Friday, August 1, 2008

Avoiding another disaster

Today we left Toad River and found that the Alaska highway has some great stretches of twisties.

We really had fun until after Fort Nelson when I pulled over to find out what the racket was. My chain was so loose it was banging on the swing arm...or so I thought. I tried to move to a safe spot when my clutch lever became limp. It turned out the master link broke on one side and broke the clutch actuator shaft in half...Oh nooo! After much stress on the shoulder of the Alaska highway, we managed to install the spare master link when a bus load of hippies stopped and loaned us some tools. Ian used electrical tape to tape the shaft together and we decided to forge ahead. Using the clutch only when absolutely required we went another 350km before stopping in Ft. St. John for the night in a hotel with actual hot water.

Tomorrow might find more trouble but I think we might make it home for Saturday.

Sorry no pics of this event as we were literally on the shoulder of the highway doing the repair as fast as we could. Amazing how so many people fly by without slowing down or moving over.

Dawson Peaks to Toad River

After a fantastic breakfast we continued our eastward ride. Watson Lake was the first main stop with the huge signpost forest.
Other than the forest Watson lake is not much. On to British Columbia and the 60th parallel.
Some Buffalo and great twisty roads.
Liard Hot springs was a stop well worth it after all the cold air we've ben riding through.

Stopped for the night in Toad River.


Photo Update











Thursday, July 31, 2008

On our way again

Sorry about the lack of photos folks. Internet connections have been slow and uploading has been a challenge but we carry on... (check the previuos post for photo updates as we can add them)

We will be leaving Yukon today again in the rain but at least we had a dry room last night. It was the last one available in the area. Thankfully, Ian suggested calling ahead from Whitehorse to book a room. This place we are in is called Dawson Peaks and is about 11km east of Teslin. If anyone comes this way it's a great little spot to stop.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An overdue update

July 24
We woke up at 6:00am today to catch the ferry to Whittier. Again it was raining and cold. We waited at the terminal for all the other R.V.s to load then boarded the Aurora. The boat ride was amazing. We saw sea lions, sea otters and a humpback whale.
Visibility was pretty good considering the weather so we did sea some glaciers and floating ice too.

We decided to skip the Kenai peninsula because of the weather and headed into Anchorage. The zipper on Ian's jacket had broken the day before so we tried to find a shop to fix it. Eventually we found Alaska Leather and Val promised to fix it by noon the next day. As we were leaving to find a camp for the night she ran out with a loaner jacket for Ian to wear. What great service!
Eventually we found the Harley shop where they had free camping for motorcycles. We met a fellow there from Liverpool named Martin. He was on a 1 year trip around the world, his second such trip. A very interesting guy with some amazing stories. The three of us ended up at the pub and...well lets just say I had a headache the next morning.
July 25
After finding a car wash and then retrieving the jacket we set out of town. Anchorage is much like any other big city with lots of traffic. I couldn't wait to get out. The weather was hot (15 degrees) and sunny so we actually put away the rain gear. We rode north through Denali park but didn't camp because they were full. Denali surprised both of us, very busy touristy place. On we went to stop at a campgound south of Fairbanks in a town called Nenana. We set up our tents in the picnic shelter and stayed dry all night as the clouds again decided to rain on Alaska. Tomorrow some sightseeing in Fairbanks.
July 26
The ride to Fairbanks was a short 90km. We had some lunch and rode out to dredge #8 but decided not to go in to the park. Instead we rode back to Fairbanks on the Old Steese hwy which was really fun. From Fairbanks the rest of the trip is heading east which means the tour is more than half over but still lots to see and do. Tonight we camped at moon lake campground, a really nice secluded spot. This was the first night we got quite wet, my tent had a small puddle in it. No problem, we'll dry everything out tomorrow in Dawson City.
July 27
Here we sit in Chicken, Alaska on our way to Dawson City. An excellent day all around with a fantastic road to Chicken. From Chicken the pavement ends and it's gravel to the border. Fortunately the rain had stopped and there was no mud. As a bonus the road was still a little damp so the dust was not a big problem either. We arrived in Dawson City and found a room at The Bunkhouse. Dawson is a very interesting place with authentic original gold rush structures everywhere. We went to Klondike Kates for dinner then to Golden tooth Gertie's for some entertainment, a high energy variety show. From there we found the local night spot where a live funk band was playing. A positive place full of people from all over.
July 28
After sleeping in a bit we went for lunch and some sightseeing in Dawson City.


