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Carcross, Yukon Territory, Canada

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sometimes ya just gotta git!!!

I wrote this for a few forums I's a couple weeks old but I just started this blog recently and thought maybe I should post it here.....enjoy!

A week or so ago the owner of the runnning gear in the twin cam build dropped by and told me about a ride he was going on. From where I work to where the ride was going (Beaver Creek Y.T.) totaled about 350 miles one way. The welding instructor at our local college is a long time biker and he was spreading the word for his friends to join him on the "iron butt run".

This sounded pretty cool to me and I said I'd prolly go. As the weekend approached it was accompanied by a bit of apprehension over the ride. The road in question is known to be kinda rough with lots of frost heaves, cracks, filled cracks (like long pavement ruts in the road), potholes and gravel stretches.

Also on my mind is it sounded like quite a few would be going and all I had to ride is my Honda. Guaranteed in this neck of the woods I would be the only guy riding a homebuilt hardtail chop. The highway is quite busy with all kinda of riders including alot of Hoka Hey riders. I didn't want to make a poor showing by being a pain in the ass what with a short range and lots of my own hand in the steel under my butt. My honda is in the second summer of riding now and the first summer was kinda nasty with the old girl waking up after a 18 year nap in a new hardtail frame complete with straight pipes...she ran damn fine considering.

This spring I put in all new top end gaskets and made the mistake I think now of going aftermarket....I read some bad things; this played on my mind also.....blowing a gasket 300 miles from home....hmmm....

Fuck it! I'm gonna do it.....and so started getting a couple things ready. My son got me a nice heavy tool pouch for father's day so that works well. Found a good place on the bike for my rain slickers (ex-railroad gear liberally stained with grease, oil and ???). Stashed some spare fuses and a few feet of fuel line in the electrical box, changed the oil, lubed and tightened the chain, tightened a few things, wiped 'er down and was pretty much ready.

I've been hearing from other guys that they're gonna ride as well so things are shaping up to be cool cool all around. I'm still having misgivings a bit as I've never ridden a hardtail frame for that far....not in one stretch. I'm 47 and while not overweight I could use some....uh....toning. I had visions of seizing up on the road somewhere surrounded by all knowing bikers all nodding in agreement that they saw this don't ride hardtail up here son. An old work partner drops by on his new retirement harley to announce he's riding as well...further another ex company guy is going too. Wow...shaping up to be potentially epic!

The day before the ride and after two days of watching the forecasts like a hawk the guys I'm leaving here with both's no good...shoulda picked a better weekend...and on like this. Kinda bummed now as we were supposed to kinda ride together. I mull this over for some time and decide that regardless...I'm going...if not Beaver Creek then somewhere else....but somewhere!!

The morning of the ride I still don't know for sure I'm going or where until I find myself putting together a pack. I get to the shop (my wife is kind enough to watch the pumps for the day), put on my gear and I go.

An hour later I'm 50 miles from home getting into Whitehorse and I'm a little wet. Not too bad but a little...enough for a chill. By the time I get to the other side of town I'm dry. Swing by the propsed breakfast spot for the bikes. Get to the gathering rest stop 15 minutes bikes either...hmmm. So I've either missed the riders or nobody showed; which by now I was suspecting as the weather was somewhat dodgy. From here I can take one of two to Dawson City, one to Beaver Creek. The weather made up my mind and west to Beaver creek it looked alot lighter that way.

The highway is awesome, the weather breaks and I'm cruising warm and dry in the sun. Haines Junction is 100 miles from my last gas stop in Whitehorse so a stop in otter falls is order as I hit reserve at 80 miles if I'm nice. On into Haines Junction and I have a little errand to run for my wife. During this errand and thinking about where to eat and I run across three other bikes of mixed showed after all! I stop and next thing I know the "run" is back on....four riders strong. A heavily modifed mid seventies swing arm shovel, a brand new dyna twin cam, a brand new Triumph Rocket 3, an my old nighthawk chop.

I'm taking a little punishment from my bike but not too bad as now we're 200 miles out with 100 to go before we roll into town (pop: 150ish). Or at least I thought I was taking some punishment...until the last 100 miles. It got rough then. Quite rough...I was behind the shovel when I saw him hit a big hole; I saw too late and hit it also. my bike literally jumped out of the hole slightly crossed up, me off the seat, the seat off the springs and all this at highway speed. Fortunately it all sortted out by landing time and the honda never missed a beat. The triumph was behind me and he mentioned later it was spectacular but scary to see.

Into Beaver Creek we go and I'm glad to find a room with a bath, dinner, a few drinks and damned if I don't feel too bad...not badattall. We spent the next day hanging out and another quiet evening. Not exactly tearin' the place up but good company all around and altogether pleasureable. I can feel the ride up but not some much as to be uncomfortable...nice!

The weather was shitty on the full day we were hanging out but cleared in fortuitous fashion for the morning.

The return ride was the reverse of course only without the airtime. The honda was not missing a beat at all except for running out of gas twice. She'd smoke some in the top of her revs but not so much as to be nasty. I found somewhere along the way I could rest my ass by riding standing up and we were all haulin' ass....

9 pm that night found me home with roadlegs, ringing ears, sore ass and back and smiling down at the old horse as she crackled and snapped herself to sleep.

I guess the moral to this story would be to not let other's misgivings stop you from splittin'. The weather ain't always gonna be cherry, the road ain't always gonna be smooth or go where you expected when you started but the ride will still be worth it!!

I was tired the next day or so but no lasting soreness in my back and after 700 miles in two equal legs I'm happy to report the Honda and myself are now happily commuting back and forth the 20 miles to work....only the commute seems shorter somehow now.