Monday, July 16, 2007

Going south

Well, I got a late start out of Whitehorse, but I got clean underwear. Was riding for a bit and stopped at a rest area. A Suzuki touring bike pulled in. Got talking with the rider, a fellow from Alaska. He's heading south to Montana. He took off a few minutes before me but got held up at a construction zone. We kept meeting up along the way. Eventually we just started riding together rather then passing one another back and forth since we were taking breaks around the same time and such.

I had been contemplating taking Rt 37 from Watson Lake south (Cassiar Hwy). I talked to some folks back in Anchorage that discouraged it because it was all stone (they said). Talked to another rider along the way that said it wasn't nearly that bad. When we got to the junction of the Alaska Hwy and Rt 37 I spoke with the old lady running the gas station. She told me it wasn't nearly that bad, but it is a secondary road and is no interstate. She also advised it was 147 miles to the next gas stop. Hmmm. I'm getting 45 - 49 mpg, a 3.3 gallon tank. In theory I would have enough. I have 1/2 gallon extra in some camping stove fuel bottles. I should make it, I think. I discuss it with this guy Chuck I've been riding with. He says he's going Rt 37 and he has a 2 gallon gas can strapped to the back of his bike (on top of the 5+ gallon tank his bike has). He says he'd more then gladly let me use it. So, down the Cassiar Highway I go.

Rt 37 is an awesome ride so far. It's exactly what I was looking for. Not a tourist trap road like the Alcan. Just a simple road. It's a bit bumpy at spots (FYI, "bumps" has a new meaning to me. Imagine the absolute worst road in PA, that's what I mean by a bit bumpy). Where it's "improved" it's just chip and tar.

We ended up stopping around 100 miles down Rt 37 and putting the gas from Chuck's can in my tank. He said he was tired of feeling it slosh around and I was more then glad not to run dry. While filling the gas tank up my kickstand broke (the one that was just welded to be made appropriate length). A few moments of getting the bike back upright and all was good as I had a spare (don't ask why I had a spare, it's a long story probably not worth telling). So within a few minutes I had a kickstand and was good to go (although this one is a bit short).

The last 10 - 20 miles we road was mud/dirt. Well, it was all mud because just as we got to that section it decided to POUR on us. Shit. I've never ridden in mud before. This is a little extreme. And I won't tell you how fast I was going (way faster then my Mom would approve of in mud). And even though a few times I thought for sure I was going down, I stuck to it and kept things up right. It's certainly a new challenge. And before I get email telling me to slow down, the problem with going any slower is I didn't have traction to get up the hills if I was going to slow. I love having all that V-twin torque, EXCEPT when riding on slippery substances.

I'm staying at a great little motel. I was really looking forward to camping, but it's pouring outside, and it looks like it will be for a while here. I stayed mostly dry, excpet that I forgot (like an idiot) to completely close my rain paints. By the time I realized it I was in the mud and wasn't going to stop or worry about it at that point. Everything is drying out quite nicely now.

I'm in the process of uploading a TON of photos. Here's what I've got so far (again, there is a TON of photos, some good, some not, view at your leisure):

7/7/07 - Dawson Creek to Muncho Lake

7/8/07 - Muncho Lake to Whitehorse

7/9/07 - Whitehorse to Tok

7/10/07 - Tok to Anchorage

There might be a few more photo's by morning (the motel has Internet Access, but it's painfully slow).


gary said...
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gary said...

Great information Dan. I'm glad the fun has returned and the bike is running good. I can relate to the group riding issues. Even though they are all great people, thats a lot of time adapting your riding/traveling style. Theres a couple riders I know of that I could do a long trip like yours with and have fun, but not 6 or 7 at once.


Chuck said...

Geez, sorry about the kickstand. I watched the guy weld that thing, it looked like he did a good job....

George said...

Im glad your enjoying your vacation your way,hang in there and thanks for the write ups.

Cindy Dietz said...

Clean underware is worth leaving late. I too am glad to hear that you are having a great time, your pictures are great. Be Safe.

Joakim said...

Good you made it safely (?) through the mud! Nice checking the images out! How is the bike working now?

lonzoinnc said...

Dan, I'm enjoying reading your travel blog. Every time I read about someone else's adventures I try and imagine me being with them. You've got a lot more adventuresome determination than me and my hat is off to ya'! Much respect to all of the AK adventurers! #1 priority:HAVE FUN! 'Til we meet again, Lonzo in NC (keep safe!)

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