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Old 10-09-2014, 12:51 PM   #1
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Another Boring Deadhorse, AK Ride Report

It has been two months since we got home, but it took that long for all of us to go through three sets of photos and get this thing done. So without further ado.

The Mission: Accomplish this is 20 days.




Wednesday July 2, 2014

Despite a year of planning had a late night last night, motokeith (Keith) was up at 4am to finish loading the last few items on the bike and head off to Hoologan's (Logan's) where he'd meet Drufiddy (Drew) for breakfast before departing.



The entourage includes the three of us, plus MikeyBoy (Mike) and some Aussie named Rich who will be escorting us as far as Seattle. Great chaps they are. We settled into a nice breakfast to start the day off right.




We take time for a few photos to mark the occasion. We are all excited to be setting off on this adventure, though the reality of it has not really sunk in yet.




Most of the day just feels like any other day ride. We blast up through the back roads of the valley, cruising through Lincoln, Marysville, Live Oak, Gridley, and Chico. After Burney falls, we end up on forest road 49, which took us around Medicine Lake. We took a short break at some lava tubes alongside of the road that were interesting. After some photos, Clif bars and pocket meat, we were again on our way.



After Burney falls, we end up on forest road 49, which took us around Medicine Lake. We took a short break at some lava tubes alongside of the road that were interesting. After some photos, Clif bars and pocket meat, we were again on our way.




The road started out paved and beautiful, then turned to gravel, and then turned into a "closed road" that has been freshly grated leaving a surface of deep loose dirt and rocks. Many exciting moments were had, but we all managed to make it through without tossing our bikes away. At the end of this road is Lava Beds National Monument. A very beautiful, but alien looking place with lava flows as far as the eye can see.








Shortly after entering Oregon we enjoy the first of many corn dogs that will be consumed on this trip as Mike tends to some unscheduled maintenance.



It isn't until we are riding around the Rim Rd of Crater Lake in Oregon that it starts to feel like we are on an adventure. The weather was gorgeous, perfect, really, and everyone spent a long time taking in the views of the lake and Wizard Island.





After Crater Lake we head towards a campground just south of Bend, OR. The terrain in central Oregon is high desert, with many remarkable volcanic geological features. Before we arrived at camp, we made sure to stop at a quickie mart along the way to grab necessities. Yes, beer. Afterall, this had been a 560 mile day. We found a good campsite that we secured with the help of Drew's aunt. Beer, scotch, campfire, and Mountain House for dinner. We hit the showers and turn in for the night, but not before debating what we will do for breakfast in the morning.



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Old 10-09-2014, 12:52 PM   #2
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Thursday July 3, 2014

We woke up this morning and everything left out was soaking wet. Not sure if it rained or if it was just an awesome amount of dew. Everything that was covered in dust was now covered in mud.
We got up about 6am and had everything packed by about 7am. We headed up to the grill we found the night before for some breakfast. We met a couple of guys that was more excited about our trip then we are. They shook our hands and wished us luck on our adventure. We would meet many people like this throughout the course of our journey.





The route today was all pavement and took us over Mt Hood, Mt St Helens, and Mt Rainer. We had some cool weather along the way, which was a nice change from the heat of the valley on the first day.




We traveled from Bend, OR to Seattle, WA with our final out stop for the evening being the home of Ryan and Lindsay York, friends of Logan. Burgers, smoked steak and Ryan's home brew made for a fantastic evening. They were truly awesome hosts to open their home to us.











The hot tub action was something that burned in all of our minds.






Keith did end up doing some unexpected maintenance as he discovered the handlebar clamp on his bike had come loose. Thankfully the nyloc nut had not disappeared and it was a simple matter of tightened everything up. Ryan had all of the necessary tools, so it was unnecessary to dig the onboard tools out of the panniers.

I think it is starting to sink in that we are on an adventure that is larger in scale than one of our weekend rides.
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:53 PM   #3
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Friday July 4, 2014

The plan today called for a 100 mile ride to make the ferry in Bellingham by 3pm, so we took the opportunity to sleep in for a bit. Mike and Rich got up early so they could go have a look at downtown Seattle before starting their run back towards Sacramento. Drew noted later in the morning that with their absence our group is now 40% less sarcastic. You see, Rich is an Aussie, so ‘nuff said.

Much of the morning was consumed by drama of Keith’s own making as he had hid his passport from himself. He had packed it, along with 300 Canadian Dollars and copies of other documents, into the inside breast pocket of his riding jacket. While packing up he discovered that it was no longer in that pocket. Many theories regarding its whereabouts were explored, including but not limited to dickhead friend practical jokes, hungry dogs, leaving it at home, and thieving crack heads. We unpacked and repacked everything trying to find it. We finally ran out of time and decided to just go catch the ferry and try to resolve the missing passport issue in Haines, AK.

