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Critter is kicking up dirt on the Trans America Trail. Currently camping in a kind police officer's yard at Quitman, Arkansas. He and his wife fed us and allowed showers as well. Meeting great people. Rained a little last night. worse forecast for today and tonight. We've camped at school grounds, behind a volunteer fire station, in a guy's unused tin workshop when it rained in Olive Hill, TN and in another guy's back yard. Got lost countless times and run into deadends, bridges out and roads blocked. Still kicking up dirt all over the rural back roads of the South. Once a police officer personally escorted me to a town to get back on the TAT. I told him not to go too fast. Didn't want a ticket in Arkansas. He assured me he wouldn't go too fast. I followed him at 75-80 mph in a 55 mph zone. Crossed the Tennessee River on a small ferry barge ($1) at Saltillo, TN. Some backroad places the Menonites with their horse's and buggies, plodding slowly along, are a menace to speeding, crazed motorcycle riders when you come over a rise or around a curve. A Cottonmouth snake laid in the middle of a back road approaching a water crossing, as if in warning, don't go there. I let him live and went around him. I had on tall touring boots and Punky was high on the tank bag. The TAT was particularly difficult to follow in TN. Partly because of my inexperience in following a roll chart's instructions, but not entirely my fault. There were times when the roll chart mileage info didn't jive with my trip meter and often no road numbers or names. Crossed the Mississippi River at Helena, AR. Taking it mile by mile and stopping whenever I feel like it, always well before dusk, to find a place to camp.
I'm posting from Marshall and Susan Moorhead's place near Ketchum, OK. We've had a hell of a ride and it ain't over yet. The Ozarks in Arkansas on back dirt roads were a blast and the Rockies are ahead. The twisty paved roads were fun too. MotorMark Wilson showed me how to ride that stuff, when we rode together during the Georgia mountain Rally. He gave us our first backroad mountain riding experience as well. Mark, take what we did in Georgia and multiply it by 10k and it might be close to what we've experienced so far. You been dragging your right Givi 36 litre pannier lately? Critter is equipped with Tim's Happy Trail aluminum panniers and have an angle cut on the bottom, which keeps them from dragging. They are also not as wide as Givis. Tim's boxes are also tough. They, the Acerbis Rally Pro hand guards and the bash plate have often saved Critter from damage. The top heavy loaded Critter lays down and begs me to lift it about once a day on average. Always happens when barely moving with the front wheel turned, balancing the bike with both feet on the ground unable to use the back brake. Sometimes the ground on the left is sloping downward and further for my foot to reach before allowing too much lean. It seems to only take about 3 degrees and I can't hold it. When I touch the front brake, that's all she wrote. Critter goes down. No damage, just the work of getting it back up myself. The Continental TKC80 rear tire doesn't look like it is going to make it through Colorado and the Rockies to Moab, UT. Trying to arrange for a new rear tire before we reach Colorado. Critter has performed flawlessly, even a small wheelie with high revs and speed shifting into second. The shadows, especially interspersed with flashes of sunlight flickering on the face shield, heading west into the setting sun, on tree lined forest dirt roads play havoc with my ability to see hazards in the road. We've been very fortunate, so far, not having had to deal with mud or get offs at speed. Plenty of rocks, dirt, sand and gravel. Sand and deep gravel are tough going. I have let some air out of the tires, but believe it is wearing the tires quicker, especially the rear, on pavement. I guesstimate we're doing about 90% off-road/unpaved. Phil warned me about the wearing highway miles I would be putting on the new knobbies before getting to the off-road TAT. Plus, there is more paved roads on the TAT than I figured. I thought the TAT would be 98% off-road. We already have over 2k miles since leaving Live Oak, FL. The Clinton Arkansas Police dispatcher saw to it we got out of the rain by getting us a free motel room. I can't say enough good things about Critter and the great preparation provided by Phil Roddenberry. It sure is paying off. John Lyon's fuse mod did what it was supposed to do, when the bright dim rocker switch was halfway in between its settings, causing both beams to be on at the same time and kicking off the circuit breaker, which reset when the ignition was turned off and back on. Thanks again to Phil and John. I'm using chain wax lube every day to fight the continual dusty conditions. Getting lost frequently is an every day thing. You must really concentrate on every waypoint on the roll chart. The mind tends to wander a bit after hours of riding day after day. Maybe a GPS would be a good thing. Sam Correro is working on completing all the coordinates for all the states. Few are set up for GPS (only 2 I think). I am glad to answer all the questions of the many people who are curious about our tour, Punky and Critter on the road. It takes up time, but it's part of what makes the tour enjoyable. Haven't had a bad experience yet, other than picking up the bike numerous times. We've got plenty of time to get to Moab June 1st. Looking forward to meeting the gang there. Gotta go. The dinner bell is ringing. Until next time.
