July 22, Epic Ride Day 13:
It’s been an interesting day. You know the old Chinese proverb, I’m sure: “May you live in interesting times.”
We did! We left Teslin at a little after 7, rode to Whitehorse, sat in a McDonalds while I woke up some more and visited with a Wee-Strom rider who was on his way home to Indiana after riding to Prudhoe Bay.
You’ll remember we’d been warned about the “Road of Hell” on Sunday night. The Wee-rider told us not to worry — just pay attention and it won’t be a problem, he said.
We did pay attention! It started raining hard just as we got to a 14-km stretch of loose gravel. I need to say that loose gravel (so far) has been laid on a very well-compacted road base that’s pretty hard. It makes the gravel not terribly loose, but adding rain to the mix did make a slightly slimy mess.
We rode that before getting to Kluane Lake, which sure looked like it would have been beautiful if we could have seen much of it. Every ditch was running bank-full with raging torrents of mud-filled water. The White River looked like an ocean of mud. I’d have taken pictures if it hadn’t been raining so hard!
After we got past a stretch of construction north of Burwash Junction, the highway was like riding a rough roller-coaster. Hollows and humps kept us exercising the full extent of our suspension.
We finally made it to the Alaska border and the weather changed as if it we’e entered a new country! It had been in the low-40s to low-50s all day, but by the time we got to Tok, it was 72F.
The catastrophe of the day belongs to Jim. We’d eaten at Fast Eddie’s and then I was checking us into the Westmark Inn when Jim found an “arrowhead” in his rear tire. He pulled it out and used shampoo to learn that the tire has a very slow leak. We’ll see how slow in the morning and make a decision about where to go next. Marcus Holmquist from the NT-Owners Forum is in Anchorage and he’ll call dealers there, while Jim checks the dealers in Fairbanks. Depending on what we find, we may continue as planned (Tok-Valdez-Glenellen) or we may go from Tok to Fairbanks.
I’ll post more about today later. Now I’m gonna’ go beddy-bye.
Stats: Day: 501 miles; Trip: 4,320; Year, 10,226.