As we rode out to Bellingham Keith continued to mull over the passport issue, determining that the only time he had thought of the passport was the first night we camped. Keith recalled thinking, “I shouldn't leave it on the bike, but I thought I had elected to move all my gear to the tent and had not taken it out of the pocket. But, what if I had taken it out? What would I have done with it? Other than sleeping bag, pad, and pillow, the only other thing I had in the tent was my Chromebook that I am using to write these very reports. It hit me right there, that passport had to be in the little accessory pocket on the Chromebook carry case. Had to be… Please let it be...”

Our route to Bellingham was a mix of freeway, city surface streets, and pleasant roads hugging the shores of the sound. While on the freeway we happened upon a dude on a Kawi Concours that started giving us directions on how to get around the backup of traffic on I5, which were actually helpful. We arrived in Bellingham and stopped short of the ferry terminal to buy necessities. Yes, beer. This was Keith’s first opportunity to confirm or bust his passport suspicion. Success!

After stocking up on libations we headed for the ferry terminal, arriving at the prescribed 3 hours ahead of sailing time. We checked in, and then moved the bikes to the loading staging area. We then proceeded to sit in the parking lot while every single vehicle there was loaded ahead of us. They would alternate between loading cars and filling in the gaps with bikes. We got called up twice only to be sent back to staging.



We struck up a conversation with John and Jerry from Nevada, a couple that we had chatted with on ADVrider when we saw that they were traveling the ferry at the same time. Ultimately they ran out of cars to load and our three were the last vehicles to board. We were still securing the bikes to the deck as the ferry pulled out and took off.






We found our room, shed our gear, showered off the road mung, and then went about exploring the vessel. We hit the lounge for a beer, and then headed to the dining room for a mediocre 4th of July buffet. The rest of the evening was spent in our cabin drinking beers that we iced in the sink and watching epic GoPro footage.


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Old 10-09-2014, 12:53 PM   #4
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Saturday July 5, 2014

Second day on the ferry. We started off the day with a trip to the dining room for breakfast. Again, nothing to write home about. I think we have all decided that there will be no more visits to the dining room and we will just stick to the snack bar. Both options are very expensive, but at least the snack bar offers a bit of a selection over the set menu in the dining room.

Like everyone else onboard, we wandered around trying to keep occupied. There are occasional car deck calls when we can go visit the bikes and retrieve things from the luggage. We visit the gift shop and run into John & Jerry and Dan & Cathy, who are from Anchorage, AK and on their way home from a tour of California. We spent a while sitting in the hallway outside the shop swapping stories.






Logan decided to take a nap, so Drew and Keith headed down to the lounge. We had it on the good authority of a couple elderly ladies that the Bloody Marys were to die for, so we started off with those. Not bad at all. There wasn't much anything else compelling to do, so we spent the next few hours in the lounge chatting and drinking beers. At some point the announcement was made that we were going to be starting one of the open water crossings. As we left the shelter of land the boat really started rocking. Drew and I were enjoying the ride, but many people started heading for the deck outside to purge themselves of evil spirits. Logan eventually awoke from his slumber and came down and joined us for a cocktail.






Afterwards we headed off to the snack bar for some lunch. I wasn't really hungry, so I elected to just go back to the room to snack, read, and drink a little more. Drew and Logan arrived after a while and we just chilled in the room. Keith did discover that his Montana 600 GPS worked in our room, so we had a live feed of the ferry progress to watch. Eventually we headed off to the snack bar for dinner. The rest of the evening was more chilling in the room to read and drink some tasty beverages.




It looks as though Keith’s Spot satellite tracker is not working properly. There is no access to the interwebs to confirm, but it only shows red blinky lights indicating that it has no satellite signal. We'll just have to wait until there’s cell service to call Spot and have them check the account, or until we are back in US territory with an interweb connection and can check if the Spot is logging its position. Annoying.
Comical moment of the day came as we were all sitting in our room looking generally bored. Drew just suddenly blurts out "this trip is stupid". We just kind of looked at each other and then busted up.

We did see a whale though, that was cool.





Sunday July 6, 2014

Third day on the ferry. We finally made a few stops along our route to Haines. In the morning we stopped in Ketchikan, were we had enough time to go ashore and get a real breakfast from the restaurant at the Best Western. Later in the day we made port at Wrangell and Peterson, but those stops were very brief and we had just enough time to run ashore and take a few photos. The last stop of the day was Juneau, but that was at the "ungodly" hour of 3:45am. That's exactly how they announced it on the PA. We slept through that one.




Later in the day the scenery of the Inside Passage finally started to change. As we left Wrangell we headed into a fairly narrow straight that provided better views of the houses and features along the shore. The ferry was basically doing a slalom course through the straight. After a while it became more apparent that we were trailing north as the air got a little more crisp and the shoreline started showing glaciers among the mountains.








