North to Alaska, go north the rush is on.... (or meeting 'jdrocks' at D2D 2013!) - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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North to Alaska, go north the rush is on.... (or meeting 'jdrocks' at D2D 2013!)

Well - I threatened I was gonna do this, and starting on the 14th June I DID!

Several days before then I had installed new Tourance rubber (130/80 rear on the front and 150/70 rear on the rear), changed oil and filter, cleaned the air-filter and used my Hg (mercury) carb-stix to balance the TBs. A pal from WY arrived afternoon of the 13th, so after a good rest we pulled out of Kelowna Friday AM, headed north, our rain-gear on, as it was cloudy, light to occasionally moderate rainshowers following us north till a HUGE thunderstorm caught us, ending a half hour south of Prince George, BC, and we found a not-too-flooded campground for the night.

But it DID have moderate to heavy concentrations of caterpillars, so you needed to be pretty careful HOW you ate supper, where you sat, where you walked.... The first day had added 674.8 kms (418 miles).

Next morning we got up to a foggy start, but it burned off as we ate breakfast. Broke camp, loaded the KLR and GREEN HORNET, and after gassing in Prince George we were westbound on the "Yellowhead Hwy", Hwy 16, thru more thunderstorms, but finally sunny as we turned north onto the Stewart-Cassiar Hwy - BC37 - which ultimately joins the Alcan Hwy near Watson Lake, YT.

Heading north 157 kms on 37 gets you to the Metziadin Junction where 37A (the Glacier Hwy) goes west to Stewart and Hyder, but also where the Metziadin Provincial Park campground is. Another large t'storm showed north and east, so into the Park for the night.

The skies were clear and sunny (everywhere BUT N and NE!), a relief, but BOY were there ever mosquitoes! You MIGHT notice one in the picture of the lake on the next post from the morning....

We got the tents up PDQ, then heated and ate dinner before retreating to shelter as the thunder/ lightning show started.
Today added another 634 kms to our total.

The pics show us in my garage "suiting-up", half-way to Prince George on a 'rare' dry moment, then making camp at Metziadin Lake.
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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Day 3 - up the Stewart-Cassiar to Watson Lake...

After being "lullabyed" to sleep by the gentle sounds of the happy 'skeeters' , VERY close lightning strikes, then distant rumbling as it got more miles away , it was GREAT to open the tent-fly to SUNNY...! (Be sure to note the lake picture with 'fighter-escort'.)

After breakfast it was a pleasure breaking camp sans rain gear, and soon we were back headed N on 37. After gassing up at Bell 2 ($1.64/l for gas...!) we stopped at Kinaskin Lake to enjoy the warm sun while we ate. Leaving there it was a very nice ride, including the steep, gravel descent via switchbacks to the Stikine River bridge, from where the pavement commenced - the WHOLE of BC37 except for that hill.

Gassed at Dease Lake, then N again, this time having to go into 'threshold-breaking' twice where a couple of brain-dead idiots had stopped, blocking BOTH lanes, so they could take pics of Mama bears with cubs in the ditch. (I'm pretty sure that the bears 'left' as I rode thru HARD on the button for the Stebel horns...).

Got to the Alcan at the Junction, then turned east for my usual campground at the east end, only to find it had closed down, but the Yukon had one back toward the Junction, so we reversed course only to see, once we got to it, a BIG "BOIL WATER 10 MINUTES" sign.

That wouldn't do, so west to the 37 Junction which had a campground with showers. Soon into our site, set-up, then over for a shower.

Funny, but no matter what I did the water was cold, but I "got'er-done", then told my buddy, for HIS. He talked with the owner - "People must be doing laundry..." so decided to use it early the next morning so it'd be hot.

Pic 1 shows a "dive-bomber" at Metziadin Lake; 2 & 3 are Kinaskin Lake at lunch; 4 is Dease Lake; 5 & 6 are BC37; and 7 is our Junction campsite. Mileage (kilometer-age...?) for today was 650 kms.
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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Day 4 - Watson to Whitehorse

Altho' it rained overnight and we left in rain-gear, soon after heading west the clouds broke up and we enjoyed sunshine again, tho' VERY windy all day. After gassing at Tesla and chatting with other adventure riders, we again hit the Alcan, this time traveling at 110 to 115 kph (68 to 72 mph) - NOT conducive to good gas mileage, which was a big concern to me as we hoped to ride the Dempster to Inuvik, about 364 kms between gas stations.

