My phone rings. It’s George at Trail’s End BMW in Fairbanks returning my call. I called George at Trail’s End BMW this morning and inquired if I could use his shop as a shipping address for my computer coming from Apple.
“Now read it back to me,” George insisted after giving me his address. “No that’s two one two,” interrupting me as I was following orders. “Now, when’s it going to be here? Wednesday?”
“No, George, I think it’ll get there Monday.” I assured him.
“Well, okay. I’ll hold it here until you arrive.”
Feeling comfortable about my next three days riding the Alaskan Highway, or Alcan as it’s also known, I woke up the next morning with plans to make it to Watson Lake by evening.
With an early start I was more than anxious to get out of that dump of a motel which quite possibly is a haven for drug dealing Alaskan Highway workers, travelers or transients. I just don’t know.
THe ride out of Fort St. John going North slowly climbs and transcends from boreal forest to more mountainous. It starts getting nippy and I try to bear the cold with the gear I have on because every second counts. It’s funny how I’ll put myself through some unbearable pain just because I’m too lazy to stop or simply I don’t want to lose time since now I’ve set myself an appointment to meet George at Trail’s End BMW to claim my computer before the close of business on Monday.
I spot a couple motorcycles pulled off at a gas station/general store and decide that I gotta get my winter gloves and consider another layer.
“I rode it about five years ago,” Gene admitted, as he was hard-wiring an electric vest connection to his friends Suzuki. Tall and stocky with salt and pepper hair Gene rode with his friend Dave from Minnesota. I pulled my electric vest out of my dry bag.
Gene was riding a BMW RT1100 and Dave on a Suzuki TDM 850. We exchanged topics of motorcycle, gear, accessories and the road ahead when I looked down at Dave’s rear tire.
“You might want to pick up a new tire when you get to Anchorage,” I said concerned by the lack of tread. You’re not going to make it back to Minnesota on that.
Dave looked at this tire and contemplated the thought. “We’ll see,” he said.
These guys were on a tight schedule and they said they hoped to make it to Whitehorse or the border by that evening. I ran the calculation through my head and figured that would be anywhere from 750 to 1,100 miles or more.
“You guys are on a much more aggressive schedule than me. I take my time, take pictures and take in the experience.” I explain my riding philosophy.
Some riders calculate the success of their ride by the number of miles covered. And while there are some areas where it’s best to let the miles tick by so that you can get to the part of the ride you wish to slow down and enjoy. But we’re sitting at the most scenic part of the wilderness area that surrounds the Alaskan Highway. I hoped to get to Watson Lake which at nearly 600 miles was already a bit aggressive for my riding.
Already new friends I bid them farewell figuring I’d see them on the road North somewhere.
With my electric vest on and connected I figured best to fill the tank with gas and do a quick restroom pit stop before riding North. With my business done I threw my leg over the motorcycle and did a quick check. That’s when I realized my wallet was missing. You’re probably thinking this trip is about Allan’s absent mindedness. But fearing full panic I carefully checked all my pockets, the ground beneath the bike and on top of the luggage. Nothing.
Perhaps I left it at the counter inside. I hobbled my way back into the store. No luck. Then I cruised into the bathroom. I looked by the sink, on the floor. Nothing.
Then I looked into the toilet. Floating proud and clean was my wallet. Good god. I had paid for my gas and used the bathroom while wearing my helmet. In my panicked ‘look for my wallet’ state I removed the helmet and that’s when I discovered my wallet as a floaty in the john.
I do have a set place for the wallet. But sometimes it hangs a out a bit so I have to be careful to make sure the velcro closures on my jacket secure the wallet in place. This time I was a bit lax.
With all my receipts, cash, credit cards and idea soaking wet, I quickly pulled the important papers out and set them in a mash bag to dry as I rode north.
Yeah. Like that did any good. Just a few miles up and the rain started coming down. And down.
Fort St. John, BC to Watson Lake, YT
Moving Average: 56.4 mph
maximum Speed: 81.6 mph
Moving Time: 9:48:15
Miles Traveled: 552.9