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Old 09-18-2012, 09:28 AM   #241
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Originally Posted by theofam View Post
If you need ANYTHING for the GSs while in Fairbanks, make sure you connect with Dan Armstrong of Adventure Cycleworks - 907.457.4259 or info@adventurecycleworks.com. He's a top-notch guy who will go the extra mile for travelers. If nothing else, drop by for a coffee . . . promise you'll learn something! Tell him Sean "Spade Bit" from Denver sent you.
Thanks Sean! Wish I had known that before, we tried to book an appointment for regular service at Trails End, but they were busy, so we had to book one for The Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage instead.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:03 AM   #242
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I recently sold a '59 Panhead that was my father-in-law's old bike to Baltimore! He is a legend!!

He and Phyllis ride in the 4th of July parade here and do seat stands and other assorted tricks on their Harley's......small world.

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Old 09-20-2012, 12:34 PM   #243
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I recently sold a '59 Panhead that was my father-in-law's old bike to Baltimore!
That is a small world!

We talked for a while at lunch, really interesting guy. He tows a collapsible camper on the back of his Harley, parks it anywhere - Walmart shopping lots, etc -.so his lodging costs are practically nil!
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:49 PM   #244
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Great RR, looking forward to more!






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Old 09-20-2012, 01:06 PM   #245
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Great pics! I'm late to the party but ill catch up
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:55 PM   #246
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questions for Neda

How do you like your GS 650 ? and how tall are you ? And how does it do at 75-80 MPH
And I`am enjoying the RR . Thanks
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:24 PM   #247
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How do you like your GS 650 ? and how tall are you ? And how does it do at 75-80 MPH
And I`am enjoying the RR . Thanks
Neda typing:

I love my GS! I've downsized from my old R1200ST and haven't looked back since. The standard seating position and the custom Corbin seat are two features that have made a world of difference for me in terms of endurance and comfort. With the wider handlebars, the bike is so much easier to maneuver and the turning radius is better than my old bike, while the gas tank under the seat brings the centre of gravity way down. Besides, I don't have to take the tankbag on and off to gas up anymore!

I'm 5'8" and can reach the ground no problem. If height is the problem, you can always get a lower seat.

At highway speeds, the bike feels underpowered and lacks torque; especially in comparison to my old ST. However, I have no problems passing cars and trucks, as well as keeping up with Gene's 1200GS. I installed the BMW touring windshield which gives me more wind protection than the stock, but I'm still getting a lot of wind blast (especially in the prairies). That's why I'm going to add the Touratech windshield extender to make the bike more aerodynamic.

All in all, the 650GS is the perfect bike for me and ideal for this kind of long distance travel. I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up!
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:10 PM   #248
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Neda typing:

All in all, the 650GS is the perfect bike for me and ideal for this kind of long distance travel. I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up!
Uh!!

...and here I thought you were on a GS800!!


serves me for not reading the fine print, huh??


GodSpeed kids!!
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:58 PM   #249
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/26.html

Deadhorse, Prudhoe Bay.

The name is whispered in revered tones as one of the Holy Grails of adventure motorcycling - the most northern point in North America that you can travel by overland vehicle. The treacherous road leading up there has been featured in Ice Road Truckers and World's Most Dangerous Roads.

So, since we were in the neighbourhood, we decided to see what all the fuss was about...



In 1968, North America's largest oil field was discovered in Prudhoe Bay, on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Then the oil crisis hit, so the US Government thought what a great idea it would be to build America's most dangerous road in the northern tundra of Alaska, and then stealth-market it on ADVRider to attract motorcyclists from all over the world to brave 414 miles of dirt, mud, potholes, washboard, gravel and pay over $5 a gallon along the way for the privilege! And the motorcyclists came, and together they all subsidized the construction of the Alaska Pipeline!


South section of the Dalton Highway, the Alaska Pipeline a constant fixture

We left Fairbanks the morning after arriving. So many people along the way had warned us of the impending cold weather that we were feeling a little rushed. The rains in the area had not let up for the last couple of days and the forecast didn't leave us with any window for dry weather for another week. So we decided if we were going to do this, it would be now. I think we suffered a bit for our lack of preparation. More on that a bit later...

The Dalton Highway begins about 70 miles north of Fairbanks. Almost immediately we are confronted by construction, and we are told to wait for a pilot vehicle to escort us through a single lane of freshly-laid dirt. The pilot vehicle eventually showed up after 15 minutes, but it led us all the way through while tailing a watering truck! The construction crews water the dirt to keep down the dust, so we were basically riding fresh mud created just a hundred feet ahead of us. Great.

We slowly slipped and slid over the muck, a lineup of impatient truckers behind us shaking their heads at these two bikes from Ontario with street tires barely keeping their rides upright. If we dropped the bikes at this point, they probably would have just run us over to keep their delivery schedules!


