Alaska bound

WELCOME TO MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT A BLOG. I PLAN ON USING THIS SPACE TO SEND "REPORTS FROM THE ROAD" FOR A MOTORCYCLE TRIP MY FRIEND BOB AND I ARE TAKING THIS SUMMER. MASSACHUSETTS TO ALASKA! A FIVE WEEK ODYSSEY THROUGH BRITISH COLUMBIA, ALBERTA, The YUKON And ALASKA....ALL THE WAY TO THE ARTIC OCEAN. If you would like to be notified when we update this blog, simply drop me an email or send me a "comment" and I'll add you to the notify list......... THANKS FOR COMING ALONG FOR THE RIDE!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Where are we now....?








July 9 (PM)
Well it's been a few days since we have been able to update the BLOG. Bob and I have been in the Arctic Circle for cripes sakes! Not alot of internet access up there!
So....we left off where we were heading to Tok Alaska.....Uneventful ride, except that we are on one of the most fantastic roads I've ever been on. The "Top of the World Highway" is a dirt road that unlike most roads through mountains, doesn't travel around the bases of the mountains, it goes right over the top! This "highway" is only open a few months a year. The winters are just too brutal to keep it open.....and dangerous, as there are no guard rails and in some places it is hundreds of feet off drop off if you miss a turn....Not fun! We had perfect weather...but I wouldn't want to do this road in the rain. Up here they spread some kind of calcium mixture on the roads to keep the dust down. This works well when things are dry, but God help you if you are on the road during rain. This mixture turns to a grease and 20 mph is pushing it on two wheels........
We get to Tok, about 500 miles from Dawson City, and see a sign for a campground that is advertising "Free Showgirls".......The Sourdough Campground and RV Park. Sounds like a plan! We head on over and instead of Free Showgirls, the local highschool kids fooled with the letters and it should have read "Free Showers"....Whatever...The showers were great and they were free!
We met a nice couple from Arizona and invited them to join us at a local food feast called the "Salmon Bake"...This place is world known for a great woodfired salmon steak and all the fixings......nothing like it! Great meal.........We stopped and picked up a six pack on the way back to the campsite and sat outside talking for a few hours before we turned in.
July 10
This is the big day! The whole reason this trip existed for us was to get to the Arctic Circle......I've been close on a few big game hunting trips, but no cigar. Today we will ride 458 miles from Tok to Coldfoot....75 miles of which will be dirt, mud and ROCKS!
Between Tok and Fairbanks is Delta Junction, the official end of the Alaskan Highway. We stopped, took pictures and received our certificates for completing the Alaskan Highway........
We stopped in Fairbanks to get road conditions for the Dalton Highway, also known as the "Haul Road". This road was built to supply the building of the Alaska Pipeline and to resupply Prudhoe Bay. Until a few years ago it was not open to the public. I'm here to tell you...this is one tough road! The paved sections are like some roads in Bagdad...Huge potholes, uneven surfaces and just a real good time......Now throw in sections where they simply come along, tear out the roadbed and lay down about 4" of 1/2" size gravel and it really gets your interest! Luckily we had dry weather..I can't imagine this road in the rain.....But the washboard effect was taking it's toll on my wrist......Construction zones are another interesting part of the roads up here. You'll be driving along and see a sign saying "Road Construction Ahead"...There will be a flag person stopping you. Motorcycles go to the head of the line...a "Pilot" car shows up and you all get into a single file line and follow the pilot car...which goes so slow you can barely keep the bike upright! And they take you through a war zone! Some times in mud 6" deep, or a boulder field with rocks the size of apples.....always and interesting event! We made it to the Arctic Circle and Bob needed to convince me to not turn back and do the next 60 miles to Coldfoot where we had a "room" (and I use the term loosely) for the night. It was six of one, half a dozen of the other.....60 miles forward or 60 miles back. We were under the impression that the remainder of the road to Coldfoot was in much better repair...NOT!
But we went on and I made it without too much issue, but my wrist was smarting pretty good. This is unfortunate because for the whole 3000 miles we had traveled thus far, it didn't give me a moment of complaint. But then again, I wasn't riding 120 plus miles on washboard........But I'm glad we made it to Coldfoot. It was a great experience and it gave me time to rest my wrist for the return trip. Coldfoot was a blast! Lots of motorcycles, lots of stories, a few broken motorcycles, a few sad stories....fortunatly while we were there, although bikes were "put down", no one was injured.
You might ask why we were taking a room in the Coldfoot Inn rather than camping....Although a concern has been bears throughout this trip, it turns out that bears are a piece of cake.....WOLVES are the big issue! All kinds of stories of wolves trying to get onto tents while occupied and then the story about a gal at the Artic Circle rest area being attacked (which was front page news back in Anchorage and on all the TV stations) and a motorcyclist being chased by wolves is all I needed to put real lumber between me and the elements while in the Arctic! Check out the photograph of the sign that was posted at the Artic Circle pull out.......
So we make it to Coldfoot (By the way, it's called Coldfoot because folks heading for the Artic would get cold feet at this point and head back).........But I couldn't go to Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay.........I figured I had about 6000 miles to go on this trip and if I screwed up my wrist bad, I'd be in real trouble.....But "Bob Ain't Stoppin" decided to do the Deadhorse run solo...IN ONE DAY!!! 243 miles each way...through the Brooks Mountain Range and untold miles of Tundra!!! I'll let him fill you in on the details.......
Bob returned from Deadhorse.........and you want to talk about a "Deadhorse!" ...Man, was he beat! But he was a hero! The rest of the bikers and truck drivers at the Coldfoot Inn gave him a standing ovation when he pulled it for doing that run in one day..Solo!
We spent that second night at the Inn and then headed for Denali Park early on Thursday, July 13.....This would take us by Mt McKinley (Which the natives still call Denali "The Great One"). But our chances of seeing the 20,000+ foot mountain were nil as it was pouring rain! The guide books tell us you have about a 20% chance of seeing Denali because the mountain makes its own weather and is usually shielded in clouds. So we decided to just high tail it to Anchorage and leave "The Great One" for another visit.......BUT...as we are riding along I see a break in the clouds, and something told me to pull off the highway and look back...we did , and the picture tells the rest of the story! Talk about luck! In a driving rain storm....we beat the odds and saw Denali!
On to Anchorage and Alaskan Leathers so Bob can change his engine oil.........More to come!

2 Comments:

At Sat Jul 15, 05:00:00 AM, Anonymous YBLee said...

Roy, thanks for the great writing for the last few days. I was starting to wonder if something happened. Good to hear you guys are in such great shape and you sound like you having a terrific time! Hope the wrist is feeling better - try to ice it as much a possible at night.
Bob, you-da-man and as they say in Fall River, "your-the-balls"! Hope to hear from you guys next week at the rally say Friday sometime around 22:00 hours GMT or 6 PM Vermont time and I think 2 PM your time or at least that is the time in Fairbanks. Unless you have a schedule set up with someone else, you can call my CP and will set up a bluetooth speakerphone so we can all hear you at the YB dinner. Let me know and I will PM you my CP#.
Take care guys and RIDE-ON!

 
At Sat Jul 15, 05:34:00 AM, Anonymous jefe said...

Ok!
Three Naomis!
(Woulda earned another, but we need more photos for that...) We'll all be gathered 'round Lee at dinner next week, waiting for th' call. Glad to hear from you today; as Lee mentions, we were a little worried, though we, too were thinking, "Arctic Circle - not much internet access there..."
Ride on, indeed!

 

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