RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An Aggressive Route

"Midnight bugs taste best."
"Life is too short for traffic"
"You have not lived life until you ride a motorcycle down the road with a big grin and bug in your mouth" 

In my travels north, there are a few roads left I have not traveled. Among them are 3 roads that are some of the most remote in all of North America.

I will be traveling these alone without support. Hoping to avoid fires, flood, injury and breakdowns. To keep it safe, I will have extra fuel and a personal locator beacon with me just in case. I wish to see and experience the last of the true wilderness left on the planet.

1. Nahanni Range Road

The Nahanni Range Road proper is entirely gravel, and is not recommended for public use. At the end is the largest deposits of Tungsten ore found on the planet within the the boundaries of the NorthWest Territory. My reason for wanting to travel this way is that rumors abound of great beauty and grand views of rocky mountains, lots of solitude and abundant wildlife. I will be entirely on my own for this section. 400 miles (round trip to the Tungsten mine and Watson Lake).

2. Canol Road

The Canol (short for Canadian American Norman Oil Line) Road was part of a project to build the Canol pipeline and a road from Norman Wells, Northwest Territories to Whitehorse, Yukon during World War II.It is a winding, hilly road, resembling the original Alaska Highway (which has since been substantially upgraded); the road is not recommended for RVs, and traffic is very light. Occasionally, the road's alignment is emphasized with signs that show the symbol for winding road. There are few guardrails, and other than a government campground, no facilities except at Ross River. Like the Nahanni Road, there is no gas, no food and no lodging up there as the roads dips into the Northwest Territory. My reasons for traveling here are not much different than stated for the Nahanni Range Road. There is the historical significance that adds to the romance of traveling this remote northern road.

3. Denali Highway

Denali Highway (Alaska Route 8) is a lightly traveled, mostly gravel highway in the U.S. state of Alaska. It leads from Paxson on the Richardson Highway to Cantwell on the Parks Highway. Opened in 1957, it was the first road access to Denali National Park (then known as Mount McKinley National Park).  The highway is now little used and poorly maintained, and closed to all traffic from October to mid-May each year. This is a stretch of wild Alaska that is pretty much unspoiled, relatively accessible and beautiful. Need I say more. Sounds like another perfect northern moto adventure.

To answer the question I always get "What If... ". For those, I offer the following challenge: Where would you rather spend the night alone?  Downtown in any major city with nothing more than a bed  roll? Or a night in the woods? Where would you feel safer? Yeah, me too. Except, up north in the summer, I will have 24 hours of daylight.

My Route: Google Maps

Places I plan to visit as time and route allows

Green Lake Prov Park/Big Bar Lake/McBride/Purden Lake Prov Park/Smithers/Meziadin Jct/Hyder/Dease Lake/Boya Lake/Watson Lake/Tungsten,NWT/Quiet Lake/Ross River/Canol Rd, NWT/Faro/Frenchman Lake/Carmacks/Dawson/Tombstone Prov Park/Tok/Mcarthy/Paxson/Cantwell/Delta Jct via Fairbanks/Haines Jct/Haines/Skagway/Liard HotSprings

Fire danger is of great concern this year as the north is experiencing one of the worst fire seasons on record.

Bike Update:

Newly re-built gearbox
6 hours to put her back together
Dr Alex Guth performing the surgical procedure
 As of this posting, the bike is nearly packed and ready for the trip.

Departure date: 06/27/2015

The anticipation is building.

Final thoughts as I pack...
"I'd rather be riding my motorcycle thinking about God than sitting in church thinking about my motorcycle"

Until Next time...

Friday, June 5, 2015

Repair Blues

'Oh Shit!' is usually the moment when your plan parts ways with reality

Planning that big trip to the Yukon at the end of June. In getting my bike serviced, discovered some noise in the gear box... This combined with false neutrals in between 2-3 gear shifts occasionally, meant taking the big girl apart for further investigation.

No worries, she's in good, capable hands. Alyxmoto is taking good care of her. Hope to have her back in a week or 2. All ready to go for my big northern trip.

Not something you don't want to see
She's in the capable hands of Dr Guth... Motorrad Specialist
 'cause "Maintenance is as much art as it is science."
 Keep your bike in good repair: Motorcycle boots are NOT comfortable for walking.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorial Day Road Trip

Want to avoid crowds ... Places you want to go on a bike ... Eastern Oregon has some real gems. And even better, very few people. I like that.  Although, we had a freeloading passenger :-)  

Lots and lots of dirt. All you can eat. 

Came across several original homesteads that were in decay in the middle of nowhere.

Lori did well. Lots of off-road. We also did section 1 of the Washington Back Country Discovery Route on the way home. Sadly, no snow. Not even mud!! 

The custom plate looks so bad-ass with the snake trying to consume it.  Unfortunately, I'm beginning to look like a used up Harley rider with my white beard and less like a Grizz :-(

Camping at Crooked River

Entering John Day Painted Hills Unit

A happy lady and good looking bike

Strange mounds abound everywhere...

Sew these next few images together and get a fantastic panorama

Everyone wanted to ride

Our new found friend

Even Daisy had a passenger

Don't Tread on Me!

Spectacular vistas

John Day River

More panorama fodder 

Until Next Time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Seattle-To-Los Angeles Escape Route by Motorcycle

Finally put the finishing touches on the new video.

A business trip mixed with vacation.

Please enjoy with a fine beer, good wine, etc... Hi-definition and stereo (headphones). Zone out and relax.

The best stuff, IMHO, is in the middle of the video... so stick with it. I think you will really enjoy it.

