Mega picture and videos update tomorrow!
“The James W. Dalton Highway, usually Dalton Highway (Alaska Route 11) is a 414-mile (667 km) road in Alaska. It begins at the Elliott Highway, north of Fairbanks, and ends at Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean and the Prudhoe Bay oil fields. Once called the North Slope Haul Road (a name by which it is still sometimes known), it was built as a supply road to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in 1974. It is named for James Dalton, a lifelong Alaskan and an engineer who supervised construction of the Distant Early Warning Line in Alaska and, as an expert in Arctic engineering, served as consultant in early oil exploration in northern Alaska.“
On the way in we stayed at Wiseman and on the way out we made it from Deadhorse to Fairbanks in one day. 800 KM we rode and it was worth!
Today we go home for real but not before we ride some of BC’s finest back roads. Will take us about 8 hours to get home but we don’t mind. The threat of rain seems to have past and now I see the good white fluffy clouds and blue sky. Hopefully we arrive home in the sun rather the way we left, in the pouring rain.
Hope to get some good pictures along the way so many of you can get a feel for our Province, British Columbia which is a very beautiful place to live and explore.
August 10th 2011
From July 24th 2011 we watched an eagle steal a fish from a seagull the beach at Homer Spit
More Videos on the Videos page!
Mileage not even worth counting today. We literally road from 100 Mile House to Loon Bay which was only about 50 KM? We changed our plans once again after we got on the road. Decided to hang out in this area for 2 nights for a little vacation from our vacation. Transitioning back in to sort of reality and just getting used to the idea we are ending our trip of a lifetime.
In a way I am ready to head home and see our dogs and relax in our house. This trip has been so much more than we ever expected but as in all things it must come to end. We will have the thousands of pictures and tons of videos to look back upon as well as the whole experience of doing a live report from the road in some of the most remote parts of the world. Perhaps I will make a DVD.
Having people as well following along all around the globe has been such a treat to for us. Having the opportunity of riding 2 brand new Triumph Tigers, thanks to Triumph Canada for the longest demo ride ever has been an incredible opportunity. Sorry BMW, but we have fallen for another brand and bike. The Tiger 800XC. Final review on the bikes after we get home.
Thanks to Western Powersports in Langley, BC for getting the bikes into shape for the trip! We are just grateful in so many ways words seem trivial.
The chains are holding up. We are trying to keep some lube on them but every time we think we are staying on pavement we go off onto a dusty side road.
Heidenau’s have almost 14000 KM on them and some hard core mileage. We think they still look good. So, one set of tires each have almost made it back home. I know they will but still have to preference this with an almost.
One of hundreds of fuel stops along the way. Gas mileage if iffy on these bikes but more about how we got better mileage and what happens when the mileage goes south. We have kept track of our gas costs and lodging but not really food. Will post that later as well.
The Jesse brackets that have been hidden under our panniers for so long. I wanted to show off the details and attention Al Jesse has given these brackets and how you can not mistaken them for any other bike. Notice the T 800 and the 800 on the other side. Very cool, we do not have this for our Beemers. Nice touch we say Mr. Al Jesse.
We are glad we decided to not really ride today. Good news is that tomorrow we are going to take the panniers off and go find some fun roads. We are not that far from civilization and if anything happens with the chains or bikes people are not far away. So, we shall lighten the load and check out the back roads tomorrow, canoe on the lake and relax for one more day. August 8th 2011 was another beautiful day out and made for a good pit stop at Loon Bay.
August 8th, 2011
Where we might stay for 2 nights vacationing and drinking beer.
August 7th 2011
Got down to zero Celsius last night and when we stopped for the day today we noticed a can a beer Cheryl was carrying in her pannier leaked. Yep, not a good idea in the luggage but in any case we did and beer got all over her sleeping bag, pillow, a camera among other things. Now, can you imagine if this happened say yesterday and we went to camp? Too funny Cheryl would have been drunk all night just from her bag. Seriously though we are very happy that we did not sleep outside last night and if you look at the picture below so was Cheryl. I all ready had 2 cups of coffee when I took this picture of her all snuggled in the bed.
We headed up to Barkerville only about 6 KM’s from where we stayed around 8am. The gates open to the town at 8 and the shops and town comes alive at 1000. We got to see everything without all the other annoying tourists and we also had breakfast while some of the “cast” were eating. The town plays the part for real during business hours and all the costumes and people are for real. We did not really hang around to see everything get in full swing but we did get a taste of this very interesting tourist attraction.
We highly recommend anyone coming up this way to make the side trip to Barkerville. now enjoy your virtual tour. (remember to click the picture to make them larger)
We pulled over at a rest stop right outside Wells to check my bike. It was stalling again. Mind you since Cheryl did her reset back in Stewart her bikes has been running fine. We both disconnected our batteries in Stewart for 5 mins and then ran the bikes at idle for 15 mins. Cheryl’s seems to have worked mine not so much. We will try again soon.