Thanks to Bogdan and his wife Angie for their hospitality, especially considering we dropped in rather unexpectedly. Angie is a great cook. Bog is a great conversationalist and has a great sense of humor. We stayed up till midnight bullshiting and drinking vodka, which allowed terrific embellishment of stories. Bog took me for a great ride to The Garden Of The Gods and on a nearby bumpy dirt road, before leading me to Tom Vervaeke's place about 15 miles north of Colorado Springs, CO, in The Black Forest. As I write this post it is snowing outside, but toasty warm inside Tom's beautiful 4,500 square feet house on 5 wooded acres at 7,600 feet elevation. Tom has a stable of bikes, five or six I think, that would be the envy of any rider. I did laundry and showered. Punky will get his bath tomorrow. The host fed Punky and I a steak dinner and is accommodating us for a few days until Rex Hefferen takes us in for a few days, before a group of us ride to Moab via dirt and back roads. Life is good, despite the jail time, mud and snow, as long as we don't have to ride in that snow, thanks to the kindness of our Listers, a well prepared Critter and other nice folks we've met along the way. Critter is filthy dirty with dirt and mud and looks like it has been places where bikes shouldn't go and is still functioning perfectly at 10k miles. Nothing loose or rattling, despite the overload and bouncing around on rough roads on and off the TAT. Punky continues to draw big smiles and thumbs up from passing motorists and poses for many pix everywhere we go. A few interesting tips from a KLR rider with motocross experience, whom I met at the Georgia mountain Rally. Use zip ties at the intersection of spokes to help keep them from flexing and loosening, and around a flat tire and rim to keep it from coming off the rim, while riding to a place to repair it, and greasing the inside of the air box to catch dirt before it reaches the filter. Fireball, are you going to ride the big ass supporting seat to Deadhorse or drive the jeep and tow the KLR? I am really miffed that you would infer I have hopes of getting lucky with a married woman. However, there is no denying that Punky is my ticket to fame and good fortune on our tour. The adventure has just begun.
Here's the story about Punky. At 8:15 am, about a week ago (I have been so distraught, I've lost track of time and dates) I walked Punky on his leash across the street from Eddie McStiffs. Punky's attention was drawn by a dog barking across the street. He wrapped the leash around my legs while attempting to go see the other dog. I was transferring the leash, behind me, from one hand to the other, when he jerked it out of my grasp and ran into the street. A car passed over him without the wheels hitting him, but he must have looked up at the underside of the car passing overhead. Something under the car hit him in the head or jaw. He layed motionless in the street. I picked him up and carried him directly to my bike parked about 100 feet away to transport him to a veterinarian's clinic, which I had visited the day before. I asked people in Moab who might sew on a patch for me? I was directed to the vet's wife, who worked in his office. I layed Punky, bleeding from his nose and mouth, on the tank bag. I raised the sidestand and turned on the ignition, then realized I had to secure him to keep his limp body from sliding off during the 6 block ride. In my frenzy, I let the bike drop on its side. I walked across the parking lot and asked a man if he had a car. He said no. I asked a second man and he said yes. I explained our need for immediate transport and the man said to meet him in the rear parking lot. It seemed like a long time, but he finally appeared just after Punky made a weak sounding groan and breethed his last. He was dead. I was frantic and blew my breath in his snout, while we were driven to the vet's office within 3 minutes, where proper CPR was administered and his little heart starting beating again. The vet worked feverishly to keep Punky alive, doing everything he possibly could with their limited small town facilities and lack of sophisticated medical equipment. The vet said Punky had head trauma and feared it was very serious. I asked if a CAT scan would be helpful to determine the extent of head injury. The vet said it would be very helpful, but no such machine was in Moab. I asked where the nearest facility was with a CAT scan machine. He replied, "Grand Junction, Colorado." I made