September 21, 2011

Index to entries:
Photos available at:

August 2006  - (Inaugural) 4 geographic corners of Canada ride.  Daily reports as sent from the road. One large entry. Also includes the North to South of Canada record ride.

November 2006 - Windsor Star newspaper article of above ride.

July 2008 - An Iron Butt Association Bun Burner 1500 on a 49cc honda - 1605miles, 33 hours 3 min. Smallest bike record. Not shown on map.

August 2008 - An old write up of a June 2003 Inaugural IBA Lake Huron 1000 ride on a 1983 Suzuki GS450 automatic

November 2010 - An old write up of the Inaugural IBA ride from the  From May 2005 Southernmost point to the Northernmost point in the Contiguous U.S.

December 2010 - Inaugural IBA Heaven to Hell 1000 (highest point at Mt. Evans to lowest point at Death valley) on a Honda CBR 125
                          - IBA CC50 ride on a Honda CBR 125cc.  Smallest bike to complete the Coast to Coast in under 50 hours (43 hours, 56 min)

June 2011  - IBA Unlimited Coast to Coast to Coast on a Honda CBR 125cc.  Daily entries from the road from Key West to Prudhoe Bay / Deadhorse Alaska and back to Key West  Explanation and map in May and June entries.  Ride reports starts June 2 to end of June.
                 - Also includes the Inaugural Alaska North South (Yellow) ride from Prudhoe Bay AK to Hyder AK on a Honda CBR 125 cc

June 29, 2011

Sorry, still not many photos yet, slow connection.

   I got up and uncovered 99 for the final time.  I had decided that out of respect I would let her travel off of the Key West Island under her own power, before being submitted to the indignity of being put on a trailer.  I also decided that when we get back to Windsor I will unload her at the earliest opportunity and ride her home.  She deserves at least that.
   Our trip today was slow and rainy but it had one unimaginable luxury. Besides the roof over my head and the air conditioning and nice comfy seat and more.  No ticking clock timing my every minute.  So tonight we are near St. Augustine and will take three days to return home.  One third longer than 99 and I made it down here in.  An  all wheel drive Subaru with four available drivers can't keep up with a 125cc kid's bike.  But hey............she's 99, and she took me along for the ride. 
    We did see something that I hadn't seen other than on the morning we left Key West on the ride.  We actually got to see some of the miniature Deer Key deer.  Just like regular deer except small.

This little guy wasn't at all afraid of us.  This makes them extremely dangerous.  He expect you to stop no matter what.  Good thing they are so protected in this area.

near St. Augustine

Some photos from yesterday;
Charles, the Old Girl, Bob and 99.  The obligatory final photo at the Southernmost Point Marker
The final stats (in miles) not including the 1500+ to get to Key West for the start.  Ignore the max speed as Emma has a tendency to exaggerate max  speed.  I believe 99 did hit 82 once.  But then that was a real steep cliff with a heck of a downdraught.
One of the State's finest helps by signing us out.  Now it is finally in the bag.
99 gets a kiss on her nose for a job extremely well done.
 Of course the bag full of over a hundred receipts and forms etc. must be mailed to the IBA to see if we've dotted each i and crossed every t. If so then we will have inaugurated a new IBA ride and 99 the smallest bike to complete a UCCC (or even a UCC) and the Old Girl oldest bike to complete a UCCC. These initials stand for - Ultimate Coast to Coast and Ultimate Coast to Coast to Coast.
   Damn - can't get this movie to upload - I'll try later
Charles leaves for home and 99 is now alone to be trailered home. She earned it.
Then there is the Southernmost Hotel: see  for some history and details - it's quite a place and not as expensive as you'd think.

View looking from the ocean side
View looking from the hotel side.
Our room was off to the right behind the bush.  The southernmost room........of course, right on the ocean.
We went out to a rather unique restaurant that had the usual Key West chickens everywhere - even on top of the table umbrellas
Typical Key West Rooster on top of the table umbrella.  They were all over and kept the crumbs to a minimum under your table

One of the resident cats guard the menus

No one seems to be bothered by these conditions and the food is absolutely 5 star.  What a great place!

That's about it.  99 still has her tail to tell so check back within a few days and hopefully her side of things will be here.  Also I will upload lots of photos to the photo site at:


June 28, 2011

   Well, not really raining raining, just a little light drizzle now and again.  I believe the natives call it Florida liquid sunshine.
    So..........we're done.  We left our damp hotel room early and headed off for the final day's ride.  A short one as we hoped to get in in time for lunch.  Fortunately the heavy rain from the day before has left and the remnants are just light sprinkles now and then. This seems like a ridiculously short day - yet it seems to never end.  Can that make any sense?  We finally pass Miami and near the end of the turnpike I realize I haven't seen Charles for over 15 minutes.  He sometimes lags back a little but never for more than 5 or 10 minutes at most.  The end of the freeway where it becomes route #1 has a stoplight so I decide that instead of just going slower I will pull over and wait.  I'm in the inside lane of three, about 3 vehicles back with others in the other two lanes.  Lots of traffic.  All of a sudden as the light turns green I see Charles go buy in a hurry. (?)  Oh Oh - this is a problem as he hasn't seen me and is hurrying to catch up to me and he's not going backwards so it "ain't gonna happen".  I try to make 99 go as fast as her ailing engine will take us but I can only get to within two car of Charles.  I anticipate doing some illegal tactics to jump the two cars but it is a single lane each way now through a detour and wouldn't you know there are 3 cops within about a mile.  I know that a discussion of my performance driving tactics with Florida's finest would only slow me down even more  so I bide my time. I ride to either side of the lane hoping he will spot the very unusual headlights of 99. No luck as he is concentrating on trying to see me up ahead.  Soon a passing lane opens up and like a shot from a cannon the big 1000cc of German engineering just dwindles in the distance.  99 tries but not even a slight chance to catch that bike especially with a rider with Charles' experience in a hurry.  I said an impolite word! Also some probably anatomically impossible suggestions at the situation.  I also could understand how Charles must feel.  Heh, heh, he's going to think 99 and I have been holding out on him and that we've had a turbocharger hidden away all this time.  I don't know whether to be upset or to fall over laughing - I do a little of both.  After all this distance without ever losing one another we screw up the last road and it is also a dead end.  Go figure.  I should have never put myself in the right lane in heavy traffic and Charles should have seen me ... sure he could have x-ray vision through the trucks etc. - doh! I put it down to final day jitters.  After I realized that my pursuit was hopeless I did what we had decided to do in such a situation.  I called Lynn and advised her of what was up and hoped that Charles would also phone her and find out he was chasing a tail wind so to speak. No such luck so I had a solitary ride for the trip out to the end of the road.  It was actually quite pretty and the sun on the blue of the water with the white beaches etc. etc. and all that beautiful Florida Keys stuff was a joy.  I couldn't believe what had transpired and where we had been since 99 and I travelled this road the last time.  Literally to the other end of the North American Continent. Naaah ...can't be.  Prudoe Bay must be on another planet it is so different from this warm sunny place where the water is actually liquid and sweat doesn't freeze when you take off your jacket. You don't even have to plug in your clothing anymore - what a novel idea.  During all of this screwing about I did another amazingly dumb thing. No comments please!!  I realized just about a mile from the Key West bridge that I hadn't refilled the main gas tank from the fuel cell.  I look at the trip meter and it read 211 miles from the last gas stop - oh shit! I spastically reach behind to turn on the flow from the fuel cell and just at that moment 99 died a sudden death from starvation.  More oh shit! Of course there is traffic etc and no where to pull off as I'm in the outside lane.  Of course it takes a few minutes to get gas enough to feed the fuel injector and of course I'm having no patience so manage to try to ride it too soon and manage to stall it twice. I said another impolite word.  Finally after 99 was fed we proceeded on our way across the bridge to Key West. A quick right turn and only about a mile to go.  Damn - WE DID IT!  I could push her from here.  And there is the gas station we started from.  And there is Lynn and Terri holding up signs saying "BOB - CHARLES STOP YOU ARE HERE"  in red in the shape of a stop sign.  Another saying "Congratulations on a job well done"  Charles is already at the pumps and I pull in for that all important receipt.  Card swipe, a teacup of gas (just enough to get a receipt) and wait for that all important piece of paper.  I wait.  No paper.  Read the screen.  "please see cashier for receipt" I say another impolite word, this seems to be becoming a habit. Can't wait any longer so I succumb to a hug and kiss from Lynn.  Sure feels \i was supposed to do something important.  What was it?  Oh yeah the damn receipt - the clock is still ticking.  I run in to ask for a receipt for pump 3 and of all things the cashier is talkative.  "Are you the guy they've been waiting for.  Did you really go all the way to Alaska on that little bike? I silently said another impolite word (definitely have to curb this habit) and asked politely if I could PLEASE have the receipt as I needed to stop the clock.  Oh damn - now she is confused.  I finally get that all important piece of paper and the clock stops for the first time in oh how many days since it started ruling my life at this very same station at the start of all this foolishness.  We parade to our hotel and sure enough they've splurged and we are staying at The Southernmost Hotel which is a mansion built in the 1800s and is located right beside the southernmost point marker.  Not only that but Lynn managed to get the cabana room which is the southernmost hotel room.  We are right on the ocean's edge and are actually south of the marker.  How neat is that.  I forget all the impolite words.  99 and the Old Girl have done the almost impossible.  They have been both pushed far far beyond what a 30 year old bike with now over 500,000km on it and a tiny little puddle jumper of a bike that was designed as a kid's toy. I have a tear in my eye as I give 99 a kiss on her dirty nose. Well - I did give it a little wipe first. Ed recorded that little event with his camera.  The sad thing is that 99 is probably a terminal case. Actually the poor thing is as close to trash as it is possible for a year and two months old bike to be.  The only thing that seems to be only slightly affected is the engine and it is not real good but perhaps another valve adjustment would help.  There is way too much to attempt repairs.  Most of the body panels are now loose due to the tabs and fittings vibrating themselves to dust. Breaks, lights, transmission sounds like scraping fingernails on a blackboard, headset bearings trash, sprockets trash, etc. etc. etc.  After all the poor thing has been near or at or well over redline for over 24 days.  Not to mention last summer's little jaunt across the continent at a record time.  How it could do that and not self destruct is an amazing feat  to me. Not only that, but also over one of the most destructive roads on earth (for a street bike), the Dalton Highway. Honda builds one hell of a bike! She gave her all.......and it was enough. Barely.
  I'll wrap this up with comments and reflections shortly.  Also 99 tells me she also has a story to tell.  Oh, I hope she didn't pick up any impolite words.  We'll see.  I'll send this for now and add in some photos tonight.
to be continued...
Details soon.  To all those that put up money - time to pay up!  Got in yesterday shortly after noon and with all the celebrating etc. this blog just didn't happen.  It is 6:30am and we are off to get the obligatory photo of the southernmost marker again as it is a requirement of the ride. We will also be looking for a police officer to sign the final witness form.
  I promise details and photos soon.
In a really good hotel (finally) in Key West, Florida. And's raining.

June 26, 2011

The day started off at 5:00 when the Screaming Meanie went off.  For those not in the LDRider community, a Screaming Meanie is an ultra loud battery alarm clock.  And I mean LOUD as in 120 DB.  It will set off car alarms in rest areas.  Don't ask me how I know this.  I'm probably still being hunted for by two guys in a Honda Civic that were (I'm sure) very sound asleep.  We called over to Jeff and got him up.  It sure seems to be weird to look out at 5:00am and it is dark out.  I thought that only was in winter.  Of course not having any darkness as when above the Arctic Circle is also weird.  We're now having to start planning our days around daylight and when the deer start coming out.  We were lucky this morning as no deer were sighted on the way to Atlanta.

Charles trying to find Ft Pearce in the GPS  grumble...mumble.  It's Fort Pierce. Jeff White Photo 
Bob on the road through Atlanta just after dawn.  Jeff White Photo

In deference to Jeff we stopped at a restaurant (random choice) just south of Atlanta.  While we were sitting there an obvious long distance equipped bike pulled up outside.  The rider was also not wearing the usual casual attire.  This got our attention, but what flabbergasted us was when the rider came in and introduced himself as Jack Ferguson.

Jack Ferguson and Charles swap "truths"at breakfast. Jack said they no longer sell that jacket as they ran out of batteries! It is waaaay brighter than it looks.
 We've met him in Jacksonville at the spring dinner event and last year he spent some time going over 99 while we were working on it.  He had also found us by using the Spot Tracker.  Now this is almost scary.  I'm going to have to start watching when I turn it on.  It was nice to see Jack again and the breakfast turned out to be almost an hour long.  We then left Jeff to return home and Jack rode along with us for a few miles and took some photos.  I hope he sends them to me as he went ahead and actually got some of us riding.
   The only other thing of note was an extremely dense lightening and very heavy rainfall storm just as we approached Ft. Pierce this afternoon. 

Drying receipts.  I inadverdently left a small opening in the suit zipper and of course it was right where my neck "receipt" pouch was. This is only about two or three days worth.
We took the first hotel that presented itself.  A Holiday Inn.  Quite a change from last night's accommodation. This whole trip has been a study in contrasts. 
   We went over the bikes after supper and found the only things requiring immediate attention was 99's new chain had stretched and required adjustment (a normal thing for a new chain) and the Old Girl required new packing on her exhaust header.  This is the second time for this repair.  The new back tire is (sigh) wearing fast but should make Key West with ease (fingers tightly crossed.  There are so many small things wrong with 99 that I couldn't even list them.  But her heart is strong (and not burning any oil) and she assures me she's going the distance, no matter what.
   As the ride gets closer to completion I get more paranoid and start to double check every little thing and take extra precautions when driving.  We all want to arrive in Key West tomorrow.
   So from our steamy (drying ride suits etc.) hotel room,
P.S. It was HOT, HOT, HOT and sticky - where is a little bit of that arctic cold now when we need it!  Guess we're just not acclimatized yet.

