Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

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ClarkA
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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby ClarkA » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:09 am

I enjoyed the trip too but the delays at every stop by the curious started to wear on me at times. I took a lot with me b/c I knew that having too much was much better than not enough. Three flats and six tires for me. I had my eyes on a Royal Enfield with a hack for the wife , but performance would be less than my Ural.
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"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T.E. Lawrence

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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby sputnik » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:10 pm

udf started to totally suck on my ride.Got to keepin my helmet on and feigning deafness, and would pull in behind the gas/store..

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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby ClarkA » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:31 am

So my son and I headed north from Dawson Creek now truly on the ALCAN! The road and scenery were not much to write home about and not much different that upstate New York or Pennsylvania. We had a respite from the rain but needed to wear wind shirts and scarfs under the "stitch". We stopped for fuel in Fort St. John where I had a brief conversation with a fortyish year old woman with bright pink hair, who thought I was strange for riding a motorcycle so far. We continued to experience the high cost of fuel in Canada along with the availability of high octane gas. Traffic was light and Ural speed matched the road and terrain perfectly. We continued to see evidence of the booming energy activity in British Columbia at a level matching what we had seen crossing Alberta. It was this factor that would soon arise and give our tired butts a good bite! We found our hungry and tired selves motoring into the city of Fort Nelson, BC in the late afternoon early evening seeking food , fuel and relief for our saddle sore rear ends. Our first pass through town failed to produce a suitable eating place so we turned around and found ourselves in front of our old food nemesis from Peace River, Boston Pizza. As we dismounted for the bikes we we besieged by multiple pests; people wanting to talk about my bike and biting mosquitoes exacerbating our discomfort. We sat down to a so so meal that was warm to included the green stuff my wife insisted my son have me eat once and a while on the trip. With full bellies and the feeling back in my butt, we sought out fuel for our rides and beds for us. Experience should have warned me about this plan , since we hand't gotten off the road before sunset at any point of the trip before now. While filling up at a local gas station, hotel, bar and store we decided to look elsewhere for lodging. We started a fruitless search of the town for a vacant hotel room. We discovered the local gas fields were in the process of swapping out crews so every hotel room was booked!! On top of this frustrating circumstance....I was struck by another case of the GIs requiring me to find a toilet ASAP along with maneuvering out of my one piece" stitch" in the close confines of a public toilet booth. As I returned to the questioning gaze of my son who was fiddling with my bike, I gave him the bad news of no hotel room for the night. One bit of levity was at each of the hotels I had sought lodging, there was this young late teen aged couple also looking for a room. While we were screwed by the lack of vacancies......I surmise they didn't :roll: :roll: . As we were making a few tweaks in the bike's loads, a local approached us and advised us that Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park was close and it was a nice place to hold up for the night. It was still light we had full tanks, full bellies,sleeping bags and tents so why not. We headed north on Highway #97 which became narrower and soon darker as we rode along I took note of plenty of wildlife alongside the highway. Soon our old friend mister rain decided to rejoin us, making visibility even less in the moonless night along the highway in a valley. I was startled by a rather large ungulate which I had not seen darting out in front of me. Luckily I was creeping along about 45 mph at the time but my high beams and auxiliary lights were barely cutting through the darkness. I took note of a wide spot ahead and pulled in waiting for my son to catch up to me. We held a brief council and decided that this was our destination for the night as continued riding would be an exercise in fatuity! We struggled to raise our tents in the dark and rain along with discussing the bear risk associated with our camp site, deciding bear repellent and my Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 7 slugs, should ameliorate the threat. I fell asleep snuggled in my sleeping bag to the tune of rain falling onto my tent. I was awakened to the sound of traffic along the highway and even heavier rainfall than when I went to sleep. I was in no big hurry to get out into the rain and my bladder wasn't full so I went back to sleep.

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Last edited by ClarkA on Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
SFC 91C/ Medic US Army 1971-1996
"John 15:13"

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T.E. Lawrence

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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby ClarkA » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:09 am

So I was awakened by the sound of vehicles and even heavier rain the next morning, along with a not so full bladder I decided to stay nice and warm & dry in my tent until I had to actually get up. I hate breaking down my camp in the rain!! A few hours later I wakened to more loud motorcycles passing by and noticed the absence of rain. I again assumed my dad role and roused my still sleeping son to plan the days ride then reloaded the bikes. We pulled back onto the road a little chilled but with clear blue skies ahead and were greeted by a beautiful lake just down the road when we spooked an Elk into jumping into the water and swim to the far shore.