immediate arrangements to be flown by a pilot with Punky in a Cessna 182 to Grand Junction. It was a 45 minute flight. The vet in Grand Junction was notified, records were faxed and he was told to expect us and exactly when. When we arrived at the Grand Junction vet's office, he informed me that the facility with the CAT scan was booked solid for the day and couldn't handle Punky. I told the vet "This dog wasn't brought back from being dead and I didn't fly this gravely ill dog here to find inferior service or be told equipment wasn't available." The vet called back the facility with the CAT scan and pressed the matter. Punky got his CAT scan within an hour. The test revealed a lesion and small bleed deep in his brain in the Thalamus and a fractured palate in his snout. It was not anywhere near as serious a problem as both vets had thought likely. They had thought his chances of survival, especially without brain damage, were not good. With the CAT scan results, the vet knew exactly what to do. Punky was placed in intensive care on oxygen. Drugs were administered to help prevent his brain from swelling and various other drugs were used including morphine to relieve his pain. He was stabilized with good vital signs. The vet called me daily, as I had to return to Moab, and reported Punky has continued to improve. Punky was released from intensive care last Friday and the vet took him home with him for the weekend. Today I am riding to see Punky and stay in Grand Junction until he recovers. The vet says Punky is now eating and responding to attention and is optimistic that he will be OK in about 30 days. I hope he is right. If Punky is able to ride, we will try to continue Punky & Lew's Americas Motopaseo. The delay will make it impossible to be in Deadhorse, Alaska July 12. I'm taking things one day at a time. It is too soon to think of anything but Punky's welfare. I have not been able to read any messages, but understand there has been a great outpouring of concern and well wishes from a great number of people. I attended the Moab KLR650 rally (Canyonlands Motorcycle Classic), sometimes severely depressed, and last night Punky and Lew were awarded two trophies, one for being voted People's Choice and the other for riding the longest distance to attend the rally. Yesterday, I did manage to enjoy a great group ride into Canyonlands and numerous very scenic areas of state and national parks. At one point I broke away from the group and released some tension by burning the hell out of some twisties at high speed and lean angles that astonished the nearest young rider behind me. When the road got flat, I finally slowed down. Four or five minutes later the first rider caught up and said "That was awesome. Your panniers were only a couple of inches from dragging the pavement." I replied, "That's why I had an angle cut in the bottom outside edge of the boxes." The fresh wear was visible on the rear tire and inspection revealed all but 1/4 inches of the knobby edges were just used in severe leans. It was even more impressive, because the tires were very aggressive off-road Chen Shings really intended for such use. I have to go now. Thanks to all for their good thoughts and messages of concern.
Punky jerked his leash loose from my grasp attempting to go see another dog, ran across the street and got hit by a car May 31, in Moab, Utah. He was dead and brought back with CPR and is out of intensive care in Grand Junction, Colorado, where I flew him in a private plane for a CAT scan, better facilities and treatment for head trauma. He is being released to my care today. He is much better, but still weak and has a long way to go to be fully recovered. He is eating and walking, a bit unsteadily, and responds to familiar phrases with his eyes and ears. The veterinarian is optimistic he will be OK in about 30 days. Only time will tell how long recovery will take and to what extent. Cathy, a very nice lady, who works as a nurse in the doctor's office adjoining the veterinarian's office, heard of Punky's accident and offered to let us stay with her until Punky recovers and is able, hopefully, to ride again. Now, ironically, she has had to go to Omaha, where her mother has died, and attend her funeral. Cathy has left me, a stranger, a vagabond biker, in her home for 6 days with the use of her truck until she returns. She is an angel not in very good disguise. The vet took pictures of Punky and I will try to post them to our website. Gotta go get Punky.