Eventually we had to say goodbye to Dawson and hit the road. The Klondike highway is a mixture of some gravel and chip seal pavement. About 130km from Dawson we had a close call. The rear tire on Ian's bike blew out while we were on a gravel stretch at about 90kmh. He managed to get it stopped safely in the right side ditch but we were in the middle of the Yukon with no spare! I hopped on my bike to see if I could find help. About 10km down the road I found a little place that used to be a RV campsite. The landowner and his helper (a lad from Vancouver who was prospecting for gold nearby) were able to follow me back to Ian and we loaded his bike into their pick up truck. Photobucket

So here we sit in McQuesten, Yukon waiting for tomorrow to see if we can find a tire in Whitehorse. It's Monday now and getting a tire on Wednesday is a best case. Who knows what the next few days will bring.
July 29
This morning we contacted the Yamaha dealer in Whitehorse to ordered a tire and tube. The phone at Dan's place is a satellite phone and costs alot to use so we had to make the calls count. After confirming the tire we phoned a trucking company to arrange shipment. Kluane trucking runs between Whitehorse and Dawson every night. Drew was kind enough to agree to stopping in front of Dan's place as they passed through that night. We had the day to kill and we needed provisions so I saddled up to head into Stewart Crossing. Once there I found the restaurant closed so I went into Mayo, a 100km trip from Dan's. In Mayo I found groceries, beer, and a bank. A nice little town. I arrived back at McQuesten about 4:00pm to find Ian reading a stack of old Yukon magazines and history books. I started to read them too and have become fascinated with Yukon Gold Rush history.
We built a fire and waited for the Kluane truck to come by. Sure enough at 12:30 we heard a truck gearing down and blast from his horn. The next morning Dan helped us install it, and we got the bike back together by 11:00. Of course it started to rain and our tents got put away soaking wet. Finally we said farewell to Dan and hit the road in the rain....again.
Today we rode 580km and are spending the night in Dawson Peaks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008




July 23
We slept in this morning and got started at 11:00am after we had lunch at Fast Eddies in Tok. From there we rode the Tok cut off to Valdez. An extremely cold day today as we climbed the Thomson pass riding past glaciers and beautiful waterfalls.




Only 400km but a long day just the same due to the cold and rain. We arrived in Valdez with the temp at 8 degrees. Tomorrow we take the ferry to Whittier and a day of respite from the cold. Hopefully the weather improves as we head west.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sunday July 20th, 2008.
The opportunities for posting to the blog have been few so I'll try and give an update of the last couple of days.
Since Prince George we have been riding in steady rain. The Temperatures have been cold but we have proper gear to brave the elements.
We started out on Saturdy from Purden lake about 10:00am and had a good breakfast in Prince George. The rain slowed us down and we got as far as Seely Lake provincial campground where we found a great spot for the tents under some trees. Even though it rained during the night we stayed dry.
Sunday morning a stop in Kitwanga for breakfast before heading north on the Cassiar highway.

While we were there we met a fellow from Mississippi who was on his way to Prudoe Bay, from there he was headed to Key West Florida to do an Ironbutt feat.
We rode into Stewart and Hyder Alaska. A nice ride with the Bear Glacier on the way in.
This was probably the coldest part of the day but worth the trip for sure.

