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Old 06-25-2005, 03:38 PM   #16
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You still out there? We want more.

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Old 06-25-2005, 06:42 PM   #17
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Great pics. I hope to make it one day.
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Old 06-26-2005, 01:44 PM   #18
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The trip starts for real...

I'm in Whitehorse, Yukon right now at an internet cafe, but I don't think I'll be able to plug in my card reader here so the pictures will have to wait. I have a lot of pictures now.

The trip didn't start for real until I reached Dawson Creek in BC, mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. Everything suddenly got good as soon as I turned onto it. A little ways down the road I met a 64 year old guy named Bill on a BMW 1200GS at a gas station, also headed for Alaska. I mentioned the age because this gives me hope for my old age. Maybe I should stop smoking after all. We decided we might as well ride to Fort Nelson together, then the next day rode to Watson Lake together.
From Fort Nelson to Watson Lake is right through the Rocky Mountains in BC, just below the Yukon. This was by far the best day of riding ever in my life. The scenery was amazing, and while I have some pictures of cool scenery they don't compare to what I saw here. I couldn't photograph it because there weren't very good places to stop, and this kind of road is too good for interruptions to stop and take pictures. I have some good pictures of stuff, but when you see them remember that they don't compare, and even if I photographed the best stuff it wouldn't do it justice. Moving through these huge old worn down looking mountains full of lakes and a different kind of scene every 30 seconds gives a perspective a camera can't capture.
The combination of curvy and hilly roads wrapping around a mountain, incredible scenes unfolding around every curve, and the loose gravel patches made it the best ride I've done so far to date. The loose gravel patches were spaced so that you might spend 10 seconds on pavement, then 5 seconds on loose gravel, but sometimes more--almost random, but frequent. Sometimes it changed to gravel at a curve, so as you come up on every curve you have to look ahead and decide whether to ride the curve in dirt bike mode or road racer mode. The pace was about 70 mph, just a little over the speed limit (ok sometimes more) and just quick enough to be fun but not enough to worry too much about going off the side of the mountain. I kept my lean angles pretty mellow since the tire I got in edmonton has very widely spaced knobs for the dirt. It seems ok on pavement, but I don't think I should expect too much. Sometimes the lane would split into half gravel and half asphalt and I could just pick my line and which style of riding I felt like doing.
This was where my choice of bike really paid off and made it all worth it. The dual sport is king on this road. Bill agreed this was also the best day of riding he's ever had as well, and he's been around a lot more than me on motorcycles. His big GS wasn't handling dirt very well with it's street tires on, but he didn't have too much problem with the gravel patches. Eventually we crossed one of many bridges into 12 kilometers of construction (not the first, but the longest), and it was like they were just trying to make a fun trail for a dirt bike. Bill didn't enjoy this much but I had a blast. It started out just dirt and I started late so I had room to catch up with the pilot car and the line of RVs, while passing a family of bison laying in the grass right next to the earthmovers, watching us go by. The pilot car got us to a certain point then we were on our own, and the "road" was very wide. I shot past the RVs and into the rocky section having a great time and saw another huge bison laying in the grass on my left watching me go by without much interest. Then back onto the road all too soon and waited for Bill to catch up. Regular treet tires must've been slick in that section.
In Watson Lake we met two other riders headed to Alaska together. One was Mike from California (this is his website: ) and the other was Silve from Quebec. Mike was on a 1150GS Adventure, and Silve was riding a Harley softail. Silve was a good lesson not to judge a book by it's cover, as he's been everywhere in North and Central America on that softail, wearing a half helmet and chaps and looking almost like a guy you'd see in a Hooters parking lot, except he's about as far from that as you can get.
We had a few beers that night, then leapfrogged past each other on the road all the next day. When me and Bill would stop, they would pull up then go by, and vice versa. Finally we all ended up at the same campsite in Whitehorse last night. This was the first time on the trip I've camped, but I'm going to try to camp a lot more now. After setting up tents the four of us went out for good steaks and beers, then back to camp to really rough it--sitting around the fire looking at pictures on Mike's laptop and swapping camera cards.
Bill split this morning for Skagway. I went and checked out Myles Canyon with Mike and Silve, then they headed up to Dawson City and I headed for the internet cafe.
I saw a motocross track when leaving the canyon area and headed in to check it out. Wow, I'm doing great! Oh, it's just the driveway. The DR650 is not a motocross bike. I rode up a big tabletop and I swear it dropped straight down on the other side. Good thing it was a table top with room to turn around, I would not have wanted to ride down that! I've rolled over jumps on a motocross track on my GS1100, just goofing around. You'd think I could at least roll over a track on a dual sport, but I guess not. I've gotten lamer or that table top belonged on a trials course. I bet the little kid on the 50cc didn't have a problem with it. It's ok, I don't need pride. I got off the track and decided the little paved go kart track next to it was more my speed.
My current plan is to head to Dawson City tonight, or at least move down the road a little, then do the top of the world highway to Fairbanks. It's supposed to ride near the tops of mountains and have 40 miles of dirt on the American side. From Fairbanks I will probably head straight to Anchorage and hang out with Beej for a bit. At some point during my stay I'm going back up to Fairbanks, the Arctic Circle, and ride Denali highway, then go back south to try to get a ferry to Washington.
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Old 06-26-2005, 01:48 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Snuffy
Heard on the Weather Channel about that rough weather up north. Glad you missed it.

