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Thread: Topeka, KS to Inuvik, NWT, Alaska & Prudhoe Bay

  1. #1
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    Topeka, KS to Inuvik, NWT, Alaska & Prudhoe Bay

    My plans are to leave Topeka June 8, 2009 for my second trip to Alaska. In July I purchased a 2005 BMW 1200GS for this trip. I have rode about 6,000 miles on it since purchased and many of these miles have been on rock and gravel roads to become familiar riding it on roads similar to Alaska. Since I purchased it I added the following farkles:

    Russell Day Long seat
    Aeroflow clear half faring
    Aeroflow headlight cover
    Happy Trails panniers
    Marsee Tank bag
    Kaoko throttle control
    Jesse luggage rack
    Garmin GPS
    Sirius satellite radio
    Coleman hydration bag and probably a few things I forgot about.

    But before I head for Alaska I should have a shake down cruise so I did a Saddlesore 1000 from Topeka to Wakins, CO and back this week. I made the trip in 16 hours for 1031 miles. Since I was riding hard I only averaged 37 mpg which wasn‘«÷t very good.

    I left Topeka at 4:11 am on Thursday May 7 on I-70 in a light rain. I don‘«÷t like riding in the rain, especially in the dark, so I rode about 65 to 70 to begin the trip. There are many deer in our area and I don‘«÷t like surprises. By the time I got to Salina, which is 100 miles, I was getting cold so I pulled up an exit ramp and put on another jacket. I noticed quite a lot of water on the seat and didn‘«÷t think it was raining that hard. I wiped it off and away I went.

    As I got west of Salina the rain quit and daylight began to appear so I cranked it up to about 77mph and tried to maintain a speed about there. I sure miss the cruise control I had on my K1200 LT. I have the Kaoko throttle control but it‘«÷s still not a cruise control but did give me a chance to let go of the throttle and give my hand a rest. Just west of Salina there is a huge wind charger farm and they were hardly turning so there was not much wind.

    Some people don‘«÷t like these but I think they are rather fascinating to watch. Some of these are right next to the road. I went on to Russell that is about 180 miles from Topeka and stopped for gas, potty break, coffee and a couple of sausage McMuffins. The temperature was 59 degrees.

    I headed on west on I-70 trying to maintain 77mph. This area is pretty flat and if the wind blows, which it usually does, it can be a tough ride. Today was a good day however. There are spots where there are trees and some low areas where deer cross. In the east bound lane a semi was the side of the road and a Trooper behind it. The semi had struck a deer and it was stuck in the grill. Glad it wasn‘«÷t me! My next stop was at Goodland for gas and a short potty break. I was now about 335 miles into the trip.

    I headed on west into Colorado. I was getting thirsty and picked up the tube from my hydration bag and nothing. I knew I put about two liters in it. Maybe that is why my seat was so wet! That was my first equipment malfunction. I have the Sirius radio and my Garmin connected to a MixIt 2 and have ear buds to listen to both of them. It makes the time pass quicker if I can listen to some music. The time changes just west of Goodland to Mountain Time. As I was coming to the Watkins exit I stopped and took some pictures, I thought. The camera was on video so no pictures. Another malfunction. Darn! So when I pulled into Watkins, CO which was my turn around place it was 11:02 MDT. I fueled up and purchased a large bottle of water and a Snicker bar. I checked the Coleman Hydration bag and the drinking tube was loose on the bottom so I screwed it in tight and filled the bag with water. That fixed the first malfunction.

    I thought I sent a Spot signal but turned on the tracking instead. I called my wife at work and she said she received a Spot message at 4:11 AM when she checked her email. That was the time I fueled before leaving.

    Well time to head home. So far I feel pretty good. I drive cars for a dealership in Topeka and make trips to Denver and back in about 16 ?Ę hours and it is 1,100 miles. The furthest I have ridden a motorcycle before today was 832 miles. I had some wind in Colorado but not terrible. I made a move to adjust something and my music quit coming out of one ear. I fiddled with the connection where the ear buds plug into the MixIt and that seemed to be where the problem was. Darn, no music! The third malfunction. It was starting to warm up so I pulled off a ramp and took off my Aerostich rain gear and put on my Olympia mesh gear. Ah, much better! My next stop was Goodland again where I fueled up. Then it was on to Russell where I fueled and ate a burger. Around Hays and Russell the temperature rose to 90 degrees and was still 89 when I went through Salina. I really enjoy coming from the west on I-70 towards evening. East of Junction City you enter the Flint Hills of Kansas and they are especially beautiful in the evening in the spring. Many burn the pastures to kill the cedar trees and to get rid of the old growth of grass. When the pastures green up like now, you can see the rolling hills of green grass with cows grazing. On top of some of the hills you can see for 20 to 30 miles. I love the views. Next stop was home and when I fueled it was 8:02 PM just shy of 16 hours with driving time of 14.02 hours and average driving speed of 73.5mph.

    The Russell Day long is a great seat. My butt did not get sore. My neck and shoulders sure hurt though. I really like the Aeroflow windshield and half faring. It keeps the wind from beating me to death. My odometer showed 1021 miles and the Garmin 1031 miles.

    So I sent in the paperwork for the Iron Butt Saddlesore 1000 and hope to be added to the list of ‘«£Worlds Toughest Riders‘«ō. I don‘«÷t know how some of them can do this for 11 days though. Now they are Tough! Of course I am 66 so maybe in my younger years?

    A very bug splattered windshield.

    Everything seemed to be okay with the bike and the oil level was still full. I will need a new rear tire before heading to Alaska. I can do away with the MixIt and plug the ear buds direct to the Sirius radio and if I need direction I can plug the ear buds to the Garmin. So that is the way I will use it for now. It frees up a pocket in the Marsee tank bag for other things more important. I am glad I made the trip and will probably not try another 1000 miles trip unless I need to get somewhere quick.

  2. #2
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 8th & 9th

    The trip to Alaska started about 7:30 am on June 8. It was a cool day with temperatures in the low 60's to upper 50's. At least it didn't rain. I went north on 75 hwy to Nebraska 2 then to I-29 which I took to I-90 in South Dakota. i do not like riding the super slab but wanted to be in Pierre, SD by about 5:30 which I was. I have a good friend that is the Director of Vehicles for South Dakota. Deb Hillmer and her husband Rex invited me to spend my first night on the road with them.