Turned out I was getting roughly 15 km/l (34 mpg) which would run my tank dry in about 300 kms!!! Even with my extra gas-can with 4l or so, it'd still be VERY close to running out on those stretches, so I told my riding partner that we HAD to slow down till I found a speed that gave reasonable mileage (pretty sure the two dry-bags on my rack, tho' not too heavy - maybe 50# for both - were acting as a sail, adding huge drag, killing mileage ).

Takhini Hot Springs - just north of Whitehorse - were 'calling' to us, so after provisioning-up at Superstore we rode the 20 kms, setting up our tents mere yards from the entrance to the Springs.

Tents up, chains lubed, then grabbed our swim suits and soaked for half an hour... BLISS!

Seems the gusty winds were coming from a cold-front, so luckily we could zip up in our full mummy bags for the night as it cooled down.

Pics 1 & 2 show parts of the Alcan; and 3 is our camp at Takhini Hot Springs.
This was a 440 km day.
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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Day 5 - Takhini to Dawson..., and D2D!!!

The 18th June dawned with clear skies, so after 'working on our tans' while we ate, then breaking camp, rain-gear packed away, we headed, first east to the "Klondike Hwy" - 2 - then north when we reached it.

About an hour north on 2 the Braemore Lodge beckons, MOTORCYCLE FRIENDLY, and home to the BEST (IMHO) cinnamon buns anywhere.... $10 apiece, and almost a full meal for TWO...! Dave (jdrocks) told me he'd stopped and agreed they're PDG.

After washing the remaining sugar off our hands (at least the PART we couldn't lick off...) Greg and I headed north again, this time maintaining 90 to 95 kph for what looked like good enough gas mileage for the Dempster's distances between fuel stops.

Dawson was sunny (and HOT) when we rolled in at 4:30, then into the down-town campground in the 'shadow' of the "Moose Pelt" - a land-slide named by the Indians many years back - just north of our site.

Luckily (because we did NOT have reservations, as MOST other D2Ders had done) they could sell us a site for two nights, then we had to move to a 'serviced' site for the last two. I tried really hard to get my aluminum pegs into the rocky ground to anchor my tent, then rode to the hardwear store for some 6" Ardox nails - at least THEY could be pounded into the ground....

Once the tents were up and supper done we walked downtown for a couple of "cold ones", then back for the relaxation of NOT pulling up camp for a few days.

Pic 1 is the Braemore Lodge; 2 shows several DINNER-PLATE sized cinnamon buns; 3 & 4 the Five Finger Rapids (imagine going thru them on a raft as many gold-seekers did!); and 5 is our site, backed by the "Moose Pelt".

Today had added 617 kms.
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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 03:43 PM
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Very Nice. Those cinnamon buns made me drool.

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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by weljo2001 View Post
Very Nice. Those cinnamon buns made me drool.
Joseph - see whether you can get jdrocks to comment on them. (Dave - I take back any remark that might have been miss-construed as indicating you MIGHT be...
large....) They ARE bloody good!


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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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18th to 21st June in Dawsn - D2D!!!

Maybe I failed to mention it, but I wasn't exactly SURE which days D2D was happening on, so we'd arrived in Dawson on Tuesday night, the 18th, found a campsite and set-up, planning to take in some "local color".... Mentioned doing a couple of beers in a local bistro - the "Midnight Sun Hotel" it was - so when NEXT day came up sunny, it was again on our list (NOT at the top tho' - breakfast was gonna be FIRST!).

First we walked-about (after showering and making our laundry ALMOST nice enough for polite company...), had an ice cream bar and checked out where the events would happen. Met Dick (the fellow putting up the D2D poster on the host hotel in one of the pics) "Who you callin' a "dick"...?" and asked if jdrocks was in town. "Who the hell is THAT?" he said.

Guess maybe he was a LITTLE stressed....

In our tour we saw the skulls of two GINORMOUS moose who'd 'locked-horns' in a fight..., and died like that, as well as the obligatory houses built on perma-frost... and gently slipping away.

