Friday, June 27, 2014

Let's Party in the Yukon!!

A party in the Yukon?  Do you even know where the Yukon is?  You most likely don't.  Neither did I.

After a night of throwing back the booze and shishkabobs, i was getting hungry for some breakfast.  Thank god for Bob!  He was one of the guys who had his tent up next to ours in the campground.  Last night, Bob cooked me some spaghetti with caribou meatballs.  I wasnt' expecting to roll into town at 10pm to that kind of grub!  When the morning rolled around, Bob was already up working on some breakfast burritos.  Bob's going to heaven. For sure.

Shortly after we ate breakfast, I spotted something serious.  This lady walked out of her camper with 2 cats.  On a leash!  Seriously?!?  Cats on a leash!!!???

Today was the day of D2D (Dust to Dawson).   It's a big motorcycle gathering in the Yukon Territory in the small town of Dawson City.  I tore the side and top bags off the Multistrada to make it a little lighter and nimble for the poker run motorcycle ride this morning.

If you've never done a poker run before, the basic idea is you ride a certain distance, stopping at different stops along the way.  At each stop, you pick a card from somebody at that spot.  After picking the card, the person initials your paper hand with what card you picked.  After you make all the stops, you bring your paper with all the initials back to the central location and they see who has the best hand!  Winner usually gets 50% of the pot.  For this one, it was $1,000.

I figured the poker run was going to be mainly pavement with a little bit of the top of the world highway that i came over yesterday....yeah right!

These shots were taken with my GoPro mounted on my helmet.  I was hauling ass on the Multi (for somebody who's never ridden dirt before) and I was riding with the 4 dudes from Iowa that i met back in Coldfoot.  The poker run was 90% dirt, or should i say dust.  It was really dry luckily because if it were wet, it would have been really dangerous.  The views along the poker run were phenomenal.  The guys riding were fun and it was a great time overall.  I really abused the tires since it would have been the last time i really needed the tread to last.  Here's some more pictures of the poker run. 

When we left the final stop along the run, I followed the Iowa dudes back to town.  They went up this dirt road (they had the bps's), so i followed.  Sure as shit, it led to nowhere but a steep ass hill!  Straight down.  I looked at them as they went over the top and down the other side.  Screw that shit i said, I'll meet you all at the bottom you bone heads!  

When we got back to town, we had some beers, cleaned up a bit (ok maybe not), and then headed over to the banquet where they auctioned off a bunch of swag, we all ate a steak dinner, and drank some beers.  Here's a picture of Bob and his friend from Anchorage.  They were the ones with the HUGE tent in the first picture.  They were both super nice guys and Bob actually worked in Deadhorse (the town that i drove up the Dalton highway to).  Great meeting them, and hopefully see them again in Alaska!

After the banquet, they did some typical bike games like slow races, blind fold games, egg drop and some other weird ones.  

Remember, all these pictures are taken at like 10-11pm at night...

I also went over to the casino to see one of the shows that they have nightly.  It was only 10$ to get in and you can get an unlimited pass to see shows for the entire season. They discouraged pictures during the show, but just pictures 4 young girls dressed very provocatively dancing and singing.  Good thing i said singing, otherwise you'd think i was at some other type of show...

I tried to get to sleep early knowing the next morning i NEEDED to get those TKC tires off before i headed south again.  If i didn't do it tomorrow, I had no idea who or where i would get the tires changed back to street tires.  It was sunday/monday coming up and moto shops aren't open those days.  After that, i'd be in the middle of Canada with bald tires and with my luck, it would probably rain.  

In the morning, I'd be headed over to Dick's place.  Yeah, Dick's Place.  Pictures to follow.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Time to get outta Alaska!!!

Well it's been some time since I've actually had some time to sit down and type.  Mainly because we have been really pounding out the miles since my last post.  Funny how my body can tell it's been a long day.  The next morning, my finger are swollen from the vibrations of the motorcycle and my body just straight up aches.  Everywhere.

Let's head back to my day from Fairbanks to Tok to Dawson.

387 Miles.  A lot of Dirt.

Before I could leave, I had to stop once more at Dan's from Adventure Cycles.  I got a quick bike clean and.....

My original plan was to meet up with Rick in Tok and stay again at Tok's Eagle Claw Campground, but when i got to Tok, I realized the night everybody stayed was the night before.  Shit, missed that.  Well there really wasn't anything to do about it anyway since I wouldn't have made the push from Coldfoot to Tok in one day anyway.  I swung by the Santa Clause House in North Pole, AK when i was passing through on the way to Tok.

