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Ride Tales An easy way to post your ride reports, whether it's a weekend ride or around the world. Please make the first words of the title WHERE the ride is. See the announcement in the forum for details on posting. Please do NOT just post a link to your site. For a link, see Get a Link.
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  #1  
Old 20 Aug 2009
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Around the world on a classic Suzuki for a cause

Name: Chris Sorbi
DOB: Sep, 17, 81
www.motorcyclememoir.com
What you see on this website is the collection of my journals, photos, videos and reports of my everyday life, riding a classic Suzuki motorcycle around the world. The expedition started in Helena, Montana. From there I rode to Canada before turning south toward Latin America. I will be traversing 6 continents, 200 countries and territories, 24 time zones and 130º of latitude. I am working with both non-profit and non-governmental organizations all along the way, raising awareness and funds for ‘world hunger’, while humbly trying to make a difference, however small it may be.
Home is both “here” and “there” or somewhere in between. Sometimes it is “nowhere”. For me, the border is no longer at any fixed geopolitical site. I carry the border with me and find new borders wherever I go. I believe in a race-less and borderless world. Being black, white, yellow or purple does not define us. We only get one life and one ride, so lets leave our differences behind and enjoy this train before it has passed. It is just a ride and we can change it any time, it is only a choice, between “now” or “never”.
Imagine all the money spent on nuclear weapons and meaningless wars each year, all the embargoes and sanctions imposed upon innocent people – trillions of dollars. If we spent that money feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, not one soul excluded, it would pay for itself many times over. We could explore our globe together, forever in peace.
Lets not forget that my opinions are just like everyone else’s. They are all personal evaluations of certain situations in a given time. Scratch every opinion and underneath it, you will find a human being, trying to defy and justify his own existence. What follows is the account of my struggle: first-hand, unbiased, and uncensored.

The Iron horse

For full list of modifications and more photos, visit: www.motorcyclememoir.com/motorcycle


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Last edited by T.H.E; 24 Aug 2011 at 16:50.
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  #2  
Old 20 Aug 2009
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Preparation: Vaccination and Immunization


Entry into many countries require certain immunization and preventive measures against diseases such as Hep A, Hep B, Malaria and Yellow Fever. International certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis is a mandatory piece of document to have in hand for border crossing. It must be complete and accurate in detail, or the traveler may be detained at international ports of entry.
I have never imagined that I would volunteer myself to be stabbed with needles full of viruses but it had to be done. Couple of days of soreness and agony later, I am now vaccinated against: Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, HEP A and HEP B.
My medical kit contains:
 Antibiotics: Amoxicillin, Ciprofloxacin
 Diarrhea medication: Acetazolamid, Diphen/Atrop
 Motion sickness: Promethazine
 Pain medication: Hydrocodone
 Malaria medication: Mefloquine
 Acute mountain sickness: Dexamethasone (Injection)
 Allergy Medication: Benadryl
The kit also includes insect bite medication, burn ointment, fever reducers, gauze, suture, tape, Band-Aids, disinfectant solution, Quickclot, blister kit,…
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  #3  
Old 20 Aug 2009
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Aug, 8th. Motorcycle Safety Course

When I decided to take the motorcycle rider course, I was very much in denial on how it could further improve my riding. 15 hours of riding a Kawasaki Super Sherpa around loops under unbelievably knowledgeable instructors, Ken Conrad and Udell Sharp changed that all.
The first day started rather boring with couple hours of classroom lecture and 2 hours of walking the motorcycle around without even firing it up. Around 1 pm we were off to lunch and upon return the real deal started. From that point it was probably the most fun I had practicing useful techniques and was instructed after each run on how to make it better.
The second day was the most intense and we rode for 7 hours until we completed our riding test and written exam. Those of us who passed the course were awarded with a certification of completion. I strongly recommend taking this course no matter how experienced you are. There is much to be gained and I am a living example of it.
I should like to thank the Montana Motorcycle Rider Safety for sponsoring this expedition and giving me an opportunity to take a vantage of this masterful step by step instruction. I would also like to thank Ken Conrad for offering me a spot in his class and for his wonderful advices and suggestions. He is a top-notch rider and a caring teacher. Thank you ken.

