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Whittier

Filed Under Alaska 'O8


I had an extra day to kill before my flight, so Mike suggested we ride out to Whittier. This was one of the nicest roads I’ve taken to date. We took the Seward highway that runs along the Tumagain Arm of the Chickaloon Bay.

Part of the trip was to go down a train tunnel where you had to ride between the tracks. The tunnel had been converted for vehicle use a few years back, but was only one lane. So every half hour the direction changed. Vehicles all queued up prior to going through with motorcycles going last because of the risk of getting a wheel caught in the train track rut. The tunnel was about two and half miles long, and every time you started looking around you would drift dangerously close to the tracks. Super fun.

On the other side of the tunnel was the little hamlet town of Whittier. Mike knew of a place that had the best fish and chips, and that was no lie. Good stuff.

Highly recommend this ride.

Pics of this ride are not currently available, but will update once I have them.

H


The next morning I gave Mike (aka Legion) a call to see about storing my bike with him while I was in LA. Roger had called ahead and told him about my situation. Mike told me no problem, and would come by and pick me up at the Harley dealership.

Alaska Riders was located right next door to the Harley dealership, and they let me wash my bike. I figured Id better clean her up a bit before putting her up in someone’s clean garage. Soon Mike showed up on his HP-2. I recognized him immediately from Dust 2 Dawson. He wrote the very cool poem that graces the back of the D2D t-shirts.

Mike is a great guy. He showed me around Anchorage, set me up with a space in his office, converted my Canadian money to green backs, provided coffee and food, and let me sleep in his little cabin next to the house.

Some views of Anchorage and the surrounding area:

There were moose everywhere.

Mike told me to be careful at night because moose and bear cross his property all the time. I should clap and make some noise before wandering between the house and the cabin, especially at night. That got me thoroughly freaked out, and made my stay even more enjoyable.

H

To Anchorage

Filed Under Alaska 'O8


The next morning I awoke to tour buses. One after another. Chicken had become over run (at least for thirty minutes at a time) by tourists. So on that note, I decided it was time to leave and head for Anchorage. There was a lot to see on the ride to Anchorage, but I figured Id better play it safe and go straight there. A few things still needed to be done prior to my flight. Plus, I could always come back later to check out everything I missed.

But first things first. I needed to take a quick look at the Chicken dredge.

Unfortunatly to get a closer look you needed to sign up for a tour. Decided to pass. Next time.

Look a moose.

I think it’s very hard to go wrong in Alaska. Each road is more scenic than the last.

I almost made it all the way to Anchorage when my low fuel light came on. Fortunately, I found a gas station roughly 35 miles outside Anchorage. Unfortunatly, they would not take Canadian money. It was Saturday night, and I had not seen an open bank all day, so I had no way of exchanging my money. I went back to my bike, and debated if I should risk it, and just go for it, or hang here for the night. Out of gas on the side of the road would have sucked. Just than a man came up to me and told me he had overheard what happened inside the gas station, and gave me a few bucks. Wow, what a cool thing to do! You find good people everywhere. I got a couple of gallons of gas and was on my way again.

In Anchorage, I went looking for a larger hotel, assuming that they could exchange my money. I’ve been able to do this in the past in foreign countries. I tried the Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriott, and was rebuffed every time. Damn, not good. What to do next? Than I recalled that the Anchorage Harley dealership had free camping so I went there. They had a little lawn area set aside for bikers next to the dealership. All bikes welcome, just no cages allowed.

There was a wash room with a shower, and in the morning you could have all the free Harley coffee you wanted. There was dude on a GoldWing camping as well. He had been here for the last 5 days, and he gave me some food. Great guy.

Not since my college days, can I recall being in this situation. Even the smallest hand out made a big difference, and I will be forever grateful. I’ve always prided myself on being very self sufficient, and prefer giving over receiving. But now I find myself over joyed by any help. While many people I know see all the bad in the world, and have started to lose faith in their fellow man, I am experiencing the exact opposite. A lot of good exists out there as well.

H


Today’s journey was all about the famous Top of the World hwy. We’ve all heard about this famous stretch of road, and I had been looking forward to this for some time. I left Dawson City that morning hoping the weather would hold, and not obscure the vast views that would come.