This rain is starting to get to me.

When I got to Tok, I spoke with Vanessa at the campground, checked the time and made the decision to hit the Top of the World Highway.  This is a huge pass that is like 160 miles long, half pavement, half dirt, muddy when wet.  The night before it snowed 6 inches on the pass.  No Bueno.  The reports i got from guys who went over earlier that was it was a train wreck.  Bikes crashing everywhere, mud slinging, slow moving.  Granted i was hitting the pass 5 hours later in the day, my big problem was that the boarder crossing from Alaska to Dawson which is in the Yukon closes at 8pm.  I didn't have time to dick around.  Off I went headed for the Top of the World Highway.

I had been riding with my Michelin PR3 tires on the back of my bike since I needed the knobby TKC tires for the top of the world highway mud.  I contemplated taking the TKC's off in fairbanks, but it's a darn good thing i didn't.

After hauling ass on the pass and getting to chicken at 6:45pm, that only gave me an hour and 15 minutes to make it to the boarding.  Time to jet!  I was spitting mud everywhere on the multistrada trying to make it.  It was 41 miles to the boarder crossing from Chicken, ALL DIRT and MUD!

Luckily, i made it with 10 minutes to spare.  7:50pm, i rolled into the boarding crossing.  A sign of relief.  If i had missed the crossing, I would have put up a tent right next to the boarding crossing since you can put up a tent anywhere you damn well wish in Alaska.  It wouldn't have opened until 9am the next morning and i would have missed a crazy night in Dawson with all the guys at the D2D gathering.  

Here's a few more pictures along the TOW highway after i crossed.

So Dawson City is this little tourist/gambling town right across the boarder into the Yukon.  To get to the town from Alaska, you need to cross the river, which is moving very fast.  They use a powerboat to get all vehicles across.  The picture just above is of my bike waiting for the next boat.  Take a look!

 They do have a nice little paddleboat ride you can also take on the river.   Tough motorcyclists dont take paddleboats, they are for sissies.  Which is of course why I didn't take it! Duh!

Front row seat on the powerboat.

I made it to Dawson and of course it was still light out!  About 9pm.  The reason the motorcycle Dust to Dawson gathering happens on this date is because it's summer solstice.  It's bright out 24 hours a day.  I rolled into the camp site and found rick standing there with a beer in hand shooting the shit with some new friends.  I rolled in and set up my tent. 

This was a picture of one of the downtown streets in Dawson at around 1230am.

And this is Rick after leaving the bar around 230am...

After being at this bar....

This was an interesting collection of people at this bar.  The music was actually really great.  The band was from Whitehorse, which is a city we stayed at earlier on the way to AK.  I met a bunch of new guys, some from MotoQuest.  We stayed until 2am, then headed for the local outdoor food spot where we crushed some pizza and shish kabobs.  Git in my belly!!

Tomorrow was the D2D gathering.  Time to get some sleep.  But wait, it's still sunny out?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Want to see some dirty pictures? I mean MUDDY pictures?? (Day 19 + 20)

This blogging stuff is really putting a damper on my social life up here in Alaska.  This evening just outside the North Pole, AK, we had to order delivery food so I could sit here and upload pictures and type this blog instead of going out and hitting the strip joint like Chuck and Scott kept bugging me to do.  At least one of us is responsible here.....

So here we are, back at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  Freshly showered, staring at my mud soaked Klim jacket and pants.  My helmet is currently camouflage in mud with a cool new GoPro mount Scott gave me.  More on that later.

Here's the past 2 days journey.

Today was the return trip from Deadhorse, Prudhoe Bay, Tip of Alaska, Arctic Ocean, Arctic Circle, whatever you wanna call it.  It appeared as if just making it to this point was hard, but dont forget, i got  another 500 miles back on the same road.  Let's check out a few quick pictures of Deadhorse, since I only posted those 2 pictures earlier.

As you can tell, shit was poppin' in this place.  People everywhere, cars zooming by, bands at every street corner.  Should be a top destination for everybody in my opinion! 

I picked up some gas early in the AM before heading over to meet Chuck and Scott.  Filled up my 2 extra walmart gas tanks so i could make the 240 mile push with no gas stations. I was unable to take one of the tours to actually see the Arctic Ocean since my security clearance couldn't be pushed forward a day.  It sucked, I really wanted to see it, but what ya gonna do.  Glad i didn't stick around for a later tour, you'll see why later.

