What a perfect day to start our journey! We had amazing weather the whole way. With a group as large as ours, we are not all riding together, but occasionally we see each other along the way. The group I rode with met at Denali Harley-Davidson at 10am. We ended up hanging out and shooting the breeze for awhile as well as admiring each other’s packing jobs. With all the bikes loaded up and ready we headed towards Tok. We stopped to check out the Mat-Su Glacier and took a couple photos, we have Lee from California with us as well as Taren from Milwaukee. Our group was 6 deep and we kept a pretty good pace. We made it to the “Destruction” just before Glenn Allen…what a mess! I swear they had it all paved last week and then they tore up a whole new section! Taren was surprised to see “the whole road gone!” In the lower 48 they only do one half at a time and you get to drive on pavement! We all made it through safely and pulled off at the Caribou Hotel for some food and fuel.
As we were parking I noticed a couple bikes that looked very familiar to me! When we got inside there sat our preacher buddies Brian Green and Richard Irwin! They were on an adventure to Fairbanks. Richard rode with us to Milwaukee for the 100th Anniversary and Brian rode with us for the 105th! They were both sad they couldn’t join this year, but we enjoyed sharing tales of the prior journeys and the one ahead of us. After we finished our meal they said a quick prayer for us and we went on our way.
We only made it about 30 miles before someone…not naming names…from Denali H-D had to use the restroom so we stopped at a rest area. While I was waiting on the old guys…no offense….I did some yoga and stretched before the last stretch to Tok. Sherri got a picture of me, but I will have to wait to see when that surfaces on Facebook! So after awhile, we had all stripped off several layers, as the sun was warming us quite nicely and hit the road again. The whole time we were riding I was excited to take in the scenery…last time I made this ride in 2008 it was the most dreary, cold and rainy weather and nothing looked good. As we continued on, there were a lot of small gravel stretches, nothing us Alaskan’s aren’t used to. On one of these stretches, a pickup truck was coming the other direction and was going WAY too fast! Right before he passed me I saw a HUGE rock come flying up from his tire! I cringed and thought it might hit me in the head, but luckily it didn’t.
Just 20 miles outside of Tok, I noticed Taren’s bike start to wobble in front of me. She seemed to notice about the same time and we pulled over. She had a flat tire! My plan for a flat tire was to simply not get one! So, our group pulled over and all of us locals were unprepared! Fortunately Taren had a tire repair kit, but no one had any air! So, Paul, Sherri, Lee and I ran up to Tok so we could get some air and call roadside assistance. Some nice Adventure riders stopped and had an air pump and got Taren on the road. From there we were able to arrange some roadside assistance.
While all of this was going on, I noticed the giant dent in my front fender from the guy in the truck that was going too fast! Good thing I have full coverage insurance and a brand new bike! 😀 I would have been really sad if it happened to my RootBeer bike!
A bunch of us met up fro some dinner at Fast Eddies which seemed to be the only place in town as it was slammed full of people! To help Taren out Paul volunteered to have his bike towed with hers up to Fairbanks so they could ride down tomorrow together. Also, John Haddad from Farthest North Outpost went the extra mile and arranged to get her bike put in the shop in the middle of the night and to have a tech there really early to get her back on the road again! I love our H-D family! Well it is time to hit the hay and get back on the road in the morning…I hear the next leg of the trip, although the shortest is the roughest road! Yeeehaaaaa!!!!
Alaska Rogue Riders!