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Old 08-08-2010, 09:31 AM   #61
blackx70
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Great trip report

We went to Alaska on a cruise 5 years ago. One of these days, I will ride there. I am looking forward to the next installment.
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:27 PM   #62
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Loves it! Looks like you are having a great ride. Keep it up.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:33 PM   #63
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Enjoying your rip

Gr8ADV,

I'm enjying your report. Your son seems to be enjoying the trip and it seems that stopping often and for longer periods of time. I really think that taking 2 days at the hot springs was a great idea.

Good pictures and write-up. I've enjoyed each update.
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:17 AM   #64
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I wake to the sounds of a heli taking off. Not too subtle. As I said this is a 'working' highway stop. It is late(er) around 9. I needed the sleep. Apparently Chris needed more, as he slept through a total of 3 takes offs and 1 landing.

All the other folks at the campsite are gone. We wonder if Paul went back to Dawson or up to Inuvik with his bad clutch. We are alone this late in the morning. It is eerie and quiet. Not a cloud, and I think you really can see forever, in most every direction.





If you look closely you can see the Demptster wind it's way north. Breath deep, this is a wonderful part of the world.



Over the past few days we have found what is a more natural rhythm for us.
Take it easy in the morning, with a little extra sleep and break camp later than we do in the lower 48. We then run much longer into the evening than we would ever do down south.

Today we have decided to hit the Circle and skip Inuvik. Although the road is beautiful and fun, the trip means a big two day out and back, and if we stop in Inuvik and hang, well that is almost three days and we decide to use those three days in other places on the trip.

First things first as I grab my allen tool and my Torx tool and we go over both bikes. I am amazed what has rattled lose; absolutely amazed. No doubt a bolt check is in order before ever doing this road.

It is a beautiful morning and we head the 25 miles up to the Circle. On the way someone has placed a long and happy 15 inch high pile of gravel two thirds of the way across the already not very wide road anyway. This leaves us with about 5-6 feet to play with. The shoulder is soft and you don't want to go there, and the happy pile is not a place you really want to play in either. Over a ridge we come across a grader coming towards us. It does not take long to figure out who will win the game of Chicken and we, carefully, cross the happy pile to the other side of the road. We hit the Circle and of course we take our 'circle pics'.





As we stop and chat with folks, and even have a bite at a table behind the sign, we note that the clouds have formed quickly. But we hang for a while and take it all in.



As we head out, it is clear we will hit some showers or maybe some rain, as we head south as the range ahead looks pretty black. Chris takes the lead and heads back way ahead of me. We hit a shower. As I climb a hill I can see Chris's tracks go from a reasonably straight line to a squirmy mess up the whole hill. Ah, this will be fun. It is amazing how quick this road can change. A bit later the graders have laid down about 6 inches of the soft stuff. Now this keeps you about as busy as you want to get. Damn if it rains now, this could get ugly. It doesn't and we make our way back to Eagle to fuel up and head south.



The showers are wet, but only passing and things dry out almost as instantly as they turn ugly up here.



The only bad thing on the horizon is a very dark cloud system over what is Peel Ridge? That is one part of this road I am not sure that one can get up or down in the rain. For the most part we have broken clouds with just a couple passing showers. We are fortunate enough to get up and over before any wet stuff hits bad.

Ah the Dempster. You can almost taste it.





We add our little bit of welcome to the highway on a stop.





Hmmmm, ok this could make it interesting.



We are familiar with the road now after traveling up yesterday and feel quite comfortable around 60 mph most of the way. We make good time.

We head up to Dawson, which is only about 25 miles from the start of the Dempster, and stop at Sourdough Joe's for an awesome dinner.



Heidi our lovely waitress also acts as the visitor center and gives us great info about the town, including the campsite just a quick ferry trip across the Yukon. Easy, quick, free and fun.



And Dawson looks great in the cool evening sun eh.



We decide to spend a couple days exploring this town, and look forward it. The campground is wonderful, and close enough that we can stroll down to the ferry and walk the town. It also has free firewood which means unlimited smores.