Punky is now riding with me on the KLR again. His left rear leg is still a little slow, but the vet is convinced Punky will recover 100% within the next 30 days. Punky is performing his tricks (sit, lay down, shake and roll over). Sitting up is still hard for him to balance on his rear end. The total cost for vet bills, the CAT scan and the emergency flight is around $2k. The time delay during Punky's recovery and payoff of the bills means we will wait until August 1, to resume our tour and postpone the Canada/Alaska portions until we return from South America. I don't want to be a begger for assistance or a pain in the ass to our friends/listers. The credit card for emergencies needs to be paid down so I can use it for the next emergency. There will be others. I couldn't find our story in the Moab Times Independent and their website is under construction. The Grand Junction, Colorado, The Sentinal newspaper (www.gjsentinal.com) is doing a better story anyway. I was interviewed yesterday and pix taken today of Punky, Lew and Critter riding again. The story is supposed to be in tomorrow's, June 20, issue. I've used what I learned from you on the Georgia mountain twisties.
Last night I decided we will resume our tour, heading for Canada/Alaska July 3. We will give up Yellowknife and Inuvik in the NWT. We'll head up through Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Glacier, Banff and Jasper National parks, then go for the AlCan Hwy. to Alaska and up to Deadhorse. I expect to be in Deadhorse by the end of July and out of Canada crossing into Washington by Sept. 1. Punky is continuing to amaze everyone with his recovery. Punky rides and the beat goes on ... the heart of a lion.
Hello everyone from Fort St. John, BC, Canada. We left Grand Junction, CO, July 3, and rode through Dinosaur National Monument, Flaming Gorge, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone (Old Faithful), Glacier National Parks. Crossed the Canadian border, where customs went through everything with a fine tooth comb, and rode to Calgary, then Banff and Jasper and on to Hinton, Grand Cache, Grand Prairie in Alberta. Went through Dawson Creek and are heading Northwest on The Alaska Highway. The majestic beauty never ends. Met more nice people. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police donated a shirt patch, two pins and a hat badge and a free place to camp. Have not had any problems with Critter. Replaced the rear tire with a Dunlop Trail Max D-604 140/80/17 radial tubeless (w/tube in it) highway biased tire (a lot like the Metzler Tourance) and the brake pads with Dunlopads (sintered). The front Continental TKC 80 is exhibiting a very strange wear pattern on the treads, as though every other knob is hitting the pavement and some show strange angles of wear. Still riding it. Not sure yet how the radial rear tire is going to mix, on the highway, with the front non-radial dirt tire. If anyone wants to donate to help with Punky's injury expenses, please contact Mark Wilson: firstname.lastname@example.org. Skert and Mark, thanks for the offers to donate. The cost of Punky's injury was about $2k. Mark, you have my permission to do whatever you want with the website and photos. Thanks again for your great efforts. Robyn, I'll send you George Basinet's address, in Escondido, CA, to forward the new credit card to. Gotta go, later.
We are in Fairbanks, AK in time to meet Jim Clark his son and four other riders who met at Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay), AK on July 12. We'll tackle the infamous muddy, dusty, dirt Dalton Highway and head up to Deadhorse day after tomorrow. Four other KLR riders from Louisiana, whom I had met at the Georgia mountain Rally in May and told them about the Deadhorse Meet, were in Deadhorse a little ahead of Jim and left their birthday greetings for him. Ten out of twelve who said they would be there were there. Mariola, Punky and I were the only ones who didn't show or couldn't be there. All is well. We've been lucky only getting light rain and moderately cold. Jim says it was colder and windy closer to Deadhorse. Probably will have to use the heated vest for the first time. Punky has, so far been snug as a bug in a rug with his fleece jacket, rain slicker/windbreaker and stuffed into his pouch if the weather is wet and/or cold. Critter still running great. Phil did a heck of a job preparing it. More incredibly nice people, mountains, lakes, pine trees and mind boggling scenery.
