Alaska back to the Yukon

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July 31, 2010

In the morning, I finished packing up the bike, thanked James for all the help, and hit the road. It was nice having a day off, but I had a schedule to keep: make it to Las Vegas by August 7 to attend a bachelor party. I started northeast on highway 1 (the Glenn Highway) towards Canada. The first part of the highway leaving Wasilla follows a wide valley, and passes by Glacier View. There's a nice view of the end of a glacier coming out of the mountains.

Once I hit Tok, AK, I started heading southeast to the border. This was the road I had taken in to Alaska, so it was familiar. I'd be riding the same roads again for a while. It rained now and then, but construction zones were less pleasant. Water trucks would often spray the roads so instead of dust, I would get coated with fine mud kicked up by trucks. As I rode the frost-heaved highway across the Yukon, the bike began to develop a problem: my engine would lose power and stumble as I went over the bumps and dips in the road. It was sporadic at first, but gradually worsened. Initially the problem only showed itself at higher speeds and RPMs (at higher speeds, the problem would show itself at lower RPMs), but gradually became more persistent. It died once but I was able to start it back up, and it seemed to go away for a little while. But a little ways down the road, it started again, and after crawling along the side of the highway, I pulled into a lot to check things out.

My instinct about the problem was that because it seemed sensitive to both speed and RPMs, it was fuel related. Maybe some part of the carb, like the floats, was becoming sensitive to the bumps in the road? I really didn't want to mess with the carbs, so I decided to start by looking at the fuel filter. The first thing I noticed was that the caps on the ends were actually loose, and could leak fuel if moved around. After tightening the ends, I packed the bike back up, and to my surprise, it ran fine!

On down the road, I stopped to get some gas and noticed the ST1300 from Deadhorse parked outside the place. I went inside, and after a little asking around I found the rider on a computer uploading trip pictures. Like me, he had traveled up the Dalton on street tires, and had gone down on that surprisingly slick stretch of road (although the damage to his bike appeared to be minimal). He had stayed in Deadhorse longer than I did, so I asked him if he had seen the guy on the Harley near Coldfoot. If he was talking about the same guy, the guy on the Harley had turned back to Coldfoot, at least for the time being. I wished him luck on the rest of his trip and continued on my way.

Heading northeast on highway 1 Customs into Canada Helmet covered in a mist of mud Bridge
Working on the bike Fuel filter Moto Guzzi Fake RCMP car

I continued on until I reached Whitehorse, YT. My rear tire was low, so I had to air it up; it seemed like I had developed a slow leak somewhere. It was getting late, so after some McDonalds I went looking for a camping spot. I eventually found a short trail that lead up a hill overlooking a highway. I hit a pretty big dip at the start of the path, but the rest of it wasn't too bad. After picking out a spot, I set up camp there and went to sleep.

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