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Old 01-25-2013, 12:20 PM   #31
motobiko OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Colstrip, Montana
Oddometer: 56
Day 17 7/23/12 6186 miles on the odometer. Goodbye rain?


It was still foogy and drizzling out the next morning. I finished drying my clothes and started packing up. The hotel had an roof over the sidewalk, which is where i parked my bike to keep it dry. The next morning there was a line of bikes out under it. Two guys from Utah had rode a klr and a gs650 up, and were touring the state. An bike parked on the line was a klr 685! The guy was from Alaska and was just riding around, hitting dirt roads here and there. Evidently he had purchased a klr which was an 08 if i remember right for about $1300 that some guy had rode up from the lower 48 and blew the piston out the side of the motor. After buying it, he ordered a used jug and had it bored out and threw it all back together. The 685 kits are only around $300 plus machining. The guy told me you could do it in 5-6 hrs in frame, which seems a little quick to me. He was running a 16/42 sprocket combination and still could pull the front end off the ground easier than mine. Made me want to get one!

I left Valdez around 11am, riding east on highway 4. The pass going out was foggy, so i missed the complete view when i rode through. People i know that used to live in Alaska have told me the drive out of Valdez is one of the best around. Next time perhaps. the rain quit about 30 miles out of Valdez and turned to partly cloudy skies for the rest of the day.

I stopped in Glennallen for lunch. Passed a few harleys and bmw touring bikes along the way. Continued up to Tok, where i stopped for gas. Swung in the visitor center again. Met a gentleman from Cranbrook, BC on a v-strom 650. Said he was getting around 60mpg at 65mph. Beat my 650 by 10 mpg easy. He was also running Heidenau tires and was getting up towards 10k miles out of them. We chatted for a while before he left for the interior of AK and i left for Yukon.


I wanted to get to Dawson City at least today. I found out in Tok the border was only open til 8pm, and it was already after 5 when i left Tok. I pulled into Chicken around 7:20pm, got some gas quick and rode about 4 miles down the road before discovering i wasnt going to make the 40 miles of gravel in 40 minutes. So i just rode back into Chicken for the night. The highway was paved up until Chicken, then gravel until the Yukon border. The Chicken cafe wasnt open by the time i pulled back in. I had to resort to snacking out of my pack, and had a couple beers from the little bar there. Chicken is only around 50 people in the summer. Most of them do gold prospecting or road construction i believe. The bartender was from michigan. Her dad worked road construction i think up there, so she would come up and work in the summer. When the bar closed around 12, she took off in a 4 wheeler to go read up on a hilltop nearby. With light around the clock, i guess you can do that in Alaska!

I went into the trees off the parking lot by the Chicken Cafe and set up my tent for the night.

Getting ready to leave Valdez.

Chicken pics:



Not your typical town sign.


4-wheelin' Alaska style

Oh what bad spelling can do.

identify what species of bird that is?
ou
My one and only run in with a Milepost truck for the entire trip at the chicken campground.

Chicken in the wind.

I didnt go stick my head through the sign and take a picture. Maybe if i had kids along...



344 miles today.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #32
TigerXC
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master_Luke View Post
I made it back to Colstrip well after the fires were done, so i missed all of that. The one by Ashland burnt close to 400,000 acres, and the one on Rosebud Creek, between Lame Deer and Colstrip, burnt around 180,000 acres. We were about 50% under what our moisture normalling is for the year leading up to that, and 100-105 degree temperatures didnt help. I dont think anyone died, but a few people lost their homes. Some people lost 100+ cattle. Others had to ship them to Iowa or somewhere greener.

So, what did you think of our lone gas station, the prestigious Town Pump Exxon? Im working on the rest of this slowly, but surely. Sorry, im just not a fast writer. Hopefully ill have it done by march.

Thanks for reading!
I went west from Broadus to Lame Deer after the fires and it was pretty devastating. The fire had jumped the road and burned both north and south of 212. I heard that a number of structures had been lost.

