Day 23 - 7/24/07: Wasilla, AK to Anchorage, AK

 
Bike Service Dirty Bike Dirty Bike
     
Dirty Bike Dirty Bike Dirty Bike
     
Dirty Bike Dirty Bike Clean Bike
     
Clean Bike Clean Bike Clean Bike
     
Clean Bike Clean Bike Steam Cleaner
 

I had a good night in Wasilla. The water was horrible though. It was that stuff that doesnít wash soap off, so you rinse forever. I bet I was in the shower for 30 min!

 I took some extra time this morning and cleaned the Dalton Hwy mud and dirt off my helmet, sleeping bag, and tent. The washcloth I used was absolutely nasty when I was done. I also called the Alaska Marine Highway office to book my ferry trip. As it turns out I now have good news and bad news. The good news is: This started a motorcycle trip, and by gum itís going to end a motorcycle trip. The bad new is: There was no ferry for me. The ferry didnít leave until the 30th, from Haines, AK, a two day ride from Anchorage. I would have to sit around for 6 days, just to catch the ferry south. Then it didnít arrive in Bellingham, WA until August 3rd. I decided this was unacceptable and made up my mind to ride back. Iím going to check streets and trips tonight for an alternate route home though. When it came time to leave I took my time (once again), loaded my gear, and rolled out of the hotel around 10:00am.

 I called Jason to see what was up. While in Coldfoot Scott let me know he had some tires he could sell me, and that I could use his tire machine to mount them. Jason and Scott were in the car when I called. While I was talking with Jason, someone ran into Scottís car. I let them go to take care of business and let them know I would call later in the day.

 Given Jason and Scottís predicament, I decided to get my tires at The Motorcycle Shop (BMW dealer). They told me it would be a few hours till they got to my bike, then another hour or two until the tires were mounted. As I had not eaten yet today, I took a ride to Saraís Sandwich Shop for a delicious lunch. I had an Italian sub, chips, and chili.

 When I got back to The Motorcycle Shop they went right to work. I thought I would have had a longer wait. Even so, I went upstairs to the lobby and worked on the website some more. I met two guys from Venezuela who are headed up for Deadhorse tomorrow. We talked about the road and the trip so far. They were impressed that I road all the way from TN. They had their bikes shipped to Anchorage and were in the final preparations at The Motorcycle Shop. I gave them my gallon gas jug as I no longer needed it.

 I also met Wayne, a fellow 1150 GS Adventure Rider. He wanted to know all about my bike, my travels, and future plans. He owns a power plant repair shop right around the corner and offered me the use of his steam cleaner if I wanted to wash all the crud off the bike. I told him I would think about it.

 There were also four BMW riders there getting service. Three of them had been riding together for a while. They were from Phoenix, L.A., and Reno and had come up through Washington State. They were touring Alaska together. The fourth rider had an 1150 GS with a Ural sidecar. It was really cool. He told me it wasnít as cool as it looked. You had to be really careful when riding or the sidecar would come off the ground in turns. He tries to keep around 150lbs of gear in the sidecar to help out with this. Unfortunately he was going nowhere fast. He had some wiring issues and his starter had crapped out.

 The Motorcycle Shop finished with the bike and I went downstairs to sort through the gear I had left several days ago before for my run to Deadhorse, I was not looking forward to hauling it all around again. Itís amazing how much this bike can do. It can haul all of this stuff, all of my modern comforts, but it performs like a pig when itís loaded down. When I stripped down my gear for the Deadhorse run I felt like I was riding a sports bike, it was a huge difference. After I had all of my gear loaded I tried calling Jason again. I got his voice mail and left him a message with my email address and a quick note to stay in touch. I then called Wayne to see what was up. He was still at the shop and still had the offer out on the table. He told me he was right around the corner. I put his address into the GPS and set out for his shop after settling my bill at The Motorcycle Shop. When he said right around the corner, he wasnít lying. It was probably all of 150 ft to his shop.

 I met Wayneís wife and two of his sons. He told me about his business. He repairs power plants. All of the little villages and towns in the middle of nowhere have power plants. They need regular maintenance and repair. He flies out to fix them when they break. He has also done lots of work up at Deadhorse working on their power utilities. I decided to clean off the bike, so Wayne hooked up the steam cleaner and away we went. I spent about 45 min cleaning the bike. All kinds of mud and gunk, from every crack and crevice came out. But I bet the bike will still be carrying Dalton Hwy mud when I get back to Nashville, the stuff was everywhere.

 Randy, Wayneís business partner, showed up as I was finishing cleaning off the bike. Randy is an avid radio user, and has all sorts of HAM radio equipment hooked up to the GPS in his car. He runs radio competitions and owns his own antennas in order to broadcast from his house. It was rather fascinating. Wayne offered me the use of his shop and his tools for the night. Instead of camping he offered me the use of the bed he has upstairs in the loft. Finally he offered me the use of his company truck if I needed to go and get anything. This was all very strange to me, all of this hospitality shown to me by a complete stranger.

 Against my better judgment I drove the truck to McDonaldís. My trip was uneventful, but I still should have taken my bike instead of his truck, just in case something happened. I broke down and got the McKinley Mac that I had mentioned earlier. Itís a Big Mac, but made with quarter pounder meat. It tasted just like a Big Mac, only bigger. I donít know why I was expecting something different, but oh well.

 I then took some time to sort through my gear. I repacked everything as I had picked up some additional items during my Deadhorse run. I had added three t-shirts, two sweat shirts, and a lot of rocks to my baggage. Once everything was loaded and stuffed into the baggage I had to zip the U-Pac. This had become a hard task again as so much extra had been stuffed into it. In order to zip it up I have to grab the top flap and pull down really hard to get the zipper to zip. I was sitting on the floor, with the bag between my legs while I was doing this. My hand slipped off the flap and I accidentally punched myself in the one place that a man should not be punched. Needless to say, I took a short break before finishing the zipping job.

 After squaring away my gear, I headed up to the loft to work on the website. It was about 10:00. I was on the computer for maybe 30 min and I just kept falling asleep, so I finally threw in the towel and hit the sack (the bed this time!).

 Tomorrow I start my journey home to Tennessee.

 

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