Day 17 Friday 3-5-10

We are leaving for our day at 7:00 this morning.  Remember I will not have my computer with me so no updates for a day or so.  Watch our progress on the Spot once we drop the sleds in about 100 miles of driving

More great pictures from today on the right under photos – Enjoy

31 miles today  total of 2,829 total miles and 95.7 hours on the sled

We did sled into Watson Lake, Yukon today.  31 miles.  Tomorrow we are changing plans and staying in Ross River, Yukon.  We are driving for about 100 miles then dropping the sleds and taking forest roads (about 150 miles on sled) into Ross River.  Our support vehicles will not follow and I will not have my computer to update you.  We  will have  a day of silence on the computer.  Enjoy!  Then on Saturday we are going to meet up with the CMP (Canadian Mounted Police) and they are guiding us for 5 hours.  Then we are driving to Dawson City after that. Saturday will be a very long day.  All this is subject to change.  You should be able to track us on the Spot

Highlights of the day Hot Springs, running out of diesel,

Franks Barbie tent, Happy’s snowmobile lessons, the scenery

and buffalo.

First we walk ¼ mile to jump into the hot springs with our swimming trunks on and then play in the snow,

then we run out of gas in our support vehicle, (we had 12 gallons with us) but the clincher is Mel runs out of diesel in his support vehicle.  No diesel on board and the closest town is 70 miles away.  A nice Canadian stopped with his pickup truck with a 55 drum of diesel on back and offered to sell Mel diesel but Mel in all his wisdom said “I sent the other support vehicle back to see if they could buy diesel from a construction site that we had passed ½ hour earlier’”  So Mel turns down the diesel.  But our group leader Todd saves the day and runs down the same pickup truck that Mel (in all his infinite wisdom said no too) and bought diesel from him. So now we know why Todd is our leader and why MEL HAS MORE NEW NICKNAMES THAN ANYONE ELSE – THE ONLY PROBLEM IS WE CANNOT PRINT THEM HERE

And since this is taking so long and we thought we would have to camp overnight Frank decided to pitch his tent and get ready for a long night.

Happy (Jack) saves the day for us.  He says lets sled into town and we did.  30 miles later and 3 1/2 hours and at least 14 times stuck 8 of us travel to town by sled.  Happy is an amazing snowmobiler – the best I have ever been with and he is sharing his knowledge with us.  Thanks Happy

and to top every thing off we saw great scenery and lots of Buffalo.

Additional photos from today under Photos on the right side

We are in the Yukon

We arrived at Watson Lake at 5:15.  Staying at our normal hotel Big Horn Motel  867 536 2020.   Eight of us dropped 30 miles from town and rode the snowmobiles into town.  Todd, Glen, Cliff, Ken, Steve, Jack, Mel and Frank.  Between everybody we were stuck 14 times.  More later tonight.

We are just getting ready to leave at 8:30 today.  AGAIN NO SLEDDING TODAY.  We might be moving to a different hotel tonight.  It looks like in the last 3 days only 45 miles on sled.


We need snow and trails to ride

Ditches are impossable here

45.6 miles today 2799.8 miles to date 

We are staying at the Northern Rockies Lodge in Muncho Lake, BC.  You need to check out their website at http://www.northern-rockies-lodge.com.  Neat place.  (11 residence in Muncho Lake) 

Great pictures have been added under photos of todays experience.  Read about our day from Tom Myerchin and Dan Wheeler.  Thanks to Tom and Dan for great stories. 

Great insight from Tom Myerchin (Group 2, Team 3) driver 

Last night over a beer, at the local pizza place in Ft. Nelson, Team 3 agreed to “trailer” to our next town – Muncho Lake, where it was rumored that the snow pack would work much better for snowmobiling. Fort Nelson seemed like bare earth and Canadian concrete. Instead, this morning would be spent “touring” Ft Nelson trails.

Then this morning at daybreak, eight intrepid souls  (…..) decided to brave the ditches and show all that it was possible to go the route to Muncho Lake which was about 150 miles down the road. This was in spite of local sledders suggesting that it couldn’t be done. They took off with “I told you so”.

 The “staybehinds” had an invitation from a local contractor , with his young sons leading, to play on the local surrounding trails and and some deep snow for the morning. By noon, after testing the Ft Nelson snow (or lack thereof), they loaded for Muncho Lake. All agreed that this side excursion was well worth the effort to see some scenery, yet get a good workout even though it was 40degrees with snow turning to ice and water. I think the “sons” – one only 11 years old, showed these “olsters”, what bumpy sledding was all about. They led a good pace.

 Then, the support trucks took off. Twenty miles later, at the edge of the road, they encountered the 8 tuckered out souls – sweaty from the warm temperature and the torturous sledding. I know that we truckers were a welcome sight and quickly loaded the bunch and headed on to Muncho Lake.

 Two thirds of the way there, we stopped for lunch at one of the most rustic (read that primitive) Inns along the route. It was unusual in that it had over 300 caps hanging from the ceiling and walls. No one wanted to donate their cap. I’m sure they thought we were cheapies and not playing the game. While tasting some of the best stew in a long while, the gang of eight were just about ready to try sledding again. It took two locals to convince them it was not possible due to snow and road conditions.

 One thing is sure. These guys never give up without a good fight – to press on to the bitter end – all in the name of great sport.

 I admire that kind of dedication. You just want to be with strong willed people who finish what they started.