We sit by the rivers edge and talk about the trip. So much has happened that we have a hard time remembering things that seemed to have happened months ago. We flip through the pictures on the camera and have a laugh or two before calling it a night.

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Old 08-09-2010, 07:02 AM   #65
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I rode to Prudhoe solo in 2008 and remember seeing a father and his two teenage sons doing the trip.....got me dreaming of taking my boys someday. Thanks for keeping that dream fresh. It'll be a few years from now, the twins are 10 and the little guy just 6, but we will do it.
Congrats and never get tired of the beautiful up there.

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Old 08-09-2010, 10:42 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by F.P.
Congrats and never get tired of the beautiful up there.

F.P.
You are right. There is not a single road that we have travelled thus far that I would not jump on right now and be happier than a kid in Disneyland!

It is far more stunning up here than I had expected, even after seeing all the pics and reading the RR's. The constant natural beauty of the area is remarkable and never ending. It is easy to start to take it for granted. Good thoughts, thanks.
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:47 AM   #67
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You are right about taking the scenery for granted after a while. It is beautiful, but wanderlust is fed by unfamiliar places and even beauty can get boring if you get too much of that medicine.

Btw, Dawson is imo the best town to hang out in the Yukon. Have fun and safe rides.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:39 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by YukonTracker
You are right about taking the scenery for granted after a while. It is beautiful, but wanderlust is fed by unfamiliar places and even beauty can get boring if you get too much of that medicine.
That is amazing that you say this today! Tonight Chris and I have that very discussion. "But Dad, it's all beautiful, how much more beautiful can we see..." Whatever/Whenever will take a twist in Dawson.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:49 PM   #69
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Good stuff

Really enjoyable RR, looking forward to seeing more pics!
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:38 PM   #70
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Boil in a bag, or Sourdough Joes, Boil in a bag or Sourdough Joe, these are the tough decisions we have to make on this trip.





Inside Joe's there is a guy who is up helping with the new wastewater treatment plant construction. Turns out his physical therapist on vancouver Island was the best man at my wedding. Now go figure.

Dawson is a cool town, but I am a bit surprised, make that a lot surprised, that it is really a tourist town, not unlike Whistler, without the village. College kids come from all around to work there for the summer then go home. You have to look hard (well not really) to find someone who actually lives there. Takes away a bit from the place but it is still cool.






Glad to see they have a nice new school. (ok it is not real rr stuff, but I like it)





Heck they even have a couple nice waterfront lots. This one has a for sale sign on it.



You can see in these pictures the dark blue water of the Klondike River as it comes into the muddy water of the mighty Yukon

Also it is mighty hard for me to imagine that this baby freezes over 6 feet deep such that trucks can drive over it. It is big, and it is flowing fast. I guess I just don't understand what real cold is yet.

A lady who has lived there all her life says that in the winter you have to learn to take what mother nature is willing to give you. If you are a needy person you will never make it.



Now it was once that soccer was a nothing sport in North America. Now here we are in Dawson City. Dawson City. We walk by a bar and looky what they have on the teli. The bartender looks at Chris and says, I am not sure if he looks 19. I tell her (Ms Toronto) that he is my son. I know that she says... she never cards him and lets us sit (dry) and watch the game. She also lets him come back tomorrow and watch the game too. thanks ms Toronto.



First guy to tell me what game this is I will paypal you $1.00

Damn! A monster Cage.



This guy went like hell downstream. Ya better have a big drink goin when they came back up.



Walking through the campsite getting some firewood I run into a couple from Holland. He is holding something, could it be? Could it be? Yes it is. It is Jiffy Pop. Chris and I have been talking about this for days. We chat and I tell him the story, and he gifts us the Jiffy. A gift from Holland to America he says. Nice Couple. Chris is excited, as he has never made it.

Yes a popcorn picture. Hey, I could have uploaded a video! The cook at midnight.