June 25, 2011

Here we are in Dalton, GA at a dumpy motel. Had dinner at the "Pub" next door. Also a colourful spot but the food was surprisingly good.. A local hangout with lots of local colour. The owner found out about our ride and came over to lock at the bikes. Dinner was free!! Some people are easy to impress.  Wouldn't like to walk around in the dark around here.  As Charles said "I think I hear banjos"
     We had a slow start as I had to go pick up the wheel bearing across town and then we had to install it. Finally ready to roll about 9:00 . Sure enough not an hour passed and it started to rain and we went under a thunder and lightening storm. Rain so hard I thought it was hail.  Fortunately it didn't last long and for the rest of the day it was just cloudy.  Due to the late start we rode hard without any stops except twice for gas.  Looks like the wheel bearing repair is holding up OK and the new chain hasn't stretched as much as I anticipated for a non "O" ring chain.  I'll attend to it in the morning.  We had hoped to make Atlanta but as the sun went down the deer started appearing along the side of the freeway.  As we'd seen a lot of deer carcasses on the side of the road today we decided to call it a day about 9:00 local time.  Local time is now the same as the ride time (Eastern D.S.) so it makes record keeping much easier.  Regarding road kill or hitting "'critters" - it is of course our worst fear.  Charles is being especially watchful after his bear encounter.  A friend of mine once said it is quite easy to determine whetherr to take extreme avoidance measures, or to just wait for the bump and ride it out. Ken's motto was "If it's too big to eat at one sitting - avoid it" Good advice if not appetising.
   Not much of interest on the actual ride today except that we pulled off one interchange prior to this one and found everything destroyed.  All of the usual businesses at a major intersection were represented but not much left other than rubble.  Apparently if we'd gone into town there was no more town. 
Here is what is left of the McDonald's Others were just rubble piles.
Other buildings were either heavily damaged or simply piles of rubble.  We didn't hang around and went to the next area where there is motels and ended up in this dump.
   Oops, someone is knocking on the door.  Well well, it is fellow long distance rider friend Jeff White.  Jeff lives in Atlanta and we've been trying to meet up with him each time we went through.  We had hoped to meet him tonight but stopped early. So he drove over to say hello.  He's staying here tonight and will ride along with us tomorrow.  How good is that?
Jeff White comes two hours from Atlanta in the middle of the night to visit.
   Jeff was kind enough not to keep us up as he realizes how little sleep you get and how precious it is on a ride like this.  We'll wake him at 5:00 am to go riding.  The long distance community is like this.  Distance is no longer an object. 
   Guess I'd better sign off for now as it's almost midnight and we lost an hour today with the time change.

June 24, 2011

Just a post script to this afternoon's notes. 
   We went out to dinner with Ron S. and had a great restful evening out.  Great pizza and a good place.  Had lots of fun swapping motorcycle yarns.  Ron is quite an accomplished rider in his own right and has many trips to his credit.  He still thinks were a little odd though. Why would he think that?  Here is a photo.
Ron S. tries out 99.  I think the little tart likes him. Notice how nice and clean all the rain left her.
Also I forgot to mention the name of the Bike dealership.  These guys were super helpful and took us right in and helped in every way possible to get us back on the road.  Fair prices as well. They are full dealers for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Victory and BMW and some other stuff.  If you need service near Bloomington or Champaign, IL don't hesitate. They are called Sportland (Cycle) and although a large place it's like they are small to deal with. (shameless plug for good guys!)
   tomorrow Charles will take apart the Old Girl's rear end (somehow that just doesn't sound quite right) while I go and get the part at 7:30.  We'll reassemble her and hopefully be out of here early enough to get south of Atlanta tomorrow. Hoping for a tail wind.  Jeff W. who is another Long distancd Iron Butt |member that we met at the induction of the Barbie Bike into the Barber Museum is going totry to meet up to escort us through Atlanta. That will be nice if it can happen.
Good night again.
where else?
  I'm sure most of you know, (that are following the "Spot Fink" as Charles calls it)  where we are.
    Yes we are stuck here in beautiful Bloomington. I had to replace the chain and have 99's spare tire (the 4th rear tire on this trip) mounted on the rear. That wasn't a problem as the dealer here is great to deal with. Only problem was that they didn't have an "O" ring chain nor a regular one long enough in that size.   I had to buy two regular chains and have them spliced. They will stretch some but the sprockets are already damaged so what the heck. Before someone mentions it - yes, we know about flipping the sprockets but the dealers mechanic advised against it under the circumstances as it may 'just cause more problems.   So long as they get 99 to Key West by Monday.  She is fine with this idea as she just wants to get going.
     99 seems to be aging fast for a year and two month old bike that only has two major, well three actually, oops I mean four rides on her. Turns out that the Dalton Highway ate a lot more things than just my chain and some other things. I now only have front brakes as I used only the rear on the Dalton due to the dirt and mud and snow conditions. Thus no rear break pads - well, little left on one side and  almost none on the other,  on the rear. (For those who are not motorcyclists - you NEVER use the front break on very slippery conditions.  On the other hand you almost don't need a rear brake on the pavement.  Most racers never use the rear ones).  That stuff on the Dalton just grinds everything it touches. And it touches EVERYTHING. Tried to switch (reverse) the pads but they are indexed. 
   Our big problem was with The Old Girl. She decided that dancing on the road was more fun than just rolling along.  For some reason Charles doesn't appreciate the dance so we investigated. Turns out the major problem is a wheel bearing on The Old Girl. Could not find one anywhere but the Car Quest people are having one sent overnight and it will be in by 7:30 am tomorrow.

The Old Girl during surgery  we had to put it back together for today and we'll have to do this again tomorrow. (sigh)
We will install it in the lot and be on our way hopefully by about 8:30 or so. Plan to still make south of Atlanta tomorrow. Since we are two days ahead of our planned schedule this is not a real problem. Just frustrating at this point in the ride.
   Lynn, guess what they have at the Honda Dealer, one owner and in pristine shape - and cheap.

Yes...It's a GS450A.  My all time favorite around town bike.  1983 - just like the other 3 at home.  But this one is in better shape.  Wonder if they'd take two for one?  No, No don't slap, just kidding, just kidding.  Well......................sort of!
    Once more Charles' friend Kenny traced down our hotel and telephoned.  I answered it with "Hi Kenny" and sure enough it was him for the latest updates.  Shortly after the phone rang again and I thought - now what does he want? But I was wrong.  A strange voice with a southern accent said his name was Ron S. and he has been following us ever since I gave him a card at the UPS depot here in Bloomington on the way up.  Remember Lynn sent me a new throttle lock here?  Well this guy is quite keen on talking and hearing all the BS we can dish out so we agreed to meet at his favourite Pizza place tonight and he's to buy us dinner.  He also found us via the Spot Fink.  How weird is this??  This trip is sure getting more interest than we ever planned.  I've been getting emails from all over the world (farthest being New Zealand) from people neither of us have ever met.  Guess we better be on our best behaviour. 
  Hopefully the weather will be as nice tomorrow as it was today (tail wind) and we can make the south side of Atlanta by tomorrow evening.  Our friend from the IBA Jeff W. is going to try to meet up with us on his BMW and give us an escort through his home town of Atlanta.  That should be fun.  Haven't seen him since he met us at the Barber Museum last year for the induction of the Barbie Bike From Hell.  If anyone wants to see a good write up about that ride see Karl van Kesterin's blog at:  He rode with us on the little 49cc Honda from Toledo to Birmingham during an attempt at a Bun Burner 1500 miler.  Good read.
  Gotta go now for our free pizza

