Friday, July 15, 2011

Alaska Ride 2011: heading south

I lingered a bit long in Fairbanks, finally leaving mid-afternoon.It is a great city, one that I could easily spend much more time in, after all, it was founded as a base camp/supply center for the mining, then oil industries and now services the tourism boom.It makes a great place from which to base motorcycle adventures. I will be back.

While I've allowed myself plenty of time to get back, there was one time sensitive chore to perform: ship the Ruger.In consideration of that, I needed to get to Three Bears Outfitters before 7 pm. Along the way I took numerous pictures, the lovely lady above is but one example.The process at the gun shop was quick, and cheap, $42 including insurance to ship the gun. One of the guys noted a hitchhiker in the case; an Arctic fly, a bug so small I didn't even notice it.

My original plan was to camp in Tok, and cross the border in the morning. Since it was only just after 6, and the predicted rain hadn't started, I decided to go for Beaver Creek YT, about 120 miles away. About 20 miles down the road, the sky opened up, and I rode to another painless border crossing in a downpour.A glance at the Garmin revealed that it was now 9 pm, as the time changes at the border, I would roll into Beaver Creek at the time the town was closing up for the night, as far as food and stores go.

My intention had been to camp at again the Westmark campground, which takes registrations until 11. But, I have to confess the prospect of setting up in the pouring rain, and eating a soggy MRE just didn't fire me up. As I pulled into town, the still to be left nameless gouge hotel came into sight. The weather conditions were strangely similar to the last trip to Alaska when I was pulled into it's grimy lot. Not this time though, I'd sooner sleep in the ditch then cough up the sure to be more than $100 of the previous stay.

About this time,I remembered that  Westmark also runs a highly regarded hotel. I enquired , and learned I could get a very nice room for less than the gouge joint. Sign me up, I'd been on the road for two weeks and hadn't stayed under a roof yet. This would be the night. I also learned that the hotel has a lounge that serves, very good, and reasonable food until 11. It was a great experience! However, there is no wi-fi, or internet available, other then a desk-top for guests.No big deal, as it gave ,me an excuse to stop today at my favorite place in the Yukon, the Village Bakery, where I sit drinking coffee and blogging away.

I'll try and post from Teslin, as I've had some questions as to the logistics of a Prudhoe Bay ride. Stay tuned

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