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$4000 for a picture

Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
1,087
Location
Sugar Land, TX
Thanks everyone for the warm welcome home. I can't tell you what it feels like to be reunited with family after such a long journey. I got started editing photos this afternoon after lunch with the family, but fell asleep at the computer and finally gave up and crashed for the afternoon. I'm getting a start on it, but I still have to ride home to Houston tomorrow. We have hundreds of photos to go through and many many stories to tell, and we'll get to all of it! Thanks again everyone, it was an amazing ride. :rider:
 

voyagerrider

Forum Supporter
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
Messages
593
Location
Burleson, TX
Welcome back guys, glad you made it safely. :clap:
I can't wait to hear why Bill was on the bike and everyone else was in the truck with bikes on the trailer.:ponder:
Marty
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
13,845
Location
Arlington, TX
I can't wait to hear why Bill was on the bike and everyone else was in the truck with bikes on the trailer.:ponder:
Marty
Simple and not really an exciting story. Everyone else on the trip gets to finish the trip on two wheels(aka riding back to Houston). I however would not since the truck is coming straight to my house. I wanted to finish the ride on two wheels just as everyone else was going to do so we offloaded my bike aways from home and I rode it home.

See... told you that it wasn't very exciting.
 

voyagerrider

Forum Supporter
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
Messages
593
Location
Burleson, TX
Simple and not really an exciting story. Everyone else on the trip gets to finish the trip on two wheels(aka riding back to Houston). I however would not since the truck is coming straight to my house. I wanted to finish the ride on two wheels just as everyone else was going to do so we offloaded my bike aways from home and I rode it home.

See... told you that it wasn't very exciting.
Oh, I was one of subscribers to the below reason.

Somebody had burritos for breakfast!!!! :moon: :giveup:
Marty:rofl: :rofl:
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
1,087
Location
Sugar Land, TX
Houston to Calgary

Let's see, Passport (check), Swiss Army knife (check), documents (check), Canadian money (check), bike keys (check). I think that's about all I need, time to go!

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Met Graeme and Al at Starbucks in Houston for the ride up to Arlington. Starbucks would prove to be a major theme on this trip, as Graeme has an insatiable craving for lattes.

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Pretty scary looking bunch, aren't we?

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The ride to Arlington was pretty uneventful slab, and when we got to Bill's it didn't take long to get everything loaded up. We even had a bunch of TWTers there to see us off, one of whom tried to stow away.

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We pulled an all-nighter that Friday night in hopes that we could get far into Wyoming before stopping for a motel the next evening. By sunrise we were nearing Denver and rang up one of our TWTers from Houston who now lives in Denver, Sherob. We had breakfast at Waffle House which was right next to a hospital, and someone was watching SPOT a little to close and sent a text to Bill asking if everything was alright. Come on guys, we hadn't even ridden yet!

Somewhere in Kansas...
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Eastern Colorado at sunrise...
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Sherob says Hi!
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We actually made it all the way into Montana that day, and stopped for the night in Great Falls. We drove through the middle of a wind farm on the way, and saw some storms over the prairie at sunset.

Gas stop...
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Wind farm...
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Storm over the prairie...
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The next morning we crossed the border in Coutts, Alberta headed for Calgary. But not before lunch at a well known Canadian institution, Tim Horton's, a new favorite of mine to be sure. Love that chili combo! This place would feature as a favorite stop for lunch throughout the trip as well.

The border in Coutts...
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Gotta have my Timmie's...
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Finally arrived in Calgary on Sunday afternoon...
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Olympic Park in Calgary (home of the 1998 Winter Olympics)
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In Canada, the motorcycle safety classes actually take to the road :eek2:
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We stayed at the home of a friend of Graeme's, John and Dianne. Two awesome people who not only provided a place for us to sleep, but emptied their garage so we had a place to prep the bikes, and put on a party for us with friends coming over and fresh grilled steaks. Their hospitality was just fantastic and made for an easy start to the ride.

John and Dianne's home with the bikes out front...
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So, we got to Calgary with no worries. Gear is sorted, truck and trailer are parked behind John's house, bikes are packed, the riders are fed and tucked snug in their beds while visions of twisty roads danced in their heads.

More to come...
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,167
Location
North of Weird
I have to leave for a small party tonight. I'll be home by 9pm CST at which point I'll expect at least a weeks worth of trip report and pictures. OK?

Off to a great start! Truely can't wait to read and see more.....
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
13,845
Location
Arlington, TX
See, I knew I shouldn't even start a ride report. Sparky does a much better job than I could ever hope to do, so I'm just sitting back here waiting for the next installment to happen. Way to go Sparky!