Our first break at Yukon Crossing

Two muddy construction zones later, we had our first break at Yukon Crossing. We gassed up our tanks for the next leg, ate a brief lunch and then talked to two bikers coming from the north. We were curious about the road ahead and since the weather and construction changes daily, the only fresh information are from travelers that have just come off the road. They told us we had endured the most toughest section and that it was just hard-packed gravel ahead of us. Neda and I breathed a collective sigh of relief until we found out that they had only gone to the Arctic Circle marker and back, not all the way to the end of the Dalton. They had turned back at mile 115 of 414 and had no information on what was ahead further north - what many have said was the most treacherous part of the Dalton Highway. :(


Nice pavement on the Dalton is the exception, not the rule. Beautiful scenery on the Dalton is the rule, not the exception.


We've officially crossed the Arctic Circle!

Anything north of the Arctic Circle gets to experience the midnight sun in the summertime, but is also plunged into 24 hours of darkness in the winter. Most tourists and motorcycle travelers end their Dalton Highway trek at the Arctic Circle marker, taking a picture of the sign for posterity and then turning back south to Fairbanks, but we're after much larger game!

There are only three towns on the Dalton Highway. No other services exist on the road, no McDonalds, no gas stations, no convenience stores, nothing but cold Alaska wilderness, 18-wheelers and the constant companionship of the Alaska Pipeline running parallel to the highway. I'm told that the Automobile Associations refuse to service the Dalton, not considering it a proper road. Any catastrophic breakdowns/crashes along the way will involve you hiring a private towing company to come out and fetch you at $5/mile back to Fairbanks. My mental calculator was working out how high the financial stakes were the further north we headed.

The "town" of Coldfoot came upon us at mile marker 175. "Town" in quotes because it looked to be a collection of trailers strewn across a muddy, gravelly lot just behind the trees off the highway. This was the last place we could get gas before Deadhorse, and a large sign reminded us, "Last gas for 240 miles". 240 miles was stretching the limits of our tanks, so we both made sure to fill up our 4L jerry cans just in case. I thought how ironic it would be to run out of gas on the Dalton, while not a hundred feet away, the Alaska Pipeline pumped 2.1 million barrels of oil a day past us...


Boreal Lodge in Wiseman

The second town is Wiseman, only 14 miles north of Coldfoot. It is an original gold mining community, but now houses historical log cabins and a few lodges and BnBs for travelers on the Dalton. Most of the population of 20 people practice a subsistence lifestyle, only hunting and gathering what they need to survive, nothing more. We stayed at the Boreal Lodge, which was quite a step up from the trailer/hotel in Coldfoot. That night, I pondered over all the travel advisories I'd read about the road to Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay. I felt like I had read just enough to scare me, but not enough to prepare me, given that our route to this point was already difficult and yet, from what I read, the worse was yet to come.

Neda didn't seem to be worried at all. Either we weren't surfing the same websites, or she's got balls of steel.

Well, tomorrow we find out.
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Old 09-22-2012, 05:24 AM   #250
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Well, tomorrow we find out.


What a fantastic trip you are having!
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:09 PM   #251
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Good job so far. Can't wait for the next update
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:10 PM   #252
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Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/27.html



Neda's guilty pleasure is a TV program called, "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge" (MXC). On the show, contestants are run through a crazy obstacle course where more and more outlandish situations are thrown at them in an effort to knock them off their motorcycles. No wait, that's the Dalton Highway...


"The insides of my shorts are now the same colour as the road but I'm OK!"

When we wake up in Wiseman, we discover it's been raining all night and still coming down in the morning. This means that we'll be facing our first extreme elimination challenge - slippery, greasy mud underneath our smooth, street tires. Like they say in MXC, "DON'T GET ELIMINATED!"...


2 wheels vs 18. GAME ON! Sukakpak Mountain in the background

The Dalton Highway was built especially for truckers hauling material all the way up to Prudhoe Bay to build the Alaska Pipeline. It's also called the Haul Road, and today is used to carry supplies to Deadhorse, where all the work is done extracting the crude out of the oil fields. Trucks are the undisputed King of the Road and riding amongst them requires special attention. The biggest danger is getting hit by rocks and stones kicked up by any one of the 18 wheels passing you by at close proximity. The speed limit on the Dalton is 50mph and it is not uuncommon to see rocks hitting your windshield and visor at closing speeds of a plastic-shattering 100mph. The common wisdom is to always pull over when you see a truck approaching, turn your helmet to the side of the road and duck behind your windscreen.


Neda wipes her muddy visor after being blinded by a passing truck

We're told that in the dry summer months, you can see a truck approaching for hundreds of metres away due to the dust cloud in the distance. Today, the dust clouds are replaced with a head-to-toe mud bath, sometimes temporarily obscuring your visor if you don't get your head turned away in time. Don't even think about smearing the mud with your already dirty gloves, so you're riding blind until you can get stopped to pull out a clean-ish rag.... "DON'T GET ELIMINATED!"


Rain and thick fog still fail to mask the brilliant autumn colours in the flatlands.