By now LOTS of adventure bikes were slipping into Dawson, so back to the "Midnight Sun Hotel" for a few ales (Yukon Gold - hm-m-m GOOD! ), and watching game 4 of the Stanley Cup. Then returned to the tent, and a chat with a fellow from the "American Truck Historical Society" who had to have the LONGEST rig I've ever seen.

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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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18th to 21st June in Dawsn - D2D!!! continued...

Another glorious day, the 20th, started out by "walking our tents" from one end of the campground to the other for the next two nights. Followed that with a 'provisioning' run to the grocery store, then to the D2D hotel to buy BBQ steak tickets for Friday night, and the 'official' tees .

Tickets in hand I walked outside to the sunny street, only to see a poor little red Versys dwarfed by this ENORMOUS guy...! Could THIS be the famous, legendary "jdrocks"?

So I walked up, tapped his shoulder and said "Dave? I'm FEC..." to which he answered "Huh?"

"Fast Eddie" I replied, and he stuck out his hand in greeting. We chatted a bit, then he mentioned a bit of a maintenance issue so I invited him to our campground to use my tools and some "holy water" on his chain.

Once the adjustments had been completed we sat and shared stories w/ a few of the other riders there (one from Belgium who had flown over, bought a KLR in Calgary, and was now doing his "dream ride" - he's the one in a blue tee facing Dave), had a coffee, then Dave suited-up and headed for the ferry for the "Top of the World" Hwy, then Chicken and Anchorage to deliver Versystole's bike.

Greg and I chatted w/ some other riders (that's a REAL Africa Twin Honda in the pic!), then walked up the hill to look at the historic cemetery, a LONG walk away.

On the return hike it started raining, so, OF COURSE, we looked for refuge in the "Midnight Sun Hotel", and more Yukon Gold Ale...!

During a discussion on world politics a fellow got up, limped over to the piano (he kinda looked like he was down-on-his-luck), sat down and started playing like an angel. What a surprise, and WHAT a concert! He played quite awhile, and showed up again the next day - 21 June.

By now there were TWO other Vs in town, an Alaskan '08 and a Yukon '07 - chatted w/ the Alaskan who USED to visit this forum, but never got to meet the Yukoner, tho' I BELIEVE I sold him (fdale) my H-B crash bars from down in AZ over the winter.

Believe it - a Goldwing was there, an H-D 'bagger', a couple of Victories as well as the Can-Am and a dirt-modded Ducati....

A GOOD day...!
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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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18th to 21st June in Dawsn - D2D!!! continued... RAIN!!!

I like to read (and re-read...) "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" on my long rides, so when I got back from the hotel and finished chatting w/ neighboring riders, I read 3 chapters, then . Didn't have any idea that it was raining all night till I got up, stuck my head out - oh NO! The "Moose Pelt" was obscured by low clouds and fog.

After cooking my camp breakfast I phoned my wife, only to learn that Alberta was declaring a state of emergency due HUGE dumps of rain that had flooded a large part of downtown Calgary, washed out various roads including the Trans Canada Hwy between there and Banff, put a town called "High River" UNDER WATER, as well as other problems, so I hurried to the D2D sign-in place and made sure that the "powers-that-be" would check into it and make announcements at that night's BBQ supper for those whose plans included southern Alberta!

Later when the heavy rain moderated to merely light showers, we rode our bikes to the street in front of the host hotel to park w/ everyone else, and prepare for the "poker-run". Decided NOT to ride it due to the mud, plus the fact that some roads included in it were 'gnarly' at the best of times. Returned to our tents to change out of our gear, then back to the Midnight Sun Hotel for a few ales with a bunch of riders.

To our good fortune the same fellow went to the piano, playing his heart out! to much applause from us.

The dinner was at 6PM, and to our surprise it was sunny again when we left the bar - yippee! - to walk the 2 blocks to the arena where it was being held (catered by the Dawson City volunteer fire department who did one helluva GREAT job - steaks, spuds, several salads - mmm good!).

After that GREAT supper there were a few speeches, then the flood announcement, followed by awards. One couple was there from Key West, but they didn't get the 'Long Haul' award, and the young fellow (shirtless, standing behind the Africa Twin - first pic in the post BEFORE this one) who won the 'Hard Luck' award for going swimming on his GS800 when he failed to negotiate a curve at 'spirited' speed on the Campbell Hwy between Ross River and Carmacks talked about his 'crash' to cries of "Up periscope..." (Some people can be so cruel...!)

