Waiting in Tok Alaska

I am stuck in Tok, Alsaka, for two reasons. First, it is suppose to pour rain all day. And second, because I was planning on going to Dawson City, but it is the Dawson City Music Festival this weekend, and every hotel and campground is booked solid.

Goodbye Brent

Brent and I have been riding together for I think ten days now. We accomplished something major together. We conquered the Dalton Highway and made it to the most northernly point in the western hemisphere that you can reach by a vehicle. While be both could have done it alone, it was much safer and cheaper to do it together. Plus, it was nice to have someone to share the momentous occasion with.

Today was the day for us to part company. I am going south the way he came up, and he is going south the way I came up. I am sure our paths will cross one day again. We are both planning on entering Mexico together at about the same time.

Off he goes.



It wasn’t long after that the predicted rain fell.


I waited as long as I could at the hotel and then went to Fast Eddies restaurant to wait out the rain. The rain won.

Some gas, air in the tires, and some riding around finally outlasted the rain. What should I do now? Go back to the hotel at $89 US or camp for $27 US? I had definitely overspent this month and so camping was tempting. On the other hand, it was suppose to continue to rain and so hoteling it was tempting. Money won!


I prepared for the rain by bringing out my multipurpose tarp.



Went to bed and still no rain. I heard a few drops during the night but that was it. Great decision Brian!

Route for July 24, 2016, Staying in Tok


Matanuska Glacier

The highlight of today’s ride from Anchorage to Tok, Alaska, was the Matanuska Glacier and Jeannies Java.

Brent and I were up early as usual to make our escape from Anchorage while the weather was good – also known as cloudy. Both of us like to ride for a hour before having breakfast. This really works well in populated regions. But here in Alaska you could be in the middle of no where. A hour into our ride we hit two cafes. Both were not open until 9. We would have to wait an hour. We were told the next place to stop to eat was 100 miles away. It looked like we would be going hungry for awhile!

We forgot all about food when we arrived at the Matanuska Glacier. The Glacier is 27 miles long and you can see the end of it from the road. It is something you can’t stop staring at.


After our stop we continued our search for food. Not much further up the road we ran into a great place to eat and we didn’t have to go 100 miles to get to it either.


Jeannies Java

When we got to the Tok Cutoff we stopped off for a snack at Jeannies Java.


Now it just so happens that both Brent and I are big fans of Oisin Hughes. He has an awesome video series on YouTube of his motorcycle travels around the world. And Oisin Hughes stopped here too! See the resemblance πŸ™‚




Our final destination was Tok, Alaska. Tok is a funny place in that there is nothing here. What it is though is the crossroads for travelers coming to Alaska. As a result there are lots of places to stay for the night to continue your journey the next day. Brent had stayed at a newly opened hotel on the way up for only $89 US for no matter how many beds. The only issue is that there was no TV and the only Wi-Fi was in the lobby. So for only $45 US for the night this was a bargain for me in Alaska. Splitting the costs was one of the advantages of riding with a partner.



This was to be the last day for Brent and I to be riding together.

The Troubles

Today was a day to try and fix the troubles with my motorcycle. The first task was to go to Lowes or Home Depot to get a strap for my fuel canister. Of course it was raining. And of course Lowes and Home Depot did not have what I needed.

Next stop was to get gas. On the way I noticed that my turn signals weren’t working. In fact nothing on my left side switch was working! Crap! After getting gas, which I paid for using my Visa card, I went to Starbucks before the BMW Motorcycle Shop opened. I went to pay for my purchase and my Visa credit card was declined! Crap again. Using Skype I phone Visa and they said nothing was wrong with my card but that Starbucks was using a Mastercard system. What???? I did eventually pay with my Mastercard and it worked. They assured me nothing was wrong with my card.

I got to the Motorcycle Shop and they were quite helpful, despite having a no walk ins policy.


The mechanic attempted to get the switch to work but couldn’t. He told me I would need to order a new switch. I asked if they could also order the other damaged parts. The part are suppose to arrive tomorrow by FedEx. My fingers are crossed! I did end up purchasing the Touratech strap and bracket for my fuel canister. An expensive waste to get the bracket too. Oh well.

