Season is just about here!!!

Okay, who am I kidding…   It’s always riding season.

In the winter, there are dirt bike rides.  I’ve managed just about every Monday since the first of the year.  I’ve been using it to get myself ready for BAJA!  Yeah, I’m just a tad excited about riding in Baja.  I just have to make it through the next few weeks.

First I have to get organized with the luggage.   I decided to sell my Mosko Reckless 80, this would allow me to pick up the Mosko Scout Panniers.  The Reckless is a fantastic system, but I bought it thinking it would work on my husky as well as the Tiger.  It’s just too big for the 250, so I need a different approach for that bike.   The Scout panniers would be just perfect for the tiger and allow me a bit more flexibility than I have the Reckless on the tiger.    The new bags should be here soon.  Not much time to figure out the best way to pack them, but I’ll have time on the road to sort it out.

I feel like I’ve been hemorrhaging cash the past couple of weeks.  Which feels worse when I factor in the things, I’ve had to do around the house.   There were just a number of things that needed to be changed, replaced, or had to have routine maintenance done, which wasn’t cheap.  Like the services due for the Tiger and the Tundra. The yearly checkup for the race bike, needed to be done.  It’ll be heading over to Speedin Motorsport for that in the next few days.    I’ve also worn out things on the Husky, which had to be replaced.  Along with my needing to get some new gear to replace the stuff I’ve worn out or torn up.

MX boots are outrageously priced!   But the new ones, really are pretty, not to mention pretty comfortable right off the start.  I’ve gotten to ride in them twice now.  The first day I had a number of mis-shifts, but on the second day I didn’t notice them at all.

I also have some gear I need to take for repairs.  Compared to buying some new protective gear.  Getting new zippers put into things rather cheap. Besides, I hate replacing things that are still function, with a minor fix.

I’ve been getting out on the dirt bike as much as I can to get ready for the Baja trip.  I felt like I should make sure I was a fit as I could be for it.  Since I’ll be helping other riders on the trip and doing some guiding.


Baja, here I come!!!

This will be my second time there, but my first time riding in Baja. I’m heading down with a tour that West38Moto is doing. It’s going to be a ride for big bikes, like my Tiger. I’ll be riding over to La Mesa, CA from Santa Fe, NM. I’m planning on two days to get there. In total I will be in Baja/Mexico for just over two weeks. I’m pretty excited about it. I just finished buying a new GPS so I can use this trip to figure out how to navigate off it. I’ll be needing it when I take a few friends out on the BDRs this summer.

It’ll be the first trip for me where I won’t be camping along the way. So I’ll have to figure out the packing for it. Should be easier, since I won’t need the cooking or camping gear. At least not for the Baja part. In Sonora I’ll have to camp, but they’ll be bringing that gear down for me.

I didn’t write up the sections in italics, I took Dusty’s (W38M) description of the trip. On the last day of the trip instead of heading up to Tecate with the group, I’ll be splitting off from them and riding over to San Luis Rio Colorado to begin the second half of the trip. Were I’ll working as pit crew for a couple of Sonora Rally racers.

The Route for the Baja Part: (Roughly)


Day 1 = Spring Valley California to Mike’s Sky Ranch

174 Miles

After a night of getting to know each other and preparing for the tour, we will set off as a group and head for the Tecate border. At the border crossing we will take turns as a group getting our tourist visas and exchanging money. A passport is highly suggested for traveling in to Mexico and getting back into the US. Once we finish with this process, we will make our way through Tecate and link up with the Old Compadre Trail. Wide open vistas and mountain dirt roads will lead us back to Hwy 3. We will stay on pavement and top off with gas on our way to the dirt road entering Mike’s Sky Ranch. Today will be a mix of pavement and dirt at about 50/50.

Day 2 = Mike’s to Alfonsina’s

188 Miles

We will depart Mike’s the same way we came in and head out on the pavement for Gonzaga Bay and Alfonsina’s. We will stop for lunch in San Felipe and find a restaurant on the Malecon (boardwalk by the water). After lunch we will head out on pavement to Alfonsina’s. This section will be a mix of improved and unimproved pavement. Watch out for the Vados! Along this section we get exposed to some of the most beautiful scenery on the gulf side! Alfonsina’s is located on the beach in Gonzaga Bay!

Day 3 = Alfonsina’s to Bay of LA

110 Miles

This day will not be as long for us as some of the others. Today we will make our way out of Alfonsina’s where our first stop will be the famous Coco’s Corner. Coco is a legend in Baja and his place is visited by thousands of traveler’s every year. After a coke or water at his place, we will make our way to the highway and head to the Bay of LA. When we arrive at the Bay of LA we will have a choice of stopping and relaxing for the day, or riding up to the Mission San Francisco de Borja. For those that would like to keep riding we can drop our luggage at the hotel and head out to the Mission. The mission is roughly 35 miles one way from the Bay of LA. Once we turn on our dirt road it’s through the mountains again arriving at the gorgeous and historical Mission. You won’t want to miss this!

Day 4 = Bay of LA to San Ignacio

207 Miles

This day will be mostly dirt as we wind our way out of the Bay of LA through the coastal gulf mountains and along the gulf coast. We will stop along the way in San Rafael to see old whale skeletons and have a cold drink. From there it is back on the dirt where we leave the coastal mountains and head into the desert. This ride is fantastic and the desert terrain has a harsh beauty that is better experienced than described. Once we hit the pavement we will make our way to the gorgeous and quaint town of San Ignacio.