The trees become more sparse the further north we travel, as the environment is getting more inhospitable to anything shorter than ground vegetation. Stretches of construction still present challenges to our 2-wheeled vehicles, as they are not laying down asphalt, just more dirt and gravel for the trucks. The Dalton Highway was never intended for non-commercial passenger vehicles, and the condition of the road reflects this. In fact, the US government only opened the road to public access as late as 1994.


Whiteout conditions on the Atigun Pass

The Brooks Range covers most of Northern Alaska and the Yukon Territory. Most of the land north of this mountain range is called the North Slope, as the mountains face north and drain precipitation into the Arctic ocean. In fact, the original name of the Dalton Highway was called the North Slope Road. This is where we are introduced to our next Extreme Elimination Challenge: snow and ice on the Atigun Pass.

The Atigun Pass climbs 4739 feet above sea level, and as we make the ascent up the wet, gravelly road, we encounter white-out conditions, the shoulders and mountain-sides slowly accumulating with snow. Our speed drops, not only because of the road conditions, but because we are also busy marveling at the amazing views unfolding before us.


Riding through the snow-covered mountain ranges, the views are amazing! Too bad the road conditions have us scared sleetless.


To me, riding the Atigun Pass in a snowstorm has to be the highlight of our trip so far.


Starting our descent down the other side of the Atigun Pass


Atigun Gorge, just north of the pass


Made it through the Atigun Pass!


Taking a break in the Atigun Gorge with our buddy the Alaska Pipeline


Neda is admiring the scenery


Off we go again!

Our preparations for the Dalton Highway were non-existent. We just showed up. While most motorcyclists donned knobbies or more aggressive tires, we were using Tourances, half-bald from long riding days on the abrasive pavement of the BC and Yukon highways. All the weight on my bike was piled up on my passenger seat and topcase, making my centre of gravity precipitously high and back. While riding the greasy muddy sections, I felt like a tight-rope walker balancing a bowling ball at the top of a long broomstick!


Lunchtime at Galbraith Camp

At Galbraith Lake, we came up with solution to my high centre-of-gravity problem. We took all the food out of my topcase. And ate it. Next Extreme Elimination Challenge - "Postprandial somnolence" - rider drowsiness induced by overeating.


Galbraith Lake


So muddy

We found out that construction crews spray Calcium Chloride on the roads. CaCl2 is a thickening agent which thickens the mud and hardens it in the summertime. However, when it gets wet, it produces a slippery clay that when splashed onto hot pipes and radiators, bakes into a ceramic that is impossible to get rid off without a chisel. We are recommended to immediately wash this crap off our bikes before this happens, since CaCl2 is mildly corrosive as well.


Somewhere underneath all that mud is a motorcycle and a rider


We made friends with a lot of flaggers at construction sites

Often there is a 15-30 minute wait at each construction site. Motorcycles are typically waved to the front, so we got to chat with a lot of the flaggers while waiting for the pilot vehicle. We found out from this flag-person that a stretch of the Dalton was closed a couple of days ago due to snow, so it was fortunate we were arriving today. She told us that while her station was closed, she built a snowman to hold the stop sign, and as it melted, all the construction drivers mocked her snow-flagger for falling asleep on the job! LOL!


Following a pilot vehicle through a construction site

I leave a healthy distance behind Neda. We've found that our dirt bike skills come in handy on this road, and when the road becomes too gnarly and the bikes go sideways, a little throttle helps to keep everything upright and pointed straight. "When in doubt, throttle it out!". Oh and, "DON'T GET ELIMINATED!"


Final stretch (literally and figuratively) before we reach Prudhoe Bay. Next challenge: deep washboard ruts in the background

Happy Valley is at mile marker 334 and the rain starts to let up and we see sun peeking out from the clouds. The mud turns to hard-packed gravel and our speeds pick up a bit. We are sobered up by the sight of a car and a truck overturned in the ditch and we slow down again. Obviously, they too fell victim to complacency on the Haul Road and paid the price. Speaking of which, at a tow-charge of $5/mile, 400 miles north of Fairbanks, I assume it was cheaper leaving the rotting carcasses of their vehicles up here than pay for a tow back to civilization.


The obligatory picture at the Deadhorse General Store - one of the only Welcome signs in this oil camp


We like our sign better! :)

The drilling community of Deadhorse slowly appears on the horizon. It appears slowly because all of the buildings are no more than one-story tall, having been hauled up on the back of an 18-wheeler. Our relief at reaching the end of the treacherous Dalton Highway is tempered by the fact that we are really only half-way through it. We've got to do it all again to get back to Fairbanks!

The weather forecast shows non-stop rain for the next 5 days. Do we wait and risk snow or ride back in even deeper mud?

"DON'T GET ELIMINATED!"
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:54 PM   #253
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Good job just street tires did you wish you had Knobbies on at anytime
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:14 AM   #254
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That's awesome!
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:26 AM   #255
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Too cool guys! Quite the adventurers.....There is no way I could get my wife to ride that road!
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