Yeppers, that time of year again! Solstice in the North country.
This was my second D2D and I was looking forward to it with great anticipation.
How 'bout we start off with a photo of this year's tee? Awesome totemic design by ADV'r ArcticFlyer. Notice the "DIID" at the top and the opposed Beemer cylinders on the sides.
I hope you can read the words around the outer perimeter as they most aptly describe the "flavor" of this far north gathering (it AIN'T no rally!). They were penned by the most lyric of advr's, the great 'legion'.
Parting shot outside the house Wed morning. Like me, I think a few more D2D'ers were leaving a day earlier to spend the night in Tok before heading into Dawson. No, Comet didn't go. I think he probably enjoyed hangin with the folks more than hangin on for dear life for more than a thousand miles.
And yeah, I do tend to travel kinda light.
Met up with ADV'r Beezer, aka Tom, before heading up to Wasilla to hook up with ADV'r Wheeldog, aka Roger. Tom is a big player in all our tech days up here. He's also an Airframe & Power plant instructor and that's his homebuilt airboat in the background. Yeah, he tends to travel a bit "heavier" with tools to lend anyone a hand.
So after picking up Roger we head north on the Glenn Hwy.
Right into the construction about 100mi north of Anchorage. For those of you traveling the Glenn, be forewarned, it's closed between midnight and 6am Mon-Fri. And remeber, motorcyclists are encouraged to go to the front of the line.
It's good to be at the front.
You may notice Wheeldog, like Beezer, likes to travel a bit "heavy."
More and more straightening going on. What's left of some of my favorite 'ol sportbike twisties paralleling the Matanuska River.
Lion's Head on the left and Matanuska Glacier in the distance on the right.
A bit farther north lies Sheep Mtn. I've always loved the colors in these rocks.
I like to remind visitors to the North that there are many dirt roads leading to areas like this or gravel pits that make nice secluded places to camp. This is just north of Gakona on the Tok cut-off of the Glenn Hwy. That's the Copper River on the other side of us.
We caught up with a group of Goldwing riders who were headed to a big rally in Whitehorse.
Some of them were towing a trailer and really slowed down for the gravel patches in the road. Being the silly dual-sport riders we are we couldn't have any of that and passed them in pretty short order.
Then, low and behold, WE were caught by a couple of my REI Co-op workmates, ADV'r BlueRider, aka Dan, on his wee-Strom and my new next door neighbor John on his 1150GS. After this weekend I'm pretty sure John will probably be joining Advrider.
I hadn't made any definite plans on where I was going to stay in either Tok OR Dawson. I thought I'd probably go ahead and just camp so as to be able to do even MORE socializing.
Many of us ended up in the relatively new Thompson's Eagle's Claw "motorcycle only" campground a mile south of Tok. GREAT place!
Last year only a few people stayed at the Eagle's Claw. THIS year the place ended up being totally packed with tents overflowing into the soft moss surrounding prepared the gravel pads. The place is owned by an older Harley couple who were so excited to have so many riders staying there that they let all us late comers stay for free! Not that it was that much anyway at only $10 a night per site which can normally be shared by two. Many of us donated $ anyway. Riders kept trickling in till the wee (but still light) hours of the morning. I think the last of the crowd around the campfire finally hit the hay shortly after 3am or so.
There isn't any running water but plenty of supplied good tasting potable well-water. The owners have their own mill and are building bunkhouses, sheds, tipi's, and the like, which makes for PLENTY of free firewood! There's also a free group sauna/steam they built. I imagine the gathering here of D2D riders will become part of the annual highly anticipated good times!
Great place, great people: http://www.thompsonseaglesclaw.com/
I'm glad I woke up at around 6am to answer "nature's call" so I could get this shot of all the bikes lining the driveway. Awesome.
More soon, Mark H.