    Me & Deb

    Capitol of South Dakota just up the hill from Deb's.

    In 2003 I also went to Alaska and was attending a motor vehicle meeting in Rapid City that Deb was hosting and left from there to Alaska. I thought it was fitting to start my trip in South Dakota again. I was only off the bike about 2 minutes when Deb handed me a cold Bud Light. What a gal! We each drank a couple and she drove us east of Pierre to a great steakhouse where we had a couple of Buds and a great steak. About 40 Christian motorcycle riders also came to the steakhouse after we arrived. After we finished eating she drove to the Oahe Dam that is on the Missouri river.
    This dam backs up water about 250 miles and is about 200 feet deep at the dam.

    There is a power generating station below the dam. Of course I didn‘«÷t have my camera. I stopped to take a picture in South Dakota and found out when I charged the battery the night before I left it in the charger and it was packed away. I did go out the next morning and take some pictures of the dam.

    I woke up Tuesday morning to a light rain and 50 degrees, not the ideal start to a day. By the time I got everything packed up around 8 am it was no longer raining much. So I took off heading west on 14 -34 highway towards Sturgis.

    This is a very desolate stretch of road. I ran across construction and the pavement ends. This will be practice for Alaska. I had to follow other cars and trucks behind a pilot car and one place it was very rutted and of course it had been raining so it was slick. I thought I might go down but made it through okay.

    I rode off and on in the rain and going over the mountains in Wyoming it got down to the low 40‘«÷s and there was lots of snow up there. From Sturgis I took I-90 to Buffalo, WY then took two lanes and I am staying at Greybull, WY tonight in a motel. Had to get warmed up.

  3. #3
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 10

    Today I left from Greybull, WY and ended up in Missoula, MT. It was 43 degrees and raining when I left and got down to 36 up in the mountains. When I entered Yellowstone there was a sign up that said either snow tires or chains and I asked if I could make it on a motorcycle and she said ‘«£yes they have the roads clear now‘«ō. I was able to use my Golden Age Passport and saved the $20 entrance fee. Great to be old!

    About 20 miles up the road I was traveling about 70 mph when three antelope decided they wanted on the other side of the road. Thank heavens for anti-lock brakes. The pavement was wet and two made it across and the third was determined to follow so I really had to put the binders on.

    I stopped about 8 AM at Granny‘«÷s cafe in Cody and had a great breakfast.

    It was very snowy in Yellowstone and apparently snowed last night as the trees still had snow on them.

    The lakes were still covered with ice.

    I came across a bison wandering down the center line of the road and would not move over. When I rode by he scowled at me.

    It's rather amazing to see all the steam coming from the ground when it is so cold.

    The Yellowstone lake is huge and was free from ice.

    This was a neat waterfalls with the water cascading down.

    There was a large herd of bison with their young. I also saw many other heards and singles.

    There were quite a few people fly fishing. I spoke with one and he caught two trout.

    More waterfalls.

    I saw several elk and deer. Here are some pictures of elk.

    Montana is the Big Sky Country and I believe this picture shows that.

    And see that blue sky? It finally reached 70 degrees by the time I reached Missoula. I had not planned on coming this far west but yesterday the clutch on my GS started slipping and was worse today so I am headed to the BMW dealer in the morning. I hope they can get it fixed. I am exhausted so better sign off.

  4. #4
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 11

    Today went much better than I feared.

    Joe on left & John on the right. Great guys!

    I was at Big Sky BMW before they opened and when they arrived John, the lead mechanic, looked at my bike outside where I parked it. He looked underneath and saw a little oil and said it might be a seal leaking and that they didn‘«÷t have a clutch in stock. Joe, the service head, said they could get a clutch by tomorrow if needed. Looks like I may have to spend another night. John said to take everything off my bike and he would take it for a test drive. He‘«÷s not a very big guy and has a limp. I said it may not slip when it‘«÷s cold and he said if it is slipping he will get it to slip. After about a half hour he took it for a spin. When he came back he said he may have fixed it. The hand guard had slipped and was holding the clutch from fully engaging. He wanted me to take it up the mountain for a test ride to see if I could get it to slip after warming it up good. I tried everything I could and it didn‘«÷t slip. Thanks to John & Joe for their prompt service. They were booked solid for the day and had one mechanic that wouldn‘«÷t be in. They have a wonderful shop and service area and a huge display of new BMW‘«÷s and Kawasaki‘«÷s.

    While loading my bike Terry Logan arrived for service on his BMW.

    He is heading for Alaska next week. Maybe I will see you on the road. Terry is from Somers, MT and told me to take Hwy 93 into Canada at Roosville. So that is where I entered British Columbia. I left Missoula a high noon and it was a great day to ride with temperatures in the upper 60 to around 80 at the warmest. The border crossing was effortless.

    Some scenery along the way.

    Around Polson, MT I came to a huge lake, Flat Head Lake, and part of it is on the Flat Head Indian reservation. This lake just seemed to go on forever.

    Tonight I am staying in Mountain Shadow, in Sparwood, BC. After checking in a said I don‘«÷t suppose you have Wifi and she said yes we do. Super! So first things first some Jack Daniels.

    Then to set up the tent.

    This is what my new cot looks like before assembled.

    t took several swigs of JD to get these poles in. That is the hardest job.

    Then you lay out the rest.

    And end up with this.

    Then I add a self inflating air mattress and my sleeping bag.

    And now you have a $400 bed. I will let you know tomorrow how it sleeps!

    I have now ridden 2,000 miles in 4 days with today they smallest at 271 miles. I seen more deer and elk along the way including a baby elf calf. Hoping for another good day tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 12

    It didn't start to get dark until about 10PM last night and was light before 5 AM. This picture was taken about 9PM and the sun is still above the mountain.

