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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The problem with riding solo is that you don't have another voice telling you, "that's a bad idea"

Packed up fom Fox Lake and decided to take a little detour through Mayo and Keno City to the End at Keno Hill.
On the way north, i stopped over at a point of interest and it seems the area i'm in is called the Whitehorse Trough. neat info. the dark area in the below picture is the mountain that's left.

big rocks that fell off the mountain as the land eroded away.

I stopped for a nice breakfast in Carmacks. the strawberry was a nice touch.
Filled up in Carmacks and met two Guys on BMW gs' (1150 and 1200) from Utah. They were going up to the arctic circle up the haul road. upon leaving the gas station i got between the two riders (stupid me and my bad timing) so i rode in the center between the two for a little bit, looking for a place to pull over so the rear guy can be with his riding partner. Next thing i know, an RCMP comes up from behind with lights and sirens. uh oh. we were all speeding it seems.
He didn't stop behind me, but stopped behind the 1st rider. I decided to go around the RCMP and just keep going... after all he didn't stop me, and if i did stop, would he have given all of us speeding tickets? I feel bad for the BMW rider... I hope i didn't push him or make him speed at all.
After carmacks i stopped over at the 5 finger rapids for a few pictures. This was formed the same way as the big rock above. if your interested in it, google it.

Here are the 5 finger rapids.

and no, i did NOT walk down. i'm too lazy, so a pic will suffice.
Seems i caught up to the two riders. I had passed them later, and they waved, so maybe they weren't pissed. I hope they have a safe and pleasant journey.
Talked to the Info lady at the begining of the Silver Trail. the silver trail goes up to Mayo and keno city. She said the road is good all the way up Keno Hill and i wouldn't have any problems, maybe a few potholes and ruts. she was wrong. very very wrong. more on that later. some of the views going up to Mayo. the pic doesn't do it justice. the camera never gets everything your eyes can see. Filled up at Mayo. two gas stations in town, one that's open from 9am-noon. the other gas station only had 1 pump going. guess not much traffic in these here parts.

the views between mayo and keno cityWinding roads, loose gravel, and pretty much cliffs with no guard rails. safe. Great views up here though. the road was actually in pretty good condition.

went through Keno city and started up Keno Hill. The road was REALLY rough, heavily rutted with large rocks filling in the holes and where the road washed out in many many places. It's hard on a cruiser to get out of those ruts when you get stuck in one (especially when you are all loaded down. I bounced around quite a bit and bottomed out on quite a few large rocks. not good. at one point going up, there was a black bear in the middle of the road. I stopped and he looked at me for a few seconds, then ran like a bat out of hell away from me. Good, at least i wasn't the only one scared.
This is where the Voice of Reason just wasn't with me. riding solo has it's benefits, but also a downside. The downside is not having someone say "i think that's a bad idea".
onward i plowed through. I'm stupid, but hey... where's your sense of adventure.
The road got muddier as i went up the hill due to all the snow melting. I think the Silver trail info lady was a little mis-informed. then i hit big ruts. the ruts were very deep and i had to essentially cross streams and go up the ruts that had water going down it.

No i don't have a dual sport. no it's not a light bike. yes i'm loaded down. yes, this was a very bad idea.

This is where i stopped. It was really muddy and by now my front brake was squeaking quite badly. I figured it was just mud and snow in the brakes making the commotion.

I couldn't go any further without risking life and limb. yes, by this time, i almost dumped the bike several times and it'll probably take me a few days to pluck the underwear from between my cheeks. the pucker factor was very high. I was about 300 feet to the signpost(s) so essentially i made it.
Here's the first signpost that marks the trails. I didn't go hiking.
Meet Chippy the Groundhog. He kept me company up there. he's at the base of the big signpost.

at last the signpost:YOU SHALL NOT DEFEAT ME
I'm king of the hill baby!!
a view from the top. I don't get motion sickness or afraid of heights, but when i looked down this (it's a cliff) i got a little woozy.

snow...nice to see from time to time, but not now. it was about 3 inches deep, with a 3 inch layer of ice under it.
I'm lucky that the bike didn't tip over. this was dug in pretty deep. The road was really soft and just put mud.

This is a view going back down. the ruts were between 4 and 8 inches deep. i scraped bottom many times. i almost lost it many times. Silver trail lady was wrong. very wrong. It was easier going up than down. My front brake at this time didn't work much at all, and only squealed. (not that you should be using the front brake going downhill in this condition)
It's hard to ride the bike riding the back brake, in these ruts.

On the way down i spotted what looked like a chicken in the middle of the road and it flopped out of my way to the side. I didn't stop for a picture as the road was too rough. What i saw was a Ptarmigan (ie: what they should have called the town of Chicken, Alaska, but couldn't spell it)
Finally made it back down the hill to Keno City where i took a break and had something cold to drink at the snack shack. i spoke to the owner and he says that keno hill doesn't open until June 21 usually (the longest day of the year celebration)
If you're in the area, go to Keno city anyhow. it's a neat place.
I spoke to another customer who was on a quad and said it's a piece of cake on a quad or 4x4. he said i could have taken the other road which was better. great. oh well, i made myself an adventure out of it.
I took some of my water and dumped it on my mud soaked front end to clean the brake. uh oh. this is where i noticed all the oil on top of the water and oil dripping from my front end. checked the brake lines and it wasn't coming from there. Checked the fork seal on the right (near the brake) and it was leaking constantly. i checked the other fork and the same thing.
great. I busted both fork seals.
Keno Museum.essentially the rest of the city.Not much else i could do except ride one.
I stopped for gas at Stewart crossing and my bike was smoking. uh oh. what now.
Seems i had fork oil all over the engine and exhaust and that's what was smoking. no big deal, nothing i can do about it now.
my riding pants, from bottom to knee, and my boots were soaked with fork oil. Those will never come clean. oh well.
I rode on to Dawson city, wary of the oil leaking over my tires and brakes. I was hoping someone in Dawson City would be able to fix it or look at it.
took a picture along the way. there was a sort of haze over everything. i'm not sure what caused it. snow melting perhaps?
Before i got to Dawson city i saw a few Hares hopping across the road and a fox (right at the city limits) A lot of wildlife in the yukon.
I got to Dawson City and looked for a campground. instead i pulled into the Bonanza motel. Closed at 8 and it was a little after 9pm.
There was a little sign that said there were a few rooms available and that the keys were in the doors. 4 rooms on the sign. I went around and took one on the ground floor and unpacked my bags.
The other 3 filled up really quick with people coming.
a picture of my bike. my bike is sad. it's crying (from the forks) I took this at 12:10 am.
it doesn't get really dark here...
The motel had free WiFi, but didn't seem to work. It always gave me "limited or no visibility"
There was another WiFi unsecured network, that i was able to connect to and look online for motorcycle shops everywhere.
made a list of everything in the Yukon Territory and Alaska that i'd call in the morning.
I spoke to Friend of mine (Harvey) on the phone since he's a night guy and fellow biker. He pretty much said i can ride my bike but it'll pretty much act like a springer front end.
I was pretty depressed about this, but the talk with a fellow biker put some sense in my head. I still had until July. we were june 4th. I think that helped put everything into perspective.
Tomorrow... tomorrow i will deal with this, for tonight, i sleep. kinda depressed at my own stupidity. maybe one day i'll learn. maybe.

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