Day 5 = Tourist day in San Ignacio

221 Miles

Today we will go on a bit of a different tour and add some Baja wildlife to the mix…how about Humpback Whales! If you have never been whale watching get ready for this! We will leave as a group from San Ignacio to the Pacific Ocean side of Baja and enjoy a day of whale watching, food/drinks and a life altering experience!

Day 6 = San Ignacio to Mission Santa Maria

342 Miles

Today will be our longest day but we will get to take it easy on the pavement. However, don’t let that fool you. This time of year the desert flowers are bursting and we will get to travel through some of the most beautiful inland mountain, desert and farm towns in all of Northern Baja! Get your cameras ready for some fantastic inland photos! The fun does not stop there…when we get to our hotel, Mission Santa Maria, we will have an opportunity to ride our motorcycles on the beach! If you have never done this it is fantastic! We will eat a gourmet meal at the hotel restaurant and enjoy cocktails in the bar after this long awesome day!

Day 7 = Mission Santa Maria to Coyote Cal’s

98 Miles

Today we will be rewarded with a shorter ride as we make our way to Coyote Cal’s. When we arrive we will have a choice again of relaxing or taking a ride along the coast. This area of Baja has some of the most beautiful scenery along the Pacific Coast! The terrain can be compared to the Pacific Coast Highway along the California coast between LA and San Francisco. This ride and scenery will not disappoint!

Day 8 = Coyote Cals to San Luis Rio Colorado

192 Miles

On our last day we will make our way out of Coyote Cal’s and say goodbye to the dirt roads…and head into Ensenada. After a good lunch there I will make my way over to San Luis Rio Colorado to start my second part of the trip.

Route Area for the Sonora Rally:

I didn’t get to go with them last year for this one, but I’m told it’ll be similar to the Baja Rally I did with them in Oct. last year. I’ll be driving the truck and trailer again. They are planning on just throwing my Tiger in the bed of one of the trucks one I get to San Luis. It’ll stay there likely until we get back to Santa Fe.

Dirt bike Teardown


The Husky has been getting a great deal of use riding single track over the past two years.   It’s been an awesome bike for me to learn how to ride dirt on.

Now, thanks to JP I’m having to learn how to tear it down and do the work on it.  I’ll say it’s been an education too.  There were a few things that I already knew how to take care of thanks to having to learn about care/feeding of the race bike.  The Husky is a different, yet similar beast.  For whatever reason I was resistant to working on it like I do the race bike.  I wasn’t the least bit worried about pulling the forks off the 675, but I felt ill doing to the dirt bike.

I mean look at it!  It’s sad looking…


Taking it out after it was all put back together was an eye opener… It handled so much better!  Just don’t tell JP.  I’ll never hear the end of it.

Law Tigers’ Female Influencer Contest…

My submission for the contest:
First the video:

About Me:

I started riding 12 years ago, I’m what could be called a late bloomer…. It’s not too common to have women start riding in their late 30s.  It was something I had wanted to try for years, but there was too many obstacles until then.   Even though I started later in life, I jumped into the deep end and haven’t looked back.  Learning to ride has been one of the best things I’ve done in my life.  I have a love of all motorcycles, it doesn’t matter what brand or the type of riding someone does, just so long as they ride! I would love to see more women engaging in the sport.  For me it was a confidence booster, and it has enabled me to meet some of the most amazing people over the past years.
I’ve gotten to attend a number of Rallies across the country and in Canada.  It has allowed me to meet a huge number of riders and introduced me to some great riding in areas I might not have gone to otherwise.  I try to support organizations like the AMA, NMOHVA, and RMAR these are groups that give back to help keep us able to ride.
It was an easy decision for me become a RiderCoach for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) for the state of New Mexico in 2007. It was how I learned to ride.   I try to coach between 7-12 classes per year, the number of the classes really depends mostly on weather and if the classes fill.  I also coached for Rider’s Edge for a number of years.
I also work with the Sandia Motorcycle Roadracing Inc. (SMRI) as a track day instructor I was their New Rider Director for a few years.  I’m work with them still to offer Sunset Safety Clinics to give riders another opportunity for bettering their riding after the BRC that MSF offers.  Every track day I work with large groups of riders. (There isn’t as many women riders as I would like but I’m slowly working and helping more come out and try it.)   I also have helped instruct for a number of other track day organizations.  I also volunteer my time to instruct a number of Women only track days.
I’ve assisted Nick Inetasch with his Sunset Clinic in CO, and worked as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School (YCRS).  In 2014 I became a YCRS certified instructor, I’ve worked a great deal with all of their instructors, participated in the schools as a student and instructor.
In 2017 I started to work as an instructor for West 38 Moto, they are an off road school with a focus on riding the large adventure bikes.  Also with W38M, I will be working with them doing tours. Like the Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDRs) in NM, CO, and Baja.
I’ve assisted other riders with achieving their goals; this past Oct I worked as pit support for two local racer who went to Baja to do the Baja Rally.  I met a number of competitors from different countries.
It is very satisfying to influence new riders and see those riders’ months later, still riding.  I still love to hear stories of how the help I gave them has positively affected a rider when I get to see them again.  I have always enjoyed mentoring others and spreading the passion.  So it has taken me to the path of being an instructor for a few organizations.   I believe in training, the more the better.  Going to as many different schools as I can has lead me to great opportunities’ to pass the knowledge on to others.   Just about every organization I’ve taught for believes that having women instructors helps bring more women to the sport.  I tend to agree, I have brought a number of women to the track and to dirt riding who didn’t believe they could do it until after I worked with them.
I can provide your company with excellent advertising opportunities, while on the track or off. Just a few of the things I can do for my sponsors. (I am also always open for ideas on how to better serve my sponsors.):
*Proudly display your company’s name and logo on my bike, truck, and trailer.
*Display banners with sponsors names and logos in the pits at the races.
*Distribution of product samples or information.
*Association with new riders, professional riders and motorcycle safety professionals.
*Provide a link to your site on the websites.
*Each time I am on the grid for a race my name and sponsors are announced.
*Sponsors are listed in the clubs program with the racers names.
*Send updates, newsletters and/or signed photos of us racing displaying your company’s logo.
*Post on my Social Media photos and short videos, of my activities.
*Act in a professional and businesslike manner that is respectable to the sponsor at all times.
*Promote sponsor’s name, mission statement, website, etc at every conversational opportunity.
I would love the opportunity to help promote a company such as yours that give back to the community.  Thank you for considering my application.
Media sites:
Personal Website:
Facebook:  @Diomederacing
& @ZiaThunder
Twitter: @ZiaThunder
Instagram: @ZiaThunder