There have been tornados and floods across Canada during this trip. I've been very lucky to only have to spend a couple days riding in rain, and it wasn't very heavy rain. Edmonton had declared a state of emergency when I was there, houses were flooded out in some neighborhoods (one had cops blocking it off, when I tried to pass) and docks were submerged. All it really meant to me was that the river looked neat because the banks were tree tops. With luck like mine so far, I might even get to see the peak of Mt McKinnley.
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Old 06-26-2005, 01:57 PM   #20
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Glad to here yer moving along. Great update. Hope you see the top of Denali. Tried four times and never saw it, but everywhere you look there is amazing scenery.
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Old 06-29-2005, 02:40 AM   #21
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I'm in Anchorage now, where I'll stay for a while and get a new back tire and oil and stuff, then go up to Fairbanks and do the Arctic Circle and Denali Highway.
I've got a lot of pics to resize and then I'll post more, but first a quick funny story.
I've met a lot of guys doing this trip on bikes along the way, and they've all met each other. We all see each other in different towns all up the Alaskan Highway and now in Alaska, plus a few going the other way. In Dalton City I met a guy named Mike (another one) from New Jersey on a V-Strom 650. He told me about two guys on BMWs from Texas, one with a zebra striped tank that I'd seen several times in Whitehorse.
So Mike from NJ went just across the border to Hyder, AK on the way up for a few drinks. The bartender asks if his name is Bob. Apparently the payphone in the bar that hadn't rung in ten years rang and someone asked for Bob on a motorcycle, from Texas. So later, Mike from NJ sees the guys with Texas plates and asks which one is Bob. The guy looks at him wierd and says "I'm Bob". Mike said "You got a phone call in Hyder".
I saw the zebra striped beemer outside a restaurant in Tok yesterday and walked up and pulled the same gag.
"Is one of you guys Bob?"
Really great "you gotta be kidding" look from Bob. "Yeah I'm Bob"
"I heard there's a phone call for you in Hyder."
And that's what it's been like.

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Old 06-29-2005, 04:40 AM   #22
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Poor, Bob. The wife checkin' up on him, I suppose, and now every rider in the area knows all about it !!!

Great ride report !!!
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Old 06-29-2005, 04:58 AM   #23
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Outstanding! Three things for you...stop at Gracious House at the Susitna Bridge on the Denali for blackberry pie...Sourdough Sam's in Fairbanks for sourdough pancakes...and the Hot Spot Cafe just north of the Yukon Bridge on the Haul Road for burgers.

Keep it coming and may you have good riding weather!
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Old 06-29-2005, 11:06 AM   #24
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This was on the edge of a town in Alberta with all dirt roads, even in the residential (with concrete sidewalks) and business sections. That was worth a little tour before getting gas.

I was about to pull into a town in Alberta wet and cold and wanting nothing but a motel room, the highway turned into this, with the actual highway continuing via an exit. Instead I went down this road for a mile before turning back for the motel, because I'm an idiot.

Other people in this town like to get dirty too.

A silly tourist thing, but I sure was glad to finally be on this road and done with the long boring Canadian prairie.

Trying to get a shot of the view from this bridge, (I couldn't), I pulled into the wayside just after it and saw this dirt road. I didn't get too far out of sight of everything before seeing a deer carcass fresh enough for something bigger than me to still want, and decided to bail.

I met Bill from Arizona at a gas station and we rode to Fort Nelson together.

The bikes in Fort Nelson. I just liked the way the light looked here.

More later, I have to go do some laundry.

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Old 06-29-2005, 12:00 PM   #25
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what seat do you have on the DR650?
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:20 PM   #26
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Corbin seat with IMS tank.
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:37 PM   #27
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The next day on the way to Watson Lake.

Look, a mountain!

Hi, I'm from Wisconsin.

Getting gas in the clouds in the Rockies in BC. I think this was just before we got into the best riding ever. I don't have any shots showing anything like what we saw when we were right in the middle of the Rockies.

Me and Bill met Mike and Silve in Watson Lake and we drank some beers. We ran into them the next day in the signpost forest.

Silve and Mike.


You can get excited about going just about anywhere.

Nothing special about this picture, I just took it as a reference so I could remember the name of it and where it is. Dawson Peaks is a nice place with a good cook, and according to the owner of the place this is where you can start in the lake and float out to the Bering Sea and to Nome, AK a very long ways away. People buy boats to do this and sell the boats when they get there and fly out of Nome. Some people have built rafts and done it. This really got me thinking about rafting.
At the hostel across the river from Dawson City where I camped, I met a guy named Rob from Vancouver who drove his truck to Whitehorse with a bicycle in back. He stashed the bike in Whitehorse, sold the truck and bought a canoe. He canoed the river from Whitehorse to Dawson City in 12 days, seeing grizzlies and almost everything but people along the river. He was going to hitch back to Whitehorse and get the bike, then ride it back to Vancouver. Look on a map if you want an idea of the distances here.
I think I need to float to somewhere.

Lots of nice little dirt roads off the main highway, it could take a million years to explore them all. This is somewhere between Watson Lake and Whitehorse.

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Old 06-29-2005, 12:45 PM   #28
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Silve, Mike, Bill and I all ended up at the Whitehorse sign at the same time, which is funny because it was just the first place to turn around after spotting a campground.

At dinner, Mike spotted the limp cigarette warning on my Canadian cigarette pack that I hadn't even noticed. Best cigarette pack warning ever.

The four of us set up camp here.

Mike took that picture of me which I now have on my camera due to the following card swapping session...

Camping around the fire just like cavemen, if they were unfrozen in the 21st century and taught to use computers. This was taken after midnight.

More when I get around to it.

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Old 06-29-2005, 01:52 PM   #29
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I have to ride Alaska,I have to ride Alaska,I have to ride Alaska.
I'm enjoying your reports & pics.
Peace to all
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Old 06-29-2005, 02:05 PM   #30
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nice report!! keep it coming
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