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Old 07-09-2013, 04:17 AM   #1171
Oldone
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Great ride report

Ester,

I can't stop saying that this is the most complete RR ever, and I just have to go back and re-read things that you've done and places that you've been over and over. If ever I could duplicate an adventure, it would be yours!
It's a great RR is all I can say!

Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride

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Old 07-09-2013, 11:14 PM   #1172
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How shall I start this next posting of my RR?
Life is serendipitous?
Good things come to those who wait?
Magic happens?
Everything unfolds as it should? Call it fate, kismet, destiny, providence, kharma.
Nothing seems to come close to the wonder I experienced today (probably yesterday by the time I post this)

Again, let me backtrack.
I left Watson Lake quite late, but seeing as it stays light well past midnight I wasn’t really in a hurry to get to the hotsprings other than really wanting to soak in some nice hot water surrounded by nature, nice and quiet and peaceful.
Fate had different plans as it turned out.
The road there was getting quite rough at times with lots of gravel patches. I saw a huge sign enlightening those of us who are not used to having bisons occupying the roads.



I was excited to see some although I have to admit that most of the wild life warning signs had been in vain for me. I never did see some of the wildlife the signs mentioned.
This time however I did, awesome!




Grandpa Bison


Didn’t know bears ate grass or flowers





At one point the road got so dusty that I couldn’t even see a hand in front of my eyes, let alone the road boundaries or anyone in front. I slowed down a bit and backed up hoping that if there was someone behind me they would see me!
Finally I could see something, and thank goodness I slowed down, cause I would have plowed right into the truck at the end of the waiting line if I hadn’t.
It seems there was a red stop-light and folks were waiting. All the way up front was a huge semi truck with trailer, followed by a huge Winnebago pretty much the cause of all the dust I think.
While sitting there I kept looking in my rearview mirror to see if there were any trucks or cars coming up behind me. The lack of vision worried me and I didn’t like the idea of getting squashed. I heard another semi-truck nearing before I even saw it. I was debating starting my engine so I could quickly get out of the way in case he didn’t see me. Thankfully he did, albeit rather late, the accompanying sound of rapid breaking proving the fact that he almost missed the line as well.
We ended up having to wait half an hour for the pilot car to show up, even though no cars ever came this way. I think he was taking a break.
I did have the brilliant thought to just move my butt to the front of the line so I wouldn’t be choking on the dust once we started.
That turned out to be a smart idea seeing as the dust from the pilot car alone had me coughing up a storm.
I ended up riding in the left lane of the road diagonally from the pilot car. I’m sure the driver figured out why

Once I got closer to Liard Hotsprings I saw a little store in Cole River and thought I’d buy some water as I was almost out. $5 for and 1.5 liter bottle! I don’t think so!
I figured I’d rather just pump it from a stream.
I got to the campsite at the hotsprings late, and rode through the campground looking for a space to pitch my tent. There wasn’t a single available spot! Yikes. I did see one site that had a single tent and a bike. Hmmmm, I wonder if he’d be wiling to share the site and split the cost. The rider wasn’t there however, probably at the pools. I asked some other bikers sharing a camp nearby if they knew the GS rider and what he looked like. They did, his name was Mike and they described him to me. One of the riders said there was camping across the road too, and I followed him to the spot. I really didn’t like the camping area there though, in the middle of gravel amidst RVs. Nope, can’t stand a night of generator noise.
I ended up riding to the trail to the hotsprings in hopes of catching that Mike guy when I saw tents camped all over that day use area. Turns out because the camp was full, they let people camp over there as well. I picked out a quiet spot left of the boardwalk entrance and started pitching my tent when Mike showed up. Turns out he would have loved to have shared his site with me. Oh well, I figured this placed looked a heck of a lot quieter than the campsite.
Never in my life have I been this wrong!!!



Even though I did not envision a full campsite in my mind, I was happy where I was, grabbed my bikini and my towel, and headed for the hotsprings.


The board walk there


Looked like the Everglades!

I knew before hand that there were changing rooms there but I hadn’t quite realized how fancy this place would be





I went into the women’s changing room and put on my bikini all the while being mercilessly bitten by mosquitos, and almost ran into the water. Ouch!! It was hot!!
It took me a little while to acclimatize and yes, being bitten until I was thoroughly immersed.
Yeah, had forgotten about those pesky little buggers!
At first there were only a few folks there, not exactly quiet, but I could handle that. Pretty soon however it got more and more quiet, and my vision of soaking peacefully by myself was pretty much annihilated. It dawned on me that I had not quite thought this through, summer time, and weekend combined, yeah, the combination of quiet and solitude would not be possible.
I didn’t stay long and thought I’ll come back early in the morning when not so many folks are here.
I made some dinner and crawled into my sleeping bag at around 11:30.