It taste good. But you are not going to believe what he says. "yea it is good, but it is actually more fun to make than it is to eat it, I wish we had some more" No sh$t, he actually said that.

We meet Moose and Mini, check out their blog, as they camp beside us. Mini is grooven the popcorn crunch. Nothing they eat in cans is crunchy. We talk for a long time, great folks, with great stories. Chris from Ontario stops by, funny cus he and I shared conversation in "trip planning" a month ago. We share hugs and kisses. He heads off to the bar. He is heading up the Dempster tomorrow and is looking for a buddy. BTW Chris, where is your damn rr???

Later that night when he comes back he shares stories from the Pit. One guy breaks his leg going to Inuvik and is airlifted out; another guy wipes out coming back just before eagle and has to have someone help him get his bike back on the road.

Chris and I chat about tomorrow. Catch a soccer game then head over the TOW. He is wondering about continuing on, although he is loving it. I say but it is so beautiful, (see Yukon Trackers timely post above) yes he says "but it is all beautiful and how much beautiful can we keep looking at?" Good point.

So as we chat we need to rethink the focus and pop a Whatever/Whenever pill. We need something other than riding just to ride; part of the reason to not go to Inuvik yesterday. Even though the rides are stunning. We need to go and DO something. So we bag the idea of heading to Denali and camping in the park for a few days, and decide to head to Homer to kill some halibut, and maybe to Seward for some Sea Kyacking. Cool, we can do that.

Did I mention 2 am. Yup it is still very light and we are right in the groove of our timeshift lifestyle. This has been a great day, and if you get the chance to hang in Dawson, don't pass it up. It is a wonderful town full of great people. And as you can see below, very very safe. I like that.

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Old 08-10-2010, 12:12 AM   #71
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Wow, great RR, this is exactly the trip I would like to do with my son in the future. He recently turned seven and we took him on his first long (1400KM) trip a month ago on the back of my KLR. He had a great time and is begging to go on another one before school starts! Keep up the great RR, sounds like you guys are having the trip of a lifetime, great to see a Dad spending quality time with his son, and a son wanting to spend that time with his Dad. Anyhow, ride safe, and if you need a place to camp out or a bed to crash in for a night or two, we are in Williams Lake, in central BC, about 2.5 hours south of Prince George, you guys are welcome here anytime, the steaks will be on and a cold beer is waiting!
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:12 PM   #72
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Wow, great RR, this is exactly the trip I would like to do with my son in the future. He recently turned seven and we took him on his first long (1400KM) trip a month ago on the back of my KLR. He had a great time and is begging to go on another one before school starts! Keep up the great RR, sounds like you guys are having the trip of a lifetime, great to see a Dad spending quality time with his son, and a son wanting to spend that time with his Dad. Anyhow, ride safe, and if you need a place to camp out or a bed to crash in for a night or two, we are in Williams Lake, in central BC, about 2.5 hours south of Prince George, you guys are welcome here anytime, the steaks will be on and a cold beer is waiting!
It is so cool that so many people want to head up their with their family/kids. I hope that you figure out how to pull it off; you wont regret it. Now about the steaks and beer, , mighty kind! Do you deliver?
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:14 PM   #73
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In the morning we head over to Dawson to watch a much anticipated soccer game. The lineup on the other side coming west for motorhomes is painfully long. Some will wait there over 4 hours! Are you kidding me!!

On the way we run into Paul the weatherman from Eagle. He had decided to run to Inuvik even with his bad clutch. Apparently he was the guy who had the accident on the Dempster the other day. It got slippery and wet, he did not give it enough respect and the bike came around on him and landed on top of him and they both slid down the road. He stayed down and made sure that there was minimal damage to the bike And they both slid 'forever'. It destroyed the back of his riding jacket and tossed his bike off the road. He had to wait for help to get it back up. No other human wounds. The wreck sheared the footpeg off the bike and he was trying to find a welder.

Ms Toronto bartending the Pit again today says that they are really there for booze, and if you want food, go get some and bring it back. So we do. I love this restaurant, and I love this town. Chris goes in and orders Fish and Chips while I wait.



