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Old 08-04-2012, 05:52 PM   #31
NorWis OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olorin_the_13th View Post
Guess, I'm hanging in here, too :-D

Thanks for taking us along. Although, coming from the other side of the Great Water:
what with that Bob White and Beaver Patrol thingie?
Guess, I'm not catching the joke. Care to explain? I fear I'm about to get funny ideas and non-pc understanding otherwise.


Sorry about the confusion! Believe it or not, it's not meant as a joke even though it seems like it is. Wood Badge is a leadership program for adult leaders. They are assembled into patrols represented by a "criiter". My critter is a Bob White Quail. Others are beaver, fox, bear, eagle, antelope, buffalo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_Badge

Also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Beaver

We harass each other about or "critters". I promise, no more beavers or bob whites!!!

Thanks for following along!!!

Todd
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:27 AM   #32
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Day 5 Continued

Where was I? Oh, yeah, Dawson Creek, The Alaska Highway!

We were having a very good day of riding. Some sunshine and pleasant temps to welcome us to the Alcan.

We asked a young man to take our picture:



Dylan wondered why the building said Alberta when we were really in British Columbia. I didn't have an answer.



We took our time around the sign and took some additional photos:



Old rusty guy (Dylan's words) pointing the way:



We were indeed at Mile Zero, and we would finish every single mile of it!



There was something missing though. I could not find the "official" mile zero marker. We headed into the visitor center to look around and get some info on the road and whether it was open or not. We had heard there was a lot of rain plus the snow melt PLUS the damage to the road from the winter had been worse than normal.

I went to the counter and asked the young lady if she knew where the official mile zero was. She politely pointed out a small window and said look right out that window. Sure enough there it was!!! Dylan was not to fond of getting a photo in the middle of an intersection. She tried to comfort us saying don't worry about it, the locals will stop for you, smile and wait for you to take the photo. Gulp, ok, let's do it!

I drove the bike up to the intersection and waited for an all clear and the light to turn red. We talked about how we would do it and safely get a photo. Dylan still wasn't real happy! He didn't want to take his helmet off but I got his photo. Traffic stopped, there was a slight breeze, and the sun was shining. We were on the Alaska Highway. Life was good.



Now it was my turn. We swapped spots and Dylan stood in the middle of the intersection and snapped my picture. Nice!!! Nobody ran us over, got impatient or honked their horn.



Not far out of Dawson Creek we see this storm brewing and moving toward us.



We saw our first moose, but couldn't get a photo, that's ok, we'll see more....

As we headed toward Taylor I must have been daydreaming or just passing the time. I didn't realize that the long bridge we were about to cross had metal grating! Whoa!!! That took me by surprise. The rear end of the bike started to fishtail a little as we crossed, no harm though. But I knew I would be paying attention to the bridge surfaces from here on.

We began to see some huge valleys and snow capped peaks. This is what we were waiting for!!!



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Old 08-05-2012, 11:42 AM   #33
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End of day 5

This wasn't a long day for us riding compared to the last few days. It was however getting close to when we needed to park it for the night. We started to notice that all the RVer's called it quits around this time and figured we better get a campsite, too. During one of our rest stops we saw a place called Buckinghorse River Campground. The little blurb said it was right on the river so Dylan was all over that so he could fish.

We came upon three fifth wheels all in a row heading to the same campground. They all stopped to chat in the middle of the road. I waited a bit but then just went around them and got a site out of the way (campsite number 1).

Most of the time, not all the time, the rule was the tent gets up BEFORE the fishing starts. This wasn't a long day of riding so Dylan helped me. Seemed to go faster this way.

Tent up getting ready to fish:







How often do you see a sign like this...



...by the pump!



No worries, we had plenty of water on the bike and we also carried an MSR filter.

As we got camp setup and took some photos here comes an odd rig. We had seen a lot of different types of RV's from all over the world so far but this one had it all! Here's Dylan and I grossly overpacked (my opinion) on a motorcycle for 4 weeks and then you see this:



Not knocking it, it was just very surprising. A large motorcycle on the back (looks like an HD to me), a fifth wheel trailer and if you look at the red and blue on the very front it looks like...



Yup! A boat and trailer!!!

As it was pulling away...didn't like the campsites I guess.



With camp all set up and Dylan able to find his whistle. Couldn't fish without the whistle, just in case he needed help or to scare a bear. Here's the view from the back door of our tent:



The further we traveled the more beautiful the views had become!