My body clock is totally messed up with the daylight even in the middle of the night. Didn't go to bed until 3:30 AM last night. Four nights in a row I've pitched the tent at midnight. Met Peter and Kay Forwood. They and Greg Frasier are the first experienced round the world riders I've met personally. They've been everywhere. Peter and Kay are riding two up on a Harley Electra Glide loaded to the hilt. They did the Dalton Hwy. to Prudhoe and back and have pix of their travels through Africa on roads that make the Dalton Hwy. look tame by comparison. We're camping in Fairbanks with a mix of people from Israel, Spain, Australia and the states. Some are riders and others not. Bikes represented are a Harley, a BMW 1100 GS, and a KTM. Of course, Jim Clark and his son Jim are in a motel and riding KLR's. We've camped across Alberta, BC, the Yukon and Alaska at private campgrounds, government campgrounds, a Royal Canadian Mountie's yard, behind a baseball field in Whitehorse (where little league kids started playing baseball in the cold rain at 6:30 am), on public property on a grassy hill where dirt bikes played and behind a gas station. Met two guys and a woman riding incredibly loaded bicycles from Halifax to Alaska. Envied their energy and stamina. Critter is like a Timex that takes a licking and keeps on ticking, despite the flogging and abuse I heap on it. Punky is fairing well and seems to be handling the cold and rain. Still the star of the show, as always. I have a heated vest for the ride to Deadhorse, but Punky doesn't. I'll watch closely to see that he doesn't get too cold. The covered, wind and rainproof pouch for the pooch seems to work well. Not paying close attentin to miles/day, but guesstimate we're averaging around 300 miles. Punky's card is getting him in 99% of restaurants. I have to keep Punky away from Bear, a 135 lb. Malmute dog where we are camping now. Punky growls and barks menacingly at Bear. Bear in turn wants a snack. Bear gets along fine with another small dog that doesn't give him a ration of shit. The only way Punky could hurt Bear is if Bear ate Punky and choked on his bones. Enough for now. Mark, thanks for handling everthing with the website, pix, donations, etc. Sorry for the screw-up with the film. I'm learning to tell the difference between used and unused film and to advance an unfinished roll before removing it from the camera. Everything we are doing is a learning experience. It seems I have been very conservative with time and distance estimates. We'll move faster than I thought, which is a good thing to get us to Ushuaia by Christmas. But, we may have to deal with the rainy/hurricane season, which goes into November in the zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. Heavy rains cause road and bridge washouts and detours onto muddy dirt roads, etc.
Listening to a guy play the guitar and harmonica and sing in a garage converted to hangout/kitchen/TV room/laundry/bathroom and shower attached to the log cabin with rooms at the North Woods Lodge/Hostel/Campgrounds in Fairbanks, AK. Has public phone and free internet via webtv. Nice vibes. A campfire outside struggling to burn in a sunshiny light rain. Sixty Indians from south of Tok were camping (tents, not tepees) here when I arrived yesterday. It was a bit crowded, but they departed today and all is tranquil again. Hosed off the incredible filth accumulated during the Deadhorse run on the Dalton Highway. Will install the new Dunlop Trail Max D-604 radial front tire and tube tomorrow. Bought new steel sprockets from the local Kawi shop. Looking for a DID Gold X-ring chain to go with the sprockets. Critter now has 16,574 miles on the clock. Signed up to the new and growing KLR forum at: www.advrider.com . Looking for Mariola to ride in, if she got my message left at three locations on the road riding down the Dalton to Fairbanks. She is only one day behind me. Looking forward to rubbing noses, Eskimoe style, with her. I read some messages on the list indicating some of you were initially skeptical and are surprised and respectful of my making this tour happen, as I said I would. Thanks for the kind words. Fireball had it right, when he met Punky and I and reported that we'd probably succeed. Fireball, where are you? Riding and aware of the trees and scenery whizzing by at 80 mph, I hope. I have come to enjoy the adventurous feeling of, not just riding from one place to another, but twisting the throttle a bit more than a more prudent rider would. It sure makes it more fun with a little risky riding and Critter has been up to it. The adrenalin high is exhilarating. Another shitty day in paradise. Wonder what the rich folks are doing? Went to town today and rode Critter back with a tire and a load of groceries on top of the tail box. A really top heavy adventurous ride back to the lodge. Hope you guys enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy doing it. Ha ha. Bye for now, until next time.