In the evening we were treated to an absolutely amazing sunset, an explosion of orange and yellow hanging low behind blue mountains and islands with the whole thing mirrored on the water. To say it was breathtaking barely does it justice. The best part is, since we are so far north at this point, the sun sets on a diagonal pattern and because of this, the sunset lasts for hours.



We cleaned up, did some laundry, and got a head start on packing in preparation for leaving the ferry the next day. There was an obvious air of excitement amongst us.
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:54 PM   #5
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Monday July 7, 2014

We got up this morning, finished packing, and climbed into our moto gear. We spent some time out on deck taking in the sites while we waited for the ferry to finish docking. Eventually the call came and we hauled everything down to the car deck and got to repacking the bikes. Eventually our turn came and we rolled off the fairy into Haines.




The first order of business was finding gas for the bikes and then food for us. We hit a groovy little bar & restaurant for some breakfast. As we ate the rain started. We figured Alaska was going to give it to us right away. We headed out of Haines headed towards the Canadian border and Haines Junction. It wasn't long before we were riding through the clouds at 3400 ft getting rained on continually. The landscape combined with the weather had us believing the ferry had taken us to Scotland.



We eventually made it to the border crossing into Canada. It took a while waiting in line on the bikes until it was our turn, but the whole thing was otherwise uneventful. It was funny that for the entire day when we stopped for gas we would usually see people from the ferry. I guess that's a by-product of there basically being a single highway from Haines.

We finally got a break from the rain after we crossed in to Yukon Territory and were treated to some amazing scenery. It seems like the "wow" got bigger with each corner we came around. It was an awesome mix of mountains, lakes, cliffs, forests, and curvy roads. We were all chatting away on the intercoms about how fantastic it all looked.





Our original plan called for Haines Junction as our destination for the day. We decided to press on and made it as far as Destruction Bay before calling it a night. We got a room at a super swanky motel/saloon/restaurant place, cleaned up, and grabbed some dinner appropriately washed down with Molsons. After dinner we did a bit of bike maintenance then walked down to check out the lake. It was Lake Kluane, the largest lake in the Yukon. It was something like 11:30pm when one of us noted that it was still perfectly like outside. Yep, we be getting north.

Before going to bed we had some discussions about how far we wanted to try to go tomorrow. We were basically trying to figure out how to get a day ahead and give us a little wiggle room in case the weather on the Dalton needed to be waited out.



Tuesday July 8, 2014

Alarms went off at 6:30, but we managed to procrastinate until about 7:00. We got everything packed onto the bikes and then grabbed some breakfast from the restaurant. We were kind of astonished at the prices of food out here, like $3.50 (Canadian) for a single egg.

Based on last night's discussions, our intended destination for the day was Fairbanks. The rain started coming down almost immediately after we pulled out of Destruction Bay on the Alcan Highway. It was a continuous drizzle that just never seemed to let up.



The road had several areas of construction between Destruction Bay and Beaver Creek. Some were miles of gravel that barely slowed us up, while others were muddy slop under the careful control of pilot cars. We made it to Beaver Creek, fueled up the bikes, and recharged ourselves with some coffee.




We got back on the road headed for the border crossing back into Alaska. Just before the border station we stopped for a photo op with the "welcome to Alaska" sign. The crossing was super easy and just took a few minutes.




We decided we would jam on into Tok, AK and stop for some lunch. We had a brief break in the rain, but it caught up to us while we had lunch at Fast Eddie's. We geared up and hit the road for the last stretch into Fairbanks.



It was somewhere around Delta Junction that the rain finally let up and we started to get some sunshine. This definitely raised our spirits and we were having a much better time on the bikes.




Keith had a little fun reminiscing as we passed through the areas around Eilson AFB, where he spent a few years as a teenager. We stopped at North Pole for a photo op before rolling the rest of the way into Fairbanks. We decided to get a room for the night so we would be fresh for our charge up the Dalton tomorrow. We did take a walk over the Lowe’s to grab a couple of extra fuel cans for the trip tomorrow. You see, it’s 250 miles from Coldfoot to Deadhorse and we were getting terrible mileage with the northern gas. Logan and Drew decided that a little extra fuel beyond what we had planned to carry in our RotoPax cans would ease our minds a bit.


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Old 10-09-2014, 12:55 PM   #6
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Wednesday July 9, 2014

This was the big day that we had all been looking forward to. We got up at the buttcrack of dawn and got to packing and prepping to leave Fairbanks and head for the Dalton Highway. We left the hotel and headed to a nearby gas station to fuel up the bikes and get a coffee drink. The weather was beautiful as we headed out. We were in luck.



We made our way up the Elliot Highway to reach the beginning of the James Dalton Highway. Of course we took pictures with the sign and left one of our new SCRADV stickers we had made up for this trip.




