July 20, Epic Ride Day 11:
…and we may have another one tomorrow. There’s another 60% chance of rain. That’s what they predicted for today and we think we were rained on 12 times, for about 60% of the 491 miles we rode.
That’s a new distance “record” for us. It started raining not long after we left Fort Nelson and rained hard up till Toad River. After that it just rained off and on (mostly on). We had many kilometers of “loose gravel patches” which weren’t exactly loose, but kept me tense nevertheless.
Here’s Jim as we were taking a break and feeding the mosquitoes. We had just ridden about 25 miles of chip seal that looked like it was wet mud, but it was actually not too bad. But we had another 50 or so miles of those “loose gravel patches.”
It was, again, beautiful country. It had critters wandering around in it. A big moose crossed the road right in front of me early this morning (and I do mean early — we were riding before 8AM) not far out of Fort Nelson. Then throughout the day we kept riding through buffalo herds (you may not be able roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you’ve a mind to… and you can ride a motorcycle through one if you’re careful and slow and don’t look at them. No pictures, though. They don’t like paparazzi.
Back to Toad River. The story is that when the AlCAn Highway was under construction during WWII, nearly every vehicle that came to the river had to be towed across, hence the name. When we got there it was pouring rain, about as hard as yesterday at Pink Mountain. I hate with a purple passion riding into potholed dirt, gravel, and mud parking lots, and that’s all there is up here in The Great White North. It creates great anxiety for me…I have a pervasive and well-founded fantasy that I’m about to drop the bike and get all wet and muddy myself. Maybe that’s not a bad thing… it sure keeps me careful.
We bought our gas and went inside. It’s a place with “character” and with characters. They have a hat collection — something like 8, 619 hats stapled to the ceiling and the walls as of today. [The place we ate at here in Teslin has a “hat collection, too. 23 hats. After Toad River, I wanted to suggest that they hide them until they got another 3-4,000 hats at least.
As we were going in to supper, we talked to a rider from Illinois. He was on a machine made in Milwaukee and when he asked us which way we were going, he wished us good luck, hinted that we needed to stay up all night saying our prayers, and told us we were about to ride The Road OF Hell. We think we disappointed him by not turning around and heading back to the lower 48 right then and there.
We do know we’ve got some bad road tomorrow, but we had talked to a rider in Watson Lake who was on his way home and he didn’t mention the Road of Hell. He had tried to ride to Prudhoe Bay and changed his mind when he found 4-6 inches of mud everywhere. He said that there were wrecked motorcycles everywhere and that a tourist van had slid off the road and rolled. My decision to forego Prudhoe Bay is looking better and better. It is worth noting that this guy didn’t mention the Road of Hell between Whitehorse and the Alaska border.
Whatever is up[ there, we’ll be careful and keeping our digits intertwined.
Numbers for the day: Today’s ride: 491 miles. My mileage for the trip: 3,819 miles. My mileage for the year: 9,719.
Above the clouds. Before the rain.
Jim as we were waiting our turn to follow the pilot car.
“We’ve looked at clouds from both sides now.”
A brief sunny interlude on the road to Alaska.
Stats: Day, 491 miles; Trip, 3,819 miles.