Chicken. Apparently there's still gold in them thar hills.
The bar is the place to be in Chicken, at least so said the nice Harley guy in Tok. (As an aside, in the lower 48, I rarely get a word from a H-D rider, even if I initiate the conversation. In AK, no issues, at least until you get back to Anchorage opolis, then it becomes similar to the rest of the country). He was right.
In the bar we meet a couple three nice young kids here to strike it rich. At least, that's the plan. I assume they provide the muscle for placer mining and some older, wiser, and richer folk provide the grubstake. Each of the girls and boys we met were working for shares of future riches. its like a Las Vegas thing, but with crappier hotel rooms and more mosquitoes. The cynical me says these kids grow richer in experience. But as for the money? Not so much.
We also meet up with inmate jdrocks. His story is here:
See, hard men, big deeds. I felt so soft and wimpy I bought his beer. It was well returned with great stories, and some intel on the road ahead. He pointed out that there was a wrecked V-Strom along the way. A cautionary tale, for sure.
When it is always day, I don't know what you call the start of the day, but we awoke to rain. That's more like it. I have to wear the 'stich to the outhouse because I don't want to be clammy all day, part of the day will do nicely.
100 plus miles to Dawson in slime and 100 back plus 300 or so more back down to Tangle River. We are not undaunted. We are daunted already.
We launch. The road out a Chicken is soft and slimey. The greasiest parts are somewhat easy to identify because the soil is darker, but this works only until the partial whiteout sets in, making even the shoulder a bit hard to pick out. Remember, at least one of us is a wimp. I'm sure other real adventurers will chime in to tell how I'm overstating conditions.
In any case, we get to what appears to us to be the top of the world and it looks like this.
We enter Canada, and the nice young agent points out it's only 65 more miles to Dawson City. And it gets easier. He's not the first one to tell us this. Well, it's easier, but it's not any closer. We snap a picture of the YT sign and the barren terrain.
Then we collect a passport stamp and beat rubber back to Chicken, now seemingly named just for us.
This photo is meant to show the virginal HD and the well used rentals. Not a great picture but you get the idea. The couple on the HD were sanguine about the upcoming trial, and they didn't have to come back today, either.
Note Steve's nice clean feet.
BTW. The lower Chicken lacks a cool bar, but pays you back with flush toilets inside. Local knowledge.
We launch back toward Tok and on to Delta Junction. The rain stops, the sun warms the sky, we wallow in our wimpdom. Better part of valor and all that, you know old chap.
No piccies until we hit the Richardson Highway south of Delta. We are munching miles at this point. Just a tic or three over an hour Tok to Delta(111 miles). No pee breaks at breakneck speed.
South on Richardson and the Alaska Range pokes you in the eye.
Mounts Hayes, Hess, and Deborah from the highway.
Wish I could do them justice.
Here's the pipeline in the distance.
It's the thin silver line.
the weather turns again and we dodge into and out of some hard rain. This little lake is just after the turn off onto the Denali highway. It's about 2200 feet in elevation and there's still ice in it.
I think this is Mt. Wrangell (about 14,000'), just a bit south and east of the east end of the Denali Highway in the far distance. Might be Blackburn (nearly 17K).
Twenty miles up the Denali Highway we stop at Tangle River Inn. A wimpy adventure day, but an adventure none the less.
Here's a view out of our cabin door at 4AM. I had to pee and got stunned a bit by the view, again.
Here's the inn at our departure time, about 830AM.
A guy had rolled in on a big GS at about seven PM the night before, planning a traverse of the Denali that evening. Since it's never dark, you are only limited by your fatigue as to how far you ride.
You might wonder why we left at such a civilized hour. Our experience has been that the outfitters don't open for food until 730AM. I suppose otherwise they'd have to stay open all night, since fishermen and such would leave at godawful hours and expect to be fed. Hard men camp, screw that restaurant crap. As you have read, I'm no hard man.