Page 3 of 8 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 33 to 48 of 125

Thread: San Francisco to Alaska, and back. July 2012.

  1. #33
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    In The Here and Now
    Posts
    4,483
    like the vid. thank's Mark. more please

  2. #34
    opinionated, me? Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Kelsall, Cheshire
    Posts
    4,763
    Tuesday, Fairbanks.
    Today was a lazy day, which meant everyone rode their bikes somewhere! After a lie in of sorts, we converged on Sam’s Sourdough cafe on University Avenue opposite campus.
    The food was good and plentiful, and the waitresses were well used to dealing with big, rowdy tables. Most of us had booked to have some sort of work done at Adventure Cycle Works (no relation) during the day, and a rota was quickly formulated to save sitting around. Blogs were updated, washing sorted, some shopping done etc, all around the timing of Dan and Shaun’s work rate.
    I had ridden out on a set of part worn Tourances, and had pre ordered Alaska's favourite Heidenau K60’s to be fitted. Adventure Cycle Works have an efficient if slightly
    eccentric set up. Working out of the garage at the back of the house the two of them sorted each bike out with whatever it needed, all the while dispensing the
    wisdom according to Alaska. You didn't have to necessarily agree with their opinion, but the job went quicker and smoother if you did! I wasn't too sure
    about the recommended tyre pressure in the Heidi's, thinking it was too high, but agreed to give it a try. I sit corrected. Watching how hard they worked
    getting these tyres on, I made a mental note to use Bakerman’s method of removal when it came to change them once back home!
    Dan asked which of us was the storyteller, word had got around about Gaz’s Tales of the unexpected. Not sure whether I could cope with another session!
    On Chris's recommendation, we stocked up on snack food and energy bars, as food stops were few and far between for the next couple of days. Gaz had gone to one
    of the "outdoor" shops and picked up a mosquito net for me that you could wear over your crash helmet. This was to save taking your helmet off for roadworks
    and such. It could be worn over a hat just as easily, like a bee keepers hood, as I had forsaken my previous Marlboro bug repelling habit.
    Once the bikes were sorted, and a couple of fuel cans hired for the shorter range bikes of Bob, Clive, Gaz and myself, everyone took their panniers and excess luggage up
    into the rooms to sort out just enough gear for the next two overnight stops.
    Mark
    Just when you've got this rat race licked, here come faster rats!

  3. #35
    opinionated, me? Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Kelsall, Cheshire
    Posts
    4,763
    Wednesday.
    The panniers and surplus luggage were stored in a room at the university for our return. After stowing these we piled into Sam’s for a substantial breakfast to fortify us for the ride ahead.



    Steak and Eggs, proper breakfast! What did you have Gaz?

    A slight touch of nerves was evident, this was the unknown to all except Chris. With brimmed tanks, and the extra cans securely fastened we set off. To help keep the group a little more manageable, Chris had suggested two groups of five, with Gaz leading the second group, and me as tail end. That way each “lead” rider only had four bikes to check his mirrors for. The first hour or so was tarmac, the Elliot highway, which twisted and turned its way generally North until we reached the start of the Dalton Highway, the infamous Haul road. Taking photos at the sign led to our first drop, but pride was the only casualty.



    Just behind my bike, is a GSA having a lie down....

    Here the tarmac ended, and the dirt began. The first few miles were spent getting used to the feel of the road surface, which was hard packed, dry and dusty. It didn’t feel all that different to some of the roads we’d already travelled, but the dust clouds meant you backed off from the vehicle in front. Quite a lot of traffic on the early stretch too, as witnessed by the queue that built up at the roadworks we encountered in the first hour.







    This was the first test of the “over helmet mozzie net”, which it passed with flying colours.



    There's no flies on me!




    Another eight bikes turned up to join us as we waited for the escort vehicle to take us through at slow speed. Overtaking the trucks after the escort turned off gave us an empty road to play with, and we were soon settled in to a steady 55-60 mph. You still had to keep your eyes open for bumps though, as the mixture of dirt and some broken tarmac could rattle your teeth a bit. Happily for me, my bike is set up so that I am equally comfortable sitting or standing, so I treated it just like Tesco’s carpark. One bump loosened the petrol can on Clive’s rack, so I flagged him down so we could secure it. In the couple of minutes it took, the others had got some distance ahead.
    “Better catch up!” he grinned, and so we did…….



