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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Alrighty guys. I've decided I really don't like the format of the Blog. I want all this in chronological order. So I'm going to post a real ride report on this summer's Alaska trip.

I'm going to just post a day or two each day so that people can follow along.

Fair warning:


IF YOU GUYS DON'T LIKE REALITY, IF EMOTIONS MAKE YOU FEEL WEAK, IF YOU ARE FREAKED OUT BY DRINKING, DRUGS, SEX, FIGHTING, AND TEARS THEN DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER.

This is my account of the trip Tige, Coop, and myself took to Alaska. I was emotional leaving my family, I did things out of character. I am not sugar coating any of it.

-GW
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Day 0

So tomorrow we are Alaska bound. I'm ready and not ready all at the same time.

The stickers should come today



I do not think my brand new Sidi Canon Gore-Tex boots will be making it before we leave. Thats rough since my boots are no longer waterproof and the first couple days look like rain. Ahh well, done it before and will do it again. I'll probably leave them behind and just way my cowboy boots.

Tonight I spoon the new Distanzas on the bike. Laptop and sprint card are going with me so I will update this blog as I can. The others have blogs up as well which may be more interesting.

Pictures will be uploaded at: http://www.the-elliott-family.com/main.php?g2_itemId=18999

Tiges Blog: http://www.stromtrooper.com/blogs/Tige/weblog

Coops Blog: http://www.coop74.blogspot.com

Talk to you guys again soon,
-GrayWolf
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Day 1 - 519.1 miles

Stickers did indeed make it in time for the trip.



Also as expected my boots did not make it. The upside is my cowboy boots turned out to be quite waterproof (Today at least, it was not to last).

We got out of Indy late this morning but it was all smiles



Outside of St Louis the traffic totally sucked. They were also the WORST damn drivers I've ever had to put up with (until Chicago on the way back anyway). I came close several times to knocking off some mirrors. We spent most of the day in some crappy weather. It all looked about like this.



We made it to KC around 9pm just before having to change my faceshield. One close call with a deer at dusk was the only real adventure. By the way, here is the old girl clean, with new tires, loaded up and ready to go.




More tomorrow from Wall South Dakota.

-GrayWolf
 

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Keep going.......

Love the sticker bro! That's cool idea to commerate an epic trip!

I think I remember you from the V-strom gathering late last summer at Brendan's house. Were you there? I can picture big ole' Tige, not sure about Coop.

I was the guy that rode in to that party on the Black Kawasaki ZRX 1100, of course I've converted since then!;)
 

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Love the sticker bro! That's cool idea to commerate an epic trip!

I think I remember you from the V-strom gathering late last summer at Brendan's house. Were you there? I can picture big ole' Tige, not sure about Coop.

I was the guy that rode in to that party on the Black Kawasaki ZRX 1100, of course I've converted since then!;)
Graywolf was there. He was the crazy jackass that brought the gun for BTD to play with. Coop wasn't there, so you wouldn't remember him.

Tige
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Day 2 - 1227.3 Miles

Todays agenda was Kansas City to Wall, a little over 700 miles. Our host Brian led us for the first 150 miles. Once we got off the beaten path we saw some very interesting places.

Example 1:



Apparently there are lots of swedes in Stromburg.



Despite our adventures in Stromburg most of the day was pretty boring. Lots of flat, lots of corn, but at least we avoided any majors highways and stayed cool.





Coop ended up leading much of the day. During portions of the ride the grasshoppers were so thick on the road it was impossible to avoid them. I've hit grasshopper swarms before, what made this one unique was the birds on the road eating them. We now are teasingly calling Coop "Bird Dog" since not only did he hit 2 that day but during a bike inspection the morning of day 4 he actually found a third pinned between his pannier and the tank!

I love it when the country starts to change from the midwest to the west. It means the trip is truly beginning.



We even managed to find around 40 miles of gravel right before Wall.



It was a long day but a good one. We tossed up the tents in Wall around dark and performed a stretegic retreat from the mosquitos. This appears to be becoming a theme.

-GrayWolf
 

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it was even funner then it looked...



that is us packing up in Wall.



a shot of the first night of camping on the trip. Soon, we could stop and get the campsite up in under 30 minutes

Coop
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Day 3 - 1846.3 Miles

Today is a relaxing 600 miles from Wall to Ft. Benton. The elevation changed over 2000 ft today although we camped only 1000 feet higher then Wall. I led today and it was mostly uneventful.





