RubiKon Adventures

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

Friday, July 5, 2019

GrizzLee Stories From the North: Heading Home

After the incredible night of drinking beer and with our new found European friends, Yun and I headed out to WhiteHorse. I now had less than a week to get home.
Riding along Klaune Lake... Priceless

We left Tok on a nice sunny, humid day. The past few days have been wonderful. It was a nice change from the rain I had experienced the bulk of my time up here.

The Alaska highway (ALCAN) from Beaver to WhiteHorse is, IMHO, the most scenic section of the highway. Doubly so as one approaches Kluane Lake and the Kluane Wolrd Heritage Park. Along the way we crossed the Donjek River, rode through Burwash landing, Destruction Bay along Kluane Lake… all places familiar with me, as I have done treks in the Kluane Park before.

We spent the night in Whitehorse at a friend’s place. The next day we rode towards Skagway and we rode to Emerald Lake along the Klondike Highway. We experienced the Carcross Desert,  Nares Lake and enjoyed the views around Bove Island before turning around to head out back to the Alaska Highway (AlCan).

Emerald Lake
We then motored our way to Tagish and then joined the AlCan at a place called Jake’s Corner Teslin and spent the night at the campground behind the Teslin Motel. Showers and a hot meal were greatly appreciated. We also noticed that it was starting to get dark now. A full moon appeared in the horizon and I got up to take some pictures of it and the Teslin metal grated bridge. It was a quiet and surreal feeling.

Nares Lake

Bove Island

The next day, I was feeling really lousy. I feel like I caught a bug somewhere before Tok that I just couldn’t shake. It was all finally coming on full force. Yun and I split up once we got on the Cassiar Highway. I slowed down a bit and took a nap at Boya Lake as I could hardly keep my eyes open.

Full Moon at Johnsons's Crossing (Teslin)

Motorcycle Friendly Wildlife

From there I stopped back in at Jade City and said hi to my friends there and continued my journey south. I met up with Yun bfore arriving at Dease Lake. We took some great photos of the Dease river in the evening sunlight. We decided to get some grub and camp outside of town at Dease Lake Lions Tanzilla River Campground. The weather had been very warm this day, but the camp near the river was nice and cool. I went to bed that night with a head splitting headache and nausea.

Rding the Alcan Hwy
Sometime during the night a gentlemen rode in next to us on a DR650 and setup camp. The next morning we got to chatting with him and noticed that a good deal of the plastics and his panniers were taped together and bits and pieces missing. He was on his way back to Vancouver after riding up to Tukutoyuktuk…. He told stories of rain, mud and all kinds of challenges he faced. But that wasn’t the fascinating part of his story. It seems that about the 3rd day into his journey north from leaving home, his bike caught fire. His soft luggage melted and then burned while he was on the Cassiar heading north. He only noticed when a passing truck pointed out to him that his rear was on fire. At this point he had lost all his tools, much of his clothes and such. Instead of turning around, he just taped and re-tied everything onto the back seat of his bike and kept going without his good waterproof riding jacket, clothes and tools. He did need to make some adjustments to his bike and Yun and I loaned him some tools. In all my days of riding, I have never come across such a tough individual on the road.
Boya Lake

Dease River Crossiing

Somewhere along the Cassiar

Yun and I packed up and parted ways again on the road, each of us riding at our own pace. I would have loved to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the day’s ride, but I wasn’t well. I had to make several stops and even take some short naps to calm down the severe headache. The weather was getting extremely warm and humid… reaching into the 90s by the afternoon. The heat didn’t help my condition at all. I did have some great views of Eddontenajon Lake and a killer nap at Kinaskan Lake. Got some footage of bears and even a curious fox who approached me on my bike. On this day I counted 13 more bears sightings adding to the 7 I saw yesterday along the Cassiar, for a total of 20 bears. When Yun and I met up at Meziadin Junction I mentioned all the bears I saw and he said he had seen none. WHAT???  

Moose Tracks

Curious Fox

Eddontenajon Lake... WOW!!!

After fueling up at Meziadin Junction, we were hoping to see if the bears were out at Hyder, a 40 mile side trip. The word was that the Salmon runs hadn’t started yet, so the bears weren’t out fishing yet for us to view along the rivers. We did stop in at the Nass river fish camp to take a look at the Meziadin fishway designed as a means for sockeye, chinook and coho salmon to bypass a man-made weir dam. Unfortunately, there were very little fish to be seen.

From there Yun and I rode separate ways again, only to connect up at the Cassiar junction for gas. By this time the heat was taking its toll on me and the condition I was in, made it tough to focus on my riding. I cooled off a bit then told Yun that I was going to get a room in Smithers to see if I can get over this flu-like symptoms I was experiencing. This was the last time I was to see Yun until a week later when he came by and stayed at my place for a few days to get some RR and do some maintenance work on his bike.