Welcome 2018!

So what’s the best way to kick off the new year?   More riding, of course!   This time it was single track on the dirt bike.   Which is a great workout, you’ve got cardio (from working too hard to stay up right) and you get weight lifting (from picking up the bike each time you fall over).

It had been months since I rode the dirt bike down in Abq, so when Scot asked if anyone wanted to go, I was all over it.

Once everyone was there and geared up we headed out.  I had forgotten how sandy and loose the ground could be out that way.  I still haven’t figured out how to ride that well.  I am not sure that I ever will get comfortable in sand.  But, it’s way easier to ride on the little bike than, it is on the Tiger.

In all we covered around 45 miles.  I have started to use a new app for tracking my dirt rides, in addition to the InReach I have been using it’s call Ecrumb from RoadID.   It’s a great tool to help keep you safe when out riding.  I have been doing some riding on my own lately and it give me a bit more piece of mind.

Good bye 2017

I can’t imagine a better way to end the year than going out for a ride.

I ended 2017 with a dual sport ride up to and around Penasco.  We started the morning by meeting up at the Tesuque Village Market.  It was a last minute ride with a few of the riders from the Tiger Troop and others from Abq.  It was a tad chilly in for the first half of the ride.  I was very happy that the Tiger has a heated seat and grips, as my electric vest wasn’t quite enough to keep me from getting chilled.


From there it was a nice lil ride up to Dixon, then onto some nice forest roads to Ojo Sarco, which took us to the section of the high road to Taos.


We stopped at Sugar Nymphs for brunch.  They have really good food, and the desserts are awesome.

After we’d eaten our fill, it was off to see if we could find some snow.

We did, along with a really nice water crossing.

I just wasn’t feeling this…I figured it was a little too risky to try and cross it and I wasn’t feeling like I wanted to risk getting wet and getting hypothermia.

So back we went to the high road, where we turned off to take the scenic route through Cundiyo.  Back down to Santa Fe, from there I decided to take a run through Waldo Canyon, which treated me to some great sunset pictures.




The long over due update.

Update: Sorry it’s going to be a long one…

It’s been ages, since I posted an update. Um, just over a year to be more accurate. So I figured that I needed to get my act together and get it done. It’s been a pretty busy year at that!

Some of these things I’ll break out and post up a picture page for, since there was a lot cool things to see.

So starting with July 2016:

I was still new rider director, so I was busy instructing at the track for all the SMRI events.

There was some dual sport riding with the Triumphs in Taos group. A great bunch of people, and a fun weekend of riding.

I also worked as an instructor for the All Girls day down at Arroyo Seco, in October. A really fun day working with some 40 women on bikes.

There was the Rubber Chicken Ride in Oct as well. I had an amazing time doing those rides, right up until I got cross rutted at about 40mph. I landed on my head. I ended up with headaches for about 7 months after that. Had to have an MRI, I did take a bit of time off from riding during the late fall/early winter.  But was still doing more than I should have been.

In Oct I took a dirt school with West38Moto, this ended up being a great thing for me. I got way more comfortable riding the Tiger off road. Also the riding I did with a local endro racer doing dual sport rides, and the instruction I received from him, helped me land an instructing gig with West38. I still have a great deal to learn, but you’ve gotta start somewhere!

I spent the winter doing a great deal of off road riding on the Husky and the Tiger, it helped me make some great progress with my dirt riding. I’ll even go so far as to say all that dirt riding has helped me with the track and street riding.

I did a long weekend trip down to Big Bend. Did some dirt riding with a group of guys from TX, that I met in the bar the first night there. Poor guys, they had no idea if I could ride or not, but they let me tag along with them.

There was the better part of a month spent helping get Jim and David ready for the Sonora rally. I really wished I could have gone with them, but it was a boys trip. ;-P
I had my long time BFF from Alaska come down for a visit. I forced her to get back on her dirt bike and go riding with me.

There was the Brewsday family trip to Moab for a week. I really got some great riding in there. I also ended up with a kidney infection… not so great, but at least it was at the end of the trip so I didn’t have to miss out on much.

After that was instructing for West38 for a VERY large group. It was an awesome time. That was followed up by a trip to Flagstaff for the Overland expo. It was there I was interviewed for an article on me by Women’s ADV. Second article in 6 months, the New Mexican did a story on Jaime and I about our trip to Alaska.

I did do a race in Deming in March, I wanted to see if I could still ride a race bike. It was slow in coming back to me, but I did finally during the last race manage to pull out some better lap times.

I’ve not done much racing compared to the past few years. I had decided to not chase any championships, since I was going to miss a couple of SMRI races during my trip to Alaska and Canada. I did end up doing couple when I got back. In addition to doing the race schools and the track day schools for the club.

