Alaska, land of hard men and big deeds. It looms large in my imagination, images fueled by writers like Jack London, Belmore Browne, Robert Service, and David Roberts. And captured in pictures like this.
Alaska offers up suffering. Usually I want none of that.
My buddy Steve Esola has a plan. He's to be in Anchorage on bidness and can take three days off for riding while he's there. He wouldn't mind an accomplice. That might work. Even if we suffer, the time is short.
Plans are made, bikes rented, tickets purchased.
The plan is mildly crazy (or maybe really crazy, depending on whether your are a hard man or softy). We ride to Chicken, touch our toes in Dawson City for the Solstice, ride back to Tangle River and cross the Denali Highway, and get to the airport to fly home. Piece of cake.
Alaska has a heat wave just for us.
Anchorage from the Marriott window.
We cadge breakfast from the executive lounge and book it to Alaska M/C Adventures, where the hardware awaits us.
Steve loading up.
I'll ride the GS first, tomorrow the Tiger.
It takes about an hour to escape Anchorage, maybe just a bit less. We're heading up the Glenn Highway and stop to pee. Good thing I have an old guy bladder or there might not be any pictures.
I think the river is the Matanuska.
On to Glennallen. Steve is hongry and wants food, but he blinks and we miss all the places to eat. We turn around when a kindly young lady with a flag in her hand tells us that the nearest food is behind us. Oh.
Here's Mount Drum in the Wrangell Range, just northeast of Glennallen on the way to Tok. The River is the Copper.
On the way to Tok we are passed like we are standing still by a guy on a Yamaha Tenere. This is reasonably surprising as we have held a pace of about 85-95 most of the way. In Tok at the Standard station, our paths cross again. He's from Morelia, Mexico and has to be at the border by Wednesday. He's headed to Whitehorse this evening. See, hard men, big deeds.
We turn up on the Top of the World Highway at Tetlin Junction.
Here's a picture of the road. No service bars, of course. What'll we do?
A picture of my well traveled 'stich, with me in it.
Steve and I debate why these trees are dead. Turns out, they aren't. These are Black Spruce and they're supposed to be that way.
Chicken in Chicken. Everything in Alaska is big.
Chicken will be home for day 1.