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Old 07-16-2013, 05:09 AM   #256
jdrocks OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicyclist View Post
I rode from Calgary to Prince George today...
i'm routed through PG myself today, in the report, and in 40 degree warmer weather. it would be a disappointment to have the the scenery concealed by bad weather on the Icefields.

safe travels.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:20 AM   #257
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That might work that way for cows...
as we approach the 150 year anniversary of wire fencing in the western states, increased scrutiny of that cow fart problem that's causing global warming will prompt legislation outlawing cows...won't need any fences, and my question becomes irrelevant.

maybe i can get an answer a few days ahead of that date.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:26 AM   #258
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Day 5: Mt. Robson, British Columbia to Bell 2, British Columbia (772 miles)

I was up early again on eastern time, stupid early local time, daylight, no campers stirring, no campers even thinking about stirring. I’d slept pretty well, if only briefly, and had the gear back on the bike in a hurry. Cool morning, no bugs, felt great. I had a long way to go across the Yellowhead to the Cassier, then north as far as the energy in my tank would take me, and I had the day down on the itinerary as 750 miles, a fair distance.

I can’t say I snuck out, too much noise, but I had at least turned the bike around before I thumbed that started button, then ridden out to the highway on fast idle. The bike would move right along at idle, way faster than someone chasing me with a camper’s axe. Not a single vehicle on the road in either direction, the rest of the world was still sleeping, well, not the party animal world, they were still up, and a black bear with two cubs crossed in front of me within the first mile.

The Yellowhead was an east/west highway that I’d always carried in the books as a transit road, a means to get from A to B, and not all that much more. Not unpleasant, at least east of Prince George, but suffering in comparison to other big roads across the north. I had formed some definite opinions on the limited road network available the farther north your travel route and destinations took you, and I would recommend 16 for some, but not for others.

Moose warnings signs were planted along the road, the locations were known crossing points, and I had my own close call with a moose on this road when riding a previous trip, the freakin’ signs ain’t a quaint Canuck joke.



I was haulin’ across this mostly straight road, uncleared right-of-way, vigilant, two fingers on the brake lever, and ran past a moose, a dozen deer, half that many black bears, and the crown jewel, a wolverine…all before I stopped for fuel and breakfast in McBride, near the Frasier River. The road had been a test of the quicks, that dangerously complex interaction of vision and reflex, fail, and some coroner trainee gets to pick up the pieces with kitchen tongs.



My choice for fuel and food consisted of one each, and were located on opposite sides of the highway. Got the fuel, avoided a group of ragged stoners off to the side who looked like they had partied all night, then across the highway, some important business at hand. Rigs parked on the access road, always a good sign, truckers knew their food stops, by experience or radio, and I was off the bike and in. I chose a table next to the windows, and the waitress brought over a coffee mug, set it down in from of me, and filled it with coal black coffee, never asked. She was just playing the odds, only got a request for water or tea once or twice in a ten year period.

Ordered a big breakfast from my fiftyish waitress, still lookin’ pretty good, and maybe known by her first name from one end of the Yellowhead to the other. The place had filled with truckers while I waited for my order, someone remodeling the interior, and I found the huge piece of storefront glass next to my table was temporarly secured by a pair of 8p nails at the top. All the stops had been removed, yikes, no fear of liability here. Wolfed my food, and four cups of coffee later, I was ready for another 650 miles.

The first order was to get 16 behind me, and I was rolling west again, temperature climbing fast, it was looking like a hot day. More moose warning signs, including a huge example, just in case you missed those small yellow moose, but no actual moose, and I didn’t mind. Hey, BC DOT, cut back the brush on the right-of-way before ya put up more moose signs, people might be able to avoid the damn things.



Mountains were out there, distant, but I wouldn’t get close until I was way west.



Nearing Prince George, I passed the entrance to Purden Lake, a good provincial park if looking for a campsite in this area, although it’s often filled with campers from the city.



The country had a little roll to it, and I was largely alone, only a few scattered vehicles, until sucked into the Prince George whirlpool.



