Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 27 - July 10th, 2010 Valdez, AK to Tok, AK

Valdez camp site:    

We knew we had additional tent campers arriving late at night but no idea of the number.  Turns out the bicycle ride stopped over night in Valdez.  Talked to a rider and turns out many are in some type of timed competition for each leg of the 300 and others were just riding the course for fun.  Many were planning to take the ferry from Valdez to Whittier on the Kenai Peninsula which is close to Anchorage.

The one good thing about the rain we were experiencing was that the mosquitoes seemed to hibernate.  But anytime the rain stopped and the wind lessened, they were out.  Had to take a picture of this car that was helping our cause.
Adjusted the chain on the Suzuki before we left Valdez and noticed one of the fork legs was severely weeping fork oil. 

The ride north over Thompson Pass in the morning was again very cool but the pass was also very, very fogged in.  If Tammy and I got over 75 feet apart, we couldn't see each other.  Fear was of being hit by a motorist from behind that was traveling too fast.  Made it over the pass and enjoyed fifty miles of good roads before the rains came in buckets.  The ride quickly turned into one of the most grueling days of our trip.  Stopped for a long breakfast just north of Glennallen junction which included several cups of coffee.

Rode towards Tok in a continuing downpour.  Saw several elk and one very large moose.  Tough to focus on riding in the rain and watch for crossing animals at the same time.

Saw a roadside store that advertised free coffee and took them up on the offer.  Turns out they were watching the final game of the world soccer tournament so we joined them and hung our wet gloves, helmet, and coats in their back room to dry.  Crowd grew to about a dozen as people stopped, had nothing better to do, and watched the game.  Even had tourists there from Germany and the Neatherlands who explained the game's rules to us.  One homeward bound Hoka Hey rider as well.  Stayed over two hours to the game's conclusion. 

Store served as a grocery store, laundromat, coffee house, and hunting lodge for the locals between Glennallen and Tok.  Past trophies hanging on the wall inside the store:

Called it a day when we reached Tok.  This was our second time in Tok and the weather had not cooperated either time.  Got a motel room behind the Fast Eddy's restaurant and close to a local bar.

The motel, bar, and restaurant were all good and very busy.  Visited with a couple riding from eastern Canada on a Harley with 482,000 kilometers on the bike.  I was impressed.  Talked to a local that explained how the government had ruined the fishing industry in AK.  He was also the world's expert on Crocker motorcycles which I'd never heard off but later saw one in the Sturgis, SD motorcycle museum.  Also visited with a local that was patenting a new type of engine design that moved air more efficiently.  See http://www.efficient-v.com/.   I haven't looked at his website yet but he had just returned from presenting his ideas to Harley Davidson in Milwaukee.

This would be the first TV we'd watch in a month.  Seemed like the same BP, Lindsey Lohan, and dirty politics were being discussed as when we left.  Motel was completely sold out with motorcyclists looking for a drier environment that night.  Felt good to get everything hung out and dry.

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