We soon pack up and head out. Just as we leave we see the riding group from the midwest that we first met on the Cassiar after the freezing day in the snow over a week ago. While we have lucked out with lots of sun, they have had a bunch of crappy wet weather on their way to Prudhoe. It was so miserahble when they got to Deadhorse that they did not even stay. Too cold to even take thier gloves off.

Now what happens around now, as everyone has been out on the road for a while is that the reality of being up there in these conditions takes it's toll. Paul had he clutch issues, and the get off, these folks had chain breaks, sproket problems and others. It is tough on the gear up here and one has to be careful and come prepared. Lucky they had a spare chain. We part ways and get behind 6 other bikes as we start the TOW.

No complaints here but, damn, it is dry and very very dusty. We pass them in a while and life gets better. The Top of the World is a great great road. Winding, up and down, stellar views of rolling green hills, deep valleys. Quite an experience.

The road is really, the Top of the World, and if feels like it. I took a few pics, but the camera was in Movie mode, so I got a fair amount of video of the inside of my tank bag. After the Squirrel I will spare you that. Outstanding Top of the World views of which pictures do no justice. Expecially these, but they are pretty. You will just have to make the trip yourselves I guess.







The Canadian part was a great road, in good shape. The US part was a great road in poor shape with lots of holes and where there was not holes there was lots of loose gravel a few inches deep. The US side gets twisty with switchbacks as well. Dempster, now this. Need we say more.

We made our way down to Chicken. AK. For those who don't know, it was going to be call Ptarmigan, but they could not spell that. I am not sure that I can either.



And we ate some chicken. Which is likely easier to catch than Ptarmigan.



If you bought gas here, camping was free. I am down with free, but we are not going to hang by a bunch or RV's. They don't care where we go, so we just go. Put our dual sports to work and head back, back back, past a heli, all alone by an nice winding quiet creek.



Later that evening the heli pilot comes by and says he is leaving at 7 am. Now that he sees us, he will take off right and not blow us too bad. I add several rocks to the tent pegs.






We have fun bombing around. And yes we mess with the creek.


[IMG]


[/IMG]


We gather wood and make a fire. What a beautiful night. Dead quiet except for the river. A great place to relax an really suck in the atmosphere of being out there, damn close to the middle of nowhere.

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Old 08-11-2010, 08:25 AM   #74
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On the TV: I think it's Liverpool v Rabotnicki in the Europa League qualifying round. If I'm right, save the $1, really, the RR report alone is worth the read and investment. Looks like a great trip. Keep it coming!

By coincidence, I'm just over in Sammamish with a 12GS planning an AK trip in 2012. My youngest son is aching to go, he'll still be just out of age range for the trip @ 16. He hasn't ridden a bike yet, so we would going the whole MSF et al route as well. Looks like the 650 is proving to be a good horse for you so far.

Ride safe up there!
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Old 08-11-2010, 01:37 PM   #75
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On the TV: I think it's Liverpool v Rabotnicki in the Europa League qualifying round. If I'm right, save the $1, really, the RR report alone is worth the read and investment. Looks like a great trip. Keep it coming!

By coincidence, I'm just over in Sammamish with a 12GS planning an AK trip in 2012. My youngest son is aching to go, he'll still be just out of age range for the trip @ 16. He hasn't ridden a bike yet, so we would going the whole MSF et al route as well. Looks like the 650 is proving to be a good horse for you so far.

Ride safe up there!
Good guess, but no. We are in July, if that is a hint for you.

Yes I thought about the trip last year at 16 as well. Doable, but I really did not want him learning to ride a street bike while still lining up the hood ornament with the curb line learning how to drive a car. And then there is that whole clutch thing which was going to be new to him as well. Poor sheltered boy. So he took the class when he was 16+ and we waited unitl the following year after some good miles (cage and bike) were under his belt.

The 650 is awesome. In the end he went everywhere I did, at the speed I did, on a more nimble ride than mine.
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