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A Story of Kindness

Posted by SCG on 25th February 2013

by Alexander Tolchinsky

Letete-Deer-Island-2The rain fell steadily, and the fog horns kept me awake, for most of the night. In the morning there was a brief lull during which I rushed to pack everything and race around the misty isle, losing my bike cover in the process, to the northern ferry to mainland New Brunswick. And just like the one coming to the island, the ferry, which had already departed, reversed engines and came back for me – saving me from having to wait another hour in the rain.

The rain picked up again after we arrived on land and stayed with me for the next 8 hours – soaking and chilling me to the bone. I had made the mistake of assuming August would be a warm and dry month, and did not bring the proper long-distance riding gear.

Fog rolled heavily along hilly, sparse, granite plots of farmland. There was a deep smell of pine from the endless sea of evergreens through which the road cut long, sleepy curves.  It was easy to see why most of the population lives along the coast – where the sea shares its bounty more rapidly than hardened northern soil. I passed few people on the road, there was no hint of traffic, not even in the towns, unlike the coastal road which came to a halt every 30 miles.  The rain I was hoping to escape only intensified the further inland I rode.

I was still a few hours out of Montréal, somewhere between the White Mountains and Northern Woods, when I simply had to get off the bike. It was hard to see anything, the road was curvy and slick, and I was wet and freezing. Though it was August, this was not a warm summer rain wet, this was a suck the heat straight from your heart wet. So I pulled into a gas station across from which was a diner, and made my way, if not to warmth, than at least to food and a precipitation free environment. It was already late in the day so I couldn’t afford to stay too long, lest I would have to ride to Montreal in the dark. I left the steed at the gas station and walked across “Main St.” to the diner.

To complement the weather perfectly, I was “greeted” by a waitress who stole no less warmth from the room than the rain from my bones. I needed some patience and understanding but instead found rudeness and curt backtalk. So I sat there, miserable, eating my mediocre burger and drinking my mediocre coffee, and feeling no less mediocre myself. And then a fine example of conversations I would have across the continent began with a jolly faced, goateed young man who sat down a couple of stools away.

“Where ya from?”

It is usually pretty obvious that I am not from wherever I happen to be.

“Well”, I said, “I started in New York. But since I no longer have a home or job there, I’m not sure I will return”.

“Ha, ha!”

He had a most peculiar laugh, a “ha, ha” with an emphatic stress on the second “ha”, such that it rang throughout the diner.

“Where ya headed?”, a couple of older guys joined in, Harley riders on days better than this.

“Tonight, I’m just trying to make it to Montreal”.

In a moment when New Englanders drop their typically laconic façade they become quite hospitable, and allow a glimpse into how their ancestors might have acted 400 years ago. The whitewashed colonial houses which are still the predominant structures lining the tiny Main streets and mountain roads of the great nor’easter land, help complete the picture. Though still cold, I was beginning to warm up as we continued chatting about the curse of the rain and the joy of riding.

In turn we started talking about books and the joy of holding and smelling a particularly old one. Mark, the young man, mentioned that he had found a history book from the 1870’s, and noticing my obvious and immediate excitement invited me over to take a look. I was eager to make it to Montréal, but dreaded continuing to ride in the rain, so I accepted his offer. We finished our burgers and drove a mile down the road to a beautiful estate where Mark was the groundskeeper.

Marks little cottage was sparsely furnished, with little more than two beds and a toilet (the shower was a house outside), but he managed to make me feel so at home. Still, he saw that I was still cold and dreading getting back on the road, so he offered for me to stay the night. He had a spare bed and said he would appreciate the company – he made it seem as though I would be doing him a favor by staying!

That is true kindness and altruism: making the recipient feel not as though they are a burden and should be humbled by the granted favors, rather as a fellow Man being treated as one should.

I leafed through the beautiful, red leather bound book for a while, then Mark and I talked, as long time friends might, before I was finally overcome with the fatigue of riding. I have rarely been so comfortable or slept as soundly as I did that night.

The next morning we took a tour of the estate grounds. There were hundreds of acres of fields, forests, brooks with tiny stone bridges, and a scattering of lovely colonial buildings full of beautiful antiques from centuries of New England living.

I left that day feeling the warmth that only making a new friend can bring.