Also While waiting at the Motorcycle Shop a couple of interesting things happened.


First, this is where Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman from Long Way Round stopped to have their motorcycles repaired. Apparently, a spoke was missing from the back tire and they simply had the whole tire replaced. The old tire was on display.


Second, I met Dr. Samuel Becker who was also getting his motorcycle repaired. He is on a trek from Florida to Alaska and crashed outside of Canmore. You can read his blog here – http://www.olympusrejuvenationcenter.com/blog. We got to talking about my medical conditions and he had a few suggestions that may help. Interesting. One thing about going to a motorcycle repair shop is that you meet the most interesting people. It is a great place for people to meet and share stories and advice.

The funny thing is, as I left The Motorcycle Shop, all of a sudden one thing after another started to work on my switch. First the turn signals, then my light, then the horn and the GPS switch. Go figure. I thought it may be moisture but the mechanic said there was no moisture in the switch. Probably should get it replaced anyways.

After a day of troubles I was able to spend the rest of it writing my daily journals and communicating with people. That part is nice. Thank you to everyone who sends me comments etc. They are much appreciated.

And then it was back to the Blue Fox Pub for dinner to top off the day.


Route for July 21, 2016

In and around this area in Anchorage trying to solve problems πŸ™‚



The weather cleared enough that Brent and I left Fairbanks for Anchorage.

It felt amazing to be riding on asphalt where your mid didn’t have to be continually focused on the condition of the road. The day was overcast as we cruised down the highway. We reached Denali National Park.

As a kid I remember being enthralled with large mountains. Mt. McKinley stood as as being the highest mountain in North America. It was on my bucket list to see. However, it was cloudy out and it didn’t look likely I would be able to.

Mt. McKinley, as I knew it, is 20,310 feet (6,190 meters) above sea level making it third highest of the Seven Summits β€” the highest mountains on each of the seven continents β€” following Mount Everest in Nepal and Aconcagua in Argentina. The base to peak rise of Mt. McKinley is the largest of any mountain that lies entirely above sea level, some 18,000 feet. By one measure, it could be considered the third tallest mountain in the world.

I was interested to know that it is no longer called Mt. McKinley! It was named Mt. McKinley in 1917 after the former President of the United States. Since 1975 Alaskans attempted to change the name of the mountain to Mt. Denali. It wasn’t until 2015 when President Obama changed the name back to Mt. Denali.

In any case, as we passed through the park I couldn’t see anything. As we were about to leave the park, Brent pulled into a viewpoint. As I parked I looked up to my right and there it was. Amazing. What a view of the mountain. Seeing Mt. Denali made my day and fulfilled a bucket list item.


After a long ride we arrived in Anchorage. The University dorms had turned out to be a cheap alternative to hotels which are sooooo expensive. We had attempted to make reservations in the dorms at University of Alaska Anchorage but hadn’t heard back. We showed up anyways I got a pretty cool dorm room suite. They didn’t have dorms like this when I was going to University. We got 2 bedrooms attached to a common area that included the main entrance, shower, sink and storage.




After arriving I immediately went to the BMW dealership. On the ride from Fairbanks, I noticed that my ignition switch was sticky. A year ago I had the experience where the switch died on me and I couldn’t even start the bike. I didn’t want that to happen again. Also, I realized that one of the Touratech straps the held my fuel bottle in place was severed in two due to the sharp edge on the bracket. I needed to get a new one. The only strap they had that worked was the Touratech strap. But in the package was also the mount which I didn’t need. I figured I could find something at Lowes. As for the switch, they told me to come back tomorrow. That is when the saga started.

Route for July 20, 2016


University of Alaska Fairbanks

Today was a day to clean all the Dalton Highway mud, guck, and smell that permeated all my bags and belongings. I tried just rinsing it off under a tap. That didn’t work. Everything had to be washed. Luckily, the washers and dryers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks dorms are free! I spent from the morning until about 3 pm washing and repacking. This is where I spent most of my day.


As a final conclusion to the Dalton Highway I put on the stickers on my motorcycle to say, “I did it.”



The rest of the day was just relaxing and ordering in Chinese food for dinner.