Met Chuck and Scott and we headed over to the famous Prudhoe Bay General Store.  This is where all the motorcycle geeks get their pictures taken.  Of course I'm too cool for that....

Ok, maybe not.  This picture really captures really how short Chuck is and how bald Scott is.  There's just so much you can learn from a GoPro on a stick!  I also found out that Chuck has a really big family or a big fan club.  I think he sent out like 45 post cards or something like that.  Shit, after he makes this run from Boulder, CO to the Arctic ocean on a WR250 dirt bike, we should all be fans!

We headed out into much nicer weather than we arrived in.  The tundra was clear, the temps were crisp, but surely not 31 deg like the night before.  

I didn't take a whole lot of pictures on this day from Prudhoe Bay to Coldfoot since my camera was broken.  That pink girlie one i had slung around my neck got some dirt in it and  BROKE.  Don't tell Amanda please, she doesn't know i broke it yet!

About half way back to ColdFoot (150ish miles in), we came up on the MotoQuest group.  MotoQuest is a motorcycle touring company where you can rent bikes and they take you on a pre determined route.  We actually ran into this group the prior day at lunch.  Maybe 10 of them or so.  Well this time when we ran into them, it was for a rider down.  One of the guys hit some soft gravel on the side of the road and ran off the road down into some bushes, over some small boulders and hit his noggin.  No Bueno.  His bike was all fudged up.  We dragged it out of the bushes and waited while they contacted help.  

When we started to get more near the mtn passes coming back towards Coldfoot, we hit some serious clouds.  Lightning and thunder were passing and we decided to see which way it was headed before driving through it.  I've never been struck by lightning, but it probably sucks.  I've been on the road for like 20 days now.  I think I can spare 5 minutes to wait for the lightning to pass...

^^^^  Damn, that's a pretty cool picture!

It almost looked like there was a funnel cloud forming.  Check out Chuck "The Tornado Chaser" Lee. 

It was interesting that all the rain up to this point would come from a passing cloud. It wasn't as if the whole sky was fully grey, just small groups of dark clouds in an otherwise blue sky. 

When we hit Atigun Pass, it was another story.  Cold, muddy, snowy, cold and cold.  It was even hard to take a pee up there.  It would freeze before it hit the ground.  Or at least that's what i heard...????

The boys are loving this Go Pro.  And it makes me look like a bobble head.  

Once down the pass, I think we hit some of the most scenic landscapes on the whole trip.  Thank god I had my little pink camera, oh wait, that's broken. 

Chuck needed to fill up his gas tank, so we took this opportunity to snap some pics.  It was a good thing Chuck had that tiny tank, I never had to stop the crew to pee or change clothing.  If I needed to, i'd just wait 15 minutes and Chucks' little gas tank would be empty again and I could fix anything.  His only had an 80-90 mile range on his tank.

This is pretty much how i was feeling by this point in the ride...

We skirted down to Cold Foot where we stayed the night.  It looked like gnarly weather was rolling in so we set up camp for the night in this grassy area along the road.  

Yes, that's a mosquito net.  They love my blood. 

We woke up in the AM to SOAKING WET roads.  Dirt roads.  No bueno x 15,000.

260 miles left until Fairbanks, it's go time!  But wait, my radiator is caked with mud.  It had about 1/4 inch thick mud at once point.  I had to clean this over and over about 10 times total in the past 24hrs.  Scott's bike also started to over heat.  We were really giving these beasts a workout.  

This was AFTER i cleaned it.

Scotts did the same...

We stopped at the Arctic Circle sign again and took some pics.  There was a volunteer lady there giving out certificates saying we made it to the Arctic Circle.  They were cool and all, but the coolest thing she had was this electronic mosquito zapper!  So sweet!!  

Hey Scott, I hope your pics come out good, your GoPro had a quarter inch of mud on it!

Here are some more pics on the day...

We rolled into Fairbanks and got a few rooms at the University.  We crushed some Thai food and chatted for a few hours.  This was really the first time we all sat down together and chatted for more than just over lunch.   We exchanged information with each other since we will be parting ways tomorrow.  It was good riding with these guys.  I'm fairly weird, but the 3 of us got along well and our riding was on par with each other.  I had a great time and I really appreciate them taking me along with them to Prudhoe Bay.  Thanks again guys, be safe riding.  

Tomorrow I'll be headed to Dawson, back into the Yukon.  There will be a large motorcycle gathering in Dawson City on friday.  Probably some cool pictures to come.  Until then, buenos noche.