June 23, 2011

Well another day in the rainy Midwest.  Once again left Minneapolis/St. Paul in good (only cloudy) conditions but it started to rain within about a half hour.  It's getting now so that if it isn't raining we start to worry.  Bikes should be clean by Key West at this rate.  Most of the Dalton mud is already done.  Rained off and on with only a few downpours all the way to about I-80 west of Chicago.  From there to Bloomington it was just windy.  The beautiful tail wind which allowed me to keep up with traffic in a 70 mph speed limit zone was replaced by a cross/head wind from the West.  Oh well, we made real good time for a while. We were considering going on for another couple of hundred miles but there looked like some severe thunderheads looming in our direction of travel.  So we decided to stick to the plan and stay at Bloomington. Can you hear the chicken feathers rustling?  After dinner we checked over the bikes and I found that 99's chain is now getting beyond the safe adjustment stage.  I was hoping that it might just make it to Key west.  Not a chance!  In the meantime Charles discovered that the Old Girl had a slightly loose rear wheel.  Not a good thing.  The only thing to do is to see if it is the bearing (good) or the wheel (bad).  Tomorrow we will go to the local bike shop which is unusual in that it represents almost every brand of popular motorcycle except Harley.  Both Honda and BMW are represented.  Fortunately the bearings are a standard item and readily available.  The wheel may present a problem as she is almost 30 years old and parts are somewhat scarce.  We'll see what happens when the wheel comes off tomorrow morning.
   Interesting thing happened at dinner.  It turns out that the waitress had travelled extensively with her husband on a BMW motorcycle before buying a Gold Wing.  It is amazing the number of people we've met this trip that have travelled to exotic places or extensively on bikes.  Obviously we're not the only crazy people out here.
   This may delay our plans but only by about half a day if we're lucky.  Fingers tightly crossed.
  No photos unless you want to look at Wisconsin cows or Rockford traffic.  Oh - I almost forgot.  Minot ND made the national news. Looks like we got through just in time as the road we used is now closed and apparently thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.  This flood is projected to crest in a couple of days at 15 feet above the previous record set almost 100 years ago.  We just lucked out not having to take a substantial detour.
P.S. 99 informs me that she'd like to have her story told.  I said that after the ride - successful or not - she could have a blog entry just for herself.  Oh boy this should be a different viewpoint for sure.

June 22, 2011

Water, water, water (and some wind)
   We started in glorious sunshine that lasted all of about 30 minutes,  Then it was on with the tank bag cover and rain overgloves.  Passing through Minot, ND the flooding has greatly increased from 2 weeks ago.  Many areas now being evacuated and even the main highway flooded.  We were the last ones through and I think that was a mistake as we got a real dirty look from a cop who was directing oncoming traffic to a detour.
Flooding in Minot, ND area.  Note top of barn.
   I thought I got a photo of just before I started across the flooded section.  I got a great shot of my knee and the tank bag however.  Unfortunately 99 chose right about then to stall so things got busy and I missed it.  The water was deeper than it looked but not over my boot tops and both bikes made it through OK.  Tense moment however.  Other areas were up to the road in many places but not over it.  the water is still rising as it is still raining and I think the road(s) will be closed all over the area shortly.
    Speaking of 99, she has been getting slower and slower for the past few days.  We stopped and changed the spark plug to no avail.  Finally took her in to the Honda Dlr. in Fargo, ND.  The same one that mounted the tire for us on the way up.  By then we were sure it was valve adjustment.  Sure enough the exhaust valve was so tight you couldn't put a feeler gauge in.  She is almost all better now.  Starting to show her age now.  Over 34,000 km and she only had 12,500 at the start of the ride.  She is now middle aged and only a year and two months old.  Time flies when you are a long distance motorcycle.
    So the story of the day is rain, and more rain - about 15 hours of solid rain.  At times (mostly) quite hard.  I think we followed the system eastward.  Hopefully tomorrow we won't catch up as we are now starting to head more south.
  No other photos as too wet to expose camera to the elements. One above is in rare not raining moment. Got in to the hotel at about 10:00 p.m. and going to bed now.  Exhausting day.

June 21, 2011

Rain rain go away.  This photo is from yesterday going into Lloydminister. Seems to do nothing but rain lately. Got up this morning to clear sky and reasonable temps.  On the road by 6:00 local time.  Shortly thereafter however the clouds descended and it started to rain.

Charle's photo of impending rain shower.  Bob up ahead. 
  Continued to rain off and on all day. Not much to report. We bypassed the city with the great name.  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Sounds like you should find Roger Rabbit there. If he is I hope Jessica is with him as she looks like she would float.

Could this be a harbinger of things to come shortly.  You never know what you'll find in a gas station parking lot.  Especially in the middle of southern Saskatchewan.

The ubiquitous grain elevator.  They are apparently fast disappearing and thus we will lose this icon of the Prairies
 99 still running poorly and strong headwinds limited the speed considerably  The only note of interest is in Weyburn, Sask.  they are substantially worse off due to flooding than when we went through on the way up.  The road now has water over it and is closed in one direction on the way into town then it is closed altogether and we had to make a detour.  Just south of Weyburn the bridge is only open one lane and the water is almost up to the deck.  I doubt it will be open tomorrow.  Was too busy drivingon muddy bridge to take photo.  This one however shows the tip of the iceberg, so to speak on the into Weyburn.
Charle's photo of Bob passing through flooded road section in Weyburn, SK
  The last time through this area we stopped at Minot, ND but had difficulty getting a room due to the booming oil economy and to all the people evacuated due to the flooding.  We were informed at a stop earlier that there were no rooms in Minot as the flooding is now much more severe and thus no rooms due to evacuees. Kenmare is a little town about 70 miles north of Minot and we found a room here.  Even this far away, we got the last room.  Unfortunately a smoking room was the only one they had (phew!)  We spoke to a local trucker and he said to make sure we were off hwy 52 by tomorrow as there is currently water over the road in a few places already and he estimates it will be closed within the next couple of days at the latest.  Checking with the ND DOT web site confirmed this.  Therefore we will leave early and try to get through without a detour.
   Since it will be an early morning I'll sign off for now.

Spot Walla:
Photos: when I get time

June 20, 2011

Another day, another 1008 Km.  We are finally onto roads that at least you can make some time on. Except around Jasper of course.  We left Prince. George this morning an hour early to account for losing an hour due to the time change when we cross the BC - Alberta Border.  This will be a continuing problem on this return trip.  On the way out we gained a day for all 4 time zone changes.  On the way back we lose that hour each time we cross a time zone.  The only way I've ever found to accommodate it is to set the alarm an hour early and pretend it is an hour later until it actually is.
   The problems with 99's indigestion (running like crap) seems to be solved.  The fuel conditioner we put in made a large improvement.  Also as soon as I switched to the Aux. tank there was an even greater improvement.  So I ran all of it out before stopping for gas.  She's almost back to normal.  I do notice a slight drop off in power.  I think she's giving her all and is starting to run out.  Time will tell - when we get onto some major roads where I can use all of the little tricks to make her fly. She's not at her best up and down mountains. 
   Today the scenery was much better now that we are again in the mountains.  Jasper area was, as usual frustrating with trailers, motor homes and tourists going slow to ohh and ahh at the scenery instead of stopping to look at it. Stopped for breakfast/lunch at Jasper.  It's not my kind of place at all.  Too tourist oriented with everything overpriced.  The scenery is pretty special in the area however. Unfortunately none of the photos I took seem to do it justice. But that could be that we're jaded from what we've seen in the past week or so. Here is a sample
Sun shining on the road leading to the mountains.  Like a magic carpet ride.