Dylan took his pole and small tackle box and headed for the river with me right behind him with my head on a swivel and with camera in hand.

A few shots of a very happy and content little boy, very quickly growing up...









Dylan was moving around the river trying to find some nice holes to fish while I took a few photos:







That's when I saw something out of place, look at the base of this pine:



I walked over to it to get a closer look and was even more intrigued:



I didn't recognize it at first but then I was able to make out what it was:



I wouldn't expect everyone to know a poem by Emily Dickinson (I didn't until later):



This poem is usually used by a grieving parent over the loss of an infant or child. As I read it the last lines brought a tear to my eye:

Quote:
Until then, live your life to the fullest
And when you need me,
Just whisper my name in your heart,
. . . I will be there.
As I thought about what Dylan and I were experiencing together, I knew we were living our lives to the fullest, together. No regrets, nothing needed to change, we were making memories that would last both of us a lifetime. Regardless how long (or short) that lifetime was or is.

The poem in it's entirety:

Quote:
And If I Go While You're Still Here
by Emily Dickinson

And if I go, while you're still here. . .
Know that I live on,
Vibrating to a different measure
Behind a thin veil you cannot see through.

You will not see me,
So you must have faith.
I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
Both aware of each other.

Until then, live your life to the fullest
And when you need me,
Just whisper my name in your heart,
. . . I will be there.
New life popping up out of the river bed:



Hmmmm, nothing seems to be working, maybe a lure change...



Dyland getting the PB&J out for dinner. A little bit of beef jerky, too.



"Hi mom. Yeah, dad is making me wear my clothes more than one day. I know I couldn't pack much but this is crazy. I have to dry my stinky socks on a rock."



Not a Big Agnes commercial but rather the inside of our home for the next few weeks!



A very good day! We talked, at least smiled a lot at a german couple out walking their dog. They kept pointing at the bike and smiling so it wasn't hard to figure out they were from Germany. Also talked to another couple that were heading in the opposite direction as us. They had come from Laird Hot Springs and HIGHLY suggested we do the same. Alrighty then, we'll do just that!

Total mileage for the day was 334 and total for the trip was 1,910. A great day!!!
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Old 08-05-2012, 01:21 PM   #34
dave6253
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That red and black bike on the back of the RV was a 1997 Honda Magna with the VFR 750 V4. This model was my first bike, and a pretty good one.
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:26 PM   #35
NorWis OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave6253 View Post
That red and black bike on the back of the RV was a 1997 Honda Magna with the VFR 750 V4. This model was my first bike, and a pretty good one.
Thanks! It looked like it was very well taken care of from the quick view I had.

We saw just about every kind of bike you could imagine on our trip. It was very cool to see the different bikes and how folks had them outfitted for their "adventure". That's a good point to note as well; our adventure was different than anyone else's but they respected our trip just as much as we respected theirs.

You could chat for hours on end with folks about the trip they were having. We're all different yet still have the common goal of getting out there and making something special happen.

Thanks agin!

Todd
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Old 08-05-2012, 03:17 PM   #36
RokLobster
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Awesome!

How wonderful that you are able to share this adventure with your son. I had forgotten about that poem - a help to many at various points in their lives, a way to realize what is truly important. Something that you have obviously found within the time you spend with your sons.

Thanks for taking us along.
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Old 08-05-2012, 03:29 PM   #37
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What a great adventure for you and your son. I've got a soon to be 11 year old daughter who loves to ride with me. You've got me thinking.

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Old 08-05-2012, 04:08 PM   #38
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Day 6 begins

It rained all night, steady. It stopped right as Dylan woke up. Remember it was getting harder for me to sleep because of the lack of darkness. Quite a few things were changing, for the better. Maybe TMI (too much information) but if it helps someone else on a trip, then it was worthwhile. I was trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. After 32 years of chewing snuff (Copenhagen) I quit on December 30, 2011. The money I saved helped fund this trip. I also love my beer, a lot. Hadn't had a drop since I left. No need to get up in the middle of the night, no reason to be concerned while driving a bike into the unknown. Coffee was getting to be a pain to make every morning for myself. Done. Deal with it. If you can quit chewing snuff then coffee is an easy one. Lead by example. ATGATT, Dylan learned that early on. Lifestyle changes made for a better trip. I wasn't getting as much sleep but the type was high quality!

