Alaska Ride – June 6th – Day #12

It rained a little last night and my tent sweat profusely, so the underside of the rainfly was pretty wet. So even though we woke up early this morning, I kept stalling on packing the bike to give things a little time to dry off. Eventually the sun came over the top of the hill and took care of business fairly quickly.

We missed the gas station while we were heading out of town, so we had to loop back and find it. All of our fuel calculations and extra fuel we carried were based on leaving Dawson City. Well, there is a card lock station (unmanned gas station) at the start of the Dempster. We filled our tanks and extra cans with premium in Dawson City and topped off our tanks with regular (only choice) at the card lock. The switch to turn off the pump had a really strong spring in it, I started to flip it back, and it snapped quickly, pinching the end of my finger. Ouch!IMG_0381

right next to the station is the sign that marks the beginning of the Dempster. We walked over and took some quick pictures.

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The road quickly turns to gravel. Our tires are gripping well and we settled into a cruising speed of around 70kph. Up to this point, the day was pretty nice – the sky was gradually getting cloudier as we sped north, but the road was dry. A sprinkle of rain started just as we pulled into the visitor center at Tombstone.

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Information on the state of the highway was pretty sparse. The rangers told us that the road was good in the park, but didn’t give us any information about the road beyond. We played tourist for a bit, and then hit the road. The rain stopped while we were bumming around inside.

The Tombstone section of the highway had lots of mountains with snow. Very rugged looking terrain. It was very cool.

Grandpa on mocy with mountains

We started to descend from the mountains and I saw a moose hiding in the bushes! Hooray our first moose sighting! We did a quick u-turn to get some pictures. As we sat there, the moose moved out of the bushed to the little pond, and out came a couple of calves as well!

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After we were done taking pictures, I dropped the bike AGAIN. Low speed like always, trying to do a u-turn. I think I’m going to get the bike lowered when I get home. Also, I wish I would have bought the larger pannier set – I would be able to get by without the drybag on top, and the CG of the bike would be lower.

We stopped at Engineer Creek for lunch. The surface in the campground was this nasty sticky black mud that clogged the tread or our tires. I’m surprised we didn’t drop a bike maneuvering around.

About 100k from Eagle Plains, it started to rain. The rain turned the road into a mucky, slippery mess. I felt my front tire skate around a couple of times – it was very scary. I did not air my tires down at all, I’ll probably try that when we continue.

15k from Eagle Plains, I hear “whoa, whoa, whoa!” and “I’m going down!” a bunch of times over the headset. I can see my dad oscillating back and forth in front of me. Then the bike just spun around and there was a cloud of mud and dust. The old man crashed while going down the road.

The first problem was quickly finding a place to park my bike that was not the middle of the road. There is quite a crown and I didn’t want to drop my bike as well. At this point I still did not know the severity of any injuries that may have occurred. Fortunately this was a long straight section of road so approaching traffic had no problem seeing us.

As I’m getting off my bike, my dad is talking over the intercom, letting me know that he is not hurt. The problem now – he is pinned under the bike. The sidestand has his boot locked into the ground. I can’t lift the bike up because his body is where I need to be to lift it. I finally lifted the rear tire high enough that he could wriggle his foot from underneath the bike. Once he was out, we unloaded a few things and easily lifted it.

In this picture, you can see where he spun the bike on the road.

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Removing things from the bike before we lift it. The pannier in the air is not supposed to point that direction. He also managed to get both sides of the bike to hit the ground in the same crash…

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After some chill time, and making sure the bike was at least somewhat operable, we made our way to Eagle Plains at a very slow pace. We’ve got a hotel room for the night, and there is a shop onsite to work on straightening out the pannier. We’ll likely stay and extra night so we can go over the bike and make sure there really isn’t any other damage and it is ok to continue.

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2 comments

  1. Glad your dad is OK. The Dalton highway gets slick when it is wet and even with 4 wheel drive in my truck I have skidded off the road a few times, I can only imagine what it is like with a motorcycle.

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