Trip Log 2009

June 8, 2009
This website is now on line as of this morning. The bike is ready and mostly packed. Working on final details and arrangements.

June 12, 2009
My bags are packed and Iím ready to go -- almost.

    Sat, June 13
    Left home at 9am - realized by the time I got to Fort Collins that I didnít have my heated vest. Went back for it and got on the road at 10am. NO WIND in Wyoming!! The wind mill on Medicine Bow Ridge were not turning. Partly cloudy, high thin clouds, not bright, 58deg to 68deg - great traveling weather. As I headed west for Muddy Gap I could see heavy rain and lightening south of Lander. Got light rain as I approached Lander. While I was getting gas I asked a sheriff about the storm and he said it was moving west so I decided to camp near Lander in Sinks Canyon. Right after I got the tent up it started raining so I took a nap - for about an hour. Had dinner with the neighbors - Jeff and his nephew Paul, from Tenn and NC. They were on a 30 camping tour of the West. Jeff is photographing grasshoppers; has one as a hood ornament. The canyon faces east so the sun was up early. 333 miles Saturday

    Sun, June 14, Day 2
    Lander to Helena, Montana, 420 miles
    High clouds, Ate breakfast and packed wet tent. On the road at 9am after stopping to see the Sink. Good sized river by Colorado standards, disappears into the ground and reappears about a half mile down stream. They have run tests and found that it takes two hours for water to travel the underground route, and that more water comes out than goes in. Rain and construction on Togwotee Pass - glad I have my heated vest. More construction between Tetons and Yellowstone. Saw Buffalo and a Bald Eagle on itís nest - no other large animals. Weather cleared midday and got it 70deg, had been 50-55deg. Rain and 55deg for the last 60 miles into Helena. Got a motel room. Overheard a conversation that the Going to the Sun Road was closed due to an avalanche. Change of plans - will go up the East side and cross into Canada, then cross the divide over Crows Nest Pass.

    Monday, June 15, Day 3
    Helena to Waterton NP, AB, Canada, 284 miles
    Drizzle as I left Helena, dried and warmed to 70deg by Choteau (show-toe). Great motorcycle road coming from the south into St Marys on the east side of Glacier NP. Lots of curves with recommend speeds on 45, 35, and 30; but the speed limit is 70! You got to be crazy to run it that fast; I did it mostly around 50 with slower in blind corners. Went up Going to the Sun Road to where it was closed, having a picnic lunch of the way. These glacier carver mountains are quite different - amazing. Freshly washed pavement after entering Canada, some sprinkles, looked worse to north and west - decided to camp at Waterton NP in a campground away from town. Was putting the flu on the tent when the rain started. Finished that and got in the tent - without anything else - bored. Rained hard for an hour - incredible thunder - would go on for 10-12 secs, bouncing off the mountainsides. Shared the cookhouse with two couples from Saskatchewan - they were world travelers. One couple Chile and Columbia,. the other England and Spain. More more rain overnight; got to pack a dry tent. Morning is partly cloudy - wonderful.

    Tuesday, June 16, Day 4
    Waterton NP to Jasper NP, 704 km (Canadaís metric you know) about 430 miles
    Four National Parks: Waterton, Kootenay, Banff and Jasper
    Went into Waterton Village to find an ATM to get Canadian dollars - quaint. On the road at 9am. The great weather lasted for about 30 miles - then the wind made up for what I missed in Wyoming. Wind farms in the Pincher Creek area - over a hundred windmills. Had to put on my heated vest going over Crows Nest Pass - big mining district, or at least is was. Big landslide there - Frank Slide. Nice ride down the valley in BC; picnic by the river. North to Kootenay NP. Steep climb, more construction - all paved this time. Saw a black bear while going down the pass, then another playing in the dandelions, as if he was showing off for the tourist while not acknowledging their presence. Beautiful views in the valley. The over the pass to Banff NP. Took the old road parallel to Hwy 1; had bicycled it in 1976. Made the side trip to Lake Louise; still beautiful - lots of hanging snowfields. Hustled on to campground, stopping for a few quick photos. Camping at Jesse Creek - had camped here in 76 in the walkin area up the hill. It was further from Lake Louise than I thought it would be, about 80 miles. Got in after 8pm - was light til after 10:30. Slept better did not wake up as much.