First step was to get across the Klondike.

The road immediately climbed to elevation, and traveled along the top of the mountains. This provided grandiose views in all directions.

Met a Swiss couple driving this Swiss army truck that they had bought off the Oman.

Very nice couple traveling all over Canada and Alaska. They modified the truck by adding a pop up tent to the top. They were definitely prepared for anything.

I’m not lying, I was definitely here, or at least my bike was.

In the distance is the border crossing in to Alaska.

After getting grilled by the customs agents, I was allowed to pass. Turns out this is the most Northerly border crossing with the US.

And then I was in Alaska again for my 3rd time. Although this time I was in Alaska proper. Not just an outpost.

First little town was called Boundary.

The store here claimed to have the best coffee in all of Boundary, so I figured Id better give it a try. With cold weather and rain approaching, it was damn good and hit the spot.

I hung out and talked with some gold miners for a bit, and than it started to rain. At that point, I figured Id better a get a move on. Didn’t want to be riding the ridge here if an electrical storm decided to show up.

The road continued along for awhile at elevation and then started to descend a bit. At lower elevations the rain cleared up, and I could get back to taking pics of this cool area.

The famous town of Chicken was the next stop. This place has been written up in newspapers, magazines, even National Geographic, so I was expecting a tourist trap. But as a tourist, I just had to stop in downtown and hang our for a bit.

I met Sue the owner of the place and we began talking about the ins and outs of running a small business, and the types of clients we come across on a daily basis. In my work, I deal with some of the most arrogant and narcissistic people on the planet, where a day usually never goes by where I’m not completely horrified. Yet, she on the other hand was exposed to an extreme cross section of society in the form of traveling tourists and had seen it all. We swapped stories for the longest time, and had a good laugh.

Sue recommend that I stay the night, because the place usually gets hoping on a Friday night. All the core drillers come in to town to party it up. So I setup camp in the back lot.

Chicken Saloon:

One of the first things you notice are all the burnt panties. It seems they have a cannon here that they set off every night, and on occasion they load it with someone’s panties.

Unfortunatly, the cannon needed a thorough cleaning and never fired.

That night the core drillers did come to town and partied it up. I was the only tourist there, but they didn’t seem to mind. It was fun to hang with the group even if I wasn’t a coworker. It reminded of the days when I was a company man and used to hang with my coworkers at the local pub at the end of the week. Something I find myself missing quite a bit.

Of course, we all talked about what we do for a living, and one guy summed things up quite well I thought. “Dude, you’re a slacker!” Now its been a long time since I was told I was a slacker. It seems unless you work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for months on end, you are a slacker. So be warned all you 9 to 5s, you’re all slackers as well, like me. That put me in my place. I had no argument.

In Alaska, it turns out that if someone rings the bell in the bar, that means they’re buying the house a round. That was fine with me, being a bit short on funds. Unfortunatly, the round of drinks consisted of the worst, most vile thing imaginable. Something called a “Jaeger bomb”, a shot of Jaegermeister and Rock Star energy drink. Tasted like overly sweetened cough syrup. Absolutely horrible stuff. I couldn’t believe that anyone could possibly enjoy drinking this stuff. It must be the result of some clever advertising. One was my limit, but these guys kept drinking them all night long.

The bar tender knew about my financial situation and made his best efforts to keep my glass of beer full. However, I knew that it was nights like this that were the life blood of this Saloon and every sale counted. So I made it a point to not take advantage. Or at least not too much.

Must say that Sue was right, this was definitely a night to remember.

Good times.

H


The next morning we continued on down the Dempster. Im hesitant to take pictures of the same place more than once, but the Dempster is such a cool road, that’s hard to do. Plus, this time around the weather was different. We had a lot more rain, and that made for more interesting riding conditions as well.

And then the Dempster was over. Very sad. Such a cool road.

Shortly after finishing, a south bound Harley we had passed earlier showed up. This just goes to show, that you don’t need an adventure bike for the Dempster, just a lot of duct tape to protect the finish.

H

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