Thursday, 31 May 2012

June 29th-30th, 2010

This morning we knew we had a long day of riding ahead of us.  We made ourselves peanut butter & jam sandwiches for breakfast and got back on the road.  We managed to see an abundance of wildlife ranging from caribou to bald eagles.  We also got caught in a rain storm, but managed to ride out of it by the time we reached Fort Nelson where we had lunch at Subway.  Things started to get interesting when I noticed the chain on my bike acting up.  I checked the condition of the rear sprocket and it didn’t look too good.  The closest dealership is in Fort St. John, another 380 km away.  I hope it will hold. 

We arrived in Fort St. John late in the evening and everything was closed.  We had a bit of a dilemma on whether to keep pressing on and find a place to camp on the outskirts or to stay put and deal with the chain and sprockets first thing in the morning.  We stopped at a motel and the front desk lady was nice enough to let us use their Wi-Fi.  There’s a dealership in Dawson Creek just 75 km south from us, surely the sprocket will last and get me there.  The front desk lady also told us where we could pitch our tent just 20 km south of where we were; a good enough reason to press on and worry about the chain & sprockets when we get to Dawson Creek. 

 20 minutes of riding the next morning and this happens. 

Yes, I do consider myself lucky.  Back tire could’ve seized up and sent me flying; luckily it didn’t.  Instead of pondering about how seriously injured I could’ve been in, I focused on how to get us out of this jam.  We were in the middle of nowhere and traffic was fast and fairly busy.  It was dangerous being on the side of the road so I needed to think fast.  In retrospect, this was an idiotic idea, but I figure I get the chain back on, tighten it some more, and ride gingerly to Dawson Creek.  Did I not learn my lesson already?  Luckily a guy with a trailer pulled over on the other side of the highway and offered to take my bike and I to Dawson Creek.  Getting the bike across the highway was a $&*t show in itself.  The chain was jammed real good to the point where the back tire wouldn’t spin.  Amanda and I had to lift the back of the bike off the ground and push while the guy helping us steered.  Oncoming trucks on both sides had to stop in order to let us cross.  Amanda thought we were going to get run over for sure.  We loaded the bike in the trailer, strapped it down, and headed towards Dawson Creek.  

I don’t remember his name, but I won’t forget the nice gesture of helping out a fellow rider in need.

The dealership didn’t have any sprockets that would fit so I had to ride Amanda’s bike back to Fort St. John to get one.  The rear sprocket was the only part I can see that was really worn so that was the only thing I had replaced; another mistake and lesson I will soon learn. 

The whole ordeal put a huge dent on our schedule, but that didn’t stop us from getting a picture of the start of the Alaska Highway…

…or the giant beaver statue in a town called, ironically enough, Beaver. 

In order to make up for lost time, we rode well into the evening.  We needed to average 700 km a day in order to make it back for my cousin’s wedding, leaving us a day or two just in case anything else happens.  We entered Alberta and stopped in Grand Prairie to do an oil change.  Then we took highway 40 to get as close to Jasper National Park as possible so we could have a nice ride the next morning.  It was cold and we were tired and it didn’t help to see dozens of elk on the side of the road.  We managed to spot a recreation area and decided to call it quits for the day; feeling defeated for not fulfilling our mileage quota. 

Candy helped lift our spirits 

962 km

Sprocket wearing out.

Let’s ride it until it dies.

Nine lives running out.  


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

June 26th-28th, 2010 pt.2

We continued riding along the Alaska Highway after we picked up our decals and ran into a furry friend upon entering British Columbia.

I believe this is the first time we’ve seen bison in the wild.  You don’t see many of them around these days. 

Wow!  Where did they all come from?

After a full day of riding, this is exactly what we need.

We arrived after 8:00pm and were surprised to find out that the park doesn’t charge for admission this late in the day.  Perfect!  At the time we didn't know it, but on this very path we are walking on, August 17, 1997, Patti McConnell died from injuries while defending herself and her two children from a black bear attack.  Raymond Kitchen heard the attack in progress, and was killed attempting to rescue.  McConnell's son received a Star of Courage for his attempt to save his mother.  Kitchen also received the honor, posthumously (from wikipedia).  Tragic story indeed, but I thought we were overdoing it for carrying 2 canisters of bear spray and 2 smaller canisters for backup.  You just never know.  Better to be prepared than not.

Ooooooh.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

The hot spring was enormous (2nd largest in Canada) and very well maintained. 

There’s a tradition where people try and place a rock on a ledge that is located in the hottest region of the hot spring.  It was a painful ordeal, but Amanda managed to get to it.

Recharged and refreshed we continued riding in search of a place to camp.  We had a minor delay. 

This gravel pit will do. 

701 km

Once roamed the grasslands. 

Hunted to near extinction. 

Karma is a bitch. 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

June 26th-28th, 2010 pt.1

Amanda and I were in a bit of a dilemma on whether we should attend my cousin’s wedding 2 weeks from now on July 10th.  It didn’t take long for us to make a decision; weddings are very special for the ones getting married and I’m sure they’ll appreciate us being there.  This will mean it’s going to be a straight shot home to Toronto.  I figure 14 days will give us enough time, but we’re not used to riding on a fixed schedule so we’ll have to do a little planning.  