Sleep wouldn’t come. It was quite noisy there with people walking by and cars coming and leaving.
I figured people would go to sleep soon. Finally at around 1 I fell asleep only to be woken up half an hour later by some weird noises around my tent. I got up and looked outside. Right next to the table where I had pitched my tent, was a guy trying to start a fire in the fire pit. I asked him what he was doing and when he said he was trying to start a fire to roast his hot dog I asked him how come he didn’t use one of the free fire pits (about 6 of them) a few yards down from where I was camped.
He then asked if he was bothering me and I said yes that I was trying to sleep, it was late. I crawled back into my tent thinking he’d use another fire pit, but as it turns out he’d gotten really pissed. He got into his car, drove forward and backed up his exhaust right in front of my tent, and let the engine run the whole time. I couldn’t figure out why he let the car run, or why he was sitting there.
Then I remembered my stash of fire starting tablets and got some out of my bag to give to him so he’s maybe have some success starting a fire. Turns out he didn’t want them, and looked really pissed. He was eating his hot dog cold and he said it was disgusting cold. I asked him if he was parked like this to slowly kill me with exhaust fumes, and he said yes that was the plan. I was being kind and told him to take the tablets so he could make a fire but then he just drove off. He was still really pissed because he was speeding out of the parking lot and was going too fast in the curve and ran into a tree. He didn’t do too much damage I guess because he backed up and drove off. I felt guilty having asked him to fry his hot dog somewhere else, but at the same time what was he thinking using a fire pit next to a camped person when so many other ones were available?
I finally fell asleep only to be woken up again at 2 by a group of young folks hitting the springs.
I’m not going to say how many times I fell asleep and was woken up again, but I will say that when morning came I was pretty much a wreck!
My detour to the hot springs that I thought was going to be just awesome had turned into a nightmare of sorts.
At 6:30 I decided I’d had enough, and packed my gear and left.
I was on the road by 8, which was definitely the one of earliest times I’ve ever got going.



The morning was clear but nippy, and even though I was half asleep I enjoyed the scenery back toward Watson Lake.




I saw this sign again and knew I was back at the dusty road.


I am guessing the government could not afford good signs?

This time there was a second stop and a woman walked up to me and said, “I have good news for you and bad news.” I was thinking “Yikes! Don’t tell me road is closed?”
“The good news is that you get to go first and follow me, the bad news is that there is a 20 wait time because we had to wait for the seal coating to sink in.”
Well that wasn’t so bad. I parked my bike in the front and was about to grab my nook and crash on the side of the road to read when quite a few people walked up to me to ask me about my journey.
When the hot springs came up I told them about the hot dog guy, and my lack of sleep. I mentioned I didn’t even have any coffee yet. The pilot car gal heard me and promptly showed up with her thermos of coffee and asked if I had a mug. I did!!!
She gave me a cup of here excellent coffee and I had to take a picture of my morning hero!



The wait was over very soon and we all hopped back unto or into our vehicles and left.
I got back to Watson Lake around 11 and stopped at a gas station to fill up. I had good phone reception so my plan was to fill up, go to the grocery store that had a little diner area, and go online for a while. Yeah…….. the best laid plans…… I should know better by now!
As I hopped on Spirit I noticed that both my feet were actually able to touch the ground fully, no tiptoeing! Hmmm?????? Flat tire?? I looked down, sure enough! Another flat.
I could not even get off my bike it was that low, the kickstand wouldn’t work.
There was a guy on a GS parked a few yard in front of me against a building and I hollered HEY!
He looked over and I beckoned him to me. No idea what he was thinking
I explained my predicament and asked him to hold Spirit while I got off, and if he could help me push her into the dirt against the building nearby. He did and I got my little magical stand out of my bag and propped Spirit up so she wouldn’t tip over. (Jim, I don’t think you had any idea I would use this thing as much as I have when you gave it to me did you??)



