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Old 06-29-2005, 02:16 PM   #31
Snuffy
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This is getting real good. BTW snowrider, if your near Whitehorse now, lookout for a fellow advrider on a BMW F650, red. He reported not long ago that he's about 200 miles west of Whitehorse and having bike problems. Thanks.
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Old 06-29-2005, 02:19 PM   #32
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Nope, I'm in Anchorage now. I bet there are still a lot of bikes in that area though, hopefully someone will help him out.
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Old 06-29-2005, 02:27 PM   #33
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[QUOTE=snowrider]Nope, I'm in Anchorage now. I bet there are still a lot of bikes in that area though, hopefully someone will help him out.[/QUOT

Thanks for the reply! Your right, he should run across someone.
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Old 06-29-2005, 05:33 PM   #34
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Snowrider,

How's the DR650 holding up? What kinda fuel range are you getting out of the IMS tank?
I'm enjoying your adventure. It gives me something to look forward to in the evenings after work. Thanks.

Cheers!

Dave in Vermont
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Old 06-29-2005, 08:12 PM   #35
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Great stuff, keep it cum'n !!!
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:40 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by greenmtndave
Snowrider,

How's the DR650 holding up? What kinda fuel range are you getting out of the IMS tank?
I'm enjoying your adventure. It gives me something to look forward to in the evenings after work. Thanks.

Cheers!

Dave in Vermont

The DR is holding up great, seems totally solid, no problems at all. I'll do an oil and filter change while I'm staying in Anchorage for a bit and I need a new back tire, but I'll probably won't do a valve adjustment until I get home. The Maxxis 50/50 tire I got in Edmonton is not for pavement, I wore it out in about 1000 miles and it's only good for burning a bit more pavement now. The tire worked good on the Alaskan and the top of the world highways though, and the bike is perfect for it. I don't think there's a better bike for these roads, except maybe a more performance single like a KTM if you don't mind the price and maintenance. No problem keeping up with the 1200GS on these roads, although if he wanted to run high speed on long straight highways I'm sure it'd leave me behind quick. I haven't done any maintenance except refill the scottoiler and I adjusted the chain once so far, 2500 miles into the trip. I added about an 1/8 of a quart of oil to top it off, if that much. Fuel mileage may be what I should expect for being a 300 lbs guy with a carburated engine, but I'm only getting 44 usually, running 70 mph. In very high winds, or holding 80 mph in moderate wind it drops into 30s and once I only got 33 mpg out of a tank. The best tank was 47 mpg.
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Old 06-30-2005, 11:58 AM   #37
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Great reports , keep it coming and thks for sharing!!!!!
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Old 06-30-2005, 01:40 PM   #38
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I'm lovin' that dry sense of humor. Keep it coming.
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Old 06-30-2005, 02:11 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowrider



You can get excited about going just about anywhere.
There is nothing wrong with Omaha!!!! I will look for that subaru with Alaska plates for the next few weeks.

I like the pic's bro! Stay safe and keep 'em comin!
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Old 06-30-2005, 03:07 PM   #40
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Bill left the next morning for Skagway to try to get the ferry to Haines. Mike, Silve and I went to Myles canyon just a couple miles outside of Whitehorse.



Looking into the canyon.



View of the walk bridge from along the river. The river is about 20 feet higher than normal because of all the flooding in Canada this season.



I left the canyon and when I got back to the highway I saw this motocross track. The big tabletop isn't in this picture, just the small ones. With the go kart track right next to the dirt this place was good for some motard action.



It's hard to tell in this picture, but the black branchless tree trunks go on as far as the eye can see, over the hills in the distance. This is from a 1998 forest fire along the Klondike highway, it went on for miles. A little further down the road from this picture the colors changed to more yellow/orange with endless black poles and it looked like another planet.



A nice shovelhead owned by the guy who made the biggest burger I've ever had. It was bigger around than a grapefruit, but smaller than a basketball. He told me about a snowmobile/atv trail that went from Whitehorse to his place that I could've ridden instead of the highway. Doh! Anyone who likes dirt and is headed for the top of the world, head up the Klondike (2) and take the left turn to Takhini hot springs. The trail starts somewhere right there and runs up to the Braeburn lodge ( http://www.karo-ent.com/braeburn ) where I got the burger.



Somewhere along the Klondike.







About 10 miles of gravel, a little break from pavement.



Dawson City airport--gravel runways.



Lots of Pipers in the Yukon.



Dawson City



Down by the river







Waiting for the ferry to go camp at the hostel across the river after staying up late with Mike, Silve and Mike from NJ. This was the darkest it got all night, and it only seemed this dark for about an hour.



On the ferry.