I had a terrible night in Smithers BC.., the stomach cramps and headache continued to plague me and the room AC didn’t seem to really work. It was humid and in the 90s. Needless to say, I was extremely uncomfortable.

The next morning I awoke, feeling a little better, but still with a very hung over feeling. It was a chore to make it back to Vanderhoof. From there I cut down the Blackwater Road over to Quesnel.  I saw a couple of more bears. Hard to believe that these bears, with their black fur coats, could stand to be up and about in the afternoon heat. The rest of the ride went by like a blur as I was not feeling well and riding was now a chore and no longer fun. I crossed the Soda Creek bridge into Williams Lake and I made camp at Lac La Hache lake just south of Williams Lake B.C. The cool breeze felt good, but in my condition, the best I could do was lay back and nap, enjoying the sun until I finally crawled into my tent to doze off for the night. I slept really well that night.

The next day I had an uneventful trip back home. I did, however, take the Pavilion cutoff outside of Clinton B.C. and ride over to Lillooet and the Fountain Valley to round out my trip and the last bits of dirt I would see on this trip. I had an uneventful border crossing into Washington State. It was still hot when I pulled into my place in the late afternoon, tired, dirty from the road and glad to be home.

Two days later, I got married. But that’s another story….  

Thursday, June 20, 2019

GrizzLee Stories From the North: Heading to Tok

The next day we took out time leaving. The weather was again, stupendous. We made a stop at Blueberry pass for some scrumptious view back down the glacial valley that leads down to Valdez.

View from Blueberry Pass
Once we motored our way out of the coastal mountains, the weather was sunny and it got really warm. This was a welcome change in the weather from what I had experienced for nearly the entire trip.

Mt Drum, One of the Giants of the Wrangle Mountains
Our objective for the day was Tok Alaska. But first we were treated to the beauty of the Wrangle/St Elias Mountains. Stunningly beautiful. We arrived at Glennallen and took the TOk Highway over to, where else, Tok, Alaska. Yun and I parted ways and agreed to meet in Tok at the Eagle Claw Campground. This was a loose agenda as I told him I may do a side trip.

Mt Zanetti (left) & Mt Wrangle (the long slope on the right)
I must say that the road conditions were not ideal. I encountered horrendous frost heaves and had to slow down to avoid losing control of the bike. A Subaru apparently didn’t like my reduced pace and decided to pass in a huff, a few miles later they were on the side of the road with broken front plastics that must have broken when they came off one of the whoops. I gave a friendly wave and continued on my journey.

This highway offered some great views into the Wrangle St Elias park. Mt Sanford, a mega peak for sure, 16,237 feet in elevation, it rises over 12,000 feet from the base to the summit making a truly spectacular view from my vantage.   

Mt Sanford from the Tok Highway

I was wanting to scout out the Nasbesna Road. I stopped in at the Slana Ranger Station to check on road conditions. I was told that I could only make it another 25 miles or so before I came across really wet road conditions (swelling creeks). Because of all the rain and now the warm conditions, the road had creeks that swelled and it was recommended that I not take my big bike out there as they can be uncross able. Awe, bad timing for me. It was OK though as I was starting to not feel well. The long days on the bike, I believe were beginning to take a toll on me.

Outside of Tok, near Menasta Lakes, I saw a cow moose grazing on the side of the road. She seemed to be oblivious to my presence and I got some great pictures and video.

Nellie the moose

Moose and biek were at peace
I arrived in Tok and proceeded to the Thompson’s Eagle Claw Campground where met up with Yun and several foreign visitors. Eagle Claw is an awesome campground and not a place to be missed, especially if you are traveling by motorcycle. It is run by Brain and Vanessa, both of which are riders themselves.

They are off grid, but they offer primitive hot steam baths, cook shelters and some unique camping accommodations found nowhere else. Aside from the standard tent sites, they offer tents with cots, teepees, an old ambulance that sleeps two, a bus and a parachute setup as a rain umbrella. In addition, they have a large shed with motorcycle tools to do repairs and such.  They are always happy to help. I can’t think of a more pleasant campground in all my travels north.  IF you ever travel north, please check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, back to the visitors, aside from Yun, there was his friend, a Frenchman, a couple from Austria and another gent from the Czech Republic. And boy could they drink. We had a wild night in front of a large  campfire and everyone had a great time. I slept very well that night.

Wild night at THompson's Eagle Claw

These guys could drink
The next day, I headed toward Whitehorse. It seems that I caught a bug and I was slowly falling into a flu like state that would haunt me for the rest of my ride home.