    Wednesday, June 17th, Day 5
    Jasper NP to Ross River Burns Lake, BC. 685 km/422 miles
    Up at 5:45, on the road at 8:05 - wow, donít know how I did it, and it includes writing yesterdayís diary. Light rain in the early am, flu was wet. Cooked breakfast and wrote notes in the cookhouse. Quick stop in Jasper for gas - a rider who came from the west told me I would have a dry day - boy was he wrong. Started raining on Yellowhead Pass, then rained cold and hard to McBride. Got gas and lunch there - the rain lightened up by the time I was done and quit in a hour. Prince George is ;like any mid-sized North American city - got ďlostĒ. Bought some groceries and got out of there. Nice ride after that, occasional light showers. I must have been expecting prairie because it was different that what I was thinking it would be. It almost all trees. A lot more people living ďin the countryĒ and more farms than I expected. Did some extra miles to Ross River. My butt seems to be getting a bit tougher. Tired of getting rained on so I got a motel. Itís now looking like it probably wonít rain tonight. But I need a shower and to wash clothes.

    Thursday, June 18th, Day 6
    Burns Lake to Hyder, Alaska, 476 km/294 miles
    On the road about 8:30 - beautiful day, partly cloudy, 55 deg to 62 deg. Easy ride to Hyder, Alaska; some light rain from the junction to Hyder. Some a couple bears off to the side as I went by; I think a mother and two cubs - they were brown. Later I had a small black bear scoot across the road in front of me; I was going slow at the moment because I had just cleared a construction zone. Bear Glacier was quite amazing. Hyder is the end of the road, in many ways. Had fresh, local, Dungeness crab for dinner at the Seafood Bus; excellent. Two halves, with french fries, for $12. Worked up an appetite getting it out of the shells. Met Les while working on my trip report in the bar. From Oregon riding a KTM990; similar trip planned.

    Friday, 6/19/09 Day 7, Hyder to Alcan Hwy west of Watson Lake. 392 miles, 636km
    Raining when I left Hyder. Continued as rain, drizzle of mist til past Dease Lake; 250 miles in the rain, 42 to 45 deg. Warmed to 55deg when the rain stopped. Clouds so low that I couldnít see the mountains. May con back on the Cassier if the weather is nice, so I can see the scenery - which was the reason for riding it first instead of the Alaskan Hwy. Stopped at Jade City and met up with two guys traveling by car who I had visited with in Hyder. While getting gas at the junction with the Alaskan Hwy Les showed up; I had met him in Hyder. Went down the road another click or two and shared a campsite. Staying at that resort that night was the Bentley Canada-Alaska Tour group - more than a dozen open touring cars from the 20ís and 30ís, and some newer ones - they were quite impressive. They were out getting these classic cars dirty! Les changed his tire and was going to ride the Campbell Hwy thru Ross River. I tried to change mine but couldnít break the bead. Need to buy a good beadbreaker. Rain during early morning, quit while I ate breakfast, but started again before I had packed. Packed up a wet tent.

    Saturday, 6/20/9 Day 8, 339 miles/ 549 km Hwy 37 Junction to Twin Lakes Campground near Carmacks.
    2930 miles so far - rear tire will be down to wear bar by the time I get to Dawson: 7000+ miles on that tire - not bad. Rained til I got to Teslin, about 150 miles; temp down to 41F (5C). Stopped at Continental Divide for warmup and figured out why my feet were so cold - my boots were leaking. Got some plastic bags from the restaurant, put on some dry socks, the bags over that, and I was much better. Gassed up in Teslin and talked with several m/c travelers. Found out that I can get my tires changed in Dawson, so I donít have to wait out the weekend in Whitehorse. Tool the route thru Whitehorse instead on the bypass - not impressed. Decided to camp about 30 minutes before Carmacks in a Yukon Campground. Got the tent and other equipment dried out. Melted a hole in the headlight guard so I could secure it with a ziptie; replaced the ďvelcroĒ dots also. Heard loons on the lake - perhaps the first time in person for me.