    First I will tell you the cot and sleeping arrangement worked well, That does not mean I slept well though. There was too much road traffic with large trucks and trains going up the mountain. I got up at 5:15 and checked e-mail and seen a message from Jager suggesting a trip north to Elkford and to be sure to see the worlds largest truck in Sparwood before I left. I got everything packed up and ready to head out. It was 42 degrees this morning and the bike was a little slow to start.

    I road into Sparwood and took a picture of the large truck.

    What it needs is Big Brutus from southern Kansas strip mines to load it in one bite. I found a station that had air and checked the tires. The front was a little low so I corrected that. I looked for a place to eat but didn‘«÷t find a caf?ģ so decided to go on east. Noticed the GPS was showing north but didn‘«÷t think anything of it as roads meander. There were lots of deer in the area and I had to slow several times. I came to a 4 way stop in Elkford and stopped for breakfast. After eating I started north again and the pavement stopped so I thought I must have made a wrong turn at the stop. So I started up the other paved road but didn‘«÷t see a highway sign so went back to the caf?ģ and the waitress was outside for a smoke break. She showed me where I was on my map but there wasn‘«÷t a road where she was pointing. The one I came in on dead ends and the other goes 20 miles to the coal mines and stops. I needed to go back 35 kilometers to Sparwood to get on the correct road. Darn! So I did.

    I entered Alberta and stopped at a province information rest stop for a map as mine was buried.

    I was surprised to pay $2 for the map as all the states give them away. I wanted to take hwy 22 north on the Cowboy Trail and the first 100 miles is very nice then it gets old. I did appreciate the vastness of the area when you look from the mountains on the left to the hills on the right. There were thousands of cattle and I even saw a few cowboys.

    I really liked the three miles of caps fastened to the fence posts.

    As the day wore on I wore out. I rode 555 miles today. There was lots of traffic near Calgary and in that area. The speed limit for the entire road in open country was 100 kph which is 60 mph. Much to slow in my opinion. Traffic was moving at 70 mph so I did too. On highway 43, where I am now, the speed limit is 110 kph and traffic was running 75 mph with some much faster. I originally planned to continue all the way north through Alberta and into Northwest Territories but have now decided to head for the Alcan highway. I stayed at the Alaskan Motel in a not so nice room for $75. The first place I stopped wanted $115 plus tax. I did sleep well for the first time since Monday night.

    They have some large mosquitoes up here as you can see from the bug splatter.

    I was trying to stay ahead of thunderstorms all afternoon. As long as I headed north I was okay but every once in a while the road would head west for about 8 miles and I would nearly drive into them. This one got me a little bit.

  6. #6
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 13 & 14

    I started the day by updating my blog and then loading everything up. I checked the oil and it was low so walked to a station for a quart of oil. I about had to take out a loan to pay the $8.50. Things are really expensive in Canada and for every dollar Canadian it costs me 3 % fee on the credit card and our dollar is only worth .89 cents. The last time I was up here it was the other way around so I guess they are getting even with us. I stopped by the office for a cup of coffee, a large muffin, two hard boiled eggs and an apple for later. So that helped take some of the sting out of the motel price. I didn‘«÷t leave until around 8:30 so it was a late start for me. It was a good day to ride and would say great but it was rather windy at times. I dodged two thunderstorms today and saw a wonderful rainbow just as I arrived here in Fort Nelson. I sat out the rain in a car wash. Couldn‘«÷t get out of town to get a good unobstructed picture.

    When I came through Dawson Creek I had to stop for the picture for the start of the Alcan.

    I am staying at the Westend Campground which is the same place I stayed 6 years ago. I had a bad campsite then so looked it over before selecting one tonight. There a a lot of people here and they all like to talk so I have visited with some from Missouri, California and Michigan. Great to visit with different people. Last time I was here it was Jenea‘«÷s birthday and I called and left a message and tomorrow is William‘«÷s birthday so I need to call him. I have been using Skype to call Mary and in two calls have not spent a dollar yet. Less than .02 per minute and if I can do the video it is free. I saw a moose today but didn‘«÷t stop for a picture. I will probably see others. There is 2 hours difference now between here and Kansas and will lose another hour somewhere around Alaska. Sunday June 14 was a great day.

    I got a good nights sleep and it was nice and quiet. Shortly after going to bed a thunderstorm came through and I think that helped quiet things down. I got up around 5:30 and called my Grandson William as today is his birthday. We chatted a bit then I loaded everything up and headed out. I stopped at Tetsa River services about 60 miles west of Fort nelson. I wished I had stayed there last night. Looked liked a nice place and several motorcyclists staying there. I had an omlette and coffee and both were excellent. I was in no hurry today as I only planned on getting to Watson Lake and it was only 336 miles. I tried to get a motel but they wanted $115 and they didn't look good. So I am in a campground again and it was only $10.50. I may be here two nights as I am going to change the oil and get the knobby tires installed. I found a place that will mount them about 1 AM tomorrow so we will see. I will change the oil in the morning and I will take the wheels off and they can mount them. I will probably do laundry after that. I was going to do it tonight and then I thought that would be foolish. I weather today was great, in the upper 50's to mid 60's. The scenery between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake is fantastic.

    I saw lots of wildlife and took some good pictures.

    There was a fire that has burned for two weeks. It was near Laird and Coal Rivers. I stopped a talked with some of the firefighters and they said it has burned about 200,000 acres. It seemed to be about 15 miles long where it burned.

    I made it to Yukon Territory again.

    I have a real slow connection so this is it for now.

  7. #7
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Topeka Kansas

    June 15

    I am still at Campground Services in Watson Lake.

    This is a wonderful place to stay. Things are much cheaper, except motels, than other places in Canada. I bought 4 quarts of oil and a large bottle of water for $25. While I was there to get the oil I also ordered an omlette. Most places are multi-purpose. Yesterday I was telling Mandeep I needed tires mounted today and he said he would do it. I bought some pita bread, a banana and two cups of ice from him since I didn't want a whole bag. I told him I wanted it for some Jack Daniels and he said that sounded good so when I came back later I brought him a mixed drink. I asked if they had 20w50w oil and he said they didn't so this morning I located some. I came back here and asked the attendant if they had something I could drain oil in and he told me where to find it. So I changed the oil and filter then went for a short ride and took some pictures at the sign posts.

