I started my ride on the 7th in Haines Junction, YT, which is about 200 miles from the US/CAN border. After the rain the afternoon before, I was hoping the overcast skies wouldn’t pummel me all day. Although myself and the bike are dressed for the occasion, it’s nice to not have to deal with it. Only had a few sprinkles in the morning even though the skies looked ominous, and I had a nice drive through the Kluane Park and around Kluane Lake, yet another massive, beautiful body of water. I’m sure on a sunnier day I would have been inclined to stop for longer, but I enjoyed the view from the bike, stopped for a couple pictures and moved on. There was a bit of construction by the lake (the video below shows me driving by a dump truck whose tires were taller than me) but immediately following the drive around the lake is where the road got rather interesting. The road was a series of potholes and dips, the kind that require you to stand up on the pegs in order to take some of the stress off of the bike’s shocks, and I soon found my legs growing tired from all the standing and sitting. Throw into that mix a fun assortment of gravel coatings, and I was very ready to get to the US border in hopes that the road would be better there (which thankfully it was). I went through one section which was loose gravel and mud and I was fairly certain that was going to be the place where I put the bike down…somehow I made it through, though. I ate at a little diner in Beaver Creek, enjoyed the assortment of stuffed heads and eyes looking at me, and then continued to the border.
The scenery soon took on a much different look with wide green valleys filled with numerous small lakes and waterways. I enjoyed this section, and enjoyed being back in the US and having phone service as soon as I hit the first small town. I got gas in Delta Junction and then continued on towards Fairbanks…and towards the towering grey skies off to the west. A few sprinkles here, a few there, and then wham!…I drove straight into the side of a cloud. It was literally on the ground and the rain inside of that thing was rain like I had never ridden through (nor possibly even driven through in my car). I usually try to keep my speed up through the rain so as to use the wind to clear the water off my face mask. I decided it was time to abandon that strategy when I could no longer see the road. It was all water…water on the road, water in my face, water in the sky….all water. I held on, covered up motocompy as best I could and prayed that my bike wouldn’t hydroplane. It didn’t and I made it through to the other side where, to my surprise, were some of the bluest skies I’d seen on the trip thus far. Weird. I stopped and looked back at the cloud and thanked God that I hadn’t left parts of the bike or myself back there. The rest of the ride was a nice one and the landscape became more populated and tame as I neared the city. Some of the longest, straightest roads I’ve ever seen (also in the video, sped up 4x). As the title of the post suggests, it was along this stretch where a dragonfly flew square into the center of my visor. It made me wonder how the guys with open faced helmets do it…I asked my girlfriend the same thing and she informed that it’s because they’re real men. Hmmmm…interesting. I spent the night at an Air Force Base Lodge near the town of North Pole, AK, and enjoyed the nice hotel room feel at camping prices. Thanks Air Force. You really put the “all that you can be” into “Be all that you can be”. I road into Fairbanks yesterday morning and had breakfast at Deb’s (which included reindeer sausage) while my bike had its 12,000 mile maintenance done. It had a great diner feel to it and I enjoyed talking to the waitresses and having a nice cup of diner coffee. The bike got done early and I spent the rest of the day seeing the “sights” in Fairbanks. It’s an interesting place that seems to find its present identity in its past. I went to Pioneer Park first and learnt me a bit of Alaskan History. I then headed downtown to get some information on the city. The most help I got wasn’t at the Visitor’s Center, however. It was at the Ebony and Ivory Convenience store. I really enjoyed talking with the owner and his son. At their recommendation I headed out to the University of Alaska Museum, and man was it worth it. It’s an incredible museum, both inside and outside. The architecture is beautiful and the paintings, photos, artifacts, fossils, and people inside were even better. Very highly recommended. I finished out the day with a dinner at the Elf’s Den in North Pole and a night of typing this while my laundry dries. Today I head north for the final push to Deadhorse. It should be an interesting ride…now it’s not only a gravel road that I have to deal with, but it’s a gravel road which has sharp rocks mixed in. Fun. Why do people climb mountains?…Yeah, same sort of deal.
Pictures from the day in Fairbanks. GPS upload is being slow…I’ll try to post it later on. Oh, and a few things I keep forgetting to write about. One, I saw a fox and a couple of owls in the last few days. Second, I saw a sign in the Yukon that said, “You are now
leaving the 911 service area.” Hmmmm…