BTW Jerry, my fuel can worked just like I wanted it to. It it spill a little (less than an ounce or two) over the course of the entire trip, but the newer models of tourtanks have a vent line that would take care of that problem. Mine is the old style that just has the vented cap and that's where the seepage came from.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
1,087
Location
Sugar Land, TX
Day 1 Riding

So, here we are after a great dinner and a good night's sleep ready to begin the journey...
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We started west from Calgary headed toward Banff National Park. The morning was clear and bright, and the weather cool. What a difference from riding in Houston in the summer! Oh, and the scenery was nothing short of spectacular! There is no way that I could ever truly capture what it was like to ride through these mountains. As Bill put it, the Rockies in America have nothing on the Canadian Rockies. They may have over all higher elevations, but these mountains, having been thrust upward and carved out by glaciers, have a unique stature. I think it has to do with the difference in elevation between the valley floors and the mountain tops, and their close proximity. Truly awe-inspiring.

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Not long after we entered the park, we saw these guys having a snack by the side of the road. They wouldn't be the last that we saw.

Grizzly Bears...
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Incredible scenery...
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Me...
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Glacier...
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Enjoying the view...
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Spectacular valley...
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Mountain vista...
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The CADS at the Columbia Ice Fields...
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Another glacier...
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Panorama of Columbia Ice Fields...
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Another beautiful mountain vista...
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We met this rider, Ron, at the Columbia Ice Fields. He would later turn up at the same campground as us, and we saw him a few more times days later. This was something that happened more than once. There are only so many roads leading up to Alaska, and so everyone does basically the same route.

Ron...
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Stop for a snooze by the roadside in Jasper National Park...
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Coffee break just outside of Jasper NP...
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We rode from Calgary all the way through Banff and Jasper National Parks, then headed east out of Jasper toward our first camp. The campground we had marked on the GPS had this sign in front of it...

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So, we went a little further down the road and found a suitable site. Ron turned up there as well, so we discussed route plans and whatnot with him while we made dinner, then I turned in for the evening to download the many memory cards I filled up this day. I really hoped that I would have more internet access than I ended up getting, and with our schedule the way it was, searching out wi-fi hotspots just wasn't in the cards. And when I did get it, it was usually to slow to upload pics. I wound up just using my laptop on battery power a lot in my tent to download, catalog, and back up the day's pictures and video, then go off to bed. I could do about 4 days work on one battery charge. Here's what my editing station looked like in the tent...

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By the way, I have a gallery on SmugMug that will eventually have all the photos from this trip here. I am editing and uploading as fast as I can, but I have nearly 1,000 pics, so it will take some time. I'm doing them by date, so as I have a day finished, I'll upload it to the gallery and post the day's ride report.

More to come...
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
1,087
Location
Sugar Land, TX
See, I knew I shouldn't even start a ride report. Sparky does a much better job than I could ever hope to do, so I'm just sitting back here waiting for the next installment to happen. Way to go Sparky!
Well, thanks Bill. But, even though I have your pics, I'm not going to post them. You need to write your perspective and show us your pics. This story is about all of us, so you need to give us your point of view as well. Besides, who else is going to tell about me dropping my bike - certainly not me

:duck:


:lol2:
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
1,087
Location
Sugar Land, TX
Day 2

Before I get started on Day 2, I forgot to post the mileage for Day 1: 297

We broke camp bright and early and made our way northwest along Alberta 40 to Grande Prairie (no not the one in Texas). This 160+ mile highway traverses the eastern foothills of the Rockies, and there is only one community, Grande Cache, along its route about halfway to Grande Prairie. There were some amazing vistas along the way, though nothing as spectacular as Banff and Jasper. Still, it was astounding to me to ride along a ridge line and look out to the far horizon 30 or 40 miles away and see nothing but forest covered hills and mountains, with not a single sign of human activity except the road we were on. Literally millions of acres untouched.

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Today we also saw our first moose, a cow and a calf. Graeme was leading and had to get on the binders pretty hard - the cow was already across the road, but the calf was right in our lane. I've seen moose before as a kid in Yellowstone, but I don't remember them being this big. They are as big or bigger than a horse, and the calf was bigger than most Texas deer. Man, I'd hate to hit one of these! :eek2: We also saw a few black bears by the roadside munching on berries and whatnot. They just look up and sniff when you go by then go back to munching. Most of the time they were in the ditches or on the berms along the roadside.

