Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Epic Ride Reports
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-08-2012, 07:14 PM   #61
theofam OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 449
Wi-Fi at our hotel last night was too SLOOOOOW to upload pics. So, here is the entry for yesterday.

Day 8 of 42 – Marl’s 80!

As I put armor back into my freshly washed riding pants:

I realized how much work DonnyO is doing while I spend time updating our ride report. Last night he did a load of laundry, brought the next-door restaurant’s menu to me to order food while working on the final drive (which didn’t leak a drop today in 400 miles after only filling 175ml), and cleaned my helmet’s visor. He also wakes up 30-45 minutes earlier than I each morning and uses his air compressor to ensure our tires are at optimum pressure!


With that said, we were on our way out of Grande Prairie this morning, and I was a bit put off when he said we needed to get fuel before leaving town. I thought top off service was part of this tour, too!

As we rode out of town, I was excited to see the Sleeve Fields. This part of Canada is well known for growing hectares of high-visibility fabric used on jackets such as mine.

Actually, the fields are canola.

DonnyO and I are not well versed in beaver. However, we both agreed this was the biggest beaver either of us had come across in our combined 120 years.

Within hours we crossed back in to British Columbia, and we were in Dawson Creek at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway – WOOHOO!

The 2,450-kilometer Alaska Highway was built in just eight (8) months in 1942 to serve as a critical transportation link to the northwest during World War II.

My kids are on summer break, and to keep them sharp, I thought I’d insert a math problem.

A semi-truck leaves its station heading south at 100KM/Hour at midnight.

A moose leaves its meadow at 12:10am headed east at a 12KM/Hour trot in search of juniper berries.

At what point do they meet? (I’ll give you a minute to get paper and pencil – and, no, Mom can’t help).

I don’t know the answer, either. But, when they do meet, it looks something like this.

The moose is about 30 meters down the road from impact. (Kids, go figure out how heavy the truck was to throw an 400KG moose that far.)

We descended into Taylor, BC. There wasn’t a moment during the entire 500KM+ today we weren’t within sight of a semi-truck related to the oil and natural gas industry. You can see Taylor counts on it.

Just after being released from a construction-related backup, a monstrous chunk of mountainside let loose, causing a dense dust cloud to billow across the roadway.

After checking in to our hotel at 3:00pm, we dropped by A&W for grub. We struck up a conversation with locals who’d been there since 1953 and 1967. They were very knowledgeable on the Alaska Highway. DonnyO and I had a blast talking with them! Allan Wright gave us his business card. It lists Fabricator, Cat Skinner, Trapper, Welder, Prospector and River Rat as his skill sets – fun folks up here!

Both guys recommended seeing the town’s museum. Allan had helped the museum’s proprietor build a cabin. We decided it would be fun to check it out.

Immediately upon walking up to the museum, your eyes dart from piece to piece. If you’re into mechanical ANYTHING, it’s probably here.

How about pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft from a 4,210HP, 320RPM motor used in a power plant?

Or this homemade bike, which looks like a soprano singing lesson waiting to happen?!

Cool old buggies, cars and trucks abound.

Along with tools, old oil cans, lathes – whatever you can imagine

Why, there was even a restored 1942 Harley Davidson Flathead.

Not a Harley fan? How about a Hardly Davidson?

The man behind it all, you ask? It’s self-professed 960-month and two-day-old Marl Brown here with DonnyO and Marl’s prized 1908 Buick he drove to Whitehorse and back in 2008 – the car’s 100th birthday.

Marl mentioned riding the bike out front. I scoffed, so he climbed on it and was like a 10-year-old again turning tight circles around this fellow museum attendee.

The Alaska Highway is celebrating its 70th birthday this year, so DonnyO thought it appropriate to buy a Marl-designed license plate announcing the anniversary. Marl helped him mount it, too!

If you get to Fort Nelson, BC, drop by and see Marl – promise you’ll have fun!

All in, it was another great day!
theofam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 08:40 PM   #62
theofam OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 449
Day 9 of 42 – DA BEARS!

The day started with DonnyO accidentally filling his bike with diesel! It ran poorly, but it had 400 ft/lbs of torque!

Good thing a green pump handle doesn’t equate to diesel in Canada like it does in the States!

We were told by yesterday’s A&W crew (Ken and Allan) the scenery would get better on the Alaska Highway upon leaving Fort Nelson. In fact, the bridge spanning the river in Fort Nelson is the lowest elevation on the Alaska Highway and 92 miles north is the highest elevation at Summit Pass. So, we spent the day climbing into foothills and mountains.

The Highway has been under construction to replace the chip seal. This was a 15KM section, so the line on our end was quite backed up.

The process involves laying gravel that gets compressed by vehicles into the resulting road. Getting to that point, though, is a tad dusty!