Read more about Alexander’s travels at

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

Posted by SCG on 17th January 2013

by Alexander Tolchinsky

Whenever I start riding for the day the song “Leaving on a Jet Plane” comes into my mind, and I start singing away. However, after buying the KLR (Georgia), and slowly packing her with all the essentials, it feels less and less like leaving on a jet plane, and more like taking a Studebaker across the Sierra Nevada.

I am 5’7”, 165 lbs. This means that, as it is, the KLR is too tall for me to ride comfortably. But with a pair of boots, a low-cut Corbin seat, and a few hundred pounds of weight, Georgia comes down to where I can touch the ground with all of my toes. But with this new found “reach”, comes the burden and instability of the incredible weight. Though I balance her well through my packing, and though the Happy-Trail panniers allow a good amount of weight to be brought down low, whenever I leave the paved road it is only prayer which keeps me in saddle (and sadly that has failed me more times than I wish to recall).

P1000820 (1024x1024)web600

As a note, however, not only have the 9” Tetons from Happy-Trail kept my gear dry and dust free, they have invariably saved Georgia from countless repairs. Every time I have taken a spill, or whenever Georgia decides to lay down for a rest, they have taken the full brunt of her weight with little more than a scratch to show for it. They have also made it significantly easier for me to lift her up as they, along with the enormous 10 gallon tank, have kept her off the ground entirely.

From the very first time Georgia tipped over after being fully loaded I have been on a mission to eliminate more and more gear. The process has been easy with the small extras (like extra toiletries and t-shirts), but almost impossible with what I deem to be essential. And just to make things more interesting I am now carrying two extra tires (because tire prices in Central and South America are beyond ridiculous).

Here is a list of the gear I have packed. If anyone has any thoughts on eliminating something, I am all ears.

P1000821 (1024x1024)-web600

A few weeks ago my friend decided to get married in Minnesota and flew me in to bear witness and stand by his side. This allowed me the opportunity to buy some tires, as well as what I thought was a lower shock by Progressive. I spent a lot of money to find out that the “lower” shock is still higher than the stock because of improved spring tension. So my efforts to alleviate the height and weight issue resulted only in improved suspension. So I am still where I was before: walking a very thin line whenever I get into traffic or go off-road.

I have faced the full wrath of mother nature, the discomforts of not having a home, hunger and fatigue … but it is the lack of confidence on anything other than a paved road (with no gridlock) which has been the hardest element to face. I even came close to selling the KLR and starting all over with BMW 650 (which has a lower seat height). But the thought of going back and spending the time to find and equip a new bike is keeping me atop Georgia for now. Let’s see what the jungle will have to say about this.

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Packing List

Posted by SCG on 17th January 2013

by Alexander Tolchinsky

Read more about how all this fits on my bike


Boots (x1)
Sandals (x1)
Water Sneakers (x1)
Underwear (x3)
Socks (x4)
T-shirt (x2)
Sweater (x1)
Collared shirt (x1)
Long sleeve (x1)
Warm hat (x1)
Balaklava (x1)
Rain Shell (x1)
Down Jacket (x1)
Long underwear (x1)
Waterproof pants (x1)
Swim trunks (x1)
Bandana (x2)
Handkerchiefs (x2)

Hiking / other gear

Emergency bag – survival kit
Rain cover
Waterproof duffel
Compression sacks
Cell phone
Knife (x2)
Knife sharpener
Hiking GPS
Mp3 player
Camel back
Water filter
Water bottle(x3)
Survival book
Magnifying glass
Zip-lock bags
Duct tape


Voice recorder
Laptop bag








Sleeping bag
Sleeping bad


Small pot
Tea filter
Emergency bars
Emergency freeze dry packs


Tire/tube repair kit
Tool kit
ROK straps/bungees
Spare: battery, chain/sprockets, tires, tubes


Pipe (x2)


Tiger balm
Pain killer
First aid kit
Antibiotic cream
Snake bike kit
Malaria pills
Diarrhea pills

Hygene / personal care

Lip balm
Wet wipes
Prep H
Cold sore medicine

Read about Alexander’s journey from the beginning

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North of the Border – Alaska Part Three

Posted by SCG on 21st October 2012

by John Ogden Jr.