After lunch in Grande Prairie at, you guessed it, Tim Horton's, it was on to Dawson Creek and mile "0" of the Alaska-Canada Highway.

The CADS at mile "0" of the ALCAN...
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That was the "official" mile "0" of the ALCAN. There is another marker in the center of town that a lot of people take their photos by, so we did the same.

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From Dawson Creek we started up the ALCAN toward Fairbanks. After a while, some of us needed a break, so we stopped by the side of the road. The building had this on the side of it...

Moose!
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We rode about 100 miles or so further on and it was getting late, so we found a campground behind a gas station and made camp for the evening. We managed to get one campsite with electricity so I could charge up all my camera and laptop batteries. By the way, these pictures were taken at 11:00 PM. You can tell that we are getting pretty far north at this point. Sleeping in the dark will soon become a thing of the past.

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Today the immensity of what we are doing really sunk in. I looked at the map and realized that even though we've done over 700 miles in two days, we've done nothing. We have a long, long way to go.


Mileage for Day 2: 442

More to come...
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
It has to be asked:

Who took/packed the extension cord?!? :mrgreen:

BTW, will you guys (note the plural use) be posting up a review of your bikes and gear on this trip?
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
1,087
Location
Sugar Land, TX
Day 3

The morning was clear and cold, and we continued up the Alaska Highway toward Fairbanks, still days away at this point. We stopped for a break and gas in Fort Nelson, then continued up into the mountains.

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We ran into some rain as we headed into the mountains, enough that I had to don my rain gear. There were also several what we took to calling "grate" bridges. The road surface on these bridges is metal grating. It likes to grab front tires and shake them from side to side a bit. It wasn't too bad for most of us, but Graeme was running a TKC-80 on the front, and the grating really grabbed those knobbies. :eek2:

As we headed through this one mountain pass toward Toad River, we saw some bighorn sheep right by the roadside. The descent down the other side of the pass was pretty steep with a rock wall on one side and sheer cliff on the other. I don't have a lot of pics from today as I was mostly shooting video. I plan to make a movie of the trip as well, but that will take some time to put together.

We pulled into Toad River for fuel and a bite to eat. There is an interesting story about how the town got its name. When they were building the highway, vehicles had to be towed across the nearby river, so they took to calling it "Towed River". Well, someone apparently couldn't spell, or thought they meant the other kind of "Toad", so the name stuck. The population is 75, and there is a school. Kids come from as far as 50 miles away for class, using horses, dog sleds, snowmobiles, airplanes, 4-wheelers, and just about any other means of transport available. The local economy is supported mostly by the highway, with many people employed maintaining the road or the people traveling on it, though there are some hunting outfitters in the area as well.

After we finished lunch, we came outside and saw this guy pulling in.

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That's a 1908 Buick that was being driven from Fort Nelson to Whitehorse and back to celebrate 100 years of Buick. Very cool old car with as near as I can tell original engine, wheels, etc. Awesome!

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The bikes at Toad River...
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We pushed on to Watson Lake, and encountered several huge buffalo on the roadway - the bull had to weigh at least 2000 pounds. Along the way I started to not feel very well. Apparently the Buffalo burger I had at Toad River wasn't sitting well. We stopped and looked in the first aid kit for the "do not **** pills", only to find they weren't there. At the first aid class we did, those were the first thing on Graeme's list, and they weren't there! Luckily, Al had some. By the time we got to Watson Lake, I was feeling miserable. It was the fifth long day on the road (third on the bike), I was overwhelmed by the distances we had yet to travel, I was a little homesick and missed my family, and I was physically ill as well. This was probably my worse day of the whole trip. In Watson Lake, we pulled into a campground and I told the guys I needed a motel for the evening since I was sick. They agreed that would be best and we set a meeting time and place, so I left them and went on into town and found a nice room for the night. This was the one and only night that I didn't stay with the group, but it was much needed as the illness continued into the night.

Mileage for Day 3: 461

More to come...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
1,087
Location
Sugar Land, TX
It has to be asked:

Who took/packed the extension cord?!? :mrgreen:

BTW, will you guys (note the plural use) be posting up a review of your bikes and gear on this trip?
The extension cord in that photo belonged to the camper in the next campsite over. We shared the power outlet. I do wish I had a mini power strip so I could charge stuff simultaneously, but as it was, I had to do the batteries and laptop one at a time.