    Sunday 6/21/09 Day 9 Carmacks to Dawson, 406km/251 miles
    Clouded over but dry, about 50F to start. Some blue sky in the afternoon. Checked into the Gold Rush Campground - one tent site left - the same one they had reserved for me latter in the week. Feeling really tired - realize that I had not taken a day off yet. Dick, who has motorcycle tools available for loan, was not available so Iíll change tires Monday and decide later about the Dempster. Need oil change and groceries too. Jerry from Wisconsin showed up; had met him and CG last night. Also Les, who had ridden the Campbell Hwy. Les & I went out for dinner - Downtown Hotel, (Jack) London Grill - service was slow but the fish was good. Ran into Jerry after dinner. Les went back to camp to sleep because he was starting up the Dempster early the next day. Jerry and I went to some bars - I think he drank his dinner - and then took the shuttle to the top of the Midnight Dome to watch the sun set at 12:45am - solstice or the day after. Perhaps 200 people up there - an annual party. The night before the weather was lousy. Had shared campsite with Les - when I got up at 7 he was already gone.

    Monday 6/22/9 Day 10, Dawson, 5 miles
    Took it easy today. Got up about 7, had French toast and wandered thru town for a while, then rode south to parts store/repair shop, Bought oil, borrowed a drain pan, and change oil and filter. Was going to take a lunch break before swapping tires when Harold for Conn stopped, looking for a place to swap a tire. He had a new cast iron beadbreaker but had not tried it. I tried it first on my rear tire; had to futz with it, the design wasnít really big enough for our tires, and it wouldnít break the bead on my tire. So I paid the repair shop to change both tires. Ken at the front desk and Manual on the tire machine took care on me for $55 - well worth it. It was a car tire changer machine but he knew how to use it for m/c tires. Got lunch a Klondike Kates and 2:30 - had a migraine for lack of food and water. Migraine went away after I ate!! Back to camp, got my shopping bag and walked to the grocery - bought a dinner for the road, lunch food, and cherries. Realized that I had not visited the Dempster Visitorís Center so I did that. Then visited with Brian and Ellie from NC traveling by BMW with sidecar. Dinner was fish & chips at Sourdough Joeís - not as good and the Seafood Bus.

    Tue, 6/23/9 Day 11 412km/257miles Dawson to Eagle Plains
    On the road early, about 7. Stopped at the Dempster Junction to fill tank and gas cans. Ate half an order of hashbrowns - later my stomach was feeling bloated. Good dirt road, treated and not much gravel. Could do the speed limit - 90 kph, about 55 mph - but am comfortable a 75 kph. Saw a red fox standing by the road watching me go by; after Iíd gone by I realized that he might have stood there and let me take his photo - next time. Also saw a ptarmigan. Tired today - didnít sleep well last night - had to stop and rest. Very windy, with reports that it was even windier further north. I was planning to camp but decided to get a room at Eagle Plains. Had dinner with some other m/cyclists who have been to Inuvik; reported that the road was difficult and very windy. Will ride to the Arctic Circle tomorrow morning, about 30 km, take photos, and return to Dawson. Incredible vistas - you can see for miles.

    Note: This blog was been more work than I expected. I havenít figured out a way to put photos on the pages without having to upload them every time I update the page - which takes too much time. I think I have figured out how to put links to them in my Smugmug album. I hope to get that working in the next day or two.