I went through the process of taking the load off and my Pelicans as well, and took the rear wheel off. The GS rider who had helped me left after asking if I needed help. I had said no, been there done this, I could do it. While I was removing the tire a French guy showed up called Matt. He had been on the road for years and had been to Laos and other foreign countries on his bike.
Once the tube was out I couldn’t see any new holes, nor a nail in the tire.
I blew the tube up and felt where the air was coming from. There was a tiny rip near the patch I had put on the time I had a flat near Port Renfrew.
As I pushed down on it, the rip turned into a huge tear. Did I put the patch on wrong???
Anyways, the tube was shot, and not a bike shop nearby.
So many riders told me that in an emergency I can use the way to big and skinny front tube, so I did.
Matt told me not to, that it would never last. I told him some guys had done this and rode on it for hundreds of miles! He told me that was making a mistake and that I would now end up on the side of the road with a flat tire. Instead I should wait for a biker to show up with tube that might fit.
For some reason I thought that it would be very unlikely that someone would show up with my size tube. We sat for a while and noticed all the BMWs ride by. LOL, tubeless tires all of them. I decided to take the chance and find out of this would work. Got the tire on the rim in no time and walke around the building to the air-pump where I encountered Grizzly and his son Johan, also on BMWs.
So here I was, putting my wheel on again while Grizzly, Matt and another guy stood watching me work. LOL, talk about emancipation!

Once I had the wheel on it started raining, or should I say pouring! I covered all my junk with my tarp, put on my rain gear and finished tightening everything and also tightening my chain which I’m afraid is on it’s last legs, again!
Once it stopped raining I cleaned up my tools and put the cases and gear back on the bike.
The guys had gone for lunch nearby at Kathy’s place, and I said I’d join them later.
They had all but finished when I got there, but the thought of some fresh food instead of my canned soup or packaged Indian food sounded great. I had a nice salad with Feta cheese and olives and ate lunch there. Grizzly and Johan left shortly afterward and Matt left a little later to go grocery shopping. I also met Peter, a guy from Germany, also on a GS. I say, I’m severely outnumbered here, not a single KLR rider in sight!
I took off a little later and headed for White Horse, or actually a campground called Morley Lake.
I saw Grizzly and Johan at an ATM machine while heading out of town, and figured they’d catch up on me at some point as I was riding nice and slow.




Yep they passed me in no time!

I kept seeing them stopped here and there and then passing me again.
The road west was awesome!!





At one lookout we were all there, Grizzly, Johan Peter and I.


Lookout view

I said bye to the guys and took off, hoping to find Morley Lake campground soon. I was tired!
Once I got back into the Yukon, the road dips down into B for a little while, I saw a recreation area called Morley Lake. I rode up to see if there might be camping there too, and sure enough, yep, a really nice and free campground above the river. I didn’t even have to take Spirit on a dirt road, which I really didn’t want to do with my little tube in the tire.


I pitched my tent and strung a line to dry my still wet hot spring stuff, cooked dinner and crawled in bed! I was 9 PM
I fell asleep instantly and didn’t get up until 8 AM; I slept great!!
That morning I relaxed, made coffee using my hand made alcohol stove that I have yet to get used to seeing as I burned a huge hole in my little blue ground tarp.
As I lied there reading I heard a bike stop and went to say hi to the rider. Another GS. It was a guy from England who was with a group that had their bikes shipped to the US to ride to Alaska.
As it turns out the US customs had misplaced the paper work so it took almost 10 days for the bikes to be released to them. They were now having to make up for lost time and everyone rode at their own pace I guess seeing as he was by himself.
I said bye and got back in my tent to relax.
An hour later another couple of bikers stopped, but it sounded like Harleys so I stayed in my tent.
Later on another bike stopped and I could have sworn it sounded like a KLR, cause I got out of my tent to see.
It was a GS650, and the rider’s name was Mark.
I told him I was just camping here waiting for Tuesday to come seeing as most motorbike shops are closed on Monday. I told him I had had to put a skinny large tube in my rear tire cause my other one ripped. Turns out he had a tube with him that would fit the KLR!!! Awesome! It would be nice to have one in case my tire went flat again. I told him I would pay him for it so he could buy a new one in White Horse.
As I walked to the tent to grab my wallet I glanced at my rear tire and what do I see??????


Flat! Again!!
Yeah I guess either I must have done something wrong, or front tubes are just not meant to go on rear wheels!
I thanked Mark for being here and having a tube that would fit, and took a pic of him.




What are the chances of that!! Getting a new tube just when I need it and just out of the blue??
I was awed!! I couldn’t put on the tire right away because it was raining, so I relaxed and wrote my RR.

Later on that day the rain mellowed out and by 7 it was dry and the sun peeked out occasionally.
I jacked Spirit up again and removed the wheel and tube. Looking at the tube I saw a weird circle that was gouged into the tube, what the??? Oh well, it must have rubbed wrong somehow. I didn’t think about it again for a while, and put the new tube in and the tire back on. Getting the wheel back on was really hard for some odd reason….. Normally I can do this pretty fast, but not that day. The brake was giving me major trouble, and the brake pad kept falling out. What now???
I finally got everything lined up and put back on when I pressed the rear break, after which the pad fell out again! I was getting pretty frustrated by then, not to mention it was 11 pm and I was tired.