Prince George never held much appeal for me, sorry Prince Georgians, and it gets worse every time. I once described parts of PG as “subterranean”, and I haven’t changed my mind. I did need fuel, and stopped at a station in a shopping mall complex, don’t ask how I got in there, but the decision proved lucky. I had fueled the bike when the guy in a car behind me came over to ask about the bike, and the trip. When I mentioned the Cassier, he said “I was on the road crew that built that road”, and he went on to say that he was a surveyor performing the line and grade work for the advancing construction. No access to their crew camps, the men were flown in and out from lakes along the future road aboard a Grumman Goose, man, those were the days. He had performed all kinds of remote survey work across northwestern Canuckistan, made many of my adventures seem pitiful in comparison. Goodbye my friend, what a great conversation, we were both late, and I was desperate to get out west to his old road.

From PG west there was no escaping the traffic, all of BC was out on the road, including every single Harley in the province, ones, twos, groups, clubs, gangs, the works. It was hot and I stopped in Burns Lake for fuel and a drink, only worth mentioning because this was the location where I first ran into problems with a Visa card that I used for the first time here. As much as I was able to piece it together, $100 was added to my fuel transaction, no, I didn’t put $125USD of gas in that five gallon tank, and then there were other odd amounts charged to the account over the next 24 hours until Visa was able to track me down in the Yukon. I’d had a very similar card problem when I was riding a trip here in 2011, can’t be a coincidence, beware, and bring a handful of cards, because that problem card gets cancelled.

I wanted to get a photo of that flyrod in Smithers, fly fishing capitol of the universe, can’t miss it.



Smithers and New Hazelton both looking prosperous, I wasn’t sure what the factors were that drove the economy out here, but it was working. I finally made the pumps at Kitwanga, the bottom of the Cassier on the Skeena River, mountainous terrain in the background. Whew, crossing 16 had been a freakin’ pain in the butt, I was due a change, and would get one.



If you craved drama, hang around this place, you’d find it, maybe more than you bargained for. This was a melting pot of east/west and north/south travelers, some tourists, locals, First Nation denizens, some sober, some far from it. I was in and out of the quick mart store, a few food items, they didn’t have any thin sliced Jambone de Bayonne, the guy dressed in rags ahead of me in line spending $77CDN on cigs, and I was on the bike and around the corner to the Cassier, the big getaway I’d been looking for, on the edge of nuclear meltdown after the Yellowhead...but it started to rain, I had to stop.

(to be continued…)
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:14 PM   #259
fasteddiecopeman
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Just in case ANYONE is interested, I've posted MY run to D2D 2013 (on my '09 Versys, posted on the Versys Forum) where I ACTUALLY 'put a face' to this "jdrocks" character in Dawson, on the 20th June, around 10AM.

http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ad.php?t=33153

Lots of pics in there too.
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:03 PM   #260
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
...I ACTUALLY 'put a face' to this "jdrocks" character in Dawson, on the 20th June, around 10AM.

Father Edward, ya better settle down before you have a freakin' stroke.


i was reading your report, but it started sounding like the Powder Puff Derby when i found out you were only riding a few km per day, doggone man, it must have taken ya a month to get from Alaska to BC. heck, i gave ya a week headstart and still almost beat you to Dawson, and i was riding cross country from Colorado. Do you ever shift that Versys outta 2nd, because a chinese scooter travels way faster.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:06 AM   #261
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I was looking up, trying to figure out where the rain was coming from, didn’t look like it should be raining, then it quit, just as suddenly, WTF was going on, I had miles to ride, rain wasn’t part of the plan.

I took advantage of a lull in the weather to collect the signs, one was actually important, and if you voted for “North”, ya should have kept your butt parked at home.









Just like that, the sky had transitioned from mostly sunny, to mostly cloudy, to damn bad, and things weren’t lookin’ good up the road.



Rain again, this time heavy enough that I had to stop in order to zip, parked the bike, closed the vents, and by that time the rain had stopped, a weak sun was sifting through. Poking into my brain with a sharp stick was music, surreal retro stuff, all Morrison from the Doors era, yeah baby, July 4 fireworks got nothin’ on me, I was about to go off if the day didn’t come together right soon.



With a splintering exhaust note, a hollow whiplash of sound, I was gone up the road again, maybe three times was the freakin’ charm, and it was quite a road.