    Mandeep showed up this morning limping and said he was climbing a tower about 1 AM, goofing off, and slipped and turned his ankle.

    He has changed a few motorcycle tires because he made short work of mine. I took them off the bike and helped mount them, then put in dyna beads for balance. He has a Ninja. He only wanted $10 to mount them but I gave him $20 and it was still a bargain. I took it for a test ride and they sure make a lot more noise than my old ones but should work well on the gravel roads. I hope I can get 5,000 miles out of them. I will carry my old ones with me. The back only has about 4,000 miles but the front has about 9,000.

    So if you are coming this way and like to camp I highly recommend the Good Sam Campground Services at the south side of Watson Lake. Great people and reasonable prices. Make sure you bring plenty of mosquito repellent though as they really bad up here. I will add some pictures to this later. Mandeep and I may tip a couple again tonight.:freaky

    I have used Spot Tracking and this tracking system has been great for the family back home. They know where I am even if I can't contact them.

  8. #8
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 16

    I decided to leave the old tires and some other things at the Campground as Mandeep said I could. I will be coming back this way to go down highway 37 on the way home and we can remount the old tires as the ones I have on now will probably be shot. I packed up in a light rain with a wet tent.

    This was a very grueling day for me. If had it to do over I would have went through Whitehorse but that is hindsight. The Campbell Highway heads north out of Watson Lake and there really is a lake called Watson.

    It rained lightly as I left then quit. I had only gone a few miles when I ran into construction. The next 100 miles were rough. I had one vehicle pass me and I met my first vehicle after 41 miles. The entire trip I probably only seen ten vehicles from Watson Lake to Ross River. After 100 miles then it started to rain and the roads were slick in places.

    Not your typical Kansas construction zone.

    What the road looked like.

    Had it not been for the knobby tires I may have dumped it. I did not take many pictures due to the rain. One large area had burned several years ago and had lots of dead pines so it was not pretty. I did not see any wildlife which was probably due to the roads and rain. I had to pay very close attention to my driving to avoid potholes, washouts and ruts. The trees also grew right up to the road so in order to see something they would likely be in the road so I am glad I didn’t see any. There are actually a few shacks up in this area.


    There were a couple of campgrounds and at one place a landing strip. I think it was to fly moose hunters in because I seen many moose pies along the road.

    I had to stop for gas at Ross River and it was about 8 miles off the main road. It is 212 miles from Watson to Ross River and I could have gone about another 30 miles on my tank then I am carrying 2 plus gallons. It was raining hard when I arrived at Ross River and I found the gas station. I couldn’t get the pump to work so had to go inside to have them turn it on. There is very little pay at the pump in these remote areas. I store and town was disgusting. It was about 3:30 PM and I inquired about lodging. I went to the hotel and it did not look very appealing and she said the price was $125 for kitchenette and after much discussion the upstairs rooms were $85 cash, no credit. The place had been shut down for three months and they were just reopening it. I told her I would pass, There were lots of Indians in the area and they said the grayling were really biting,

    So I headed out of town and towards Carmacks which is 136 miles. The Lapie River runs through this area and there was a campground but everything was wet and I was in no mood for tenting again.

    This road was much better and the scenery was very pretty. Again no pictures because of the rain. At Faro the road turned to pavement and I was in heaven. I was making good time until about 30 miles north of Carmacks I came to construction. I slowed way down probably to 25 or 30 mph and went into the quagmire. I was fighting hard to keep it upright but it was sinking in about three inches and very loose and slick. I went down in the slime. I tried setting it up and hurt my back. One of the construction workers, they only one there, came over to help. We set it up and promptly it fell to the other side. We got it up and I got on and thanked him. This was the worse stuff I have ever tried to go through. I had to keep my balance with my legs which is not good. It would hit one of the ruts and try to go over and if you got in the wrong place it was too deep. I would have to stop ever so often to breathe. This area was about a mile long and I was really thankful to get out of it without falling again. There was still construction for about 20 miles but it was about like the other roads earlier.

    This area was so beautiful with Little Salmon Lake that was not very little. It went on for miles but no pictures. I finally hit pavement again for the last ten miles and crossed the Yukon River into Carmacks. I headed to the only hotel and got a room for $125 and darn glad to have it. I had mud caked to my boots and pants. I cleaned them off in the sink. These are all waterproof but I didn’t have the cuff tight enough and some had come up my leg and one sock was a little wet.
    One dirty bike.

    I got unpacked and tried the Wifi to contact Mary but couldn’t get it to work. My cell wouldn’t either. I went to the cafe and had a $20 burger and beer and again only cash. It was large enough for two people. I wish they would charge less and have smaller orders. I was at least able to Skype Mary and we seen each other, then lost connection. I will have to post pictures later.
    Last edited by alvingee43; 08-01-2009 at 07:47 PM.

  9. #9
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Topeka Kansas

    June 17

    I didn‘«÷t leave Carmacks this morning until 9 AM. I did some writing after I got up and called my wife Mary on Skype. It was sunny when I started out then rained a little. Then the day turned perfect with beautiful clouds and blue skies.

    Yukon River

    I stopped at Stewart Crossing at noon and had breakfast. I had some construction and one bad place where they had just graded the loose rock that were several inches deep. Very hard to drive in as the front tire wanted to sink it. I arrived here at Klondike River Lodge about 2:30 and decided I better stay here and start fresh in the morning. I am camping again tonight.

    Could have had a small room for $89. Since it don‘«÷t get dark I could ride all night but not a wise thing to do. So in the morning I will start east on the Dempster Highway and head to Inuvik, 450 miles of gravel and then return the same route. I only rode 200 miles today. Still can't get pictures uploaded.

  10. #10
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 18 The Dempster

    I left this morning at 6:40 and arrived in Inuvit about 13 hours later. I had a few "oh ****" moments on the loose gravel especially in NWT. It is 10 PM in Inuvit as they are an hour behind YT. I am in the only hotel room I could find for $193. A petroleum convention going on and of course coming in late. I took over 80 pictures and will write more and put some of the better pictures up. It will be hard to choose. I had pretty good weather with only a few minor rain showers. The roads in NWT really keep you at attention. More later. Will head back down in the morning.