Here is a picture I took heading north on 39 just before Colstrip. This was the fire west of 39...but I don't want to hijack your RR tread.

Looking forward to reading the continuation of your trip. I hope that you have time to plan trips for this coming summer and not just writing up last summers trip! And the Exxon...bought gas, no snacks.

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:08 PM   #33
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I want to do a trip like this, by myself, before I die.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:09 PM   #34
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Colstrip, Montana
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Originally Posted by TigerXC View Post
I went west from Broadus to Lame Deer after the fires and it was pretty devastating. The fire had jumped the road and burned both north and south of 212. I heard that a number of structures had been lost.

Here is a picture I took heading north on 39 just before Colstrip. This was the fire west of 39...but I don't want to hijack your RR tread.

Looking forward to reading the continuation of your trip. I hope that you have time to plan trips for this coming summer and not just writing up last summers trip! And the Exxon...bought gas, no snacks.
2012 wasnt a good year for this area. Ranchers that didnt even have fire damage had to sell cows/calves because nobody was able to make decent hay. One guy i work with lost his home unforetunately. Ashland had to be evacuated at least once that i know of. At least 4 or 5 people lost their homes in Ashland. Very sad. Had i been here i would have been fighting them on my days off. My friend's dad had a couple sections burn on his place, but thankfully he was able to get his cows moved. Colstrip had hundreds of firefighters camped in tents all over town. When i got back a few days before i left i thought there was a special event going on or something, until i saw all the firetrucks. I certainly hope we get more rain this year.

Thanks for the pic, i dont meet too many people from out of state that have been to colstrip. Do you remember what day you drove through?
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:43 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by GuateRider View Post
Great pics and a lot of good memories from last summer came back ....

Thanks Julio! I just started reading your report a few days ago. Looks like you had quite the ride! I think we were in Alaska for maybe 3 of the same days. I was leaving and you were just coming in. Had i been another day ahead, we might have passed each other on the road.

Say, did you go through Lame Deer, Montana by chance, when you coming up? That Prairie Dog Research Area sign on a June 27th post from your thread looks very similar to the one on 212 between Ashland and Lame Deer, which is only about 30 miles from where i live. I only got within about 2000 miles of Guatemala.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:53 PM   #36
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Colstrip, Montana
Oddometer: 56
Day 18 7/24/12 6530 miles on the odometer. More rain.

Last night did not go so well. There were about three people that bought cases of beer before the bar close. They sat outside on picnic tables and laughed and whooped it up while drinking their beer. I was camped about 50 yards away. And could hear them laughing even with my ear plugs in. Finally they left on their 4 wheelers.This was about three in the morning. That's when the rain started. More sogginess. I've never been so sick of rain in all my life. I only slept about two hours this night. Got about 730, packed everything up and waited until the café opened at 8 AM.
The cafe in Chicken was pretty impressive. They had all sorts of pastries, donuts, baked goods, and so forth. The owner was expressing displeasure at last night's ruckus. I told her I haven't got much sleep either. I had debated starting my klr up and going over and pointing the exhaust in their direction. But I didn't want 3 drunk people all pissed off at me so I didn't. The owner said if I had I would've gotten free breakfast instead of having to pay eight dollars. Making locals mad in their own territory never seems like a good idea to me. I ordering a big breakfast and ate it all. Felt good to have a meal after not really eating much since lunch the previous day.


I met a couple from Whitehorse on a 650 V-strom. They were riding 2-up until they got somewhere in Alaska they could rent another bike for the woman. They told me the Top of the World highway had been wet, but was still drivable. Nothing too wet. They told me that the top of the world highway was mostly gravel pretty good shape you can make good time going 40 mph.


From lack of sleep and cold I developed a sore throat and runny nose at this point unfortunately. But I rode on nonetheless. The top of the world highway is very beautiful. The road starts out as gravel switchbacks, which i had to take at 20-30 mph.. The rain continued off and on throughout the morning. After riding a few miles out of Chicken, the highway came out on top of a ridge and followed the hilltop line for about 20 more miles. Once the road got up on the hilltop you can see for miles on each side. The trees thinned out a little bit up there. Definitely worth riding if you are in Alaska.


