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Old 06-18-2013, 01:28 AM   #121
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Good bye sweet sweet mountains!!! Ill miss you!!!

Ok, so it's been quite a long while since my last post. I haven't had time to sit down with the computer to do it right, but here's another micro post just to keep things up to date!!!

Ok, so we need to go aaaallllll the way back to crazy mountaineer dude: Dave. I don't think I ever mentioned that him and I went our separate ways from Palmer AK, just outside of Anchorage. He had already seen Anchorage and didn't really want much to do with a big city, so he continued on towards Denali, while I went to see the 'big city'. That's kind of exactly what it is, just another big, smelly city. Just like Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, etc...(yes, I am aware Juneau is the capital of AK, and NOT Anchorage) Just with a lot more planes!!!!!

Anyways, the night I arrived I decided I wanted to go see what the big city had to offer in terms of bars. I ended up at Chilkoot Charlie's, a bar with 10 other bars within it, and with $2.50 pints I probably had a bit more to drink than was good for me!!!

This was the last bar I ended up at in Chilkoots called the 'birdhouse' or 'birdsnest' I think. Every square in of the walls and ceiling were covered by bras!! Unfortunately I didn't getti see where any of them came from!!
Needless to say, I was in no shape to drive the day after and was therefore stuck in the city. Not a big deal seeing as I was camping for free behind the Harley dealership on Spenard. This is also the location of the Motoquest in Alaska. The guys there are really chill and let people work on their bikes if they need to in their shop and with their tools. Under 1 condition: you have to buy them beer. They have a mission not to buy any beer this year lol. I think it's brilliant.

Back to the story... Remember when I was talking about the Top of the World Highway and I said 'we'? Well, at Motoquest , I met 2 guys on a trip riding their wicked vintage XT500's from anchorage to Palm Springs. One is German, living in California (Axel), the other was from German speaking Switzerland (Peter). You think a KLR is a paint shaker on wheels?!?!?!?!?! You should see these babies shake!!! Also, those bikes don't even need ignition keys; if you are able to kick start one of those damn things you are worthy to ride away with it. The reason that they were at Motoquest was one of the XT's had chewed through its valve rockers and Axel was waiting on new rockers from a spare engine he had at home. Seeing as he was going to be stuck for at least another day, Peter and I continued towards Fairbanks, and axel would later meet us in Tok once he got his bike back together. After rendezvousing in Tok, this is when we did the top of the world highway to Dawson.

Here are our stallions waiting for us outside the local saloon as we grabbed a bite to eat. All that's missing is the bar to tie the reigns to!

Dawson was an interesting place. My favourite thing about it though was sitting atop the dome at sunset. Willys is right, this is an absolute must see.

After leaving Dawson, I parted ways with the XT500's in Carmacks. They continued south to see Whitehorse, and this is when I went to do the Campbell highway. Definitely a good choice, as I mentioned, definitely the coolest dirt road I had ever driven on. I finally got to use my Jerry can too!!! 6 km outside Watson Lake that was it. I was right out of fuel. I think I got about 355km. My air filter was totally jam packed from the dirt road and my mileage plummeted.

The next highlight after that was driving down to telegraph creek. Another amazing drive, that everyone should do if they head that way. This was an amazing moment I was able to snap a shot of while driving down the road.

These horses were standing on the shoulder and in the ditch just eating, and as I drove by they began to run with me. I sped up and pulled out my phone and as they caught up I continued to ride with them and was able to take a photo. It was pretty intimidating riding only feet from them, but definitely and awesome moment.

From telegraph creek I went to the armpit of BC: Stewart. Many of you who have been there are probably really confused why I am calling it this because the drive down there is spectacular. But I have my reasons....

But I'm tired, ill finish this post later... But coming up! This guy!!!!!

Stay tuned to find out why he is important!!!!!
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:15 PM   #122
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OK I'm hooked - let us know why he's important.

Sounds like you're having an awesome trip! Enjoy!
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:39 PM   #123
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And what's the story on Stewart.

How about some intel on the road condition of the Cassiar.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:03 PM   #124
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Ok, the story on Stewart... I'm driving into Stewart around 6:00 and I'm getting pretty hungry so I think to myself 'what better place to get some fresh halibut than on the pacific coast!" So I went to a little diner (can't remember the name) and ordered the one piece fish and chips for about $17.00 after tax. Finally out came a plate with a huge mound of soggy fries and a measly 3oz filet of halibut... Not cool. I did I rough calculation and figured they were making about $50/lb revenue on their halibut.