North of the Border – Alaska Part One
North of the Border – Alaska Part Two

Click any photo for a larger image

Mile Zero Klondike Lodge

After eating at the Klondike Lodge, we found the owner and I asked if there was a welder around who could help me out. Turned out he also owns the repair shop next door. “It has a welding machine in it if you know how to run it.” No prob for me, so he tossed me the keys and said I could use anything I needed in the shop and that there was a lot of scrap around to weld to the bike if needed. Sweet! My issue was the chain slider had worn through and needed to be fixed so I woudn’t ruin the swing arm. We found a 1/4” piece of steel and figured that would work. I did a general look over of the bike. That’s when I noticed the mid pipe was wearing through and I had a large exhaust leak; now was the time for a fix. We found some scrap exhaust around and made do with that. A few welds and it was good as new from a function standpoint.

It was way too early to rest, since we needed to sleep that night, so we slipped into Dawson and had a look around the old mining town. Dawson is a neat place, but forgive me if I’m a little let down by it. Good history, neat place but Silverton, Colorado is it’s equal, if not better. I travel a lot and get to see things of interest, so as a standalone town it is neat, cool and all that. Some appeal for people must be the distance out and the fact that you are so far north, and I give it that— but it’s not a place of awe as I had read. Being tired may have had something to do with it, but I wasn’t feeling this place. It has a lot of bars and hotels, a nice river by it and it was full of people bustling around. Typical tourist trap but just out of the way, and that’s cool in a way. Check mark, Dawson’s done.

The river by Dawson Dawson town
Like Silverton, Colorado but way
north and out of the way
This is how the town looked after a few years
as the thermafrost melted and allowed the buildings
to settle. I imagine they were still used all the same

Click the picture to read what happens when
heated buildings are placed on frozen ground
After our walk through town and visiting the places
of interest we headed back to the lodge for rest and
to prep for the journey ahead


Today we ride!!!!

The Dempster Highway Part of the TransCanada Trail
“There are no emergency medical services on
the Yukon section of the Dempster Highway”
“NORTH: Eagle Lodge 363, Inuvik 735”
“Next services 370 km” It’s a long stretch of road ahead of us

With all I have read on the internet and these signs, you cannot say you have not been warned that this road is unlike most others. Dirt, pot holes, wildlife and weather can all come at you to end the trip and if that happens while you are mentally drifting then there is no help close by. There is a good chance you are on your own. So the duo headed out to the unknown with the next stop, Eagle.

Next stop Eagle On the way to Eagle

There is a lake on this road named Three Moose Lake, but today it was, in reality, four moose lake. I learned a bit about moose from this lake—they like to eat the vegetation off the bottom of the lake. I have no idea how long they can hold their breath but it must be a long time. As I watched the first moose I couldn’t tell what it was until it lifted its head. I must have watched several minutes before she lifted her head and looked around. This was a very cool site and I enjoyed watching them.

There is a lake on this road called
Three Moose Lake
Today it was, in reality, four moose lake


There were a few primitive campgrounds scattered along the road. This was different than I had read as you can stop and camp in several places. There is just no food or gas, so bring your peanut butter :)

Tombstone Park There are primitive campgrounds along this road
There is no food or gas, so bring
your peanut butter :)
Here comes the dust storm, there is a reason
they have good solid front ends

This is a good time to slow down and hold your line,
’cause on the other side of the grader is several inches of pea gravel and sand

So what do we do? Truck on left, hard good road in the middle close to the truck and the rocks being thrown up by it, and soft slick stuff on the right and I am going too fast and taking a pic with one hand. Ooops my bad, I took the hard ground and just hoped for the best. Yea, I made it!

So we made it to Eagle Plains for food and fuel. This is a great little place, good scenery, good people and good food, my kind of place. Check out the view for the shop bay, you gotta love a place with a view to work.

 Eagle Plains Hotel

How about working with a view like this?
The Dempster Highway
Arctic Circle Crossing Certificate Map to Inuvik


We left Eagle Plains and headed toward the Arctic Circle. This road has a lot of people with hard stories of broken vehicles and deaths. Most locals believe the bikers taking on this road are crazy, some just see us as a nuisance. For us, though, it is an adventure, an exercise in doing what is not every-day-America-normal. Though many people do this trip every year the percentages are few and this is our year for the great Arctic Circle. It is our destiny to see and accomplish the trip of a lifetime, our dream to achieve a goal most only talk about doing one day.


