Trans USA & Canada Week 15, 8/31-9/6

Day 100 (8/31): I woke up this morning to a snowy wonderland in August. It is not that abnormal for this area to get snow in August but it has been a few years. The picture is from my camper door.

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I got dressed and headed outside and started packing away things from the night before. As I was packing up I noticed my driver rear tire was completely flat. Yeah, hoping it was just a small leak I fired up my air compressors and started to fill it. I noticed that the tire was filling really slowly. Once the tire was full enough to roll I drove slightly forward until I could see where the leak was coming from. There was a large hole probably from a rock right between some lugs. Well my great view free campsite will cost me. I unpacked the trunk and got to my plug kit as I did not thing replacing it was the safest option in the cold and being on some slippery rocks. I heated up the plug and jammed it in. The tire was holding air. I then filled it up to the desired pressure and packed everything up. I decided to head back as with one spare left and 6 on the ground I don’t like those odds being this remote. I drove the hundred kilometers back to the fueling station where I noticed they had a shop the day before. I refilled on gas and asked if they had a patch kit and bead breaker. Which they did, after a little while of waiting the guy was free he opened up the door and I drove into the shop. I was happy I choice the route I did as I was losing air pressure slowly. In the two hour drive I lost half of my pressure. Between the two of us we unmounted the tire and broke the bead. We unmounted the tire and inspected the hole. It probably needed two to three plugs to seal. We grounded down the inside of the tire to clean it up and applied the patch. Then we battled with re mounting and sealing the tire. Once we did I mounted it back up and torqued it down. The whole time I was talking to the guy and the advisory was out for tourist not to travel north. Along with this and the fresh patch job. I did not feel like retracing my tracks. I did make it to the Arctic Circle though the night before that makes 3 nights sleeping in the artic at two different locations. I started to head south and the road was very similar to the day before but with snow on the outside of the center lane that everyone travels in. I came across a few more RV’s heading north that refuse to move over any and a few headed south at a much to slow rate. There were no more pictures for the day as everything was the same as the night before but with snowier conditions which make for less visibility.

Day 101 (9/1): Where do I start about this day. I headed out of this morning leaving the Dempster. I headed to the town of Mayo and Keno, YT. It was a nice drive on a paved road with the occasional great view.

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I made it to the town of Mayo and headed towards Keno. I took a turn off to the lake and dam. The view greatly increased.

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Once I reached Keno I took the main road back to Mayo it had some spectacular views of the fresh covered mountain tops.

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As I was approaching Mayo I saw this guy strolling down the road.

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Also when I was in Keno I noticed a nasty screeching I stopped and looked but could not see anything obviously wrong. I figured it was a dust cap or the warning on the brake pads. So I stopped at the campground just north of Mayo and started to tear things apart. I first check the front driver and nothing. Then I checked the driver rear made it made a nasty noise when I spun the tire. I removed the tire and noted my iner brake pad was no longer there. I removed the caliper and found the brake pad between the drum and the dust cap destroyed. The piston on the caliper was all tweaked and a weird angle and I could not press it back in with the C-clamp. I then decided to check the other side. Almost the same thing but the brake pad was there with the clips smashed between the bad and the rotor and the inner and outer pads were destroyed. The caliper was less damaged and I depressed it with the C-clamp. After talking to a few people it hit me I had a vice. With the vice I was able to depress the other caliper. I pinched off both brake lines with a vice grip and zipped tied the brake line and vice grip to the axle as seen below on both sides. While this was all happening I called a view places and for a new caliper it is a one week wait and for brakes one to two days. I will call in the morning and order front and rear brake pads and hope the caliper seal was not damaged and does not leak. Otherwise I will be waiting a week for a new one.

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Tomorrow morning I have to do some more maintenance checks and hope nothing else is bad. But in the next few days I have a full brake job to do. The crazy thing is I checked all the brakes the last tire rotation a thousand miles ago. The pads were low but I figured I could make it back to the states before replacement.

Along with this a nice gentleman rolled up in the evening and camped next to me. We started talking and he was from Minnesota and headed up here for a month to get away. Come to find out he called the visitor center in Dawson and inquired about the Demster. They informed him on the 31st one of the ferry landings washed out. I started to think. Maybe if it was not for that flat tire and heading back south I would have been on the other side of the river and would have not been able to cross it. They also said they were probably going to wait till winter and the river freezes over and not repair the landing. Wow how long could of I been stuck up there a month or two. I don’t if they would have done that as there are trucks headed up that way to stockpile food and fuel for the winter months.

Day 102 (9/2): This morning I got up pretty early and went right to work. I checked my diff flood as I have a small leak in the cover I was about a quarter of a quart low. I then finished packing up my jack and jack stands and got everything packed away properly instead of the sloppy mess it was the night before. I then headed into town and filled up on gas and waited to call the stores as I did not know when I would have cell phone reception again. My brakes felt great and actually were tighter then before so that was nice. Napa in Whitehorse had my brakes in stock so I decided to head that way. As I headed down the road about 30 miles outside of Mayo a construction crew had the road torn up and was installing new culverts. I had to wait for almost 2 hours for them to finish before I could continue. I then continued onto Whitehorse and a slower pace than the locals drive since I had reducing breaking capacity. The views were not very spectacular for most of the drive.