It wasn't too far past the sign that we hit our first patch of dirt and gravel. The road to Cold Foot is a mix of pavement and mostly gravel and, other than for some rain here and there, it was a fairly straightforward 250 miles with one fuel stop at Yukon Crossing.









The highlight of the run to Coldfoot was a stop at the Arctic Circle to take some pictures with the sign there. Reaching the Arctic Circle made us feel like we had really accomplished something big. It was a great feeling.






Shortly after leaving the Arctic Circle sign, we were briefly behind some travelers in an RV towing a car making their way up the road. Logan recounts, “when I saw the splash of water from the car trailer tire, I knew to hold on.” It was a giant pothole filled with water than, when he hit it, send his bike launching a foot in the air. He saved it, but we all made a mental note to NOT follow too closely. This wouldn’t be the only rogue pothole to get us this trip.



In Coldfoot we gassed up the bikes and filled the auxiliary gas cans, and then had some lunch to refuel ourselves. We discussed the weather and contingencies, but ultimately decided to go ahead and make the 250 mile run to Deadhorse.






We had a little bit of rain in places, but we were really quite fortunate with the weather overall. The scenery was absolutely amazing, especially the North Slope area after Atigun Pass. The landscape is barren arctic tundra, but absolutely gorgeous. It is truly something to behold.















We were very happy about the dry run over Atigun Pass.



There are no words to describe the mosquitoes up here. When the ice melts in spring, the entire tundra is just one big pool of standing water. The mosquitoes are truly apocalyptic, requiring us to wear mosquito nets anytime we stop.


















We rolled into Deadhorse around 10:30 pm. The last 40 miles or so was very cold, with temps in the high 30’s. After 500 miles of the Dalton Highway, we were exhausted. Of course, the sun was still out and shining bright. We secured a room for the night at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel. We cleaned up, had some dinner, and discussed this incredible day. We retired to bed with hopes that the good weather would hold for our return to Fairbanks.










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Old 10-09-2014, 12:55 PM   #7
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Thursday July 10, 2014

The plan was to get up at 7am, but Keith had business to tend to at about 6am. The Prudhoe Bay Hotel has common area bathrooms and showers, so by the time he got dressed and walked down there, he figured he might as well just go get breakfast. He made the mistake of not making an observational pass on the buffet, so he ended up with cheese blintzes, pancakes, bacon, and biscuit and gravy. Pretty good options for an oil worker’s camp.

Keith recalls, “On the way back to my room I met a guy, Glen Burmeister, in the hall who is going to ride an elliptical cycle, which looks like a stairmaster on wheels, on a record breaking trip from Deadhorse to Argentina, in 120 days! We discussed road conditions and general hazards along the Dalton Highway. I gave him a portion of my AquaTabs water treatment tabs as backup should he run out of water.” There’s no way he had enough water and food on that little trailer to make it the first 250 miles to the first settlement in Coldfoot, especially considering he’ll be burning thousands of calories on that machine. We all agreed that he must be certifiable to be doing such a thing.

We also met StrokedNBored (Brian) from Austin,Texas who is traveling about Alaska and Canada by motorcycle. He had made it from Austin to Deadhorse in 6 days! He decided to tag along with us on our run back south, safety in numbers as they say. We got the bikes packed up, visited the gas station, and then hit the road. As we came into the first real gravel section a few miles from camp at 70 MPH, Keith recalls, “I look in my mirror to see Brian in a wild tank-slapper that seemed to go on for days. I think I saw him save it three times before he finally had the bike wrestled back into shape and rolling with headlight facing forward.”






There were many more bikes out today and we continued to cross paths with the same groups as we made various rest and site seeing stops on our way down. We had a fantastic lunch in Cold Foot, which was absolutely hopping with bike and tourist activity.



The weather today was actually even better than yesterday. It was friggin cold in Deadhorse, but it warmed up quickly as we made our way away from the ocean. The road was dry and fast, and other than a few spitting sprinkles there was no rain to speak of. We were having an absolute blast railing the Dalton. The only downside was the insane number mosquitos, which by now all we could do was laugh about.








We made it into Fairbanks around 11:30p and headed straight for Denny's for some grub and a milkshake. This particular Denny's is billed as the most Northern Denny's in the world. As we were leaving the restaurant some of the guys we had been seeing on the Dalton showed up.



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Old 10-09-2014, 12:56 PM   #8
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Friday July 11, 2014

Today was a down day for maintenance, both us and the bikes. We slept in until about 8:30 and went downstairs for a light breakfast. Light because we were saving ourselves for Alaska Salmon Bake for dinner. We lounged around the room for a bit before getting geared up and heading off to the car wash to try to remove as much of the Dalton’s arctic silt and mud as we could from us and our bikes.






We had a fabulous time pressure washing each other and had quite a laugh about it.