A passel of door-prizes were handed out, and I "won" one donated by a Harley dealer.

Twisted Throttle donated enough 'neat-o tees' for everyone to get at least one, then downtown for the 'games' (slow drags - there's an antique DKW in one pic; pylon race; blindfold race; and water-balloon race) which went on till near midnight - the equinox (OFFICIALLY anyway) at which time photos were taken for ADV forum, and the official "DUST TO DAWSON 2013" stickers were handed out to everyone with his bike on the street.

As far as the Dempster was concerned, we had decided NOT to ride it if it wasn't dry, and today's rain had pretty much ended that idea, so tomorrow we would take the ferry across the Yukon River onto the "Top of the World Hwy" to Chicken! Luckily my '09 trip had included the Dempster over four GREAT sunny days, tho' Greg and Nick hadn't been so lucky on last year's ride where the mud got to them, and they turned back after fighting it for 160 miles.

Parked the GREEN HORNET by the tent, then .
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 07-06-2013 at 12:44 PM.
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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 12:54 PM
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Looks like a great trip, looking forward for the remainder

Ride while you can
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post #11 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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22nd June - Dawson to Tok, AK via Top of the World

Seemed a BIT early, but 'up-and-out' at 7:30. What the hell...? FOG!

Starting the stove, getting breakfast happening, then breaking camp.... Slowly as the coffee warmed me the fog started to burn-off , and at 8:30 the sky was poking thru. Finished loading our bikes and BS'ing w/ other riders, filled up w/ gas, then down to the ferry, watching a paddle-wheeler tourist boat 'steam' past as we waited. A few minutes, and we rode off on the west side of the Yukon River, onto Top of the World. LOTS of bikes, seemed like a race, so away we went. Because of the pace I didn't get many photo-ops, and were soon at the US AK border crossing where my passport was stamped "Poker Creek, Alaska".

To both the north and NW large thunderheads poked up, and the highway which had been a 'little' rough on the Canuck side deteriorated into wet, slimy mud as the skies opened up, many lightning strikes evident, and I was NOT taking my camera out in THAT! Compare the GREEN HORNET in the pic by the "Welcome..." sign, with its condition at Chicken where most of us stopped for an ice cream bar (in the SUN!).

A fellow riding a KLR came over and asked if he could photograph me and my V - saying he thought it was VERY cool. (Watch for my "star" on Hollywood Blvd....)

Soon headed west again, still at too high a speed to get pics, and we arrived in Tok at 4PM, got a campsite and set-up camp (joined by Mr. High-Speed-into-the-swamp-near-Ross-River, and his partner).

A vote was taken and we headed to the lounge to wash the dust outta our throats, then into "Fast Eddy's Restaurant" for a PDG supper, most of us choosing the "Incredible Burger" for $11 (plus $ for more beer OF COURSE!). After dinner I went to the local RC church for Mass. The priest was quite knowledgeable about the V, revealing that HE rides a V-Strom 1000, and hopes to 'do' D2D in 2014. COOL.

Back to camp, now joined by a New Zealander who lives in New Jersey and camped near us in Dawson, and we put away several more....

Only 300 kms on the odo today, but we're all getting used to sleeping while it's still light out.
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 07-06-2013 at 03:25 PM.
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post #12 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 02:29 PM
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Yes, Great write up, very interesting. Sounds like you had a great trip.
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post #13 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 03:17 PM
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Good stuff FEC!
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post #14 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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23rd June, Tok to Cantwell via the Denali Hwy

After good-byes to all our D2D chums we hit the road by 9AM, gassed-up and west to Delta Junction, the end of the Alcan. From there it's S on AK4 to Paxson, the eastern start of the Denali Hwy (the old approach to visit Mt McKinley - Denali) via a LITTLE pavement, then 114 miles of rough, DUSTY, but EXTREMELY SCENIC road, west to the "George Hwy - AK3 " and Cantwell.