Here is where Brian, aka Cariboo_kid from the ADV forum found us. He lives in Quesnel and we briefly met Brian yesterday. He sent an email saying he wanted to ride a few hundred miles with us today and he did. Brian came to Williams Lake with us and he took us on a side route that was a really nice country back road. Brian I know you are reading this, what road was that? We can not see the name on our map.
Brian told us that a local man built this bridge himself.
Update from Brian: “Originally the only way to cross the Fraser between Quesnel and Willam’s Lake was by the reaction ferry at Alexandria. According to local stories, Johnson’s wife had a near drowning accident while using the ferry and Rudy petitioned the provincial government to build a safer and permanent crossing. After being ignored by all levels of government, he purchased a 200-ton, 300-foot long steel bridge in Alaska and reassembled it across the Fraser River, with the help of engineer Howard Elder, in six months for only $200,000. It allowed him to cut 30 miles off his trips between his Buckskin Ranch and Williams Lake. “
The three of us. By this time the temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius. The second time we felt heat like this. The other time was heading into Fairbanks. Sun, heat we are completely in shock. Actually I think our bodies are in shock because it has been so cold this entire trip that we have worn our heated liner and gloves we would say about 85% of the time.
Coming in to Williams Lake and we see a huge sawmill. Tons of lumber and the town is bigger than we thought. All of these town we have never been through so this is a really cool part of the trip to see our own Province in depth. By the time we are home we will have seen pretty much all of BC.
While we were sitting in McDicks having lunch, we noticed these women checking out our bikes.
Cheryl went out to ask them if they were interested in purchasing them for a trip of their own, however they said they were “too old and afraid” to ride motorcycles. They were just looking at all of the stickers on our our luggage.
We decided not to stay in or around Williams Lake and headed to 100 Mile House. Should have stayed closer to Williams Lake in the end because there was a great Provincial Park to camp at but because we ended the day later than we thought, motel yet again. Seriously, we are only to blame for not camping that much lately, we need to stop riding earlier in the day and not be so tired.
The ride down from Barkerville to 100 Mile House was such a transformation in terrain. We are really beginning to feel like we are getting closer to home. Interesting emotions are going through our heads at this point. Different for both of us but one thing in common is that we could go on from here and stay away for many more months. We are starting to talk about our highlights and there are so many. I guess those will have to wait for the final chapter. We still have more of BC to travel before pulling into our garage. Maple Ridge can wait a bit longer for us to return.
We need to adjust a bit and we will use this time to wind down and get ourselves ready for reality. This trip although is reality felt more like a dream. Kind of surreal to look back and see all the territory we covered, the miles or kilometers, from the mountains to the grasslands. Just amazing and we both do not even feel for a second that this was too long.
Off to bed once again, these days go by so fast. Where tomorrow? Still not sure.
August 5th 2011
Cheryl’s brake pads. (click for larger pics)
UPDATE: When I look back at the brake pads it is rather clear to me now that when we first started out on this trip both bikes rear tires were installed out of alignment. We did not know this until we got to Dawson City. The uneven wear and tear of the pads is obviously due to the fact that we were initially riding with our rear tires not straight. Good idea to check your tires if you have someone else install them for alignment. We learned a valuable and important lesson. never take work done on your bikes for granted and assume that the shop does “perfect” work.
At Kickstart and then we all found out that the 525 chain Kickstart had received from Ontario over night was only a 120 link not the 122 we needed. The Tiger XC uses an unusual chain that many do not have in stock. 525/122. So, out the door went the idea of new chains. Also, since these are not our bikes we did not feel comfortable piecing together 2 chains either. Neither did James, the head tech at Kickstart. So, no new chains, new rear pads only and after hours of trying to figure out how to get new chains, we decided to continue on the old one’s and hope for the best. What we found interesting though is somehow we were responsible for paying for the shipping charges for a chain that was incorrectly ordered by Kickstart. We paid it but still are wondering why.
Thanks to Rebecca at Western Powersports and Mark at Pacific Powersports in Richmond BC for trying to get chains to us! We appreciate all the efforts involved.
Not a lot of pictures today because not too much riding. Also, my mind was a bit preoccupied with the chain thing and also just reflecting on the last 35 days. We are both feeling really sad that this is coming to an end and for me sometimes I dwell on the end versus still living in the moment. Cheryl kept saying to me to enjoy ourselves not worry about the bikes or anything. It sort of worked. I began to enjoy the ride but forgot to take pictures of the cute towns we went through like Kitwanga, New Hazelton, Moricetown, Smithers, Telkwa, Houston and our final destination for the day Burns Lake.
Big time change in scenery. We have gone from Mountains to a few mountains and farmland. The landscape is lush green, wheat fields all over the place, green houses and starting to feel like we are getting closer to home.