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  #4  
Old 20 Aug 2009
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Aug, 16th. Wet and wild

Many doubts rushed through my mind when I watched Bill Ryder ride away. I asked myself this question as I rode the opposite direction toward Whitefish, MT. “What the hell am I doing?” My doubts were not of my own abilities, they were of the uncertainty of following years. Going around a world on a motorcycle is not a walk in a park let alone taking on a global issue such as World Hunger.
The night before the expedition started, the bike broke down yet one more time. This time the regulator/rectifier went bad as they are prone to do so at the most inconvenient time. I called up Bill Ryder and he rode his Kawasaki from the other side of the town in rain to come to my rescue with a unit off of a Honda. Tom Blankenship offered his garage and we worked on it until it was running again. I went back home and started gathering my stuff till I passed out. At 7 am the alarm went off and I kept on packing but it was a race against the clock. I had to be at the capitol building for the send off at 10 am and had no time to actually fit everything in the boxes so I shoved them in as best as I could and headed to the capitol.
It was an emotional time to see the people I cared for all standing and waiting to see me off. If there is one thing that I hate the most, it has to be saying goodbye. Hugging everyone, kissing the good looking ones and off I went with 4 motorcycles in tow. We rode out of town towards McDonald Pass and I cursed at the wind every second. It blew at 40 mph constantly and my motorcycle having an aerodynamics of a brick, trashed about with every gust and I held for dear life. I said my goodbyes to Lonnie and the rest of the Harley gang and headed west toward Avon with Bill Ryder for lunch. The cafe at Avon was the last familiar place and Bills the last familiar face.
I have to admit, I do not like riding in rain. High wind and wet roads are nerve wrecking to say the least but I had to press on towards whitefish to meet up with Pam Gerwe to visit her farm. I got rained on every mile of the way but my rain gear held up. I stopped a few times to clean my goggles but it went smoothly the rest of the way. With all the gear, I am still getting around 43 mpg which is pretty good considering the wind and mountain passes. At 6 pm I arrived in Kalispell and went to a coffee shop so I can check my emails and get Pam’s phone number out of my laptop. I called Pam and arrived at her farm, the “Purple Frog Gardens” at 6:30pm.
Pam Gerwe is a small organic farm owner, alternative energy activist and a very bright person. She read my article in the newspaper and emailed me and offered a tour of her farm. We all gathered up in “Commons House” with other farm workers and had a hearty dinner of vegetables from the garden. We stayed up late into the night and discussed the world hunger and I immensely enjoyed our conversations. I pitched my tent in the yard and crawled into my sleeping and before I knew it the sun was coming up.
I spent most of the next day re-organizing the boxes on the bike and had to send back some clothes and extra gear that were unnecessary. Now I can fit everything in the boxes and nicely close the lids. In the afternoon I called the progressive insurance and got the bike insured for Canada. I am meeting some business owners in town tomorrow and possibly a newspaper interview and will head towards Glacier National Park late afternoon.
The start was hectic and could have been more organized but it all worked out. I am more prepared after my whitefish stop and the forecast is in favor. Till next time…. O. Christopher Sorbi


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  #5  
Old 20 Aug 2009
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Aug, 17th. Hungry Horse