I stopped at the Alaska sign just before the border crossing. There were two guys there from Canada on GS 1200s. They had gone to Kinnevik a few days before. One of them had hit a moose about 45 mph. he hit the flank of a cow. Took the bike down and got a little scraped up but no serious injuries. The bike had a few broken fairing pieces. And bent the engine guards back, but was still very ridable. Also there was three people bicycling down the road. One guy was from New Zealand and his girlfriend was from Australia. The other gentleman I think was from Canada. They were touring the states and Canada. And of course just wearing T-shirt and shorts, while I'm all bundled up, wearing my winter clothes. Another one of those ridiculous moments.


I pulled into the border crossing and the Canadian patrol agent came out. Asked me a few questions, looked at my passport, and waved me on. After that if you were miles up the road had a little bit pavement here and there, but it wasn't not until a ways further down the road that it turned to pavement. I stopped at the Yukon River Crossing because there's no bridge. You have to wait for the ferry that goes back and forth to take you across. There was a pickup and camper there from Livingston, Montana. I talked to him for a while, then crossed the ferry. It was funny, I drove 2600 miles in Alaska and did not meet a fellow Montanan. But as soon as I left Alaska I meet one. What are the chances? I stopped in Dawson city for a bit. Walked along the river, stopped in at the Visitors center, read about the history. Lots of active goldmines around there. The lady at the visitors center showed me a place on the map where you could take a gravel road 60 miles or so, and see a number of gold mines going. There was even a spot where you could stop and do some gold panning of your own. I was pressed for time, so i skipped out. Maybe next summer.


I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to pay $1.60/lt ($6/gal) for fuel before i left Dawson. Yukon had the highest prices of all the gas stations on this trip. However, the lady at the counter was nice enough to let me use american money to pay for the fuel. And she let me use a $100 bill, so i had plenty of canadian change for the remainder of this part of my trip through canada. About 100 miles down the road i drove by a dodge 1 ton pickup in the ditch. He was stuck, so i went to see if i could help in any way. he had it buried to the bumper, and had already called his friend to come get him. When i looked a little closer, i saw he had gone off the road down a 20 foot ditch that was at least 30 degrees with a trailer. I dont know how he didnt roll the thing. The driver and 5 of his pals were going gold panning for a month and had everything they needed in the trailer and truck bed. Which was now all over the ditch. Things didnt look good until a Austrian couple in a mercedes-type off road truck came along with a winch and pulled the truck out, then the trailer. I helped them carry their things up to the trailer. The mounties showed up a few minutes later and i think may have given him a ticket for careless driving. I gave my info too, because i was there. The trucks radiator was cracked big time, and wouldnt have made it back to town. I was there at least a good 2 hours. I never contacted them since, so i am not aware if they went back or not where they were going to go for gold panning.


I hadnt hit any rain since leaving Alaska, but did later this afternoon. Of course i waited until it started pouring to put my rain gear on. Even with a tarp over me i was thoroughly drenched.The rain didnt last long, i was able to take my rain gear off before it got dark. I was hoping to stop at Takhini hot springs, but i got to the turnoff at 9:30 and they closed at 10pm. Not worth paying money for 15 minutes. Next time perhaps.

I pulled into Whitehorse and got some food to eat. Walmarts close at 10pm in the smaller towns in canada, and i got there just after. So they wont get any of my money today. Hotels in town were either booked or wanted $150-180 for a room. After all the rain i really wanted a warm bed and a shower, but this wasnt my lucky day. I drove out of town to a rest area where i parked the bike and walked out and camped in the trees 50 yards for the night. The ground was still wet, but i had just enough dry clothing to get by without too much trouble. A few people were sleeping in their cars in the parking lot, so why not?

Top of the world highway.









Dawson City.




Another day on the road.


The Klondike Highway.


The Austrian couple's rig.