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The view increased as I approached Whitehorse but being short on time and already taking all those pictures the first time I passed through I decided not to stop and be a tourist. I got into Whitehorse and picked up the brake pads and filled everything up with fuel as it was about a dollar cheaper per gallon than elsewhere. I then finally got to do some laundry and clean up all the mud that got everywhere in the trailer on the Dalton. In the early evening I headed out to the nearest campsite I found when I was heading to Whitehorse. I have to say it has a spectacular view.

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This is the view from my camp chair in front of the camp fire.

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Day 103 (9/3): I slept in today as I was not going to travel. Once I woke up I got a camp fire going as it was a little chilly. I then went to work on my vehicle. I started with the rear brakes and everything went very smoothly. I reassembled the caliper and brake pads. I also decided to clean out the inside of the rim which had a little build up on caked on mud.

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I then moved on and replaced my front brake pads. They still had thirty percent left on them but since I had the time today I figured I would replace them and keep the olds as a spare.

I also noticed the air was much cleaner today and took some more pictures of the wonderful view.

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Day 104 (9/4): Today was nice and simple. I woke up and packed up the trailer and hooked up the vehicle. I headed back north, once I got back on the new track there were not to many views as the road was thickly lined with trees. Every once and a while there was a turn off but most of the time it was surround by trees and all the spots with great views were not near pull over safe areas.

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I stopped relatively early today as I was making good ground and want to enjoy the trip as it comes to an end.

Day 105 (9/5): Today was awesome. I took almost five hundred photo’s today! I headed towards Watson Lake to refuel and pick up some groceries as I did I came across some spectacular views.

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As I headed down the road further I saw my first bear in almost two months. This black bear was good size and he was doing a weird walking pattern on the road so I let him be until he decided to go into the woods.

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Then a few miles later I saw this guy strolling down across the street. It had no care in the world. Even those large bears will leave him alone.

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I then located this great lake lookout. The water was so clear but so cold.

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Once I got to Watson Lake I got to see their famous visitor centers. People that pass through and visit hang signs from where they are from, some are homemade, some are road signs and some do old license plates. I labeled a few Colorado License plates with the good old “I Know Blue Berry” sticker

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Once I went grocery shopping and filled up on gas for twenty cents cheaper per liter then I’ve seen in a few weeks I headed down the road into animal siting central. This large black bear was enjoying some grass on the side of the road.

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About 2 miles down the road I saw this massive old brown bear on the side of the road. He was no further than a hundred feet from where I stopped. You could sense his power. I took over 200 pictures of just him.

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Next about 30 miles down the road I started to see these wood bison. Most people don’t realize there are two different types of bison woods and plains. These are small then there relatives so they can navigate through trees better. They use to roam almost the entire USA. It seemed like it were smaller than the brown bear.

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Spectacular color changing in the trees. A lot of people are headed north right now to view this.

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More bison, the first few I saw were solo. Then I started to see larger groups.

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I started into this national park, I’m not sure what the name is but it is on my top 5 best views.

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A large group of bison eating with a few small ones, they tried to hide the calves from me.

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Once I was into the park every direction you looked was breathtaking.

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There were some really cool old glacier slides with the glaciers all melted and the rock rebel left. I did not stop for pictures as it was starting to get dark and every campsite or campground I found was full. I finally located one on this lake with a great view on the lake. Tomorrow I may have to backtrack to get some more pictures.

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Day 106 (9/6): I got a great nice sleep so that means a late start for the day. I did back track a little to get a few photos of the one of the valleys where it seemed glaciers use to be not too long ago. This one was smoothed out by bull dozers and they made levy’s on each side to help with the spring melt. All these good photo’s from later yesterday and this morning are from Muncho Lake Provincial Park and Northernal Rocky Mountains Provincial Park. I high recommend to spend some time in this are if you ever are nearby.

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They had a big flashing sign warning about these guys hanging out on the road. There were two close to the road but the main group preferred the better view.

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Then a bit further down the road I noticed these two. The one in the woods seemed to be a few years old and was shy and hid most of the time while the larger cow did not care and just ate some plants from beneath the water.

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I’ve seen a lot of beaver damns on this trip but for some reason this one stood out among all the others.

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As I continued on I was enjoying all the trees changing into their great colors. Not a lot of reds around this area though.

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I began to hit flatter ground with rolling hills and had the mountains behind me.

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I took a turn back north after heading south east for a while. I’m not sure if I made it to the Northwest Territories when I went partial way up the Dempster but now I know for sure.

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I’m calling this part of my trip the Fort loop. My stop for tonight is Fort Liard. Then I will move onto Fort Simpson, Fort Providence, Fort Resolution, and finally Fort Smith.

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