    Both going up and returning the Klondike Lodge the temperatures stayed in the upper 40‘«÷s to low 50‘«÷s. The area around Inuvik was the warmest. When I left yesterday morning though it was 36 and the bike hesitated to start.. I spoke with a local and he said this is there 2 months of daylight out of the year with the rest being dark. Don‘«÷t have access to the Internet to see if he was pulling my leg.

    The ride up was great to start with. The scenery is just spectacular. I took 80 pictures so that made my ride up a little longer.

    I suppose that is why I do not ride with anyone. I like to go my own pace whether it be slow or steady. Thinking about today I got off the bike at the Mackenzie River ferry crossing and did not get off again until Eagle Plains. That had to be 3 or 4 hours. I stopped a couple of times but didn‘«÷t get off. Going up I stopped at Eagle Plains for gas then ate lunch.

    I wanted breakfast as I didn‘«÷t have any but they were no longer serving it. That was about 1 PM so it took about 6 hours to make it 220 miles.
    Just north of Eagle Plains is a landing strip on the road. There are seveal on the way up.

    Made it to the Arctic Circle.

    After leaving there the roads still remained pretty good until about the last 20 miles in Yukon. The roads in NWT were not as good in that there was more construction and the gravel was different.

    Made it to Northwest Territories.

    Different areas used different materials depending on what was available. Further north it was more like chips. Another thing was about the time the road started to get decent to ride on they were dumping water on it and grading it. Some of the graders pulled a wheeled packer and I did not like them as they made tracks and along with the loose material made it dangerous to ride on a motorcycle. Maybe I should have let some of the air out of the tires. I will talk with someone before heading up the Dalton Highway.
    My first spotting of a Grizzly bear and he was in the road coming right at me. I stopped and got the camera out and he went in the ditch but kept coming my way.

    The winds bothered a lot both going up and coming back. They were mostly side winds and sometimes quite dangerous. Leaning into the wind on gravel is not fun. I enjoyed the river crossings. The first is the Peel River and I thought it was pretty big.

    It did have big waves from the wind blowing it. Then I came to the Mackenzie River and it is huge.

    I made it just in time for both ferry‘«÷s and drove right on. After boarding it backs up river to pick up at Tsiigehtchic, then across the other side through the swift current. I was a little concerned about driving off and on these ferry‘«÷s but it was easy. I might not be if it was raining. I ran into some rain going up but not bad. These road condition would be much different if it was raining. Some places there were ruts and would worsen with rain. Many places had signs ‘«£slippery when wet‘«ō and you could see the shine to them and know they would be.

    After the ferry crossing at Mackenzie the roads seemed to get worse and I was getting tired. When you cross over into NWT instead of being 7 PM it is 8 PM. Keep that in mind because the ferry‘«÷s run from 9 AM to midnight. The last 100 miles flattens out and the pines are short and brush. I ran into some rain in this area. There are some pretty lakes and lots of Arctic hares. The hares are pretty and I saw lots of them all the way up the Dempster. They are rather large with gray bodies and white feet.

    I arrived in Inuvik to a Petroleum Convention. All motels and hotels were full. I found one suite for $205 plus tax and then she called another place that had one room for $194 with tax so that is where I stayed. Since the sun does not set this time of year I wanted a room and besides that I was exhausted having ridden for 13 hours which made it 10 PM there. So the cafes were closed and I was to tired to eat anyway. I had a couple of Jack Daniels and downloaded my pictures from my camera to the net book. I had direct access to the Internet so downloaded all of them to Photobucket. I got the download started and went to bed.

    I woke up about 4 AM with stomach cramps. I had to get up several more times and finally stayed up about 6 AM. So the day wasn‘«÷t starting well. Though maybe it was because I hadn‘«÷t eaten but the thought of food didn‘«÷t appeal to me. I ate a granola bar and loaded up. I stopped and took a picture of the Igloo Church and found a station for gas. Then I wanted a sticker to put on my bike showing I had been up there. I stopped at several places and two told me of one store that might have them. It would be another hour before they opened at 10 AM and I wasn‘«÷t going to wait that long. I thought maybe they would have something here at Eagle Plains but they didn‘«÷t.

    I was not feeling well at all. I stopped and took off one jacket as it seemed warmer than the night before. Then before long I had to find a bathroom. Do you know how many there are up there? Not many but I did happen onto one at a campground and believe it or not it was clean for a privy and even had toilet paper.

    Like I said I didn‘«÷t stop much one the way back. The roads seemed worse coming back and there was more traffic coming out and into Inuvik. The dust was just horrific. The big trucks would slow down but they would just fog me with dust. I would have to nearly stop and let the dust clear so I could continue on. I had several pass me and I would slow up and pull over to let them by only to be drowned in dust. The trees up there are brown with dust. Finally the wind shifted and blew it away for me. I brought a spare air filter with me and will probably wait until I get back from Prudhoe Bay to replace it. I get pretty good mileage when I drive slower so made it to both gas stops without using my can. It is about 230 miles between stops for a total of 460.

    Something I forgot to mention is some of you think we are tough to ride our motor cycles up and back but out in the middle of the mountains in NWT, on this terrible road ,was a lone bicyclist. He was stopped along the road so I stopped to see if he was okay. He was just catching his breath after coming up a large hill. I should have taken his picture but it slipped my mind. I didn‘«÷t see him when I came back. Hope the bears didn‘«÷t get him. On the way up there was a campground by the road and on the road was bear scat. I seen a dog in the campground and people camping there, but in campers. I won‘«÷t camp at a place like that in a tent. I don‘«÷t want to become bear food.

    So I made it back to Eagle Plains exhausted again. A room was $129 so took it. I unpacked everything, went to the bathroom again and then, like a good cowboy, gassed up my steed. Then I took a shower to get the dust off, changed clothes and went to eat a burger and fries and coffee or at least part of it. My first meal in 26 hours. I tried getting on the Internet but even though I have good access could not get on any web site. I am not sure what the problem is. I Skyped my wife Mary and granddaughter Elaine as they had flew to Washington, DC today for a three day weekend. Then I Skyped son Jerrod and family in St Louis and spoke with them. Its fun to see the family through this wonderful service. If you do video there is not cost. I set up a service for phone service for $10 and have used less than $3 so far.

