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I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Its well known that the gravel on the Dempster Highway from Dawson to Inuvik is a killer… as I learned 70 kilometers south of Inuvik. You would think that after having driven almost 700 kilometers in the stuff I would be used to it. But no… every patch of loose gravel on the Dempster is different. I was riding my fully farkled DL650 with TKC80 tires.

It wasn’t speed… I was only doing 60 or 70 kms/hour when I hit the gravel patch. It wasn’t weather… it was a beautiful day… about 24 degrees Celsius – 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The back end started to fishtail, the bike went into an uncontrollable wobble and went down low side. In the process my foot went down and I could feel the bones in my ankle snapping. Then it stopped. The engine cut out and there was silence. Total silence. I was in the middle of the road. I knew my leg was broken, but everything else was OK. ATGATT. Never compromise. I was under the bike but not pinned. My Caribou cases kept the bike up off the injured leg.

Fortunately I had decided to bring a satellite phone with me and got the number of the RCMP communications centre in the Yukon before I left. It worked perfectly…. Though I was now in the Northwest Territories. It took a few seconds to transfer the call to the RCMP detachment in Inuvik. From my GPS I was able to tell them how far down the road from Inuvik I was, and was able to give them the precise GPS coordinates. While on the phone a camper van from Washington State driven by a really nice chap named Ralph pulled up. Though you’re riding alone on the Dempster, at this time of year you can count on another vehicle coming by every 10 or 15 minutes. The RCMP asked to speak to Ralph just in case I passed out. He agreed to stay with me until help arrived.

It took the RCMP about 45 minutes to get to me. 50 minutes for the ambulance. In the meantime, a couple from Inuvik on the way home stopped and helped get me to the side of the road and get the bike off the road. Several other vehicles, including one biker, stopped to offer assistance.

Inuvik has a little hospital with very kind and competent medical and nursing staff. They X-rayed my leg and sent the X-rays electronically to an orthopedic surgeon in Yellowknife. It was decided to Medivac me to Yellowknife on a fixed wing air ambulance…. Oh… Insurance…. Don’t leave home without that either. The Medivac bill was $15K.

And the best motel I “never” stayed at? I was heading for the Arctic Chalet in Inuvik. When the proprietor learned that I had been in an accident, she came to the hospital to see me, but I had already been airlifted to Yellowknife. She tracked down my wife in Toronto and offered to help in any way. She and her husband are now making all the arrangements to get my bike, gear and luggage shipped home. If their accommodations are half as good as their kindness….. its unquestionably 5 star.

And a plug for Caribou cases… the laptop this is being typed on was in the case that hit the ground the hardest. The mountings on the left side are bent up, but the cases themselves are still intact and will be on the bike for the next trip.

I was told by the RCMP that the bike is in pretty good shape. Only real damage is bent handlebars, an a broken side mirrors. Crash bars and barkbusters helped there.

Yeah… I crashed my bike…. I broke my ankle…. But I made it to the Arctic Circle and had my faith in humanity restored. Check out the video.
 

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Sorry about your leg, but what a great story - and a cool video. Hope you get well soon.

The Caribous worked for me, too. They're the best crashbars you can get for the back of a Strom... and a great place to pack a few things.

Attitude is everything...
 

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Dang, that's one heck of a short, yet action packed ride report. Glad you are okay to tell the tale. Those medivac services do get expensive don't they? Mine was $14k when I crashed in Arkansas.
 

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…. Oh… Insurance…. Don’t leave home without that either. The Medivac bill was $15K.
/QUOTE]

Sorry about your crash...
Was the $15K covered by your normal health insurance, or do you have some other kind of insurance that picked it up? I do a lot of traveling to really remote areas in Colorado and Utah, so evacuation could get a bit expensive...
 

