The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #31 by rcmatt007 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:26 pm

Whiskerfish wrote:OH NO Mister Bill Not a driveshaft!!!


I thought I had blown an engine!
-Rodger-
all it takes for evil to prosper is the want of a few good men to do nothing-Edmund Burke
The question is not how much time do you have, it is what you do with the time that you have Gandalf
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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #32 by HomeMadeSin » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:51 pm

13 June 2018. Given the axle issue, we had to figure out a way to get back on track. We scoured Kijiji, Craigslist and the DarkNet for any signs of a suitable donor and/or bike nearby. Nada. Even riding back and forth 4 miles to “downtown” Smithers, we kept an eye out for a fellow ‘Winger like this guy from the Alaska ’09 trip:

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Take a close look, there is someone sleeping under that brown tarp (notice the shoes). Perhaps it seems, this special person would find Ben’s simple and frugal camping aesthetic grossly gratuitous. Hey, we don’t ride 70’s Goldwings for status…

With no donors evident, we exercise plan B. Jeckyll calls his shop back in Saskatoon and has the Mechanical Oracle, aka Dustin extract two shafts from the various carcasses left behind. With help from others, the spare parts were shipped Air Freight from Saskatoon to Smithers, available for pick-up the following morning. When Lady Luck gives you the shoulder, call her sister. Or brother, if that’s your thing .

So what do you do with time to kill?

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Kevin flashes his gang colors and call sign to warn fellow golfers looking for a foursome:

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While Kevin and Mr. Jones hit the links, the rest of us chill out. I tried to get some work done and smooth over the home front. Mike and Dave hit the town for sushi and gifts. The view from our campground:

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We eat like paupers….

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Now might be a good time for a side story about how we settle the food bill. Instead of making it a nightmare for wait staff with 6 individual checks, we take turns paying the lump sum. When I say ‘turns’, I really mean to say the loser of Rock, Paper, Scissors pays. That’s what all intellectuals do, right? And besides, a Magic 8-ball was nowhere to be found.
Naturally since the stakes are high, the sphincter muscles get tense and constrict blood flow to the cognitive portion of the “thinking member”. This works to Dave’s advantage as thus far, he’s like the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The dictated rules magnanimously protect the former loser from back-to-back jeopardy and they get to relax during the next round. Ever seen the movie TAG? That’s a way of life.

Back at the cabin, other tensions rise. Anyone interested in riding 4,000 or so miles into remote areas of Canada has a reasonably strong independent streak. We aren’t sheep, mindlessly locked behind the wheel in a 2.5 ton cage, obliviously stalking fake friends on FB. And yet group dynamics require compromise or general passivity, which can lead to drama. The main objectives of this trip was to (1) reach Tuktoyaktuk, (2) participate in the Dust to Dawson rally, and (3) leave the bikes in Anchorage to set up for the next adventure (Vietnam, anyone?). These were largely set in place a year before the actual ride. And yet life happens. Unfortunately, any changes after the initial get-go will negatively impact something or someone. For Kevin and me, what began as a 2.5 week plan become untenable and we have to limit it to two weeks in/out. This screwed Dave and Mike because they had booked airlines in advance based upon the original schedule. After investing considerable time completely building his Wing, Ben couldn’t commit to leaving his steed in Alaska. Mr. Jones was tagging along for the meat of it, but heading home after Tuk/Dawson anyway. Queue the ‘Real Bikers of British Columbia’ intro…

14 June 2018. As we are kicked out of the cabins for the next guests, Hyde repairs his bike and we all load up for the next portion of the trip. However, Ben votes himself off the island and is opting out of going further North. He decides instead to take the scenic route back towards Denver. Aside from his helmet, what you see is what he brought for 2 weeks on a bike.

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Enough drama for now. We wish Ben a safe ride and we hit the road. I set the GoPro to interval pics:

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Eventually, we hit Kitwanga and fuel both the bikes and our bellies before the trek along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway.

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This is a tremendously rewarding highway. In ’09, I was at the end of the group taking pictures as we roll like now. When I passed the sign below, I thought the bear was part of the sign. I did a 180 and went back for a pic to confirm it was real. Sure enough…

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Another frequent occurrence during this trip is various items leaping off the bikes for freedom. Leaving Kitwanga, my Oakley sunglass made a leap for it but were fortunately recovered. Previously, others had water bottles liberate themselves and yet were retrieved. This mildly annoying cycle would continue to plague us throughout the trip, especially when we have to carry multiple plastic gas tanks to bridge service stations.

Clouds and spotty rain give way to sunshine and typical BC forestation.

