Wednesday, September 30, 2009

robbery while there’s a fire outbreak

Many people asked (in north America): where did your rode from?

I had my Singapore flag on Hope Too, maybe they just want to start a conversation.

Me: we came from Singapore

Stranger: did u shipped your bike from Singapore?

Me: er…no. we rode from Singapore to France, shipped to argentina, from there we entered usa from Texas and now we are here (Alaska/Canada).

Stranger: waooo! awesome! that was cool! u rode from Texas to here!

Me:………………………. (you only know where is Texas).

Broken bearing.

We are heading towards Whitehorse from Anchorage. the journey seems forever. I would stop to check the bike as there are a lot of random noises, then I would stop to go to the toilet, knowing that the services between towns are limited.

We were 16km to a town, Haines Junction. I felt a strong wobble on the rear wheel and stopped. couldn’t see any loose nut, pinched tires or any nails. Samantha had better eyes and noted some unusual looking stuff on the rear wheel right side bearing. I took out the rear wheel and the bearing was broken into metal chips. i couldn’t hammer that broken bearing out. didn’t have a proper too. at the same time we were struggling with the cold. cold. cold. cold weather. At last a vehicle passed by and I stopped it. he was willing to get towing services for us when he reached the town. meanwhile, a RV a stopped. The uncle provided me all the tools he had to hammer the bearing out but it doesn’t work. then a police vehicle came, which was informed by the first vehicle. he came to check us out and went back.

meanwhile, we went up to the RV to seek shelter from the cold. the uncle offered us hot tea and instant noodle, knowing that we had not eaten since leaving the campsite without breakfast as there isn’t any food stop in between. that was the marvelous breakfast and lunch and his invitation really kept us out of the cold until the policeman came with a trailer, to tow Hope Too to the nearest workshop.

I had a spare bearing but wrong size. lucky again, at this small town, at this messy workshop, there was the bearing I needed. off we go again!

These 2 Canadian saved us.

Strange place.

we had 3 night rest in Whitehorse where we updated the blog, sent letters and parcel, stock up our kitchen and set fire for BBQ. The weather at Whitehorse was really nice.

then we traveled 420km eastwards to Watson Lake where we camped ‘free’ at the park. we set our tent under a roof and there was free firewood to keep us warm. it was a nice place. in the night, it rain and I told myself that we are lucky to have this roof to keep our tent dry.

it rained till the next afternoon, 1pm. the sky was dark but the rain stopped. we packed up and went out to the town getting ready for another 500km to the other stop. when we reached the town within 15minutes, it started to rain again. my plan was to ride over the clouds hoping that the sky would be better on the other side. we rode and rode, it rain and rain. we did not have any rain gear as it was torn. wet, cold at 2degress Celsius, flooded boots and wet glove under the cold wind. there wasn’t any services along this highways as it was winter and many were closed. at last we stopped at a gas station’s café. walked in, water dripping from our jackets, cold and desperate, there sits a old woman that stopped her conversation with the younger owner. she looked at as because we are wetting the carpet. there were 5 tables and chairs in this café but it was filled with their shopping materials. we were NOT allow to sit in the café. we don’t feel welcome. I am not begging for sympathy. went in just to buy a cup of expensive hot coffee and stood outside to drink.

we are desperate to look for a place to stay and Sam ask the owner how much was the room. she said:

well, actually we are going to close in 3 days due to the season but if u have a sleeping bag, u could sleep here maybe for a few bucks……like CAD$40. (S$60)

I was FUCKING ANGRY but kept my cool. there’s a Chinese saying:

Robbery while there’s a fire outbreak.

kept cool and said goodbye to them.

can you reconize that this is Hope Too? Just a night after staying at the record breaking room.

it's about 3 inches of snow on Hope Too.

Nice paintwork?

Hope Too was giving much weird noise from the chain. there isn’t flat ground for me to put on center stand to oil my chain for the past days. then the front disc brake was giving knocking noise. then we were cold. mountain after mountain, the sky dosen’t seems better. finally it snowed, which was abit better than rain as it was dry BUT we were already wet. we were looking forward to the next camp ground that we could set a tent under a shelter with firewood,

there wasn’t any because the campground stated on the map were closed due to winter.

we had to break a record this time:

to stay at the most expensive lodging in our trip: CAD$90 excluding tax. that came out to be S$150.00. that is for a room of 3 meters by 3 meters.

this is another case of

robbery while there’s a fire outbreak.

but after some brainstorming, it isn’t this case. they provided the service with a price, I agreed and paid. it’s an official business transaction. they are just providing a service to desperate travelers at a desperate location.

we are desperate. Then I remembered my god sister’s quote:

the safest option will always not be the cheapest option.

we stayed.