Tired of eating dust, and in keeping with a promise made at the beginning of this ride report to find the best cinnamon roll we could, signs for cinnamon buns beckoned!

This young Canuck was spending seven weeks on the road riding his Hyosung Aquila. It’s a Korean knockoff of a Harley Davidson V-Rod.

We have noticed Canadians enjoy talking politics when they learn we’re from the States. It’s readily apparent they feel very closely coupled to the ebb and flow of the States’ economy and political decisions. Thusfar, I’ve agreed with 1 of 3 we’ve spoken with, and this young buck wasn’t the one.

He joined us at our table to try a bun, though.

Ronan rested at Summit Lake. At 4,248 feet, Summit Pass is the highest elevation of the Alaska Highway and is situated in the northern-most portion of the Canadian Rockies.

Our day rose

And fell

It’s difficult to determine a favorite view. The high elevations present layered mountains in various hues of blue-gray determined solely by their distance, while waters rushing from the Toad, Trout, Coal and Hyland Rivers keep you focused in hopes of viewing wildlife drinking from their banks.

Muncho Lake is massive and goes on for miles.

If you don’t like the water, just go to the airport and take the next flight leaving.

Next, we were off to the Liard Hot Springs. Our A&W buddies both spoke of the Springs, and a buddy of DonnyO’s recommended them as well.

On our way, we saw our first tatonka of the day!

It’s only a 10-minute walk along the boardwalk to the Liard Hot Springs. Doesn’t sound bad, until you realize every mosquito in the world is there for some sort of which-one-of-us-can-suck-the-most-blood contest!

After being mauled by a gang of the "bugs," using local vernacular, while changing, it was nice to submerge yourself in an effort to avoid more bites! Too bad they weren't renting snorkels.

The feeding frenzy intensified on the walk back, and I’m happy to say the mosquitos attacked all my fleshy bits but one. Thankfully, my tongue is fine.

On the ride to Watson Lake, YT, we saw our first bear on the Alaska Highway (we couldn’t photograph the two we saw in Jasper National Park due to me fearing for my life as a bear rookie).

All told, I saw four black bears. Here’s another that was a bit more cooperative.

DonnyO saw five, one of which was a grizzlie. He said it was huge! I was so busy scanning ahead for animals, I didn’t even notice DonnyO wasn’t behind me! In the meantime, I came across another tatonka. This dude was an XXL, and had cleared out his own little spot free of weeds.

We crossed into the Yukon Territory!

Arrival was minutes later at the Historic Air Force Lodge in Watson Lake, YT. Mike is the proprietor. He’s like a brother from another mother – likes Jeeps, rides a BMW GS, and is a blast to talk to. Notice the license plate. He’s the one guy in Canada who has it – says he’s never gotten a ticket with it on the Jeep!

We had a great dinner at Bee Jay’s, and we’re settling in for the night.
theofam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 09:22 PM   #63
atokad's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Dagobah
Oddometer: 2,821
Nice RR. Enjoying it and hoping that I could ride it one day with my son.
2006 - Triumph Tiger
1995 XR650L
atokad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 09:43 PM   #64
theofam OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 449
atokad, glad you're enjoying it! Every son should be as lucky - I hope yours is one day.
theofam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 10:32 PM   #65
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Monterey, CA
Oddometer: 984
This RR is fascinating, good to see you are having a good trip heading north. You have a good way of using both the pictures and the descriptions to give the readers a good feel of the places you are traveling through. Thanks for taking the time to share your trip with us.
2000 KLR650

There's roads and there's roads and they call, can't you hear it? Roads of the earth and roads of the spirit. The best roads of all are the ones that aren't certain. One of those is where you'll find me till they drop the big curtain. Bruce Cockburn
PacificPT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 06:19 AM   #66
Addicted to BMW
wolfy317's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: The Double Humpback
Oddometer: 3,494
I grew up riding with my Dad. I only wish we could take such a trip! Sadly he has problems riding long distances these days. At least I do still get to ride with him from time to time :)
'71 BMW R75/5 | 09 GSA
wolfy317 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 06:33 AM   #67
theofam OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 449
Wolfy317, thanks for the compliment! I really enjoy putting the photos together with the writeup. After a photo is taken, I'll spend some time noodling what caption I'd put with it as I ride down the road. That makes it easier to write in the evening.

PacificPT, too bad your dad can't ride long distances with you. At least you can still get out with him, though!

We're off to the sign forest this morning, then on to Whitehorse. Hope to catch everyone up on the day this evening - assuming wifi is OK.
theofam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 07:22 AM   #68
Red Sox Nation
Pantah's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: India Wharf
Oddometer: 10,316
Great posts. Am reliving that pass. Every time I rode over it was driving rain and cold. Some of the best baked goods ever were at those gas stops trying to take a break. We stayed at the Air Force Lodge once too.

How come no pics of the sign forest?