I'm VERY sad to report Punky is again fighting for his life. He is in the care of a veterinarian in Fairbanks, AK, following emergency surgery to put him back together again after an attack by Bear, a 135 lb. Malmute. Punky suffered a massive wound to his left side chest area, an abdominal hernia and a puncture in the abdomen. His lung and heart of a lion was seen trying to push out of the gaping hole in his chest. I covered the most serious wound with a washrag and held his inerds from coming out. Got him to the vet within about 15 minutes, while he struggled to hang on to life. He survived the surgery and is now trying to weather the next 24 critical hours. He's not out of the woods yet. Infection or other complications could still do him in. If he survives the first 24 hours, the vets (3 worked on him) believe he will be OK in about a month. That leaves a big question about being able to ride out of Alaska and Canada before severe cold weather moves in. I know all the members of our list and other friends will by pulling for Punky. More later as I get updated on his condition. One of the vets is going to change his wound dressing tomorrow and take a digital pic and send it to Mark Wilson to be posted on our webpage as soon as possible. I am beside myself with grief again. Punky is under sedation to help him endure the agonizing pain and being treated for shock. He's getting antibiotics to fight possible infection. Hang on Punky. Installed a new front tire and cleaned the air filters just before Punky was attacked. The chain and sprockets are badly in need of replacement. The chain is adjusted all the way out and is still too loose -- so loose that it wore away the lower plastic chain guide.
I am concerned about exposing Punky to any further risk and
considering shipping him back to the safety of my friend in Florida.
This is a message that I received from Steve regarding my concern:
When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below;
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, the foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master's own,
Who labors, lives, fights, breathes for him alone,
Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth.
While man, vain insect, hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole, exclusive heaven.
Ye! Who behold, perchance, this simple urn,
Pass on; it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend's remains these stones rise,
I have never known but one - and here he lies.
Lew.......take Punky with you.......life is already too short!!
So I've been sitting around pondering what to change next on the A15.
The more I ride this bike, the more I like it. The re-jetting is being
adjusted today as the initial install had it sputtering in higher RPM's.
...I was thinking maybe a Laser ProDuro next...maybe progressive shocks... or something to spiff up the appearance.
I've been on the net... Hmmmm well since about 1992, can't say I've ever found a group that has provided as much great support, tech info (and humor) as this group.
...Maybe a Corbin or a Russell seat for my delicate butt
I read through some of the Punky & Lew posts, looked at some of the pics (Love the goggles Punky! Have you considered a Kevlar body suit?) Punky sitting up on the tank bag... definitely top dog!
...Oooooh, Avon gripsters, I'm thinking
I ride 20 miles over to my buddy's house and complain that this damn stock seat just ain't cutting it... complain that it's only 65 degrees here in the Bay area and I gotta wear a jacket. Then I see the trip that Punky and Lew are taking and I shut my mouth.
What I would give to have a travel partner like Punky. What I would give to have the spirit of adventure like Lew. It ain't much, but there's a $100 money order coming your direction today. The Laser exhaust can wait another month.
What I'd give to see another picture of Punky up on that tank bag, goggled up, seemingly saying "Yeah dude, let's get this thing moving!"
Good news! Ridner's State Farm homeowner's insurance is
covering Punky's vet bills 100%. Ridner won't even have to pay a $500
deductible. That's good news for him. I'm thinking of calling the claims
rep. and asking him if they will cover the cost of staying in a cabin
for a month while Punky recovers. I think they will, since our extended
stay is a direct result of the dog attack. I will visit Punky today
after his hernia surgery. This surgery is much less serious than the
first one, but not without risk due to the use of anesthesia and
possible infection. Punky has proven to be a tough little bugger and I
am confident he will be OK. I appreciate the donations and will use them
to help pay the $2,000 credit card bills from the Moab incident. The
aforementioned helps, tremendously, to reduce the load of stress.
Thanks again to all who expressed concern and/or donated.
Go Punky -- the little dog who could -- and does again and again.