Lunch was by a stream near Paxson, then W, mountains on every horizon. The pavement ran out, the rough began. Last time I rode this road in '09 there'd been so much forest fire smoke that you could "sense" mountains, but couldn't see them , but now it was glorious, clear with 100 miles visibility at least..., so the 'rough' was NOT as much a chore as in '09!

Dusty tho', so, often we'd stop to let someone get further ahead then continue in relatively clear conditions. Lots of photo-ops today, but you needed to "be on your toes" because the road crews would fill a hole by just pouring in some 'pit-run' gravel (probably fairly deep), and after the first 'excitement' hitting one of those I tended to stand on the 'pegs for control. At one point I pulled into a 'pull-off' spot only to discover that it was 6 to 8" of soft sand, and luckily the Tourance tires and standing on the 'pegs got me thru without a face-plant!!!

A lot of Alaskans will slow right down, reducing the dust, which certainly helped us.

At Cantwell we pulled into the same campground I'd used in '09, however my memory of fitting two tents into a site was a bit 'off'. ONE site would accept two easily, but our site took some squeezing to pull it off. Then our New Zealand buddy pulled in, camping on the verge. We asked, but the nearest 'package store' was 28 miles away, so this was a dry camp....

Greg wanted to change his oil in Fairbanks, so that determined which direction in the morning.

Today had added 520 kms, but still haven't needed to add ANY oil.
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post #15 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Glad you are enjoying this thread, but I think I'll take a break for awhile....

MAYBE tomorrow?

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post #16 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 05:09 PM
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No, keep going Eddie!!! lol ;D
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post #17 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-06-2013, 09:22 PM
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Looking good buddy! Keep it comin'.

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post #18 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-07-2013, 08:45 AM
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Thank you for sharing Eddie!

Excellent thread!





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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
...About an hour north on 2 the Braemore Lodge beckons, MOTORCYCLE FRIENDLY, and home to the BEST (IMHO) cinnamon buns anywhere.... $10 apiece, and almost a full meal for TWO...! Dave (jdrocks) told me he'd stopped and agreed they're PDG....
It has been "brought to my attention" that I have made an error: it's the "Braeburn Lodge" - NOT Braemore..., as per the following pic - my BAD.... Change is for the "18th June...".




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post #20 of 57 (permalink) Old 07-07-2013, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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24 June - Cantwell to Tok, via Fairbanks

Morning arrived, clear, sunny - NICE! Did my usual morning routine (involving my stove, water, etc, then packing up the HORNET), walked around camp. Tried Clinton's (the New Zealand fellow) "Leatt neck-brace" on - gonna get one FER SURE...!

LAST time here, in '09, we turned S leaving Cantwell, and I got some pics of a "BIG hill" obscured by smoke. This time I guess my memory failed me, so I kept looking W as we headed N, expecting Denali to "pop" into view... . It DIDN'T, but we saw a hotel WAY-Y-Y up a hill on our right (the Grande Denali Lodge) and figured MAYBE Denali was visible from up there (it's NOT!), so turned in. It's about 500' UP, with a VERY twisty road and some incredibly ORIGINAL signs along it - check the pic of my GPS of the hill, and those pics of the signs...!


As we continued N the construction began, so it took us probably an hour to go 20 miles, but, eventually we got back up to "Mach", headed N, just scattered clouds and around 85F. Nice view of the Alaska and Wrangell Ranges to our S. The higher speeds we were traveling at were DEFINITELY impacting my mileage , so I vowed to slow down for THAT, and for taking more pics .

Hit Fairbanks, Greg phoned the Kawi shop which WAS open Mondays () so I put their address into the GPS, arriving in 10 minutes. Half an hour there, his oil now 'fresh and vibrant', Greg threw his leg over and we turned E, first to Delta Junction (gas and groceries), then Tok - home of the WORLD FAMOUS "Fast Eddy's Restaurant" at Young's Motel and Campground, where we got the same site as we'd had two nights before. Kinda felt like Alaska was goin' by WAY-Y-Y too fast...!

Tents up, then over to Fast Eddy's for another pretty descent supper (washed down OF COURSE ), followed by running water thru our rads to help the cooling... , and a shower to help MY cooling! VERY nice washroom facilities at the campground, showers FREE !

Today added another 573 kms to the total.
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 07-07-2013 at 02:42 PM.
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