Homeward Bound: Anchorage, AK -> Tok, AK
2 July ’18
I woke up at quarter to 6, and stared at the ceiling for a while, wondering at the series of life choices that led me to committing to ride 8,000 miles in 6 weeks, and mentally pricing out the pros and cons of selling the bike and flying home. This lunacy lasted about 3 minutes, then gave way to “oh no, wait, I get to ride today!” so I was up and packed by 7am, enjoying the last hot shower I’ll have for 3 days…
The Morrigan is having some kind of electrical snafu since I messed around trying to tighten the clutch cable; its ECU is claiming that something is off in the idle speed, according to the Suzuki tech I got to plug in the dealer diagnostic tool for me on Saturday; John at Anchorage Cycle Center, thank you for helping out a nervous traveller who rolled in 30 minutes before you closed for the holiday! The engine is running fine, it’s idling where it is supposed to, mileage isn’t effected, and the clutch is engaging and disengaging smoothly, so 🤷🏽♀️
I decided to stop and grab some wire to make a jumper cable that’ll let me monkey around with the dealer error codes myself, and the hardware store was next to the grocery store, so breakfast was Starbucks kiosk coffee and a grocery store deli breakfast sammich. This technically breaks my “no chain food places” rule, but I need coffee in the morning. I picked up some other supplies, hemmed and hawed and fiddled with packing, finally getting back on the road at 8:30. A quick stop to top off the tank in Palmer, and then I’m gone.
Great weather today, big blue skies, 65-70F, plenty of big puffy cottontail clouds getting caught on craggy peaks and ridges. The Matanuska Glacier was shining brightly today, but I didn’t dare stop, as I was hopscotching a caravan of 30+ RVs and support vehicles. According to the signs hung in all their windows, they’re some kind of annual caravan that starts down in Florida.. seems like an expensive road trip to me, considering the mileage those whales get, but whatever, maybe I’ll feel different when I retire.
So not many stops for me today, as I’m covering miles I’ve done multiple times already. I zipped along at a solid 75-80 when I could, and made it to Glennallen (about 180 miles from Anchorage) before the RVs did, which is VERY important.. there’s one gas station at this crossroads town, and everyone who is traveling this road pretty much has to stop here for gas. I wiggled into an empty pump, then parked and got an iced coffee and a VERY spicy pad thai from the coffee and Thai food sheds off to the side, sitting in the shade trying to get caught up on personal email and news feeds. I gave up after 20 minutes and just marked everything as “read” and bought some gum and chatted with a pair of 6 year old girls. Kids love my bike - the rainbows, the pink accents, they stand there shyly working up the courage to say “I like your bike!” before hiding their eyes or running to their parents. I always smile and give an enthusiastic “thank you!” back; I wonder if I should offer to let them sit on it or something? 🤔
After turning onto the road to Tok, traffic thinned out considerably. The road was in just as poor condition as I remembered, with 100 yard gravel breaks every few miles, frost heaves and tar snakes. The sunshine gave way to black clouds as I caught up to a slow-moving squall line. The temp dropped 20 degrees in 5 miles and the rain started spitting so I suited up for the remainder of the trip. I only actually got rained on for 15 or 20 minutes, then I broke past the front and got my sunshine back.
Pulled in to Thompson’s a few minutes before 3pm, feeling like I could easily bang out the remaining 100 miles to Beaver Creek, YT, but I like Thompson’s quite a bit; a motorcycle-only campground, with a steam house and funky cabins and a repair shed and camp kitchens? I’ll tolerate the pit toilets and spiders for this! No one was in the campground, not even the owner (she has a day job at the airport, you just set up camp and sometime in the evening she’ll wander by for her $15 fee and some chatter.) I gassed up and parked my butt at Fast Eddy’s for pizza and pie. Everyone says “Oh, you’re going to Tok? You just HAVE to eat at Fast Eddy’s!” as if its some spectacular dining experience. Its good, and they have wifi, but its also the only food option in town besides the gas station, so you kind of HAVE to eat at Fast Eddy’s…
Tomorrow I’m off to the Takhini Hot Springs outside Whitehorse; just a shade under 400 miles. Its a remote, empty stretch of the Yukon, so I’ll make sure to charge up the SPOT just in case.
Miles today: 318.2