There was another new mine on the lower Cassier, not sure what was being mined, but it didn’t look like much activity around the mine road entrance. Above the Nass River, I was able to get a look at what makes the road famous, the view many times hard to capture because of tree cover along the road, Mt. Webster to the west, a 7000 foot peak.



I detoured into Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, where I decided I’d stay if a good campsite was available, and the first thing I encountered was this Guzzi, the rider and wife/girlfriend cooking dinner at the picnic shelter. Man, what an otherworldly contraption, no dull moments tooling around on that thing, and people claim I build madmax throw backs. This moto was in a different category, the M&Ms in play, meaning Mary OG and a beat Milwaukee Sawzall were inseparably linked to the result, while at a definable, but not wholly obvious, point in the process, someone screamed “DONE” through the smoky haze, and 15 minutes later they were on a RTW, blogging away via intermittent solar power.



I could have stayed and heard the whole story, but I didn’t care for the unoccupied campsites, and exited, still northbound. I was experiencing what is commonly called mission creep…it used to be called slipping into the abyss, absent the bloodlust, which incidentally, was not absent at the moment.

Meziadan Junction was just up the road, 37A taking you west into Stewart/Hyder, but now the site of an enormous construction crew camp east of the road, a new hi-line going in to supply growing power needs from Telegraph Creek to the Horn River shale activity. Wow, talk about some changes along this road, at one time you could point a camera in any direction, not anymore. I hadn’t planned on a run into Hyder, been there more than once, ya seen one drunk hippie, ya seen ‘em all.



I’d given up trying to figure out the weather ahead, no telling along this road, but I was hopeful.







From the 37A intersection, I had a 60 mile ride up to Bell 2, the next fuel stop, might be camping too, and I threw the spurs to that little courser. I’d always seen plenty of bears on this road, and they were still here, like everywhere.





I put the camera away, the road needed my entire concentration, besides animals, there was a stream of crewcab pickups southbound, workers due at their quarters for an early start the next day. Finally Bell 2, and I’d stopped here for fuel before, one of the very few reliable fuel stops on the length of the Cassiar. Fueled the bike, then inquired about camping, knowing that it wasn’t at the top of any Bell 2 list. They did have a few places to set a tent, done deal, I wasn’t moving another inch.

The girl at the desk, I would never think of saying she was a chubby little butterball, said the tent sites were on mowed grass, but they were really on 57 stone with some wispy grass over the top, not that I cared. I had run over 700 miles, some tough hot miles included, and I had the tent set with single minded purpose, bugs terrible. Stowed the gear, rain in the distance, the liveliness of the day long departed. I was stretched out again, the sublime weightlessness accompanying extreme fatigue, breathing measured, pulse slow, the last movements of an expended main spring, I was definitely done.

(to be continued…)
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:20 AM   #262
fasteddiecopeman
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Wicked

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrocks View Post
Father Edward, ya better settle down before you have a freakin' stroke.


i was reading your report, but it started sounding like the Powder Puff Derby when i found out you were only riding a few km per day, doggone man, it must have taken ya a month to get from Alaska to BC. heck, i gave ya a week headstart and still almost beat you to Dawson, and i was riding cross country from Colorado. Do you ever shift that Versys outta 2nd, because a chinese scooter travels way faster.
Holy sh*t Dave...! You wouldn't be kidding would you...?

There are MORE than TWO speeds in my tranny...?

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Old 07-18-2013, 10:27 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
Holy sh*t Dave...! You wouldn't be kidding would you...?

There are MORE than TWO speeds in my tranny...?

hey ya crazy Canuck, take off those hippo hands for a minute, i'll teach ya how to count to six.

since i know you're going to ask, neutral is not a gear.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:06 PM   #264
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*****News Flash*****

Mike reports through a short email that he is broken down on the Dempster in near impassable muddy road conditions, and is trying to get the bike transported south.

the nature of the problem is unknown.
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:32 AM   #265
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Originally Posted by jdrocks View Post
Mike reports through a short email that he is broken down on the Dempster in near impassable muddy road conditions, and is trying to get the bike transported south.

the nature of the problem is unknown.
FYI, the guy he's with has a report going here.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:52 AM   #266
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FYI, the guy he's with has a report going here.
thanks, forgot about that thread, but no updates there.

