Headed to the horse, no the other horse....

9/6/16 North Pole, AK

Like all great trips, this one started late too. I was supposed to leave today but as usual the VA didn't have things in order. My shot records still weren't ready after months of notice due to my provider quitting due to the bureaucracy and hurdles involved in trying to care for patients in the VA system. When he left, my order for a certified copy of my shot record so I could cross boarders when I reach South America got lost in the system. It forced me to go to the VA to handle it in person at the last minute. Then they couldn't even get them for me and I was forced to go and get them from the Army directly, which took about two minutes. What a joke.

I was able to go and get all of my paperwork in order with UAF in regard to my classes and then did an impromptu presentation to the new crop of UAF Journalism students taking Writing for the News Media. It was nice to speak with the group and see that putting a spot light on PTSD, depression, and anxiety would help more than just veterans.  I then ran home to load the bike and take it to the university for the ceremonial start of the southern leg. A local TV station came out to film, as well as a photographer from the UAF Sun Star, and my professor from UAF Journalism Brian O'Donoghue. It was a simple interview and a ride out from the circle of flags on campus to start the main portion of the journey

Cat came out from work to see me off and we went and ate lunch together afterward.  She and I talked and I decided that instead of running out half-cocked and under pressure I would stay the night and leave super early.

Cat and I were able to get some much needed time together before I got almost everything packed on the bike and we called it a night super late.

Looks like it will be two nights with little to no sleep before leaving.

9/7/16 North Pole, AK to Whitehorse, AK

638.9 Miles ridden

Wow was it hard to get up this morning, even being excited to leave. Cat got up with me and helped out by making some tea and food and helping to keep me calm even though my anxiety was kreeping up.  It took longer to get the top bag on the bike than I would have liked as this was my first time actually mounting it when it was full.  I ended up having to leave the GoPro behind for space but as it was the fourth camera I would be taking it was ok. As Cat will be visiting soon enough in Sacramento I will just have her bring it and figure a way to make it work.

My departure was later than planned but it was 39F when I left so the extra time to warm up probably helped a bit.  It was nice to have Cat film my departure and get it up on Facebook because I later found that I hadn’t started my helmet cam like I thought. Lots of thoughts were lost on that departure footage.

I Rode through to Delta Junction without stopping. The temp stayed low but the extra layers and heated vest and grips kept me comfortable.  The fuel stop and stretch at Delta also timed out for a conference call with The Soldiers Project to discuss plans for the upcoming media events. I should have gotten moving right away but stayed a bit too long having a protein bar and a Rockstar while trying to stretch my legs.

I thought my heel was a little warm....
I left headed for Tok but made a stop to recreate a photo in front of the giant mukluk that was taken during my first Whitehorse trip four years ago with the North PoleBabes in Toyland roller derby. It was there I realized that I had been resting my leg a bit too close to the exaust and had melted part of my riding boots.

 I fueled up in town and took an hour for lunch at Fast Eddies. I had a chicken sandwich that was pretty tasty and few cups of tea, but again took too long before getting on the road.

The nights of low sleep were beginning to take a toll and I had to make photo stops just to keep from falling asleep on the bike.  The long stretches were starting to be mind-numbing in the cold.

The border crossing went without issue and fueled up on the Canadian side.  I had however forgotten about the time change coming out of Alaska and all my extra time disappeared in the jump forward an hour.  The gas station attendant told me it was 280 miles to Whitehorse and that it would be a five hour trip. I left feeling like I had to make up time because I was supposed to be in Whitehorse at 7 pm to help ref scrimmage and work with the newer refs.

Waiting on pilot cars at the many construction sites slowed me further and I really let my right wrist go in an attempt to make it. I spent a lot of the run outside of the construction at between 120 kph and up to an indicated 151 kph at one point all through mostly 90 kph zones.

All the heavy throttle meant that I was on fumes and more than three liters of fuel past the reserve light flashing when I rode into Haynes Junction.  I had passed destruction bay thinking I would be fine and nearly paid the price again like I did on the ride from Deadhorse to Cold Foot.

Riding from Haynes Junction to Whitehorse was more of the same high speed running.  The scenery was spectacular but it was hard to hear my audio book over the wind noise and I had to just turn it off and try to stay awake by singing in my helmet. Only one small section of construction and no pilot cars this time so it was smooth sailing to town.

In Whitehorse I asked directions and got to the venue for the game and found it deserted. I got directions to a second likely place but found no one. I finally gave up and rode into town to look for wi-fi to try and contact the Yukon Rollergirls since I didn't have Canadian cell service.  During this running around though the clutch began to stick again like it had coming back from Deadhorse.  This made getting around extremely difficult and rather sketchy as I had to push the clutch lever to free it from the stuck position and then couldn't control its release so it was a jerky ride.

Once on wi-fi I was able to contact the ladies. Badger, who I knew from before, and Gory came down and showed me the way to where I was staying.  I got the bike into the side yard and unloaded and went in to shower and then eat. Gory and I went for a few beers and I got to have Okanagan Pear Cider again which alone made the long ride more than worth it.


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