Stopped for a bathroom break.  The dark green box on an angle on the right behind 99 is a bear proof garbage can.  they are everywhere there are bears. 

Bears are quite ingenious and really like garbage.  Hence the bear proof cans at every stop. If you know a local and they are going to take you to a sure fire site for bears, it will usually be the local garbage dump.
   The other interesting thing about this random stop was that It was here
The roadside rest area was adjacent to Mt. Terry Fox

   Terry Fox is one of my all time heroes.  He did a run across Canada with one leg as he lost the other to cancer.  His limping, hopping run style was slow. Yet he managed to average about 26 miles per day.  That is a full marathon for the unenlightened.  Unfortunately by the time he got to northern Ontario the cancer reappeared and he eventually died before he could complete his run.  His determination and perseverance has proven to be a lasting legacy and there are now many charitable events in his name.  Google him and you'll be fascinated, especially if you find a video  We also spoke with a German lady who admired the bikes and informed us that she'd had a BMW GS1000 back in Germany and wished she could still motorcycle here.  She wasn't able to bring it with her due to the import regulations.  She looked somewhat wistful as we left.
   Gradually the terrain went from mountains to hills then to rolling plains as we passed through the very busy city of Edmonton.  It started to rain off and on before Jasper and when we left Edmonton it started in for real.  Lots of real heavy cloudburst type showers with the usual towering black clouds. We're hoping that the system will clear out overnight.  Weather channel says no! We ended the day at Lloydminister AB/SK (the provincial border runs right through town.  Once again we will have a time change tomorrow so it's early up for us at 5:00am.
P.S. In case you're joining us late here are the links to the Spot tracking sites and the photos (when I get time to add more)

June 19, 2011

Bears 0 - Charles 1
   Thought that would grab your attention.  Suffice to say Charles is ok, The Old Girl is only slightly damaged.  I'll let you hear it from Charles later in this post.  Just like the nightly news.  Makes you stay tuned.
    After a very noisy night we left the sumptuous Sealaska Inn (actually it is not really someplace anyone would normally want to stay.  But hey....this is Hyder....'nuff said.  We made sure that we were near a certain person's room when we started the bikes.  Hope he heard them, even though they aren't 1/10th as loud as his stupid radio. Nor his stupid pipes that saved several lives twice in the middle of the night.  For you folks that are not motorcyclists the life saving reference is the "Loud Pipes Save Lives" idiocy that is the excuse for loud exhaust pipes quoted by mouth breathers. Oh O -  I know this is going to generate some poison pen email - flame suit on!!  We left in light rain and clouds about 100 feet up.  No photos on the way out as too wet to use the camera.  Also we were on the look-out for bears.  This place bills itself as the bear capital of the world.  Last time Lynn and I were there I believe she counted about 20 on the short road in from the intersection. It is about 15 miles.  It was a magical trip through the drizzle and wispy clouds/mist.  This one was taken by Charles.
Glacier in the morning mist.
At one point I looked over and saw the flash of white of a large glacier I'd completely missed on the way in.  What a wonderful place.  I hope it never gets developed or "discovered".  We saw several bears on the way out but all ran off into the forest before I could get the camera out. Two had very cute cubs. Only one tense moment.  We were following a pickup truck and he stopped to let a little bear cub run across the road.  Good thing he stayed stopped as Mamma Bear shortly appeared but stayed on her side.  This is not a good situation.  Bears can be very unpredictable when something comes between them and their cubs. Charles & I waited about 50 yards back and the pickup truck didn't move and turned off his engine.  Mamma Bear looked not real happy but after a few minutes or so of hesitation she finally crossed to the other side and chased after the cub. D'oh! Did I get a photo of all this drama. Nope, too engrossed in seeing what would transpire.  About a mile or so later however I found a bear off to the side so I stopped and took this with a telephoto setting and got her/him before he/she wandered away.
My one and only actual photo of a bear. I do however have several of Bear Bums as they left before I could get the camera ready.  This one looks quite fierce but usually they have a somewhat bemused expression - as if to say "Oh look, Meals on Wheels, how thoughtful"
Shortly thereafter we came to the road junction where we were to turn off to head east.  I stopped to take photos of the signs and So did Charles.  He then waved me'll let him tell it.

    Hi, this is Charles, telling you guys what had happened while Bob was leading the ride...About 20 mins into the ride from Hyder, this full size bear comes vaulting over the cement barrier from the left side of the road in a manor that seemed to indicate he was chasing Bob in a forward diagonal direction, quite oblivious to me following about 50 feet behind.......Of course he was too slow for Bob, but he was now in my line of sight. In a nano second, I could see this was going to be a hit, and by the sheer grace of God, the hit consisted of the bear hitting my bike in the left rear part of the saddlebag, not hard enough to throw me, but hard enough to damage the bag and alter my course on the road just slightly. I never felt like the end of the world was near....but I really do owe my Guardian Angel another one...We took pictures, had a moment of silence, and then carried on. The rest of the day was pretty well routine....for me anyway....
Cracked and broken saddlebag.  The cracking was more extensive than shows in the photo. No Bear Hair however.  
Bob again.  Once I came over to where Charles was stopped and he told me what happened and I examined the broken saddle bag I (casually) asked Charles if there would be extra laundry tonight.  He just stared then said - "no - it happened too fast for anything like that."  So off we went.  I had been completely oblivious of the incident as it all happened behind me.
   After that little incident the rest of the day was uneventful.  This part of BC is not particularly scenic and could pass for southern Ontario or parts of England. Not that it isn't beautiful, just not the spectacular scenery we've become accustomed to.  Our next gas stop we took the time to glue Charles' saddlebag back together and to adjust 99's headset bearing.  She had taken up the habit of violently shaking the front wheel if I wasn't extra careful when decelerating.  The first time it happened I thought I'd hit something on the road  or that 99 was being perverse about some slight or other, but it started happening more or less violently on a regular basis.  But later I realized that she needed a "neck adjustment" as the Chiropractors call it.  A headset bearing tightening.  I guess all that pounding over washboards on the Dalton took it's toll.  Fortunately an easy fix..........NOT. Nothing seems to be routine on this trip. Of course between us Charles and & have enough tools to practically rebuild both bikes.  But did we have a wrench large enough to loosen the headset lock nut? < Insert redundant answer here> so off to Canadian Tire Store (sort of a super hardware store and they are all over Canada) and bought the largest adjustable wrench I could find.  Problem solved quickly after that.  Now, however, 99 has to lug around another 5 pounds in the form of a wrench we probably will never need again.
  I just tried to upload another photo but this hotel's internet connection went from fast to very slow.  Nothing after 15 minutes so no more photos tonight.
   We spent the last little while trying to diagnose 99's current malady.  She has been running progressively worse all day. She seems to surge then lose power.  Exactly the symptoms of bad gas but not so severe.  Someone told me that BC gas could be problematic due to the ethanol content causing water to be ingested.  We tried for a new spark plug but settled on some fuel additive that claims to do all kinds of miraculous things.  If they aren't lying then she should run much better than new in the morning.  We'll see - I think they may have fudged the truth a bit.
   So here we are in Prince George, but I'm sure when he was here his quarters were somewhat more elegant.  Ours are not bad however, especially compared to the Sealaska Inn.  We even have indoor en-suite plumbing.  How modern is that!?
   I've got to go for now as it is 11:49 and I still have to spell check this load of drivel.  Not to mention that we have set the Screaming Meanie (super loud truckers alarm clock that will set off car alarms on it's high setting) for 5:00am.
Goodnight from metropolitan St. George