    The bridge across the Yukon River had a wooden deck, not to be trusted in wet weather I suspect, but as we were enjoying a dry spell it wasn’t a worry. There was a fuel stop just over the bridge, so we topped up. Cafes are few and far between on the Dalton, so it would be rude not to stop and a little further on was the “Hotspot Cafe” where we had a brew and a snack.



    Another group of people came over to ask “where y’all from”, and two young girls had their pictures taken sat on the bikes. The sign said we were 60 km from the Arctic Circle, which is apparently as far as a lot of the “tourists” go.

    As we left, it was noticeable that the sky had darkened, an example of how fast the weather can change at this latitude. Covering the signposted 60 km quite quickly, a couple of us rode past the 'rest stop' at the Arctic Circle and had to double back. There are a couple of toilets, an information board and a big sign in an open parking area.





    Photo opp duly observed, the rain started. I had brought waterproofs to wear over my Aerostitch for inclement conditions. The 'Stitch is waterproof, but gets heavy and retains water, which it releases over the hotel room floor overnight. Also, gravel roads and water means mud, so the waterproofs would keep me cleaner. Now was a good time to put them on I thought, which was vindicated shortly after as the rain assumed biblical proportions. We swam the remaining 80 km to the truckstop at Coldfoot, where tanks and stomachs
    were due for filling. Gaz was disappointed to find that his range was less than mine, and so we brimmed tanks and reset trips to compare the next day. As the rain was still bouncing down, I fastened my waterproof jacket over my luggage before we piled in for the "all you can eat" buffet, which was excellent value for money and tasty with it. There were very few empty spaces at the tables, as the massive car park outside was filled with trucks and a couple of crew buses, along with our ten bikes.
    Our accommodation for the night was about 15 minutes away at Wiseman, in cabins in the woods. A brief lull in the rain allowed us to get there and get already
    soaked gear hung up to dry.



    The Boreal Lodge cabins were basic, but clean and warm. I made sure my GoPro was plugged in properly to charge, as it had died before we left Fairbanks that morning, so sadly no footage today. Unpacking my bag, I found that my glasses had fallen apart, the vibration being chief suspect. A temporary repair was affected, but wouldn't last long. After a brief shower and change we all sat around the little TV in the communal lounge/kitchen drinking coffee and watching the classic DVD "Once upon a time in the West". Not everyone appreciated this fine piece of cinemagraphic history though!
    Mark
    Just when you've got this rat race licked, here come faster rats!

  4. #36
    Dream Maker
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Worcester, England
    Posts
    13,536
    Boreal Lodge Wiseman AKA Mosquito Central....
    www.unchainedtours.com

    "Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope.
    With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream.
    If you have hope, you have everything."



    http://www.unchainedtours.com

  5. #37
    Dream Maker
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Worcester, England
    Posts
    13,536
    Adventure Cycle Works in Fairbanks. They will sort any bike out as long as it's NOT a Harley
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    www.unchainedtours.com

    "Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope.
    With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream.
    If you have hope, you have everything."



    http://www.unchainedtours.com

  6. #38
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    scotland
    Posts
    4,238
    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt Bilco View Post
    Adventure Cycle Works in Fairbanks. They will sort any bike out as long as it's NOT a Harley
    That,s Dan there with the red shirt and the long hair giving my paraffin pony the once over tells it like it is Dan does
    still no deid

  7. #39
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    In The Here and Now
    Posts
    4,483
    nice one Mark, keep it coming

  8. #40
    opinionated, me? Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Kelsall, Cheshire
    Posts
    4,763
    Thursday
    "Are bears more active first thing in a morning?", I wondered to myself, as I skipped across the puddles to the outside loo. Bob had been out early to take photos, and swore he saw a wolf in the trees. Breakfast was coffee and whatever we had brought with us after Chris's reminder about self sufficiency. A light rain was falling, so I started the day with waterproofs again. Riding out of Wiseman at 7.00 am, low cloud clung to the side of the mountains giving an ethereal effect to the landscape. The road surface varied in the wet, from hard puddle strewn and compacted, to soft loose liquid gravel over a hard base, a little like a layer of wet concrete spread over a previously set floor. Riding relaxed and allowing the bike to move about beneath you was the most successful method, and trying to avoid ruts left by the trucks. Chris had pointed out to us that the truck drivers were very nervous of bikers, not being used to seeing them this far up the Haul Road, so we would pull over as far as possible when one was heading towards us to leave them to get on with their job.