So I leave feeling a bit ripped off and figure "oh well, ill go check out this badass glacier everyone is talking about and then get out of here". It's now about 7:00.

I cross over into hyder and then start making my way towards the glacier (or so I think). Drive for about 20 min on this extremely dusty road along side a mountain with a bujjilion work trucks zooming by me way too fast, and end up at some mining operation with huge "NO TRESPASSING, IF YOU CONTINUE YOU WILL BE BLOWN UP, AND THEN SHOT, AND THEN BLOWN UP AGAIN" signs... Ok, not really, but that's what it felt like. It's now 7:30 and I have to get back into Canada before 8:00 if I plan on getting the heck out of there that day.

Lets tally things here:
Ripped off at dinner
Lungs filled with dust
No glacier.

K, I've had enough of this place, lets get out of here... 300km on the gas tank, better fill up. Oh what's that? The only gas station in Stewart closes at 7:30? Shit, looks like I'm stuck here. Things start looking a bit better here for a second, I go into the general store and ask the clerk where there is a cheap place to camp in town.

"Not much really, there's a recreation sight about 30km outside of town"

Ok, so I have to drive 30km outside of town, then back in the morning to get gas, THEN drive it again in the morning to leave.

She observes I don't find this option too pleasing, and I inform her I would have to return to fill up in the morning.

"Oh! I know!! There's a house no one is living in right now that I am looking after for them, you could just set up your tent in the backyard! If anyone asks, just say Marilyn said you could stay there"

At this point I'm thinking to myself "yeah... 'Cause everybody's gonna know who it is when I say "Marylin".... Wait a minute!!! This town is a quarter the size of my high school!!! Of course they'll all know the shop clerk!"

So in the backyard of an abandoned house I slept the night.

It rained all night. And morning. And my tent, and boots, and backpack, and gear under the tent vestibule had slugs all over it... Cool. So for 20 min I plucked all the slugs off and out of all my stuff, and then packed up my soaking tent.

I wanted to make it to Prince George that day, about 700km I think, so I got up at 6:00 to get an early start. Gas station doesn't open till 7:30... K, that one was my fault, but still a piss off.

I hang around, get some breakfast, fill up gas and take off. 50km out of town a thought rushes through my head "hmmm, I haven't seen my phone in a while..." So I pull over and check my pocket: wide open, no phone. Hmm. Check my tank bag: no phone. Uh oh. Maybe it's in my tent? There wasn't a lot of room on the shoulder, so now wasn't the time. I drive back into town and trace my steps, nobody has seen a phone. I pull out my tent and set it up on the side of the street. No phone. The last place I saw it was just before I rode on the long dusty road to certain and terrible death. That's it, my phone is toast, I better just get used to it and try to enjoy the trip until i get things sorted out.

It's now 10:00. And sunny. If I had slept in, I wouldn't have had to wait for gas, pick slugs off my crap, and pack up a wet tent. I am now feeling I must have done something to piss god off, and he's out to get me.

Lets tally again:
Ripped off at dinner
Lungs filled with dust
No glacier
No gas; stuck in Stewart
Slugs
Wet tent
Lost my phone
Late start on the day
Had to drive an extra 100km on an already large 700km for nothing.

I'm now at the point I wish I had never known Stewart even existed.

I try to keep a positive attitude and leave towards Prince George. I get to Prince George and my mom has sent me an email. SOMEBODY FOUND MY PHONE!!! And not only that! THEY ARE PLANNING TO DRIVE THROUGH PRINCE GEORGE A DAY AFTER ME!!!

Turns out the phone was found after I had traced my steps and had left town again. When the man on the goldwing went into the store where it was found, the clerk asked if he knew me because I was also riding a motorcycle! He said no, but he knew how to work iPhones, so he took it with him, charged it, and texted my mom. (There is a reason she is in my phone as 'mom' ). And there you have it! Everybody is saying "you have horseshoes up your ass man!", I like to think of it as 'motorcycle karma'. I know my time to pay it forward is going to come, and there's no doubt ill step up to the occasion to honour those which have done so much to help me along this trip.