If you are continuing to Whitehorse, keep an eye out for a little gas/motel/bakery at Johnson Crossing, which is past Teslin. mmmmm

Also, if you go up the Cambell Highway to Ross River, there is a real nice dirt road that connects to Johnson Crossing. It's called the South Canol Road. 135 miles end to end. Very loamy if dry. Could be a struggle if mud. Gas is in Ross River and more gas at the other end.
Straight ahead and faster -Bo Weaver 1970
"There I was..." -Griffin Niner Three Hotel
"One day closer to a parade..." Jonny Gomes, spring training 2013
Pantah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 06:15 PM   #69
theofam OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 449
Pantah, I bet it's fun seeing these parts again! Funny you mention Johnson's Crossing. We happened to stop there today to stretch our legs - smelled the bakery - and ended up being there over an hour for a cinnamon bun, cookies and coffee!

Thanks for the tip on South Canol Road. Sounds cool!
theofam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 06:30 PM   #70
theofam OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 449
Day 10 of 42 – Bear Blaster

Watson Lake, YT, is famous for its Sign Post Forest. In 1942, a homesick U.S. Army G.I. named Carl Lindley of Danville, Ill., posted a sign pointing the way home, along with mileage to his hometown. As you can tell, it caught on.

Some folks wish their sign to withstand the test of time.

Others use their God-given talent to beautify the Forest.

There are those of us who choose to visit often.

Others show resilience of the human spirit as they pass through.

Personally, I’m a fan of improvisation. The ability to think on one’s feet can never be underestimated. Problem-solving skills are critical to one’s ability to negotiate their way through life. Jen Charlesworth, absent a sign upon visiting the Sign Post Forest, used her noodle and came up with this solution.

DonnyO was such a fan of the Forest, he was fully prepared to clear all local lands in hopes more people would bring their personal reflections to share with the world.

For family members keeping up with us in St. Louis and Kansas, these signs are for you!

We continue to be amazed at the amount of water in Canada.

I’ve a friend I’ve thought of often during this trip. He was kind enough to buy me the DVD collection of Long Way Round, Race to Dakar and Long Way Down. Those series helped motivate me for this trip. This is for you. I can only presume they wanted to spell “Christine” but ran out of rock.

Back in Fort Nelson, you’ll recall we came across two gents providing sage advice about the area. One bit of advice was, “Bear spray doesn’t work. Get Bear Blasters.” Before visiting Marl’s museum, we picked up said Bear Blasters. But, how do we know if they work? A test was warranted!

Bears . . . you've been warned!

We were back to snow-capped mountains!

Cloud cover kept the temperature brisk.

Our time here on earth is fleeting, especially when assessed alongside the time our globe has been spinning. I have difficulty wrapping my mind around certain things. For instance, the pointed mountain in this picture, Simpson Peak, was deep inside a much taller, under-water volcano in a Mesozoic era ocean!

Incredibly difficult to fathom these lands covered in a miles-deep ocean 144-206 million years ago.

We descended in to Teslin.

Though the bridge is an impressive structure, straddling the Nisutlin River, neither of us is a fan of the steel surface utilized. It wreaks havoc with your tires by causing your bike to unwittingly hunt left and right. If you should come across one, ride one handed to keep your hands from instinctively wrestling for control.

Our day was cut a bit short when we learned we could not hunt sheep. Darn. What to do for dinner now?

Various rivers continued to placidly flow alongside us, filling numerous lakes untouched by man’s unsightly construction.

A stop was made at Johnson’s Crossing to stretch our legs. Just before diving into our best cinnamon bun/roll of the trip, my camera died! Note to self, recharge the camera battery each night. We bookended the bun with a chocolate chip cookie and a macadamia nut cookie each.

For several miles, we were able to tightrope the thin line between rain clouds, enjoying the full benefit of smelling rain without enduring it. However, the clouds eventually returned themselves to the rivers and lakes from which they’d come.

We rolled in to the Capital of the Yukon – Whitehorse - and hope to add some pics of this quaint town soon.
theofam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 09:58 PM   #71
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Long Island
Oddometer: 649
Great report love it, I ride with my dad too. Everytime I think I want a Gs the Final drive rears it's ugly head.
LIVSTROM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2012, 09:21 AM   #72
theofam OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 449
Livstrom, I'll agree the final drive seal was a pain in the tush. I'm running 175ml of the recommended 180ml, and it is barely seeping. It's not leaking as before.

I wouldn't let it keep me from buying another GS. We often marvel at what great bikes they are for this type of trip. Upon an opportunity to pass a vehicle, 4th gear at 4K RPM feels like you're shot from a cannon when you roll on the throttle! Fairly adept, though heavy, off road. Purr like kittens - not too loud - great for sneaking up on bears for photos. At nearly every meal someone asks what we're riding, and we praise the GS!
theofam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2012, 10:14 PM   #73
theofam OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 449
Day 10 of 42 – Wrap Up

We were turned on to Klondike Rib & Salmon for a restaurant last night.

