Alaska 2023

Day 07

July 14

  I'm up pretty early as is my usual routine and it's pretty deserted and pretty chilly as I strike out this morning for Tok.  
  The scenery along this part of the ALCAN is absolutely wonderful ...  
  if you like reflective lakes ...  
  and rugged mountains.  
  As I motor along I happen to catch a shot of a bird of prey making off with its prize. I cannot not tell if it is an eagle or a hawk but I tend to think it is a hawk of some sort.  
  It's just one beautiful view after another which I am really enjoying as I have the road all to myself.  
  It looks like there's a cloud road block up ahead as it appears to be floating close to the road.  
  It's views like these that make me really appreciate the vastness and solitude of this area.  
  It is a land of many mountains and many rivers stretching out as far as my eye can see.  
  When I pass the airport at White Horse I see this old passenger plane up on display.  
  And once again a cloud bank hovers low over the road. It looks like I may have to duck to get under this one.  
  Then the road turns into a disaster as I encounter various road construction situations. I have to be ever watchful as many times there are no warning signs. You sure don't want to hit a patch like this at road speed as it could be the end of the ride and the end of you.  

Then I encounter this road sign with two messages -


and ...




  I guess there was one but fortunately it seems to have been far away from the road at this point or already put out - and for that I am thankful.  
  The road just stretches out before me like a lazy cat on a sunny day.  
  I do see what appears to be a little smoke up ahead but it's pretty much off to the left and does not appear to be a big issue.  
  As I make my way into Haines Junction I always admire the snow capped mountains that surround it.  
  There's a little gas station that finally opened after all of these years so I avail myself of their services. They also happen to have some mighty fine hot breakfast burritos that are just killer and huge. I'll be back here later on in the trip so I make a mental note that this will be my source of breakfast then.  
  After BlueBelle and I both get filled up, I'm back at it running up the ALCAN, just enjoying the wonderful views.  
  Then the 'fun' begins where there are really long sections of thick gravel I have to negotiate.  
  Once I get through them it's back to enjoying the lovely views and relaxing.  
  Then they throw in some nasty chip and seal just to keep things interesting. Fresh chip and seal is almost as bad is gravel as it is unpredictable as far as traction goes on two wheels.  
  But I am determined not to let the condition of the road surface stop me from at least my eyes enjoying the views.  
  It's a land of massive lakes border by rugged mountains - a real visual treat for me.  
  It seems I may have finally escaped the bad road surfaces but ...  
  to my disappointment I haven't seen nothing yet. They have graded the road surface down to the wet mud (which appears to be clay) and it is slicker than fresh snot on a door knob.  
  I have to be real careful when I try to take picture on this stuff as the least handlebar wiggle and I can be on the ground.  
  I make it through and breathe a sigh of relief and go back to 'sight seeing'.  
  But then come the surprises - the unmarked sections where they have removed the pavement, throwed down a little gravel and left numerous pot holes for me to try to negotiate through.  
  But at this point there is no other road options so I just motor along, trying to keep my eyes on the road with occasional glances at the views around me.  
  When I see this sign, I will later wish that it was true ...  
  for instead of being dry and dusty it is wet and slippery. When they leave the road beds in this condition and any moisture gets on them, it is more hazardous than you can ever imagine. And there'd about 125 miles of this stuff to try to get through.  
  I finally take a break at Beaver Creek to get some gas. The pumps aren't working right so I have to make the old 'gas pump' stroll to go inside, come back out and pump, then go back inside to settle up. But it's still a whole lot better than running out by a long shot.  
  It still strikes me as strange that at this border crossing from the Yukon to Alaska it is 23 miles between Canadian Customs and US Customs. I guess it is sort of a 'no man's land' but I have to wonder who's jurisdiction it falls under. Once I get to the US Customs it a piece of cake and soon I am on my way.  
  I snag another Alaska state line sign for BlueBelle while I am at it. I've learned in the process of doing this over 190 times that you don't pass one up because you never know what the situation will be at the next one.  
  I'm thinking that I've finally escaped the clutches of the Yukon DOT and their highway mess. But it seems the state of Alaska may have hired the same road crews as I come into another real mess of rough and slick construction. This one is short though very dangerous if you are on two wheels.  
  It's quietly deserted as I am finally in Alaska for the second time on this trip.  
  I cross a river that looks ready to bust out of its banks if there is much more rain to come.  
  Thankful that I have made it through all the crazy road construction, I finally arrive at Young's Motel, also home to Fast Eddy's Restaurant and one of my favorite stops.  

I get BlueBelle pitched for the night and happen to talk to a couple that came through the same construction mess that I did. They have ridden a BMW GS all the way from Ecuador and they said they almost lost it in the nasty construction. There's a semi driver there and he tells me -

"We thought we were going to lose the rig in that mess and end up running off the road it was so slick."

  I meander over to Fast Eddy's looking forward toward real culinary treat.  
  And they don't disappoint as what I decide on also allows me to partake of their lovely salad bar complete with fresh veggies and fruit.  
  It's enough seafood and taters to kill a good man much less an old worn out rag like me.  
  But I rise to the occasion and declare victory for the day - except for the carrots and lettuce as I've already had my veggies before this.  
  I waddle back to my room and collapse into a food coma from the excellent and abundant grub I have consumed and the stress from the day, thankful that I have made it this far.