32 Wednesday July 7
the RT to the shop - they will call the factory for instructions and guidance.
The shop loaned me a new BMW R1200C Cruiser demo to ride today. I enjoyed
the handling and the low seat, but the power is not up to the RT and the wind
grabbed my clothes (no windshield or fairing). I wouldn’t trade my ACE 750 for
it (because of the price - but if the price was the same, I’d go for the BMW).
33 Thursday July 8
PM stopped by the shop and they found the problem. The connector on the coil
wire was broken or ? and the current path was intermittent . That’s why the
engine sometimes died and restarted. They are putting it back together now and
Ken is picking me up at 5:15 PM to take me over there to get it. Whew! I am so
relieved that they found the problem! Obviously Deming Cycle could not find the
root cause and they replaced the computer and Hal Effect device. and for some
reason it ran OK after that (Note: later - I think the mechanic in Anchorage
caused the coil wire problem and that’s why I rode the bike thousands of miles
to Alaska without incident until the 12,000 mile service.) 13,805 miles on the
clock when the coil wire problem stopped the bike in Homer.
also had the right mirror replaced - it cracked when the bike fell over at the
Haines Junction fuel stop on the way up. Tomorrow
we start back to the “Lower 48.” Overnight at Anchorage, Alaska
34 Friday July 9
and I left Anchorage today, and rode to Tok. On the way we met a Gold Wing rider
from Indiana who told us about Fast Eddie’s Restaurant in Tok, so we took his
advice, got rooms there and ate there. The Indiana man told us a sad story - his
longtime buddy had planned to come on the trip with him but was killed in a
thunderstorm while riding a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy (this is a model of
motorcycle). So, he was making the trip alone and thinking about his friend.
Seeing the two of us riding together may have been tough for him. We
lunch with him, then he rode on, and we continued to Tok.
Overnight at Tok, Alaska.
35 Saturday July 10
enjoyed staying at Fast Eddie’s Motel. Clean, new rooms and the food in the
restaurant was very good.
left Tok at 8:33 AM and rode to Watson Lake, where there are hundreds and
hundreds of signs. The story goes that a man working on the Alaska Highway (then
known as the ALCAN Hwy.) was homesick and he erected a sign pointing toward his
home town, with the name and mileage. Others copied him and the sign
“jungle” came to be. Overnight at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
36 Sunday July 11
day in the saddle (460 miles) with frequent stops. We met 3 riders (on GS
BMW’s) at lunch. They were from Connecticut and headed for Prudhoe Bay.
30 miles from Liard Hot Springs, we rode thru a heavy rain shower that got us
wet. Not drenched, but we had been dry all day, and now we had to take wet gear
into the room. The weather today was mostly broken clouds with rain showers in
the distance. Overnight at Liard Hot Springs, Liard River, B.C.
Trapper Ray's Lodge at Liard Hot Springs, B.C.
37 Monday July 12
stayed over another night at Trapper Ray’s Lodge. Jim has a cough and
stiffness in his joints and muscles, and I have soreness between my shoulder
blades (maybe from stress.) We can take a dip into the Hot Springs and relax -
that should help us to feel better.
are two days behind my original tentative schedule, but we should be able to
catch up as soon as we get into Montana. We can start early tomorrow and stop at
a bank for cash. I’m running low on Canadian $ and banks are supposed to give
the best exchange rate of C$143 for US$100. Otherwise we lose 10% or more at gas
stations when they exchange.
the weather is cooler than yesterday with a light rain and blowing small gusts -
just enough to discourage the mosquitoes from flying. The mosquitoes are
everywhere, but not as large as Alaska, thank goodness.
to the Hot Springs and got some mosquito bites in the changing room where they
seemed to hatch and swarm. The Hot Springs were very relaxing - both Jim and I
enjoyed the experience. Lots of middle-age and senior folks, traveling in
RV’s, were in the water.
met two interesting bicycle riders today - Jaimey and Rod. I talked to them for
awhile. Jaimey rode to Tierra Del Fuego in Chile then up to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
He has been riding for 7 months. Rod is from Los Angeles and started 2-1/2
months ago, meeting Jaimey in Alaska. Nice guys and they’re headed south like
38 Tuesday July 13
to Pink Mountain, B.C. It rained part way. Beautiful countryside of rolling
hills. It’s cold today - in the 50’s.