I kept opening my eyes and expecting to see the sun come out but had to give up after 3 hours. Gray skies and a wet tent was not what I exactly hoping for, but it strengthened my lifelong suspicion that when it comes down to predicting the weather, a monkey does a better job than a meteorologist.
I packed up the tent and took a shower in the Commons House and started packing my stuff. I think now that I have less stuff with me, it takes longer to pack the bike. Hope I get better at this soon or I have to wake up 2 hours early just to get ready.
Around noon, two of Pam’s friends came over and we talked for a good while, had a bowl of chili, said my goodbyes to everyone and headed toward town. I stopped at the Whitefish Pilot, the local newspaper and had an interview that will be published next Thursday.
I headed toward Colombia Falls and mailed out some unwanted documents back home, then searched the whole town for ear pieces for my MP3 player but no luck. I called up Joe and asked him to buy me a set and send it out with Kyle as there is no big town between Colombia falls and Canada.
I started looking for a camping spot and decided to go to Hungry Horse. Hungry Horse is the Montana’s highest and the eleventh largest concrete dam in the U.S. It is built on the south fork of the Flathead River and is the gate to the Flathead national forest. Water is crystal clear and the dam filled up a gigantic canyon with walls over 1000 feet high. It’s a vey scenic drive so I took lots of pictures and finally found a turn out in the road for what seemed to be a perfect spot. The dirt road took me to a beautiful river front spot and before I knew it, I was too close and my front wheel started to sink deeper and deeper. No matter how hard I tried I could not steer the bike out of soft ground and had to stop 2 inches from the water. With not a sole around and no way of getting out, I started walking back the mile or so to the road to get some help. After standing for what seemed to be an eternity, a white SUV came out of the curve and I literally threw myself in the middle of road to stop it. The truck came to stop and they followed me back to the crime scene but they never offered me a ride. I suppose if you’re stupid enough to get that close to the water, you deserve the walk of shame. Lots of pulling and shoving from my two helpers got the heavy beast moving again and I parked it on a high ground this time and in the direction of the road.
After pitching the tent and gathering some wet drift wood, I now got a fire going with a meat stew cooking on the coals as I’m writing these blurbs. A little bit of fishing later and cup of tea should cap off this gray and still wet day. Looking forward to see the sun one of these days…


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  #6  
Old 20 Aug 2009
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Aug, 18th. Glacier National Park

The sun, the rainbow, the warmth! They must have replaced that no good weatherman with a monkey. So god does listen to me!
As it turned out, Kyle is not coming to glacier after all, but I still needed my tent and stuff. He shipped them overnight to Babb and I will pick them up on my way tomorrow. I was looking forward to see him in glacier but things didn’t work out as planned.
I stopped at a motel to ask if I could use their internet. While I was in line, I saw a couple asking for the same thing and got a no as an answer so I put on my disaster face and told the owner my bike has broken down and I needed to order some parts online. He hesitated a bit but then agreed to 5 minutes of wireless use. The old man was cranky and checked on me a million times to see if I’m really ordering parts so I updated the website as fast as I could and got the hell out of there.
I started for the Glacier National Park rather late since I was expecting to meet Kyle in Hungry Horse around 3pm but the road was clear and the park seemed pretty much deserted so I roamed the twisties at 50mph in full sunshine, stopping to take in the breathtaking views at every opportunity.
I met a nice couple from Minnesota and chatted with them for a while then started to look for a camping spot. I stopped at St. Mary’s campground but found every spot already filled. After circling around a few times, I found an empty spot but the ticket said reserved till August 20th. There was no car or tent around so I lurked around a bit longer and decided that I am going to poach it no matter what. I was hungry, tired and running low on gas so I wasn’t about to go back the 20 or so miles to the last campground.
I made dinner and ate some cookies and since no one showed up, I officially pitched my tent and claimed the campground. I’m leaving tomorrow morning pretty early so I’m sure no one is going to care.
It is beautiful here and the mountains are majestic. Got a healthy fire going and typing my diaries, couldn’t ask for a better day. Next stop: Canada.


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  #7  
Old 21 Aug 2009
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Aug, 19th. Eh!