    Note: Iím not going to worry about getting the photos on this page. They can be seen at this location:



Wed, 6/24, Day 12, 484 km/296 miles, Eagle Plains to Arctic Circle to Dawson
Ate breakfast at EP - show service. Didnít get on the road till about 9am - had started drizzle by then. Rode north to the Arctic Circle monument, took photos and headed south Then road from EP to AC looked very slippery - did not test it. Drizzle continued for about half the way back with a couple of showers. Saw another fox - this one seemed bigger. He was starting to cross the road and then darted back into the bushes. Road was in good shape - a couple of places they were grading - no problems. Was zipping along on the lower half. At one point I let a faster truck go by. His dust just hung over the road, trapped between the trees on both sides. There was no breeze to clear it out. Did the car wash at the junction and got most of the mud off. Checked into the campground and had dinner at Klondike Kateís with the same folks I had had dinner and breakfast with in Eagle Plains.

Thursday, 6/25, Day 13, 0 miles Dawson
Found Les and made arrangements to share his room. Checked out of the campground and moved. Went shopping and to museums. Checked out the locomotives for the RR in Dawson. It serviced the mines but did not go anywhere else. No train from Whitehorse - just riverboats. They must have brought the locomotives on the paddlewheelers! Quite a feat, thinking about how much freight the boats must have hauled - all of the rolling stock  and rails, the machinery for the dredges, and supplies for the town folk - Dawson was a regular Victorian town from 1900 till 1910 plus. There were at least 4 dredges in Dawson; I read that there were 37 dredges in the Yukon. Lousey lunch. Great dinner at the Greek restaurant. Had lamb chops - marinated and grilled - absolutely wonderful. Our waitress was from Buenos Aires - she didnít know how to tango but she bellydances at the restaurant Fri & Sat evenings. Tomorrow there will be a poker run, banquet and motorcycle games/contests.

Friday, 6/26, Day 14, Dawson
Sure glad Iím not camping out right now. Cold and totally overcast when I woke up. Itís been raining for the past hour or two. Iím at an internet cafe, catching up on this blog, uploading photos and checking email.
Written several days later: I was cold when I was done - the door was open and I was next to the door. Almost didnít go on the D2D poker run because I was cold but realized that 1) my heated vest would warm me up and 2) I had wanted to ride the route that the poker run was taking and I wouldnít have any other time to do it. So I got signed up at the last minute and was running last thru the check points. The route went up Bonanza Creek to Dredge #4 - didnít have enough time to look it over - and up over King Solomonís Dome, back toward Dawson, Up Midnight Dome, and to a Ďsecretí place in town - identified only by GPS coordinates. Had a lousy poker hand; AK9762. About 120 at the D2D banquet, good steaks and veggie burgers for us veggies. Lots of raffle prizes - I won a $20 gift certificate at a motorcycle shop in Anchorage; I guess Iíll have to stop and spend it. Some awards and some laughs.Furtherest distance award went to a young man from Croatia - 19 years old - traveling around the world, solo. After dinner was motorcycle games in front of the Downtown Hotel: slow race, blindfold stop, cone weave and ball-in-the-bucket. Two up - balloon toss and wiener bite. Some good bike handling and lots of laughs - I just watched. Several of the Ďlocalí girls volunteered for the two-up events. At midnight was the posting (awarding) of D2D fender stickers. Finally to bed at 1am. I had bought a new watch just before the trip; one with large digits, a light so you can read it in the dark, an alarm and a timer. Itís been really helpful; because you cannoy sense the time from the sun - because itís always light.

Sat, 6/27, Day 15, Dawson to Tok, 189 miles/ 300 km
Sky was clear this morning when I got up, and when I left town about 8:30. By the time I had crossed the Yukon on the ferry and and had gotten 10 miles up the Top of the World Highway it was totally clouded over. The road is dirt from the ferry to just past Chicken, Alaska. Some sprinkles and wet road to Chicken - some slippery sections. Fog at the top, at the border crossing, for more than ten miles. Stopped in Chicken for lunch and to buy a shirt. The special was BBQ chicken - it was pretty good. Sun was shining so I ate my lunch outside. Overall it was a cold ride; 35 deg to 42 deg. Mostly pavement after Chicken - wet and cold - I donít think I saw 50 deg. Had been planning to camp - got a room at Youngís Motel and ate dinner at Fast Eddyís - highly recommended by other motorcyclists - there were at least a dozen there that night. Going to bed early.

