someone approaches.There could be an hour delay if the ferry is having sump pump problems.But for entertainment,they provide a mosquito convention.In fact this entertainment is provided at most stops in Canada and Alaska.I had a lot of rain and fog before arriving in Inuvik.In Inuvik I was making a u-turn and felt a looseness some where.Front forks were tight.As I sat and moved my handlebars,I saw my swingarm move.I grabbed the rear tire and rocked it side to side thinking bad wheel bearings.All my spokes were loose.Lucky one of the spokes didn't puncture my inner tube.I checked my spokes when I put my new tires on in Fairbanks-2000 miles ago.Also saw my chain needed adjusting again and my sprockets were badly worn.Now it's Saturday afternoon and there are no bike shops up here.Found a shop that said Monday they could find my parts and fly them in.I went to the campground and signed up for 2 days,thinking I would be there twice as long.Nice place to camp,Platforms for tents.
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Sunday I went to a car wash and cleaned the bike.Then I went back and adjusted my spokes.
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I found the wheel had been running off center 3/16".That explained the abnormal wear of my tread.And no I never felt the wheel being off center.I did balance my wheel.After truing it up,I had to take a lot of weight off the wheel.

Monday morning I decided to gamble riding 800 miles to Whitehorse,YT.I had great dry weather and rode at a much slower speed.I would have to adjust my chain every 100-150 miles.I stopped for gas at Eagle Plains and saw that Clyde was on the road again.Down the road a couple hours later I needed a nap.No picnic tables.So I just laid down on the ground by this lake.
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When I next stopped for gas at the start of the Dempster,I talked to a couple that had ridden down with Clyde.He was 20 minutes ahead of me,but going back to Dawson City.So I was off to Whitehorse,if chain & sprockets allow.Another 300 miles.I got there about 3:30am.The bike shop opens at 8:30,and I wanted to be there then to get my parts ordered.I went to a park and found a picnic table to sleep on.I used a lot of picnic tables on this trip.




About 5:30 I walked to a McDonalds and waited for them to open.I ate and warmed up and left to order parts.They told me there is no such thing as 1 day delivery.But they would do the best they could.I checked in to a campground for 2 days.I had been out of cell range for a long time.So,here I could finally catchup with my wife and even send some pictures.Clyde,from Eagle Plains,was now coming into the campground.We went out to eat Tuesday night.Wednesday afternoon my parts came in.I installed them and left for home on Thursday.My old chain and sprockets.
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I wanted to get home Sunday night.3300 miles in 4 days.I planned to camp north of Edmonton,where I camped on my way to Alaska.When I saw what it looked like in daylight,I kept going.It was in plan view of a house.I rode into Edmonton and found a park which had my prefered quick bed-picnic table.I usually sleep with coat,gloves,helmet and sunglasses on.Mosquito net and repellant when needed.Two and a half hours of sleep and I'm moving again.

Some where in Saskatchewan I saw my front tire was worn thin.Decided to change it before I hit more rain.I smelled rubber a couple times when I stopped.Guess it was the knobs on the tire wearing off.Nice to have the tire off the back of my bike.
[IMG][/IMG]

I did drop my bike today.I was off the road up a hill by some railroad tracks.I was going to take a picture of some canola fields.I put the kickstand down and was seeing if it would support the bike.I was still sitting on it when it started to sink.It is a tall bike.And I need to be sitting on it for my feet to touch the ground when it's level.When it sunk in,I realized my left foot wouldn't reach the ground because the hill was steep on the left side.It was a slow fall.But difficult to pickup because the rear tires were a foot higher than the top of the bike.Had to drag the front wheel downhill for better footing and weight balance.I think that's when the mirror broke.
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My back and shoulders were really hurting me again.Tried different positions and other techniques that helped.But it just wanted some rest this time.About 1:30 am I found a campground with a shower at Foam Lake,Saskatchewan.Wanted to put the hottest water I could on my shoulders.Well,the shower had one handle.Off or on.It was warmer than body temperature.But it did not help the way I wanted.It did redistribute the smells a little.

Rested and ready for my final charge.I really had no close calls on this trip.Until I got to north of Grand Forks,North Dakota.I was on expressway going 75 mph.2 deer dead ahead out for a slow stroll.I just got my foot on the rear brake and swerved a little.I knew I would hit the rear quarter of the smaller deer.I don't know what happened.I missed it.Take a deep breath and slow to 65 mph.Three miles later I saw a lot of north bound traffic.It's dark and there is a bend in the road.I'm a little tired and wondering if I got off the expressway onto a 2 way road.Because that car that is coming towards me is in the lane next to me.Pulled over and called 911.Then went in town to Denny's to celebrate 2 survivals in 5 minutes.