That is why Stewart will always be the armpit of BC for me, and the man on the pimped out good wing is important!

It's a bit long winded, but you asked for it!!!

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Old 06-18-2013, 08:30 PM   #125
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Great story and that's the kind of stuff you'll remember long after the trip is over.

Now if you'd had your halibut over in Hyder they'd have filled you up. Forget the name of the place, but it was good.

You forgot the intel on the Cassiar. I'm gonna be up there in a few weeks.l
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:45 PM   #126
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dude

Should a drove to Salmon glacier. Dinner at the bus or the pizza shop only in 'stewart. Reads like your rushing things a bit on your way back. Enjoyed that part of the world last July. Most memorable trip of my life.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:03 PM   #127
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great phone story . no halibut in stewart for me
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:25 PM   #128
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The Cassier was a great road! I honestly saw far more wildlife on the Alaska highway on the stretch from fort Nelson to Watson lake. It's in better shape than the Alaska highway (I was really worried about my rear shock on the Alaska highway for a bit... I had to stand quite frequently on the stretch from Haines junction to the US to prevent bottoming out). But it is not without it's pot holes and frost heaves in spots. It's certainly a road you need to keep your eyes on, and wear your prescription if you have them! Lol. At the bell II bridge there was construction starting at 7:00 am and was closed for 3hrs and open for 1 hr, so on, so on..... If you're coming from the south there is a lodge you can get coffee, food and gas. If you're on the north (as I was for 1.5 hr), you're SOL. It's just you and the bugs haha. Hope that's what you're looking for. Let me know if it's not. Oh yeah, it's a moderately narrow 2 lane road without a centreline for a decent amount. Don't drive too fast. Curvy, and there could be a big fat bear sitting in the road around the corner! Just ask GrizzLee!!!
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:35 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Bambooda View Post
. Oh yeah, it's a moderately narrow 2 lane road without a centreline for a decent amount. Don't drive too fast. Curvy, and there could be a big fat bear sitting in the road around the corner! Just ask GrizzLee!!!
Oh yeah... My bear encounter just outside of Quesnel in a heavy downpour on my GS. A very heart pounding experience.

There are bears everywhere on the Cassiar.

Last summer a bear caused this accident on the Cassiar.




The cause of the crash...




Great report....

My 17 year old son and I leave next week up to Alaska on our GS bikes.

We will be heading up the Cassiar, Stewart and Hyder are on the list, as is Telegraph Creek.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:04 AM   #130
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Glad you enjoyed the Dome and telegraph creek and sorry you never got to the slamon glacier..in the sun it's spectacular!!! Not that bad in the rain either....
If you need to camp near Bell II they offer camping in the back for $24 and the services are top notch!!!
Riding along side of running horses is super dangerous....they have no sense of what is safe for you....and you are not the larger item in that fight! I used to manage a horse ranch and horses are dangerous.
Fantastic shot all the same!!! And another great memory to savoir from the trip.
Sounds like you're on the homeward rip across the country now.....plenty of time to reflect on how to get back again next year....lol.....not to mention all the great things you have experienced on this trip.
Keep it coming....excellent!
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:54 AM   #131
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Glad you enjoyed the Dome and telegraph creek and sorry you never got to the slamon glacier..in the sun it's spectacular!!! Not that bad in the rain either....

Yes, indeed...

What you missed I'll post here (from my trip last year on a perfect day!). Definitely a must see and worthy of a return trip.








Hope this whets your appetite. Maybe makes you even more blue to see what you missed. I've been there 4 times now and the weather is really hit or miss. It is a coastal rain forest... I was really fortunate last year. I hope it is good this year as we leave in a week to head up that way.

Either way, you present a great story and you will have these memories to reflect on. The story you presneted is just plain cool, especially the way you presented it.

Take care.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:18 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Bambooda View Post
At the bell II bridge there was construction starting at 7:00 am and was closed for 3hrs and open for 1 hr, so on, so on..... If you're coming from the south there is a lodge you can get coffee, food and gas.
Thanks, that's the stuff I'm looking for. It helps to know about potential problems ahead of time. Any other stretches of construction/gravel? Last time I was up that way, I only went as far as Stewart/Hyder. This time I'm headed for AK. Up on the Cassiar and back on the Alaska Highway.
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:46 AM   #133
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I don't recall any other major construction. Although do a quick bit of research ahead of time. Even if that means talking to a local gas station owner or somebody similar. The daily commuters usually spit up the most useful info.