Woke up to a beautiful morning with the view of the Heaven’s Peak directly in sight. I had no time to prepare breakfast so I broke camp as fast as I could and got out of the park.
I rode out north towards Babb, the last settlement before crossing into Canada. Babb is a tiny town on the flathead reservation, 8 miles south of the border and consists of a cafe, general store and a post office. I was supposed to pick up my package at cattle Barron supper club at noon but I got there around 9:30 am. Nothing suggested that the place was actually open but I walked in anyway and found the cook inside. After chatting for a while, he offered to cook breakfast so I sat down and ate the biggest breakfast of my life. A giant piece of steak, two eggs, potatoes, bell peppers, butter toasts and washed it down with a few cups of coffee. I started talking to a gentleman name Larry Bean, a sales rep from “The Food Services of America”. Food Services of America sponsored my banquet in Helena but I never mentioned their name since I was asked not too (hope they don’t mind it now that I’m out of states). They are a great bunch of people and their help with the food was tremendous. Larry is a Vietnam vet and retired law enforcement officer who is as bright as he is sociable. We talked about a million different subjects till the owner showed up. Bob Burns the owner is a tall Indian guy with a great sense of humor. The Cattle Baron has been open since 1910 as the logs of the building show the years of use by cranky outlaws and rum runners who smuggled in alcohol from Canada through the prohibition years. All in all, the Cattle Baron is a place to stop if you’re ever passing through Babb.
The border crossing went pretty smoothly compare to my last visit to Canada but they confiscated my pepper sprays as they are apparently illegal in Canada. The border patrolman told me that I could leave them there to pick them up on my way back or abandon them. Since I wasn’t crossing the same border again, I was forced to choose the latter. He had me sign a paper that said “I voluntarily surrender these substances to the CROWN” which I thought was pretty funny.
On my way to Calgary, I met a family of four from the Netherlands. They invited me to go to their place when I get there and offered the use of their workshop. So far I made lots of connections just talking to people.
I got to Calgary during the rush hour and inched my way through town. Since I didn’t know anyone in town, I tried my luck at the first hotel I found and asked for the manager. I explained the situation and asked for sponsoring the night and he generously offered one of his best rooms including the dinner at the hotel restaurant.
The Port O’ Call Hotel was unbelievably clean and nice and the service was exquisite. For dinner, I had Caesar salad, blackened prime rib with mashed potato and vegetables, and Crème Brule for desert along with a nice glass of Shiraz. The bill was picked up by Chung Young the general manger of the hotel. Although I had a Jacuzzi in my room and a there was a really nice pool in the hotel, I chose to work on the website and answer my never ending emails till I passed out.
I’m on way to Edmonton now and everything is just going as planned. Edmonton is a good place for fund raising so wish me luck as I try my best in Alberta’s capital.



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  #8  
Old 31 Aug 2009
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Updated Aug, 30th. Here's the link :http://www.motorcyclememoir.com

You can also subscribe to recive the updates automaticly. On the same page under the sponsor logos you'll find that box.( No junk mail, that's a promiss)
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  #9  
Old 31 Aug 2009
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Hey, nice bike. I had a GS1000G for about 8 years, very comfy for long days. They're not light bikes to begin with, how does it handle with all that extra weight? I'm guessing you're sticking to tarmac all the way then??

Hopefully yours has had all the electrical/charging gremlins sorted, my mate had the 850G and had loads of issues but I never had a single problem with mine, great bike and wish I hadn't sold it!
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Old 5 Sep 2009
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Updated: Sep 4th. Here’s the link: http://www.motorcyclememoir.com/
The internet here is so slow that it took 5 hours to update my website. There’s no way to add pictures here so read on my website. Chris
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  #11  
Old 9 Sep 2009
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Sep 5tth – sep 6th Top of the world highway