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Riding and taking pictures can be a hit or (often) miss thing:

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Voce conhence as pessoas mais legais em uma Honda. “Did you see that?” Somewhere along the S-C Highway, we pass a tucked-in horse jockey mounted on a tiny single lunger giving her all she’s got Captain! At Bell II, we meet that same motivated Brasilian rider who was on his way to Anchorage from Tierra del Fuego. On this little Honda:

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Shortly after the Bell II pit stop, my bike is acting drunk about the same time Mike realizes he has intermittent spark. Time to pull over and scope things out. While working on Mike’s problem, we spot my rear tire is flat (rushed / twisted) inner tube replacement in Saskatoon. We fish out various electrical spares to try and get Mike’s bike to behave and remove the rear on mine for the roadside repair. It doesn’t take long to realize that Ben had the spoons, so a crescent wrench and screwdrivers will have to do. Don’t pinch the tube….

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Around midnight we arrive at the only motel in Dease Lake. Nothing is open to eat but the motel had some pre-made, home cooked meals (Chicken Curry) and a vending machine. Nice touch.

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #33 by Whiskerfish » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:30 pm

Amazing adventure!
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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #34 by rcmatt007 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:13 pm

I think we rename this guy onecrazymofo-2
-Rodger-
all it takes for evil to prosper is the want of a few good men to do nothing-Edmund Burke
The question is not how much time do you have, it is what you do with the time that you have Gandalf
"One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation." Fred Rodgers
"it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert" ancient saying
78 constantly modified/customized since 1978, BOTM June 2015 de-evolving this very moment viewtopic.php?f=30&t=65511
76 Ltd "cookies bike" not ready for prime time,
79 project, finished,
'86 1200 (Beth's) with motorvation sidecar, July 2017 BOTM
'17 HD Road king and 08 HD Heritage softail (Beth's). I guess you can say we have MBS

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #35 by Sagebrush » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:49 am

I get the distinct feeling that Ben may be the smart one here :)
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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #36 by HomeMadeSin » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:50 am

No doubt there. But he did miss the epic parts....

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #37 by 5speed » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:39 pm

HomeMadeSin wrote:News alert!!! At least one Canadian has reported my spelling of 'tuque' as offensively Americanized. It should be 'touque' if you are north of the ice wall...

If you really want to mend fences with us Canucks you would have ended your post with "sorry". :IDTS:

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #38 by HomeMadeSin » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:51 pm

True. Sorry, eh!

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #39 by 5speed » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:10 pm

HomeMadeSin wrote:True. Sorry, eh!

anim-cheers1 lolol
1982 1100 std.
1976 GoldWing. running but not on the road
2002 Shadow American Classic (the boss's ride) SOLD
1983 Shadow 500. (sold)
1978 Goldwing. future cafe project.
2019 Can-Am ryker (boss's new ride)

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #40 by HomeMadeSin » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:02 pm

15 June 2018. Other than an inebriated native yelling about the liquor store being closed, the evening in Dease Lake was all about getting some shuteye. We are still 4 days in the hole, and one fewer in our posse. The choices for breakfast were pretty bleak so manage with a convenience store directly across from the motel and wolfed down what we could. In ’09, the food places we hit were awesome. This time around, the choices seemed much bleaker. But we are riding and happy. Honeybadger shows his jazz hands:

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A decent (lucky) over-the-shoulder shot:

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The Stewart-Cassiar Highway ends outside Watson Lake, BC at the famous Alaska Highway, milepost 649. It was much improved since our last passage, but certainly far from perfect. It can be littered with AH Speedbumps, aka buffalo at times so you have to pay attention. No fuzzy roadkill opportunities this time around but we did have fuzzy problems. The purple nap on Mike’s bike must’ve created so much drag his luggage was about to fall off. Literally.

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It appears a couple of welds broke and his top case was trying to be the bottom case. After consolidating our collective and available straps, bungies and other aids, we manage to upgrade the safety level from imminent disaster to trailer-park tornado preparedness.
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We are on the side of the road or parked and working on the bikes so often, you’d swear we were on AMF-era HD equipment. Too soon?

This intermission brought to you by the Alaska Highway.

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That’s a decent sample of what you can expect. Decent tarmac with stretches of dirt/gravel and annoying potholes strewn about. The shocks and vibrations took a toll on the GoPro and the mount at its base fractured and it went surfing down the highway around 70mph. That last pic was its last to date and likely ever. It was spotted thanks to the sharp eye of Mr. Jones, so we keep our recovery record intact.

Mike and his bungeed luggage system:

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Just a few miles outside Whitehorse:

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Please note that we have no idea where we are going to stay at this point in time. This does not set well with Mr. Jones, a natural planner. But when you are pushing 40+ year technology and 40+ year old physiology, the laisse fair approach is almost a necessity. We cruise through town as we search for a place to eat and an opportunity to find that cheap, bike friendly Taj Majal with a hot tub and a river… with Salma Hayek and Scarlett Johansson our hostesses.
Instead, we settle for a hostel on the outskirts of town that has a natural hot springs pool. Just in case anyone is eating while reading this, I’ll spare you the pics from the pool.

