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Old 07-27-2010, 08:53 PM   #1
RUOK OP
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Whatever you do, stay off the Dalton

Well that kinda puts a damper on things! I had called my mom who lives in North Pole AK to see if she was going home the 2nd weekend of July and if she wouldn't mind a visit from her eldest son. She was going to be home , would love a visit, asked me if I was riding my bike, told me to please be careful, and whatever I do stay off the Dalton. Great now I had to worry about tire shredding rocks, killer trucks, clouds of mosquitoes, slippery chloride, and displeasing mom, I didn't fear a breakdown or accident as much as a "I warned you about the haul road."
This is my first attempt at a ride report, and it's really only my second attempt at a real ride, but here it goes. I've always wanted to see the Arctic Ocean, and stories from people my folks knew that had worked on the haul road and pipeline have interested me since I was kid in the 70's ( yea I'm getting old ) After reading about enough Alaska rides here, the urge to go was finally too strong to ignore, I had enough vacation time available, ( in reality didn't know if the company I worked for would even still be there when I got back ) my 02 V-Strom was well prepped, or so I thought. All was left was to make a reservation for a ferry trip back home from Haines, buy some new boots, and make the members of REI a little richer.
The loaded Strom, the big red bag is camping gear, I thought I was packing light but
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The last it'll ever be that shiny again
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Before photo of the garden
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Was planning on a 6:00 am departure but end ended up packing till midnight then had to watch deadliest catch ( RIP captain Phil ) so late start but hey I'm on vacation, so stop stressing and ride!
First stop for gas in Kalama WA hope this isn't a bad omen ( turns out it kinda was )
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But this was right next door, maybe this was a good omen ( turns out it was too, look close at the sign )
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Next stop Marysville WA for gas and a quick lunch fast food lunch, talked to a guy there about my trip, he was fascinated by the oil filter on the bike for some reason, wished me a safe trip, and got into his car with his 3 kids and a wistful look in his eyes, it was finally starting to occur to me I was doing something that many only dream about.
Yeah ! I'm in Canada, the border crossing was a breeze, there was no line only took a couple of minutes. What strange customs, exotic cuisine, or foreign languages will I encounter in this new country?
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Slight rant, Vancouver spent a few billion on electric buses and new express ways for the Olympics, couldn't they have spent a little on signage to get you to Horseshoe Bay. I got lost, caught in major gridlock and started to overheat ( me not the bike ) Found a gas station got directions from a local on a old Honda cb series, very clean bike. Okay now I know where to go but my cards being denied at the pump and a drunk guy is trying to hit me up for money. Break out the cash get my first looneys for change, almost had to run the drunk dude over, he finally realized a 280 lb guy in full gear on a loaded bike might have the edge on him and he graciously staggered to the side, and were off.
I'm digging the scenery already
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I want to go back and see this mining museum some day it was closing.
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I didn't want to stop in Whistler looked expensive, but the body said enough for today, and I got this quaint shady tent site a mere 1/4 mile hike from my bike for a miserly $36.00 and the shower was only a Looney more.
My site, the only time the tent got used the whole trip.
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some campground views complete with power lines and construction fencing
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Got to use my new JetBoil that thing rocks, enjoyed a nice freeze dried beef stew, a medley of trail mix and finished the gourmet meal off with wee bit of Wild Turkey 101 read a while and off to bed, it was a good day

June 30th Salem Or to Whistler B.C. 356 miles.