The Arctic Circle … … but we want more


This is the point at which most feel an accomplishment. The place where we have attained our goal and can turn back; but not this group, it is adventure,a finding, what is at the end of the road? The next miles roll out mountains that are out of a movie, a surreal moment in which we are pushing through time and space, where we see what few men see, experience what few people experience. The question that is asked many times is why are you here? The answer is to find the end of the road, and to see what is between here and there.

We ride to find the end of the road You can just see some kind of animal
beside this truck in the distance

I keep my eyes open to what may be around, always looking for that awesome thing that is there for me to see if I just open my eyes and not get caught up in the endpoint. The landscape here allows you to see far ahead and gives plenty of time to figure out what is ahead. I see a spot off in the distance and it appears to be a bicyclist, and as I get closer it is too big for that, maybe another biker. I haven’t seen many this far north; matter of fact I haven’t seen any. So I speed up to catch him.

You can just see him on the other side of the truck in the picture above, but I could see it far before now. One can see it’s not a biker; now it’s some kind of a animal. I am hoping to see something big, I have been praying to see something larger than I have so far, and this may be it. I slow down to not scare it off and get the camera ready for the perfect shot. As I close in I can tell it’s a griz, wow a griz up close and personal. I turn back to check on Richard and he is coming up behind me and is also slowing down. Perfect I can get a pic of Rich riding slowly pass the bear. This would be worth the trip. I have the sportster just idling along and turn on my seat as Rich gets beside the bear and all of a sudden the bear spins and Rich gasses it and almost takes my head with him. I snap a picture as I regain control of almost being run over and just get the griz in the photo. The bear was getting ready to stand up and chase Rich down.

Getting ready to stand up and chase Rich down

Now I have given Rich hell about this and here is the problem. Rich is a firm believer in bear spray and I just feel that it seasons the meat before the bears eat. This is an ironic thing to me. Rich is eating beef jerky riding down the road and his bear spray is buried in his metal pannier under lock and key; a lot of good that would have done him. I give the sound advice that he swap places with his jerky and spray. :)

 There is another milestone for me on this trip, I have always wanted to go to the Northwest Territories and I have made it. I just passed the point of most people’s adventure and that in itself is worth the travel to me.

Our first ferry crossing. This was a goal for Rich, he wanted to cross the Mackenzie River.

The Mackenzie is the largest river flowing into the Arctic Ocean in North America and is the one of the longest rivers in the world. We are at its banks awaiting permission to cross. It is at this point that we enter into the tundra area of the Arctic and the last change of land one can see before the land gives way to ocean.

Once we cross here we have one more to go before Inuvik. It is at the second crossing we meet a First Nation’s Canadian and he is the friendliest person I have met on this trip. Very interested in our trip and excited that we have come up to see his land and people. He seems honored as if we are somebody.

First Nations, and the friendliest person I have
met on this trip
Our second ferry crossing
Truck traffic seems busy on this side of the
Mackenzie, and with all of the pea gravel
causes quite the stir
Checking the Sportster’s stability at high speed
on a loose gravel road


On these long open loose roads of the tundra you have a lot of time on your hands and the mind will wander on you. I normally look for weird pictures or play around some with the bike, and I decided to show how stable the Sportster was at speed on the loose gravel roads. I will no doubt get into trouble over this but for the rest of you I know you’ll understand and appreciate the science that goes into building a bike and being proud of how well it works after several thousand rough miles.

The end of the road is here.

 Welcome to Inuvik NWT

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Rawhyde Adventure Bike Night in Boise

Posted by SCG on 30th September 2012

A Message from Jim Hyde of Rawhyde

Our summer travel schedule is nearly finished here at RawHyde, and we’re shifting our focus back to our training classes and preparing for Adventure Days in November.   Adventure Days is our newest program and we’d love to have you join in the fun.

BUT – I’d like to make you aware of one more Adventure Bike night, which is coming up this Thursday.

The RawHyde Road Crew—Lance and Shawn—will be in Boise, Idaho and are hosting our final Adventure Bike Night for 2012… This will be held at the facility of our favorite companies, Happy Trails Products. Many of you are probably aware that Happy Trails makes some of the finest Adventure Luggage available on the market, and are strong supporters of the “Adventure Lifestyle.”

RawHyde’s Adventure Rig will be on display and we’ve got all sorts of adventure related stuff  to show and tell about.  We will have lots of Adventure products on display, and will offer presentations as well as a tour through the Happy Trails plant and you can learn how Aluminum Panniers are fabricated. We will have snacks and drinks available, and offer a raffle for all the folks who attend.  It promises to be a lot of fun!

