August 16th through the 18th, 2011
The Kenai was beautiful, but the trees were changing and it was cooling off at night. And, worse of all I would have to go a bit north before making the right turn and heading for the tropics (by way of the Pacific Northwet, I mean west)
The day dawned clear, as in not raining. This was good, of course, all by itself, but it also meant I got to ride the Seward Highway and see everything.
I blew through Anchorage, stopping only for lunch. The weather started to get a little worse, it clouded over and got colder. I reached Glennallen and decided to call it a day. After pitching my tent I went back into town for dinner.
As I passed a gas station I saw two Harley’s pulling out. The lead bike didn’t have a headlight. I pulled into a restaurant parking lot, then gave them hand signals as they approached to try and let him know.
As it turns out, they were heading for the same restaurant, and already knew about the headlight.
Cheryl and Mike, from Wyoming, and their son Dean, from Texas. It was Dean’s bike without a headlight, and he said it was just the low beam that was out. He was saving his highbeam for when it actually got dark. Cheryl had just joined them in Anchorage for the ride back. I joined them from dinner (which they also paid for), but they were pressing on to Tok (another 2+ hours away). It was almost 8pm when they got back on the road.
I slept well, even though it was still damp out. In the morning I continued north, also heading for Tok and the Alaskan Highway, which I was going to stay on as far as Watson Lake.
Despite the clouds and rain the night before, the sky cleared in the morning and warmed up some (Maybe into the 60s, I was getting a new sense of what was ‘warm’ in Alaska and Northern Canada).
I had no issues re-entering Canada, and rode through Beaver Creek, thinking I would ride another hour or so then camp. This is where I made my first gas mistake on the trip – I had around 1/2 a tank of gas left in Beaver Creek, and should have filled up. There were several towns on my map that were supposed to have gas, but I had learned (or thought I had learned) the map wasn’t always right. Towns had closed or just disappeared, and some which used to have gas didn’t anymore.
As I continued down the Alaskan Highway (headed truly south now), I began to get a little nervous about my fuel. The correct thing to do would have been to turn around and head back to Beaver Creek, but I kept going south. Finally I pulled into a café/campground and asked.
The couple there was from Quebec, but their English was better than my French. I found out I was about halfway from Beaver Creek to the next gas station at Burwack Crossing, 90km either way. I wasn’t sure I had 90km left in my tank, but there wasn’t much to do about it now, they didn’t have any gas.
I got back on the road and slowed way down, hoping to get better MPG. I still ran out of gas about 4km short of Burwack Crossing. I was starting to think about the long walk (and being happy Curiosity is a light motorcycle) when I remembered I had gas in my MSR bottle for my stove. I dumped that into my tank and it got me to the gas station.
Which was closed.
It was a nice place.
There I met Yuav, from Israel, who had just bought a KLR in Fairbanks, gotten his bike license, and managed to reach Burwack Crossing on his first day of riding, over 500 miles. He was hoping to be in San Diego in five days, which I thought was nuts, and Dean from Montana on a incredibly loaded down BWM GSA. We stayed up pretty late, talking about the world. Dean is a business owner, and Yuav a contractor of sorts, so there was a lot of business talk.
I woke in the morning to Yuav starting his KLR, it was just after 7, and I had only been asleep for 6 hours or so. He had already packed and was leaving. I went back to sleep.
When I did get up, I walked up to the gas station, got gas, and got the bike running again. Dean was still there, and we chatted some more. He was heading for the Ferry, which I had thought about but decided to skip. We also talked about gear, and he had a lot of it.
We parted eventually and I headed for Whitehorse. The Nomad was soaking wet, and I hoped to be able to set it up early enough to let it dry out while I spent some time online. Talking with Dean had delayed my getting back on the road, but it was a short ride and there was plenty of daylight left. By the time night fell, the Nomad was dry, and rain was on the way again. Figures.