Tok, AK to Haines Junction, Yukon 295 miles
This morning we woke to some overcast skies and rain. After a quick shower, Jim knocked on our door to inform Sarah and I that our group was doing breakfast at Fast Eddies at 9:00am.
We got packed up and ready and headed over to eat some food. Jim, Barry and Sarah had giant meals and I had a couple eggs and some avocado with toast. Jim miraculously ate his entire meal, Barry made a decent dent and Sarah ate about half of her awesome looking veggie omelet. Hopefully, she will let me post the awesome photo of her with the spouts hanging out of her mouth…
After breakfast we got the rest of our gear on and Jim asked me to predict the weather. I was confident we wouldn’t have anymore rain and the sky was already clearing in Tok. We filled up with gas, I forgot to buy a water bottle again, and hit the road.
The roads were great, I mean there is always the usual frost heaves and chip seal but overall it was a fun twisty ride.
I knew I wouldn’t have signal most of the day so I opted to hook up my 100 song play list my bestie Christy made for me. She put it on an amazing penguin USB that’s head comes off and the USB port is inside! So, I had an awesome list of music that literally lasted me the entire day. It played in alphabetical order, and I was on the Y’s when I pulled into the hotel here at Haines Junction.
The weather was beautiful all day, blue skies and hardly any clouds! It was still a little cold out so we managed to survive with all our layers on until we got to the boarder where we had to wait about 20 mins. Between inching the bikes forward we all started to peel layers. Past the boarder we went through Beaver Creek and from that point we were in the worst part of the ride. When we got to the construction stop we were behind about 10 rigs, but I could still see the front of the line. The pilot car coming from the other direction, slowed as she past us and told us to go to the front of the line. Thank God!! I love it when the construction folks take into count how much more difficult the construction can be on a bike. We couldn’t pass the line on the left because there were cars coming so we passed on the shoulder on the right. We got to the front and the pilot cat immediately started going forward. I signaled to Sarah and Barry to run in a single file even though we were still on pavement. We had been hearing rumors of what was ahead and I was pretty nervous.
When we got to the dirt part of the road I was hoping for the best. It looked slightly packed, so I was hoping it wouldn’t be too soft. As we got on it I immediately saw Jim’s ass end start to break loose. It wasn’t too deep but it was slick as snot, especially in the wet portions. It was an extremely intense ride that seemed like 100 miles but was probably closer to 15. Every few feet I could feel the rear tire break loose and start to slip. At one point I had to wave Sarah back because I thought for sure Jim or I was gonna go down. By the time I was done all the adrenaline that dumped in my body left me shaking. Despite the odds, we all made it through!
After that rough spot it was just a lot of loose gravel sections. We maintained about 50mph through all of those so they weren’t too bad. It is always good to be challenged on your bike and remember to respect the weight of a big ass Harley-Davidson bagger in these situations. Sarah impressed the hell out of me. She kept up and bumped her bad ass music the whole way like it was just another day.
Sarah and I both needed a pee break so Jim pulled over at a rest stop. It was at a lake and was beautiful but the gravel hill down to the bathroom with the small turn around was a bit daunting so we all parked our bikes on the road and Sarah and I walked down to the outhouse. On our walk a couple in a truck pulling a motorhome slowed to make sure we were ok. While we were walking down the hill, me gimping along and Sarah taking her long strides, she shared with me her fear of a dragon fly hitting her in the face of her ¾ helmet with no shield on. She imagined it getting stuck between her cheek and the helmet and had already planned how she would calmly remove it while riding. It was a good laugh and good for the imagination. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. Right after she told me this story I went into the outhouse and low and behold there is a dragon fly staring at me from the ledge. Thankfully it was dead.
As we walked back up the hill to rejoin Barry and Jim we saw our fellow riders Julie, Chris, Mike, and Gary. We waved them on that we were ok and just taking a break but they all pulled in behind us on the road and parked. We chatted with everyone about the crazy construction and the ride for the day. We all headed out together so our group of 4 doubled. At this point I was starting to get a little worried about the gas. We were going to stop in Beaver Creek but Barry wanted better fuel so we kept going. From that point there pretty much was no gas…anywhere! So we had this group behind us and I was getting low fuel indicators on my bike. I saw a fuel stop just before Destruction Bay but Jim kept on riding. I knew Sarah and Barry had to be low as well, so I rode up next to Jim and told him I needed gas. He signaled that there was gas ahead so I trusted him. As I was panicking about gas, I saw a big brown off to the side of the road. I waved and pointed and made my best bear signal of both hands up in claws like a bear standing on back legs…or at least that’s what I imagined it looked like. I saw the grizzly as he moseyed toward the woods, unfortunately no one else saw him. Meanwhile, Sarah is on “Lo” and no longer getting a mileage reading and I am on 11 miles. Of course, Jim was correct and there was gas just ahead.
So the whole pack pulled in and got gas, ate some snacks, drank some water (except Barry…he had beer) and bullshitted about the day. From there we only had about 60 miles to get to Haines Junction. The road was great and the weather continued to be perfect. We made it to our respective lodging and Sarah and I sat at the bar in the sun on the deck to write this blog. If anything exciting happens, beyond the lady riding by with a cat on her 4wheeler, I will include it in the blog tomorrow