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Old 07-28-2010, 04:49 AM   #2
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:00 AM   #3
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:31 AM   #4
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I'm glad your border crossing was so easy-on my trip up there last year they took me inside, grilled me, searched all my stuff, and reluctantly let me go. I think they were mostly concerned if I had enough money to get back out of their country!
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:10 AM   #5
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All the border crossings I went through only took a couple of minutes. When I was on the ferry I met a guy riding a Burghman scooter who said they did a complete inspection on his bike and gear and the guy who rode the cymba scooter got interrogated also. Wonder what they base their inspection criteria on, are they profiling step-thru riders?
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:14 AM   #6
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What stunning scenery!
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:36 PM   #7
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Thanks for the positive feedback. Time to get on with this report, The trip only took 2-1/2 weeks, this report will probably take longer, ( I skipped taking typing in school, when would I ever need to type anyway and then came the pc, my typing sucks ) So begins day two, woke at 4 am to leg cramps in both thighs, made it out of the tent, while stifling screams of agony that would still be echoing across the mountains. (Gave up on camping for a while because of that and my snoring was scaring the wildlife. Took a sleep study when I turned 40, had serious apnea got a CPAP machine with a battery pack, snoring cured, more energy,lower blood pressure, works great for traveling and everbody in a 5 mile radius is able to sleep in quiet too.) Walked the cramps away and slept couple more hours. Had a nice breakfast of freeze dried bacon and eggs, I was a little skeptical but they weren't too bad. Yesterday I was catching a whiff of burnt antifreeze, one of my least favorite smells. Looking the bike over this morning there a small dried spot of coolant on the right side case, it looked like one the hoses might have leaked, sure enough one of the clamps was a little loose, (V-Stroms clamps never seem to stay tight) I was a little concerned that the water pump seals were leaking out the weep hole. Tightened everything up and wiped it down with a wet towel and told my my to stop stressing and ride, this would become one of my mantras on this trip. As I was loading up a woman walking walking her dog told me she had just seen a bear on the trail between our parking area and the tent spaces alright were in the wilderness now! I called my wife last night to let her know all was well (had cell service but it was Roger instead of ATandT is that Canadas version of ATT ?) and found out my debit card had gotten a fraud alert on it because of being used in so many places, got a hold of them and problem solved, they were very helpful, unfortunately it was not the end of my card problems.
Time to ride. The sea to sky highway between Whistler and Lillooet is amazing, narrow,winding and steep in places , the scenery was stunning, the sun was out, simply beautiful riding. some shots of the road
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The bike
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and some scenery
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As I'm approaching Lillooet I catch up to a group of riders, I'm so intent on trying to spot any ADV stickers I miss the turn to Cache Creek. In my defense the Milepost map shows me going thru Lillooet to get to Cache Creek. I wave at the group of riders that are stopping to eat, roll on thru and unknowingly head toward Gold Bridge. I learned that the Milepost maps are lacking in detail (this road wasn't even shown) and wished I hadn't forgot my atlas at home. I knew in my gut that this wasn't the right way, but the road and the views were too epic not to checkout. Some shots of the road to Gold Bridge
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The bike on a overlook
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The mine at the bottom
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I get to Gold Bridge and stop at the gas station for directions. The man there tells me I could take a gravel road and loop back to Pemberton which is about where I started today or back track to Lillooet. I think I was getting my comeuppance for poo-pooing GPS's and saying all you need is a paper map in your tankbag and getting lost was just adds to the adventure.
I definitely wasn't upset about the great riding this was, but anybody that knows me knows how much I hate missing my turn and having to backtrack, plus there was no way I was going to make it to Prince George tonite, so I gas up and it was time to stop stressing and ride. It was a spirited ride back to Lillooet where I found the missing turn to Cache Creek. The Frasier River canyon was very scenic wished I had taken pics especially of the train as it wound it way through. After Cache Creek the countryside opens up, I really have to compliment the B.C road builders they have some excellent highways. Caught up with a Vee and Wee Strom in some slow traffic tried to hang with them a while, those guys new how to make some miles Topped off the gas in Clinton chugged a red bull and set my sights on Williams Lake. My goal was to camp every other night weather permitting so I could charge all the gadgets we need to exist anymore
( mp3 player especially ) so first motel that looks promising in Williams Lake was the Lake View motel turned out to be good choice, friendly owner, nice old school mom and pop type place
my suite
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a room with a view, a lake view if you will
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Unload the bike and make a run to Tim Hortons. Never been to one but I thought I'd give the local cuisine a try. my sandwich was nothing special, but man the cruellars, had to have two Back to the motel and tuck the bike in
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A hot shower, a bit of the Bourbon, watch a little of the star wars marathon and day 2 is in the finished basket. What will day 3 bring? Will he finally break the 400 mile a day mark? He hopes to!

July 1st Whistler B.C. to Williams Lake B.C. 393 miles

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Old 07-31-2010, 08:09 PM   #8
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:24 AM   #9
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:28 PM   #10
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All right day 3 Hyder or bust!
Day 2 ended with me wondering if I had bit off more than I could chew, 2 sub 400 mile days, getting lost, Deadhorse looked like a long ways away yet. I like traveling solo, but a drawback is there's no one to give you a kick in the ass when your starting to doubt yourself. I started this journey exhausted, 2 weeks of house guests plus arranging matters at work to be gone for 2-1/2 weeks cut into my prep time ( not to mention the my favorite band Dream Theater returned after a 6 year absence to play back to back shows in Portland and Auburn WA rock on! ) Day 3 started I was finally starting to feel rested. it looked the sun was going to shine ,it was time to ride
The view with my morning cup of coffee
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Not many pics of the first part of the ride today just making miles. Gased up in Quesnal enjoyed a fine 7-11 breakfast, banana, microwave breakfast sandwich and large coffee, nice that they have a place to sit, eat and warm-up. The sunshine had quickly disappeared and the temp stayed in the mid 40's with a few showers now and then. The Wal-Mart parking lot nearby looked like an RV park, every Wal-Mart I saw on this trip seemed to by full of them, maybe they should start putting in hook-ups.
Hit Prince George and turned left, nice smooth roads, occasional sun breaks, a little chilly but just but good riding all the same. Started to hit some strange cross/head winds past Fraiser Lake seemed like it was really buzzing my helmet, just kept going and then my visor tried to leave my Shoei, no spare screws, but duct tape to the rescue, of course I didn't have any gray tape, but hey this is hi-viz right.
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The temp repair lasted 5000 miles of mostly rain, love the duct tape
As I rode on toward Smithers I couldn't help but hearing Mr. Burns asking Smithers who is this riding on that overloaded V-Strom? Just one of your carbon blobs from sector 7G sir. ( I watch too much TV ) Pull up to the pumps in Smithers swipe my card, card denied, what? Take off my helmet to go inside, something falls and hits the ground, and I hear breaking glass, shit! The lens had just fallen out of my glasses and shattered, glad I brought a second pair. Paid cash for the gas,and decided to grab a burger at the McDonalds next door. Odd little place, kinda got a Deliverance vibe, but it was probably the best burger I've ever had at a fast food place.

