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...

Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28th - Hanging out in Deadhorse

We were so beat yesterday we figured it would be best to rest up for a day before heading south so that's what we did. Besides the food is so good we didn't want to leave just yet. Bad news and good news this morning, Mac's back tire went flat overnight so he had to change it out with his next-best spare. He's getting pretty good at that so maybe this one will hold on for awhile. My luck was better as I found my missing cell phone rolled up in my tent. I'd had a similar incident happen a few days ago so I guess whenever I can't find something that's the first place I should look.

After our morning adventures we headed out to find the general store and post office. We ran into a guy who told us how to find it - no signs of course - and his directions proved invaluable, we'd have never found it otherwise. Mac bought a couple of T-shirts and I satisfied my personal needs with bumper stickers, now mounted on the sidecar. They're the variety that peel your paint off if you try to remove them so I figure they'll stay there until it's time for a paint job.

We've signed up for a 2-hour tour of the oil fields at 08:00am in the morning after which we'll start our return ride south. Mac is going to head east when we reach Fairbanks on a route that will take him to Montana and then on towards Iowa. I'll head south to Delta Junction and after that my choice of directions will likely depend on weather conditions. Linda's younger brother Dan works up here and he stopped by for a visit this evening. He said the overall weather is turning cold earlier this year and there are reports of snow in the hills around Anchorage so maybe it's time to head for warmer climes... No matter how you slice it, Bandon is a couple of weeks away at the normal pace for my sidecar and there's still lots to see.

July 27th - Deadhorse at Last!

Dang, the Haul Road is one heck of a ride! After breakfast in Coldfoot we met a couple of Russian guys who'd just returned from Deadhorse. They were pulling a trailer made out of a 55 gallon oil drum behind one of their Harley's, definitely a fashion statement. They said they made the ride in 5 hours so we figured it would take us at least 7 or so and that proved to be a good guess.

The ride itself was fairly uneventful if you consider 247 miles of potholes as such. We stopped several times to rest and once to fuel up using our spare cans. Mac liked the Antigun pass the best, said it went on forever. We arrived in Deadhorse late in the afternoon, tired and beat but without any serious bike problems. The Prudhoe Bay Hotel turned out to be great, $180 per night for the 2 of us but including all meals and a free laundry room. The food is great, prime rib being on the evening meal our first night. We stuffed ourselves and crashed early. What else is there to say? We made it!

July 26th - Coldfoot!

It's only been a couple of days since we rode from Fairbanks to Coldfoot but it seems like a week ago. Maybe it's the rain and mud but it's definitely something mind boggling. Our stay in Fairbanks turned out to be nicer than we expected in spite of the high-priced grubby hotel. I think it was due to the nice staff who treated us courteously and made us feel at home. In any event we headed out early, stopping at a new McDonald's for breakfast. That's always a welcome change from the over-priced independent places and the food quality is consistent.

Moving on we rode several miles out of town before stopping for gas and an opportunity for me to get into my red rain suit. I really hated to do it as it seems whenever I do it immediately clears up and it becomes a sweat-shop. Of course that's what happened again...

The ride to Coldfoot took us past Linvenfoot, the beginning of the Haul Road. Mud, potholes, washboards; all contributed to bone-jarring riding that threatened to tear the sidecars off our bikes. At one point I hit a pothole large enough to launch my spare tire and both gas jugs. The spare is cabled onto the luggage rack but jugs went off into space, landing on the gravel but not busting open, a testimony to durability of the plastic they're made of.
We stopped for a few minutes at Finger Mountain and then on to Old Man, now for sale and where Mac and Joe stayed eleven years ago. It looks exactly like the pics in travel books but has a sense of desertion about it. A little further on passed over the Arctic Circle and stopped for pics and to make blood donations to the local mosquito population. Several gallons lighter we headed north again, arriving in Coldfoot late in the day. Pricing out the hotel rooms at the $179 per night convinced us to go camping at the Marion Creek BLM park 5 miles further on. The Golden Age Passport made it more attractive at $4.00 per night. Even with the new bear-in-the-area warning signs... Mac built his best ever fire and it was still going at 4:00am in spite of the torrential rain that set in around 10:00pm and continued for most of the night. He'd asked me a couple of days back if my tent was really waterproof and this night it proved to be so, I slept dry and warm. In the morning after breaking camp we rode back to Coldfoot for breakfast and then it was back on the road to Deadhorse.