Back on the Cassiar we saw more bears than we could keep track of including one dead guy.Photobucket

The highway has been much better than I expected with a few frost heaves and the odd rough spot. Tonight we are in Kinaskin prov park.
Margaret..our saviour

A fantastic spot and only a sprinkle of rain. We are watching the trout jump as the sun is going down ending another memorable day.
July 21
A long day today, quite cold and windy. We got away from the campground at about 11:00am and finished off at Teslin Yukon. We encountered a 30km stretch of gravel/mud that was really slippery and made a mess of the bikes.

The variety of road conditions made it a fun ride today but slow going as we found many gravel sections and some construction stops.
Once in the Yukon the wind was fierce and our fuel economy went way down. Ian had to go on reserve at 205km (80km earlier than normal).
We met a fellow from Austin Texas riding solo to Alaska, I didn't catch his name but he was riding a big Shadow loaded for a long haul.

Teslin is our stop tonight, at the Yukon Motel. We are now only behind schedule by about 200km. Tommorow we go through Whitehorse and spend the night in Alaska.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lunch at the King Edward Hotel

Well stopped for lunch at the King Eddie in Stewart. Good lunch, good beer.
Overheard at the lunch counter:
"eah, its rugged out here but we've got everything a man needs. We got game, we got wood, we got fish. Pretty fish. Salmon with skin so sexy cold..."

O.k., its a little remote, but a great place.

Friday, July 18, 2008

On the Road

Well, so far a great start. Except Ian decided to get stung by a bee before we even left town (ouch right in the nostril). A mixture of weather from under 10 degrees to in the 20's, a little rain and now some sunshine. We're sitting in McBride BC waiting for our burgers....yum!

About 180km to our campground in Purden Lake.

Dinner is here bye for now

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weather watching

It's about 36 hours to departure now and I'm checking the weather constantly, as if it matters. I'm ready to go rain or shine. Here is my 65 lbs of luggage.

Tonight Wanitta and I celebrated our 20th anniversary with our kids and mom. It was nice to all be together before I take off.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Beyond today...

Hey, if I stand on a binder I can see departure day from my desk!!!!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Soon.....really soon

Virtually all the prep is done. Tires, tune ups, oil changes are done (almost). I feel like I can't wait but it's only 6 days away now. Even though I've planned this to excess, I am still coming across ideas for things to do and places to see. If things work out I'd really like to make a run to Skagway and perhaps the ferry to Haines and north back up to the Alaska highway. It looks like we'll have plenty of time to make it to Valdez for our reserved ferry ride on July 24th.

This time next week we should have some entries from the road with some photos too......Yay!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Three weeks and counting.....

It is indeed geeting close. My ride to B.C. was fantastic and the bike worked perfectly. I learned a few tips regarding travelling light and got a feel for the new handlebars. I got the windshield working right so I don't have to use the big parachute Givi windscreen. A new rear tire is on order. Can't wait!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weather link for Alask and Region

Hope this works. Just something to consider on a daily basis as we get closer to "Mush!"

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's getting closer. I can Feel it.

So, the children have graduated; the computer system rebuilt; all birthdays celebrated, and the grass has been cut. It's time to change my focus to our upcoming trip.
After a good deal of research I have found the best gear for this trip at Mountain Co-op on 124th street. A girl named Karen was a HUGE help. I have a list of exactly what I will be purchasing.
I still need a new front tire for my bike. I'm going to add lowers, but I'm uncertain (still) as to whether or not I should put on a shield. I've ridden for 25 years without.
I've decided to travel Ultra-light for this trip.
1 pot
1 change of clothes
rain gear
xtra fuel cell
usual small stuff like matches/pens, rag etc.
I'll completly refine the list as I go. I usually end up carrying far more than I ever need or use. Hopefully I'll get it all "just right"

Have fun on your Shake-down, Dave!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

About time for an update

Well, its 2 months from departure and I just can't wait. The bike is getting close to it's final Alaskan form. I have installed new handlebars, another 12v socket, a windshield bracket, a new front tire, and an audio amplifier. Really the only thing left is a quality top box to carry my laptop in.

This upcoming weekend will be a trial run for the complete set up. I intend to load the bike with as close to the Alaskan load as possible to see how it packs and rides with the weight. It will also give me a chance to try all the camping gear I have accumulated (thanks brother Q).