With the bikes somewhat cleaner, we headed up to Adventure Cycle Works for tires and oil changes. Dan runs Adv Cycleworks out of his house and caters to the motorcyclists that come up to tour Alaska, particularly the Dalton Highway. His shop is open 24/7 - just ring the bell. Oil changes and tires all around. It took a fair amount of time to take care of all three bikes and when it was all done it was time for dinner.



We headed back down into town and zipped over to The Alaska Salmon Bake, an outdoor dinner buffet featuring crab legs, prime rib, cod, and salmon. We gorged ourselves on crab legs washed down with some locally brewed beer. The place is a little touristy and we spent some time checking the place out. We put on all of our gear to take pictures of each of us riding a giant salmon carved out of wood. All of the other patrons got quite a kick out of us.










On the way back to the hotel we stopped to gas up, then went to The Brown Jug to get some beer for the evening. We picked up a 64 oz growler of Kodiak Brown Ale from the tap. Well, we ultimately picked up two because the first one was unceremoniously smashed when Keith bobbled it and dropped on the hotel lobby floor. Logan had already gone up to the room, but didn’t have a key, so after waiting for ten minutes are so, he came back down stairs to see what the wait was about, only to exit the elevator and find Drew mopping up spilled beer. We all shed a tear. Logan asked, “Where’s Keith?” To which Drew replied, “He cut his finger on the broken growler, but decided priority number 1 was to go back and get another.” Good plan. It’s better to get more beer while the store is still open. We can bandage up a cut finger anytime therafter.



The rest of the evening was pretty much spent drinking beer and making phone/video calls to home. Since we were feeling rather full of ourselves after accomplishing the Dalton highway, we did decide to deviate from our planned route home and head over the Top of the World Highway through Chicken, AK and Dawson City.
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:56 PM   #9
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Saturday July 12, 2014

The started off with the usual packing, grabbing of breakfast, and hitting the road. The weather was nice and sunny as we headed back south out of Fairbanks. We stopped in Delta Junction for fuel and we discovered that the left fork seal on the Adventure was leaking profusely. It was so sudden that it had to be a case of something getting stuck under the seal. We pulled the fender, cleaned up the mess, and then used Keith’s laminated emergency info card as an improvised Seal Saver to clean out the seal. A few test bounces of the forks and it seemed to have worked, so we buttoned it up and headed over to the Alaska Highway mile marker for some photos.



We blasted down the Alcan to Tok for fuel and lunch. We had all been feeling fairly tired and lunch at Fast Eddie's seemed to perk us up. A little past Tok we hung a left turn and headed up the paved road to the town of Chicken, which has a permanent population of 14 people. We got a, ice cold beer at the Chicken Creek Saloon and then walked over, beer in hand, to the general store (sarcastically named the Chicken Mercantile Emporium) to look around. We did our tourist duty and grabbed some stickers and t-shirts.









After Chicken, we then hit the Top of the World Highway, a 109 miles dirt and occasional paved road over to Dawson City, Yukon. The rain was coming down steady for most of our time on this road, making for a surface that was muddy but not as slick as we expected. In fact, one of the paved sections was like ice compared to the dirt section preceding it. We eventually went through the Canadian border at a small station on top of a mountain. IT was billed as the northern most international border crossing in North America. Pretty cool.








We eventually arrived at ferry crossing of the Yukon River, which took us into historic Dawson City. We found this town to be a weird juxtaposition of dirt roads and businesses historical buildings catering to an of mix of hipsters and cowboys. It seems to be all about the night life in Dawson City, with crowds being found at the restaurants, bars, and the casino.






It was raining cats and dogs when we got a room at the El Dorado hotel. We scored a nice huge suite featuring 2 queen beds, a sofa sleeper, and a second couch. There was plenty of room to lay out all of our crap to dry for the night. We changed clothes and headed off to the Drunken Goat for drinks and a dinner of Greek food. Afterwards to headed over to The Pit for a few more drinks and some live music. It turned out the band was from California.





Classy artwork

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Old 10-09-2014, 12:57 PM   #10
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Sunday July 13, 2014

Owing to our bit of celebrating last night we were off to a bit of a slow start this morning. The snooze button got hit a couple times. We got packed up and had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. The rain arrived (again) as we were getting the bikes loaded up, making the whole affair a bit of a pain in the ass.

Today we were back on pavement, save for the occasional gravel construction zone. The scenery was gorgeous, but the roads were fairly boring considering what we had been riding on the previous few days. We eventually got away from the rain and had decent weather for the rest of our ride through the Yukon down past Whitehorse to Marsh Lake. We found a nice campground on the lake and set up for the evening.





The comedy moment for the day came when Drew got pretty stoked about the corndog stand and decided to toss his shit on the ground in front of an audience at gas station with a gravel parking lot. The irony of riding the Dalton and then Top of the World with no issues, and then to do that was noted by all.