Sun, 6/28, Day 16, Tok to Brushkana CG, Denali Hwy, 285 miles.
Went to bed about 8, got up at 7 - needed that sleep. On th road at 9 - 50 deg and dry, cloudy. Got to partly cloudy and 58 deg. Took the Tok Cutoff toward Anchorage and then turned north on the Richardson Hwy to Paxton. Got a good photo of two moose grazing next to the highway. Many amazing vistas with snow capped mountains - treeline and snowline about halfway up. Pulled up to the gas pump at Paxton and surprise - no gas. The low fuel light had been on for twenty miles already. Found out that the closest fuel was twenty miles in the direction that I was traveling. The bikeís computer was predicting that I had 23 miles to go before I ran out. So after I had some lunch I headed up the Denali Hwy - fortunately the first 21 miles are paved. I took it easy on the throttle, watched the fuel usage readout on the computer, and applied my fuel minimization theories. I was sweating it. Got to Tangle Lakes Resort and filled up. It took 3.9 gallons - the tank holds 4.2 gallons. I know that I cannot count on that extra 3 tenths. Also formulated a new rule: Figure out where the next gas stop for a full tank would be, and then fill up at the stop before. The road then turned to dirt - pretty good but lots of small potholes - probably would have been miserable in a car. Then it started to rain - afternoon shower - light rain but enough to get the road wet, and slippery in spots. Stopped at the campground at mile 105 of the Denali @ 5:45, was tired, CG had been recommended by other m/cs. Some mosquitos - not bad - the breeze is keeping them away. After yesterdayís ride I was a bit discouraged by the weather - even wondered if I should cut the trip short. This morningís ride made me feel much better - but I will check the weather report before heading to Deadhorse. When I checked it last night it looked favorable.

June 29, Day 17 Brushkana CG to Fairbanks, 285 miles
Good ride finishing the Denali Hwy - view of mountains to the west - the tops were in the clouds - I suspect it was Mt McKinley. Rode into Denali Park as far as allowed. The mountain was in the clouds; they were so low that couldnít be sure where the mountain was. Saw several rabbits by the road. Stopped and asked a tour bus driver what they were stopped for. He pointed out the caribou - I would not have seen them without his helf - perhaps a quarter mile away. As I rode north from the park the clouds started breaking up, and it started warming up - partly cloudy & 60 deg by 50 miles north of Denali, and 68 deg in Fairbanks. I think Iíve seen 60 deg only once this trip. Forecast for Fairbanks is mid 70s for the next 5 days and partly cloudy with possible afternoon showers. Road report is ďfairĒ, no problems. Checked out the HD/BMW dealer - not impressed - and the Kawasaki dealer - better. Staying tonight with Alanís folks - they took me to dinner and showed me the University on the way home. i know where the dorm is, for future reference.

6/30, Day 18, Fairbanks to Coldfoot plus 5 miles to Marion Creek CG, 274 miles.
The weather today was like I had been expecting for the whole trip - Hurrah! 50 deg and clear sky when I started, soon it was up to 60 deg. Afternoon was partly cloudy and low 60s. The sun was so warm that I had to sit in the shade to eat my dinner. Itís now 7:30 and 73 deg & almost too warm sitting in the sun. The is very good. The first 87 miles from Fairbanks is the Elloit Highway and is paved - I knew that. What I was not expecting. What I was not expecting was more pavement. There was 12 miles that was quite lumpy - the dirt was better. For 85 miles into Coldfoot was good pavement. Thereís 27 miles of pavement north of here - Iíve been told that it has lots of bad potholes - donít hurry thru it. The dirt is well graded, packed, treated and smooth. Speed limit is 50 mph - I usually run about 45 - a motorcycle could go 60 or 70 if so inclined. Great vistas, no wildlife. Should see caribou tomorrow. My GPS thinks it is nightime - it has changed to night display and I cannot read it. I think this happened about the time I crossed the Arctic Circle. Fortunately I have the ownerís manual on my computer - found the settings and fixed it! (edit: it stays fixed for a couple of minutes and then goes dark - past 0% darkness to ď__Ē. Bah!) Itís almost impossible to use this computer outdoors - the reflective glass on the screen makes it very difficult to read. I have visited several times with a French couple several campsites away. They are traveling by motorcycle, he does not speak English, she speaks a little. Conversation is difficult, but an interesting challenge - for me anyway. I think my few French words were of some help. Set up my tent on a platform - trex boards - no stakes, the rainfly stretched out to rocks. Hopefully itís better than sleeping on gravel. Iím 80 road miles north of the Arctic Circle. Too many mountains around to verify that the sun doesnít set; maybe tomorrow night at Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay.

