Chasing a deadline…

Returning back down the Dalton highway started easier than the push done the night previously. The weather was better but when trucks go past in the opposite direction they would send a spray of mud into the air that would add another layer to everything. If you weren’t quick enough to put your arm up to protect the helmet visor… Visibility would instantly become nothing.

I got about half way back to Cold foot and i noticed the bike was getting hot. I don’t have a working thermostat but i just had a sense for it. When i stopped i could hear the pressure escaping from the cooling system. The radiator was blocked with mud and i had no way of cleaning it. I decided that i would keep going to Cold Foot regardless. Making sure i kept the revs of the engine low and hoping that the outside air temperature would be enough to keep the bike cool and happy.

The theory worked for a while. I got within 30 miles of Cold Foot and i stopped for a photo near a creek. The radiator system was whistling as it tried to release the pressure. Then there was a loud pop/bang and a cooling hose blew.

The radiator (Its off a KLR2008 encase your wondering)….
Wasn’t letting much air get through..

The hose…
Blew out on the right hand side..

I removed the radiator and walked down to the stream to clean it out. With the radiator clean i was reinstalling it along with the hose i had repaired with tape when Georg an Austrian on a GS appeared.

We rode together through Cold foot, i returned my fuel containers, then emerged together out of the Arctic Circle. I noticed the difference in my 650 thumper compared to 1200 cc of BMW GS. Fortunately the road condition and occasional corners gave me opportunity to stay near enough.

By the time we reached the next fuel stop i needed to do another repair on the taped up hose. I found some rubber garden hose around the back of a shed and joined them as best i could.

Georg was patient and we eventually got to Fairbanks later that night. We stayed in a Hostel this time around. After showering and a few beers we passed out for a well earnt sleep.

The following morning i set off early, I had only made 800km of the 1000 required the previous day and i still had a border crossing to complete later that afternoon. This would be without any official documents except for my number plate. I presumed it wasn’t going to be a simple procedure.

I was starting to think that i would be a day late for for Claudia’s arrival.

However, I wasn’t going to resist an opportunity to take a photo of Mr Moose.

About 2.5 hours before the Canadian Border I stopped to take this photo..

The repair on my hose was leaking again. I hurried on to Tok, a town that is in Alaska two hours from the Canadian border. I refueled and cleaned the bike thoroughly with a pressure hose. I then bought some hose clamps and did a proper repair on the problematic radiator hose.

When i went to start the bike again………. grrrrrrrr splata crank crank crank, nothing!!!!

I thought something must be wet from the cleaning, i gave it a chance to dry, used compressed air to blow things dry and then over the course of the next couple of hours removing piece by piece. I eventually worked out that the problem was much worse….

Water was entering the cylinder (engine) either through a break in a gasket or a crack somewhere in the engine…. Without these parts, it was beyond my repair….

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