 But better judgement prevailed and all of us then enjoyed a great road trip in the support vehicles to Muncho Lake. We traveled on the ALCAN highway among the most beautiful mountains in the northern Canadian Rockies. Then, we reached Muncho Lake and over a beer started to decide the plan for tomorrow. I wondered again, if another bunch of intrepid souls would emerge or would it again be like “herding cats” or getting a consensus? We will see!

 Tom Myerchin (Group 2, Team 3)

Comments of the day from Dan Wheeler

The day started with the split. 8 slids went north by north west DITCH BANGING.

8 sleds went back trail riding. On the back trail ride we were led by 5 young boys. 10 to 16. The boys had long tracks sleds and rode very well. 60 LB Boy doing a man’s job. They rode the sleds down unbelievable. Back to the pick ups and long ride to Muncho Lake. The view was breathtaking 5 of the 8 riders (Mel, Roy, Todd, Jack, and David) were all sitting on the edge of the road as we drove by they give us thumbs up. We found out later three others (Cliff, Larry, and Ken) had loaded back in the trailer.

After talking to them we learned that they had difficult time ditch banging. A ten cent tour around town landed more miles than the hard core ditchbangers.

 Arriving at Muncho Lake was just breathtaking. You have to see it to believe it. Team 1 had a soft tire on their trailer and needed to change it. Jerry ended up changing the tire. Everyone’s happy to be here and relax. Looks like we’ll have to trailer out to ride tomorrow.

 A note to Jerry’s wife – We all thank you for teaching him to do many things. Wash & fold laundry, cook, carry in the bags, turn down the beds, clean up after us when we leave. It’s like having the little woman with us on the whole trip. Thanks again.

 A note to Happy’s wife – I was proud to celebrate his 18th b-day. My 25th was not too long ago.

 The people on this trip and the people we have met are all outstanding. We are making life long lasting friends. I can’t thank all of my family and friends for the support and love I have received to make this trip possible. The only hard thing about this trip is leaving Sue & Sam.

 Wheeler Dan

Dont forget to enjoy the pictures from today under photos.

We have arrived at out destination the Northern Rockies Lodge.  The nicest place yet.  Beautiful log cabin in the mountains.  We arrived at 4:30.  One group did 45 miles and one group did 40 miles.  No snow and no trails.  Did you guess which group I was in.  More to follow.

3 March, 2010 09:54

We are off in 2 groups today. One group to ride ditches to see how far North they can get the other to go out with local guides Guess which group I’m in

No sledding today.  52F for temperature

Tomorrow we are going with a guide in this area for 3 -4 hours before we trailer and move down the road.  We prepared for the cold weather but warm weather is what we have.  In some of the areas that we are in now it has not snowed for a month and a half.  We have added a new feature at the bottom of this posting – Classified Ads.  Also thanks to Perry  and Cliff for the comments on our trip.  Tonight we have added additional photos to the photo section on the right.  Eh!

Comments from Perry Rupp


 The last Group 2 Team 1 member to join up Last Sat.

Longtime friend off Todd Alspaugh (Circles)

Today was maintenance day and long 210 miles in

the trailer to Fort Nelson B.C.

Snow and Temp is marginal at best.

Great plans for Wed. day 15 , Tour day around

Fort Nelson with a 11 year old Guide Brian – a friend of Mels.

These kids are riding 153” 3” paddel tracks straight up the hills

We will see tomorrow  ??


Comments from Cliff Afton

One of the most memorable experiences of this trip is the kindness and hospitality of the Canadian people.  At every stop, from gas stations, to restaurants, to hotels, we are asked about our trip and how things are progressing and wishing us luck with future miles.  People on the edge of the road wave and wish us well having learned of the ride from Group One.  One older gentlemen at a gas station inquired ” How far ya goin on them snow cats?  Ya got support trailers, eh?  So yer not roughin’ it?” And his infectious grin and well wishing carried for miles.  The first day in Manitoba our guide’s wife noted “So yer ready for some ditch bangin’ eh?  We didn’t understand the full implications of her comment until several days later.

 Perhaps the most notable example of he kindness of our Canadian hosts was in the snowmobile shops.  Several have worked after hours and in one case all night to get sleds fixed and repairs made.  Several individual shops have changed bearings and bogie wheels, hyfax, and carbides with no labor cost.  I have never experienced this in the U.S.  One dealer went back to the shop on a Sunday evening at 9:00 to get parts and do repairs.

 The friendly welcomes and farewells, the wonderful lilt of their language and accents (an interesting combination of British English, Irish, and French) have helped to keep our spirits up at the end of a long, tiring day of riding and encouraged us to continue the next day.

 The River Runners Snowmobile Club of Atabasca, Alberta opened their clubhouse, served us a wonderful meal and drinks, and  gave us directions for the following day.  We had a very nice evening of camaraderie and sharing.  A big thank you to the members.

 “So, yer runnin’ the scratahcers on the mat of yer snowcat, eh?  (Translation:  You use studs in the track.)

So a big thank you to our Canadian hosts and a hardy congratulations on the successes of the Olympics.  We have certainly been reminded of proper manners and hospitality.

Classified Ads

2 March, 2010 18:57

Arrived at our hotel at 4:50. Temp 52F. No riding today. We need cool weather

We are still wrenching on our sleds at 10:30 local time.  If we are lucky we might be on the road at 12:30.   Not sure when we will get off.  Picture of Mel below tells how our group 2 feels so far.. 

Go to the right side and click on more photos and see the new ones just posted today under March 2nd.  

Mel ‘s Big Smile is also because he is ridding a Ski Doo now.