i haven't heard any more either. i do have resources lined up if Mike needs diagnostic help, but i still don't even know what the problem is.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:47 AM   #267
fasteddiecopeman
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Originally Posted by jdrocks View Post
Father Edward, ya better settle down before you have a freakin' stroke.


i was reading your report, but it started sounding like the Powder Puff Derby when i found out you were only riding a few km per day, doggone man, it must have taken ya a month to get from Alaska to BC. heck, i gave ya a week headstart and still almost beat you to Dawson, and i was riding cross country from Colorado. Do you ever shift that Versys outta 2nd, because a chinese scooter travels way faster.
FWIW - I flew airplanes for 37 years. In the RCAF I flew C-130s w/ 18 hour crew-days as NORMAL, up to 24 hour crew-days during exercises/ emergencies.

Got into the airlines-game, and finished off those 37 years flying to Japan (11 hours airborne), Korea (13 hours) and Hong Kong (as many as 15.5 hours).

So, now that I'm retired, I try to take the time to "smell the roses" on my rides.

Nuthin' left to prove I guess.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:42 AM   #268
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FWIW - I flew airplanes for 37 years...

fly up to Dawson and find out what's wrong with the bike.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:53 PM   #269
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Originally Posted by jdrocks View Post
thanks, forgot about that thread, but no updates there.

i haven't heard any more either. i do have resources lined up if Mike needs diagnostic help, but i still don't even know what the problem is.
Chris just checked in on Facebook. Sounds like maybe an oil pump.
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:51 PM   #270
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Day 6: Bell 2, British Columbia to Tagish River, Yukon (604 miles)

I’d already fueled the bike, so I wasn’t worried about another early start, no activity at Bell 2 this morning, whatever local time it was, I’d lost track. The mossies were subdued a little by cool morning temps, but I was doing a double tap with a chunk of firewood on any fliers still about, can’t just swat ‘em, ya’ have to stun them with the first whack, then go for the kill. A sawed off shotgun would have worked better, be like urban skeet, but lugging around that gun and a case of shells would have been a pain. Heck, I’ve seen smaller birds, and they’d drilled so many holes in me that bourbon was leaking out, what a waste.

Lubed the chain, checked over the bike, my eye was on that rear tire, it must have over 4000 miles on it, with roughly 19-2000 miles to go, man, looked like an iffy proposition to get to Anchorage. The front was ok, worn, but not a worry. Bike loaded quickly, and I was ready for the road again, cloudy skies, occasional light rain.

The road opens up the farther north you travel, and I was able to get the camera out when I didn’t think it was too wet, I had the road to myself again, at least for awhile.







The impact of the high line work was evident all along this section, with numerous access roads and miles of utility right-of-way cut into the Skeena Mountain foothills to the east. Some towers were erected along the roadway, I hope those towers straighten up when they hang the conductors on them.



The new line was crossing some gorgeous country, not up to me to say the land shouldn’t be disturbed, the Canucks were in a race to develop resources found across the north, coast to coast. For anyone who had traveled the road previously, there was no question as to whether something had been lost.





Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park was to the west at the road, and beyond it was Edziza Provincial Park, while the larger and better known Spatsizi Plateau Provincial Wilderness Park was to the east, and included Mt. Cartmel at about 7000 feet.



Some rugged terrain out there, plenty of snow up high.



Below Iskut, I saw a southbound moto in the distance, we were the lone travelers on the road this morning, and I waved him down. The rider was ADV inmate “dreamtour” from New Hampshire aboard his 12GS, on his way home from Deadhorse, burning up the miles to get there on schedule. He warned of rough road ahead, my observation too, the construction traffic was tearing up the road faster than they could repair it. Safe travels, and dreamtour was gone. I sat there for a minute, unfolded my mental world atlas, added this and that, and concluded that Mr. dreamtour was looking at about 4000 miles, “ain’t a Starbucks run”.



I was in a hurry myself, but for breakfast, and was northbound again, Dease Lake in my sights.



Plenty of small bridges along the Cassiar, most having a caution sign.



I found the lodge near Iskut open, it had been closed before, and with the hope that they might have a dining room. I pulled over, no hesitation.



