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 — the highest mountains on each of the seven continents — 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


Arctic Circle

Now, I am an early riser. But Brent is really an earlier riser. I turned over in bed and the clock said 5:13 am. Time to get up.

We were out the door and on the road early. It was an unbelievable day – warm with blue skies. We were off to the Arctic Circle and Wiseman for the night.


Gasoline is an issue going to Prudhoe Bay. We intended to get gas at Livengood. When we reached the town it said no services. What to do now?

We kept going and reached the start of the infamous Dalton Highway!


Besides taking some photos we needed to figure out what to do about gas. We decided to press on to Yukon River. When I drove up to the town/building the sign said food but didn’t mention gas. As I drove by, all I saw was a white tank and no gas pumps. At the next stop, about 3 miles up the road, we stopped and the woman at the gift shop said there was gas at Yukon River. Back we went. Sure enough there was a pump there.


The next stop for gasoline was Coldfoot. This is also the last chance for gasoline before Deadhorse. The gas has to last for 229 miles. Both Brent and I are carrying an extra gallon of gas.

Arctic Circle

Before the Arctic Circle we saw the first tundra. How cool.


Just up the road was the Arctic Circle.

This was amazing. I have read about people reaching the circle and posing in from of the sign. I have dreamt that one day it would be me and now it is. Really surreal. I motorcycled to the Arctic Circle!



After pinching myself, Brent and I took off for Coldfoot to get our last gas before reaching Deadhorse and the Arctic Ocean.Great scenery along the way.



We decided to have a bite to eat in Coldfoot before heading to Wiseman just a few miles up the road. There and met a guy who just came down from Deadhorse. He warned about the road before Deadhorse that was under construction. He said the road consisted of huge rocks. It was there that Enrique crashed his bike. That will be the challenge tomorrow. Right now, however, it was time to get to Wiseman and the Borreal Lodge for the night.

Wiseman is an odd little town next to a beautiful river. The Boreal Lodge? Rustic and hot. No air conditioning in the Arctic. Go figure 🙂 Took me awhile to get to sleep. And of course it is light 24 hours a day.


Route for July 14, 2016


Living Loving Adventuring

Today was about meeting Brent Carroll from

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 😉

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


Mission Sunglasses Completed

Despite being wet, I slept in until 8:30 am in Tok. The campers next to me were also motorcyclists from Vancouver. As motorcyclist do, we talked for awhile until it was time for us to go.

First it was to the campground office to let them know I had crashed the campground was there and to pay my bill.

Then it was on to Fast Freddies. Yup, they had my sunglasses! YAY!

At that point I just wanted to get to the point I planned on being at today. That was to be at Starbucks working on journals and a YouTube video. So I headed back to Fairbanks right away. I was beginning to hate that road ha ha ha.

It took longer than I thought. And it was hot. And I was tired. And I didn’t have a place to stay for the night.


I tried to find a Starbucks in Fairbanks, but they were all the ones inside Safeways. I hate those. Hey Starbucks, put a special designation on those so I know it is really a fake Starbucks with zero atmosphere. Finally, I asked a Safeway Starbucks Barista where a “real” Starbucks was at. She gave me directions to one inside Barnes and Noble. Ok, those generally aren’t too bad. By the time I got there I had had enough and decided to treat myself to a hotel to clean up.
Fairbanks Hotel.

Bridgewater Hotel

Hotels in Fairbanks are very expensive. I took the most inexpensive one on Expedia – The Bridgewater Hotel. I left for it right away. It turned out to be quite nice and located in downtown Fairbanks.
When I got my room I dumped everything out to dry out and clean.


After a shower, I went to Big Daddys for some ribs and a beer. Wow …. Now life is good!


My route for July 12, 2016



I left early from Tok to get to Trails End BMW in Fairbanks to get more off road tires put on my motorcycle suitable to get me to the Arctic Ocean. I got there at just about 11 am. They recommended Heidenau, K60 Scout tires. Done. Trails End BMW is a funny place in that it serviced Harley Davidson, Victory, Honda, and BMW.



The Wait

It was a nice day out and everyone needing servicing sat on picnic table outside. It was actually a lot of fun. People were there from New York, Michigan, North Dakota and Alaska. There was the usual good natured ribbing between the Harley and BMW riders. And the talking about trips and equipment. I could have been working on my blogs or figuring out my Go Pro, but this kind of camaraderie between motorcyclist is just too much fun. And does the solo travelers heart good.

The hours passed.


One particular person stood out, my man Enrique! Enrique is a 45 year old Spaniard living in Brooklyn, New York. He spent the last 5 months traveling around the US on his BMW. He had just come back from Prudhoe Bay where he dropped his bike, putting a crack in the crash bar. Besides being the life of the tables, he was also very authentic. During the hours that passed we had a chance to talk together about life on the road as a solo male traveler and especially as a traveler up north. Our thoughts and feeling were so similar. As he said, “it is nice to know that others have the same feelings as you do.” It was. Thanks for the talk my friend.

More hours passed.


At one point I wanted to put my prescription sunglasses on. I couldn’t find them. I thought where I might have put them. It hit me. I took them off in the restaurant in Tok! Crap! I used the phone to call and sure enough they were there. I debated what I should do. Tok is an almost 3 hour ride from Fairbanks. I guess I would have to go there tomorrow instead of taking the day off from riding.

By 6:30 pm my bike was finally ready!

From this:


To this:



Hotels are expensive in Fairbanks. I had booked a cheaper hostel at the same price as camping. My experience at the Takhini Hostel was awesome. I should have known they aren’t all like that. I arrived at an older white small house and greeted by a college aged guy who showed me around. He was nice. However, the house, in my view, was crammed with bunk beds. I was shown to an upper bunk bed in the basement in a small room with 2 bunk beds. The house reeked of stir fry. After climbing up on the bunk I knew I couldn’t do this. My claustrophobia kicked in with the upper bunk, cramped room, and the smell. I felt trapped. I needed freedom 🙂 I should have taken pictures. Still learning to do that.

I made the decision to leave and go to Tok to get my glasses.

Back to Tok

Back on the bike I felt freedom riding in the warm summer evening in the sun. Although I didn’t really think things out very well. By this time it was 9 pm. By the time I got to the restaurant it would likely be closed.

The sun set at about 11:30 pm. However, it still wasn’t really dark. A hour later the sun started to rise! By this time it was now raining. When I got to the restaurant it was of course closed. I was wet and cold. I wanted a hotel. They were all closed. I decided to go back to the campsite I was at and set up tent in the rain. I crawled into my tent wet. Regardless, it was still better than that hostel. I was free.

My Route for July 11, 2016. Back and Forth!


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