Punky is coming home Saturday with the chest stitches removed and will have the hernia stitches removed the following Thursday. I expect we'll leave, weather permitting, the next day, Friday. I'll be glad to get to a warmer latitude. According to Jimmy Buffet, changes in latitudes = changes in attitudes. I, personally have found it to be true. Of course, there will come times, when I complain of tropic heat. Life is a bitch and then you die. I should receive mail within 4 days of posting. Just met brothers, Claudio and Andrea Del Grande, of Genoa, Italy. They rode, 2 up, on a loaded 1984 Honda XL-600 from Italy through eastern Europe and Russia to Vladivostok and the Kamchatka Peninsula, then flew to Anchorage, AK and rode to Prudhoe Bay and back to Fairbanks. They tried a road into Siberia and gave up that idea. They're now headed to the USA and Tierra Del Fuego. If they have enough money, from Argentina, they will fly to Cape Town, South Africa and ride up to Europe. If they are short of funds they will fly back to Italy. These guys are travelling on a very short budget. More power to them, but $10/day is not my style. Tom Ridner, the owner of this lodge/hostel, told me something about the owner, Freddie Piscina of NYC, of a damaged Harley cylinder now resting on a table here in the garage/hangout. I saw Freddie's interesting motorcycle Traveller's Story on horizonsunlimited.com and sent him a message telling him I read his story, while looking at his Harley's cylinder, which he left here 3 years ago. Tom also told me of a guy, who rode his bicycle from Prudhoe Bay to Tierra Del Fuego in 19 months. This evening I will meet an Englishman, George Megan, who walked on foot from Tierra Del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay in 7 years. Makes our adventure tour seem kinda puny in comparison. But, hey, these guys didn't have a gritty little dog that could -- and does. If Punky can take all this abuse/injury, dead once and nearly so again within 6-7 weeks, then I sure don't have reason to bitch. I gotta think of a name for a new religion, with Punky re-incarnated and with a message from God. I'll say my prayers to him. We could sell little Punky statues worldwide over the internet. Troubled folks everywhere could take comfort in confidng in Punky through E-mail. Am I getting carried away here? This is bound to draw the ire of religious folks. Sacreligious, they will say. Needless to say, I'm elated that Punky is well and coming back to me. Thanx, Robyn, Mark and all the rest for the good vibes. Mark, please post this message and any others you consider to be of interest on the website. Later.
I picked up Punky from the vet's clinic, took pix (finished the roll of film) and we rode Critter back to the lodge. I'm keeping Punky away from Bear, the attacking Malamute. On our first walk on the lodge property, I carried an open knife in my hand at the ready. Punky is doing great. He'll go back to the vet Thursday to get the last stitches removed. I intend to leave here for Denali the next day. Then, we'll head for The Yukon, B.C. and on to Seattle. Expect to be there within a week. Maybe less? Will be glad to ride again and to get south to a warmer climate. It will take a while to get to a drier one. Attempting another contact with the local Fairbanks newspaper. Added a Fairbanks Police patch to my growing collection and visited the local museum. Robyn, I mailed you a reimbursement check. Later.
Hi Rich: Great! Glad you could get the Dunlop D 604 TrailMax. We should be there Aug. 17. I'll let you know if anything changes. Looking forward to meeting you and any other listers in the area. Spread the word and maybe we can meet them in one place. I can't find the E-mail addy or phone # of the guy in Williams Lake, BC. If you know how to get in touch with him, let me know, so I can tell him we are coming through Aug. 16, and find out if he will be there. Punky got the stitches out of his belly today. The vet, a fine looking young lady, gave him a green light to ride and is going to try to make it to our going-away party tonight. We'll have Buffalo wings, barbecued Cornish Game Hens and real Buffalo meat, shrimp cocktails, celery sticks w/3 cheese ranch dressing and Corona, Moosehead and Newcastle beer and local liquor around the campfire with Richard, a harmonica playing guitarist/singer. Partyers include Christen, the Norwegian, is busy chopping wood for the fire. Izuru, the Japanese photograher, David, the Native Indian, Tom, the Lodge owner, Peter, the vagabond Czeck, and Robyn, a local blonde waitress. A mutant tomato sits on the picnic table, daring anyone to eat it. I'll have to wait and see if the dancing girls appear to do their thing on a greased poll in the center of the hangout room. With any luck, we'll make it to Tok tomorrow. Rich, if you hurry you might make it in time for the party. Try Alaska Airlines. Muchisimas gracias para todos, amigo. I've told my new friends here, many times, what a great group this KLR list is.
Story by Punky and Lews