We made it! Our mission to get our picture taken at the Arctic Circle has been accomplished! There were some issues along the way and hopefully I can relate them here.
We started out around 6:30am on a 200 mile trek to the sign at the Artic Circle. Jon says (as a pavement expert) that "road contions varied from poor to atrocious". Road conditions varied from smooth asphalt to "I don't know what to call it". It was cool but comfortable starting out.
We stopped for a butt break at the Wildwood General Store. The out-house was well supplied with paper, but no mosquito repellant. Bummer. We bought t-shirts and hats to support the locals. The sign out front said it was the Amost Made It to The Artic Circle.
There was construction along the Dalton Highway which is typical. No big deal, we've been riding through construction zones for 2 weeks solid. This one worked out to be a little diiferent. They had just laid down a layer of clay as a base for the road and the pilot truck took off right behind a huge tanker that was washing the roadway down with water.
The resulting SLIME was (as my mother used to say) "Slicker than Snot". Well of course slicker than snot is slick! We made it about 1.5 miles on this goo travelling at around 15-20 mph before eventually it was just too much. We were trying to follow in the tire tracks of the pilot truck which seemed less gooey.
Apparently I got out of sync with the truck (there were 2 bikes ahead of me) and Slip/Slap and all of a sudden the bike was everywhere but straight and I went down. Based on the damage it looks like the bike went down to the left (that part I remember) and then must have spun 360 degrees as it pitched me off.
Most of the damage looks like it happened from rear to front. The left saddle bag guard did its job but the bar under the saddle bag bent. The clutch lever caught and the pivot pulled out so the lever worked, but would fall off if I didn't hold it in place. The left handlebar was bent down about 20 degrees, not uncomfortable but now different from the right side.
The left highway peg was ripped off and there is a pretty good side chunck missing from the left side of the fairing. I faired pretty well. I was muddy the rest of the trip and tore the left knee out of my new riding pants, but they did what they were designed to do and saved my skin.
The first gas stop was the Yukon River which was 140 miles away. Guess I didn'nt need the 1.25 gallon gas can after all. Better safe than sorry. Gas at the Yukon River Camp was $5.119 / Gal. Not bad considering Canadian Gas at $1.79/Liter works out to about 6 bucks a gallon.
Another 60 miles got us to the Artic Circle Sign. We made it! Not much to talk about really, except we've been there! I dare you to try it.
The ride home was uneventful really. It was HOT, 81 degrees in Northern Alaska. Go figure. We did meet a nice Stopsign Girl when we got back to the construction site. There was also a guy there on a dirt bike. They were saying how some guy went down this morning, so I introduced myself and showed them the damages.
Eventually the pilot truck showed up and they let a border collie out to run around. He proceded to pick up a LOG and start hauling it around. This peice of wood was 6 feet long and 6 inches around and this dog wanted to play fetch with it.
Arriving back at the hotel around 5:30 Jon set to cleaning up while I ran across the street to find parts to replace the bent ones from earlier today. A little parking lot maintenance and I think I'll be good to go for the rest of the trip.
We ordered pizza to the room for dinner. MMMMMM!!!!
It was a LONG HOT day, probably our toughest day on the trip, but worth it.
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