I was able to get a quick pot of water boiled for coffee and oatmeal and we were packed up and on the road by 7:30. Last day for coffee unless I bought a cup.

This wasn't going to be a big mileage day but would be a very rough terrain and "busy" day.

The ominous look of the sky:



As we gained some elevation it got even more ominous:





We then started to see wildlife. A lot of it!

Our first bears came in pairs!



This was kind of funny because it was so close. These bears are actually behind us. I pulled over and grab my camera from my tank bag (no leash around my neck until Fairbanks). I told Dylan to turn his head and watch the bears while I took some photos. If they start to move in our direction let me know. Bike was in gear with the clutch in. I was ready to drop the camera in the bag and giver 'er.

Then we saw two more:



Having a little easier day prior and also getting some quality fishing in, I had a pretty happy camper!



He was a trooper through the whole trip. I think we fed off each others ups and helped each other out through the downs. Remember that "healthy" lifestyle change? It bites me in the butt later on....and he came through for me.

You've got my attention with the GIANT billboard. Watch out for the wildlife.



We stopped at a wayside as we approached Stone Mountain Provincial Park:



The terrain was getting very rugged, it was raining on the approaching side (heading northwest):

My cameraman:



The Elegant Hog:



I'm pretty sure this video is in order as we moved closer to Alaska, if not, it was close. This is from a Contour GPS (I turned the GPS off to conserve battery life, duh, not smart). It is mounted on the left side right in front of my left grip. I've had it mounted on my helmet but you don't get the feel of the terrain and what it was doing to our (mostly my) body. My arms were taking a beating, if you hadn't noticed I'm not in the best of shape. If you haven't noticed, then you'll be in for an eye opener at the hot springs! And we haven't even gotten to the Dalton Highway yet!!!



The Alaska Highway is constructed differently than the roads around where we live and I could see why. It's rough, and takes it's toll on vehicles but out of neccesity gives better traction when it's wet. They call it "chip seal" which is tar with a flake kind of rock pushed into the tar. It's rough. This video also begins to show you the damage done to the road over the winter. Some had been repaired but as we progress you'll see that it gets worse. Much worse.

We stopped in Fort Nelson for our purchase meal of the day (breakfast) at the Hotel. Very good meal! Expensive, but good. On the way in a gentleman stopped us as we took our gear off and told us he was an operator that had worked on the highway the last several days. He said it was open but one lane northwest of Watson Lake because a river washed the road away! Ummm, are we going to be OK getting through? Oh, yeah, just take it easy and stay to the inside since the new gravel will be soft on the outside and quite soft. Whew, thanks for the heads up!!

Once we crested the peak the weather began to get better. As we drove along I saw a bunch of RV's and vehicles pulled off to the side of the road. We slowed down and saw they all had cameras out. Ok, I'm game, what's the attraction? Oh, a bear! A very BIG bear! A very brown bear! Grizzly or brown bear? I didn't know so we just called it a grizzly since that sounded better.



How about a short video? Not much movement, the music is from my helmet. We didn't want to get "caught" without a way out.



Stay tuned for more day 6!
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:14 PM   #39
NorWis OP
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Day 6 Continued

As I look through all my photos and videos I know I have some of these out of sequence. Sorry! They are in the correct day but a bit out of order.

We went through Toad River and I took some video because it was the first time we had seen a lot of these rugged mountains.

A few as we rode along:



Behind a line of RV's:





Snow capped peaks and ominous skies:



We kept moving along at a steady pace. It had rained, snowed, and even hailed on us up to this point. Hail on a helmet is not a pleasant feeling or sound. With VOX turned on I had to tap our "jog" dials on the Sena units to shut it off. It was loud!!! We would get bright sunshine then have it turn into the worst weather yet! Grrr......







Our saving grace was the wildlife! Had to keep our eyes peeled for Dall (Stone) Sheep, moose, bear, Elk, and Bison!

Whoops, here come the crazy sheep. All trying to eat the same blade of grass on the highway!



Animals continue to get larger and larger!







At least they all stayed together and weren't running around like chickens! Almost as bad the prairie dogs on the tundra!

Then you see a bison, from a long way off. They keep getting bigger and bigger. Here's our exchange:

Dad can you get closer so I can get a better picture? Umm, no Dylan. But why not? Because the rule is if the animal is bigger than you or the vehicle you are riding in or on you stay as clear as you can. Oh, yeaaaahhhh, good rule!