It was a blast! The staff is fun and engaging, plus it’s in the two oldest original buildings in Whitehorse. Try the Arctic Char – way tasty.

Here’s what 10:30pm looks like in Whitehorse mid July.

We’re thinking of staying up until 2:00am Friday night in Dawson City to see how much light there will be farther north. Can’t seem to make it to 10:00pm, so it’ll be a test!
theofam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2012, 10:18 PM   #74
theofam OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 449
Day 11 of 42 – Alaska!

We had a shorter mileage day, so we opted to sleep in a bit in Whitehorse. It has a nice Main Street.

Hadn’t had these in a week and a half. Tasted pretty darn great!

Breakfast at Burnt Toast was excellent. Suggest you try it next time you’re rolling through. The B&W photos on the wall are of the owner’s family – nice touch. We struck up a conversation and swapped stories with Jonathan Byrd, a musician in town to play a gig at the Old Fire Hall.

After quite a rain last night, the weather was threatening to rain more. Deciding to forgo rain gear, we forged ahead.

The clouds darkened.

After banging ourselves up in Wyoming upon entering undeveloped country, we were a bit skittish passing into this area.

I haven’t been entirely up front with you. I’m an inventor. Last year, I invented a game. It’s the KIA game. Should you see a KIA on the road, you have to yell “KEEYA.” It’ll scare the snot out of your family the first time you do it. Kind of like calling a slug bug any time you see a VW bug. At first, my kids rolled their eyes. Then they started playing along. Soon, their friends were playing when in the car with us. Not the raciest of cars, and out of respect for the owner making such a gutsy purchase, a red KIA warrants a longer “KEEEEEEEEEYA” call. You hit the KIA lottery if you see the most rare KIA of all . . . a red KIA . . . minivan. A race car color on a very non-race car automobile. This passed me doing about 120 (KM/H), I filled my lungs, and let out “KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYA!”

The skies continued their menacing game.

As they crept down mountainsides.

We tired of the 44 degree temperatures and punishing winds. What to do? How about try a cinnamon bun in Haines Junction, BC?

The view from the parking lot was beautiful.

Rested, and somewhat warm, we continued on.

Aspen trees bent to the will of Mother Nature’s exhales.

And the lake appeared to devour our road.

Giant, resting zebras lay ahead of us.

While piles of emeralds shone bright beneath beams of sunlight escaping clouds’ grasp.

Datlaska Range stands sentry to the Tatshenshini River basin.

Delicate flora prosper in the highly precipitous environs.

As mountain tops and clouds become one.

Alright, enough with all the pretty words and pictures – we’re in Alaska! WOOOT!

When you cross into Alaska going south toward Haines, you enter at mile marker 40. Mile Marker 33 restaurant is at . . . you guessed it – mile marker 33!

Known for their excellent burgers, I was also impressed by the Tobasco selection.

The burgers were excellent, and it turns out quite a bit happens on this stretch of land between Haines and Haines Junction. Discovery Channel keeps crews here year-round to film. Apparently, Discovery has a very popular show now called Gold Rush. It’s filmed across the highway from Mile Marker 33. Red Bull and other ski and snowboard teams/crews lift off from Mile Marker 33’s property to heli-ski in the area, too. Now you know.

The Chilkoot River runs alongside the next 33 miles of road to Haines.

At some points, its breadth spans from road's edge to the foot of the mountains.

If you took my advice earlier in the thread, you dropped what you were doing and rode your motorcycle to Glacier National Park in Montana. Call the office and tell them you'll be gone another week, then head to Haines Junction and make this run south. You won't regret it!

Another great day in the books!
theofam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 02:42 AM   #75
Red Sox Nation
Pantah's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: India Wharf
Oddometer: 10,316
Great story. Never been to Haines, but plenty through Haines Junction. Gas at the corner and food across the street. I like Whitehorse a but never really explored it. Usually rolling in late and leaving early. Surprised you didn't ride to Dawson from there. Are you taking the TOW? I rarely made it past 10pm either...

Your trip is convincing me to go back in 2014 for the next Alcan5000. Google it up and poke around the site. Starts in Seattle and ends in Anchorage. They have chase trucks to carry our gear and spares, so can travel light. 9 days. Check the itinerary. It's a particularly interesting route. All Hotels and some meals included. Good bucket list goal. Can enter cars or motorcycles. Separate classes.

Thanks again. Looking forward to tomorrow morning's update.
Straight ahead and faster -Bo Weaver 1970
"There I was..." -Griffin Niner Three Hotel
"One day closer to a parade..." Jonny Gomes, spring training 2013
Pantah is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 02:18 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015