Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 9 Fairbanks to the Dalton Highway, A Fine Line Between Courage and Stupidity

Today I woke up bright and early to get a jump on the Arctic Circle.  I headed up the Elliot Highway.  It was a beautiful ride with nice sweeping curves.  The 1100 pound monster was carving the corners nicely.  We ascended into the clouds and back down again.  The scenery was breathtaking.

The road became slightly wet which had me a bit concerned for what the Dalton would hold.  It started to rain lightly as I neared the end of the Elliott and start of the Dalton.  Eventually, I rounded a bend and saw the Dalton Highway sign.  I was so excited, only about 80 more miles to the Arctic Circle.  I rounded another bend and saw that the pavement ended.  I stopped the bike and got off to take a look, as I did the bike started to slide backwards down an incline even with the kickstand down.  I immediately hopped back on the bike to secure it.

I looked forward and the road was a wet muddy mess.  In my mind, all I could think was that there is a fine line between courage and stupidity.  I tend to skirt this line from time to time, but I had a strong feeling that this was one time I should not skirt the line.  I realized that managing the 1100 pound monster on this road under these conditions would most likely exceed my riding abilities, and in my opinion the abilities of most riders on a Wing.

Though I was disappointed that I was not able to secure the prize of making it to the Arctic Circle, I am excited to return home to claim the greatest prize of all, my wife.

I turned around and started to head back.  When I got to Tok, I stopped for gas and heard the road was washed out to the south and was closed.  Rumor has it that two bridges have washed away near Whitehorse.  I decided to spend the night in Tok and secured a campsite.  Hopefully the road will be open by morning. I enjoyed the ride to Tok as the mountains were no longer shrouded in clouds and am looking forward to a peaceful night.

I tried to mess with the cruise control some more and bypassed the micro switches at the clutch and brake by separating a fuse and using the metal pieces to complete the circuit.  This did not work, so I will have to look at it more when I get home.

I am safe and sound again at Fast Eddie's restaurant.  It is packed due to the road being closed.

Here are some pictures from today.

The Wing standing proud in a group of BMW GS 1200s.

The mountains of the Elliot Highway.

It started to rain.

The Dalton Highway sign, about 80 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

The end of the pavement, and the beginning of the pig snot.

This is the Alaska pipeline.  

I was able to capture a picture of this moose on the way back to Tok.

The road to Tok.

My camp for the night.

I attempted to bypass the micro switches with no luck.

Another great meal at Fast Eddie's.  I love the name.
Wild life count:

Moose 3
Bears 0


  1. Ed,

    What an amazing trip so far! Totally jealous! Good decision on your turn around. The goal is one thing, getting back is quite another.
    Can't wait to hear some stories in person.

    That being said, I can't help but pass on a quick story and a bit of advise I got from my dad. He was a pilot in the Air Force and he lost a couple of good friends to a mind set called "Get-Home-Itis". They were so anxious and wanted so badly to see their family that they passed off there better judgement to push and fly when they shouldn't. Two were killed trying to do what they shouldn't.

    Don't get "get-home-itis", take your time, ride safe, and make it home safely. Enjoy the trip home, it could be as fun as the ride up.

    Take Good Care!

  2. Thanks for the good words and sound advice Steve. You always seem to know exactly what to say at the right time. I am really hoping they can get the highway open within the next couple of days. There are lots of good stories to tell.

    See ya soon,