7/1, Day 19, Marion Creek CG to Mile Post 374, 194 miles. 40 miles south of Deadhorse.
Another beautiful day. Lots of steep hills, with extra steep sections at the bottom. Saw a group of Dall sheep as I was climbing Atigun Pass. Very steep pass; probably steeper than most jeep roads in Colorado, but well graded dirt. Did not see any caribou or muskox - probably wasnít looking hard enough in the distance. Vast vistas - at one point I think I was seeing all the way to the Arctic Ocean - but probably wasnít.

Begin Part 2 of the journey:
Suddenly I was in loose gravel 4 inches deep and the front wheel was doing a tank slapper. Then I was down and my right shoulder blade and back was killing me. My guess is that I did a tuck-and-roll, landing on my right shoulder blade. Almost immediately there were two guys there helping me; they may have even seen me fall. They stood up my bike, helped me gather my valuables and transported me to Pump Station 2 where they thought there was a first aid station. There wasnít, but guard called for an ambulance and a helicopter. It was probably an hour of bad pain before they arrived. After some good drugs they took me by chopper to Prudhoe Bay. The hospital there took xrays and talked about putting in a chest tube but didnít have good enough xrays and not enough time before the med-evac jet would be there to take me to Anchorage. They flew me in a Lear Jet - smooth ride - to Anchorage Providence Hospital. There they took xrays and cat-scans, and determined I had broken ribs, right side, broken left thumb, and a partially collapsed right lung. They installed a chest tube and gave me ďon demandĒ pain killer. Many thanks to Doug from Alaska Leather who brought me a charger for my cell phone. I had bought a policy from MedjetAssist which provides transportation from hospital to home hospital in cases like this. They picked me up at the hospital in Anchorage about 6pm Friday 7/3 and delivered me to Longmont United Hospital about 4am on Saturday. LearJet 360. More xrays and cat-scans. Changed the chest tube: pain 14 on a 1-10 scale. Had trouble sleeping because on a rash, at first on my chest, back, and arms, but later all over. The rash didnít itch but would flush, making me very warm and causing me to sweat profusely. About the time that I was fully drenched the flushing would stop so my body would cool down plus the sweat would cool me off and soon I would be cold and shivering. Cover me up and program would repeat. Finally got better Wed am. They pulled all of tubes and sent me home Thur 7/9, morning. Getting better every day. Many thanks to Les, who I had met in Hyder, Alaska, and many other places along the trip. He paid cash to get my bike towed to Deadhorse and spent extra time to make sure it happened. My MedjetAssist coverage includes shipping my bike home so it should be here in a couple of weeks. Iím now resting at home, getting better each day. Iíve loaded some more photos to the album:

August 18, 2009 Progress report
It will be seven weeks tomorrow since my crash; I have made good progress.

Several weeks ago I went to ibuprofen only for pain relief; now I don't need it til late in the day. My ribs don't hurt when I get up in the morning though by the end of the day they may if I've been on my feet a lot. And they don't hurt when I sneeze, at least not any more than before the accident.

The cast came off and the pin came out of my thumb yesterday. I have a very small range of motion for my thumb - I start PT Thursday.

My bike is back and at the dealer for repair estimate - much higher than my guess. Mostly scratches but these items will have to be replaced: Panniers, rear subframe, front brake lever assembly, mirrors, turn signal, and windscreen.

Here are two photos taken before the bike was transported to Deadhorse.

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