Time to go, next stop

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Now were talking, and then some scenery

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getting close now

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some of the road into Hyder

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the obligatory glacier shot

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We made it!

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To be continued....
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:43 PM   #11
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Hyder, I didn't even know it existed till I read some Alaska ride reports and yet I felt some strange pull towards it. In spite of what I expected to find in Hyder I was completely unprepared for the spectacular 40 mile ride to it, seemed like just one wow view after another. Pulled up to the Sea Alaska Inn,
can't believe it I'm here

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Parked in good company

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Went inside to secure lodging, barmaid offered me choice of room next to the bar with shared bathrooms or a cabin outback with private facilities. One ride report I read mentioned something about late parties making sleep difficult in the rooms, plus I really like uninterrupted "personal time" so cabin it was, turned out to be one of the smartest things I did the whole trip. She told me I picked a good night to show up, there was karaoke at 8:00 and a wet t-shirt contest at 11:00, sweet, told her nobody would want to see me in a wet t-shirt, she agreed but told me I was welcome to sing karaoke, I replied something to the effect if she'd heard me sing they'd rather have me in a wet t-shirt
Wandered outside to find my cabin, met Dave the rider of the GS I was parked next to, agreed to meet up later for a couple of beers. Found my cabin, nice

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Some view from my wanderings around town

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Hyder botanical gardens?

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Get Hyderized? Why yes I'll give it a try.

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Now properly Hyderized, I was feeling that warm glow you get from a shot of hi proof alcohol on a empty stomach, it was time to eat.
Be warned riding report food picture coming up

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Grilled halibut and salad, Alaskan Ale summer brew, fantastic. Left the Glacier Inn and met up with Dave at the Sea Alaska. he was riding from New Jersey and had taken a month to see Alaska, had a couple beers and some pizza ( thanks for the pizza Dave ) we both agreed it was almost surreal to be sitting here in this place we had only just read about. Both of us have jobs with uncertain futures, and had come to the conclusion that now was the time to ride to Alaska, who knows what next year would bring.
( Hey Dave if you read this, there's no way your 50, you can't be past your mid 30's whats your secret? ) The parties getting in full swing and it only about 9:00 and I'm ready to crash, I grab a dvd from their vast media library ( Adam Sandlers Overboard, what a stinker ) bid a goodnight and retired to my cabin. One of the ride reports that inspired me to make this trip was the Alaskan Titty Bar Tour, which ironically had no titties, but so far on my journey I'd seen a garden center named Double D's and now within 2 hours the Sea Alaska was going to have a Save Second Base wet t-shirt contest fund raiser for breast cancer, my very own titty bar tour
It sucks getting old, I fell asleep around 10:00 woke up around 3:00 to a stereo being cranked outside, but I missed the fund raiser ah well sleep a little more and begin day 4.
Awesome day, really started to feel that my head was in the ride and the adventure was truly underway.

July 2nd Williams Lake B.C. to Hyder AK 592 miles
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:56 PM   #12
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:42 PM   #13
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North from Hyder you will find there isn't much for services in the evening.

Don't fear the Hall road. It was fun.

Also, if someone hasn't told you yet, the U of A in Fairbanks rents rooms to motorcycle tourists in the off season at a sweet price.

Have a blast.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:27 AM   #14
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Wow over 1500 views. I was a little apprehensive about doing a ride report, there's truly some amazing writers, photographers and adventurers on this site, thanks for reading my amateur little report.

JeffinTD, I had heard about the dorm rooms, but I left Cycletrax at around 1:00 am and just took the 1st hotel I could find, it cost me, but I put the hurt to their cont. breakfast The haul was fun, it had a couple of challenging spots, but it was very achievable, it was an experience to remember.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:46 AM   #15
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Don't stop typing now, I'm hooked.
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