Thoughts on the Dalton Highway

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Dalton Highway is considered one of the most dangerous highways in the world. From my experience the Dalton Highway changes daily and is never the same. On my ride to Deadhorse it was clear skies and sunny. The road was dry. Until we got 30 miles outside of Deadhorse, we were wandering what all the fuss was about the Dalton. The scenery was amazing and I took it all in as I thoroughly enjoyed the ride past the Arctic Circle, over the Atigun Pass, and into the tundra. So beautiful.

Then 30 miles outside of Deadhorse the Dalton Highway took on a different personality with the construction. Because it was dry and sunny we had to contend with the big loose rocks that pounding our motorcycles and our feet as we squirmed our way through the section. Construction changes the Dalton Highways into a different animal.

On our return, the Dalton Highway reared its ugly side as the rain changed the complexion of the road to something unrecognizable from when we came up. The construction area morphed itself into a muddy mess. After our falls we were glad to get to the loose rock portions. Due to the rain, the rest of the Dalton was coated in a slimy mess that made our back wheels come out from under me from time to time.

The Dalton Highway cannot be categorized into a specific descriptor. It will be many things to many people depending on the weather, construction, motorcycle, and riding skills.

I am glad I had the sunny days on the way up to enjoy its beauty. And in retrospect, one day ha ha ha, I will be glad for the challenge it gave me, and the damage it caused, so that I can say I made it through one of the most dangerous roads in the world.

Route for July 19, 2016


Return of the Dalton Highway

In the morning it was about putting back on my muddy jacket, pants and boots, and getting on my muddy damaged bike. Not my favorite thing to do … right Brent ha ha ha.

While we were sleeping a group of motorcyclist had shown up and were tenting outside the hotel. One of them was Jeremy Kroeker who authored Through Dust and Darkness, Motorcycle Therapy, and Motorcycle Messengers.


We saddled up and took off into dark clouds.There was scattered showers until we got close to Fairbanks when it poured. We took our time and only I couple of times there were sections that made me say, “Oh Crap!” But nothing like I experienced the day before.

The next gas station was Yukon River. A tour guide also parked in the lot said we must be the toughest people in Alaska right now riding in this mud and rain. An exaggeration for sure, but I’ll take it. We kept going.

A while later I noticed Brent had slowed behind me. I thought he was stopping to take a picture so I slowed and waited for him. When he caught up he honked for me to pull over. It turned out his warning light came on that his engine was overheating. We looked for the cause and found out that both our radiators were caked in mud. This made it next to impossible for the air to get in there to cool the water. We attempted to take sticks to clear it but it was caked in hard. Brent wished for rain.

His wish came true as moments later it poured. The rain cleared out the mud somewhat and the engine temperature went down.

First thing once we got to Fairbanks was wash our bikes to get some of the mud off of the bikes.

Then off to the University of Alaska Fairbanks where we stayed in dorm rooms for the cheap price of $41 US. They were very nice. Clean, lots of electrical outlets, awesome Wi-Fi, free laundry, and a tent to park our motorcycles under.





I was finally finished the Dalton. Except for repairing the motorcycle damage Grrrrrrrr.

Route for July 18, 2016


Dalton Damage

The Dalton was angry today my friend.

Brent wanted to leave at 6 am to head back to Coldfoot Camp and the Fairbanks the next day. I set the alarm for 5. I hate doing that as one part of this trip is to not set the alarm and not to have commitments unless necessary.

I woke up at 5 and Brent was already in the shower. I looked out the window. It was raining. Crap!

As I was getting ready Brent already had his helmet on and was waiting to go. I guess no hot, free, breakfast from the hotel this morning. I did manage to grab to PBJ sandwiches and milk to take with me though.

We were off at 6:03 am. As you may remember, the first 30 miles from Deadhorse were the worst. Who knows how the rain would play havoc with the road.

Calcium Chloride

One thing to know ab out the Dalton Highway, in the summer they apply calcium chloride to the dirt to keep down the dust. The problem for bikers is that when it rains it turns the surface into a greasy slimy gruel. That is on top of the usual mud and little rivers that run down the hills. The stuff cakes your bike.


And of course the same spots with those rocks the size of my fist.