I cleaned up and figured I’d sort it out in the morning. While cleaning up I saw a little metal ring and knew what it was right away, I also knew why my tube was scored! Turns out the flat tire was entirely my own fault!!


I had forgotten about the valve washer, and it was still inside the tire and pressing down on the tube making a teensy hole.

I went to bed pretty much disgusted with myself, but glad that this time around I left the first bolt of the tube on the washer. I normally take the bolts off so the tube aligns smoothly with the rim.

The next morning, after a really chilly night, the sky was cloudy but with blue patches. It looked like it would be a sunny day
I packed up and finished putting Spirit back together. Balanced the rear wheel, put the rear brake caliper back on, and mounted the Pelicans.
I would have to forego using the rear brake until I got new brake pads. They were in terrible shape, at least the one that didn’t fall out all the time.
Before I left I took a photo of this rock where a bunch of wild flowers grew around it, as if it was a magical stone.



The ride to White Horse was uneventful but beautiful.

















Once I got to White Horse I went to the bike shop but they didn't have KLR brake pads, not did the Kawasaki dealer in town! Yikes, now what?? Looks like I am going to have to order some and express mail them to Haines Junction or so.
Not sure if any ADVers live nearby but I guess I'll figure it out.

I decided that I really wanted a shower and do some laundry. I swung by the tourist info and asked for the cheapest Motel. Yikes!! Not cheap here!! She told me about a couple of Hostels, one was called Beez Kneez. I followed the map and found it tucked away on a small side street. I went inside to ask if she had any room. Again I got lucky, one of her reservations was canceled this morning because of the flood in the West in Canada.


I got this cute little cabin for $50 and was able to use the kitchen to cook and do my dishes, do my laundry here and take a nice long shower.
I also went to Canadian tire to get a couple of fuel tins for my stove and food.
No more alcohol stoves for me!!! It's just plumb dangerous to use that inside my tent vestibule.
I'll gladly pay the $8 for 12 hours of cooking time!

I made myself a nice home cooked dinner and am writing my ride report.
Tomorrow I'm going to find another place to chance my oil. Yep again, I've put on 2000 miles since the sunshine coast. Unbelievable!!
After that I am heading to Skagway to take the ferry to Haines
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:10 AM   #1173
kitesurfer
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i've made a few of those penny stoves too. mine work really well for 2.5 minutes and then needed to add more fuel. i prefer the 1lb gas bottles and single burner stove as the bottle last much longer than the several bottles of paint thinner (alcohol) that I was using and several times cheaper too. too bad about the hot dog guy...i guess all campers have experienced a version of him. RIDE ON!
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:41 AM   #1174
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Hot dog, D.A. tries to gas you in your tent after you offer fire starters ?
Really pissed , leaves fast and smacks a tree?
Karma.
You have a flat ,times 2 and someone shows up to offer a replacement tube ?
Karma
With what you have going, I beleive , if you could get your bike across the sea to Russia , Karma might just get you around the world !
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:48 AM   #1175
Jettn Jim
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Talking

Hahaha yea Esther.... the Hotdog guy reminds me of the family Father/Idiot in Moab I almost beat for you!!!

Tube Karma is holding though Front tubes work Great... I've ridden over a thousand miles with the front in the rear Don't even carry a rear tube around the lower 48 anymore.

Love the TrailStand pic and comment:) Posted that pic and a couple paragraphs in his TrailStand thread with a link to your RR!

Also your comment " I saw Grizzly and Johan at an ATM machine while heading out of town, and figured they’d catch up on me at some point as I was riding nice and slow."
Hahah yea what's new.... hey your getting to SEE ALL THE FLOWERS!!!!!
Will ship goody package within the hour!
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:37 AM   #1176
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Originally Posted by kitesurfer View Post
i've made a few of those penny stoves too. mine work really well for 2.5 minutes and then needed to add more fuel. i prefer the 1lb gas bottles and single burner stove as the bottle last much longer than the several bottles of paint thinner (alcohol) that I was using and several times cheaper too. too bad about the hot dog guy...i guess all campers have experienced a version of him. RIDE ON!
The gas bottles whould have been my choice had I not decided to bring so much stuff with me on the bike!
But I do love to be able to have something to do when camping out for a few days, like knitting or painting etc. Hence the small cans for cooking.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:40 AM   #1177
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Originally Posted by bk brkr baker View Post
Hot dog, D.A. tries to gas you in your tent after you offer fire starters ?
Really pissed , leaves fast and smacks a tree?
Karma.
You have a flat ,times 2 and someone shows up to offer a replacement tube ?
Karma
With what you have going, I beleive , if you could get your bike across the sea to Russia , Karma might just get you around the world !
I would love to go around the world, but I have to admit that I would not enjoy doing it on my own that much. I have spend a lot of time abroad on my own as a woman, and have first hand experience of what can happen. At least I am not as naive anymore so getting kidnapped again might not happen, still, I have my kids to think of now. But you are right, things would probable go fine, Kharma.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:44 AM   #1178
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Originally Posted by Jettn Jim View Post
Hahaha yea Esther.... the Hotdog guy reminds me of the family Father/Idiot in Moab I almost beat for you!!!