Nice Harley guys in Smithers took our bikes in right away and reassured us our chains are not in great condition but have some life left in them. Mine chain was adjusted I think for the last time and let’s hope the boys are correct and that we get home without incident. We were actually charged 1/2 hr labour for this 10 min job. $50.
Stopped off for a brief visit to see some of Cheryl’s extended family. Great ice tea, muffins and nice to have met everyone. Cheryl was very happy to see those she has not seen for a very long time. Wish it could have been longer but we needed to get to Burns Lake and it was all ready about 1730 hrs and we were only in Smithers.
Saw my first sunset tonight in a very long time. The further South we are getting the darker it is getting too. The sunset was beautiful but all my pics have power lines in them and I deleted them all. Civilization gets in the way of beauty sometimes.
August 5th today and we are due home no later than August 15th.
August 6th 2011
Burns Lake to Wells (429 KM)
We are combining 2 days into one post due to the lack of pictures. Not that the scenery is underwhelming or anything, it’s just my camera is not working great and I am getting a bit burnt out taking pictures. I feel like I just want to ride and really absorb it all since the end of the trip is getting closer.
We got to Prince George in no time. But in Vanderhoof after we got gas my bike decided to stall once again. Cheryl’s has been good for 2 days. The funny thing is while we were working on my bike a couple in a truck heading to Smithers stopped and said that they have been following us on our Blog and ride report and were hoping to cross paths. Well we did but I never got their names. In any case small world as they say and it was nice to meet the Quesnel folks.
Got to Quesnel and headed to a lumber store in town to meet Brian, aka Cariboo_kid from the ADV forum. Brian graciously offered a bed for the night but because we didn’t really ride that far and still had riding in us we decided to decline and head up to Barkerville. We said hello to Brian at his work place, met some of his co-workers and of course took a picture of his Tiger Street version but not Brian for some reason! Ooops, sorry Brian and nice to meet you.
The we went to meet Danielle. Another ADV ride who love her V Strom and travels a lot on her own. Here she is on her baby and after spending about an hour chatting having ice tea we left for Barkerville.
Not too far after the turn off heading to Barkerview is this little historic “town” called Cottonwood. It was closed when we got there so we just walked around a bit and took a look. Very well restored and all over the place are gophers. they are too cute popping their heads up from their burrows. Reminds me of the gophers who live in Manning Park, BC.
We saw what we think is a Hawk of some kind fly under this building. not sure if he or she had a rodent or some food but I have never watched a Hawk go under something like this ever. I went over to it and it went deeper under this building. Never saw it fly out. Weird.
Another fine day in the Cariboo for riding. We are hoping the weather will just be kind like today for the rest of the trip. Rt. 26 takes you up to Barkerville and it is a very nice scenic road. It’s about 86 KM’s off the main road one way.
Made it Wells which s the town right before Barkerville. About 6 KM away. Decided we were going to camp here but decided not to after the temperature is supposed to get down close to 2 or 3 Celsius tonight. Cheryl is really tired of not being warm on these really cold nights. First thing we buy for any next trip are warmer sleeping bags.
The we decided to go to this motel. We were greeted by a very strange and almost nasty old man. We got the keys and the room? Well, we have seen worse but this is not good. it is shelter and that is what we will call this. The owner/manager needs to retire and go into running a cemetery because he looked and sounded dead.
The Bear’s Paw is a very busy food place. We were going to eat there but were warned it would be a long time before we would get our food. They have Wi-Fi but not at dinner time so we left and went to the other local restaurant.
Our beautiful flea bag motel. Yeah we are somewhat spoiled but this is pretty bad. Sure made both of us long to be back on the Denali Highway at the Maclaren River Lodge. If any of you at the lodge are reading this, we miss your place really badly right about now!
We ate finally and now are back at the motel. No Wi-Fi so this update will have to wait another day until we get back to Quesnel and maybe set up shop at a McDonald’s or something. We are going to Barkerville tomorrow and take a boo around. I think it costs like $12 each to get into the town. After that we are not too sure where we are going next. By the time we upload this I am sure we will know but for now, still planning.
Having a hard time find good WiFi to upload any updates. Hopefully later today we can find a spot. In Well, BC for the night, going to Barkerville for a few hours in the morning and then heading South.
August 5th 2011
Wrong 525 chain too short. The Tiger needs at least a 122 and got in 120′s. No one has stock.
Trying to work something out not looking good.
Got a Harley dealer in Smithers and tighten the chains and that’s it. No more room to grow but should get us home.
Thought we were going to Get new chains and rear brake pads installed at Kickstart in Terrace. Got new pads on and will post pics of the rear pads. Cheryl’s pads so far have worn really unevenly. Will be interesting to see what mine look like.
Should be back on the road in a few hours in the sun at least for now!
Hope to get our new chains installed today and might as well put on the rear brake pads we have been carrying with us. Fronts look good and sprockets good enough to get the bikes back to Triumph soon. There ia sun in the sky after a wet day in Terrace yesterday.
Really hope we are back in business and on the road by mid-day.