“People who get up early in the morning cause war, death and famine.” Bansky

I woke up late again. Dempster took a lot out of me and resting up seemed like a good idea. Lets backtrack to a day or two so when you read this post, you are familiar with the characters.
When I got back from the Dempster and met up with Gib again, I found out that he wasn’t the owner of the lodge. Gib Acuna is a Californian who’s been traveling for over a year now and decided to go up the Dempster on his Fat Boy Harley. On his way back he asked for a job and he’s been working at the lodge for a month now. The best way to describe this man is that to say he is a “people person.” He starts a conversation with a dead tree stump if you let him. He loves candy bar (he already ate half my candy collection) and to cap it off, he is the coolest guy you’ll ever meet. Pushing 61, he still jumps around like a 5 year old and has more energy than a humming bird. In 4 days, it feels like I knew the guy my entire life. He offered me his place to stay and as I never say no, I moved in right away. He has shared his employee meals with me ever since I’ve been here and I’m indebted to this man greatly.
He had a master plan to build a motorcycle park right at the gate of the Dempster highway, with campsites next to the river, mechanic shop, food service and entertainment! His idea was a brilliant one and the location he had in mind was unbelievable. You can’t go a meter on Dempster without relying on the Klondike River Lodge and he wanted to pitch his idea to the owner of the lodge. I helped him prepare his business plan, made a power point presentation and we worked on the details for a long time. When the show time came, he nailed it and the great news is: Starting from May of 2010, there will be an amazing motorcycle campground at the base of the Dempster highway with full support, from tires to towing and rescue. He is the right man to do it and I’m sure it will be successful. I’m designing his website, logo, and taking care of the computer stuff while he does his construction. I wish him the best of luck.
I also met the owner of the lodge; Ross Weitzel. Ross is an interesting sort of guy who does his business on a hand shake. Up here in Yukon, there are no lawyers or legal complications, you shake the man’s hand and your word is your contract. He sponsored my lodging and my meals throughout my stay and reimbursed my camping fees. I liked the place to begin with, now I like it even more. The cook’s name is Brian and being a long time biker, he feeds me every night and supplies the while we talk all night and he has more stories than you could imagine. One hell of a nice guy.
The most revolting encounter I had was a conversation with a guy name Mario who was dating Christy one of the waitresses. Mario is a German who moved to Canada some years back and is a farmer in Whitehorse, Yukon. He asked me what was all the world hunger stuff about and as I was explaining, he said something that I will never forget. “What happens after we feed everyone and no one is hungry? They are going to want more, they would want to eat beef, they would want a motorbike, and they would want a house. I am not ready to give up what I have so they can get what they want. It’s a cruel reality but that’s how it is. They have to be poor so we can be rich.” Is it the ignorance or the arrogance or both?
Brian marinated two moose steaks for me to take along for dinner and after exchanging numbers and emails, I finally got on the road. First stop was Dawson city and I got aboard the ferry to cross the river. Top of the world highway starts from the river bank and goes all the way to Alaska. It’s a gravel road with occasional potholes and some paved patches. The road was OK and the scenery beautiful but to be honest, I didn’t see much of it as I was cold and the wind blew so hard I could barely stay upright. I concentrated on the road and zipped through for hope of lower elevations.
At the American border the drama started. At the border crossing, I stopped at the red light. I put both of my feet down and put the bike in neutral and as I raised my head, I noticed the border patrol man in his shack waving at me so I took it as a sign to go to him. I covered the 20 feet or so and stopped at his window and turned the bike off.
He asked why I ran the red light and didn’t wait for the green light. I told him that you signaled me to come over and so I did. He said that I was signaling you to stop. I told him I was already stopped and there was no need to signal me to do so. The conversation went on and on as who was right, so I asked him straight up what he wants me to do.
He said to go around and come back to the light again and wait till it was green, then approach him. I’m getting pretty pissed off at this point but I did what he wanted. I crossed into United States and came back into Canada and stopped at the light again. On green I approached the window and this time he asked me why I didn’t stop at the Canadian custom while I was turning around! I told him that I was instructed to turn around and come back to him and he didn’t tell me to do so. He looked at me and said: “You people don’t have a stoplight in your country?”
That’s when I blew up and said: well I’m an American and we do have a goddamn stoplight in our country. We also have another thing called the freedom of speech and expression. Watch me exercise it for you; Go **** Yourself.
There was a silence and his eyes started to open up so I went on by telling him that he turned me around for no reason and I don’t care if he’s going to let me in Alaska or not. I will write a complain letter to the Department of Homeland Security and will see into it to the end. He looked at me for a second or two and asked for my passport very firmly calling me Sir. I thought to myself that they are going to rip the bike apart but to my astonishment, he stamped my passport with a big caribou stamp and said no hard feelings. We are just testing our new light system. Have a good day.
Warning: You should never tell a man to go **** himself if he is the only one with a gun in the middle of nowhere! I got lucky, do it at your own risk.
All in all, I enjoyed my stay in the Yukon and met some amazing people. Yukon with little over 30,000 in population is still a wild place. Hope it stays this way…

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Old 9 Sep 2009
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Sep, 6th- sep 7th. Bock Bock