Cold road. it's quite dangerous because there are black ice.
I remembered the day after we got fine from the Canadian border for CAD$1000, we reached a gas station and went in for coffee. the cashier and a customer was curious about us and asked about our trip. he was very enthusiastic about us. we answer the same thing and he asked more. I decided to take out my CAD$1000 ticket and ask them about some English word that I don’t understand. their answer was very short and tried to avoid me after that. I felt like they see me like a criminal.

anyway, we are heading southeast. it seems that the weather this autumn isn’t that good as it will be snowing along the rocky mountains here.

got to whip Hope Too to be obedient, not to give us any trouble along the way.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back to the south

cheap rain gear.

Alaska King Crab!!!
that is only one of the legs. usually in singapore we throw away the legs because there isn't any flesh in it but this leg, it feeds both of us! it's about half an arm length.

im selling the above glass bottle for anyone that is intrested. it contained Alaska's natural mineral: GOLD. it says 24k gold.
i only had 2 left.
we saw the native Alaska people. they looked very much like us. very asiatic. the above picture is taken in a musuem.

Aurora sightings! took this picture from a book.
We would like to thank Jack Jackson for his regular contribution to our blog.

Also to:

Blanca and Jim Williams,
Lawrence Pevec
Joshua Briggs

for the cash contribution to us which we had bought

1) a new sleeping bag for Samantha for the very cold weather,
2) Waterproof cover for the sleeping bag as it is big, we have to tie it outside the bike,
3) Small Lantern with candle, to keep some heat in the tent,
4) a few Hand warmer,
5) waterproof cover for our passport,
6) cotton socks for me as I had only 2 pair of socks before,
7) lightweight raincoat.

it's snowing. ignore what im doing by the side of the road on the picture above.


snowing. from Anchorage to Whitehorse is tough. it's late in the season. 1st, we got rain, that soak us wet at a temperature of 4degress celcius with cold wind. then it snowed. the snow was abit dry, thats good but i have to use my glove to sweep away the snow on my visor, then it became icewater on my glove. the snow landed on our boots, then it became icewater. our feet and hands feels like being soak in a tub of icewater for 2hours.

cheap rain gear we bought. it was torn due to the wind.

a night after we woke up.
about 150km to whitehorse, thats where our pitstop is, Hope Too's rear bearing broke into bits. i can't take out the bearing with proper tools and it was very cold at the road. a kind man stopped his RV and offered us hot drinks and food meanwhile the Canadian policeman came with a trailer to tow Hope Too to the nearest workshop. i was lucky because the workshop had the same size of bearing and he charged me with a proper fee. we are heading south now.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Some missed out photos along the way to the north

We made it! from Ushuaia, picture below, to the artic circle, picture above. crossing from the south to north pole of the world.

picture below taken on 25 december 2008. distance stated to alaska might be flying distance.

at a local native american festival.

In Washinton.

Writing from North Pole of Alaska, sending a postcard back to Singapore.

Washing up Hope Too after coming back from the Artic Circle.

Samantha got a new friend in facebook.

you can write to Santa at the address, really!

Hope Too, as usual, being a dirty baffolo.

The night in Coldfoot, alaska. we wanted to see the northern Aurora lights but...

we reached North Pole!
That's what coldfoot is about.
coldfoot camping.

timer from the camera is too fast.


The scottoiler broke! it jammed my chain and i nearly skidded.

at last we get to use the bbq grill from the swiss team. Now i got the skill to cook rice from firewood. the left pot is brown sauce for the meat, the middle pot is for hot water, the right pot is rice.


We were lucky enough to be adopted by Don. Sue on his left and Ashley on his right. We felt very comfortable staying with them but we have to go. Thank you Don!

Glazier again...

we have to be bear-safe here.

and we are lucky to spot a bear.

the CAD$15.00 camping. we were provided with a bench and table and a site with small gravels. free running water by the stream and free trees to view. free toilet that has no flushing system that once i open up the cover i could see the waste 1.2meters below. must wash hands using our own water. we are free to bring in electricity and water without additional charges. free trashbin 20meters away. free bugs that flying around our ears and face.