Monday July 14, 2014

We all slept awesome last night. Around 5am we could hear the slightest bit of rain drops on the tent. Around 7am Keith was awakened by an asshole wasp that had gotten between the tent and the rain fly. The little bastard was desperately trying to find a way into the tent. He bounced around for a bit and finally zipped out from under the fly. We all climbed out around 7:30a and went about eating breakfast and breaking camp. It was a beautiful day. Our target for today was Iskut, BC.



The weather was good to us and we made good time in the morning, stopping every 100 miles or so for fuel and a stretch. We had a leisurely lunch in Beaver Post, sitting with a guy from Austin with whom we had been crossing paths since yesterday.



While eating we realized that our route would have routing away from Watson Lake and the famous sign forest. We elected to make the 25 mile round trip down and back before continuing on our route. It was pretty cool and we had a good time finding signs from California amongst the forest. We left a few SCRADV stickers on the Sacramento area signs to mark our visit.







The Cassiar Highway was the high point of the day. The first part was a little tore up with potholes, but the curves were fun and the condition of the road improved as we went further south. About 35 miles south of Beaver Post we came across a dude riding an HP2 with a flat front tire. We turned around and went back to see if we could help. It turns out it was an Italian dude and he had totally taco'd the front wheel on a pothole. There was nothing that could be done on the side of the road to affect a repair, but we managed to work through the language barrier enough to tell him his options in terms of continuing 225km on towards Dease Lake or returning the 55km to Beaver Post.




We gassed up at Dease Lake and decided to start looking for a camp site. Short of Iskut we saw a sign for Bear Paw B&B and decided to turn back and check it out. As we rode in on the narrow dirt path leading to the lodge we saw that they had tee-pees to rent. We were totally down for that. We were a little concerned with the mosquito situation at first, but it seemed ok once we got the fire going in the middle of the tee-pee.



This girl showed up to keep us company and to protect us from angry bears!





We did finally see a couple black bears today. One was on the bank of a river we were going over and the other was along the side of the road before Dease Lake. Drew was riding ahead of us and was pretty close to the edge of the road. Not sure who was more startled, him or the bear.

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Old 10-09-2014, 12:57 PM   #11
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Tuesday July 15, 2014

So the teepee turned out to be pretty good. The fire pit in the middle warded off the mosquitos. We did wake up in the middle of the night to find that the fire had gone out and it was freakin cold in the teepee. In the morning we made our way up to the lodge and the Austrian couple that run the place made an awesome breakfast for us.

Today we continued farther down the Cassiar, aiming to camp somewhere around Smithers, BC. The weather was great in the morning, and started getting a little warm in the afternoon. Gas stops were dictated by the long distances between services in a couple of areas. We debated heading over the Glacier Highway to Hyder, AK, but decided we would rather get into Banff on schedule and have time to play around there.



At one point today we pulled off the highway and down to a picnic area that was down a dirt road next to some water. As we rolled up we noticed an iPad lying on the picnic table, but there was not a person anywhere to be seen. It was locked with a PIN but we the camera app could still be opened from the unlock screen, so of course we took some photos depicting simulated prison sex. It occurred to us that we had seen a bicyclist just moments before pulling into the picnic area, so Logan ran back up to ask if he had forgotten something. Turned out that it was his iPad, and Logan back-tracked and ran it up the road to him. Hope he enjoys the pictures.

We stopped for fuel and lunch at Kitwanga in the afternoon and decided on the Glacier View RV Camp Park as our final stop for the day. We blasted on down to Smithers to discover that the camp park lives up to its name. There is a mountain with a glacier across the street from the park. We got a cabin, cleaned up, and then rode into Smithers to get some dinner and some beers to bring back to the cabin. I did laundry for the group, which was plentiful as we had been on the road for a few days since last washing everything. We drank our beers and did some minor bike maintenance before turning in.






Quote of the day: We were outside doing various maintenance tasks on the bikes when Drew just says out of nowhere "Does anybody want to use my sock?"



Wednesday July 16, 2014

We were off like a herd of turtles this morning. Logan decided getting up wasn't part of the plan today, so it took Drew and Keith several attempts to roust him out of bed. We got packed up and headed to a Tim Horton's in Smithers for some breakfast. Gut bombs consumed, we finally hit the road headed for McBride some 360 miles away.

The roads today were somewhat boring and tedious, being straighter and more travelled than the ones we had been on for the previous days. We were all getting a little tired and fidgety from just sitting and droning. We hit up a Pita Pit in St George for lunch and discovered that they had the best wi-fi connection we had yet to see in Canada, so we killed a bit of time there uploading photos to Facebook and whatnot.