Where they pulled the Dodge out of the ditch.


Yukon.



463 miles today.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:26 PM   #37
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Colstrip, Montana
Oddometer: 56
Day 19 7/25/12 6993 miles on the odometer.

I endured some light rain during the night, but nothing too significant. The grass was damp, so i had to pack my tent away with dew all over it. My sleeping bag was also damp at each end since i always end up sleeping stretched out into the sides of the tent. My tent isnt exactly waterproof, so some condensation gets through. I shook it all out the best i could, but didnt get them completely dry before i packed it all up. Rode into town and ate some breakfast. Stopped in at the Kawi dealer there. My rear Avon gripster was getting low on tread and i didnt know if i could make it to the next big city before the cords would start showing. They only had two styles in 130/80-17, one was an expensive tire, the other a Kenda K761. The Kenda was $100, the other tire was $170 or more, so i ended up buying the Kenda. Of course that tire is only $69 on ebay down here in the states, but that didnt exactly do me much good in canada. I strapped it on the back of the bike for a later date and hit the Alcan again.

I stopped in Teslin at the same gas station i had purchased gas at on the way up. After gassing up, i pulled up to the restaurant. Outside there were two klrs-one from Alaska, one from Montana south of Big timber. They were heading north to Alaska. I am not sure if they knew each other before. I didnt ask, but i got the feeling they just met up on the road and started riding together for a while. Anyway, the AK guy had the klx needle on his klr and ran a 140 main jet. He was running high gears, he had the 17 tooth front sprocket and the stock 43 rear. Said the bike got 45-48 mpg fairly consistently. Based on my bike, with the aluminum boxes and other luggage, i would think running a 17/43 combo would take away a lot of the power while riding down the highway at 65-75mph, but maybe empty it would be okay. I wouldnt install a 17 front unless i did the 705 big bore kit. Maybe i will. ;)

Both of their klrs had aftermarket road lights on the engine guards. They told me the extra lights made a huge difference at night, you could see animals far better in the ditches at night. Might have to look into that before i take my next adventure. After talking to them a while, they headed north, and i headed southwards bound. The speed limit was 90 or 100 km/h for most of the Alcan, but after Dawson City i saw no police on the roads whatsoever until i got into the south half of BC. I did a lot of cruising at 70 mph, or 115kmh. I was going about 70mph along the Alcan between Teslin and Watson Lake, when a Electraglide from Ohio came up behind me. He was going a little bit faster to catch up, but not much. After about 2 miles of riding behind me, he passed me, but didnt really speed up. So i followed right behind him until we got to the junction of the Cassiar highway. He pulled into the first gas station, while i pulled into the 2nd. After about a minute, he came into the 2nd one while i was gassing up.

Evidently, he had rode up from Ohio, met his wife, who flew in and out, and was heading to Las Vegas by the 2nd of August to meet up with her again on the way back to Ohio. Had a brand new Harley Electraglide with all the extras on it. The back tire on his bike was a Dunlop 180/60-18 and had 7,000 miles on it and looked about 2/3 worn. My Electraglide has a 130/90-16 rear tire and i never get more than 7k out of them. The guy told me to run about 4-5 psi more than the factory recommended pressures and that would keep the tire cool and give you better life. After i gassed up, i pushed my bike over to the edge of the parking lot. It was sunny and i figured as long as i was off the bike i could hang my tent and sleeping bag out to dry for a while. I did all this while talking to the same guy from Ohio. He was wearing thin clothes that i guess hikers wear. Thin, easy to wash, good for days on the road as well he told me. Might beat my carhartts in warmer weather methinks. The reason he passed me earlier was due to my excessively noisy exhaust. Which i thought was odd, because he was 100 yards back and he had a full face helmet on. I had to laugh at that, i have never heard of anyone saying my exhaust was unbearable, but then again most people dont have essentially straight-piped machines. Plus mine goes straight back, no deflection to the ground.