As far as the bikes and gear, I'll try to incorporate that into the story. Most everything worked great, but I did have a few glitches. You'll just have to wait until I get to that part of the story. :mrgreen:
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
13,845
Location
Arlington, TX
BTW, will you guys (note the plural use) be posting up a review of your bikes and gear on this trip?
Actually Elzi, that was one of the first things I was going to do. I figured that Bryan could hold over all the people that wanted to see pictures, so I could focus other things at first. I'll post a review of my stuff here shortly.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
1,147
Location
Katy
Re: Day 3

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That's a 1908 Buick that was being driven from Fort Nelson to Whitehorse and back to celebrate 100 years of Buick. Very cool old car with as near as I can tell original engine, wheels, etc. Awesome!
By the looks of the driver, I'd say it includes the original owner as well... :lol2:
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,502
Location
Houston
The meanest trick to play on a GS Owner. Note the little puddle of final drive fluid.


IMG_3493.jpg


Both Bill and I were shocked that Moose would do that to a fellow Beemer owner. He even carried the trick up to point of letting Sparky call the dealership in Anchorage. :rofl:
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2006
Messages
1,529
Location
South of Houston
The meanest trick to play on a GS Owner. Note the little puddle of final drive fluid.


IMG_3493.jpg


Both Bill and I were shocked that Calgary-Yogi would do that to a fellow Beemer owner. He even carried the trick up to point of letting Sparky call the dealership in Anchorage. :rofl:
Fixt
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,502
Location
Houston
I will start a ride report in a few days but in the mean time lets have a little fun with some of the pictures I took.

Can you put a caption to these ?

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Squeaky

2
Forum Supporter
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Messages
13,258
Location
Katy
IMG_3302.jpg


"What, you've never seen a guy cold enough to put his underwear on his head before?"
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2004
Messages
10,429
Location
Flower Mound
IMG_3718.jpg


Yeah, uh, I think I might need to try on the Extra Large instead.



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So, you say I pull this thingy here to launch? I don't know, I still don't think it's a catapult...

:mrgreen:
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,502
Location
Houston
The meanest trick to play on a GS Owner. Note the little puddle of final drive fluid.


IMG_3493.jpg


Both Bill and I were shocked that Moose would do that to a fellow Beemer owner. He even carried the trick up to point of letting Sparky call the dealership in Anchorage. :rofl:
I take full and sole responcability for trying this at the Yukon River Crossing, but unfortunitly Sparky did not notice it then but I was not involved with this one.
I also just noticed that Brian is in the background on the phone with the dealer.
For the tree huggers I used this environmently friendly stuff called coffee rather than pouring tranny fluid all over the parking lot
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
1,502
Location
Houston
Can you put a caption to these ?

IMG_3234.jpg

It seamed a lot taller when I ordered it off the web

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it has swollen, it must be the lack of air pressure
its alot easier to use the Force wearing it this way


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Now the left leg goes in here, my arm goes in there, Dang I wish the wife was here to dress me its all so complicated.

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Hey, stunting Alaska style is way cool

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How does he manage to do with his pants on ???


Here is my ones
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
1,087
Location
Sugar Land, TX
Day 4

So, after a good night's sleep in the hotel, some more pills, lots of water, and no dinner I was feeling much better. I loaded up the bike and rode back out of Watson Lake to the campground where the guys camped. It was overcast and cold, but I was feeling pretty good, and we were going to see something cool first thing this morning.

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We all fueled up and set off back into Watson Lake to visit the famed Sign Post Forest. This was a very fun place. The official story of how this got started is...

The forest was started in 1942 by a homesick U.S. Army G.I., Carl K. Lindley of Danville, Il., Company D, 341st Engineers. While working on the Alaska Highway, he erected a sign here pointing the way and stating the mileage to his hometown. Others followed his lead and are still doing so to this day.
Today there are more than 60,000 signs. The town of Watson Lake puts up new posts each year, and visitors are welcome to leave a sign. I had one designed, but the sign company messed it up, and I wasn't able to get it re-made before departing. :doh:

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This one is for you, Ana...
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Also on display in the Forest, are examples of the equipment used to build the Alaska Highway...

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Panorama of the Sign Post Forest...
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After spending an hour or so wondering through the forest fascinated by all the signs from all over the world, even Europe and Australia, we got on the bikes and continued northwest up the Alaska Highway toward Whitehorse. Once again, the scenery was breathtaking...

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We encountered many construction sites throughout the trip where we'd have to stop and wait for the road to clear.

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We made it to Whitehorse and stopped for lunch. This was the last major town before we got to Alaska and it was the last opportunity for Timmie's for several days, so we took full advantage...