We pulled into McBride to discover the sky all smoky and hazey from some fires up the road. We got fueled up and then headed out the east end of town to find the Beaver View RV park. We scored a tent spot with water and electric. Really roughing it. The mosquitos here seem way more determined than ones we had seen so far. Once we had camp set up we headed back into town to the Giggling Grizzy Pub for some grub and brews.



Logan and Keith were commenting today about how our wives are all working out, going to the gym, and doing boot camp routines and were just going to return home fatter, hairier, and tired.
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:58 PM   #12
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Thursday July 17, 2014

About 6:00a this morning we were all awakened to the sound of rain pattering on the tents and faces. You see, Logan and Drew decided to forego the rain fly on their tents. Genius. Keith recalls looking outside to see Drew running around in his underwear trying to toss the fly on his tent and get his gear under some protection. There was a break in the rain while we packed, and the threatening skies had us make quick work of it. We were on the road and moving towards Banff pretty quick.

Rain was the order of the day, and combined with the altitude made for some chilly riding. By the time we made it to Jasper we were ready for some hot food and coffee. We hit up a restaurant that advertised breakfast and pizza. We indulged in Eggs Benedict with smoked Salmon, which was pretty darn tasty. Hot coffee warmed us up and got us ready for the next leg of the day.



We had been looking forward to today's run from Jasper on to Banff. The Ice Fields Parkway offers amazing views of mountains and glaciers. Unfortunately we were dealt the double whammy of forest fire haze and torrential rains with occasional hail. The views were still pretty spectacular, but we could only imagine what they could have been like on a clear day. The rain was relentless and seemed to be following us as we made our way South. We also ended up sitting at several construction zones.








Adventure Worf was enjoying the glaciers.







We arrived in Banff and, since it wasn't raining, decided to head for a campground and get the tents set up. We ended up at the Tunnel Mountain campgrounds, which were crazy busy. We threw down the tents and then crawled back on the bikes and headed into town for some beers and grub. At Drew's urging we had said we would get pizza, but ultimately we scored some scarce parking in front of a burger joint and just ate there. Afterwards we wondered the streets a little, checking things out. From what I understand, and observed, Banff is basically the Aspen of Canada. We hit up a liquor store for some beer (there's a common theme here) and when we got back to camp we purchased a fire permit and got a nice blaze going.




It’s important to make a note about the camping in Canada. The majority of the campgrounds are $12 to camp, with the most expensive being here in Banff (National Park) at $23. It doesn’t matter how many vehicles or tents you have, the price is the same. The best part is the free firewood. You just walk over to the woodpile and grab as much as you can burn. It’s a far cry from the financial thievery we experience in camping at any of the parks in California.

These guys were excited about this concept.



With all the rain, today should have been a real shit show, but ultimately the roads and scenery were much better than the boring stuff from the nice weather day the day before. Having good gear makes all the difference in the world. Keith and Logan were feeling very satisfied about their rather large investments in full Gore-Tex riding gear. It had already paid for itself on this trip.



Friday July 18, 2014

The morning was the usual packing and organizing routine. We had coffee and breakfast in camp, so no stop for food this morning. Weather was a little chilly but clear. We weren't on the road even ten minutes when we had our first major navigational mishap. Me missed the exit for Hwy 93 and the GPS corrected so fast, sending us down another highway, that we didn't realize until it was hours too late. Ultimately it probably made little difference, as the road we had intended to take was categorized the same on the map, albeit a little more curvy.

The day was pretty much a shit show of traffic, dipshits doing dipshit things in passing zones, and rush hour traffic through the urban areas. We must be getting more South. The weather up to mid 80's F as we came down in altitude, so by the time we hit Revelstoke for lunch we were ready to shed layers. We scored some pretty decent burritos from a truck.

We were shooting to finish the day in Osooyos, BC, but we had just had enough and called it a day in Summerland, BC. With a little riding in circles we found a campground, probably ranking lowest amongst the campgrounds on this trip so far, but it was a place to throw down a tent.

A small note about Heidenau K60 tires from Keith, “I have no idea why people worship these tires. I hate them. They might give you a little more off road than the typical adventure tire, but they are fucking terrible on the street. Wish I still had the Shinko 705's on there.”
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:59 PM   #13
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Saturday July 19, 2014

The usual business of breaking camp and packing the bikes. We can already tell it's going to be hot. We decide to grab breakfast on the road, so we hit up a gas station and then head for a Tim Horton's across the street. We had all sat down outside with our breakfast sandwiches and coffee when a lady asked if we could watch her small dog while she ran inside, to which Drew was to volunteer. He was on the sidewalk with the dog when he fumbled the retracto-leash and the little dog took off running. Drew went into pursuit mode chasing the dog, which caused the dog to bark at Drew. This chase circled out into the street and back into the parking lot. The lady came running outside in a panic, and the dog was eventually cornered, but not before a group of old guys sitting outside drinking their coffee nearly died from laughing. Good stuff.

