We head for Fairbanks, 8-19-16

Rain, we woke up to rain. It soon stopped and the compulsion to clean my bike consumed me and I went to work.

While I was cleaning the Israelis came out to leave, the father driving and the other two were in the back playing thief guitars.  How the van sounded had not improved overnight, it still sounded like it might not even make the road.  My thought for them was good luck.

Bill and I packed up and went to breakfast at the Black Diamond in Healy. This is a restaurant my daughter Erin worked at 5 or 6 years ago and we had to stop.  Our waitress was from Jamaica and was there for the summer.

The waitress came over to take our order and we talked.  I told her about Erin and was told the owner was not in.  She was soft spoken and it was not easy to hear her.  When she left the table I asked Bill did you hear that?  After he said no I gave him a summary of the conversation. I told him he had done a great job of smiling and head nodding during our conversation with the waitress and that he had done a good job of acting like he had heard the conversation.  Bill put on his hearing aids before she came back.

The Salmon Benedict was fabulous.  I left a note for the owner about me being there and being Erin’s father.  We left the building and were getting on our bikes to leave when the Jamaica waitress came out and said she wanted to take a selfie with me and then Bill.  We were off after that.

Salmon Benedict.
Salmon Benedict.

We had dressed for rain and never found it.  With only 109 miles to go to Fairbanks we were in no hurry.  The terrain was soon flat and we just cruised.

The flatlands.
The flatlands.

We started into some rolling terain when we came upon a place called Skinny Dicks and stopped to further investigate.  It is unique.

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From there it was only about 2t miles to Fairbanks.

We got an early check-in to our motel.  It was called the Bear lodge a very nice place and a part of a larger complex that included a car museum a wildlife sanctuary with walking trails through it.  The motel had its own bar and restaurant.

After checking in we rode to the Harley dealer that was also an BMW dealer.  Their selection of BMW accessories and clothing was better than any I had seen and we were just 198 miles from the Artic Circle.

We met a couple Matalene and Mike from Vancouver while we were at the dealership and they had just completed the trip to Prudhoe Bay.  Matalene had taken a stone in the radiator causing a leak and overheating. With nowhere to have the cycle repaired they had both there cycles shipped back to the BMW dealer in Fairbanks for $800.00.  They flew to Fairbanks for $700.00, put themselves up in a motel for 4 nights costing $750.00, paid $200.00 for 2 day shipping of a $450.00 radiator and then had to pay labor for installation of the new radiator.  It was one expensive stone!

The two of us asked questions and gleaned information about the trip North to the Artic Circle.  The information they provided was just what we had heard from others, if it’s dry the road is hard and dusty, if it’s wet it’s sloppy and very slippery.  Experienced off road riders on off road bikes go down when it rains.

As I sit here writing this at 6:30 on Saturday the radar shows rain to the North of us between the Yukon river and Fairbanks, directly over the first 140 miles of our route.  As I look out at the parking lot I see wet pavement and puddles. We scrub the trip and start making new trip plans.

 

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