Anchorage, AK – Tok, AK 340 miles
I woke up this morning with nervous anticipation. I am usually excited about these epic motorcycle adventures, but this trip is going to be different. The week prior to our ride to Milwaukee the House of Harley-Davidson hosted our 3rd annual Spenard Bike Week, and like all rally’s it was full of parties, memories and some mayhem. One casualty of the event was my right knee. Unfortunately, I do not have some epic motorcycle accident or bear attack to blame…I was two stepping and when my partner went to dip me, my slightly impaired dance skills had my leg in the completely wrong position and POP there went my knee. I completely dislocated it. I am very familiar with this injury, as I had the same injury 3 times on my left knee in high school before I finally got surgery. So, here I was, 6 days before I am supposed to be on the road to Milwaukee with a bum knee. I decided it wasn’t going to stop me so I bought a couple braces and here I am, day 1 complete.
There are 21 of us, Rogue Rider’s heading to Milwaukee from Alaska. We are a diverse group and I look forward to chatting with everyone about their first day, their motivations for coming on this trip and their plans for Milwaukee. Every time I have done this trip I have made new friends and tons of memories.
Barry (my dad) met me at my house, and I was a little slow to get out the gate trying to get all my gear on with a bum leg! Thank God we had some men’s nylon pants that were waterproof and warm so I could wear leggings and my knee brace under them! We were headed to meet Sarah Coe (Marketing Director for my company and my close friend) as well as Jim Lebiedz (HOG Chapter 66 Director and my close friend) at a Chevron on Muldoon. When Barry and I rolled in a few minutes late, I found Sarah and Jim as well as Levi (Sarah’s significant other) and a good friend and customer Eric Thurston. We all hugged and chatted then Eric (Black Sheep Motorcycle Ministry) prayed for us.
We got our tunes synced up and hit the road! As we left town the weather was decent and not too cold. We were cruising along with Jim in front, then me, then Sarah and then Barry in the back. Barry came zooming up past me on the right and signaled that he wanted to pull over. We all got behind him and he signaled to take the Old Glenn Hwy exit. I was thinking in my head “well that is a fun road and what is an extra couple miles??” but Jim missed the memo and didn’t exit but Barry, myself and Sarah did. We got to the top and he headed straight for the on-ramp back onto the Glenn (not the Old Glenn) and pulled over and stopped. I hollered “What are you doing?” and he responded “I need to put on my lowers.” So, we sat there as he put on his lowers with Jim gaining more and more distance on us.
It is probably a good thing Barry put his lowers on, because the weather only go worse. As we got out of Palmer and Sutton and climbed elevation the temperature dipped to about 40*s and was wet. We had planned to ride all the way to Glennallen. As we were heading that way I realized that I was literally matching my remaining gas mileage with the distance to Glennallen. So, rather than risk not making it and being the first one to run out of gas, I told Jim we needed to stop at Eureka for me to get some gas and pee…Jim begrudgingly agreed.
When we arrived at Eureka, I got gas and we all took a break. We headed into the lodge, used the restroom and started adding layers of gear. We finally got all geared up and by our bikes when I asked the group “are we eating in Glennallen?”. Jim and I both agreed the food at Eureka would be better than Glennallen for food, so we all took off all the layers we had just painstakingly put on and sat down and ate some food.
As we headed out the clouds had moved on and we managed to not get into anymore rain. We made it to Glennallen and got some gas. Sarah and I switched to our open face helmets with faith that we would not get into anymore rain. Jim looked at me and said “we are going to hit more rain on the way to Tok”
and I confidently argued “we will hit NO MORE RAIN.”
Guess who was right….
Me of course! So, I got to rock out to some tunes with my half helmet on and my sweet new Oakleys. So much more comfortable than my full face on my bagger. We had some fun terrain on the road to Tok. Sarah said “I am now sure that my Harley-Davidson is an adventure bike a crotch rocket and it handled that road great!” We all had fun on the challenging road that Gary Delk (one of our Rogue Riders) described as getting him to do some Dukes of Hazzard stunts on his new bike! Along that Tok ride we only stopped one more time at a rest stop and stretched our legs before we finished our last stretch. What an interesting town Tok is…we got to our hotel and checked in. Sarah and I got back on our bikes to find a bar so I could medicate my knee and write my blog. As we headed out of the parking lot I looked to the right and realized that there was one next door, so we parked the bikes 20 ft from our room and we sat at the Bear’s Den to grab a drink and write this blog. From there we met a large part of our group for dinner at Fast Eddies. Everyone had a great day and is ready to get into Canada tomorrow!