First I like to thank Ronald Schulten and Sarah Olson for their generous donations.
If you go to northern Alaska, you have to visit Chicken. It is laid back, fun and in the middle of nowhere. With the population of only 27, chicken was settled by gold miners in the late 1800s and in 1902 the local post office was established requiring a community name. Due to the prevalence of ptarmigan in the area that name was suggested as the official name for the new community. However, the spelling could not be agreed on and Chicken was used to avoid embarrassment. I was pumping gas when I saw a Cessna 150 pulled in next to me and started filling up. The highway is used as a runway for aircrafts also. You don’t see that in New York City.
From chicken I rode southwest towards Tok to spend the night. Gib told me about a motorcycle campground named The Eagle Claw in Tok and I wanted to check it out, also I wanted to check my voicemails after 2 weeks. I got to the campground and saw a sign that said “Pick a spot, we will be around later”.
This campground is a marvelous place. Clean as it can get with teepees, cabins and tent sites. There’s a steam room, an unbelievably clean outhouse, dish station, ready cut firewood and real flowers on the table. There was also a stove and a pot to warm up water for cleaning dishes at the station. I was the only person in the whole area and no one came around, so I made a good fire and put Brian’s moose steaks on the coals. Dinner of moose and mashed potato and hot chocolate for dessert caped off the night. I packed up in the morning and turned the switch to on, pulled the clutch in and heard a snap.
Lots of people made fun of me for taking spare parts with me but dammit I was right. In the middle of nowhere, I had a brand new clutch cable sitting in my saddle bag and the tools to pull off the job. I got to work and unloaded everything again since I had to remove my seat to take the tank off. The weather was perfect and I was amused that my preparation paid off. The new cable was not an exact fit but I made it fit anyway.
I loaded everything back up and stopped at the cabin to pay my camping fees. I knocked on the door and waited for a while but no one was home and there was no drop box anywhere. I remembered seeing an ad for the place in the gas station that I filled up the night before so I went back to the station and got the number and call the owner. She was a very nice lady and even told me to not worry about the camping fees but I went back anyway and left the money in her car. If ever in Tok, don’t miss this place.
Crossing back into Canada was a breeze and the Alaska Highway was in its best shape. I stopped in Beaver Creek for a sandwich and met two guys on BMW’s. Stephane vachon is a French Canadian who’s been living in Panama for past 15 years and Oliver Fecht is a German teacher from south of Munich. They both met at the same place and I walked in and sat next to them at Buckshot Betty’s. I think it was the buckshot Betty herself who was serving since she wasn’t very nice but the food was great.
Oliver went looking for a campground, Stephane and I went to find a hotel room for him so I could use the internet and then I was going out of town to pitch my tent somewhere in the bush. The single bedroom was $90 but the double bed was $69 so Stephane invited me to stay. Stephane is riding a GS1200 BMW which he bought in Florida and has been touring Canada and Alaska for a while now. He was heading back to Whitehorse so once again I found a cool travel mate. After answering emails and updating the website, we both crashed and before I knew it the sun came up. It was -2C outside with a good frost covering everything. The morning started cold and stayed cold well into the afternoon. We hooked up with Oliver at Betty’s and road out south all together changing lead every now and then. I wore everything I owned and had to bust out my ski gloves since my fingers where freezing but it was a beautiful ride.
At the Haines junction, we said our goodbyes to Oliver as he rode south for Skagway and we went towards Whitehorse. We are staying at a hotel in Whitehorse (courtesy of Mr. Vachon) as I’m writing these and will go our separate ways tomorrow. Stephane will go to Skagway and take a ferry south, and I will head for Prince George in British Columbia. Stay tuned…

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  #13  
Old 10 Sep 2009
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Is anyone even reading these posts here? I haven't seen a reply in a long time. let me know guys.
Updated again, Sep 9th. teslin lake, Yukon. www.motorcyclememoir.com
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  #14  
Old 10 Sep 2009
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Yes, reading & enjoying.
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Old 13 Sep 2009
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A colleague of mine has the same agenda although he uses his Toyota Landcruiser where he stores goods which he gives to less fortunate people living in different distressed areas.

Just keep it up, and keep us updated. I really enjoy your stories and how you touch lives doing something you really like.
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Motorcycle Memoir :: United States :: Nov 15th. He had high hopes… This thread Refback 25 Dec 2010 23:00
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Around the world on a classic Suzuki for a cause The HUBB This thread Refback 25 Aug 2010 04:30
Motorcycle Memoir :: United States :: Nov. 15th. He had high hopes… This thread Refback 17 Nov 2009 15:57

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