June 18, 2011

Once again we made a dumb error first thing.  We left Downtown Dease, BC and didn't get gas because we already had over 200 miles capacity left from yesterday.  Real dumb.  Up here the golden rule is if you see gas - buy it.  We rode about 100 miles and thought we'd just top off - nope - station closed. Same with the next one about 50 miles further on and one more.  We were down to about a 60 mile reserve when we finally came upon a lodge that was open and sold gas.  By this time we were cold and it was raining (what else!) so we stopped and had a bowl of homemade soup after filling up. Back on the road we saw lots more black bears as well as rabbits and the occasional smaller critter dashing across the road.  One bear was walking down the middle of the road and looked like he/she was about to contest ownership but didn't like 99's horn and finally ran off into the forest.  Shortly thereafter I began noticing lots of clumps of what looked like dirt on the road.  Since this is a chipseal road (a type of paving using tar and pea gravel) and no dirt after a while my curiosity got the better of me and I stopped.  Woah! - Bear scat (bear poop)
Bear poop
About this time Charles came along and stopped to see what I was looking at and mentioned that there was lots of these clumps of "mud" on the road.  I informed him of what it was and that I didn't want anything to do with critters that have fur in their poop.  He agreed so we rode on - thoughtfully alert.  Now of course We noticed every drop(ping) and marvelled that there was a pile sometimes every 20 feet or so and had been for several miles. This continued on for about 20 miles then no more.  What gives? Does every bear in the neighbourhood come to this stretch of road to crap?  Why not in the bush where they are supposed to?  As Robert Service so aptly said "There are strange things done under the midnight sun" - so I'll just leave it there.  The Cassiar Highway takes you through some of the most remote areas in British Columbia and is a spectacular road to drive now that it's paved.  The only problem is that now we are far enough south that the trees grow tall and obscure the magnificent views.  I knew however that the best was yet to come.  The final stretch of road into Hyder is in my opinion one of the best in Canada.  It is smooth, lots of curves and the Scenery is as good or better than any road I've ever been on - anywhere.  The mountains rise straight up on either side of the pass through which the road winds.  There is a river flowing along the bottom and glaciers and waterfalls at every turn.  Combined with the lush greenery of this rainforest's vegetation it is a delight to drive.  I kept stopping to take photos even though we were still on the clock.  It is just that good.

99 contemplates a glacier. She seems to like them 'cause they are white too.
A typical scene on the road in.  I must have dithered for 5 minutes as there is lots of photos and they all show a lousy image of what is truly magnificent scenery.
Unfortunately the "Hi Speed" Internet here - isn't.  So I'll just have to get by with a promise to upload a lot of photos to the photo site after the ride.  There is one that can't be put off however.

We made it!  We are now the first riders to complete the "Alaskan Insanity" ride.
The name of the ride is tentative for now as it has to be actually named by the IBA and Mike Kneebone has to approve. But it will suffice for now.  It is a completion of the top of Alaska (Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse) on the Arctic Ocean to the bottom of Alaska at Hyder at the bottom of the panhandle on a long fiord only a minute from the Canadian border.  While Hyder is a mecca for the long distance community, most rides end up here and it is the northernmost point of the ride.  An easy(ier) way to "be in Alaska".  Our ride is unique in that Hyder is the southernmost point of an over 1700 mile trip that began at the shores of the (still frozen) Arctic Ocean.  We started out on gravel roads running through frozen tundra, over several mountain ranges, many of them above the tree line. Continued on to central Alaska then through the Yukon Territory in Canada and finally finished in the beautifully lush rainforest mountains of Hyder Alaska. Once more on dirt roads as Hyder has no pavement of any kind.  What an interesting ride.  We rode around town and out onto the pier that sticks out a long long way into the water.  Wish I had time to upload all the photos.  We had lunch at the bus where Lynn and I ate the last time we were  here over 4 years ago.  It's still the best place in town and the seafood is truly fresh and excellent  Try the smoked salmon pate - WOW. And yes, it really is just an old bus with some picnic tables out under a plastic awning.  If you could bring that food to the big city however it would be a 5 star place.  Back to the Hotel we found a lot of bikes there and it turns out there is a Harley Davidson group stying here tonight from Smithers. It is a little town about 100 miles east of here. 99 and The Old Girl were quite proud to show off all their road grime "makeup" to all these shiny Harlies. I'm sure some of the riders still don't believe our stories.  Some however looked more closely and just shook their heads. Oh well, long distance riding isn't for everyone. Charles once again had to adjust one of  The Old Girl's exhaust valves.  He thinks he found the cause in a loose exhaust pipe flange causing a small exhaust leak that would cause it to run hotter in the valve area.  99 was a pretty good girl today and only required minor stuff.
     Unfortunately I think it's going to be difficult to sleep tonight as we are right above the bar.  So far it is really loud with one guy playing his bike's speakers out on the road just in case the music from the bar isn't loud enough.  There is always one!
   I just checked my email and found a letter from a chap in New Zealand.  Now how in the hell can someone that far away be interested and following our ride. Thanks for the words of encouragement Andrew. I just checked some stats and it seems that this blog has generated over 5000 hits in the past week and the two Spot sights are up over 20,000 hits when combined.  This is amazing.  It is very solitary riding along isolated from everything.  You exist within the helmet. Peering out through the sometimes rain streaked face shield with the shriek of wind in your ears. Concentrating on keeping this small screaming thing upon the road and going in the right direction.  Always trying to encourage her to faster speeds and better performance.  It is just you and the bike, all alone, watching the scenery go by.  It is inconceivable that someone is following your movements from a location half way around the earth.  Not only that but they can use Google Street view to actually see a "road view" as if they were  here.  Perhaps I should be looking over my shoulder. 
    Tomorrow we start the long trek east that will end up at the "other ocean". We are heading towards Jasper, then Edmonton and the Yellowhead Highway and from there retrace our rout back to Key West.  Seems like a long way at the moment.  Hoping for the end of the week if all goes well.....oh damn......I know that is doubtful.....Ha.....more like a sure thing. Something will again delay us.  Hopefully it will all be fixable as it has so far.  I did notice that my new tire from yesterday is already down from 6 to 5 on my tire gauge.  I sure hope I don't have to get another.  After all this is number 3 so far.  99 sure is a high maintenance dame. But then the good ones always are.
Goodnight from rainy Hyder.
P.S. I promise - more photos - later on when I can get a high speed connection after the ride and bulk upload some.