After 10 years of racing I decided at the end of 2016 that I need to take a real break from the club. I stepped down from the New Rider Director position. I also decided to make it a relatively clean break too. I stopped going to must of the events, for no other reason than, I just needed to re-evaluate if it was something that I wanted to keep doing.

For 2017 I had been planning doing only 4 races during the 2017 season. One with each of the clubs. (SMRI, MRA, ASMA, and USBA) It didn’t quite work out that way, but I’m pretty pleased with how things have gone.

I ended up riding at 1 track day and did some instructing, I also did some races the next day.  Had great time, but wasn’t happy with how I rode in the races. It confirmed that I really did need to step back from there and work on my riding, instead of spending so much time teaching.  Also that I really needed time away from that track, it just doesn’t hold my interest anymore.

I did some instructing at Sandia for some track riders and a couple of racers. I really enjoyed doing that, and I’ll try to do more of it for the 2018 season.

In July 2017 I went with W38M to scout the UT BDR (Uath Backcountry Discovery Route). BDRs are really nice dual sport routes designed for larger dual sport bikes. It is about camping and riding a great deal of dirt, the routes are set up to be around 7 days long. We were riding from north to south on the UT one down to Green River. It was a challenge for me, as well as a learning experience, I would have NEVER done a lot of the on the Tiger without the support that I had with the group. I’m hoping to get to go along on the Baja rides they are going to do in 2018. There were some really tricky moments for me, but I didn’t fall or drop the bike a single time!!!

After we made it to Green River it was a ride on the road back up to SLC so we could run the Booth during the BMW MOA Rally. I’ve never gone to one, so I really wanted to work the booth each day, and see what it was about. There were some great vendors there, I also managed to pick up a sponsor for the racing!!

In between all this I was doing some more instructing at the track, a few days of instructing for dirt riding, and I was coaching MSF classes. It wasn’t like I wasn’t getting any riding in this year. Lol.

I needed the track time, to get ready for the MRA 4 hr Endurance race weekend. Jaime and I head up for that one. We tried hard to get some others to go with us, but alas everyone else bailed out. Had a great time, I was dropping time with each session. I managed to get down to my personal best time by the last day and finished 4th in the LOR race. I was really pleased with the weekend.

Next up was more dual sport riding up in Meeker, CO for the TrailTaker Rally. I took the Husky up for this one, good thing too. I came back with some nasty bruises from falling down a few rock faces. I went up alone with my Toy Hauler. Met some really great people from CO, ID and UT. Had really nice rides for 4 days.

September was a pretty quiet month, there was just work and an overnight camping trip with the local Triumph Tiger Troop. I finally got to see some of the sights in the eastern side of the state. Had a great time getting to know that group better.
After that weekend I spent the next two weekends getting my MSF certification updated so I could teach the new BRCu curriculum. I really like the way it laid out and that we are going to be using the ecourse. I think the range exercises are better too!

So that brings me up to date and to October! I was really luck to start the month off helping Jim and David get ready to run the Baja Rally.

I rode down to Baja with Jim. I got to drive his earthroamer around Baja from campsite to campsite. Talk about scary…. That thing is huge! Then add on an 8×14 trailer, Mexico roads and drivers. Yiikkes! It was the first time I’ve gotten to go to Mexico. It was an experience. The roads are narrow, don’t have any shoulders. There was also the border crossing at Tijuana, holy cow what a zoo! It took hours. The flight back was long, but without drama. I liked that latter part. I wasn’t detained at the border so that a good thing.

Next up are some MSF classes, a couple of W38M Classes, an ASMA race, Thanksgiving, and a Hogs on the High Seas Cruise. My first cruise ever. It’s all Lori’s fault, it’s what she wanted to do for turning 50 this year. I’m looking forward to doing some scuba diving!

To Alaska and the Dempster Hwy 2016 — Part VI

This will be the last part.  I think.  Maybe.

So as it turns out Jaime’s phone wasn’t waiting in PG for her.  She needed to wait for it, I needed to get moving so I could make it back to …. ick… work…. on July 5th.  They really frown on it if you don’t make it back from vacation on time.  Esp if you’ve been gone as long as I have.  I also needed to get back into the US by the 31st so that I could get some work done via remote.  I was running low on data on my international plan, overages are expensive.  So it was get back in the next two days and get the work done.   So I left PG without Jaime… It felt a bit odd too, to be riding off and not have her in my mirrors after riding together for close to a month.


From PG I headed straight over to Jasper where I was promptly rewarded with wildlife sightings…


There was also a black bear and a grizzly bear, but both were way too close to the road for my comfort and I didn’t want stop and hang out taking pictures.   It’s a whole other thing on a bike and your much more exposed to the elements and hazards like teeth and claws.  Or like a few days later in Yellowstone, with the Bison, exposed to herds of animals with pea brains that weigh a ton and have horns and hooves.  I’m just not going to hang out and wait to see what might happen.    Unlike, that fool in the above pictures on the right side….

I ended up camping in Banff that night.  I got lucky and found a spot in a park, it was crowded, the sign said the grounds were full but the one spot was empty and the ranger, I guess they are still rangers in Canada, said take it.  Since it was late and there hadn’t been anyone in it for over 24 hours.  I spent the next day wondering around Jasper and Banff.  I worked my way down to Canmore I let the GPS take me down some dirt roads that lead me to Spray Lakes where I camped the next night.  Wow! I it really was one of the best camping spots I had for the whole trip.

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I woke up the next morning to this lil thing trying to climb on my tent.  It freaked me out a bit.  I guess I was just too close to one of his escape tunnels.  At one point when I was prepping my breakfast he tried to take my oatmeal from me.  Bold little sucker.