    About 5:30 I couldn‘«÷t go anymore so went to bed. I had to get up for an extra blanket because I was chilling. After two hours I woke and felt some what better. I went down and purchased a 1.5 liter of water and a Snickers. I drank about a third of the water so far this evening. Tomorrow I will take my time getting out of here and hopefully get this posted. I think I am going to camp at the Klondike campground tomorrow night and then head out for Alaska on Sunday. May stop in Dawson.
    Some random pictures.

  11. #11
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 20

    The day started off good with my computer working and being able to post to this site and my blog. I also felt much better and ate a good breakfast. The day was bright and sunny and just a great day to ride. And it was the easy side of the ride with much better roads. It must be downhill as I got much better gas mileage too. I took a few pictures and only had one scare with a moose running beside me. When I got back I fed and watered the old girl and she looked much better.

    After the bath:

    A few pictures I took today:

    I had a little rain but it didn't amount to much. Tomorrow I head to Alaska!

    I forgot to mention I am staying at the Klondike River Lodge at the beginning of the Dempster. It is a very nice place with , gas, tire repair, camping, rooms for $89, restaurant, lounge and Wifi. The food is very good and the people friendly. I stayed here before heading up the Dempster.

    And I am glad I arrived back yesterday as it rained most of the night. I like to hear the patter of rain on the tent but its hard to roll out in the morning. I mentioned earlier about my cot, air mattress, and sleeping bag and they really work well. I probably sleep better than in a motel. There is heavy overcast but not raining now.

    My stay at Eagle Plains was great also. They have great food, friendly help and excellent Wifi. What made it great was the rooms, restaurant, lounge, and lobby all in the same building. What I have noticed is that one person may be the waitress, cashier, bar tender, and store clerk all at the same time. Both in Eagle Plains and Klondike Lodge it is that way. I like talking to the different people that come in. Quite a few truck drivers in here.

    I don't know if you noticed from some of the pictures but I have made a loading change to my bike. I was carrying the gas on the top rack but at my first stop in Eagle Plains on the way up I grabbed a hold of it and it was loose. There was a screw that held the front of that plate and then in the back my son in law, Roger, welded me two brackets that bolt onto the Happy Trail panniers. I knew the screw was the weak point. I used plastic ties to tie it down and it is probably better than new. I decided to put the weight down lower anyway and it has worked fine.

    Well its off to Alaska after being on the road for two weeks and 4,700 miles.

  12. #12
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 21

    I ate breakfast at the Klondike Lodge and updated this site.

    It was warm in there so I took my Olympia rain jacket off and placed it over the back of the chair. After I paid for breakfast I took down the tent and loaded everything up. My Darien jacket and pants were a little wet as I had left them on the picnic table over night and it rained quite a bit. They didn't bother though. I rode up to the office and left the key to the shower then went out and worked on Lola, my Garmin, as she was being cantankerous this morning. While still there the waitress came out and said I had left my jacket. I thanked her profoundly and was glad I had given her a good tip.

    I left about 9 AM. It was quite cool again in the low 50's but it was not raining. I rode into Dawson with the hopes of finding a sticker about the Dempster. And I did.

    I looked for a church but this is what I found:

    I crossed the Yukon on the ferry and started up the Top of the World Highway behind 3 huge motor homes pulling cars.

    Looking back at Dawson

    On the first long grade I passed all three and never seen them again. That is one of the great things about the motorcycle you can get out ahead of the group in a hurry. I had gone only a short ways and was glad i had the jacket the waitress brought out. If not it might have dawned on me I forgot it and I would have had to turn around. It started to rain and then got real foggy. It didn't last long though and the weather turned nice the rest of the day.
    Top of the World:

    I entered Alaska at Poker Creek at noon and sat my clock back to 11AM. It was a very simple entry with firearms and alcohol questions. Just my Jack Daniels I said. Have a good time in Alaska.

    Welcome to the good old USA!

    As soon as you cross the border the roads go to potholes. And since it had rained they were full of water. They are very narrow and most of the traffic are RV's so beware of them especially the rented ones. These people have probably never driven anything this big.

    I arrived in Chicken and had a couple of Bud's and and burger and bought a couple of stickers. I visited with two couples from Colorado one on a Harley and one a Vulcan. They were headed to Fairbanks and then Anchorage. Both were two up.

    The Taylor Highway from Chicken is mostly paved and in pretty good condition. It was newly paved 6 years ago when I was there. I stopped in Tok for fuel and it was $3.26 a gallon. I have been giving at least $1.20 a liter which is about $4.55 a gallon if my calculations are correct. I headed on up the Alaska Highway and it was fun to ride at 70mph again. It sure seemed smooth. I stopped in Delta Junction for some pictures of the end of the AlCan Highway.
    The Alaska Range

    Large mosquitoes

    I thought about camping there but it was still early. Then I came too the North Pole and should have stopped there. I came into Fairbanks and am staying at the Golden Nugget Hotel for $124. They gave me a suite though for the same price but the carpet has about 100 holes burned in it and the bed kind of sags. I asked about Wifi and he said yes it should be good where you are at as it's right above my office. It is a very good connection. Today is Midnight Sun Run and the downtown is full. I guess I won't partake and save my energy for tomorrow

    I called Mary and they had arrived back from DC. It's still in the 90's there every day but they have been getting rain.

    Tomorrow I am heading up the Dalton Highway. I called Wiseman to try and get a room but they are booked so guess I will camp at Coldfoot on the way up. Probably won't hear from me for a couple of days.
    Last edited by alvingee43; 08-01-2009 at 07:58 PM.

  13. #13
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 22 Up the Dalton

    I left Fairbanks about 7 AM and headed north on the Elliot highway. I stopped at the Hilltop caf?ģ for breakfast and was very hungry as I didn‘«÷t eat last night. The hotel was the Golden Nugget and I would not recommend it. The carpet had about 100 holes burned in it and the mattress left a lot to be desired.

    I made it to the Dalton Highway which is 80 miles from Fairbanks.

