June 17, 2011

Oh, good grief,  walked outside this morning and you couldn't see your breath.  Is this Key West already.  Nope just Whitehorse.  But far enough south so that "reasonable" weather prevails.  We had lots of time this morning as we had to wait for the Harley Davidson dealer to open at 9:00.  We're hoping that they will install my back tire while we wait.  They would and they did.  Only problem is that I almost wore out the rear brakes with the Dalton mud.  Front ones are fine.  Quick trip to the (useless) Honda dealer found that they didn't have brake pads for Honda's largest selling bike in Canada.  Oh well - who uses a back brake once you're out of the dirt anyway?  There is still a little bit of pad left so it will be only for special circumstances for now.  After all motorcycle racers seldome if ever use a back brake. On a motorcycle almost all of the breaking power is on the front wheel. With all of these delays it was 11:00 am before we left Whitehorse.  A lovely day of about 60 deg F. for out trip east along the Alcan highway. We decided to only go as far as Dease lake on the Cassier highway.  On the way today there was some nice scenery but we saw it on the way up so there wasn't much call for photos.  We did however see a mother black bear with two very cute cubs.  Later on we saw another one with even cuter cubs.  Momma bears being the protective souls that they are we decided not to stop and take photos.  They can be very unpredictable when defending their young.  Besides that we should see lots more on the way in to Stewart, BC  / Hyder, AK and there will be lots of photo ops.  Now that I've said that every bear between here and Hyder will promptly go into hiding.  We did see what I believe is a Rock sheep - there were several but only this one stayed around when I stopped.
So here is the Rock Sheep.  Cute guy but skittish.  But no where as cute as little black bear cubs about 1 foot tall.  They have the most inquisitive faces.  Probably trying to determine if you're too big to eat.

      This  %^$#@(*  picture took 19 minutes to upload due to the hotel's slow satellite Internet connection.  I suppose I should be happy for any connection but it is frustrating. After all - I could be sleeping.  So - no more photos from here.  

 Lots of people seem to be wondering why we're so short of time.  Well, here is a typical day.  Get up and dress and take the covers off of the bikes. Fold them up (usually wet) and try to stuff them into their bags to be packed away.  Load all of the stuff we took into the hotel. Check over the bikes thoroughly to see if anything needs attention such as oil, tires, lights, various things that may vibrate loose etc. etc.  Start the bikes and let them warm up.  Go back in and don the extra warm clothing then the riding suits.  Check out and we're off.  Ride all day not stopping except for necessities such as gas (usually twice or three times) or to don or remove rain gloves and tank bag covers.  This is truly a pain as it is awkward, prohibits access to the tankbags where it seems everything you need is kept.  The rain overgloves are also difficult to wriggle over the electric gloves and then you are very limited as to what you can do with them on.  They are also somewhat slippery and make holding things a chore.  Especially holding the throttle on.  It gives you cramps as you have to clutch it so tightly to get a grip.  Fortunately I have some assistive devices to help there.  Our diet during the day consists of water from the hydration water bladders in the suits (via a tube with a bite valve), Cliff Bars (a nutrition supplement bar) and trail mix.  Keeps you healthy if not happy.  Sometimes (usually at least once a day) something comes up that needs attention on the bikes and that can take from just a few seconds to several hours.  You never know with a (almost) 30 year old bike and a little tiny one that is being pounded waaaaaaaayyyyyy beyond it's designer's specifications.  At the end of the day we check in to a motel, check out the room to make sure it's habitable (good success so far) then go and bring in our stuff.  We've packed such that only one small bag is needed each plus the tank bags. Ditch the riding suits (much too warm to walk around in) then return out to once again check the bikes, go get gas if we didn't already and fix anything that we let go during the day.  Put the covers over the bikes and then try to find out the closest place to eat.  Sometimes we just check in first and go directly to eat if we have to ride to the restaurant.  Once back we then have to do laundry, shower and generally get ready to sleep.  Usually then I download the days photos to a backup directory on the laptop so we don't lose any and I have easy access for posting.  I then usually check the weather for the next day on the computer.  I don't know why I bother to do this as what it will be is not of any importance.  We will ride in it anyway and our suits can handle anything from 100+ degrees to below freezing and are completely waterproof.  Knowing in advance just seems to be needed somehow.  Who knows - maybe it's just habit to want to know what tomorrow will bring.  Because our range of movement is large however it usually means that we will bridge at least one weather system and end up with a little of everything.  Once the weather and email has been checked and answered then I'll start on this blog which can take from a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on the connection speed and amount said and photos used.  Before going to bed we pack up everything to be  ready and lay out the clothing needed  for the morning.  Sleep, hopefully at least 6 to 8 hours, Next day we repeat  - etc.  The longest part of the day is of course the riding and I must say it has been spectacular.  Every type of scenery and terrain. Seems every time I or Lynn and I go for a long trip it seems like the "trip of a lifetime" and I guess each one is.  They all seem fresh and new to me though.  I especially like the long hours where you can just let your thoughts wander.  Lots of things to think about and being interrupted by such beautiful scenery is just too good to be true.  You seem to be reduced to the basics of life.  An example:  Today while droning along in the Yukon it was overcast and dull.  Everything sort of took on a grey type of appearance.  All of a sudden a little bright yellow bug went splat against the windscreen.  He left a little bit of extremely bright yellow amongst the usual black and featureless carcasses of it's brethren.  Seeing that bright yellow smudge seemed to brighten the whole atmosphere.  See what I mean - your mind just has free reign and sometimes the smallest things become important.  I find that this type of situation very restful and enjoyable.  I'm sure every motorcyclist experiences it in some way or another on a long day in the saddle.
     OK - so much for lousy Internet connections, slow sheep, philosophy and blather.  Time for bed.  Oh by the way - tomorrow we aim for Hyder AK The southernmost town accessible by road in Alaska. - the only place where you can enter the U.S.A. without any border formalities whatsoever.  Just drive past the Welcome to Hyder sign.  Incredible!  It is also a famous destination for several Iron Butt Association rides.  We hope ours will be added to the list.

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