North to Alaska

Day 22


Day 22 for me.


Day 433 for Ruckus.


I never made it to Diamond Tooth Gerties last night.


On the way back to the hotel from the Dawson City Music Festival – I spotted a sidecar rig right in front of my hotel – with a group of bikers standing around it talking.  Even from afar, I could tell it was a Ural – a bike I have been interested in for some time.  Little did I know at that point, that I was approaching another one of those mystical moments that have come to characterize this trip.


Of course, Ruckus can’t drive the motorcycle – even though he is a Bull Mastiff – his road adventure is guided by John Segalla – from Weymouth, MA.

click on photo

A number of months ago I visited the Ural website – because I have been interested for some time in taking my Yellow Lab, Iowa Sioux, with me on the motorcycle.  I found out about John’s trip from his website and remember thinking how small my trips are in comparison to spending two and one half years on the road.


John lives off of less than $100 per week – camping where he can – and experiencing the generosity of folks he meets along the road.  He occasionally writes articles for the South Weymouth newspaper – represents the Ural importers – and writes profusely in his journal – which may one day become a book.


I invited John to bunk in with me – and we spent too many hours just talking about our experiences on the road.  He told me that he used to ride BMWs – and ride long distances each day when he was on the road.  However, the Ural is not a modern motorcycle in the context we have come to expect – it is, for the most part, made in Russia with, what we would call antique machine tools, and will not withstand 10 or 12 hours of running at interstate speeds.  It is a machine from a former time – which when driven in the context for which it was made – performs quite nicely.


And it has provided a platform for John’s journey which does not exceed 50 mph – or 200 miles per day.  He generally rides for an hour – then stops for an hour – contemplating the area that he has just ridden – then writing about the experience.


Ruckus, meanwhile, just rides in the sidecar – and just is the loving puppy that he is.

John Segalla, and Ruckus, Day 433
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I was not supposed to be in Dawson City, YT last night – according to my original plan – and I am left to wonder if I am here to meet him.  You see, I have been thinking that my trips are too ambitious – and I am longing for a slower pace – a place away from the interstate highways – a rocking chair on the porch of a general store – and time to listen to stories…….


John and I have breakfast – he heads down the street to the music festival – and I head down the highway to Whitehorse.  I invite him to join me for the drive to Whitehorse – and to bunk in with me for two more nights there – and he politely refuses – saying he will just find a patch of grass at the festival – and catch up on his correspondence.


What I don’t realize until I am well on the way to Whitehorse is that my 6 hour ride is his two day ride.


Is there a Ural in my future?


I doubt there is a day 433 for me.


But just maybe a motorcycle that can’t go 700 miles a day is the limitation necessary to learn to tour “On Yukon Time.”


So to you and Iowa Sioux and Dominique, Dalmatian, NYFD  – I say goodnight from Whitehorse, YT – and goodnight to you too – Ruckus.

 Index, Day, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 thru 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32&33 34