    Anyone familiar with "Ice Road Truckers" will have heard of "The North Slope" and the "Atigan Pass", two infamous landmarks as the Dalton crests it highest points. The North Slope is a long gradual climb on an almost 90 degree left hand curve, nothing in the current weather, but you can imagine how tricky it could be with a full laden rig in icy conditions. We stopped at the top for photos and a quick check that everyone was happy with the ride thus far. The Atigan is longer, less steep and with more bends over its 2 mile ascent. The
    Armco bore plenty of scars, each testament to some potentially life threatening incident. At the highest point, 1440m, a lone tractor unit was parked. Its driver probably not expecting his nap to be disturbed by ten bikes parking near him for photos. The other side of the pass was a swooping set of bends, goading and scary at the same time. After riding down, I turned back to give it another run, with a bit more feeling this time!Johno was sat at the bottom with his camera, but the results were less spectacular on film than they had been in my head.



    The highest point of the Atigan.



    As we were talking an escort vehicle pulled up beside us, and the young lady driving pointed out that there was an abnormal load on its way down, and for us to keep out of itsway. It was a large sectional building, and we easily outran it. Stopping for "lunch" a little further, Chris had pulled into a layby where it was possible (but not legal) to walk right up to the pipeline that is the whole reason for the road. Difficult to imagine the hardships that must have been endured by the people setting this feat of engineering up.The sun had now broken through, so the waterproofs were stowed away again, and we had dust to contend with for the next hour or so.







    Isn't this what squirrels eat?



    Formation mozzie netting.



    Someone got it wrong!

    Gaz invented a game of GoPro chicken, where we had to film each other at the same time, and first to look forward lost. He cheated though, and screamed, causing me to look first!
    The terrain changed to tundra, flat and featureless as far as the eye could see, and the weather turned back to damp and drizzle. The roads were wetter than the conditions suggested though, and there were long stretches of the loose gravel that moved around under wheel in a most disconcerting fashion.



    Flying Doctor?



    You've no idea how many shots it took to get this one.

    As we neared Deadhorse, the mist closed in so that we could hardly tell where the buildings of the camp began. Thankfully, Chris knew where the fuel station was, and we filled up before posing in front of the sign at the general store, the end of the road for private vehicles. The postmistress came out to take our photo, and quite a crowd gathered round us. "Hey, where y'all from?"








    It's all South from here.
    The stores had a glasses repair kit, can't remember who saw it, but I still have it in my tank bag! We settled into our luxury accommodation, the dormitories for the workers. Apparently the workforce nearly trebles in the winter months, leaving room for tourists like us in the summer.



    The Ritz, it aint.



    Bet that's an interesting beast to drive.

    Another buffet supper in the works canteen, but as Deadhorse is dry, we couldn't have a celebratory drink. We instead spent a couple of hours sat in the corridor, talking shite, as you do.
    Mark
    Just when you've got this rat race licked, here come faster rats!

  9. #41
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Paradise
    Posts
    20,696
    I'm loving this.

  10. #42
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    In The Here and Now
    Posts
    4,483
    Quote Originally Posted by The Nutty GSER View Post
    I'm loving this.
    so am i. it is getting to me this dalton highway trip. where do i get a mossie net?