I left the gas station after talking to him for 45 minutes or so. After a few hours i pulled off the road and walked down to a lake for a breather. Dipped my toes in the water to cool down. My cabelas hunting boots were getting a little warm in upper 70s weather. I stopped at Dease Lake for gas and food. There were 3 or 4 forest trucks there getting fuel as well, looked like they had been fighting forest fires or something. I started seeing bears again today. I had seen a black bear or two on the Klondike highway yesterday north of Whitehorse. But today i saw at least 8 black bears today. They would be in the ditch with their head down, until they heard my exhaust coming. A couple of them stood up on their hind legs and tried to figure out what was going on, but always ran off when i got close. I guess they just didnt like the sound of my bike. A couple of them ran across the road in front of me as well.


I had my toe shoes on the back of the bike, trying to get them dry. They did not smell good. Being wet and put away so many times on this trip were not good for them. And one of them made it through the day. I had pulled off the road and discovered at some point in the last 60 miles, one had fallen off. It was starting to get dark, so didnt want to bother backtracking an hour to maybe find it in the dark. Usually i havent been able to find things that fall off the bike, especially in the dark. I continue on and finally get to the point far enough south where it really gets dark. even when i was in Homer it wasnt fully dark at night, just really dusky. But now i am in the dark completely. As i am riding along, a dark shape walks out of the trees across the road and stops in the left lane. I slow down to 35 mph and cruise by him. I thought it was a black bear at first, but upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a black wolf! Moved far too quickly on its feet to be a bear. Right after i had driven by, it turned and started following me down the road. I just cranked the throttle some more and left him in the dust.

On the rest of the ride to Hyder that night i rode 52 miles without passing another vehicle in the oncoming lane. By far the most on the trip. Got to Hyder about 11:30 that night. The town was dead, so i rode back into Stewart, Alaska. I had to stop at the Canadian customs there to get back in Canada. I chatted with the lady there for a bit. She was from Whitehorse, and maybe in her early 30s. She told me there wasnt anything open, except for the bar in Stewart. I headed there and had some chicken wings and a beer. There were perhaps 16 other people in the bar. Wasnt too rowdy until they cranked 'We found Love' by Rihanna. Then people started dancing on the speakers. I left around 2am. There were a few people standing around outside.


I walked by 3 women talking and one of them said, "hey! who are you?"

"My name is Luke," i replied.

"Where are you from? is that your motorcycle? can i have a ride?'' one of them asked.

I informed them i was from Montana and was riding back through from Alaska. I didnt have an extra helmet, so i asked her what helmet she was going to where. And she said' I will just use yours." Brilliant idea. So there i was pulling a wheelie down main street in Stewart, BC about 2:15am with no helmet on, and a woman who probably had way more to drink than i did. Before i gave her a ride, her friend insisted i show her my drivers license. Even though i didnt initiate the conversation or bike ride, she didnt trust me to give her friend a ride without it. I didnt care, so i showed it to her, and gave her friend a ride around town for 2 minutes. She was impressed by the bike and told me she would ride with me any day. I was glad the mounties werent around or i may have gotten a fine or two. After that i rode out to the welcome sign on the east side of Stewart and camped at the edge of the pulloff around 2:30am. Too much for one day.


Ray from Ohio.

The Cassiar highway is a great ride. Very Scenic.




A lake off the Cassiar.

Cooling off my feet.


668 miles today.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:47 AM   #38
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Location: Colstrip, Montana
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Day 20 7/26/12 7661 miles on the Odometer. Goodbye Alaska for the last time.

The previous day's ride had left me a rather tired. After staying up till approximately 2:30 AM, I slept into past 9 o'clock. Even though I was sleeping in my tent right by the welcome sign to Stuart nobody bothered me. There was a little bit of room by the pool off at the welcome sign. Not an official campsite by any means but it worked. I rode into Hyder Alaska after packing up my stuff. In Hyder only about 50 people live there in the summer. It is one of the few towns in the country you can get into without a passport. There is no US border patrol or police there. Kind of a free-for-all place you may think, but there just isnt that many people there. It was rather quiet town.