    The road was much better than I expected and the traffic was much lighter than expected.

    Most of the day was clear to partly cloudy with a range of temperatures from 49 to upper 60's. Much of the road here is paved or hard pack.
    I stopped here 6 years ago for a picture with the Yamaha. I forest was still smoldering at the time and I was amazed it burned so close to the pipeline. Probably made the crude run faster.

    There was about a 20 miles stretch that was rough and wash boarded. It had rained the day before so there wasn‘«÷t any dust which was also a surprise.
    Crossing the Yukon River. Deck is wood and slippery when wet. You can't stop on the bridge so I took these while moving.

    You have to stop at Finger Mountain for pictures. It was cold and windy there.

    I had been as far as the Arctic Circle so after that things were new.

    Pipeline and other sights.

    Tonight I am camping at Coldfoot and arrived here about 3PM. The camping is free and I have a lakeside view.

    Across the lake.

    Even before I filled up with gas I saw a familiar sight. A Kansas State Wildcat cap and shirt. I hollered at him and it turns out he had lived in Wamego, KS. I asked his name and he said Jim Hoobler. I said I had known a Rita Hoobler and he said that was his mother. My wife and Rita worked together when we lived in Wamego. So after filling with gas I went in the caf?ģ and visited with him and his wife Peggy.

    They had been riding their Harley‘«÷s and left them in Fairbanks as son drives a truck up the Haul Road and they were traveling along for one trip. Wouldn‘«÷t you know it the truck broke down. The tractor only had 50,000 miles on it. So they are staying here at $199 per night until they can get the truck fixed and get back to Fairbanks.

    Then I was standing there talking with three guys from North Carolina and who should walk up but Dr. Greg Frasier. I was so excited I forgot to get the name of the other guy in the photo. So if anyone knows him let me know and I will add his name. He was riding with his brother and another guy and had just came back down.

    Greg has written several books about his motorcycle adventures. The last I heard about him he was in the States and Gary from Poor Man Uraling ran across him. I think then he said he was headed this way and I wondered if I might run across him. He gave me three stickers for my bike and a card. Small world indeed. I also met a young man that had just graduated from Washburn University in Topeka. So the stay here so far has been interesting.

    The bikes and vehicles coming back from the north are covered with grim.

    There is construction and rain has fallen. Maybe tomorrow will be different. Here were three young riders from Medicine Hat, AB and they were going further up tonight and camp although they were not sure where. They had also been up the Dempster. The wind north of here in the plains is fierce. It is about 240 more miles and my plans are to go north then come back here.

    Before I set up my tent I heard what I thought was a pack of wolves howling so I got out my bear spray. I set up the tent then rode the bike across the road to the visitor center. I said something to the lady there and she said the wolves won‘«÷t bother you and those are a pack of sled dogs you hear. That eased my mind a bit.

  14. #14
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    June 23 Coldfoot to Prudhoe Bay & return part 1

    I listened to the dogs every once in a while. Actually I wished I had a recorder and it was like a song. One dog would start with a moan and maybe have to do this several times before the others would join in. Once they started it was an eerie sound to hear. I thought it was amusing but I really wanted to sleep. There was also a motor running and I assume it was the one that powered the generator for electricity. No power lines you know. That is one of the great things about taking pictures up here is to not have to avoid them.

    One of the things I did not think to take was a watch. I always use my cell phone. No cell coverage no watch. I finally put in some ear plugs and dozed off. When I first went to bed after a couple of JD’s it rained just a bit then the sun came out and it was warm. My tent was in the sun. There was a breeze and eventually the sun went behind the mountain. Sometime later I woke and wondered what time it was. The only way was to get out of the tent and turn on the ignition key. It was 4 AM Topeka time or 1 AM where I was. I went back to bed. I may have dozed a little and decided rather than lay there wondering what the day would bring and how the roads would be was to charge ahead. So I did. I thought about leaving the tent set up as I was planning on returning the same day. Then I thought if something happened I could a least have shelter. That’s kind of a joke because the mosquitoes’ would have carried me away. Anyway I packed up and was on the road at 2:45 AM.

    One thing about leaving at that time of day is there is not much traffic and they are not working on the roads. I had clear sailing.

    It was a breeze going over Atigun Pass and crossing the Continental Divide as it was mostly clear in the 40’s and dry.

    I have heard some horror stories about the weather people had going over there. After getting out of the mountains and entering the plains? Delta? Flatlands? I’m not sure what you call it, I did not want to stop unless absolutely necessary because as soon as I stopped the swarm of mosquitoes were upon me. I think its called the North Slope.

    I have never seen anything like this and these were not small either. I noticed in some of my pictures there were either mosquitoes on the lens or flying in front of it.

    They would head for the bike because it was warm or because I smelled and I suspect the latter. This was a day again when I didn’t eat much. I had a granola bar while fighting off the mosquitoes.

    The last 100 miles is the toughest. There was one stretch where there are larger rocks and the speed limit dropped to 35 where the road was so rough I thought it would shake me and the bike apart. Also the wind began to pick up. No mosquitoes now.

    There was more loose sand and the miles dragged on. The temperatures kept falling and the winds continued to increase. I saw quite a number of caribou grazing and took a number of pictures.

    That was the only large animals I saw on the trip up and back. I saw two foxes, one with breakfast in his mouth, Arctic hares, ground squirrels and hawks.

    By the time I arrived in Deadhorse I was exhausted. The wind was so strong I thought it might blow me and the bike over.

    When I first came in I came to a crossroads that showed which way to the gas and which way to the hotels.
    Last edited by alvingee43; 08-01-2009 at 08:08 PM.

  15. #15
    Registered User ALVINGEE43's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Topeka Kansas

    Prudhoe Bay Part 2

    I went for the gas. I finally had to ask someone how to get there. The sign showed on this road but you would think after starting up there you would see some other information. Nope! Anyway I found out I had to go north about a mile to the intersection and then turn left. I found it. I put the nozzle in and then seen you had to go inside to pay. Not one to waste time with instruction it took me three times to finally get it to pump. I forgot to mention it was 36 degrees with a 40 MPH north wind blowing.

