22 June 2012

A Fond Farewell to the Interior

We left Seward and headed back north, through Anchorage and Palmer, to Gakona where we spent the night. We stopped in Anchorage at the REI to see if we could replace the neck gaiter I lost in Talkeetna (sad!). In the store, an employee recognized my jacket as motorcycle gear and asked if I needed help. It turns out he is on the ADV Rider forum all the time, and was really happy to hear that we were taking time to really see Alaska, rather than just ride up, ride the Dalton Highway, and ride right home. He said at is what the majority of riders do. Although I understand that one does what one has time and money to do, I feel sad to hear that. We really loved interior Alaska, so we explored for a couple more days before leaving.

We stopped in Palmer at The Musk Ox Farm. It is a not-for-profit farm promoting the use of Quiviut fiber and Native Alaskan talent. The fiber is the warmest in the world and freakishly expensive. It is actually a hair, rather than a fur/wool fiber, so it is actually wearable by anyone and will not cause allergic reactions. Did I mention it is freakishly expensive? It runs $75-85 for a TINY skein. They were raffling off a blanket (at $10 per raffle ticket) which was worth $10,000.00. That is not a typo! I just reread to make sure. Anyway, the animals are fun and we thought about bringing one home because they eat dandelions, and we grow them really well.

We camped that night in Gakona at the Historic Gakona Roadhouse. It said they had camping, so we stopped and asked. The owner of the roadhouse, restaurant, and bar (who is a transplant from Wyoming named Greg and an all around nice guy) said we could just put our tent up wherever we liked. He didn't charge us anything at all, and we had a beautiful spot on the river right behind the bar. It had rained all day (I know, you're really surprised at this point) so we headed into the bar and joined two employees and a couple of grizzled locals for the evening. We found out the Kings had won the Stanley Cup, and we enjoyed the company of everyone. Although we were just gol-danged tourists, old Smoky, one of the locals, bought us drinks!

It rained the whole next day of riding, so we stopped short in Tok and got a hotel room behind Fast Eddie's restaurant. When we pulled into Fast Eddie's, there were two BMW GS bikes. Josh went to talk to the guy on the 1200 and e guy on the F650GS came over to talk to me. His name is Dave Coe, and he is blogging about his trip also. Check him out at http://daversadventuretravels.blogspot.com. He was in Whitehorse, on tour with some musicians, and decided to extend his trip. We spent a couple of hours standing outside (the rain had finally stopped for a bit!) talking about our bikes and the modifications we had each made, and we also discovered that he used to work with a singer we like (IAN, PAY ATTENTION TO THIS!) named Corb Lund. We had a good time chatting, and headed our separate ways. Us to our hotel room to dry out, and Dave, along with about another dozen guys who came and went on GSs, heading north to Fairbanks and the Dalton Highway.

The next day saw us leaving interior Alaska to head back into Yukon Territory and B.C. I was really sad to leave,but couldn't think about it much as the Al-Can Highway was a disaster through that section, and no surprise, it was raining! We met the one, crabby Canadian at the border, and quickly moved on to Kluane Lake. By the time we got there, it had stopped raining (happy dance!) and the sun was shining (fall over in a dead faint). We camped at Cottonwood Campground and it was super lovely. The lake is beautiful, and we had a great time. They even had a nine hole hand made golf course with tough holes!

When we moved on the next day, we turned off the Al-Can at Haines Junction and headed south to Haines where we would be catching the ferry. That was our coldest day of riding as we drove over a mountain pass. We got snowed on. Just a little, but still! Come on! It was the MIDDLE OF JUNE! On the backside of the pass, we dropped from 3200 ft of elevation to about 1200 ft in a matter of a couple of miles where we warmed up, and re-entered the U.S. and south eastern Alaska.

We had a very stern border official who questioned Josh and then headed to me.

BORDER GUARD: Do you have any firearms or weapons?

ME: No

BORDER GUARD: Do you have any citrus?

ME: No

BORDER GUARD: Do you have any plants?

ME: No

BORDER GUARD: Do you have a runny nose?

ME: (laughing) YES!

BORDER GUARD: Have a nice trip!

And on to Haines we rode.



  1. Amazing you don't have pneumonia, with all the rain you've been driving thru. Mom

  2. I love your writing! It's great to be intouch again!
    Thanks for coming to say HI over at my page!!
    We'll have to catch up when I ride through your neck of the woods later this summer. Let's plan a weekend ride, all 4of us! Hope your trip home was great... I'll read on and find out ;) take care!