Day’s distance: 386 miles
Total trip distance: 2,549 miles
The day started out with steady rain that lasted until reaching Haines Junction. It was pretty cool at 41 degrees. After that, it warmed up eventually into the mid 50s with clouds and sun breaks.
In Haines Junction, I stopped at the Village Bakery and grabbed a savory scone and some beet soup, as well as an extra hot latte. After eating, I put on a sweater and topped off my gas tank before taking off again.
I have to say the mountains of the Kluane National Park were pretty spectacular, even hiding behind the cloud cover.
The roads continued to be in good shape, though amenities like painted center lines seemed to be lacking in spots. No biggie.
Kluane Lake was beautiful and a nice place to take a short break.
And while I wouldn’t call the road twisty, it was interesting and scenic.
Just south of Beaver Creek, the last town before the Alaska border, I came upon a BMW GS rider who had broken down. Apparently I was only a few minutes behind him and he was still kind of panicked.
His drive shaft broke. He was able to point to the rubber boot that covers this critical area. It was loose and there was a lot of opportunity for dirt and gravel to enter the driveshaft mechanicals. His trip was likely over.
In this case, the only assistance I could provide was help in thinking through his options. He was able to flag down a truck with travelers willing to drive him as far as Tok, but in driving ahead, I saw that Beaver Creek had towing services and a pay phone. I bet he stopped there to ensure his motorcycle wouldn’t be left on the side of the highway overnight.
What lessons could I gleam from his trouble?
Well, his bike was very, very heavily loaded with all kinds of gear strapped outside his full side boxes and top case. I have never seen a motorcycle loaded down like this one. This likely added stress to the drivetrain.
Also, the rubber boot around the articulated drive shaft should always fit tightly. His was, at least now, not fitted well. I don’t think he maintained the driveshaft either, based on his unfamiliarity with the type of maintenance performed on these parts.
Finally, he had no towing service arrangements – his BMW roadside assistance didn’t apply as he already had exceeded the warrantied mileage and he didn’t have AAA or an equivalent.
I followed him into Beaver Creek and wished him the best. I topped off with gas here, since I was stopped. That was a good thing because my planned stopped just over the border was closed. Whew! While I think I would have made it into Fairbanks on the fuel I had, it made the rest of the ride more relaxed knowing I had a full tank.
There is about a 20 km distance between the border and the US customs station.
The quality of the roads on the US side of the border were easily the worst of the trip so far. Hmmm, not really surprised.
The landscape here was flatter, with mountains sometimes visible, but often you just road down this two lane roadway between the trees.
I reached my campsite in Tok about 6pm. It was a bit windy, but my site was sheltered from the winds by tall trees. Still, I went to dinner at Fast Eddie’s Restaurant before setting up the tent.
Usually, I enjoy sitting at the bar and talking to whoever is sitting next to me. I was seated at a table this time as there was no bar in Fast Eddie’s. A woman traveling alone was seated near me and I invited her to join me. Elizabeth was from the Zurich area and traveling here to meet a friend a few days later. We talked for at least an hour over dinner. It was quite enjoyable.
The sun doesn’t really set this time of year. The photo below was taken about 10:30pm when I was ready to try to sleep. Why did I bring a headlamp? LOL
The tent site had wood chips for the tent. These worked out well to avoid mud, and in the morning, the tent pad was dry despite the light showers through the evening.
I reach Fairbanks tomorrow.