Post swim, we get together for some chocolate, shots and music.

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16 June 2018. A bit frosty this morning and we try to leave the hostel with some civility. But with two bikes running dual Webers, and three fitted with aftermarket exhausts, there was no getting out peacefully. This was especially true since the bikes are cold and groggy and need some throttle to perk up. Most of the group need coffee for the same reasons.
I was hearing some bad noises emanating from somewhere in my engine. I couldn’t place it but it was audible to others. So after a decent breakfast on the West side of town, we start to look into the timing belts.

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Aside from some mysterious blue substance, nothing seems out of whack. Check the timing, re-tension and slap her back together. We also buy every single portable plastic fuel tank the adjacent station had. We are starting to get near remoteness where range will be critical.

Here we stop for a quick glamour shot with the Yukon River for a backdrop.

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One of my other hobbies is photography and I brought along a 35mm film camera. Yes, film. Here are the asylum refugees on film:

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But one of the objectives is close, very close. Dawson City, site of the annual Dust to Dawson event. This is one accommodation that we had booked well in advance.

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Cheers! Eat, drink and be Merry, for tomorrow the fun really begins. No more asphalt for a while…

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #41 by RAT » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:59 pm

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #42 by Sugs » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:24 pm

What an awesome trip! I'm very jealous.
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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #43 by 5speed » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:36 pm

when are you guys heading out east again?
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1976 GoldWing. running but not on the road
2002 Shadow American Classic (the boss's ride) SOLD
1983 Shadow 500. (sold)
1978 Goldwing. future cafe project.
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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #44 by HomeMadeSin » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:33 pm

17 June 2018. Queue Diamond Dave…its Showtime! The big bad Dempster Highway awaits our trek towards Tuktoyaktuk. The story starts getting good here but first, let me Bob Ross the current scenario:

Mr. E Ville Genius, Dave aka Jeckyll:

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Dave is the de facto leader and there is simply no other person I’d want more on the team on missions like this. Being near the edge and having to use cunning and skill to stay atop the crest of the wave feeds his ego. It also can lead to CRAPS (Chronic Restive And Pensive Syndrome) for those looking for a simple, mindless escape. Some of us…ahem…have already rained on his parade given the schedule compression and change of original plans. Especially since said changes will in effect neuter the Dawson Rally experience. The memory of coming up short in ’09 and not reaching Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay is not lost. This time around, we were determined to be succeed. We had, in fact, planned to ride into Tuk in full Putin-esque mode:

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Mr Superficialisticexpialidocious, Kevin aka Honeybadger:

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The most important thing you have to realize about Kevin at this point is that he has an affinity for tarmac. He has not been riding long; perhaps 3 years at this point. I’ve already covered how appearances are important to him, but it is paramount on multiple levels. For those of us that like push that button (incessantly), the rainbow paint job and installed-but-not-wired heated grips provide a continuous source of mirth. But we get a bonus this time around. You see, we each had to ensure our oil levels were correct before we left Saskatoon and check it every fill-up since. Kevin’s bike has been giving his right boot the perpetual money shot since we left and yet his oil level is never low (overfull, of course). So picture a semi-novice, obsessive/compulsive rider who choked on spending $300 on Gaerne boots about to leave the comfort of pavement for days. I call it Self Induced “Oilboarding”….

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Mr. Deepwater AllEyes-On, Mike aka Mike.

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A relatively quiet guy, Mike is a former kickboxer that has overcome some serious health issues. Instead of blindly following the pharma program, he got into shape and became a triathlete to the point of representing the Canadian team in China. Bottom line is we’ll tease him but we don’t take it too far. He’s the fastest of the group, but a bit of episodic vertigo that was manageable on asphalt is going to keep him in check off it. And his bike is new to him for this trip, with no real familiarity to draw upon. Throw in a questionable electrical system and furry baggage hanging on for dear life, and the edge is closer than you think.

