back from Alaska
My wife and I just returned from our Alaska Adventure where we rented a
KLR in Anchorage and rode two-up for 1,600 miles.
The KLR had 20,000 miles on it, felt and sounded like a rattle-trap, but
performed flawlessly. The only issue with it was that the rear shock
pre-load ajustment wouldn't go past "2", so I had to re-arrange some
packing and move weight forward so the front end didn't feel so light.
The route was Anchorage to Fairbanks to Arctic Circle to Fairbanks to
Veldez and back up and then over to Anchorage.
The highlight, KLR gravel road and weather wise, was our excursion on
the Denali highway. This connects Cantwell to Paxton, and was once the main route to Denali National Park. We rode from Cantwell 60 miles east and then back 60 miles west. We putted along all day with the camera in my wifes's hands with no traffic around and nothing but mountain after mountain in the Alaska Range. It was the best day of riding in my life.
The Dalton Highway (haul road) was an adventure in torture. There were
many varieties of road surfaces, all designed to rattle your teeth. The gravel sections were the good parts, as those that are called "paved sections" are just more torture in disguise. There was one section near the arctic circle that was once asphalt where we couldn't go 20 MPH without severe agony.
We hooked up with two bikers who had ridden from Utah who were going all the way to the arctic ocean. We pulled over with these 650 Beemer's and under the helmets were these two 60'sish gray haired ladies. Very impressive.
Things got ugly heading south out of Fairbanks. We left dressed for the current 80 degree weather, and as the rain set in and the crotch of my
Aerostich suit sprung a leak, the temperature had dropped 40 degrees.
My wife's feet were wet as her suit had pulled up above her boot.
(We bought big rainsuits to fit over our riding suits to solve this. It had
poured on us our first day out, but apparently, our gear doesn't leak while it is warm!)
The rain continued for the last half of our 10 day trip. It obscurred our views and ability to take pictures, but did not diminish the thrill of it all.
I was generally pleased with my packing and preparations. It is good to
not need tools and spare tubes!
Our last two days were spent around Anchorage. We finally saw a Moose,
in a residential neighborhood!
Oh, yeah, that last day... We rode to Whittier. This requires riding through a two and one half mile tunnel, between the railroad rails. It's a single track with vehicular traffic alternating directions every half-hour. Motorcyles go last, and we were the only one. It was a complete head rush of knee knocking proportions.