  11. #43
    Appreciating Scotland Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    8,286
    Quote Originally Posted by UturnTony View Post
    so am i. it is getting to me this dalton highway trip. where do i get a mossie net?
    Just about any out-door equipment store in Scotland

    Do the trip, it's excellent. There is something particularly liberating about waking up every day for a month with nothing more to do than ride through fantastic scenery on quiet roads with lots of hard pack dirt to add an edge of excitement then finish the day with good food and a couple of beers.
    '83 BMW R100
    Yamaha S10
    '69 BMW R60 US

  12. #44
    opinionated, me? Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Kelsall, Cheshire
    Posts
    4,763
    Friday
    This was to be a tough day. From Deadhorse back to Fairbanks in one hit, the full length of the Dalton Highway.
    We met up in the canteen at 5.00 am for breakfast, planning to be loaded and rolling for 6.00 am. Johno and Bob were taking the Icefield tour, so were going
    to follow on behind us. Conditions started gloomy and damp, but cleared as we rode South. Settling into a steady pace, the convoy of eight bikes sweeping
    along, our main objective achieved, all the rest was just gravy.
    The rain came back, and with a vengeance. I had packed my waterproofs away, and was contemplating stopping to put them on when we all pulled out to overtake a
    truck. I saw Geoff's bike buck through a big puddle, and could have sworn I saw something fly off. As I rode past where it had been, there was a black
    cylindrical shape in amongst the rocks at the side of the track. After a few seconds it registered that the shape was a tool tube! I stopped and waved the
    truck we had just passed through, who to his credit had slowed to check I was ok, and turned back to look for it. After what seemed ages of trundling slowly
    up the wrong side of the road, I spotted it and hopped off to retrieve it. Back on the bike and just about to turn around, I saw movement on the tundra to my
    right. A herd of Caribou crossed the road not 50 yards in front of me!



    Chasing back to the others, I waved at my mate the truck driver as I re-passed him, and pulled up behind them at a set of roadworks. Geoff's look of confusion
    when I handed him his tool tube was priceless. The controller put us at the back of the convoy, which was unusual, behind the trucks. As we changed lanes, the
    weather and traffic had made deep ruts, which caught Jon and Alex out.



    They both toppled simultaneously into the mud, happily without injury to anything other than
    pride. Oh, and Jon's fog light, now dangling by its wire. Gaz went to help Alex and I went to Jon and we soon had them back upright. Unfortunately Gaz's bike
    slid off its side stand while he was picking Alex's up, but again without damage. The escort vehicle and the trucks were now out of sight, so we gathered
    ourselves up and gave chase, not wanting to meet the next lot coming through. At the first chance after the roadworks Chris pulled in for us to regroup. Jon
    managed to disconnect his light and stowed it away and I put my waterproofs on.
    The steady drizzle continued as we headed up the Atigan Pass and into the cloud. The temperature plummeted along with the visibility, and it was a very nervous
    few miles as I imagined a truck emerging from the gloom, or the road falling away. I only realised just how cold it had got once we came back down out of the
    murk, and I could stop concentrating so hard! Thankfully I soon warmed up and we next descended the North Slope without drama, and stopped at the next set of roadworks. It was only then that we realised just how filthy both bikes and riders were! The fins on my cylinders were filled in, there was a 10mm coating of mud on all the leading surfaces of the bike, the screen was opaque, and all my gear on the back was uniform gray. Geoff’s Gopro, on the top of his helmet, was covered worse than mine. The spray from the bike in front managed to get you no matter how far back you rode. Chris warned us that the mud would set like concrete owing to the chemicals sprayed onto the surface of the road to keep it together, which is why he’d scheduled a rest day tomorrow for washing off.





    Once through the roadworks we pressed on to the truckstop at Coldfoot. After a quick snack and a fill up, Chris, Jon, Alec, Clive and I continued on, leaving Gaz, Little Mark and Geoff to their three course meals. As we pulled out, we were followed by a truck, which quite disconcertingly, continued to sit on our (my!) tail at up to 70 mph. The next hill allowed us to outpace him, but of course the last thing we wanted to do was interfere with his work.



    At the Arctic Circle we stopped again for a leg stretch and to check the bikes over. There was a guy in the car park on a Fireblade who was intending to ride
    on to Coldfoot! Well if Saunders can do it on an R1? I couldn't talk to him for more than a couple of minutes though, owing to his habit of spitting after
    every sentence, which was odd. On towards the Hotspot Cafe and the promise of one of their huge burgers, we came across a push bike at the side of the road. A Surly Fatbike for those who know about these things, ridden by a Londoner! He had cycled to Prudhoe Bay and was on
    his way back, having wild camped at the side of the road!



