About Larry

I live in Bandon on the southern Oregon coast and I've been riding for a long, long time, years, decades. We won't go there kiddies but believe me, it's been awhile. During that time I've done most of my riding on the road with occasional off-road forays, most of which were intentional. Some weren't. Until just a couple of years ago I'd never ridden a hack - that's sidecar to those who aren't familiar with the lingo. I figure riding a hack up Alaska's infamous Haul road all the way to Deadhorse should top off my torture tank for quite awhile.

About Mac

Mac hails from Robins, Iowa and has been riding bikes longer than most people have been around. He managed to torture his old BMW past the 100,000 mile mark and presently rides a Yamaha FJR. His newest ride, a 2008 Ural Patrol is waiting on the dealer's highest shelf until the flood waters recede after which they'll assemble it and turn it over to him. The fact that he's heading to Alaska for his first journey on a new rig should tell you all you need to know about him...

Friday, July 25, 2008

July 25th - Tok to Fairbanks

We've been hearing rumors the past couple of days about traffic being turned back from Deadhorse for security reasons. This would really screw things up as neither of us wants to ride the haul road only to be turned back 20 miles short of our goal. For one thing we wouldn't be able to carry enough fuel for that, we've been counting on refueling at Deadhorse. Mac has been to the Arctic Circle post before and if we can't go to Deadhorse we'll ride at least that far. With that in mind we rode from Tok to Fairbanks today. Not much in the way of photo ops, just a nice leisurely ride in weather that has turned from morning rain showers to uncomfortably warm.

We stopped at the North Pole visitors center to see what they might stir up in the way of motels and they sent us here, another nameless old place situated under the flight path to the airport and adjacent to a dirt road leading to the local Harley Davidson dealer. Imagine if you will what that's like, planes buzzing on final approach while beer-bellies rap up and down the dirt road on their hogs. Tomorrow we're out of here no matter where it takes us.... Mac's new rear tire that he had installed in Bellingham is kaput at 2000 miles so he's changed it out. My tires are holding up so far so I'm going to leave them alone, at least for now. Both bikes seem to be running OK although I ran out of gas at 112 miles today so it may be time to wash the air cleaner again. Lots of dust and dirt on these roads so maintenance requirements are much higher.

July 24th - Top of the World Highway & Chicken, AK

This morning it wasn't raining so we were at it early, took another tour of Dawson City for photos, stopped for rolls and coffee, gassed up for a mere $7.59 per gallon, then took the ferry ride over the river to the beginning of the Top of the World Highway. The ferry ride was interesting, I was placed at the very front of it and one of the biggest trucks was parked next to me, around 6" clearance. It took two of us to jockey the bike around so I could ride off. As I was heading up the ramp I noticed a fox standing next to a dirt pile watching the ferry. I was able to snap a couple of pics before he took off.
Heading up the mountain was when we really got into the fog routine, visibility nearly nothing but at least there wasn't any other traffic. The road itself was mostly wet sandy mud with the usual pot holes. After a few miles and a lot of climbing we broke out of the fog into sunshine which we enjoyed for the rest of the ride.
Chicken was not at all as I expected it to be, the buildings are mostly newer and cater to tourists like ourselves. Prices we're not that bad and we had a great lunch at one of the cafes. We both bought T-shirts at the main store where we met a couple of guys from Montana, one of whom was riding a sidecar. He was knocked over to run into 2 other hacks in Chicken so we declared it a convention. On the way out of town I stopped off at the post office to buy stamps for post cards and that done, we headed straight for TOK where we set up camp for the night. Several other riders showed up and we had fun swapping tales about the various roads we'd ridden. It started to drizzle about bedtime but it only lasted a short while and by morning everything had dried out.