We passed out of South Dakota into Wyoming



And then just a few miles later left Wyoming behind for Montana.



We saw hundreds of deer and antelope along the highway, only a few on the highway.





By the way, when there is a sign that says "slide area" and you are doing 80 with one hand on a camera SLOW DOWN. Those slow for turn signs may not mean it but the slide signs sure do!



Here is a tweaked version of that rock slide image thanks to SCraig.



We camped at Montana RV park in Ft. Benton. Of the four places you can camp this is the only one that is not free. That said the bathrooms were worth every penny. We also had the best food of the trip at Bobs place. Wonderful food and homemade pie. We ended up getting out too late so I was unable to update the blog although I did get photos uploaded. This appears to be a theme and I fear that I will be unable to really keep up with this blog. During the day I write the trip report and circumstances usually prevent me from uploading. Here I am three days later throwing up quick entries and all the careful thought I put into the report goes out the window.

I'll keep working on it, in the meantime enjoy the pictures if you can http://www.the-elliott-family.com/main.php?g2_itemId=18999



I was not able to upload the pictures last night due to the BBQ (wonderful!) so you will have to wait a bit for day 4, probably will not have internet for the next two days. I will post day 4 and any others I miss when I get another connection.

-GrayWolf
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Day 4 - 2219.1 Miles

Today is the big BBQ! Heading from Ft. Benton to Bragg Creek and looking forward to meeting a bunch of Canadian troopers and some good chow.

Montana was pretty boring, never ridden through this part of the state before and did not expect it to be so flat. It all pretty much looked the same.



Before hitting 15 to take us to canada we met an interesting individual at a gas station. He had much advice to give and you could tell by looking in his eyes that traveling was his high.





The line at the border was something else. You would think on a holiday weekend there would be more than one border guard on duty.



There was only one thing that Duck Tape said about getting to his house and of course we all ignored it and got lost. After finding a neighbor who let me use his internet connection we were set right. I'm betting this is the place.



Our host, the honorable Duck Tape Esquire put on quite a spread (and had a hell of a home)







We had a terrific time, some incredible steaks, and a bunch of guys who quickly became old friends. Sleeping inside rocked as well. All in all I would gladly ride the 2000 miles to Bragg Creek for another BBQ.

Tomorrow is the Alcan, and as much as I'd like to post it tonight I need time to reflect to do it any justice.

Until next time keep the rubber side down,
-GrayWolf
 

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You guy's

Are my new Hero's .....:mrgreen:

I cant wait to make that type of trip...:D
 

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I forgot I was looking forward to this ride report. Somehow, GW, I guess I pictured you still being roadside with a bent rim. Glad y'made it back. Looking forward to reading a gritty, no-holds-barred account of the good bad n'ugly. SUBSCRIBED
 

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You the man.....Found your way back.....I did'nt think - I mean I knew you could do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Day 5 - 2882.8 Miles

Its a long ride from the Bragg Creek to the start of the Alaska Highway and took us most of the day. From the beginning of the ride the Canadian Rockies were in view and we were looking forward to Banff.



Banff was truly beautiful but we had very little time to admire it. It was very cold so our first real stop was to put on some warmer gear. At the start of the park I was greeted by a vison who told me "Oh, that guy over there paid for you, you can go on through". Of course my reply was "Great! Can I take your picture?".



We were all in great spirits as every corner showed us an ever more beautiful scene.





As we rounded a corner we saw a glacier deserving of a toast. We broke out the MRE's and ate the view with an MRE appitizer.



After banff things got pretty boring. Flat. Boring. And did I mention boring. I think it started to wear on all our nerves after a while. I entertained myself at a gas station popping wheelies for the little kids as mommy filled up the battle wagon. Shortly after that I saw my first Elk and stopped to snap a picture.



We did see some wild at one point in the trip but it was too wary and ran off before I could snap a shot. Some time after the elk we managed to find the start of the Alcan.



It was right after this that things went haywire. Tige didn't care where we stopped (of course) and neither did Coop. My comment was "lets get out of town and stop at the VERY NEXT CAMPSITE. Well Coop was in the lead and he shot on by the first one, then the second one, as he started passing the third one I stopped and so did Tige. Coop didn't stop, we waited, he didn't come back. We went looking for him and there was no sign. We keep going and are starting to worry. Do we pull out the emergency numbers and start dialing? Tige tells me Coop probalby went on to Charlie Lake which was supposed to be our stop that night. So on we go and there he is at Charlie Lake setting up camp. So we set up tents in the dark (dammit) and I give Coop a dressing down for being irresponsible. His comment was that "the only person I knows is going to make Alaska is me". Well I believe I made it clear that if he wanted to "stick to the schedule" he needed to let us know that was the plan and not go off on his own. We all went our seperate ways to bed. It was a very quiet night at camp that night.