I continued down the dirt road for quite some ways until I saw this fella.


Just beyond him was short stretch of pavement then it was back onto dirt again.  There was a great stream running along the dirt road until I started to climb up some hills. At that point I was starting to wonder about the wisdom of going out on dirt roads alone, when there was signs saying no vehicles with trailers beyond this point,  steep grades for the next 10 Km, and rough roads… hum.  No really the best judgement on my part.  I also hadn’t seen another vehicle for some time.  I just kept hoping I didn’t fall over.

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I got lucky and the road wasn’t too bad, I wasn’t able to stop and take pictures.  It did level off and smooth out once I got to the bottom.  The views were great too.

I made it down to Waterton I cruised through the town, made a quick stop for some stickers, hoped back on the bike and beelined it for the border.  This boarder crossing went really smooth, and quick there wasn’t anyone in front of me or behind me that I saw.   I think the two guys working were rather chatty, they both rode Harleys so they didn’t give me grief about being on a bike.


I had a great deal of ground to cover since I was down to 4 days to get home.  I really wanted to make sure I hit a few places on the way.  First up was Glacier National Park and Going to the Sun Hwy.

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I don’t think I need to say much about these pictures….

I spent the night in Browning MT, now was interesting… I found a decent campground to stay at but with all the gunshots and fireworks going off I decided to sleep with the bear spray and the knife again that night and not because of the wildlife.


The ride across MT to Red Lodge was mostly flat, with some interesting points here and there. I missed some of the better roads, in my hurry to get home.  I’ll have to go back to try it again.

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I hit Beartooth pass later in the day, okay it was actually early evening when I was riding up the pass, but it was quiet and there was almost no traffic.  Just like the day before I was actually able to stop in the middle of the road to take a couple of the pictures.


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I camped that night at Beartooth Lake, it was also a great campsite.  I had the entire loop to myself!


Well okay this guy was around most of the evening, but he was quiet so I didn’t mind.IMG_20160630_210206743


The lake was stunning in the morning light!


From here it was onward toward Yellowstone!   I hadn’t been in the park since I moved to NM from Alaska in 1993, so I was really looking forward to seeing the changes.

I planned on riding as much of the loop as I could take, since I figured the traffic might be an issue.  I was able to ride straight up the the gate no waiting in line at all!  Nice!  A parks pass is really worth it.  Right away there were herds of Bison off to the sides of the road.

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This one was an example of one of the times I rode up the center of the road to avoid being caught by bison crossing the  road. I wasn’t going to sit there to wait and see if they came across where I was….  I was surprised at how light the traffic was really, there was only a few times where it got backed up.


From Yellowstone it was down to the Grand Tetons, then on to Jackson Hole.  It was in Jackson hole where I finally found a replacement bladder for my camelbak that been leaking for the past 3 days.  For the most part I didn’t mind it too much as it was hot and it running down my back kept me a bit cooler,  but it was making it harder to drink enough water when you could only fill it half full each time.

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Now from here I had been thinking of heading east toward CO then down to NM, I wasn’t planning on heading to toward SLC, UT, but I stopped at a campground around Bondurant, WY I found a decent little spot, but I had some guy walk up to me as I was unpacking.  The more he talked the more creeped out I got and the more I felt the need to leave there in a hurry, like the hair on the back of my neck was standing up and I felt sick to my stomach..  I can’t say that I’ve had that kind of reaction to a person before, and it’s rather scary.  This was really a first for me.  Most of the time when someone makes me uncomfortable I just brush it off and stop talking to them and ignore it, but this time I chose to leave, and leave quickly.

It was kind of late, so I started to punch places into the GPS to see how far they were and just for grins I put SLC in.  Turns out it was “only” 210 miles, I figured I could make it there that night.  Besides, I still felt sick and knew there was no way I was going to be calm enough to sleep in strange place that night.  So the idea of heading to Mike’s house was comforting.  Once I made out of the mountains and I had a signal on my phone again, I called Mike to let him know I was on my way to his place and I’d be there in just under  3 hours.  True to form, he didn’t ask questions and just said they’d be waiting up for me.  I pulled into the drive about 12:30 Mike met me and put my bike into the garage for me.   Being there is kind of like being home, it should be I’m there at least one a year.  After a quick chat it was off to bed.

I spent the next night there too, it was good to see a few people I hadn’t gotten to see when we came through on the way to Alaska.  The next day I headed home a day early so I’d have one day at home to unpack the bike, wash the bike again, since it was still filthy, do laundry and just relax.  It’s great to sleep in your own bed after being gone for so many days.

All said and done…   I had 39 days of vacation I rode roughly 10,750 miles in ~30 days of riding, (Non riding days = 4 days in Anchorage, 2 days in Fairbanks, 2 days in Dawson, & 1 day in Salt Lake City) with 1,800 miles of that being dirt roads.  The longest day was 614 miles, the shortest was 169 miles. We camped 18 of the nights on the road, the rest were with hotels, friends, family or ADV inmates along the way.