So please – come and show your support, bring a friend (or two), and enjoy an evening of Adventure with the RawHyde Team! Here are the details

What:    Adventure Bike Night – Boise

When: Thursday, October 4th at 6pm

Where: Happy Trails Products

11777 W Executive Drive
Boise, ID  83713
(208) 377-8771

For More Info, Contact:

Shawn Thomas
(661) 993-1586

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ADVLife Truck in a City Near You

Posted by SCG on 7th July 2012

A Message from Jim Hyde of Rawhyde

Let us buy you pizza or a cup of coffee …

A few weeks ago, we announced the launch of a new program called Adventure Life which has only one goal… and that’s to make the whole world of adventure riding more enjoyable for those of you that are already involved and more accessible for those of you that are just getting started. We also hope to draw new riders into the fun as well.

Anyway – we started with a website ( ) and we’re excited to announce that our Adventure Life truck is now on the road. Our mission is simple… to get folks excited about our little slice of the motorcycle industry and to re-connect with past customers and friends.

This is our truck the day it left RawHyde to roam the U.S.
Click photo for a larger image


We’ll be meandering all over the country between now and the end of the year and we’ll hopefully be coming to a city near you. To make our time on the road as productive as possible we are trying an experiment and would like to ask for your help.

We’d like to host a series of Adventure Bike Nights at motorcycle hangouts in the cities we’re passing through. It seems that most “bike nights” are dominated by cruisers and the sport bike crowd. We’d like to use our Adventure Life truck and trailer as a magnet to create an Adventure Bike Night at a motorcycle friendly coffee shop, drive-in or pizza parlor in your city or town.

If we’re able to make it to your area, we’d love to have you come by to say hi and bring your bike with you. If you can’t ride in that’s OK but if you do we’d be happy to buy you a slice of pizza, a soda or a cup of coffee. Please bring your friends especially if they don’t own an adventure bike (’cause maybe we can infect them with the adventure spirit).

Shawn and Lance (our road show guys) are eager to meet you and have a fun evening talking about “Adventure Stuff.” We’ve also got a lot of cool products to show you as well as some GSs that are completely kitted out with with some very cool gear, and the trailer is filled with products from companies like Touratech, Klim, Jesse Luggage, Happy Trails, Black Dog and all the other companies that make cool stuff for Adventure Bikes.

Obviously we can’t go everywhere this year, but I’d like to ask you to submit the name of your favorite motorcycle hangout anyway, especially if they have a good sized parking lot that we can take over and fill with adventure bikes. If you can give us an address and a phone number, too, that would be great. Drop me an email at

Here are the first two cities that we’re visiting:  Nashville, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina, on July 9th and 11th respectively.

In the Nashville area we’ll be at a restaurant called Twin Peaks, Monday, July 9th. The address is1634 Galleria Blvd, Brentwood, TN 37027 (615) 221-0869. From Nashville we’re heading to Ashville and we’ll be hosting Adventure Night at the Wedge Brewing Company, Wednesday, July 11th at 125B Roberts Street, Asheville, NC 28801 (828) 505-2792.

Please drop us a note if you can make it and stay tuned for our schedule and itinerary. We’ll be rolling up the Eastern Seaboard soon, and then on to Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Salt Lake, Boise, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and home.

You’ll soon be able to see the schedule at

To all our customers … please help make our first Adventure Bike Nights a success…come by and say hi… and if we have not met you yet… we’re looking forward to it.

And a big thanks to everyone for reading our updates …

Cheers, Jim Hyde

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North of the Border – Alaska Part Two

Posted by SCG on 5th June 2012

by John Ogden Jr.

North of the Border – Alaska Part One
North of the Border – Alaska Part Three

Click any photo for a larger image

We got up knowing we had to change tires for the big gravel ahead; Richard and I both had tires to install. He was switching to D606 and I was trying the K60 Scout.  During the change an Officer pulled up and asked if we were John and Richard. I walked over and said, “Yes, but we paid for the site.” He had received a call about two people needing parts, and the coordinates put him at the camp ground.  It took a bit of thinking since it was still morning, but I finally figured out it must have been my Spot that sent it out. Odd … I never pushed any buttons.

