Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Welcome to Alaska! - By Kevin and Larry
Well, we’ve reached our destination – Anchorage Alaska. Now when do we leave?! Not that there’s anything wrong with Anchorage – it’s great, actually. The scene here is hip, fun and full of energy thanks to the University of Alaska and its cultural diversity. For the first time in weeks we have an almost unlimited selection of exotic restaurants to choose from, like pizza and bagels. But with these benefits come the trade-off. It’s just no fun riding your motorbike around town, stressed out in traffic and trying not to get hit by crazed college kids hopped up on espresso.
Getting from Wasilla to Anchorage was no picnic either. At some latitude somewhere between the Yukon and the Alaskan border, one thing becomes particularly clear. Roads don’t like extreme temperature changes. There’s a term that’s used to describe the change that occurs from this constant freezing and thawing. It’s called “frost heave” and it’s particularly fun for motorcyclists. Think of it as the longest roller coaster ride you’ve ever taken. Up, down, left, right. “Look ma, no lap bar!”
Since arriving in Anchorage, we’ve been staying with a fellow KLR rider and his family until our families arrive Wednesday. We’ll be picking them up at the airport in a rented 32-foot Winnebago. Everyone together now… “Yeeeeee Haaaaaw!”
We started this trip thinking that we would be camping almost every night and only staying at motels when the weather was bad. In actuality, we have camped a whopping 4 nights out of 16, which is just fine with me. What’s surprising to me is the number of nights we have spent with our adopted families from the internet. By tomorrow, we will have spent 9 blessed nights of shelter provided by the kindness of these newly met friends. Tom, Joe, Tim and Gary (and to all your wonderful sympathetic spouses) – we can’t thank you enough!
Now let the fun begin as we enter the second part of our vacation. The part where we all get to spend countless hours together in a cramped RV. That’s what you call “quality time”, right?
Larry here now….The best part of motorhoming it for the next 2 weeks will be just sitting back and relaxing in a real seat and calmly talking to the person next to you without shouting through helmets to make ourselves heard. Some of the things that I thought I would miss from home on this trip that I usually cannot live without, like TV, the news, regular meals and daily clean clothes, I find that I am not really even thinking about them. OK, clean clothes are missed, but with a 60 MPH breeze blowing on the road that really is a non starter. And, if anyone asks, I will never tell anyone how long a set of skivvies lasts.
One thing we are learning, that if we have a question about the road conditions, or what tires will do the job on a certain highway, or any other technical question, the best way is to just go find out for yourself what is going on with whatever it is you are wondering about. For every question there are many answers, and as many opinions as to what is best.
As far as attitude goes, Kevin and I are still speaking to one another, and he only comments on my snoring if we are sharing a room and not separate tents. For this I am grateful. By the time we get back to Indianapolis Kevin will be an accomplished motorcyclist. Correction: AFTER ALMOST 5,000 MILES OF THIS, HE IS ALREADY EARNED THAT MONIKER! By the time I get back to Indianapolis I will be very tired! And happy to be back with family. And glad to have lived up to the commitment we made to finish this LONG trip.
And to those who’ve called us crazy for going and for all the reasons why we should not, we are still going and not even thinking about quitting. Time will tell, but we are still in the game!