To Alaska and the Dempster Hwy 2016 — Part V

Wow, this is a lot of typing, but I guess it’s to be expected since the trip was 39 days long.  This next part is the first leg of the trip back home, continuing on from where I left off until Jaime and I part ways in Prince George.  We didn’t intend to ride the whole trip together, we rode a great deal more of it as a pair than I imagined we would.  I believe that she would have taken off right after the Dempster Hwy if she hadn’t lost her phone.  She had other places she wanted to go and I had some other roads I really wanted to check out that were more on a direct route toward home.  So this is where we really began to wing it with the route.  I’d spent some time over the winter coming up with a route heading up that would let us hit all some really pretty parts of Alaska and Canada on the way up, but since we had so much rain and we both just really wanted to get to Anchorage. We bypassed a great deal of it. So for the trip back we figured we would just ride the Cassier again, and hit some of the things we had bypassed


First up was Skagway, once we got to Whitehorse I check the Alaska ferry schedule.  Which is an absolute mess to figure out if there is or isn’t a ferry leaving on the day you want or not.  From what I could tell it didn’t look like there was any for the day we would be there that were heading to Haines.  So we just planned on running down there staying the night and riding back up toward Whitehorse then heading toward Watson Lake.  We started out of Whitehorse down toward Skagway, it’s such great road with all kinds of things to see.

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Once in Skagway there are some really cute things to see in the town, it’s one of the main stops for the cruise ships, so they’ve built up the shops down by the docks.IMG_20160624_132337616_HDR

We cruise up and down the streets looking for a small campground we could stay at, we found one close to the narrow gauge train but didn’t really like the feel of the place.  As Jaime put it, the place had that back woods, deliverance feel to it.  So we looked up other campgrounds in the area, to find that only other one was about 10 miles from town.  In a different direction than we’d come into town, what the heck how bad could it be?    As it turned out, it was an awesome park on the other side of the mountains from where we were in Dyea, which was a former gold rush town like was Skagway, Dyea is located at the head of the Chilkoot trail. Not to mention there was about 7  miles super scenic dirt road on the way to the campgrounds.



We found a trail to this beach through some trees, can you imagine having this as a place where you could go when ever you wanted to have a fire?  Wow!


I wondered around in the tidal pools for awhile looking at all the shells and seaweed, it reminded me of when I was a kid about 8 or 9 yo and my dad and I would go fishing in Homer or Seward and he’d sit at camper while I played in the flats at low tide. IMG_20160624_121007798 IMG_20160624_121410210 IMG_20160624_121611936 P1000667

The pull outs above Skagway gave great views of the cruise ships and the town. IMG_20160624_123605607_HDR

Once we got into town we decided to swing by the store to pick up some lunch for later, while Jaime was in the store I spotted a few other bikes.  I went over to talk with them to find out where they were from and find out where they were heading.  I’m really happy I did that too.  Turns out they were just killing time waiting for their ferry ride to Haines and as luck would have it one of the guys had a spare ticket that he gave me.  He and I headed over to the Ferry office, he transferred the ticket to my name.  I bought Jaime a standby ticket since the Ferry was sold out.  We waited on the docks with them and a group of Germans.    My bike was #13 so Jaime’s made it an even 14.  As the deckhand said, in 19 years, she’d never left a bike behind on the docks.  So we were on our way to Haines. What luck!

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We hit Haines at about 8 pm, and we rode until we hit Whitehorse just before midnight. There wasn’t much picture taking at this point.  We were just trying to beat it so we could make some time up after spending most of two days around Skagway.  We needed to head to Prince George to pick up Jaime’s replacement phone.   The ADV inmate we had stayed with there was kind enough to allow the replacement phone to be shipped to him there, since there wasn’t anywhere else that we could find in Canada that would accept shipment or that Verizon would ship to.

There was still one more side trip that we really wanted to to do before we hit Prince George.   We really wanted to take the run down the road to Telegraph Creek, after hearing about it from another ADV inmate.  Not to mention I figured that Jaime really needed to see the Sign post Forrest in Watson Lake while we were in the area.  IMG_20160625_154544322_HDR IMG_20160625_154551891 IMG_20160625_161310800

Once we had finished wandering around the “Forrest” we stopped for yet another bacon cheeseburger.  I know that I haven’t mentioned it but bacon cheeseburgers were pretty much our go to meal on this trip if we weren’t cooking it ourselves.  There wasn’t much salad eating on this trip, and shockingly we both lost weight.   After we finished eating we booked it down the Cassier toward Dease Lake which is where the turn off to Telegraph Creek is.  We found a really cute lil campground overlooking the lake for the night right next to a restored classic truck that Jaime just about lost it over… I of course can’t remember what  it was, beside it being an old restored truck that looked really cool. IMG_20160626_091458227_HDR

The road to Telegraph Creek delivered!  It was amazing, easy to ride, yet it was a challenge too.  I don’t ever recall seeing road signs before this that said 20% grades.  Not to mention the switchbacks with loose gravel, but they weren’t that bad even with the fully loaded big bikes.  Now you’ll notice there aren’t pictures of this… that’s because I had to give it my full attention on the way up and down.  I’m hoping that Jaime still has the video of us riding up it.  Damn, it was fun!  The river was stunning, it was also the first time since I was like 7 I’d gotten to see salmon jumping out of the water.  Talk about cool.

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The church that we came across right after having lunch which was….


you guessed it… yet another bacon cheeseburger.



Now I did learn one thing on the way down this road… Karma is a fickle lil witch.  We’d stopped to take some of these pictures.  The road wasn’t exactly level, and it was slanted down away from us, so getting the bikes off the side stands was a lil tricky at times.  Jaime was having trouble one of the times and I was laughing at her.. Yeah, I know, my bad.  But, I went to get off the bike to help her out.  I didn’t quite get the side stand back down on mine, the bike rolled off and the bike and I both went over.  I was still laughing when I stopped rolling right under Jaime’s bike.  Ya know I still think it’s funny!  Even if I broke my clutch lever.

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Now after all this fun, we had to beat feet again to make up the whole day we spent here, when we thought it would be just a half day.  So we booked down the Cassier again until about Midnight when we hit the Meziadin Lake Park.  We pulled in and found a nice secluded spot for the night, it only took about 3 minutes for the camp host to come find us and ask us to pay.  I was starting to get the feeling that they thought we might not pay, if they didn’t come ask us to pay at these parks, since this wasn’t the first time.  It’s odd.