I guess I should explain a little ritual I have at night. I always put the important stuff in my boots. Items like keys, phone, GPS, Spot and the like. My problem is I do not function well in the morning and basically just run on auto pilot. With the stuff in the boots I can’t get ready until I deal with them. It would be awful to get packed up ready to leave and find out I don’t  have my keys, then after looking everywhere for them, find out I left them in the tent. So everything goes in the boots.

Somehow the GPS and Spot must have got into a fight and I assume the Spot was taking the brunt of it and called for help. Now I could not get it to stop sending the help signal so out came the manual. The fix is just turn it off and back on. Simple enough, but it would not turn off, so out came the batteries. Good that I fixed it and got it turned off, but now I cannot get it back on.

Long story short my wife had to have one, said she would feel better about me being so far away. I agreed and then when I got to Happy-Trail they had one laid out with my name on it. What? I haven’t ordered it yet, they said my mom bought it for me. The women in my life are something. I really didn’t want it, just a hassle to carry and I was scared I’d hit the 911 button by accident and helicopters would ascend on me and cause me to wreck. People have been going to AK for years without a spot, and yep, some have died. Truth is some have died making the trip with a Spot, the difference is the ones with a Spot have died in a helicopter and passed the cost on to the living. Yea, I know it has saved some too, and so in life you take your chances and see how the chips fall.  Anyway enough about personal locators, and back to the story.

We got the tires changed and headed out after breakfast at about 11am. The Campbell was up today and it’s almost all gravel roads, at times down to just 2 track sections and almost no traffic – maybe four vehicles. This is a lonely road and a place you’d hope to not need help. You’d feel bad if ya did and your Spot was in the trunk not working. Good thing I’m on a Sportster.

Click any image to see larger photo

This is a lonely road
and a place you’d hope to not need help
Posing with the Sportster
Bugs, yea there were a few, I was running with the
wind shield down and came through a swarm.
Reminded me of the scene in Wild Hogs.
Klim riding gear works well and keeps me dry


“Yep, Rich, that is the way we are going and yes we are going to get wet AGAIN.”  It did rain on and off most of the trip. The gear worked very well though and I stayed dried. I guess this is a good time to say that while at Happy-Trail I decided I would rather have a two piece suit for this trip and leave the Roadcrafter with the wife. I have the Darien setup too, but hate the pants, they have never been waterproof for me. They also don’t fit well, the best thing I can say is that they are easy to get off. So with that said, I picked up a Klim outfit to try out, and while not perfect they have worked well and kept me dry.

For road food we had Peanut butter burritos complements of Richard. Now, I am not sure he knew how much I like peanut butter. But it is on top of the list for me. On these roads it’s not like you get hungry and look for a restaurant—if you don’t bring food then you’ll just eat one meal a day if you’re lucky. We have stayed at places with no food. Here you come prepared or suffer. I had protein bars and a 3 liter Camel back. I mainly ate Rich’s food, that way I would always have enough if he ran out.

The mosquitoes were horrid in spots
and I had to wear a net just to be able to eat in peace

I saw a side road and needed to use Mother Nature so we took the slick black clay trail that leads down to a river. It was easy going downhill, even if you drop it you’ll slide to the end. When we got to the bottom it must have been someone’s boat dock of sorts. There were some long boats in the water and one in need of repair. I could tell it was someone’s fishing hole and hoped they would not find us down here. In this place if you’re dead you’re only going on the missing poster because no one will find you. Richard had more fun going up the trail then he should have. He was all over the road and on the verge of crashing all the way up. He managed to hold it together till he got to the top. Over weight KLR is light on the front and downright traction-less when going up steep slick trails. When I got to the road again all I could hear was Rich laughing in his helmet. I guess that is what you call laughing in the face of death.

A side road led us down to a river I could tell it was someone’s fishing hole
and hoped they would not find us down here
The river from a distance
GPS keeping me on track – thanks Mom ;)


The first gas stop on this route is Ross River at 373 km out. You’ll need to turn off the Campbell to run up to Ross. They have gas 24/7 if everything is working. The station was closed so if we had needed supplies liked food, drink or whatever we would have been be out of luck. Again you should bring what you need, Rich being a hunter had plenty of beef jerky for himself and a few days’ supply for both of us. I eat a lot—ask Rich. The road going into Ross was wet and the slickest stuff we had experienced;  had us down to 30ish miles an hour and sliding all over. I’m glad we had good tires! We got into town, or community, as it had nothing much in it. The Fuel station has its tank above ground and a little room to one end where you slide the card and tell it which pump.  Interesting set up to say the least.

