Wednesday morning arrived with cold rain blowing across the Alaska Highway. By 8:00 A.M., Mike, Terry and I were on the road with Mike and Terry, on their two Harleys, leading the way. Our goal was to at a minimum reach Tok, just past the border (U.S.). We continued to get conflicting reports on this last leg of the Alaska Highway. Most reports painted a dangerous and rough highway, with much construction taking place.
The ride was over beautiful terrain, with low lying mountains and many pristine lakes. Once, while passing a large lake, we spotted two Grizzly bears walking through a beautiful area of wild flowers. I actually thought it looked like the purple sage of South Texas.
We did go through six or eight areas of highway construction, but none was particularly bad. There was less than 30 miles total of well packed gravel. While it did rain most of the day, the ride went fine, except for one brief storm. Just south of Beaver Creek, the rain got very hard and suddenly we were riding through a ferocious hail storm. Pulling over in Beaver Creek, we found a trading post where we waited until the storm passed.
By mid afternoon we were in the nice town of Tok where we rented a very nice log cabin for the night. A good dinner at "Fast Eddies" in Tok was followed by an early retirement to bed. A hard rain during the night beat a nice sound on the tin roof of the cabin. Mike goes to bed very early and at 4:30 this morning he was up fixing coffee. By 7:00 A.M., we were off to Fairbanks.
Today's ride was only 210 miles and we arrived in Fairbanks by noon. Mike and Terry wanted to go to the local Harley and upon arrival, I got a pleasant surprise. The Harley dealer is also the BMW dealer in Fairbanks.
Tomorrow they will mount Continental TKC 80 tires on the Goose. This is an aggressive off road tire and is what I think I need for the next leg of this adventure. From Fairbanks, I will ride to the Arctic Circle and then on to Coldfoot. The temperature is not cooperating. The high is forcasted to be 34 degrees F and the low, 28 degrees F. Rain and snow are a distinct possiblility.
The folks at the Harley dealer tried dissuade me from attempting this portion of the adventure. They tell many horror stories of rides who attempted ths and met with tragedy. Four hundred forty miles (each way) of mud, very slick, wtih intermittent stretches of loose gravel, often six inches deep. And I am really not a skilled off road rider, so I am very apprehensive but I must attempt to al least make it to the Arctic Circle.
Hopefully, upon arriving at Coldfoot I will have enough energy to then make it on to the Arctic Ocean, some 244 miles up even more treacherous and cold road in North America. After all, I set out on an adventure, not a pleasure ride!