My plan is to ride 1400 km over 2 days....should be a good shakedown.

Stay tuned

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Chain woes

Yesterday I went about changing my front sprocket to a bigger 16 tooth one. Alas... I discovered it is pretty worn and need to change the chain and the rear sprocket too.

Not a really big deal but better now than on the highway to Alaska!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hit counter reset

All this about Obama etc. must have overwhelmed our hit counter provider...they dissapeared so we have a new one. I didn't know how to start it from the current count so we start at one again.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Klingon math?

since your post:
8 more people have seen your logic
I re-assembled my bike and ran it for 15 minutes
It snowed 4 f***in' inches
There are 4 fewer days to our trip to Alaska
I googled that "t" word and learned about a small rodent

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

American Idol, tits, Obama, Camero, Alaska

O.k., last time I checked there were 183 hists on this site. Let's look at this: According to Google the world population as of July 2007 was 6,602,224,175 That's roughly equal to the number of People magazines or US magazines sold with Britany Spears on the cover. As reported by Google the number of births on the planet earth is 245 per minute while the number of deaths per minute is 110. That means that since July 1st, 2007, according to Google, there have been 90, 316,800 newbies and only 40,550,400 deaths since July 2007. This give us a surplus of 49,766,400 newbies. Now, using Klingon math we find that since July 2007 there are only 368,640 newborns that have a reasonable excuse for not visiting this site. That means that 368,640 divided by 6,602,224,175 multiplied by 100 equals .55835 (Now, we are talking Clingon math which makes no sense to me what so ever) of the total population that have never seen this site. Hence, the cheap verbal horing of Amierican Idol, tits, Obama, Camero and Alaska. O.k,... I googled tits and was quite impressed. 183 and counting...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

When will the snow go away!?

I can't wait to get the bike out. For the time being, I have started installing some accessories. So far I managed to get the Pat Walsh crash bars and oil cooler guard installed, as well as the SW Motech luggage racks. The Walsh stuff was an easy install but I managed to cross thread a bolt during the Motech install. All is well now except for the temperature outside is not cooperating.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Dave and I had a chance to sit down and talk about some ideas regarding the upcoming trip to Alaska. Great to say we had pre-planned much the same route. Now the fun really begins: tune ups, adjustments, organizing and buffing. And that's just my hair....

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I've planned a "tune up" ride

Looks like I'll be taking in the 3rd annual B.C. Big Trailie put on by some folks over at ADVRider. When I saw the ride reports of the first two I knew I wanted to go. check out this link if you want to see what it's all about.

Departure date set

We have decided to set the departure date back to July, probably the 25th and getting back around August 7 or 8. In the long run this is probably a better two weeks with slightly warmer nights. We do plan to camp 60-70% of the time if it's not raining too much.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bike Preparation

If you have looked at my trip to California photo diary (view my profile), you'll notice that the bike was not exactly well equipped. Here are some additions that will be going on soon:
Pat Walsh crash bars and oil cooler screen
highway pegs
Stebel 139db air horn
Amplirider audio control box
Auxiliary fuse box
Additional 12v outlet
Givi E36 side cases on SW Motech racks
16 tooth front sprocket
Fender extender
OEM DL1000 seat

Can't wait for some warmer weather

Setting the Date

We haven't set a firm date yet but have two possible times in mind. The last two weeks of June we feel would be great due to the likely hood of reduced tourist traffic and bugs. However there may be some scheduling conflicts so a later date; possibly the end of July might be the choice. Later in the summer means higher temperatures which is a good thing since we are camping much of the way.

Friday, January 18, 2008

How this plan got started

Simple really, Alaska and motorcycles, they simply go together.
Ian and I had our first long distance ride in June 2007. About 20 minutes into the ride (with my jaw aching from the huge grin on my face) I already started planning the next trip. Motorcycle touring will be a big deal for me for a long time. In fact I already have 2009 in my head, but we'll save that one.