Heading into Ross River for gas 30 mph going into Ross on slick stuff
Nothing much in Ross, and the station was closed.
A good reminder to bring most of what you need.
Self-service gas with a slider for payment
meant we could get gas
I decided to give Rich a ride on a “real” motorcycle Rich still on a “real” motorcycle


We had intended to stay at the junction of the Campbell and Klondike Hwy, but I found a shortcut around the lake and it saved us 17 miles, plus putting us on some nice gravel road around the lake with nice curves and elevation changes. I figured most people running this route do not take the lake road so I wanted to run it and see what it was like. After all, we could run up and get the next camp ground and gas stop and just be a few miles farther down the road. We checked with the 2009 milepost and all was good. So we pressed on.

The lake road was a great treat after the long straight roads we had been on, giving us a chance to play a little and enjoy the curves and the enclosed roads, not so open here. We eventually came out on the Klondike Hwy and were back to running pavement. We got to our stop to find the gas station closed with no camping. I guess we should have got the updated milepost.  Well, the next stop is just and an hour or so up the road, but now it was raining pretty good and it was dark. We rolled in about 1am and looked for the camping and not a thing—just a big piece of plywood that said closed; looked like they may be starting a junk yard. The 24hr gas pumps are closed because the card readers are broken and Rich had to get gas here. So we were stuck, and emotions were high. We pulled out a tarp and hung it from a sign on one end and a table on the other. It gave shelter from the pouring rain. I went to set up a tent in the rest area with a sign that said no camping, but Rich convinced me that it wasn’t a good idea, just in case a cop came by. Being after 1am, cold and wet I was not thinking well and listened to him. After setting up my Kermit chair I spent the night in it under the tarp. In the morning, with a little better thought, I decided I was mad at Rich and told him so. He wanted to know why. So I told him, ” I have not seen a cop since Watson lake and wonder what one would be doing out here in the middle of the night bugging a guy sleeping in a tent.” I should have set it up anyway and let Rich sleep in a chair!  Next time I will stand my ground. So this is our night together under the tarp Wild Hogs scene #2

Yes the mosquitoes were out in force and this was
about 3:30 when we decided to make some coffee.
Yea I know we ain’t the smartest guys.
“Good morning Richard, I hate you.”


It’s hard to count this as a day seeing that the last day didn’t end for us; we just suffered through it without much sleep. Once we got gathered up we headed over to the gas station, and it was still closed. Soon a trucker pulled up and got fuel, as the diesel pumps worked. I asked about the station opening up, and he assured me, “She’ll be in. Why don’t you just fuel up now and pay at the pump?” Yea, well, that would have been fine and dandy if they had worked, and I showed him the sign.  After a few minutes he pointed to a truck parked next to the station and told me that was the guy I needed to talk to. Just then the guy walked in the store. I knew the door had been locked last night, as we tried it in hopes of finding a dry place.  Richard went in to talk with him, and it turned out the lady was in the store but just hadn’t bothered to turn on lights or flip the closed sign. So this was still a frustrating experience. Richard showed up with the man from the truck and said, “If we have the right change we can get gas.” My reply, “If I don’t have, then it looks like you’ll get a tip!”  It was a great relief to be able to fuel up and head out. First stop: coffee and food!

Moose Creek Lodge I don’t know what this is :)


This was a good stop with good food and a nice flair to it. We got tanked up on coffee and pressed on to the beginning of the Dempster, where we would stop and recharge for the night. I did not want to hit this road weary and tried from lack of sleep. We would need our wits about us and be sharp to judge and react to the road. The stop for the day is just a few miles up the road at Klondike Lodge at the junction of Dempster mile 0.

Part 3: The Klondike Lodge, Dawson City and the Arctic Circle

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Alaska Meet-Ups June 1-21 2012

Posted by SCG on 6th May 2012

Alaska Meet-Ups June 1-21 at
Happy Trails Alaska Outfitters Center!

Click on any photo for a larger image

Mid- June is prime-time for Alaska travelers. Many make Dawson City, Yukon Territory their destination, for the infamous Dust 2 Dawson gathering (June 21-22). Some riders run to the end of the earth at Deadhorse before or after D2D. See Photos.