Then continued on for 1019 miles on Saturday.Kept riding except for 3 one hour picnic table naps.Sunday night I'm on I-275 near Colerain Avenue in Cincinnati,in the rain again.Almost home and I've slowed down a little.Don't want to mess up my trip this close to home.I'm in the slow lane.A flatbed semi is 50 feet in front of me in the middle lane.I hear clang,thump,bang.6 feet to my left and 20 feet in front of me is an 8' aluminum spreader bar.I think that could have done me in if I were behind him.Half an hour later,11:30pm, I'm home to my smiling wife.I told her I felt like I could do another 500 miles.So we stayed up till 3:30am talking.

Plan to ride to Key West soon.But I will cheat a little.My wife will follow me down.We will visit friends in the Keys.Then we will tow the bike home.


The reason I didn't finish my transcontinental trip sooner-my wife wanted to ride Route 66.We rode my Ultra Classic to Chicago where the route starts.Then we rode to Santa Monica,California,where it officially ends.Then we rode south to El Centro,California and stayed a week.Next we rode up Big Sur before heading home.7300 miles total.

On 10/29/09 I left Cincinnati on the DRZ for Key West.My wife followed in the car with a trailer attached.It was a boring ride other than the fall colors in Kentucky and Tennessee,and the Florida Keys.The first day I rode I-75 to south of Atlanta,Georgia.The next day I rode I-75 and the Florida Turnpike to Stuart,Florida.On Saturday I rode to Key West completing my trip.I loaded my bike on the trailer and drove 25 miles.We planned to take a bus back into Key West for Fantasy Fest.Did not want to be driving in all the traffic knowing a lot would be drunk.We waited an hour and a half and still no bus.So we got in the car to head north to our motel.Just as we pulled onto the road,the bus went by.There had been a motorcycle accident that closed the road.I won't bore you with my trip home.Other than my wife and I took a ride in a 1938 biplane in Marathon.That was the best part of the Florida leg.








Things I did to my bike:
1.Modified a rack I made previously that sits behind the seat.It holds my hillbilly Rubbermaid container.It's luggage to me.Only planned to use it on 1 trip.I rode the TransAmericaTrail 2 years ago.
2.Made racks for Tour Master synthetic saddlebags I had.
3.Mounted Garmin Quest 2 GPS
4.Clarke desert gas tank 4.2 gallons
5.Emgo tank bag
6.Small Tusk saddlebags that mount on gas tank-gas cap holds to tank
7.Made frame to hold Harley windshield I had.300 miles into trip,I bought another Rubbermaid box.I attached the lid to the windshield for about 4" higher coverage.Without it the wind noise was too much for me to tolerate for 10,000 miles.0 style points.1000 function points.
8.Installed 16 tooth front sprocket(15 stock.)Better highway gearing.Would like to have been higher.




Date Day mileage Total Location
6/28/09 start Cincinnati
6/28 1026 1026 North Dakota-did not stop
6/29 628 1654 Tisdale,Saskatchewan
6/30 525 2179 North of Edmonton,Alberta
7/1 405 2585 60 miles west of Dawson Creek,B.C. Problems with petcock and float valve leaking
7/2 543 3128 Watson Lake,Yukon
7/3 752 3880 South of Delta Jct,Alaska
7/4 156 4036 Fairbanks-3 days waiting for tires.Shop closed Saturday 7/4,Sundays,&Mondays
7/7 540 4576 Prudhoe Bay,Ak
7/8 494 5070 Fairbanks,Ak
7/9 402 5472 Chicken,Ak
7/10 267 5739 Eagle Plains,Yukon -too late to catch ferry
7/11 235 5974 Inuvik,North West Territory Rear spokes loose,chain and sprockets worn
7/13 794 6768 Whitehorse,Yukon
7/15 40 6808 Whitehorse,Yukon Waiting for chain & sprockets
7/16 1258 8064 Edmonton,Alberta
7/17 488 8552 Foam Lake,Saskatchewan
7/18 1019 9571 Wisconsin-did not stop
7/19 530 10,103 Home

10/29 528 10,631 South of Atlanta,Georgia
10/30 544 11,175 Stuart,Florida
10/31 275 11,450 Key West

Doogle screwed with this post 11-11-2009 at 08:44 PM Reason: Add pics
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:59 PM   #2
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You should go back into edit mode and try hitting the return button a few times....loooooong paragraphs kinda discourage folks from reading & it looks like you earned a good yarn to share.
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:09 PM   #3
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Hiya Doogle

Glad you made it home, safe and sound. Also, thanks for stopping by. Your visit inspired my Father and I to start a business catering to motorcycle tourists. So, in the coming days/weeks as we receive our new No-Mar tire changer, some tires, oil, filters, etc., Adventure Cycleworks, LLC should be up and running here in Fairbanks.

Have fun, it was great to meet you, and I hope to see you again.
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:06 PM   #4
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You sir, are a man among men.