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Mr. Pub Charmer, David aka Mr. Jones

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A successful businessman and consummate entertainer, Mr. Jones is a British ex-pat that has made Canada his home. More at home perhaps on a sailing boat, this is his second tour with us; the preceding was the ’15 Maritimes Tour. Both times, he thankfully brought along an acoustic guitar which truly makes for an epic session around the fire pit after a long day’s ride. Clearly the brains of the group, he is riding a 2013 Yamaha Super Tenere decked out nicely for these types of excursions. This is prudent since he has to ride long distances solo to connect with the rest of the group. He managed to get invited on stage during the ’15 trip and did a set to an appreciative audience:

https://photos.smugmug.com/Canadian-Mar ... 62-640.mp4

Mr. Showan Tell, Troy aka HomeMadeSin

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I’m a sucker for an epic journey, especially if on a motorcycle. Had I not lucked into the dirt bike scene just before my teen years, I likely would’ve self-limited my options to a more laborious career and never realized the addiction of this brotherhood. I was late to the road scene, but definitely prefer the adventure/dual sport side of things and started with a KLR650. After becoming disgusted with the boat-like fully faired set-up in ’15, I quickly stripped the ’77 Wing naked. But this means I am running fully exposed dual (and genuine Weber) 40IDFs and I too, will be mostly unprotected. On the plus side, my set-up is the lightest of the old iron steeds by a fair bit.

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Alrighty then, time to get the road on the show. We buy MORE plastic gas cans and bungies at a gas station on the outskirts of Dawson City. We fill them up and strap them the best way we can along with bottled water, snacks and the like. We are loaded for bear, or so we think. As we are preparing everything, a couple of riders on modern adventure bikes pull up to use the basic car wash nearby. It does not look good; mud and disgust at what they had just experienced. If these guys were having trouble, What are we going to have? We are on heavy, overburdened, old cruisers with minimal travel. Here’s a pic borrowed from an ADVRIDER experience along the Dempster on the day before (note the front fender was ripped off due to the polymerized mud):

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Mostly undeterred, we keep calm and muster on. It’s about 30 minutes back East to the turnoff for the Dempster Highway toward Tuktoyaktuk. I love the special warning for us “murdercyclists”…

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I’ll assume most of the readers have never been on the Dempster (or Dalton) highways. So I will do my best to show and tell the road conditions and issues. Here’s a shot early on, showing just how seductively docile it can seem:

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Of course anyone that has ridden gravel roads will immediately know that a bright, dry day is not generally the best situation. We have to spread out to manage visibility (and breathing) for the dust cloud each of us generates. I get the initial benefit given the nakedness of me and my bike (particularly the carbs). And I’m moving at a decent clip as I am comfortable off road. What you also must realize is that the because of the dust, the roads are often sprayed with calcium chloride (a binding agent) to help reduce it. The side effect is the binder turns to a snot-like substance when wet (hence the mud-caked pic above). Therefore, weather conditions are of the upmost importance as you will soon see.

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Starts out beautiful and absolutely perfect for riding…deceptive like seeing an attractive mate, well before the later cohabitation shock. The road is moist in this section, so no dust clouds for the time being. A bit surprisingly, Honeybadger is railing also.

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I had to stop because some of the empty Gerry cans made a leap for it. Lots of fun tracking those down and strapping back on. But I’m doing my best to smash as many bugs as I can with the Klim:

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The protocol is to keep an eye on the rider behind you. I was keeping tabs on Kevin, but it seems he wasn’t keeping tabs behind himself. We get a well-deserved lecture to keep it close as we are all carrying parts or tools that someone may need.

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Just over 4 hours on the Dempster and Dave’s bike is having trouble again. This time, it’s electrical. Inconsistent, it takes some time to identify the culprit. We have spare ignitions, regulators, ballasts, you-name-it and perform various swaps and testing. We think the battery is not getting a charge, but we do not have a spare battery. The nearest parts store is in Dawson City, back about 5 hours. Fate simply is not smiling upon us…another deal breaker?

***This is a Ripley’s moment. You simply can’t make this up.***

Recall that I mentioned Dave brings a generator for his CPAP machine should we have to tent it along the road. Bingo! We use the generator to provide running electricity to run his bike. No kidding.

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This crazy setup works and allows us to keep going forward, on to Eagle Plains – the main oasis along this route. We arrive late, but get something to eat and libations to drink. More importantly, we have a place to sleep. It was a very long day that isn’t fully captured by just a few pictures.

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Dave’s frustrated because of his bike’s issues along the way and how we split apart for a while. We are all feeling the effects of a long day made longer by the repairs, Gerry cans breaking free and at least one low speed get-off.

The next picture tells the story. At the time, I was starting to get concerned about Kevin’s well-being. The dirt and gravel roads, coupled with the constant oiling of his right boot might trigger something deep inside him and break that controlled exterior. You can just see it…the eyes always tell the truth. This is a man working hard to hold it together.

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Tire much?

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The bikes certainly feel about the same…

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Re: The Old Man from Tuktoyaktuk gets the Last Laugh

Post #45 by sunnbobb » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:17 am

Wow, just a great tale. I hope you can share this vid with Mr. Jones. He probably has played the song for you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3Xh1XQEj1U
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