The next day we rode on over to Prince George and got there at a decent time…. OMG! We finally stopped riding before 7pm!!!!  Color me surprised.  Jaime had mentioned that maybe we could run over to Prince Rupert and then over to Prince George.  I didn’t think it was a great idea since we were crashing in on someone else.  We knew that he left for work at like 7am.  I thought it would just be too rude to show up after 8pm.  I was also starting to get a little bit concerned that I might not have time for a couple the side trips I wanted to make on the way home.  I mean after all I was down to 8 or 9  days to get from PG to Santa Fe.




To Alaska and the Dempster Hwy 2016 — Part IV

This next leg of the trip was back to Tok for one night.  But first, on the way out of town we had to stop in North Pole and check out Santa’s House!


This would be the morning when we would have the only real injury of the trip.  I’m happy (I think) to report it didn’t happen on a bike, but it was due to wool socks on wood stairs.  Bad combo.  I missed, or slipped on the second stair from the top at Lori’s cabin and went down all 15 stairs on my left hip.  Lets just say, I wasn’t happy about sitting on anything for about 5 days, after that.


This time we stayed at John’s parents cabin, it was just down the road from the Eagle’s Claw which was booked by the time I got around to trying to make a reservation there.  It worked out, this way we got showers in the morning before heading off.  Not to mention Jaime got to play around with putting some new farkles on her bike… There may or may not have been some cider consumed prior to this.



The sights on the way to Tok as usual were nothing great to see.


Lol.  We might not have seen many bears but we did find evidence of them.


In the morning after leaving Tok we made our way to Chicken, I know, It’s hard to believe some of the names of these places, but they are great towns with very interesting histories.


From here it was on to the Top of the World Highway, which was a very nice fun dirt road leading to Dawson City.  The views were amazing, Jaime and I ran it at different paces, she stopped to take more pictures than I did.   I kind of rode along just gazing at the sights. We did make a stop at one of the river crossings so John could show Jaime and I how to pan for gold.  It’s a very laborious process that did yield some “colors” but it wasn’t worth holding onto.  From there we worked our way toward the border.  IMG_20160616_115833746 IMG_20160616_143054711

Once past the border you work your way down toward the Yukon River.


This is the first of our 6 ferry crossings on this trip.IMG_20160616_160049528 IMG_20160616_161132638 IMG_20160616_162237077 IMG_20160616_161137075

The next two days we spent in Dawson City for the D2D gathering… as it’s not a rally!  What can I say there arn’t  too many pictures of the signings as what happens at D2D stays at D2D.   But here are few to give you a few things to ponder….

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Jaime took part in the Poker run with John, she put him on the back of her bike.  The whole thing was on dirt roads around Dawson.  I took Lori out for parts of it on the back of my bike, but she wasn’t up do doing more than a two sections, which was fine by me since it was the first time I’ve had a passenger on dirt roads.  I didn’t tell her until we got back to the campground.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning the dirt off the bike so I could at least start the Dempster hwy the next day with a clean bike.  I knew it wasn’t going to stay that way, but it made me feel better.


After the final night dinner with more than 320 other like minded ADV riders we prepped and packed the bikes to start up the Dempster hwy!!!!!


It’s 269 miles from Dawson to Eagles Plains, which is the first gas stop on this road.  It’s roughly 950 miles of dirt road to Inuvick  which is the end of the road.  (at least for one more year, than it’s going to be extended out to Tuk.  And then I’m going to have to go back and ride it again!)   To say we were excited and nervous was an understatement.  We had tried to find others to ride with, but no one seemed interested in going with us.  I wasn’t too concerned since it seemed like there was going to be a large number of other bikers on the road for the next few days.  So I figured if we really got our selves into trouble we’d be able to find help.  Besides, if the boys didn’t want to play with us, that was fine, we’d just let them go off on their own.


I have to agree with most everything I read about this road, it’s beautiful and the weather was rapidly changing from one minute to the next.  Sunny around one corner, raining and hailing around the next…


Yeah, the bike didn’t stay clean for very long, this was our first stop along the road to check out a campground at Tombstone where they have a ranger station.

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From there it was a number of long hours until til we made it to Eagle Plains, we had to carry gas with us and we did have to use it.

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Just about 20 miles from Eagle Plains Jaime figured out that she had lost her phone, between there and the last time we’d stopped for pictures about 50 miles back.  She wanted to turn around right there to go back and look for it.  I wouldn’t let her, as I knew that the 1.4 gallons of gas we’d just dumped into her bike wasn’t enough to go the there and back.  So I got her to head the rest of the way to Eagle Plains, fill up with gas, then go back.


I stayed behind to set up the campsite for both of us.  I also took advantage of the internet to track her on the spot which died before she got back to where we’d stopped for pictures.  I did some work while I waited for her to come back to the campgrounds.  Eagle Plains, isn’t a town, it’s just a gas station, hotel, campground, restaurant, and limited garage.  I wandered around talking to the other bikers there, waiting for her to get back, after a bit I gave up getting eaten by the mosquitoes and climbed into my tent to read while I waited.  I fell asleep after an hour or so to wake up to the sound of the triple pulling up to the tent followed by a crashing sound.  She was so tired and upset, that she didn’t get the side stand down all the way, so the bike rolled off and fell over as she walked to her tent.  Three guys that I had talked to earlier about all of it were still up and they ran over to pick up her bike for her.  Needless, to say, that she wasn’t quite herself the next few days without her phone.  I was glad that I had upgraded the international plan on mine as it got a lot of use over the next week. While she worked on getting a replacement phone sent to her, the big problem we ran into was where to have it sent.