We crossed the border into the US pretty early in the day and the border patrol peeps told us that Washington was on fire and there were road closures and evacuations. It’s important to note the size and scale of this border crossing station. It was literally a five story complex with about seven lanes and countless sensors, cameras, agents and alarms. We got the feeling after passing though several smaller scale border crossings between Canada and the US already, that us folks in the lower 48 of the US clearly think we are far more important than we actually may be. This was the first time that an agent actually searched part of our belongings. It made us all feel pretty embarrassed as it’s not as if Osoyoos is a major border crossing. Have you ever even heard of Osoyoos? I didn’t think so. Anyways, we continued on our route down Hwy 17 and while the smoke looked pretty apocalyptic, we never actually ran into any road closures or any other issues. The smoke was pretty miserable, and thankfully we finally got clear of it around the Chief Joseph Dam.



The word for the rest of the day was wind. As we pushed south through the plains of Washington while a constant strong crosswind hammered us. It was just a long, windy, boring, and hot ride down Washington. We had a fine lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Moses Lake, complete with bottled Pepsi. At some point we decided we would shoot for the Army Corp of Engineers Park in Plymouth, WA, right on the Columbia River.






When we arrived we discovered that we would basically be throwing down our tents in an actual park, or as we called it, "hobo camping". It was actually pretty cool and we all intended to sleep under the stars, but the mosquitos came out shortly after sunset and squashed that plan.




For dinner we crossed the bridge into Oregon and found ourselves at some dive bar and grill that had decent food and awesome people watching. Interestingly, the Oregon lottery seems to operate video slot machines just like the ones you see in casinos.

Safety Third

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Old 10-09-2014, 12:59 PM   #14
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Sunday July 20, 2014

We were kind of laughing this morning because we thought we would "camp lite" under the stars and be getting an early start, but thanks to the mosquitos our stuff was now strewn all over the place in an even more unorganized fashion than usual. We packed and had breakfast before leaving.

The first part of the morning was more of the same flat land and wind, but luckily we soon found ourselves carving through some pretty sweet roads and great scenery as we crossed Oregon. We spent the better part of the day ripping through rolling hills lined with creeks and cattle ranches. In the afternoon we ran through about 50 miles of gravel roads leading into Hines, where Logan got a puncture on the rear tire. After fixing that up, we stopped and grabbed lunch at some imitation Applebees.





After lunch we headed out into what is basically the desert in Oregon. The roads were not terribly interesting, but the desert scenery is always something to be seen. We spent a while running alongside a lake that has all but disappeared, leaving behind a giant funky smelling alkali mud puddle. It was Lake Albert.








In the early evening we arrived in Lakeview, where we planned to camp. We decided to gas up and grab dinner before making camp, so we headed into town and started circling the main streets to see what looked good. Drew spotted a pizza joint and we headed over to it only to discover it was closed. While we sat there discussing where to try next, a dude came out and asked if we wanted pizza. He let us in, fired up the pizza oven for us, and pulled a pitcher of beer. Turns out Dan the owner is a motorcyclist himself, a BMW 650 Dakar being his ride. We chatted it up with Dan for quite a while. I guess he got pretty comfortable with us, because he eventually handed the loaded LCR .38 special that he carried on his hip to Logan to check out. We all thought it was pretty random. You never hand your loaded defense weapon to strangers, even if they are “gun guys”.

While eating we decide to just get a room in town and get an early start for our last day and try to get home at a reasonable time. We score a cheap room at some little hotel that has the weird arrangement of 2 queen beds, 1 twin bed, a full size refrigerator, a full size oven and range, and a farmhouse style sink. It looks like the sort of place where one would cook meth. We clean up and wander down to Safeway for some refreshments. The sunset was amazing and bizaar at the same time.





Monday, July 21, 2014

The final day of our trip. This is always the worst day because you’re so close to home, everything looks familiar, and you’re just ready to get off the motorcycle. We passed through Alturas, where we stopped to get a giant breakfast and coffee at the Wagon Wheel Café. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, we were all just quietly reminiscing about the trip in our heads. Highway 32 was the best part of the day, and we all wicked it up a bit and had a nice little rip into Chico, where we stopped at the Sierra Nevada Brewery for a celebratory brew and an awesome lunch.



From Chico, the ride down 99 is uneventful. One last gas stop in Marysville, and we were all headed home, back to work and the real world.
Once back home, it was nice seeing our loved ones for the first time in three weeks. It felt good to be home, but at the same time, we felt sorrow that our trip was over. All of that planning, and it was over, just like that. The first couple of days of the trip, we all felt like we had so much time ahead of us, then it just flies by and it’s done. When you’re on a motorcycle for that long, getting back to life as you knew it is a very strange feeling.
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:01 PM   #15
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Mmmm Bacon, you know a RR is going to be good when the 3rd pic includes the miracle meat.

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