His friends:



I've seen bison before but this was the first time while riding a bike. Wow, those boogers certainly are big. The camera certainly doesn't do them justice!

Next up is Muncho Lake. What a beautiful site/sight that was.

I'll warn you before you have to shield your eyes from the fat, bald guy who hasn't had much sun in the hot springs...
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:17 PM   #40
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Day 6 Continued

I found one more video of the sheep last night. This has a rather large (male?) with almost a full curl in his horns run across the road in front of us.



Our first glimpse of Muncho Lake was breathtaking. It's long, about 7.5 miles, and a very beautiful jade green color. The color is from the copper oxide that leaches out of the rock. The couple of videos do not show the true color of the lake but it does show the damage, I'm assuming, from the recent rains to the road. The damage was in the process of being repaired as we motored through:



The lake is mesmerizing. It's so close to the road and such a beautiful green you can't help but to look in awe.

This photo is from the mountains just outside of the lake:



And then you see it, the color here is still a bit diluted:



I was trying to show a comparison of the leaves of the tree and the color of the water:



Mountains in the background were a perfect backdrop:





When you see a lake like this what's your initial thought? Hmmmm, I wonder how the fishing is?



Dylan again fished while I stretched and took some photos.





Gotta have proof the bike was there, too:





The last glimpse of Muncho Lake as we left:



In case you're wondering; Dylan did not catch a fish in Muncho Lake. I really wanted to see what colors it would have been!
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:37 PM   #41
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Awesome! Looking forward to more.
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:59 PM   #42
GrizzLee
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Maybe I missed it... You catch any fish?

Keep 'em coming. Great stuff.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:25 PM   #43
terryckdbf
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Wonderful ride report, great attitude, experience of a lifetime for your son.

Terry
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:29 PM   #44
NorWis OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THX_337 View Post
Maybe I missed it... You catch any fish?

Keep 'em coming. Great stuff.

Up to this point he hasn't caught a fish. I have not fished at all, actually haven't touched a rod. That was by design. I didn't want to have to spend the $$$ for a non-resident license in each province or in Alaska. The research I had done was that Dylan didn't need a license anywhere. In Yukon he would have to "get" a license but it was still at no charge. We found this out in Watson Lake at the visitor center.

Not catching a fish did not sway him at all. How many kids (or adults!) could say that they've fished in five Canadian provinces, Alaska and several Northwestern states? I can't say that I have done it. Everytime we found a spot to pull over and fish ha was all over it. It wasn't about catching fish but more the experience and opportunity of trying somewhere different. He had fun and it gave me a chance to stretch, take photos, look the bike over, and breath in all the beauty we were in.

Thanks!

Todd
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:34 AM   #45
NorWis OP
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Day 6 Continued

Grrrr, last night I had this day 6 continuation ready and when I clicked preview, poof, it was gone. So here we are this morning, maybe things will be better.

The previous night I had found some video clips that were "lost" and I had no idea what day they were from. I do know they are from British Columbia and around the Muncho Lake area.



The overcast skies and mountains are all similar. We had no idea what kind of weather to expect. It was all thrown at us, too. Snow, sleet, hail, and rain.



The mountains are just breathtaking and I couldn't let this fly by us.



I was glad, for now, that the road was so rough and had good traction while "slippery when wet".



Uh, oh! Bison!



Snow capped mountains are breathtaking!



Crazy metal grated bridges.



I only took the camera out after the rain had quit. You can see the road surface is wet here. I didn't have a waterproof mount.



Though the mountains are breathtaking, you had to keep one eye on the road. If you look at the video you can see the bike swerving around "things". There are little sink holes in the road where it had caved in and hadn't been repaired yet.



I tried to stay organized but had a few too many things going on at once. Keeping all the batteries charged; iPhones (2), Sat Phone, iPad, Camera Batteries (3), helmet communicators, and video camera batteries (3) without killing the bike battery. Making sure we had someplace to stay each night and food and drink in Dylan (lord knows I didn't need it). I also was getting concerned with the road surface and what it was doing to the bike.

This is your warning that the last part of this day is at Laird Hot Springs. Break out your sunglasses!!! From what we knew from planning the trip, other ride reports and the folks at Buckinghorse Campground, Laird was going to be great! We were really looking forward to a good hot soak (starting to smell funny).
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