Yesterday we talked to mikeRD400 about riding to Whitehorse together.  We woke up this morning, said our thanks and goodbyes to Walter, Tommy, and Hal; and were back on the road again. 

It was a smooth ride south to Whitehorse and the weather couldn’t have been any better.  MikeRD400 giving his legs a break from sitting too long. 

We grabbed dinner at the Real Canadian Superstore and had a picnic in front of the SS Klondike once again.  We managed to find a place to camp near the spot we camped the last time we were here in Whitehorse.  We stayed away from the mountain bike trail this time. 

The next morning we had planned to pick up our KLR decals at the post office.  We ordered them back when we were in Fairbanks and had it shipped general delivery here in Whitehorse.  It’s Sunday today and the post office is closed.  This meant we have to stay another night.  The three of us checked out a few souvenir shops before parting ways with mikeRD400. 

To kill time, we went to the library, did an oil change, went to church, and hung out at the same spot we camped last night. 

The next morning we woke up and went to the post office as soon as it opened to pick up our decals.  I forget when I first saw these stickers, but I found them to be hilarious and had to have one.

I went with green to stay true to Kawasaki’s colors

Amanda went with blue to resemble more with BMW’s crest

It’s funny how some people mistake our bikes for BMW’s when it clearly reads Kawasaki underneath the decal. 

Here’s a funny quote I found on a website “These stickers will not cure male pattern baldness, increase your horsepower, or fix your doohickey.  Though the logo style is reminiscent of some other logo (I forget which), these decals will not cause your KLR to cost twice as much, nor will they make you break down twice as often.” 

532 km

Racing to get home.

Mailman is on holiday.

Held back for a day.

Monday, 28 May 2012

June 24th-25th, 2010 pt.2

Today we play tourist and explore Dawson City as well as taking part in the Dust 2 Dawson festivities.  Before we headed into town, Hal was having trouble starting his bike so Tommy lent him a hand.

Here we are on the main strip where the biker games take place

We’ve never seen this many adventure bikes before

Most of the buildings in Dawson look old fashioned and new construction must follow this policy

The banquet took place at the Palace Grand Theatre; a national historic site in Canada. 

Everyone we met was super friendly and nice…

…and the food was really good too!

The biker games started shortly after the banquet and there was no way we weren’t going to participate.  The first event was the slow race.  The rider who crosses the finish line last; wins.  We had some practice back in Santa Ana, California.  Questor and MotoAdventureGal helped us take some of these pics. 

The next event was the ball drop.  The rider has to carry 6 tennis balls and drop them in buckets of various sizes.  Sounds simple enough, but it’s tricky when you have to navigate your bike all at the same time.  Amanda had a hard time figuring out where to keep the tennis balls handy so she stuffed them in her jacket as you can see in the picture below.  The rider who manages to drop the most balls in the buckets; wins. 

The third event requires riding your bike blindfolded; a fantastic idea after drinking a few beers.  The objective is to ride your bike blindfolded in a straight line and stop at the designated marker.  The rider who stops closest to the marker; wins.     

The fourth event was a slalom event.  Each successful run resulted in the poles being moved closer together.  Last person standing wins. 

The fifth and final events were my favorite.  You had to pair up with another rider and the person riding pillion had to perform a task.  The fifth event involves tossing two balloons over a stick and catching them while on a moving motorcycle.  Not as easy as it sounds.  The couple who can catch both balloons; wins. 

The final event requires the person riding pillion to take a bite off of a dangling hot dog.  The couple who bites off the biggest piece; wins.   

Although we didn’t win any prizes from the events, we had a heck of a great time. 

We cashed in our free drink vouchers and hung out with some of the riders.  We didn’t get back to Walter’s place till 2:00am 

A day in Dawson.

Amongst like-minded people.

Gold rush town preserved. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

June 24th-25th, 2010 pt.1

The morning brought clear skies with lots of sun and we were happy to be back on the road again.  Sleeping on the picnic table wasn’t so bad after all.  

You can hardly see them in this picture, but ironically enough there are 2 moose on the other side of the lake.

I’m so glad we decided to wait for the rain to clear. 

If we had pressed on, we wouldn’t have stopped to take in all of this. 

We did it!  We rode the Dempster Highway and made it out safe and sound.  If I had to make a comparison between the Dalton and Dempster, I will say this: There are more trucks on the Dalton than the Dempster, but the truckers on the Dempster are not as courteous to motorcyclists as the ones on the Dalton.  Atigun Pass and the Richardson Mountains are both phenomenal scenic landscapes, but Atigun Pass was a bit more impressive.  Lastly, a better cultural experience can be found in Inuvik than Deadhorse for obvious reasons.

We stopped at the gas station to hose down the bikes…

…and found a few laughs. 

Back in Dawson City, we registered for the D2D banquet and explored the town

The Dust 2 Dawson annual gathering started in 1992 in honor of a fallen rider.  Activities include a poker run during the day, the banquet in the evening, and the biker games late at night. 

Just as we were getting ready to head out to look for a place to camp, we ran into Tommy who invited us over to Walter’s place.  We had a few beers and shared stories of adventure.  We ended up camping in Walter’s hanger.

Conquered the Dempster.

Celebration in Dawson.

It’s not a rally!