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There was two more ferry crossings on the way up. IMG_20160619_153504311


Now when we rolled into Inuvick I was NOT expecting to have temperatures in the 90s.  It really seems wrong to me to have it be that warm.  I wasn’t the only one who thought so, we asked around, they say it was becoming more common for that to happen over the past 5 years.  Scary.

We washed the bike after we found a place to camp for the night, we then went into the main part of town to find dinner, since it was just too hot and there was too many mosquitoes to want to cook.  There was also the signs about the three types of bears being found around the campgrounds,  that made me not want to have food out. Go figure.


At dinner we ran into all the same groups that we’d talked about riding with, it was funny how now that we’d spent the day leap frogging all of them that they were all so much nicer and willing to talk with us more tonight then they had been in Dawson…..  It still comes as a surprise to me that it’s assumed that because your female that you can’t really ride very well or that you are going to need some one to take care of you or wait for you or whatever other reason it is that they just are so stand offish until they see you can ride.  Oh well, some things just aren’t worth worrying about.

In the am, we went in search of stickers, I mean we had to have stickers to prove we’d been there and done that, right?  During the search we ran into two guys from Calgary who had been having tire issues with one of their bikes.  They were looking for a place to fix the flat rear tire so they could make it back to Dawson.   After we consulted a couple more cute Mounties, who told us where to find the stickers, we headed off to find some food and then hit the road.  They went to find the tire repair garage, we figured we’d all be meeting along the road or down at Eagle Plains, since there was only one way back to Dawson.


On the way back it was more Ferries, and leap frog with the other riders, at the first ferry we all met and it was a bit of a race when we all got off the ferry to see who could get to the next gas stop first…. I of course would never take part in such things…IMG_20160620_131001767 IMG_20160620_131010156 IMG_20160620_131753288

We all stopped for lunch at second ferry for a bit and talked about bike, tires, tire pressures, racing and the routes we were taking home.  None of us there were from Canada or Alaska and had a great deal of miles left to ride.  It was all riders from MI, IN, NM and a guy from England.  Gotta love the motorcycles and the cross sections it brings together.


Now see those two behind Jaime?  They are twins, you aren’t seeing things, they were one of the highlights of this trip.  How often do you meet 74 year old identical twins who are riding this road for the 4th time???  They were so delightful, funny and one of them wanted me to audition to be his next girlfriend.  LOL! Too cute.

The sights on the way back were just as amazing as on the way up. It was almost like you hadn’t seen any of it before.

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The Arctic Circle is about 30 miles up the road from Eagle Plains.  Somehow on the way up we missed this, but on the way back we did see the signs.  The really big sign had been blown off in the storm a couple of months ago according to the road workers we talked to.

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Back Eagle Plains it was…. what a shock.  Time for a campfire to keep the mosquitoes down and watch the midnight sun of the solstices



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The next day it was breakfast and more riding back to Dawson, this was the section of road that Jaime had lost her phone on, she’d been doing everything she could to be any and everyone one to be on the lookout for her phone.  So when we hit that 50 miles stretch of road we went really slow looking for her phone.  Given that it was white and grey I wasn’t holding out much hope for finding it, but it doesn’t hurt to look.  I felt a sinking feeling when we got out there and I realized they had been grading that section of road.  I felt horrible for her, as I knew then that we were never going to find that phone. Maybe she knew then too, as she seemed to come to terms with it around that point.  Up until than, it had been she’d been more about keeping up the search, once there she actually said that I shouldn’t be looking that hard for it.  Once past that section the tension lifted a bit more and she started to enjoy herself some more.  How could you not looking at stuff like this? IMG_20160621_141728903_HDR IMG_20160621_150255904 IMG_20160621_162215714_HDR IMG_20160621_162440326 IMG_20160621_180323769IMG_20160621_180603037_HDR

Well we made it back to the end of the road!!!!  No injuries, flats, or falls.  No way you can tell those bikes were clean a couple days ago, eh?



We headed back to Dawson, to get a room after we washed the bikes.


I was up for camping again, but Jaime really wanted a room with shower and for that I really owe her big time.   I didn’t realize it until after 12 of us went to dinner, just how tired I was. I slept 10 hours that night, we had to get a late check out the next day so that we had enough time to get laundry done, along with getting the bikes washed again for the third time.  The quick washes on the way into town just didn’t cut it.

We could already see the damage the Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) was doing to the bikes.   The CaCl2 is used to stabilze dirt roads and control the dust.  It makes a side effect of making the roads super slippery when they are wet and it requires the roads to be wet  to in order for the road crews to work on them.  So when they are working on sections of the roads they are also watering those sections heavily, it really makes those parts interesting to ride.   It’s like riding on snot.  Or what I imagine riding on snot  to be like… we came through one section where they were redoing the CaCl2 and when they spread that stuff out it’s even slicker.  I was doing every thing I could to find the very edge of the road to stay as far away from it as I could.  My poor lil’ bike is never going to be the same after that road.


The cleaning and reorganizing of everything in Dawson at the Triple J hotel.  Again Bless Jaime for insisting on getting a room that night!    We ended up leaving Dawson the next day at 5pm. Okay, it was day, it was evening, but you couldn’t tell, look at the pictures, it looks like day time.

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We stop to camp for the night around 11pm.  We had the best luck on this trip for finding cute camping spots.  I wasn’t too sure about Jaime’s tent set up, but hey it’s her tent and bike, not mine…

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