Reminiscing Alaska: Day Five. Big Day, Low Mileage.

In June of 2017, four of us headed out to ride our motorcycles to Alaska. These memories are from that trip.  Enjoy!

It was a big day with low mileage, when we pulled in to Canmore, Alberta in the late afternoon. That was what we were facing.  As well as a torrential downpour that was quickly filling the streets surrounding us and another two to three hours of riding in front of us.

Perfect time for a beer and buffalo wings at the Hogshead Canmore,  most of our group would say.  I am not included in that group, but…

Let me explain:  Having just had lunch about two hours ago, I was more about keeping our momentum moving forward and not stopping.   The reality of the situation was that each stop for wings and beer, would put us back about two hours.  Then, depending on the time of day for a beer and wing break, this would determine how far we would get that evening. For example, a stop in the early afternoon, wasn’t a big deal, but a stop in the late afternoon or early evening  meant that we probably would be looking for a motel or a spot to camp quickly there after.   One beer may turn into two,  a plate of wings may turn into a burger order, etc. You get the idea.

Back to the story: Being voted off the island (This won’t be the first time), and the sky in front of us black as night, beer and wings won out.  The wings were good, the beer was cold, and Allen got hit on by the very “friendly” owner of the place.  I think the gentleman like bald guys.

The day started with awesome riding on the Forestry Trunk Road.  This was gravel riding at its finest.  We had the mountain roads to ourselves.  For excitement we would put our ADV bikes to the test riding the ATV trails along the road.  Getting a bit of two track under our tires allowed us to get some experience riding the big bikes off road, with real obstacles in our path.  Rocks, water, mud, and sand in short bursts allowed us try out new riding techniques, but having the gravel road next to the trail was nice because you get on and off easily when tired or the trail became too difficult.     That’s how I saw it by the way.    Dave, always one to go 110%, kept riding these trails deeper into the woods.

As the morning got long, we needed to start making up some time, so Allen and I started to put some distance between Dave and John.  A few minutes really, nothing too big.  We stopped up the road about 5 miles to take in the scenery and to get a picture/video of John and Dave leaving the woods into this wide open field that was cut in half by this road.  Five minutes goes by, Fifteen minutes goes by and no Dave or John.  Approaching twenty minutes or so (at least that’s what it felt like). Allen and I get suited back up, turn the bikes around and head back up the road to see what the hold up is.

A few miles back, in an open field, about 200 yards off the road, there are Dave and John just hanging out.  After a few choice words in my helmet for the continued lollygagging by our resident slow pokes, Allen and I leave the road to find out what the hell the holdup was.

Dave crashed again.  In a wide open field, surrounded by grass and nothing else.  He had just did a successful stream crossing, with obstacles, (which was very impressive) about 50 feet back and the wet tires and the grass were just too much.  Down he went.

Broken turn signal cover, broken clutch lever, and a shift lever bent in a complete horseshoe were the main casualties of the Dave’s crash.  The big concern, was with the broken shift lever, how were we going to get out of there.  There was really no way to shift the bike when the shift lever was resting on the foot peg.   Off came the foot peg.  This way the shift lever could be moved up and down, and he could use his highway peg as a foot rest.

We get back on the gravel and very cautiously proceed another 20 miles or so until we hit blacktop and then meander into the nearest town with a motor-sports store, where they hobbled Dave’s Triumph back together for the rest of our ride.   After a late lunch in Black Diamond, Alberta, we were off to Banff.

After wings, beer, and the threat of bad weather.  We found a small cabin to crash in for the night. It had a warm shower and comfortable bed.    We hit the sack early with the promise to get on the road early the next morning to catch up on some lost mileage from today’s ride.

Parting shot:  For adventure rides, I think it would be a good idea to bring a torch.   We have been out on 3 adventure rides already, and we have had to use a torch twice.


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