Thanks 54victor and thanks MJ. I don't think these publication helps. Headache. what gave me more headache is explained below. its a letter to the canada border agency, regarding the CAD$1000 fine. i have not submitted it. will go back to canada to hand it over.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
110-300 Main Street
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 2B5

High Commission of the Republic of Singapore – Canada
Mr Koh Yong Guan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tanglin Singapore 248163 Email:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Request for Review or for an Appeal for seizure number 8081-09-0021

Firstly, I would like to compliment about the ample amount of road signage in Canada to warn all road users about the slightest debris that will endanger road users.

I am a tourist and a writer, travelling with my Singapore registered motorcycle, FQ3515B in Canada with my wife. I am promoting motorcycling tourism in Canada. We entered Canada on September 7th 2009 at Douglas Immigration, near Vancouver.

On September 11th 2009, at about 4pm, I rode along highway 37A towards Stewart, British Columbia, Canada, looking for a good campsite in Stewart. Not being satisfied with the campsite condition in Stewart, I rode further along the road that leads to Hyder. I rode into Hyder and only saw abandoned buildings and within 5 minutes in Hyder, I only saw 2 people in the town. Knowing that Hyder might be a less populated town with limited services, I decided to go back to camp at Stewart, using the same road where I came from.

On the way back, I noticed that there was a building, I slowed down 50 meters away to observe the building at the speed of 10-20km/hr. There wasn’t any one manning the building, there wasn’t any barrier or gate, so I decided to continue my journey to Stewart.

When I reached Stewart, a police patrol vehicle stopped me and I was asked to go back to the way I came from, as instructed by the police officer. I obeyed every instruction from the police officer without questioning or struggle.

It was the building where I had passed thro few minutes ago and there stands 3 officers standing on the road with their arms crossed. I answerer all their questions and handed them our passports, motorcycle registration document from Singapore and later the bike keys. Custom officer 14365 informed me that they have to seize my motorcycle because I had ‘run the border’. She also informed me that I had to pay CAD$1000 in order to get my motorcycle back. Then she further explained the reason why she seized my motorcycle because of the CAD$1000 fine I had to pay for ‘running the border’ and they could not sent the fine ticket to my house in Singapore, the only way is to seize the motorcycle and that will make sure I would pay the CAD$1000.

picture 1

I explained to them that I did not realised it was an international boundary where I had entered Hyder, USA, as there wasn’t any signage of leaving Canada or entering USA, there wasn’t any custom and immigration at Hyder, USA side and all these terrain had forced me to assume that Hyder was part of Canada. (refer to picture 1 attached) When I rode near to the building, I slowed down and observed but nobody was at the building or any barrier. (refer to picture 2 attached) I also explained further that we are not trying to import anything into Canada illegally.

Picture 2

Officer 14365 said she could not do anything but had to execute the duty of seizing my motorcycle but she said I could explain the case to her superior, officer 10985.

I explained the same to officer 10985 but he does not seem to understand my point. He said that I had committed an offence of not stopping at the stop sign which I had rode thro. The fine of CAD$1000 is for not stopping at the stop sign, it would be the same as committing a traffic offence where I had to pay the fine before retrieving my motorcycle back.

I begged him for leniency for this matter and he said

I could charge you CAD$2000 now because it was 2 persons, now I am lenient to you and only charge you for CAD$1000.

Without speaking further, he left the office at about 430pm and I have to pay for the fine in order to continue my journey with the motorcycle. My wife paid the fine with an AMEX credit card and we had the documents and key back.

When I was issued with the Seizure receipt (Number 471290), the allegation stated on the receipt was:

That the said conveyance was used to transport persons into Canada in contravention of the Customs Act.

I strongly believed that the CBSA has misunderstood the facts or has applied the law incorrectly and I would like to seek for an appeal on this case as it was all caused by misunderstanding and the lack of communication.

Our journey will continue to USA, Australia, East Timor, Indonesia and Malaysia before reaching Singapore on May 2010. We could be reached via email at a faster speed of replying to any questions arise.

I hope to seek your justice on this case.

Yours sincerely,

Goh Mia Chun

what the F?! us running the border. these people are the same in the whole world. their ego is bigger than the whole universe. i didn't stop... they arrested me, went back to them, and all they want to feel is me begging to them and after that giving me a heavy punishment.