    I heard this loud crash and seen a pickup facing south with the end gate up. He had 4 ft X 9 ft steel panels on the truck and the first one blew off. He lost his hard hat when he got out of the pickup. I finished pumping and went inside and followed instructions on getting a receipt and of course it didn’t work. When I went back outside the guy was still fighting the steel siding and I offered to help. He was a little reluctant at first that I might be injured. I had gloves on and it was very dangerous to try and get this loaded without getting cut. He had a pallet holding the rest down but we managed to get it loaded and the pallet on top. He thanked me I mentioned the cold and wind and he said, “Yes its not like Mexico”.

    After leaving I went back south to the road I came in on and continued over to the Arctic Caribou Inn. I went inside so see if I could get something to eat. One guy there wanted to know if I was riding a cycle and I said yes. I asked if he knew where the Post Office was as I wanted to take a picture. So he took me outside to explain how to get there. Go back where the gas station is and turn right about ?Ę mile. The Deadhorse end of the Dalton sign is also there. Darn if only I knew this before I went to get fuel. So anyway we went back in and I asked about food again. He said they start serving lunch at 11 AM and this was about 10:30. I saw a guy sitting there eating cereal and thought that looked good so I got a small box of Raisin Bran and dumped it into a Styrofoam cup and put some milk in it and warmed up an English muffin and got some jelly for it. I sat and ate it and no one showed up so I left. I guess this post of your sign for advertisement will have to do.

    I rode back down to the Post Office and took my pictures.

    I really wanted a sticker saying I had been to Deadhorse but didn’t know where to look. After looking at Milepost I should have went in the Post Office because it is also NAPA and general store. You can’t get to the Haul road from there so I had to go back the way I came in. So my stay was probably 45 minutes in Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay. Then I headed back.
    Some random pictures of Prudhoe Bay.

    A different kind of goose I have seen.

    I had two “Oh ****” moments the first 30 miles. The gravel was different and I was riding in the right track and twice I got over too far and got into that three inch loose gravel and it pulled me right both times toward a delineator post. Both times I thought that was it but managed to get it pulled back. The wind wasn’t quite bad going back because it was at my back at least part of the time. I know most of you are thing what is that crazy old fool doing going back after leaving that early in the morning. Me too! I didn’t want to stay up there for $200 and figured I could make it back. At least with each mile I was getting closer back down. Things went pretty well going back but the roads just wear you out. My shoulders and neck start hurting and eventually my hip.

    Unlike going up the workers were still out working on the road and that slows you down plus the slippery wet conditions. Some places I had to ride through the calcium chloride and you never know which side of the grader pile to be on but normally I stayed on my side of the road.

    I rode for 14 ?Ę hours and the last two hours were tough. By that I mean I was really getting tired, not sleepy, tired. I was exhausted and was losing concentration. When you don’t focus and concentrate on the road you can get in trouble. At Wiseman coming into that curve I lost concentration and ended up on the right side in the gravel. Another “Oh ****” moment. Without the ABS I would have lost it but the road widened to go to Wiseman and was able to use that then brake on solid ground and back out where I belonged. That is 13 miles north of Coldfoot and about 2 miles down the road I pulled off by a river to stretch and nearly dumped it turning around. I was able to hold it up but only with sheer will power. I pulled through the Alaska state campground but decided to go to Coldfoot for food, shower, and beer. I pulled in and got off the bike and paid $19 for the buffet which is the only choice, $10 for two beers and $10 for a shower which left much to be desired. I went to bed and it was too hot at first and then the sun went down behind the mountain. I woke up about 6 AM which was good for me. As I’m setting in the motel lobby writing this thinking I had went too far too fast three guys check in that I must have met when I was coming back yesterday they were on there way up. They went all the way up yesterday, went on the Arctic sea tour this morning an d left up there this morning at 9AM and they checked in here at Fairbanks at 8 PM.
    Some pictures I took coming back.

    I left Coldfoot Wednesday morning about 9AM after eating a $13 breakfast buffet, again the only choice. I spoke with a guy I had seen who was riding a Goldwing. He pulled a camper trailer up to Coldfoot, left it there and headed up Sunday morning. He only made it about 100 miles and had a rear flat tire. It took him until this morning to get the new tire on and he headed back down in front of me. He had enough.

    I rode at a pretty leisurely pace as I only wanted to get to Fairbanks and a motel that Jim Hoobler had recommended. It had rained ahead of me in several places and the road was wet. There are several miles of gravel and most of it wasn’t too bad. But the last 30 miles is all gravel and it was raining steady. By the last ten miles it was getting bad and this the only rain I had ridden in going up and back. I think the Lord did this just to show be me I had it easy and if could really be tough below Coldfoot also. If you had rain above Coldfoot it could really be tough.
    The people back at the office where I used to work will appreciate this oversize load I had to stop for.

    I am not sure how many axles but a bunch.

    I stopped at the beginning of the Dalton and took a picture of the dirty bike and of myself.

    After that it rained most of the way back to Fairbanks. I stopped at the first station for gas which was the Hilltop and from there on in it rained steady. I hit one large puddle probably 3 inches deep and 20 feet across. That should have taken a lot of mud off.

    I found the Riverside Resort and checked into a cottage. Each room is a separate cottage and is a great area.I took all my dirty clothes to the laundry at their RV park so now I won’t smell so bad. Tonight I dined at Chenea’s Fine Dining and had a Margarita Pizza made with fresh tomatoes, basil, sea salt, cracked pepper and mozzarella cheese. I was excellent after I added crushed red peppers and parmesan cheese. I also had a salad and a glass of red wine and it cost less than my buffet and two beers last night. Jacob served it to me. Sorry no picture. I made phone call back home only to find out its 100 degrees in Topeka today. It was 48 in Fairbanks. I’m not sure where I’m headed yet tomorrow.

    My wife informed me last week I received my Iron Butt certificate so I can check that off my Bucket List. When I went up the Dempster I entered Northwest Territories for my 11 Canadian Province. Check that off. Then I made it to Inuvik check it off. Now I made the Dalton to Prudhoe Bay check that off too.
    Last edited by alvingee43; 08-01-2009 at 08:10 PM.

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