I stopped and ate breakfast at the Glacier inn/restaurant. They had all sorts of money all over the wall. Just taped or tack down. The waitress informed me that they estimated the dollar amounts at approximately $50,000 or more. Out some of it was so old you could barely read it. Many different dollar bills from many different countries were arranged and neat order over every wall. When I was done eating I headed north out of town on a gravel road that went back into Canada. It was a cool ride but since it was so dry the semis would kick up an unbelievable amount of dust. I lost my sleeping bag off the back of the bike but thankfully the pickup behind me picked it up, so when I stopped he dropped it off for me. Very nice guy. At the top of the pass there was a pull off and I stopped, took some pictures of the glaciers. And I hiked down on the rocks for a while and took a quick siesta. Salmon glacier was the biggest glacier I have ever seen by a long shot. Met a fellow rider up there on a KLR. I don't remember where he was from but I do remember you had a very bald back tire. I personally would not have road with a bald tire on a gravel road but he had an extra tire on the back. I rode to the end of the road where there was a Heli pad. Two helicopters came and took supplies out while I was watching. One took a box and the other took some telephone poles I think. There was a logging industry around there. And a few gold mines. Some of these operations were so remote that it took a helicopter to fly supplies in.

The end of the road was at least 30 miles from hYder. All gravel all the way. Took me the better part of the morning and afternoon to ride it. On the way back to Hyder I stopped at a little Alaska park place where you could pay five dollars to go out on some raised boardwalks above the bank by stream. The stream was right on the side of the highway maybe 50 feet away. The boardwalk was on the other side. There were approximately 15 other people there with cameras. I was lucky enough to get a few shots of a grizzly bear as he meandered through looking for salmon. He left a present before he left so we all laughed as we took pictures.

I drove back to Hyder after that. Cruised around town a little bit took lots of pictures. Stopped in at the general store but didn't find anything to buy. See I went out to the dump and saw a few bears there so I took a couple pics. I got within 30 yards of some small black bears. There were eating 2 cubs are in a tree. Their mother was just napping below them. I revved up the bike and scared her off. I kept the bike running as I was taking pictures in the event a grizzly came out.

There was a little cook trailer off one of the side streets that i stopped to eat at. Had halibut again one last time. Always a winner. There was a couple there from Billings, MT eating at one of the tables while i was there as well. They had pulled a boat up and had been doing some fishing here and there. They knew one of the guys i worked with. Billings is only 120 miles away from me. Interesting coincidence.

I stopped by the other in/restaurant. There was a couple from Columbia Falls, Montana in a pick up and go behind camper. They were heading up to Alaska. I've been to Columbia Falls before but that was back in 2008 on my Vulcan 1500 as I was touring Glacier National Park. They knew where Colstrip was anyway. Also there were approximately 10 GS BMWs sitting outside from England. They had their bikes shipped over from England to San Francisco and were slowly making their way to Prudhoe Bay. I don't think that they were riding very far each day because they had stopped by 4pm. I talked to a few of them for a while but none seem particularly talkative. However there was a man on a BMW from Seattle, Washington there. He had purchased it with 43,000 miles on it. He was probably in his upper 50s. His destination Inuvik and Prudhoe Bay. He had purchased a ATV cargo box and had it over aluminum panniers on the back of his bike. It was a 1200 and he also had a lawnchair right by the seat and two tires strapped to the back. Lots of stuff packed everywhere on the bike. He was prepared for anything, thats for sure.

One thing Hyder is know for is the process of being 'hyderized' while there. Which consists of a $4 drink from one of the 2 bars. The bartender places a tall shot glass with a clear liquid in it as well as a water glass in front of you. You are suppose to drink the shot glass in one gulp without tasting or smelling it. The bartender takes your empty glass, pours a drop on the counter and lights it on fire while informing you that you have been hyderized with 170 proof everclear. If you throw up, you have to buy everyone a round, including the bartender and clean up your mess. I dont really care for hard liquor, beer is way better. The everclear burned going down. I had to drink the water quick to dilute the potent stuff. I saw 2 people do it first, so i knew what to expect. Ray, the guy from Ohio came in while i was there, so i chatted with him for an hour or two before heading out.