What I have taken away from that night is that Coop is not exactly who I thought he was. This is when I started to think about turning back. I don't know who Coop thinks I am but he is as mistaken about me as I was about him. I expect a little more respect then I was shown, if you will not respect me why ride 10,000 miles with me?

The next few days on the Alcan were some of the hardest I've ever ridden. Not only was the road tougher then I expected but I had a lot to sort out.

More on that later,
-GrayWolf
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OK. I read the warning and decided to read anyway. Where's the SEX? you all took your own tents.
All I'm going to say is that apparently Dawson City fills up with college kids, mostly girls, backpacking and hiking.

-GW
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Day 6 - 3454.7 Miles

The night at Charlie Lake was COOOOLD but the morning was clear and I rode off (still sulking a bit) to get a picture of the lake.



Of course I didn't know it at the time but this was to be one of the more memorable days of the whole trip. It was by far the day we saw the most animals. Up to this point we had seen a couple of black bears and some fenced in elk. Today would show us Dall sheep, moose, caribu, black bear, and grizzly. Oh, and a molting elk.







Not bad for a guy doing 55 and shooting with his off hand eh? And of course I continued to shoot pictures of the guys and anything else I found picture worthy. Here they are going over what we termed "Damn I hate those bridges"



From time to time we would stop and I'd get a few shots on my feet.



That airstrip is in a little town called "Toad Creek" that had a couple gas pumps and that air strip. Shortly after leaving we were rounding a corner and there was this beautiful lake, color that only a glacial lake can have, and tige was framed perfectly in the shot. I looked down and nabbed the camera, thumbing it on as I brought it up and aiming it at tige and I.... HOLY HELL THATS A BIG POTHOLE! I jinked one handed and breathed a sigh of relief as my front wheel missed the hole by inches. Thats about when the side of the pothole collapsed and sucked in my back tire. BOOM! I rode out of it but with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach I knew that tire was history. Here I was 800 miles from the nearest service station and my trip was over. I pulled over and took a look. Tire was fine, rim was bent to hell.



Well if you have to be broken down somewhere its hard to beat the view...



Well as we tried to beat the rim back into shape Tige took off to see if anyone at Toad Creek had a sledge we could use. Several people stopped but none with a big hammer. Thats when John and his buddy rode up on a Tiger and a Shadow. No sledge but a big axe that was a decent pretender. As they beat on the rim it slowly was coming back to shape. "One more good shot should do it" we all decide and WHAM, crap, it cracked. Now I'm really stuck! "Nah," John says "I've got a tube and we have the same size rear tire, it should get you where you are going". So somehow just when I needed it the right guy shows up with the right part. The cost of the tube is an e-mail when I get home letting him know I made it safely. So on the road again, a good deal humbler and totally wiped out by the experience. I dropped the bike TWICE after that, once turning around to get a picture of a grizzly.



Even with the 180mm zoom it was a long shot, need longer telephoto!(donations welcome)



So here was a day full of ups and downs. The last one came when as we pulled into the campground at Watson Lake I ask the attendant how much for the three of us to pitch tents and he responds "Bikers camp free". I walked out of that office with a grin I couldn't hide. As we set up the tent we found out Coop has a funny side and does a hell of an impression of Billy Bob Thornton in Slingblade. "Uh huh.. mmm.. that pothole sure was a bigin.. umm hmmm..". I believe I commented to Tige it was worth 3000 miles to hear coop being funny. That was also the night it went below freezing and I woke up to frost on my tent. Thats when I found out all the gear I brought was not enough to keep me warm during an abnormaly cold summer in the yukon. I slept very poorly and wake up even more unsure if I should continue on a bad rim, a bad budget, and when I cannot sleep due to the cold.

More to come,
-GrayWolf
 

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It's like living the trip all over again. Most days I only remember a brief glimspe of the trip. Reading this makes me remember the whole days - the solitude of the ride, the funny parts, the anxiety, etc.

Thanks for posting it again.

Tige
 

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:var_47::var_47::var_47:

Damn that rear wheel took a hard hit! Just as the old saying goes "The adventure begins when things stop going as planned."

Sounds like tire tubes are good spare to carry in remote areas!
 
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