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View of Whitehorse from across the river...
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Timmie's!
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The entrance to the Whitehorse airport...
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After lunch, we pressed on northwest up the Alaska Highway...
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Stop for a break...
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At some point on this afternoon, we saw another bear. Actually, we had seen several black bears along the roadway, but this one was a brown bear, the only one of that species we saw on the trip. That makes three species we'd seen, grizzly, black, and brown.

Late in the evening we were getting tired and thought we would try to find a campsite. We came down into a valley along Kluane Lake. The wind coming down the valley was howling, at least 30 - 40 mph, and was blowing dust out over the water. It was quite a site, and really punctuated the feeling of being in a truly wild place...

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The highway followed the lake for 30 miles or so, and with the wind howling like it was, we decided that a motel or cabin was in order. We stopped in the town of Destruction Bay and fueled up, and the guy at the gas station was nice enough to call around and see what was available for us. We ended up at Cottonwood RV campground. They had this really beautiful cabin by the lake. It was very nicely furnished, but had no electricity, or running water, and an outhouse out back. They did have showers and a laundry facility by the office. As we were checking in, the lady informed us to be careful using the outhouse because they had a bear invading the campground. About the time, the wildlife officials showed up with a bear trap. :eek2:

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The cabin...
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The view from the cabin window...
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Al enjoying the view...
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More views of Kluane Lake...

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Mileage for Day 4: 465 miles
Total Mileage at end of Day 4: 1,665

More to come...
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
1,087
Location
Sugar Land, TX
Day 5

After a good night's sleep in the warm cabin, and not a sign of the bear, we loaded up the bikes and headed back up the road to Destruction Bay for fuel and breakfast at the inn.

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We hit the road and continued northwest toward the border.

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Between Destruction Bay and the border was probably the worst section of this road. There were some sections of gravel and miles of road with pretty heavy frost heave. Frost heave is where the freeze/thaw cycle in the ground under the road causes it to heave and buckle. In places it was like asphalt whoop-dee-doos. I was surprised by how much it can heave and not cracked, but there were still lots of potholes and broken pavement. It was a bit of a wild ride, and really slowed the RVs down a lot. We were always coming up on RVs to pass. I don't think I've ever seen so many RVs on one road in my life.

After crossing the border into Alaska, we encountered a pretty long section of road under construction. We had to sit and wait about 15 minutes for the pilot car, which we had to follow for several miles, including a few sections of soft dirt. Following a pilot car in front of you with a line of RVs behind you is not somewhere you want to be in soft dirt on a heavy bike. It was really nerve-wracking and I just prayed I didn't drop it. :pray: We were going slow, so I wasn't worried about getting hurt or anything, it just would have been really embarrassing.

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We finally made it to Tok in the early afternoon, and by now it was raining pretty steady. We ate lunch at Fast Eddie's and made some phone calls. We were back in the U.S., and our cell phones were working again, and more importantly, no more international roaming charges! :clap:

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After lunch and phone calls, we continued northwest toward Fairbanks. Just outside of Fairbanks, we made a quick stop in North Pole to visit one of my customers, Dick, a pharmacist who was storing some medication for me.

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Dick is a great customer and an old friend of my dad's. It had been several years since I had seen him, so we had a nice little chat, then we continued on our way into Fairbanks.

In Fairbanks, we had some trouble finding a place to stay. We had a campground marked in the GPS, but it turned out to be a house in a neighborhood. As did a few other campgrounds we looked up. We tried a few other ideas trying to find a place to camp or a cheap motel, but after two hours of ending up in rather unsavory places, we settled on a Comfort Inn. We had avoided it before because of the price, but every hotel/motel in this town was very expensive for what you got. The only places that were low priced looked like you could rent them by the hour.:eek2: The Comfort Inn turned out to be a good idea, as we got to do laundry and they let us work on the bikes in the covered drive.

Mileage for Day 5: 465
Total Mileage at end of Day 5: 2,130

Tomorrow: the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle!
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Messages
531
Location
Sugar Land
I have to wonder how do you know what a "rent by the hour" place looks like. :pray: .... You don't, right?
 
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Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
13,845
Location
Arlington, TX
I have to wonder how do you know what a "rent by the hour" place looks like. :pray: .... You don't, right?
I'll stick up for him... he was going by my experience and comments of the hotels in the area.

Now if you are going to ask how do I know.... well, lets just say it was a longgggg time ago and I was in my "experimenting" phase.:trust:
 
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