I got back on the Cassiar and was boogieing along around 105 km/h before it got dark when a Mountie coming in the oncoming lane flashed his lights at me. Slowed back down to 90km/h and he kept going. I think that was the first patrol car i had seen in canada on the highway since i was around Dawson City. I rode on until 10:30 and finally pulled of at an old gravel pad and camped behind some trees about 70 yards off the highway.

I didnt get hyderized here. But it had a better sign than the other Inn.


They have a whole different atmosphere in Alaska.

Loaded up in Hyder.

Salmon Glacier!


Hi from Hyder.



Helicopter.




A nice little bridge near the end of the road.



Mile 0


202 miles today.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:05 AM   #39
motobiko OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Colstrip, Montana
Oddometer: 56
If there is anything that stood out in Hyder it was all the bears bears bears bears!



Bears are very scary.


Baby bears!



Bear #34

Mom below the two cubs taking a nap.

There were 6 black bears at the dump, bringing my grand total of the trip to 33 blacks, and 5 grizzlies for the trip.



Which brings me to a very important question-
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:08 AM   #40
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Location: Colstrip, Montana
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What does a bear do in the woods?
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:02 AM   #41
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Location: Eastern Montana
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Enjoying the report Luke.

David
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Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:06 AM   #42
TigerXC
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Originally Posted by Master_Luke View Post
What does a bear do in the woods?
We all sort of knew what they did...but now you have the photographic evidence...
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:05 AM   #43
motobiko OP
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Enjoying the report Luke.

David
Thanks for reading! Always good to hear from another Montanan. Does it bring back memories of your trip up north a few years back? Looks like we both went a lot of the same places.


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We all sort of knew what they did...but now you have the photographic evidence...
I just couldnt resist putting it in there. My workplace has about 400 employees, and the safety department makes their own calender every year with people's photos in it. Well, lets just say above mentioned picture made the 2013 edition in April.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:14 AM   #44
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Day 21 7/27/12 7863 miles on the odometer. Tire Time.


Another night camping offroad for free. My second night with complete darkness. After 2 weeks of not seeing the light completely fade away, seems so strange to have nothing but black again at night. I guess i will just have to get used to it. The Cassiar highway is a great ride, nice scenery and minimal traffic. The actual service of the road is quite rough though, just a basic chip and seal road with more chips than sealing. Didnt have a centerline for a lot of the miles either.


I took off maybe 9am from my campsite near Smithers, and rode for a bit until i found a cafe to eat some breakfast at. Then i stopped a few times to take pics and get gas before rolling into Prince George around 4pm. My back tire was getting pretty bald, so i decided to change it. First, i wanted to buy a few things in Walmart. The skies were partly sunny to mostly sunny throughout the day, but after about 15 minutes in Walmart, it just started to pour cats and dogs. I ran out and threw my tarp over the bike to keep some of the water off, but still had some soggy stuff. I ran over to Subway to grab a bite to eat and stay dry for a while. Ate my sandwich and took a nap while i waited for the rain to subside. About 6:30 it finally quit.


I hadnt changed a bike tire in about 7 years, and never on the road before, especially with proper tools. At home i always ended up using flat screwdrivers to change my tires on my 81 Yamaha 400 special II. Most of the time i could get it without pinching the tube. Anyway, i didnt have a centerstand, so i pushed the bike up to a telephone pole in the far side of the parking lot and tied the luggage rack to the pole with some rope. With the kickstand down and all the bags off, it wasnt too hard to get it to pivot off the ground. I loosened the chain and pulled the brake calipers off before removing the axle bolt. Then i pushed the tire ahead and popped the chain off.

About this time the a guy came out of the motorhome that was parked besides me lengthwise in the parking lot. Im sure he was wondering what in the world i was doing, tearing my bike apart in the parking lot 20 feet in front of his motorhome.