Featured locations include:
  • Mammoth, Ca,
  • Convict Lake,
  • Inyo Mountains (11,000 feet!!!),
  • Ancient Bristlecone Forest,
  • June Lakes, Ca
  • Mono Lake,
  • Bridgport, Ca,
  • Lake Abert,
  • Bodie, Ca (an abandoned ghost town from the 1800's)
  • Goose Lake,
  • John Day Fossil Beds,
  • Sierra Mountains
and ALL the goodies in between, mostly along the I-395 corridor. IMHO, one of the best highways in the western United States. The only way to travel to SoCal from Seattle.

Until next time...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Trailer: Seattle-to-Los Angeles Escape Route

“The boatman then gently guided the raft across. They saw a dead body floating. At the sight of this, the Master was greatly frightened. But Sun smiled and said, "Master do not be alarmed! That corpse is none other than your own." Zhu Bajie said, "It is you, it is you!" Sha the Monk clapped his hands, and also said, "It is you, it is you!" The boatman also remarked "It was yours, I congratulate you." The three pilgrims congratulated him, and they quietly crossed over the Could Ferry in safety. The Master's shape was changed, and he jumped ashore on the other side with a very light body.”   ~ Wu Cheng'en, Monkey: The Journey to the West
The past 3 years have been very challenging for the family unit. Divorce, son turning 18 and leaving home. Anger from all sides and the disbelief that this could happen to me.
After 20 years of marriage, I found myself in a place that I didn’t want to be. The added responsibilities of being single and the loneliness didn’t help. However, recently, I have learned that holding onto regrets and bitterness only kept me from moving forward. An inner voice was working overtime with all the “what ifs” and “if onlys”? These thoughts didn’t serve me well. Thinking about it over and over again wasn’t changing anything.  To move forward, I recently acknowledged these feelings and decided to learn from the past, rather than dwell on it.  It was hard to prepare for the next chapter of my life. I think I have found a secret weapon to deal with all this.

I have a passion that began several years ago when I made my first journeys to the north. A 4 month hiatus from work to live and explore the Yukon by Kayak and backpack with my, then 11 year old son, changed my life.  Somewhere up there, I found my soul. And then, I re-discovered motorcycles shortly thereafter. It has now come full circle. My motorbike has been the best therapy since my divorce. I’ve learned to travel solo and have even come to like and appreciate it.  I can tell you that on a motorcycle, you WILL TRULY LIVE. Not just live, but damn it, thrive.  All the negativity out there about motorcycles… DON’T BELIEVE IT! Much of what’s been said is said out of ignorance, stereotyping and fear - not experience.

This life and this time is precious. I had an opportunity to rediscover who am I and who I want to be. In the end, I found something important. That is, this time in my life is the real adventure. When I went out to explore, I discovered something valuable ….  myself.

With that stated, here is a teaser of a project that started last year.

Enjoy this trailer of me making my way south from Seattle-to-Los Angeles. The core route was to follow Interstate 395. Leaving Seattle in the Snow and ending up in Anahiem, Ca in 90 degree weather next to DisneyLand. Along the way I toured a magical kingdom, taking detours to the John Day Fossil Beds in Oregon, Mono Lake, June Lakes, Bristlecone Pine Forests (at 11,000 feet!!), skirting the edge of Death Valley and taking a peak into the Great Basin from majestic mountains on the edge of the Sierra mountains. Lonely roads in Northern California were followed with lava beds in eastern Oregon. It was and remains the only way, in my opinion, to travel from Seattle-to-Los Angeles. Interstates are no place for a man and motorcycle to travel. The scenic route is the only way to go.

Until Next time....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Movie - Destination Nuxalk Nation: A Solo Adventure To Bella Coola on a BMW GS

A spiritual documentary.
My first full length feature movie.

I'd like to personally invite you to join me as I take you on a spiritual ride through some of the most beautiful and remote country in North America.

I'll take you through lowland rain forests, passing through high mountains, remote arid desert plateaus through glaciated peaks to the edge of a continent.

Along the way we will camp, pass by abandoned cabins, ghost towns, vast country and encounter wildlife from a vantage point few ever get to experience.

It is an adventure like no other

Thanks for Riding along
~ GrizzLee

More Adventures to Come...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Meet Daisy: A Phoenix Arises from the Ashes

Meet our new ride. She is affectionately called Daisy. Daisy was acquired from Oregon where she lived a sheltered life (in a garage) with very little love (low miles). She was a cheap date, so we brought her home. ABS, heated grips, brand new tires... it was one heck of a deal.

Her suspension was lowered to accommodate a female rider. All that changed, however,  when we brought here home. Using the suspension and other bits from "Dak", our beloved Dakar F650 GS, we did some surgery. The result is a bike with a bit of attitude. She is the newest member of the RubiKon team.

Yukon Johann has almost all new riding gear (pants, jacket and gloves. Still looking for some good boots. However, he and the new bike are nearly ready for the next adventure.

Oh yes, lest I forget, we got new panniers (not exactly new). There are the BMW Vario cases. The aluminum cladding was a little dinged up. A trip to Line X to have them coated with bed liner material brought them back to life. The color matches the bike. Both bike and rider are looking pretty handsome now. We now looking at putting his stickers on the bike that Johann acquired from his trip to Alaska/Yukon. He earned these badges of honor the hard way. A few other things need to be added, including a steering damper and he'll be good to go.

Yukon Johann and his new love, Daisy

They make for a handsome couple

Ready for adventure

LED flashing brake lights and reflective striping... just to be safe.

We now begin the tedious process of parting out the old bike parts

It is kind of sad to see an old friend in pieces

Until next time....