The Fall

As we were waiting at the first flag person stop, the Pilot Car arrived and warned us about an extremely muddy portion of the highway. She said even she has problems in in her truck. Great.


We went through some of the usual loose big rocks and some muddy sections. No major problem.


Then it came. The muddy section. I sped up a bit to get through it.

My wheels wobbled and I was all over the place. I felt I was losing it. My legs instinctively went up to gain balance and brace myself. The bike was taking me to the edge of the road where there was lose gravel down an embankment of I think 4 to 6 feet. Between the two things I put the bike down. I ended up on the ground on my back beside the bike.

Screenshot (19)

It may have been mud, but as I got up I noticed the damage to my bike – broken windshield, side spoiler, and the signal light. Seeing my bike suffer hurt ha ha ha and thinking of how my wallet was going to hurt hurt even more! Luckily I was ok. Just ticked off.


Brent and a guy running the roller beside the mud hole came over. We managed to pick up the bike and collect the broken parts.

Screenshot (20)

I started the bike again and took off.


Moments later I heard a yell and behind me. Brent had dropped his bike. No damage. We picked it up and the two of us took off. We were covered in mud.

That was the worst of the mud. We passed over the big rocks we thought we so bad the other day. Today, we were happy to see them and not more mud.

When finally got through the 30 miles and stopped at the side of the road for breakfast – a PBJ sandwich and milk.

For the rest of the trip to Coldfoot Camp we road through more slimy calcium chloride. It caked our bikes.

Getting to the paved road outside of Coldfoot was a happy event.

But that didn’t mean we didn’t see some great scenery!



Coldfoot Hotel

We arrived at our destination, tired, dirty, and hungry.




The hungry part we took care of right away. The tired was a sleep in a small older room in an Atco like trailer. The dirty will have to wait until Fairbanks. I don’t like that much. After a day like this I just want to clean everything up and enjoy a nice warm meal. That will have to wait until tomorrow.


I think I will be spending the next few days in Fairbanks to take care of the Dalton damage.

The Route for July 17,2016


Living Loving Adventuring

Today was about meeting Brent Carroll from Livinglovingadventuring.com.

As I mentioned, we had made arrangements to do the Dalton Hwy up to Prudhoe Bay together. Partly to share costs by doubling up in rooms, and partly to have some security in case something goes wrong.

Dalton Highway

The Dalton Highway is purported to be one of the most dangerous highways in the world. Check out these articles among many others:


Starting the Day

In any case, we were meeting up this afternoon to stay at the Eielson Air Force Base. Brent is a US Navy Veteran and so he could get us into the Gold Rush Inn on the base for $30 US each.

First though it was laundry, packing up the motorcycle, and off to Starbucks. Starbucks should really pay me something for all the advertising I give them and for being such a loyal fan. So Starbucks, if you are listening πŸ˜‰

After my morning coffee I went to the Air Force Base to meet Brent. After some paper work for a foreign national to enter the base, I was in. Off to the Gold Rush Inn.

It was actually pretty nice. A few beers, something to eat, and time to get to know each other.

Brent Carroll

Brent was in the Navy for 20 years, and then working as a civilian for the US Coast Guard for almost nine years years as an engineer, and finished his PhD. His Dad passed away when he was 51. That was enough motivation for him to realize life is too short.

Brent believes that the world is full of good, purposeful, and striving people, and that everything we hear distorts our world perspective in really negative ways. Riding a motorcycle is the purist form of therapy possible, and that you get to see the world while riding all the better. You get feelings, sensations, smells, and experiences riding a motorcycle you simply cannot get on a vacation or in a car.

Brent is on a 17-month motorcycle trip leaving from Virginia, to Newfoundland, cross Canada, up to Alaska, and then follow generally the Pan-American Highway in its entirety all the way south through Patagonia to the southern tip of South America. And then turn around and head back to Seattle.

As an engineer, Brent likes to attend to every detail. Now I use to be like this, but on this trip one of my themes in my adventure. is to plan not to have a plan ha ha ha. Huuuuuummmm potential problem? ha ha ha

Regardless, we are both authentic, and value adventure and people.

The Route for July 13, 2016 was Fairbanks to Eielson Air Force Base


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