June 17, 2011

Oh, good grief,  walked outside this morning and you couldn't see your breath.  Is this Key West already.  Nope just Whitehorse.  But far enough south so that "reasonable" weather prevails.  We had lots of time this morning as we had to wait for the Harley Davidson dealer to open at 9:00.  We're hoping that they will install my back tire while we wait.  They would and they did.  Only problem is that I almost wore out the rear brakes with the Dalton mud.  Front ones are fine.  Quick trip to the (useless) Honda dealer found that they didn't have brake pads for Honda's largest selling bike in Canada.  Oh well - who uses a back brake once you're out of the dirt anyway?  There is still a little bit of pad left so it will be only for special circumstances for now.  After all motorcycle racers seldome if ever use a back brake. On a motorcycle almost all of the breaking power is on the front wheel. With all of these delays it was 11:00 am before we left Whitehorse.  A lovely day of about 60 deg F. for out trip east along the Alcan highway. We decided to only go as far as Dease lake on the Cassier highway.  On the way today there was some nice scenery but we saw it on the way up so there wasn't much call for photos.  We did however see a mother black bear with two very cute cubs.  Later on we saw another one with even cuter cubs.  Momma bears being the protective souls that they are we decided not to stop and take photos.  They can be very unpredictable when defending their young.  Besides that we should see lots more on the way in to Stewart, BC  / Hyder, AK and there will be lots of photo ops.  Now that I've said that every bear between here and Hyder will promptly go into hiding.  We did see what I believe is a Rock sheep - there were several but only this one stayed around when I stopped.
So here is the Rock Sheep.  Cute guy but skittish.  But no where as cute as little black bear cubs about 1 foot tall.  They have the most inquisitive faces.  Probably trying to determine if you're too big to eat.

      This  %^$#@(*  picture took 19 minutes to upload due to the hotel's slow satellite Internet connection.  I suppose I should be happy for any connection but it is frustrating. After all - I could be sleeping.  So - no more photos from here.  

 Lots of people seem to be wondering why we're so short of time.  Well, here is a typical day.  Get up and dress and take the covers off of the bikes. Fold them up (usually wet) and try to stuff them into their bags to be packed away.  Load all of the stuff we took into the hotel. Check over the bikes thoroughly to see if anything needs attention such as oil, tires, lights, various things that may vibrate loose etc. etc.  Start the bikes and let them warm up.  Go back in and don the extra warm clothing then the riding suits.  Check out and we're off.  Ride all day not stopping except for necessities such as gas (usually twice or three times) or to don or remove rain gloves and tank bag covers.  This is truly a pain as it is awkward, prohibits access to the tankbags where it seems everything you need is kept.  The rain overgloves are also difficult to wriggle over the electric gloves and then you are very limited as to what you can do with them on.  They are also somewhat slippery and make holding things a chore.  Especially holding the throttle on.  It gives you cramps as you have to clutch it so tightly to get a grip.  Fortunately I have some assistive devices to help there.  Our diet during the day consists of water from the hydration water bladders in the suits (via a tube with a bite valve), Cliff Bars (a nutrition supplement bar) and trail mix.  Keeps you healthy if not happy.  Sometimes (usually at least once a day) something comes up that needs attention on the bikes and that can take from just a few seconds to several hours.  You never know with a (almost) 30 year old bike and a little tiny one that is being pounded waaaaaaaayyyyyy beyond it's designer's specifications.  At the end of the day we check in to a motel, check out the room to make sure it's habitable (good success so far) then go and bring in our stuff.  We've packed such that only one small bag is needed each plus the tank bags. Ditch the riding suits (much too warm to walk around in) then return out to once again check the bikes, go get gas if we didn't already and fix anything that we let go during the day.  Put the covers over the bikes and then try to find out the closest place to eat.  Sometimes we just check in first and go directly to eat if we have to ride to the restaurant.  Once back we then have to do laundry, shower and generally get ready to sleep.  Usually then I download the days photos to a backup directory on the laptop so we don't lose any and I have easy access for posting.  I then usually check the weather for the next day on the computer.  I don't know why I bother to do this as what it will be is not of any importance.  We will ride in it anyway and our suits can handle anything from 100+ degrees to below freezing and are completely waterproof.  Knowing in advance just seems to be needed somehow.  Who knows - maybe it's just habit to want to know what tomorrow will bring.  Because our range of movement is large however it usually means that we will bridge at least one weather system and end up with a little of everything.  Once the weather and email has been checked and answered then I'll start on this blog which can take from a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on the connection speed and amount said and photos used.  Before going to bed we pack up everything to be  ready and lay out the clothing needed  for the morning.  Sleep, hopefully at least 6 to 8 hours, Next day we repeat  - etc.  The longest part of the day is of course the riding and I must say it has been spectacular.  Every type of scenery and terrain. Seems every time I or Lynn and I go for a long trip it seems like the "trip of a lifetime" and I guess each one is.  They all seem fresh and new to me though.  I especially like the long hours where you can just let your thoughts wander.  Lots of things to think about and being interrupted by such beautiful scenery is just too good to be true.  You seem to be reduced to the basics of life.  An example:  Today while droning along in the Yukon it was overcast and dull.  Everything sort of took on a grey type of appearance.  All of a sudden a little bright yellow bug went splat against the windscreen.  He left a little bit of extremely bright yellow amongst the usual black and featureless carcasses of it's brethren.  Seeing that bright yellow smudge seemed to brighten the whole atmosphere.  See what I mean - your mind just has free reign and sometimes the smallest things become important.  I find that this type of situation very restful and enjoyable.  I'm sure every motorcyclist experiences it in some way or another on a long day in the saddle.
     OK - so much for lousy Internet connections, slow sheep, philosophy and blather.  Time for bed.  Oh by the way - tomorrow we aim for Hyder AK The southernmost town accessible by road in Alaska. - the only place where you can enter the U.S.A. without any border formalities whatsoever.  Just drive past the Welcome to Hyder sign.  Incredible!  It is also a famous destination for several Iron Butt Association rides.  We hope ours will be added to the list.

Once again I apologise for skipping a day. By the time we got in, had dinner, did bike maintenance I was just too tired.  So I'm combining the two days.

The side door of our $220.00 per night humble abode.  Although the outside of buildings in the arctic can look somewhat industrial they may be fine inside.

One side of the room and the other is the same. Nothing else. The coat on the left is hanging beside the door and I'm using a wide angle lens to get it all in. No, there isn't two night stands. Only the one.
The nice thing was that it was available.  Also the food is very good and everything you could imagine is included.  As many meals as you wish, take out sandwiches, fruit, chips, pop, tea of every description, coffee, desserts etc. etc.   It is all good as well.  Not microwave junk.  All like home cooking.

This is just the take out cooler.  Make your own lunch or take one back to the room for a snack.  There is also containers of fresh veggies as well as a whole cooler of fruit.

This is just the dessert snacks.  The cake, pies puddings etc. are in another cooler.  Also in front there is a supply of brown paper bags so if you want a dozen - just fill up the bag.  All made right here.

And EVERYONE has to wear nice little baby blue booties to keep your muddy boots from tracking mud all over.  Everything outside is muddy as there is no pavement or sidewalks.  The dirt is continuously watered down as well to prevent dust.  Thus outside is wall to wall mud.  Charles looked particularly fetching in his little blue booties and a 'doo rag.  Anyone who knows Charles can just imagine !!  I'm sure I also looked fashionable - Deadhorse style.

 We left Prudhoe Bay (Deadhorse) at about 7:00 and having gotten a witness the day before

Charles gets signed out by one of Deadhorse Detachment's finest.
all we had to do was splash enough gas into our already almost full tanks to get the all important start receipt for our ride to Hyder.