June 1-21 our entire staff and service department stands ready to help you and your group make this trip a memory of a lifetime as we celebrate the men and women riding to Alaska in June 2012.

Join us for bike repairs, last minute outfitting for your trip, and meet up with fellow Alaska travelers, Happy Trails staff and friends. Join fellow travelers in the lounge where coffee and refreshments will be served through the day. Enjoy free WiFi and relax while we service your bike.


$10 registration gives you a bonus coupon package:

20% off labor on your bike during your visit

15% off store purchases (order ahead to be sure we have your item and we’ll hold it for you ’til you get here)

Free tire mounting for any tire bought in the store

$25 registration gives you the bonus coupon package AND one of the Motorcycle Adventure Theater events below. Add the second event for only $5 more.

Motorcycle Adventure Theater June 7th:

Tiffany Coates, the world’s foremost female motorcycle adventurer will be on-hand to tell stories and share travel tips. Meet and be inspired by Tiffany and her presentation and re-living of breathtaking adventures… and YES, she’s been to Alaska. Nevil Stow, Happy Trails Sponsored Rider from Canada, friend of Tiffany and wide traveler (including Alaska) will also be with us.

5:30 pm Reception and dinner

7:00 pm Motorcycle Adventure Theater with Int’l Presenter Tiffany Coates

Motorcycle Adventure Theater June 14th

5:30 pm Reception and dinner

7:00 pm Motorcycle Adventure Theater with Local Presenter TBA


Alaska Meet Ups Accommodation:

1. Idahostel

2. Hostelboise

3. Country Inn & Suites, Boise West (special rate)

3355 East Pine Avenue, Meridian ID 83642
Reservations: 1-800-830-5222
US/Canada Toll-free
Telephone: +1 (208) 639-3300 Fax: +1 (208) 639-7999
Room Rate is $69.95

4. Boise Riverside RV Park
for RV and tent camping.

6000 N. Glenwood, Boise, ID 83714
Telephone: +1 (208) 375-7432



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Tiffany Coates, Motorcycle Adventure Theatre

Posted by SCG on 24th April 2012

Tiffany is the world’s foremost female motorcycle adventurer, with a passion for travel that has taken her far and wide on journeys such as England to Australia, Timbuctoo, Cape Town to Cairo, Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego including a hairy three month trip around Brazil and up the Amazon, Labrador, Central Asia, Siberia and Outer Mongolia, and her latest exploit – breaking the world altitude record for a woman on a motorcycle whilst on an expedition from London to Tibet and riding up to Everest Base Camp. Almost all her travels have been undertaken on the same BMW R80GS that is still carrying her around the world today.

The highs and lows for Tiffany have included being chased by not only wolves but various national police forces, the Nicaraguan Mafia and stampeding elephants. She has fled from volcanoes and hurricanes, whilst also mastering the skills of river crossings, battling with snow and desert journeys on a quarter tonne bike with no GPS but a good sense of direction.

Tiffany has an incredible way of telling her stories and re-living her breath-taking adventures, inspiring anyone who has an interest in travel with her amazing pictures and enthralling anecdotes from far-off lands.

Happy Trails Motorcycle Adventure Theater presents Tiffany Coates on June 7, 2012. Tiffany will present an overview of world travel as seen from the perspective of a solo female motorcycle rider, one who isn’t afraid to venture to some of the world’s most remote places, wild camping and facing the challenges of a rough and ready life on the road.

 Click any photo for an awesome larger image

In Belgium Peru
Iran 2012 on 1200GS Sudan
Rally Rider
Uzbek Repairs


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Andrew Mentzer Trans World Tour

Posted by SCG on 16th April 2012

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Andrew Mentzer

Andrew Mentzer will soon be riding around the world. As much as current world conditions allow he will retrace his father Terry’s ride on a Honda XL250 from Sydney to Los Angeles westbound in 1977. Andrew will be riding the 1988 KLR650 “Green Hornet” built by Happy Trails in 2009. We’re proud to provide this ambitious, local rider with a motorcycle we believe in for his Trans World  journey.

Andrew’s solo TWT experience will be filmed as a documentary produced by Michael Weyer of Weyer Productions. An interesting element of the film will be the contrasting of Andrew’s ride with his father’s. We look forward to posting regular travel reports from Andrew here on Trail Dust.

Andrew checking out the Green Hornet
Dad Terry Metzner



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