He asked if i needed any help. I told him no, i was just changing a tire. However, after thinking about it for a minute, i asked him if he had any boards i could borrow. He had some fortunately, and i used 2 of them to lay the rim on while i changed the tire. My new tire irons were only about 10 inches long, definitely on the small side. I found that if i worked a quarter of the bead section back and forth i could break the bead. Once it broke i stood on the rest of it and got the whole bead loose. Did pretty much the same on the other side. Getting the tire off was a bit trickier. I had to use a flat screwdriver to hold the bead with 1 of the tire irons, while i worked the bead with the other one. Replacing the new tire was a bit easier. I filled up an empty water bottle with soapy water in the bathroom and used that to lube up the new tire. A screwdriver was needed again to help me hold down the bead while i used one of the irons to work the bead around. After i got it on, i plugged in my Slime air compressor to the cigarette outlet and fired the bike up to keep the battery charged up while i aired up the tire. Took the compressor a good 4-5 minutes to get 30 lbs in the tire. I ran in to Walmart to get a tube of grease to lube the wheel bearings as well when the tire was off. Ran the bolt through the tire and spun it around to check the balance. It was off a little bit. I just had to move the weight over a bit to get it to balance.


Before i got all this back together, the guy from the motorhome invited me in to eat dinner. He had been watching me work most of the time. We talked about life for at least 2 hours. He and his wife were from 70 House, a town over 200 miles south of Prince George. They were retired and had been up to Terrace to see a relative. They had brought back a bucket of ripe cherries from that area as well. I was surprised cherries grew that far north, they were the same as the ones you would buy in the store. I ate a good 2 handfuls. My hands were really greasy from the bike, i didnt have any degreasing soap. They told me to just wash 'em inside in their sink. Good thing they had paper towels. I didnt get it all off, so i tried not to touch any food if i could help it. They were a really nice couple. The guy had a motorcycle, which he had done a few trips across BC and i think one out to Saskatchewan, but none into the USA.


After eating i finished putting the bike back together. The couple walked to some stores. I attempted to get the rope off, but i couldnt, it was too tight. Then i tried to lift the back of the bike up, rotate it so the kickstand was off the ground, then lift it high enough i could scoot it over and loosen the rope. That did not work at all. The bike just wanted to tip over, and i couldnt maneuver it into a position where i could set it down upright. The guy just happened to come back at this time and help me hold it, so i could kick the kickstand up, then scoot it over and set it down. I packed everything back up and prepared to hit the road again. The guy took my tire for me, said he would throw it away at a later date for me. I didnt want to pack the big tube of grease on the bike, so i gave it to him. Said he would find a use for it. I thanked him for his help and generousity and left town. I was going to meet a gal i met in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska that lived here for a beer, however, she wasnt home.


I stopped at a gas station on the way out of town. Talked to the lady at the counter for probably 10 minutes. Told her where i was from and what i was doing. She thought it was pretty cool. Although i said i had rode many miles already and still had many more to go. To which she replied,'' But you're having a good time, aye?" I was having a good time. And i had to laugh, nobody really says 'aye' in the states in their everyday language usage. At least no one I know. So i chuckle when i hear it. Not that its bad or anything, just not something im used to hearing.

I rode another 100 miles that night and pulled off behind some trees near McCleese Lake. There were actually farms and ranches around now instead of just forest wilderness like northern Canada and Alaska. Had to listen to traffic drive by, but thank heavens for earplugs.


Just about to leave the campsite.

A river between Smithers and Prince George.
This was in a bathroom somewhere along the way today. World Dryer Canada! made in usa......

My big mess at walmart.



408 miles today.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:07 AM   #45
MTrider16
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Thanks for reading! Always good to hear from another Montanan. Does it bring back memories of your trip up north a few years back? Looks like we both went a lot of the same places.
Yes, your pics have a familiar look to them. Glad you're taking time to write up the report. -David
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Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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