Bigguy Rides - 2014 S10 Travels - Currently in Kyrgyzstan

Bigguy136

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Big Lake, MN
This will be a bit of a different ride report...

I'm 55 and live in Minnesota, USA. I like taking off on a bit longer than a few day rides. My S10 has 98,000 miles and 30+ countries. Below is a map of my current travels since 2017. I want this RR to start with a history of not just where I've been but the purchase and modifications I made along the way. I plan to put some time towards this over the winter but there are busy times in life that projects like this get parked.

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Bigguy136

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Big Lake, MN
First and only (knocking on wood) that my bike has been trailered. Always fun pulling into a Harley dealer with a Japan truck and buying a Japan bike.

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I had 300,000 miles of riding on tar and this on/ off road thing was all new.
My first trip for the weekend.

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My 2nd weekend was what started everything. I found a remote camp area and it blew me away at my new freedom to ride and camp without being tied to an official camp site.
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Now being a kid in a candy store, I started thinking I was on a little 250cc two stroke dirt bike. Another learning curve.
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But all good. Just a bit of washing mud off but these few rides helped me understand what I now wanted from a motorcycle adventure.
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Bigguy136

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Big Lake, MN
Not to mislead. As the title says "currently in Kyrgyzstan" is the bike is stored there for the winter. I am back home in Minnesota doing the daily grind of work and family stuff.

With that, we are up to the fall of 2016 after a few weekend rides. With the cooler nights, I had a slow cranking motor and with some reading here, I did the Yuasa YTZ14S battery upgrade before winter and was happy how the battery performed in 20°F and it was time to bring my bike into my bike shop. And by shop, I mean my lower level of my house with unfinished basement.
I also have a real shop with mill, lathe, TIG welder and such but that is a 1 hour drive to it. Most of the work I wanted to do was just inspecting parts. One thing I didn't like was how the paniers were installed. They missed several spacers. Fortunate the missed parts were in the bag of spare parts so I just had to remove all of the loctite and install all parts as originally designed. I also switched all accessory bolts to JIS standard bolts. This would keep all bolt head sizes the same as the bike and fewer tools needed to carry with.
I installed the OEM heated grips, made a kickstand pad and moved the GPS mount from the windshield bracket to a tube I mounted to handlebar clamps.
I bought some soft bags to put on top of my panniers and aux fuel cells. This was my first trip without hotels so I brought about everything I could think of.

My "shop"
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Bigguy136

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Big Lake, MN
Spring of 2017:
I did a few test rides and was happy with my very heavy S10. I got 4 weeks of vacation and it was time to go ride. With all of my past travels, I was on the tar riding around the USA and was used to 800-1000 mile days. I quickly found that looking for a place to set up camp and cook food was going to change my miles per day. With the freedom of a tent and cook stove, I was happy not to be chasing the next hotel as my schedule. I also didn't bring a cell phone. I had my GPS and wanted to just go ride.
This is the route I took and the flags are each camp spot. This was 3 weeks of riding and no hotels and very limited restaurants.
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My first night I found a perfect spot and fell in love with remote camping (no campground).

**Getting upload error. Some of my pics are 15MB+. I will need to re-process pics at a lower rez. Doez anyone know what max file size is?
 

Bigguy136

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Big Lake, MN
Continue from above with smaller image file size. I took two cameras with. One was a point and shoot and the other a Nikon D3400.
*Working with a few to get decent quality res photos loaded but to get this moving along, I will do a screen snip of the photos. Hopefully better rez photos can be used shortly*
Here is the camp spot I referred to above.
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I had 4 weeks off and wanted most of that time for the unknown trip ahead. One more camp spot in Montana and I was in Canada. As noted, I didn't take a cell phone but I had a GPS. Problem with a single source of mapping is if it fails. As I crossed into Canado, my route wasn't on the road shown and it wasn't giving me turn locations. After getting home, Garmin told me I didn't have enough memory in GPS and only global map of Canada was loaded.
No issue, find a paper map and continue.
I rode to the east side of Glacier and went north towards Revelstoke. On my way, I saw my first bear.
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And being someone who always travelled on tar roads and stayed in hotels, this was cool but very scary for that night's camp. Looking back I wish I would've got a photo of that camp spot. Just east of Revelstoke, there was a larger merging of roads and I camped in the center of it all hoping the bears would let me live....
 

Bigguy136

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Big Lake, MN
I rode thru Banff and Jasper. If anyone is considering the ride, go. You will not be disappointed. I rode to Grand Prairie and had rain along the way but rain stopped in time for camp. I'm an engineer and planned for everything I could think of over the prior winter. One was to have a tarp that I could put my wet riding gear on the seat of my bike, wrap with a tarp and have the engine heat dry my gear overnight.IMG_1674.jpg

And with my gear drying, I made some pancakes and coffee for dinner. I can't believe I use to travel with a glass coffee cup but I was a newbie. The tube on the left was my homemade bear box.
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Bigguy136

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Big Lake, MN
I was really enjoying the riding and wild camping. The new freedom of just doing my thing. No planning hotels.
I rode to Watson lake with a few stops along the way then rode to Ross River. All was going good with a paper map but after getting gas in Ross River, I missed getting back to the main road. I ended up on a ferry crossing and was on the North Canol without knowing it.

