Sunday, July 6, 2008

Haines Junction, YT to Anchorage, AK-619 miles

Day 11, July 4, 2008. YES! We made it to Anchorage today. On the 4th of July, no less. 5,264 miles from the time we left Gary's home 11 days ago until arriving at his brother's place in Anchorage. A very long way on 2 wheels!

The day started early, at 6:30am. We got up, packed the bikes, ate breakfast at the adjoining restaurant, and hit the road headed northwest.

We had been warned that there were multiple places where the road was under different phased of repairs, so we weren't surprised when we came across the first one about 50miles up the road. That one, in Destruction Bay, was probably the worst one of all. We had to wait for a pilot car to arrive and turn around. Then we traveled over some pretty rough freshly-blasted stone for maybe ¼ mile. Not too bad, really, but a fall would have been somewhat nasty, given the condition of the road surface. But we had no mishap.

From there until almost Anchorage, we ran through maybe 150 spots where gravel was on the road. Most were not bad at all, but one place maybe a mile long had deeper gravel that bothered me. The front end of the bike wanted to wander left and right, and I did not like that sensation. But the bike stayed upright and we were fine. Just tense moments from time to time.

And frost heaves. WOW, it felt like riding a bucking bronco! Or, at least what I think a bucking bronco would feel like (I've never ridden a horse, so I would not know for sure). I got air once, I know!
Many were mild, with just a quick up and down, but others would pull you up out of the seat, just to slam you down on it when the surface leveled out. Fun! I like the electronic suspension adjustments on the bike; I'd set it to firm over the frost heaves to keep from bottoming out the suspension. Many miles of frost heaves. The bike has developed a slight oil leak near the rear axle, which I think may have been caused by flexing the rear suspension so much and so hard. Hope to get it checked out tomorrow or next week at the dealer in Anchorage. Hope there's nothing wrong to worry about.

Saw only one bear today; no other animals of significance crossed our paths (thank goodness!).

Arrived at his brother's place about 7:30 Alaska time (4 hours difference from Eastern time).

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