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I think there are two types of travelers. Ones that enjoy the journey, while others are all about the destination. It turned out Scotty was very much about the destination. Prudhoe Bay was the goal, and everything should be focused on reaching it as quickly as possible. I am much more about the journey, and like to stop a lot and explore. Realizing that Scotty was on vacation and only had a few weeks of travel time, I decided I would follow his lead and let him decide on our pace northward. The places we skipped over I could go back later and revisit.

Denali National Park sign:

This picture is a bit of an embarrassment because we didn’t even enter the park. I cringed a bit as the decision was made to continue northward. This was Denali, a jewel of the Alaskan frontier. How can it be so quickly dismissed? As we rode away, I knew that I would be returning, but still felt a bit sad.

We stopped at a gift shop where they had some cool stuff on display:

The sign took a moment to register, but than I laughed my ass off. Had to get a picture.

We stayed in Fairbanks that night. Tomorrow we would hit the Dalton Highway. Destination: Prudhoe Bay!

H


We continued up the Parks highway in dismal weather. Very unfortunate considering the incredible views of Denali we were missing. Many viewpoints of the range were shrouded in clouds.

Then the new KLR lost its muffler.

I guess quality control must be lacking at the Kawasaki plant or it was a Friday afternoon. The bolts holding the muffler seemed to have worked their way out. But fixing it was no problem. It turned out that the bolt that holds the BMW engine bash shield fit perfectly here. Applied some lock-tite, and all was good again.

Now what’s wrong with this picture? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

With the KLR fixed we continued north.

The igloo hotel:

We heard that the guy who built this did so without any building permits. The city than shut off his water, and it was forced to close.

We stayed at an RV park that night, and had some pizza at a local tavern. After so much rain, we we’re hoping for some sun in the morning. But it rained all night long, and it was obvious the bad weather was here to stay.

H


The next morning I packed up the bike to get back on the road. I was just about done, and needed to go to the little cabin one last time to pick up my riding pants. Till now I had been clapping my hands every time I took the path between the house and the cabin. I never saw anything, and was starting to think that perhaps this was not really necessary. I came around the bend, and there’s a black bear standing next to the cabin entrance. Oh shit! Now what am I suppose to do again? I immediately turn around and head the other way. Later learned that was the wrong thing to do. FYI: you’re suppose to back away slowly.

I go get Mike and he pulls out a shotgun. The bear followed me back to the house, but once he saw us he turned around and headed out. With shotgun in hand, Mike escorted me to the cabin, and all was good.

Right after that I hit the road. What a great way to start out the ride with a little excitement like that.

I went looking for a high school friend of mine Scotty who rode up a new KLR from Vancouver, Washington. He was staying at a campground just outside Anchorage. He had ridden all the way up here in a little over a week to do the Prudhoe Bay run with me.

We headed north up the Parks highway to Talkeetna.

Scotty letting out some aggression:

We made it to Talkeetna, and I was hoping to stay the night here. Mike had mentioned a few things we should check out while we were here. Scotty didn’t think much of the town, and insisted that we find camping somewhere on the road outside of town. So we took off, but it became really obvious that there was no camping and we continued heading North to Petersville.

It was raining non-stop and I’ve had my share of camping in the rain, and know that it’s a pain. A hotel would be a nice alternative. But Scotty insisted that we camp, so I decided Id suck it up and camp. I figured it won’t be that bad.

But on the way to Petersville, we came across The Forks Road House. I suggested that we should at least inquire about a room, and Scotty agreed. I think the non-stop rain softened his insistence on camping a bit.

Once we stepped inside we knew that we’d be staying here. The Inn keeper didn’t seem to care if we stayed, left, or dropped dead in front of him. We immediately fell in love with the place and we got a room for $60

That night we stayed up late, played pool with the bar tender, and talked with the owner. Once we had plenty to drink, they would keep giving us half’s at no charge. What a night of excess. Most excellent time.

H


Today was maintenance day for the bike. First on the agenda was a valve adjustment.

Got to love the boxer engine. Adjusting valves is so simple. I needed to adjust 6 out of the 8 valves.

Next I changed the spark plugs, tranny fluid, and replaced the battery with a new one. The engine oil only had about 2k miles, so I decided not to touch it.

With that, the bike was good to go. Tomorrow I hit the road again.

Thanks again Mike, for letting me use your garage for all this.

H


Today I flew back to Anchorage to continue my journey North. All the issues were handled with a few exceptions, but good enough to get back on the road. Mike picked me up from the airport, we had some lunch, and then went to Alaska Leather to pick up some tires they were holding for me.

Mike has a tire changing machine, so I didn’t need to use my trusty little bead breaker and spoons. The device made changing the tires so easy. Ill need to get one of these when Im back home.

The next morning I planned to do some additional work to the bike, and Mike was kind enough to let me use his garage.

H

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