Trying to get a picture of the fox that walked right by me in the tent area of the hostel but by the time I got my camera out he wasn't close and they all came out blurry. The animal count so far is the fox, 4 moose (including a calf and one that was dead on the side of the road), a bunch of bison, a pack of wild horses, a couple eagles in flight (golden, I think), 2 blue herons back in ontario (I think--one looked the color of a sandhill crane but was flying with it's neck in an "S" so maybe it was just the light), a big bird that flew over me for quite aways (I slowed down) outside Dawson City with a very long neck like a sandhill crane, but it was totally white (someone said maybe an egret?), and 2 turtles (one was a big one going straight down the middle of the fast lane on trans canada 1). Also, a grizzly crossed the road in front of me and somehow I missed it. Bill told me about it later and couldn't believe I didn't see it. Too much scenery. Normally Canadian geese wouldn't make the list because I see them at home all the time, but me and Bill were walking around Tok and got 3 huge geese to charge us and that was a lot of fun.


View of Dawson City from the hostel. Dawson City was nice, and strangely full of beautiful women.

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Old 06-30-2005, 03:39 PM   #41
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Old 06-30-2005, 04:23 PM   #42
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Great report.That is a ride I also hope to do some day but just don't seem to see it in my future.Safe travel's to you and have a great trip.

P.S. now what about those girls !
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Old 06-30-2005, 06:36 PM   #43
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There were two main types of girls in Dawson City. Summer workers, like the very cute waitress and drop dead adorable bartender at the Midnight Sun, and granola backpacker chicks. Both very attractive. If you like a pretty girl with a little more hair than the average city girl, the hostel is the place for you to work on some granola gals. Also, a sprinkling of very nice looking hipster city girls probably from Vancouver, although they may have been more summer workers with the day off or something. The very first person I saw when I pulled into town was a stunning blonde sitting by the lake. She had an eastern european accent and was a summer worker from the conversation I overheard with someone else who came along.

I didn't realize how many great looking women were in town until I came back over the river the next morning for breakfast, and I was already packed and itching to go. Mike and Silve were staying an extra day, they're a lot smarter than me.
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Old 07-01-2005, 03:38 AM   #44
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I left Dawson City on the Top of the World highway after tenting at the hostel one night, but Mike and Silve stayed behind for the ladies. I got off the ferry first and got going. Once it hit gravel I thought no one would catch up, and I couldn't see anyone behind me. After I'd been on gravel a while, a big BMW GS that had been back on the ferry flew by me. That was embarassing, but (official list of excuses):
3. He had an AK plate and knew this road.
2. I'm a beginner on dirt.
and the number 1 reason, this isn't real gravel! This is some nasty stuff, it's like messed up asphalt with a thin layer of gravel over it. I don't think it makes it harder to ride on, just really annoying. Hard choppy stutter bump stuff with no give at all had me going slow. Every now and then the "gravel" would end and when it'd start over it'd be nice loose stuff, then it would just thin out and make me hate it again.
I have no excuses for the other bikes that passed me, other than they also had AK plates, and I'd talked to them waiting for the ferry and they new this road too. At least they passed on asphalt, although when it went back to "gravel", I could tell they were running a little faster on it. The V-Strom, fine. But a Valkyrie? I'm so lame.



Once I started getting some altitude I pulled off on a wayside to get a picture and saw a narrow dirt road in the corner of the wayside going down. I rode it down quite a ways into the valley but not all the way down. I didn't see any sign of where it went. This is probably less than halfway down the distance I rode. The road was a lot steeper than it looks here and dropped altitude very fast.



Here's the wayside, you can see the road to the right where my tire track is coming from.



Here you can see the road wrapping around this mountain on the Canadian side.



View from the top of the world. Some light rain and muddy gravel, but pretty easy going. Unfortunately there was still plenty of fake Canadian "gravel" with stuttery asphalt under it.



This is right at the border crossing on the TOTW highway, that guy is one of the border guards. Immediately past the checkpoint is the town of Poker Creek, AK, population 2. 4127 feet, and the most northerly land border in the USA if you can't read the sign. The two buildings are private residences. I let the rain die down a little then hit the 40 miles of dirt on the American side. Oh what dirt it was. God bless America, it was real brown dirt with some gravel in it. Soft, tractable, beautiful stuff. Easy to ride and fun too.



Nice dirt like this.