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We looked at the map and realized the hot springs were near by but daylight was burning so we pushed on. I was very PO'ed to discover my Go-Pro camera had not recorded the ride from our campsite to past Muncho Lake. Muncho lake is a beautiful blue lake that reminds me of Lake Tahoe or Crater Lake with a nice two lane road paralleling the eastern shore. The road is often crossed by mountain goats so caution was in order after last night's close encounter with wildlife. As usual my ongoing search for high octane gas was frustrated by the service area north of Muncho Lake not offering the product :x . We motored on until the hamlet of Pink Mountain, BC appeared complete with airfield, gas station and eatery! As good as this was we still had to run the UDF gauntlet to partake of victuals. We were greeted by a comely young lady and given the run of seating, choosing a booth next to a power outlet so my son's cell phone, Go-Pro camera batteries could be recharged as we ate. I took note of the tradition of stapling hats to the ceiling of the restaurant.
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The meal was excellent and quite filling but like so much along the ALCAN, not cheap. I asked our hostess if the airfield sold aviation grade fuel , she replied the pilots taxi over to the gas pumps to fill up their plane's tanks. I thanked her and went out to fill the bike from my Jerry Cans supply of high test and got back on the road. We had had been advised of the wildlife we would encounter and soon we were in the thick of it.

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My son was all about the wildlife and was pretty excited about what we were seeing, until the grizzlies. He didn't want to pose with them, while I decided to stop a respectful distance past them for pictures.

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Last edited by ClarkA on Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SFC 91C/ Medic US Army 1971-1996
"John 15:13"

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T.E. Lawrence

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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby ClarkA » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:29 am

The original highway has been improved and at times diverted over the years so at many points you will see evidence of this.

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We continued our onward ride towards Watson Lake after stopping document crossing in the Yukon Territory. I was appropriately disappointed that I hadn't seen Sergeant Preston or King anywhere in the Yukon. I take notice that both Alberta and British Columbia were Providences while the Yukon is termed a Territory can or will anyone explain this discrepancy to me?
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SFC 91C/ Medic US Army 1971-1996
"John 15:13"

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T.E. Lawrence

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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby Albuquralque » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:17 am

Hope this is accurate:

The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces are jurisdictions that receive their power and authority directly from the Constitution Act, 1867 (formerly called the British North America Act, 1867), whereas territories derive their mandates and powers from the federal government. In modern Canadian constitutional theory, the provinces are considered to be co-sovereign divisions, and each province has its own "Crown" represented by the lieutenant governor, whereas the territories are not sovereign, but simply parts of the federal realm, and have a commissioner.
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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby Albuquralque » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:17 am

BTW - great pics and report.....:lurker:
"Put a little gravel in your travel"

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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby daydream » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:03 pm

:lurker: Good report. Can't wait for the next chapter.
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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby MartyL » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:24 pm

Cool! Thanks for sharing your adventure! :clap:
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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby ClarkA » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:41 am

The ride towards Watson Lake, YT was a pleasant one with good pavement and wonderful scenery complete with wildlife. We stopped for fuel and fluid replacement at a combination, RV park, gas station(with 93 octane) , eatery with a very friendly staff offering free Wi-Fi! I am sad to say I do not recall the name of this facility, but they are located on the southbound side of the ALCAN about 1/2 mile after crossing an iron trussed bridge. The day had become progressively warmer and I shed some of my clothing under the stitch along with gulping down a large Gatorade or two before hitting the road again. We encountered the fully expected road repair crew, requiring us to await a "Lead car" to take us about 10 miles through the construction zone . As I always heard , the crew called bikes to the head of the vehicles keeping us out of most of the dust. Thank you very much road crew. We rolled into Watson Lake after a bumpy ride though the road construction on a smooth highway easily finding our destination for the night, The Famous Air Force Lodge. This building is reported to be, a reconditioned building from WWII service as an Officers Quarters for American personnel stationed at the local airfield. The owner greeted us like old friends offering us a chance to inspect the facilities before checking in!! The lobby sign required one remove their footwear upon entry to the nicely decorated area. The room was more than adequate so upon registering I was approached by a couple riding a BMW K1200 , who felt compelled to make snide comments on my bike's load and the superior technology of his machine. Having been there heard that , I ignored them and continued to unload by machine, besides they and the mosquitoes were equally bothersome and motivated me to get inside sooner. I was doing well until my final trip back to the bike when my son called me over to join his conversation with the Beemer rider discussing my son's GS and the two Beemers parked at home ,in my garage. Since my son was being cordial to this guy, I adopted the trick my father taught me, stand there quietly occasionally nod but don't join in. Eventually the mosquitoes biting us overwhelmed my interest in standing around outside, listening to "Beemer speak" from this guy. Our evening was capped off by a bland meal at the only place open late this early in the tourist season along with discovering my credit cards and ATM card weren't working.....again :o :x ! Luckily I had a good hunk of cash on hand so we settled up and left as the BMW couple arrived :D :D . Upon return to the room I discovered my Go-Pro camera failure to document the day's ride highlights :o :( . The bed was soft but after the ride it was more than adequate following a good warm shower.............