The "gas station"  No signage, difficult to find and the payment system is unusual and inside the door.  The good news however is that it is open 24/7 and the receipts are good. Having the location, date, time and fueling info on them.  All required by the IBA certification team.
Although in the high 30s (F) the sun was shining and it looked DRY!!  The road was just about as good as the Dalton ever gets. Or any other high arctic road, for that matter.  The rains from yesterday and the day before had now soaked in and packed down to make a quite firm surface of the previous mud.  Still some small (pea) gravel but otherwise drive able at a more normal speed. A welcome change from our trip up.
   The miles seemed to fly by and soon we could see the mountains of the Brooks Range.  Just before the pass however we were lucky enough to spot a Muskox and her baby.  Got a couple of telephoto shots but she was very timid and ran behind the brow of a hill as soon as we stopped.  Elated by seeing such a unique and rare animal we continued only to be again surprised by more Muskox. This time a full herd of about 15 or 20 including some babies.  These ones seemed less afraid so we stopped and took some photos. 

Like something out of pre-history. This fellow (lady? - it's hard to tell with Muskox) appears to be moulting. Fortunately they were down wind so we couldn't smell them. They apparently are somewhat odoriferous - hence the name
  Next up came Atigun Pass and we got to see all of the great scenery we'd missed on the way up due to the snow.  More good photos.

Generally an uneventful ride to Coldfoot where we stopped for gas.  Charls' bike was having problems as mud from a pull off area had caked under his front fender and was actually burning the tire at anything over about 50 mph.  The nice folks at Coldfoot refused to let him use their hose as they said "not for that".  Seems that even though they remembered us from the trip up they just don't give a damn unless you're staying there at the moment. We ended up using my emergency collapsible water bottle and rolling stones backward through the opening to clear it.  The rest of the way down to Fairbanks was relatively easy although it's a long tiring road nonetheless.
   We finally found the "office of the University of Alaska and checked in to their dorm. At $42.00 it's a bargain.  However their check in process took over 1/2 an hour, the showers and washrooms are down the hall and the room is somewhat spartan to say the least.  Still a good buy however.  We found a coin operated car wash and blew $20.00 in quarters getting the worst of the mud off the bikes.  Both of us had problems on the Dalton with overheating.  99 having her rad plugged up and The Old Girl getting her cooling fins coated.  Off for dinner then sleep.

   This morning seemed to come early.  Of course it did - even Fairbanks has almost no  darkness at this time of year.  Just a bright twilight for a couple of hours.  We were slow leaving then to top it off Chares had a cracked fitting on the gas pump when filling up.  Gas everywhere.  Then their air hose wouldn't work when we tried to top up the tires.  We had let air out of them for the gravel roads.  When we finally got on the road it was 8:00.  The actual ride to Whitehorse, YT was a mixed bag of sunshine and rain.  The nice thing howeve was that it got continuously warmer.  Started the shedding clothes process which will probably continue for the next few days. Actually looking towards getting into warm weather with mixed emotions.  I think it will be hot, hot, hot after being acclimatized to the cold freezing temperatures of the North Slope area.  The only wild life I saw was a mother and daughter moose.  They presented no problems as they were heading fort the bush.  Seeing the size of a full grown lady moose I definitely do not want any physical encounters while aboard 99, or anything else for that matter.
   We arrived at Whitehorse at 8:25 after having lost an hour with the time change exiting Alaska.  Once again bike maintenance, dinner and here I am.
   Tomorrow we are going to try to get the oil changed on the bikes and most importantly get the new tire mounted on the back of 99. The one we bought in Minnesota is now down to the wear bars.  This will be tire number 3!!  I've reverted to a stock Honda rear tire as it is all that was available so I hope it lasts longer than the one I used last year on the coast to coast ride.  It barely made it to San Diego.  We'll see.  Of course it is an unusual size and not available at most bike shops.
    I'm falling asleep at the keyboard so I'll just add some photos to this and then off to sleep.  Thank goodness we can sleep in as none of the Bike shops open until after 9:00 am.
too tired to upload more photos.  I'll put them up with the photos later.

June 14, 2011

     Rest day today so just did maintenance items.  Tightened and lubed chain on 99 and charged the Old Girl's battery.  Unfortunately the only battery available in Ohio was 20 amps and the bike takes a 30 amp.  With the slow speeds and large electrical draw coming up yesterday there wasn't enough to start it in the below freezing temps this morning.  Tried to "bump"| (push) start her but as all the road surfaces are gravel we couldn't get traction enough to turn over - even in 3rd.  Bought a battery charger locally (at a surprisingly good price) and after a couple of hours she started up fine.  both bikes look terrible due to being encrusted with Dalton mud.  A combination of mud and the calcium chloride they put on it to keep the dust down.  HA....when is it ever dry enough to cause dust.......I will believe it when I see it.  My opinion only YMMV.
99 has a dirty butt.
This started out as a nice shiny stainless steel muffler.  99 - you're such a filthy girl In the meantime we took the tour of the area and went to the Arctic ocean shore where we got each other's photo standing in the water.  We also got another bottle of water to match the one collected from the Gulf in Key West.  Traditions (sigh).

I'm actually standing on sea ice.  If you look to the right of my boots you can see one of many large holes in the ice.  Must be careful where you walk.

Charles thought he should have gone barefoot. He wasn't crazy enough to actually do it however.  Several people on the tour did and found that 30 degree sea water over ice is real real chilly. Sea water doesn't freeze in this area until below 28 degrees due to the high salinity.

Gathering the traditional water sample to match the one from the other end in Key West.  Quite a contrast to say the very least.
 In the afternoon we finalized our ride by getting the documentary requirements taken care of.  Photos of us and the bikes in front of Prudhoe bay landmarks and getting the local police officer to witness our log books.
Two fine young (at heart) gentlemen in front of the welcome sign for Deadhorse "End of the Dalton Highway" sign. Definitely a local landmark.
 Spent almost an hour with the police officer as he was at first reluctant to sign but when we were not with another Hoka Hey type ride he became quite friendly and was extremely accommodating.  Hopefully we made a good impression so the next person asking for a finish witness will be welcomed.  He was very impressed with the safety goals of the IBA and the safety equipment on the bikes and carried by Charles and myself.

Charles gets signed out by one of Deadhorse Detachment's finest.
 The "town" is really not a town but just a collection of company enclaves.  Each one separate and self contained.  Most people work two weeks on 12 hour shifts then two weeks off.  Most of the companies fly the people back and forth.  Very few people here have ever driven the Dalton. Seems strange to me that the only road into town hasn't been driven by the vast majority of people here.  I actually found this same situation in the town of Inuvik at the top of the Dempster Hwy. a few years ago.  Easier to fly so why bother. me at least.
   Early to bed so ready to tackle the route south tomorrow morning.  Probably won't be able to update this tomorrow as there is no internet in Coldfoot.  However if the weather is conducive to some better time we may just go on to Fairbanks.  This would be better as 99 has eaten another of her dancing slippers (rear tire) and it will need changing for the new one I bought in Whitehorse on the way up.  Fairbanks is the earliest this can be done properly. This will be the third one.  I've never had a bike eat rear tires like 99 does.  Haven't a clue why. Perhaps she dances just a little too hard.
It's late and I'm getting silly so Goodnight for now.