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I didn't know I was on the North Canol at the time. I was just thinking I'm really far north and the road is much smaller and no traffic. After about 2 hours, I came across a guy driving the other way. I stopped and asked how much farther #2 was. He told me I was on a dead end road and I turned back. I got to the ferry just after they closed for the day. All good, just find a nice camp spot and enjoy the night. IMG_1736.jpg
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Cycledude

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Rib lake wi
I rode thru Banff and Jasper. If anyone is considering the ride, go. You will not be disappointed. I rode to Grand Prairie and had rain along the way but rain stopped in time for camp. I'm an engineer and planned for everything I could think of over the prior winter. One was to have a tarp that I could put my wet riding gear on the seat of my bike, wrap with a tarp and have the engine heat dry my gear overnight.View attachment 107542

And with my gear drying, I made some pancakes and coffee for dinner. I can't believe I use to travel with a glass coffee cup but I was a newbie. The tube on the left was my homemade bear box.
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Bear box ?
 

Bigguy136

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Big Lake, MN
In the morning, I got a ferry ride back to Ross River and continued to Dawson and the beginning of the Dempster.
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The Dempster was nice for the first hour but rain moved in and had a few hours of wet and mud. Not ideal for a very overloaded S10 but just need to adjust and move on.
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I wanted to get to Eagle Plains for gas that evening but I couldn't get the miles in like I could on a tar road. I pulled over about 1 hour prior to Eagle plains and put up camp.
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Bigguy136

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In the morning I got gas in Eagle Plains and continued on. Had a ferry crossing at Peel River and Mackenzie River. A bit of back story is my dad in 1972 took a 18' Alumacraft boat to the Great Slave lake then took a boat ride on the Mackenzie River to Tuktoyaktuk. He passed in 2014. Being at the ferry crossing of the Mackenzie was extra special as it was the same place my dad went by in his boat. I also was able to leave some of his ashes there.IMG_1801.jpg
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And made it to Inuvik. I was hoping the new road to Tuktoyaktuk might open early but no luck.
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eemsreno

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Great report!
Your dad is my new hero. That guy was ahead of his time as an Adventurer.
I rode that North Canol Road as far as I could into the NWT back in 2015 and it is still my all-time favorite road.
 

Cycledude

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We rode to Tuktoyaktuk in 2022, mostly decent weather but whenever the road was wet it got pretty challenging, riding on and off the ferries was very treacherous but fortunately we didn’t have any mishaps. We hauled all the camping gear along but never had to use it. Tuktoyaktuk was probably the most challenging motorcycle trip I was ever on.
 
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Bigguy136

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Big Lake, MN
Great report!
Your dad is my new hero. That guy was ahead of his time as an Adventurer.
I rode that North Canol Road as far as I could into the NWT back in 2015 and it is still my all-time favorite road.
Thanks!! Crazy looking back at some of his adventures and what he did without internet, cell phone or GPS. I like to think he is with when I'm on some of my rides around the world??
 

Bigguy136

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With the new road to Tuk no an option, I decided to go to Prudhoe bay. It was the last day of June and Canada all but closes for Canada day on July 1. My concern was if I left the next day, the gas stop at Eagle Plains would be closed for the day.
The weather was perfect and the miles want by quick. The S10 really was perfect for these conditions. If you plan to ride this road, weather can make it or break you.
With perfect road conditions, there can be a spot that goes to crap. I had a few spots of a silty/ face powder type that really sucks. Having just been on the road helped know where these spots were. And with nice weather, the road graders are also out. They dump a large mound of salt then road grader and water truck.
I made it to Eagle Plains, got gas and was seeing some dark clouds to my south. I wanted to get more dry miles in.
With the sun all but not setting, you lose concept for time. I could've rode all night as you don't get tired but looking at the clock, I knew I needed to find a place to camp as it was a bit after midnight. I got packed up and shortly after the rain started. The last hour on the Dempster was dry.
Here is my bike after the DempsterIMG_1864.jpg

I then road to Dawson and went to a car wash
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With a spray down of the bike and myself, it was time to get going. Canada day was going on in Dawson but it wasn't what I was there for. I took the ferry out of town and was going for the Alaska border riding the Top of The World highway.
I saw a side road that looked interesting. It ended up going parallel to the main road.
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Entering Alaska
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I rode to Tok, Alaska for the evening. Found a place to camp just outside of town and was not feeling the next part riding to Prudhoe Bay. In the morning, I didn't feel any different so I turned back and went to Whitehorse so I could ride the South Canol.

The South Canol was amazing.
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To be continued...
 
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