Mt. (the place) is just an outpost in the middle of nowhere. But it is
self-sufficient and a haven for workers and travelers. The first thing I noticed
upon entering was a sign “Remove Your Muddy Boots - This Means YOU”, and a
bordered square area with bits of mud where boots had been stored. There is a
very good restaurant, where the world’s nicest waitress works - she called
everyone “Hon” and always accommodated the smallest request. I remember she
said to Jim, “You can have your food any way you like it, and if it isn’t
right, I’ll take it back and get it right.” Both Jim and I enjoyed meeting
her. Also at Pink Mt. was a motel of concrete block “cells” on a long
hallway, and a gas station. There were phones in the lobby, and a large screen
TV in a large foyer between the Restaurant and the wing of rooms.
39 Wednesday July 14 - overnight at Pink Mountain, B.C., Canada
left Pink Mountain at 7:33 AM in a cold rain. Strange how we had such great
weather in Alaska and down here we’re getting wet and cold. We refueled last
evening and were ready to go after loading the bikes, which takes about 15
minutes each morning. It rained lightly off and on to Grand Prairie where we ate
soup to warm our bones. After getting onto the correct road to Grand Cache, I
opened up the RT, as the road was fairly dry, and left Jim behind. I waited in
Grande Cache for forty minutes then went back 27 miles but no Jim. I tried to
talk to an RCMP officer to report that he was out on the road and unaccounted
for, but the office was closed and my attempts to reach them by phone were not
successful. I decided to go on Hinton, as Jim knew where we had reservations for
rooms. When I arrived at the motel, a message from Jim told me that his rear
tire picked up a screw, and went flat. A passerby stopped, had a cell phone,
called a tow truck, and he was towed 60 km back to Grand Prairie.
Took him to the only MC shop in Grand Prairie, got a new tube and
patch/plug for the tire, and he got a room for the night.
weather is unusually cold here for this time of year. The temp is in the 50’s
degrees F during the day and up in the Jasper Park it is snowing at night. We
wanted to go up there to enjoy the beautiful scenery between Jasper and Banff,
but it will have to be another time. I’m trying to decide on our best route
thru Calgary and south down to Sweetgrass, Montana. We’ll have to stop for the
night before Calgary - maybe Red Deer? Jim will have ridden 4 hrs more than me,
as he’s coming from Grand Prairie tomorrow AM, then we go on together.
Overnight at Hinton, Alberta, Canada
40 Thursday July 15
waited in Hinton until Jim rode over from Grand Prairie - he arrived about 12:45
PM. We ate lunch, then rode to Sylvan Lake (just short of Red Deer) and got the
last room in town. There was a large religious group coming to Sylvan Lake for
the weekend and they rented all the rooms. This is a small resort on a large
lake - looks pretty quiet and laid back. Might be a popular spot for Calgary and
stopped because the sky ahead of us was black to the horizon, dumping rain, and
we didn’t want to get wet again. Very flat terrain here - lots of farms.
making steady progress toward Sweetgrass and unless a problem occurs, we’ll be
there tomorrow afternoon. Overnight at Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada.
41 Friday July 16
Lethbridge we stopped for a cold cut lunch from the deli counter of a
supermarket. I bought German Bologna (my favorite cold cut) and a Kaiser bread
roll. We sat and ate on a park bench across the street from the market. Stinger
enjoyed the chance to run around and sniff.
We stopped in Sweetgrass, Montana (just a gas station/convenience/tourist store and a few other buildings with some scattered houses around it - right on the US-Canada border - one could walk from the store to the border in two minutes.) I wanted to mail postcards that were postmarked “Sweetgrass, Montana” so we stopped at a roadside rest stop for 45 minutes while I wrote to my friends and relatives. I was so happy to be back in the “Lower 48” and had to share that feeling with everyone. We rode on to Great Falls where we got rooms for the night. Overnight at Great Falls, Montana.