That's especially one thing I found in my trip. The visitor information centres were typically useless (not always, for example the ladies at Watson lake were wonderful), finding the person that has lived in the area for 20+ years was almost always a far better resource. It sometimes led to a quite interesting and unique conversation as well!!!
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:24 PM   #134
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AWESOME trip!!

Love reading your report Jeff!!! Great views! Thx for sharing all this!!

You are living something fabulous, enormous,...my vocabulary is too poor to describe it !!!! C'est juste magnifique et magique!!! Enjoy every minute of this trip! Come back safe!!

Can't wait to hear all the stories!!!

Take care!! :-)
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:18 PM   #135
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Almost Home!!!

Woohoo!!!! Back in Ontario!!!!!


Awwww maaaaan, Back in Ontaaaaaarioo....


Man is it good to be back in the motherland! After traveling almost the entire country, save the east, I must say Ontario is definitely one of my favourite places. Perhaps I'm biased, but I do find it a very spectacular and beautiful place.

So it's been quite a long time since the last post, been putting in biiiiiig days blasting through the prairies...

SPEAKING OF WHICH!!! MAN, I DO have horseshoes up my ass!!!! First the phone, now the flooding! I was in Calgary the day before all hell broke loose; as a matter of fact, I remember that the heaviest rain I experienced was when I was leaving Calgary. If I was two days behind where I actually was I'd either be stuck on the west coast, or be taking the long way home. I visited my uncle in Vancouver and drove Trans-Can all the way to Ontario, so I actually drive through Canmore 2 days prior to destruction.

Lets rewind a little further just to fill in the gaps:

After the whole Stewart *spits* shenanigans, on my way to Prince George I picked up some tires because the TKC had reached the end of it's life...very quickly. I stopped by an independent motorcycle shop in Smithers an they had a selection of tires for the KLR 650 to choose from! Gotta love riding one of the most common bikes around! Grabbed a pair of Kenda 761's and strapped 'em to the bike ('cause you know, I didn't have enough crap on there already)


The TKC was an incredible tire. Handled excellent on pavement, in the rain, offroad, and on gravel roads. Basically, it kicked ass everywhere. Unfortunately, as many of you may already know, the soft compound they use to allow such excellent traction on the road makes the tire deteriorate very rapidly. I got about 4500km out of mine, 30psi road, 25 psi offroad/gravel. At $165.00, it was a very expensive option, but I was glad I had it for the Top of The World, the first bit of the Dempster, and primarily the Campbell Highway. Without a tire like this the Campbell would have been quite dangerous and the likelihood of an accident occurring would have risen dramatically. As I finished driving the Campbell, it was in the process of being graded so it is likely not as bad now; it had a lot of dangerous ruts and such from spring runoff digging trenches in the road. It is probably not as bad now (I don't want to scare off anybody from doing it!!)

I don't like the Kenda 761. It is cheap ($180.00 for the set), easy to mount, and long lasting but not safe. In the rain the tire gets very slippery. On the Trans-Canada when it was raining a large truck pulled out in front of me, had a very heavy load and accelerated very slowly, I had to apply the brakes with some good force, but not incredibly hard (I don't have a larger front rotor or stainless brake lines, so I'm not capable of braking very hard anyways) and the front tire locked up. Not fun. The back tire will also drift outwards when accelerating out of a turn if the road is wet, and this tire seemed to be more effected by the road paint than the others in the rain. If you're a fair weather rider, this might be a good tire, but if you're looking for an adventure tire, fork up the extra bucks and buy something decent. It could save you a trip to the hospital, and your bike a trip to the shop. For ex. the Heidenau K60 (Seems to be a hot tire these days. I've only heard good reviews but have not tried it myself), Mefo Explorer, or the Mitas E-07 (my "all 'round" recommendation) for 50/50 tires or the TKC 80 for 90dirt/10street...This will drive the math people out there nuts, but I would rate the TKC 80 as a 90dirt/50street in terms of handling but not longevity (Mind you I haven't tried the front tire, so I don't know how the front handles at highway speeds. I was running the E-07 front).

Anyways, that's about as much rambling I'll do about tires! Gotta roll!
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