There was a Yamaha cruiser parked in front, the rider talking to the owner. Yup, they could fix up breakfast for me. The rider was Nick Martin, a Tennessee Volunteer, retired Navy, and had been stationed in Alaska 20 years ago. He had driven the Cassiar on his way home back then, all gravel, so many bears on the road “I was scared for the kids”. Nick was northbound, I was breakfast bound, but we were routed on the same roads for awhile, we might meet again.



Good breakfast, only $25 with tip, heck, coffee was $2.50, but the nickname for BC had always been “Bring Cash”, and the fare for coffee was the same for one cup or eight, ok, gimme eight. Light rain was falling when I got back to the bike, but I was feeling so much better about life by then that I was smiling, who cares, overall, I’d had decent luck with the weather this trip. I’d seen it worse up here, way worse.





The rain was falling steadily by the time I got to Dease Lake, Nick’s bike parked to the side of the store entrance. I knew he would stop here, his range was only 100 miles on the main tank, and he was inside, waiting out the rain. I fueled up, took the opportunity to add some anti fog on the inside of the shield, Plexis on the outside, and I was ready to go again, raining harder than ever. Be seeing ya, Nick.



Immediately north of Dease Lake was the first of several construction zones, mainly washout prevention or repair, they weren’t enjoying the rain either. In previous years, the road construction flaggers were all summer job coeds, I think hired for their calendar girl looks, and it made waiting pretty entertaining when you motioned them over to, ahem, ask how long you’d be stopped. Now, First Nation bands supplied women flaggers for the road work in their territory, didn’t even need flags or stop signs, just one look in their direction caused drivers to lock up the brakes. I’d just had a $25 breakfast that I didn’t want to put in jeopardy by asking a stupid question.



Dease Lake, and then the Dease River used to be an important conduit for people and freight moving north and south from Watson Lake, as well as the other big river systems to the north, like the Liard.





The rain eased, then quit, but the road surface was a minefield of sharp edged potholes and broken up chip surface. Heck, I could have been back in Virginia slurping Bombay Gin and tonic to treat my subtropical malarial symptoms rather than getting’ rained on in BC, but as the thought passed, the rain let loose one last time. The first of a dozen bicycle travelers passed southbound in the rain, they weren’t thinking about gin, I’d put greenbacks on it.

There was some money in circulation, maybe because of a First Nation cut on the power line project, and I saw that the old trappers cabin that I’d noticed in the fall of 2011 had been replaced by a new camp. The old Dease River Crossing that had been sold to a First Nation band and then painted pink, now had another new structure and had been repainted beige. Beige beats pink, but neither beats their original natural spruce color, the appearance was tragic.

The Cassiar had been closed due to flooding north of the Dease River bridge earlier in the season, the location was at the confluence of several small creeks. Usually the closures on this road are because of washouts and fires, so this was a bit unusual.



The upper third of the Cassiar is more open, yielding views of the Cassiar Mountains which extend north of the Alaska Highway. Skies had partially cleared, but when I looked northwest, I knew it wouldn’t last.







Near the top, I passed the entrance to Boya Lake Provincial Park, another good camping spot on a small lake with turquoise colored waters.



Fires had burned right up to the road a few years earlier, the evidence still standing. Even though not tall, the trees were old in this slow growth climate.



The Yukon border is at 60 North, only a sort distance south of the Alaska Highway. While stopped, a car with Wisconsin plates pulled over ahead of me, and a young guy jumped out for a photo, asking me to capture him in front of the Yukon sign, no problem. This young guy was a degreed geologist, heading to Alaska to look for work in his field, most likely gold mining, no moss growing on this kid, he was wide eyed and ready to jump right in. Good luck, ya Cheesehead, I believed he had a bright future.



I fueled the bike at the intersection with Highway 1, it was at this exact same gas stop in 2011 that the woman at the register suggested I look west on the Alaska Highway to see if I really wanted to ride out there. I took the suggestion, looked west, and saw a whiteout blizzard across my path. Not today, it was 85 degrees and about to rain, but I was equally surprised today when the old guy at the register turned back to me and said “Your Visa card has been declined”, WTF?

(to be continued…)
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