When a picnic table = comfortable nap spot, you know you're having an adventure.



AKtracks, I hope to make use of your services some day soon.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:04 PM   #5
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I rode my converted 400S to Coldfoot earlier this year and thought i did some hard days. You take the cake. Good riding. Thanks for sharing. I think I would have had better luck with the larger tires since I crashed outside of Carson City, Yukon on the Klondike Highway. My broken arm ended my trip. I am glad you got home safe. It sounds like you, just like me, would do this all over again if you could. Note: bar risers may help your shoulder pain. It helped me when I did my Iron Butt ride.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:28 PM   #6
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TOO LONG...

DIDN'T READ.



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Old 07-27-2009, 09:19 PM   #7
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Good read

Thanks for taking the time to share. You must dry shave if you travel like that!
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just4fun2
I rode my converted 400S to Coldfoot earlier this year and thought i did some hard days. You take the cake. Good riding. Thanks for sharing. I think I would have had better luck with the larger tires since I crashed outside of Carson City, Yukon on the Klondike Highway. My broken arm ended my trip. I am glad you got home safe. It sounds like you, just like me, would do this all over again if you could. Note: bar risers may help your shoulder pain. It helped me when I did my Iron Butt ride.
I read there were two things that need to be done on DRZ's.Get a different seat and get risers.I did neither.I rode the Trans America trail in 07 and didn't have any discomfort.And I rode it at a pretty good clip.But with the stabbing pain I had in my shoulders on this trip,I was ready to steer with my feet.
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doogle
I read there were two things that need to be done on DRZ's.Get a different seat and get risers.I did neither.I rode the Trans America trail in 07 and didn't have any discomfort.And I rode it at a pretty good clip.But with the stabbing pain I had in my shoulders on this trip,I was ready to steer with my feet.

The PO installed a Corbin seat on the bike so I have never felt the stock seat. I like the Corbin and have no compaints. I did have a freind fab up some highway pegs for my DRZ and that really helped me with leg cramps. I really do not think there is a better bike for this type of trip. I had a blast jumping pot holes on the Dalton. The Top of the World was fantastic with the agility that my SM conversion gave me. Just a larger front tire and knobies to keep me off the grave.

Thanks again for sharing your adventure. I hope you have more soon.
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Old 07-31-2009, 07:49 AM   #10
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Great trip/ Next time stop and smell the roses or at least rubberneck. Lots of great views on the Dalton: tress, trees, and more trees until you pass Finger Mountain.
Nada about TOTW Highway?
I met a pair from the east on 400's in the Robert Service Campground south of Whitehorse (Snick and Snack or summat) They have their trip report here on AdvRider. They were taking it easy and reporting as they go.

I posted frequently on SabMag but still have to edit photos.
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl.Custer
Great trip/ Next time stop and smell the roses or at least rubberneck. Lots of great views on the Dalton: tress, trees, and more trees until you pass Finger Mountain.
Nada about TOTW Highway?
I met a pair from the east on 400's in the Robert Service Campground south of Whitehorse (Snick and Snack or summat) They have their trip report here on AdvRider. They were taking it easy and reporting as they go.

I posted frequently on SabMag but still have to edit photos.
================================================== ======

I stayed at the Robert Service Campground 2 days waiting for parts.Met a lot of adventure riders.I didn't see another 400 on my trip.I did meet Amoto from Japan at the Service C.G. He was on a 250.He was in his 15th month of travel-South America,US,Canada,Europe,and heading to Russia and other Asia countries.

I have been to Alaska and Canada and smelled the roses.2 times in a motorhome with my wife.This trip was a mission with a little sightseeing in new areas.When my wife lets me go on trips,I try to be frugal with the gone time.

TOTW Highway is not very impressive to me.Maybe later in the year when there is more snow on the mountains.Been there before when it was prettier.As with most places,the first time is the best time.

I would have added pics if there were some help on how to.

Doogle screwed with this post 07-31-2009 at 09:10 AM
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doogle
I would have added pics if there were some help on how to.
All you ever wanted to know: Posting photos

Okay... no more excuses. We want to see some scenery shots.

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Old 08-04-2009, 07:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcan Rider
All you ever wanted to know: Posting photos

Okay... no more excuses. We want to see some scenery shots.

Thanks for the photo info.I've asked before about how to add pics and got no responses.I should have experimented on a new thread.As you can see,I messed something up.Hovering turns everything orange and some how words are underlined.I'll figure things out.

Getting the right pictures uploaded was an issue.My new camera or SD card messed up while I was gone.I have lots of pictures that have thumbnails of different pictures.But that's better than the one's I lost.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:40 PM   #14
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Dr400 all that way -- YOU DA MAN!

Great story.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:59 PM   #15
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That's some serious riding! I'm really hoping to do a ride like that someday!
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