Tube Karma is holding though Front tubes work Great... I've ridden over a thousand miles with the front in the rear Don't even carry a rear tube around the lower 48 anymore.

Love the TrailStand pic and comment:) Posted that pic and a couple paragraphs in his TrailStand thread with a link to your RR!

Also your comment " I saw Grizzly and Johan at an ATM machine while heading out of town, and figured they’d catch up on me at some point as I was riding nice and slow."
Hahah yea what's new.... hey your getting to SEE ALL THE FLOWERS!!!!!
Will ship goody package within the hour!
Thank yo so much for the goody package Jim! Glad to have new brake pads, chain and sprockets coming my way. You are forever my Santa Claus!!
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:31 PM   #1179
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Talking Maaa Pleasure maaaaam.........

Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadGal View Post
Thank yo so much for the goody package Jim! Glad to have new brake pads, chain and sprockets coming my way. You are forever my Santa Claus!!
My pleasure Sista... I had it all at the shop in the Majic KLR parts box, like you thought.....
But do to time constraints (appt for dad etc..) and cutting my 108 link spare chain to 106 for you I decided to just shoot Arrowhead Fred a call and have him priority mail it to you direct from the West coast!!! Figured it was the fastest way and he has some sort of a wormhole for quick shipping He had it shipped within 1 hour

Here's his link if anyone needs anything: http://www.angelfire.com/ut/moab/

Peace to you all and thanx for the GREAT reading!^)-,
JJ
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:50 PM   #1180
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Read a quote today that made me think of how things have been going on your "year on the road"

"Leap, the net will appear"

More here http://www.goodreads.com/author/quot...John_Burroughs
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:12 PM   #1181
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Fun catching up to you this morning. Hope you missed the rain we got here, Bill
 photo DSCF1245.jpg
damn!! thats a gorgeous bike!!
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:12 PM   #1182
Jettn Jim
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Thumb Yes.............

Quote:
Originally Posted by dryden_rider_54 View Post
Read a quote today that made me think of how things have been going on your "year on the road"

"Leap, the net will appear"

More here http://www.goodreads.com/author/quot...John_Burroughs
YES....YES!!!


“The kingdom of heaven in not a place but a state of mind.”
John Burroughs

“Communing with God is communing with our own hearts, our own best selves, not with something foreign and accidental. Saints and devotees have gone into the wilderness to find God; of course they took God with them, and the silence and detachment enabled them to hear the still, small voice of their own souls, as one hears the ticking of his own watch in the stillness of the night.”
John Burroughs, Harvest of a Quiet Eye: The Natural World of John Burroughs

Thank You....
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:30 PM   #1183
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Hi Ester

Mike from Liard HS here..just checking in on your report after seeing the flat repair seminar you put on in Watson Lake! Currently in Fairbanks after visiting Dawson and the TOTW highway. Heading to Deadhorse tomorrow.

Great read and pics! Great meeting you. Hope you're having good travels - maybe we'll see you somewhere else in AK or elsewhere!

Mike
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:16 PM   #1184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dryden_rider_54 View Post
Read a quote today that made me think of how things have been going on your "year on the road"

"Leap, the net will appear"

More here http://www.goodreads.com/author/quot...John_Burroughs
Awesome quote!! I have to admit, occasionally I am afraid to leap!!
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:20 PM   #1185
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Hi Ester

Mike from Liard HS here..just checking in on your report after seeing the flat repair seminar you put on in Watson Lake! Currently in Fairbanks after visiting Dawson and the TOTW highway. Heading to Deadhorse tomorrow.

Great read and pics! Great meeting you. Hope you're having good travels - maybe we'll see you somewhere else in AK or elsewhere!

Mike
Hey Mike, nice to hear from you! I'm in Haines now, waiting on parts, then fixing my bike and heading North. The road to Skagway was one of the most awesome roads I have ever been on!!!
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