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Last edited by ClarkA on Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
SFC 91C/ Medic US Army 1971-1996
"John 15:13"

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T.E. Lawrence

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Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby eelawson » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:59 am

Excelent story. My dream is to make it to Alaska someday. I don't care how I get there. As long as I do. Be safe. Keep up the good work.


Mark. 2013 Patrol

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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby ClarkA » Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:00 am

As it seemed everyday, the sun came up too early the next morning after a good night's rest. I started my routine of awakening my son as I started to pack my gear away , to reload the bike. It was a sunny clear cool morning as we loaded the bikes and made plans to grab a meal and get in touch with my credit card and bank to facilitate use of plastic out on the road. We rolled towards "downtown" Watson Lake for the center of commerce only to discover the bank wouldn't open for another hour or so. This delay fit in nicely with the need to fill or bellies with a good hearty breakfast at a local eatery across the road from the bank. Not to miss out on excitement I was pursued by a RCMP patrol vehicle to discuss my rig. There is nothing like the feeling a police car coming out of nowhere and following you into a parking lot in another country or at home. :? I managed to get into the diner after satisfying the curiosity of the Mountie about my rig and travel plans. We managed to resolve the banking and credit card issues over the free Wi-Fi of the diner and with a phone call so we scratched the bank delay off of the list while we dined. We saddled up well sated, then headed for the most popular tourist site in town, the Sign Post Forest.

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We were anxious to get on the road towards Whitehorse, YT the next major city along the ALCAN. The road was a mixture of paved and gravel road which was not a unpleasant ride and traveling along at 50 MPH was just right. The scenery along the road was great with snow capped mountains on the horizon under a clear blue sunny sky. We motored along until we reached the little town of Teslin, YT mile marker 805 of the ALCAN on the shore of a lake of the same name. On the northbound side was a rather large gas station, RV Park, restaurant which was mobbed and without 93 octane gasoline, which sent us across the road to a combination grocery store gas station for a fill up with 93 octane! We got back on the road with full tanks after enjoying an ice creme cone and cold drink of water.
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SFC 91C/ Medic US Army 1971-1996
"John 15:13"

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T.E. Lawrence

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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby Tin Man » Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:25 am

:lurker: :foilhead:
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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby ClarkA » Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:28 am

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SFC 91C/ Medic US Army 1971-1996
"John 15:13"

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T.E. Lawrence

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Re: Connecticut to Alaska via Key West Ride Report Blues

Postby ClarkA » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:01 am

The ride from Teslin to Whitehorse was pretty much without significant events or changes in the spectacular scenery. The occasional slow moving RV or camping trailer rig required my right hand to flog the Ural around them but luckily it wasn't a frequent event. We did pass a few bicyclist riding the ALCAN , I just hoped the bears weren't near the road . You may have noticed the lack of commentary on the bike's performance, that's because it was running like a top since the carburetor cleaner and occasional aviation grade fuel use seems to have done the trick. I was getting just about 150 miles to each tank of gas running 50-55 MPH in high altitude areas. A good number of the communities along the ALCAN were created or improved during WWII by building airfields to shuttle aircraft to Russia and defend Alaska, with Whitehorse being one of the largest. The afternoon was turning into the evening and we rolled into Whitehorse during the commute time which was not a good experience since the ALCAN is the main drag of the town, so every road empties onto it. We discussed our deadline of being on the Arctic Circle for my birthday and realized we were one day away from this realizing this goal, so we needed to pick up the pace! With that decision we elected to scratch heading for Dawson and set our sights on the border crossing town of Beaver Creek, YT. Being boys of adult age we are easily distracted so on the way out of town.........
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While were were gawking and being curious little boys, our old friend sneaked up on us,yes rain!!!!! This motivated us to get back onto the road as daylight was burning and we had miles to go before we slept. We eventually got out of the rain and resumed riding in hot weather with clear sky and approaching sunset, when my pusher tire abruptly gave up the ghost! :o :o :o :P The true pain was the combination of heat and MOSQUITOES! :cry: :cry: You will quickly learn to keep your helmet on and try to work with your gloves on because your sweaty body will ring a dinner bell for every one of these critters within a 100 miles or it seems that way. The unloading and reloading the bike took more time than changing the tire and never felt so good to get back on the road .
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SFC 91C/ Medic US Army 1971-1996
"John 15:13"

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T.E. Lawrence


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