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Until we meet again
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Sorry to hear about the accident and injury. Glad you did it on the south bound leg rather than the north. At least you got in some of your goals for the trip. Heal fast.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Sorry to hear about the crash. I've been it that position myself. At least you'll have a memory of the adventure and it's a great story. Concentrate on healing and do your physical therapy when the time comes. Did the bike have a fork brace and steering stabilizer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Insurance

…. Oh… Insurance…. Don’t leave home without that either. The Medivac bill was $15K.
/QUOTE]

Sorry about your crash...
Was the $15K covered by your normal health insurance, or do you have some other kind of insurance that picked it up? I do a lot of traveling to really remote areas in Colorado and Utah, so evacuation could get a bit expensive...
I do a lot of business travel in Canada and the States and have an extended travel health plan through my bank. The company handling the claim is Assured Assistance Inc. Yes. I ensured that medical evacuation was part of the policy. In addition to the 15K for the air ambulance to Yellowknife, on the ride home last night they paid for two seats on the flight from Yellowknife to Calgary so that I could elevate my leg (because there was no executive class on the flight). Then an executive class seat from Calgary to Toronto. And they made all of the travel arrangements. I only had to worry about getting to the airport on time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Steering Stabilizer

Sorry to hear about the crash. I've been it that position myself. At least you'll have a memory of the adventure and it's a great story. Concentrate on healing and do your physical therapy when the time comes. Did the bike have a fork brace and steering stabilizer?
The bike has a fork brace. Steering stabilizer? Never heard of that and I thought I had most every farkle you could fit on a strom.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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I was put down by a high speed tank slapper myself. A fork brace may have kept it from starting but a steering stabilizer absolutely prevents the uncontrollable wobble you mentioned if it is a fast action. I don't go anywhere without it now. It is to your steering as a shock absorber is to your suspension. It allows normal steering but prevents higher speed movements than a rider can input. http://www.scottsperformance.com/scotts.php
Here is a picture of mine.

 

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Congratulations on the ride Brendan but one sure hates to read that a fellow rider had a mishap like this. One can always say that it comes with the the sport though I suppose but that doesn't make it feel any better. We've all had the close calls.

Great video. My wife was watching it over my shoulder and asked "Are you going to do that ride with Dan next year" (My friend Dan just completed it on his Airhead GS. At my age I hesitate but then again......yes I believe will.
 

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What Kinda Bike Is That?
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Remarkable and inpirational story and video footage. Thank you for sharing it.

B.
 

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Inuvik ride

thanks for sharing your adventure with us, i too am glad you will heal to ride again. i also recall the sewer rock sections of the dempster, i came very close to loosing it on a klr a few years back. for me there was a fine line between too slow and too fast, and as you said conditions constantly are changing. good luck with the recovery.
 

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Brendan, glad to hear your OK. Myself on my 05 1K and two others on KLRs just returned from that ride. We were on the Dempster the first week of June. Weather was clear and sunny mostly. Also had an slight mishap about 35 km south of Fort McPherson on the way north. Rider down at 60 kmh on slight uphill in loose gravel. In this case he got up and dusted himself off and all was well for the most part. Bike needed a bit of fixing to continue, but a sober reminder of how unforgiving and remote that highway can be.
 

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Was the $15K covered by your normal health insurance, or do you have some other kind of insurance that picked it up? I do a lot of traveling to really remote areas in Colorado and Utah, so evacuation could get a bit expensive...
Medjet Assist is the popular service now. It costs a bit less than $200 a year with a BMW MOA membership.
 

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$tromtrooper
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Indeed, very nice vid. Sorry about the crash and hope you heal fast and well. At least you got a story out of it that should get better with time. How long before cannibals and grizzlies make their appearance in it? :mrgreen:
 

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Glad to read a story with a painful but happy ending. Insurance is a must both medivac and medical For both Canadians and Americans as well as other parts of the globe. In Canada for US residents at least not all Insurance will cover foreign travel accidents or if it is on a bike it is sometimes exempt as "hazardous Activity" .Medicare is not accepted in Canada. Canadians or others in Alaska need travelers insurance as well. I worked in Insurance for 10 years and what you do not know can hurt the pocketbook. The best place to look is Horizon’s Unlimited web site, IMO. This alone is worth getting a SPOT Messenger for also. http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=104
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sat phone vs. Spot

G This alone is worth getting a SPOT Messenger for also. http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=104
I had considered getting a SPOT but decided on the sat phone instead. It worked out well for me because I was able to immediately connect to the local emergency response authority. However, I do recognize that the sat phone, which was in my tank bag, wouldn't have helped if I had been unconscious, or had landed, injured, too far from the bike. A personally mounted spot might have been better in that instance. Of course, for those who are belt and suspender kind of people, you could have both. I honestly think I might do both next time.
 
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