    Clive and I had been setting each other challenges since we left Prudhoe, and as I remembered one stretch of the road just after The Hotspot, arrow straight and
    with clear view for miles, it was time to pull the winning card. Thankfully Clive agreed!



    We had enjoyed a dry hour, but the clouds were piling up to the South of us. A convoy of University of Alaska minibuses heading back towards Fairbanks found us
    very photogenic. Each one had students waving and pointing their cameras and phones at us as we passed. Must have been our rugged good looks?



    Following Alex through the last of the Dalton before we rejoined the Tarmac, I was enjoying his smooth style through the bends, and marvelling at the fact that
    he wasn't using the brakes! I was having to anchor up quite hard to avoid rear ending him. Must be the extra engine braking of those old 1150's. It was only
    later when we were talking that we realised that his, and probably my, lights were completely covered in crud!
    Just after we left the dirt, the rain started again, so the last twisty roads down into Fairbanks were wet. Clive indicated that he was low on fuel, so I
    suggested he should catch Chris up to see if he knew how far the next petrol was. It was further than he had fuel for, as he sputtered to a halt shortly
    after.
    We rolled back into the campus at 7.00 pm, nowhere near as tired as I expected. A quick shower and then into the University Bar, where, according to my diary we
    drank lots! There was live music on, but they weren't to everyone's taste. Bob and Johno made it back not too long after us, having had a trouble free trip
    down.
    Mark
    Just when you've got this rat race licked, here come faster rats!

  13. #45
    opinionated, me? Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Kelsall, Cheshire
    Posts
    4,763
    Saturday.
    A lie in, recovering from the rigours of yesterday. We suspected that some of the beer consumed may have been of substandard quality. Needless to say, a large breakfast made everything feel better. There is a huge car and truck wash just down the road from Sam's, and Gaz and I headed straight there to try and jet wash the majority of the crap off the bikes. Three tokens worth, and I was starting to see progress! We then went to explore Fairbanks a little more, checking out the KTM dealership, and the massive sporting goods emporium. Gaz
    managed to get a new lens for his GoPro, his being rather scratched. I had a chat with one of the guys in the sports shop, being intrigued by the signs for
    "Bow hunting" showing earlier start dates than guns. He showed me a composite bow, with cam shaped pulleys, which he claimed was accurate and deadly to 400
    metres, with a drawback a child could manage! Scary, but not as scary as Gaz holding a 50 cal rifle, with a strange smile on his face!
    The afternoon was spent lazing around, re packing the bikes, posting photos, and monopolising the University washing machines!
    Mark
    Just when you've got this rat race licked, here come faster rats!

  14. #46
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    132
    This thread has been a great read so far keep it coming

  15. #47
    opinionated, me? Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Kelsall, Cheshire
    Posts
    4,763
    The video of two of the three days on the Dalton Highway. I cocked the charging up the day before we left, so there's no footage from the first day. This shows the road conditions and the changeable weather up there.




    Mark
    Just when you've got this rat race licked, here come faster rats!

  16. #48
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    In The Here and Now
    Posts
    4,483
    great stuff Mark

Page 3 of 8 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Anyone attending a Ride Out or Event organised through the UKGSer Forums does so at their own risk.
UKGSer.com or anyone organising an event posted here will not be held responsible in any way for damage or personal injury sustained while attending any such events.

Members attending any such event do so at their own risk.

The text, images, graphics, sound files, animation files, video files, and their arrangement on this Website are all subject to copyright and other intellectual property protection. These objects may not be copied for commercial use or distribution, nor may these objects be modified or reposted to other sites without prior written permission.

Disclaimer: Use or depiction of the BMW logo or trademark throughout this web site is for illustrative and editorial purposes only, and to the benefit of the trademark owner, with no intention of infringement of the trademark.

The UKGSer Forums may include adult content for which it cannot be held responsible. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the UKGSER network privacy policy

"Its about being a grown up hooligan - and if that means a dark visor, remus open pipe and a bit of speeding out of town then all well and good"