The whole trip I haven't minded the RVs. I can even see the appeal of travelling around in an RV, or at least it seems like it'd be a nice thing to do if I was old and decrepit. So they're a bit slow, I pass when I can and really don't mind. But on the TOTW highway, I started to mind. They don't belong on a narrow dirt road with steep dropoffs and no guardrails. The funny thing is, many were obviously rental RVs, and one especially huge RV was even towing an SUV. If you have an SUV, why not use that and leave the RV behind for awhile? See the top of the world, then go get the RV and stay on the Alaskan highway. Next they'll be driving to Deadhorse (please don't tell me they already do). And if it's a rental, why not rent an SUV instead? I'm no fan of SUVs, but they work good on exactly this kind of road.
At one point I'm coming up to a sharp narrow corner with a steep dropoff on both sides and I can see two RVs coming. I thought I could make it through the corner first but didn't, so I had to stop and get as far right as possible because the RVs just drove straight down the middle of the road because they were afraid of the edge. All I wanted was my lane. I waited for them both to pass, and they waved at me. Yeah, hi, how's it going.
Ok, rant over.
I got to Chicken, AK and got some gas. There were a few old RV people milling around and they had these worn out unhappy looks on their faces like they just wanted to sit around and wait to die in peace but someone made them take this trip. When I went in to pay the lady took my Visa card in back and after a while came back out and told me my card was rejected.
I was going through more cash than I thought in Canada so I started using the card as often as I could, but I couldn't get any of the ATMs in Canada to work for me. I had $15 Canadian and $2 US in my wallet. I paid for my gas in cash and it took most of the Canadian money, so I had $3 US and a Visa card they said was no good.
I headed for Tok and it was all pavement shortly after Chicken. Eventually the rain started, with the liner out of my jacket and the vents open, and my Carharts on the back of the bike. I couldn't find my rainsuit when I was leaving so I just left without one. Instead of being a little light rain that passed, it turned into hard rain, then hail. At one point the ground on either side of the road was white with accumulated hail. I got freezing cold and wet and then tired, so I pulled off and just got off the bike to rest.
I went back out, then had to pull off to rest again. While moving, the anxiety of being possibly broke, at least in terms of immediately useable forms of payment combined with the look of doom from the huge black mass of clouds that showed no holes or chances of outrunning it. My shield fogged occasionally making lift the visor a little, then it ended up with drops inside I couldn't wipe away and visibility was terrible. I felt at the mercy of the mountain and it's lightning storm, but once stopped it all comes into perspective and it's really just a road and some rain.
While stopped the second time I was at a wayside with an old CX500 silverwing parked in it, but no one around. Eventually I see a guy walking up in the rain, wearing just a sweatshirt and jeans that were ripped open from knee to ankle, carrying two big buckets of something. He said "how's it going?" pretty casually. Turned out he just fell down the mountain a little ways while hunting mushrooms. Andy the mushroom hunter is from one of the Carolinas, and rode the motorcycle up from Alabama. He'd been here four or five days and had an abandoned cabin someone was letting him stay in while hunting mushrooms. Morel mushrooms go for $4.50 per pound and he had two 7 pound buckets full. He'd made $400 so far doing this, and needed to make enough for a new back tire and gas to get to California.
He offered to let me dry out at his cabin a mile away, but told me Tok was only 13 miles away. I headed out for Tok.
I got into town and saw some bikes at the visitor's center. I was thinking maybe I should make friends in case my Visa really doesn't work and I need to bum a floor to sleep on. Hey, it's Mike from New Jersey. Any calls for Bob? While I'm standing around talking to them, Bill shows up. Turns out he couldn't get a ferry so he headed for Tok. He's on foot and his bike is across the street at the motel and he wants to know if I want to split a room. That's a load off.
At this point my camera was wet in my jacket pocket and wouldn't take a picture. It worked fine the next morning after drying out.
Me and Bill went walking looking for a restaurant and I hit an ATM on the way and it worked. (I tried a different one first and it couldn't read the stripe.) We had some good pizza at Fast Eddy's and got some geese to chase us then back to the motel.
Next morning we were both headed for Anchorage, but I wanted to go to a native village called Tanacross first. Down a muddy dirt road we found it, it was a few muddy dirt roads with some very interesting log cabin/shack hybrids, painted all different colors or not painted at all. Some people looked out their doors to see who in the world would be riding motorcycles through their town, but it was raining and there was no chance to chat with anyone. This is the kind of place I wanted to see, and why I think Prudhoe Bay may be a waste of time for me.



This is the church in Tanacross. We passed a building with an open door and something that looked like a machine pumping something out of the ground, surrounded by a few white men. Next to it were two large stacks of two different kinds of large diameter insulated pipe. Some kind of money is coming out of the ground there.



We left the village and down some more muddy road found their airport. Bill's a pilot and knows planes, but he didn't know what this one was. There was a long paved strip there, Bill thinks it may have been a WW2 strip.



View from the short part of the airstrip.


Bill and I headed to Anchorage, me to hang out with my old friend Beej, Bill to wait for his wife to arrive by plane. Along the way we saw the Texas guys outside a restaurant and Bob asked if he had any more calls.



Just some typical Alaska scenery.



Bill and I rode down a steep windy mud "road" to see a glacier up close, then when you get down it there's a place to pay $12 to take another road to get to the glacier. I'm planning to see other glaciers anyway and I'm a cheapskate and Bill didn't want to pay 12 dollars to see it up close either. Bill aired down his tires and we rode back up. I missed a great shot from the wooden bridge (with two seperate planks you can ride across on) of Bill riding up the side of the mountain on a road you can't see is there. This picture is at the top after airing the tires back up and getting ready to split.


I'm in Anchorage now and won't be doing anything else until after the 4th at least. I'm going up to do Fairbanks, arctic circle and Denali highway either after the 4th, or I might wait until after the 12th when I've got a camping trip and a boat cruise planned with Beej.

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Old 07-01-2005, 06:01 AM   #45
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