1996 - Fairbanks, AK to West Virginia... and back in three weeks.


Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
In 1995 I was stationed near Fairbanks, AK. I had been active with the (then) Honda Sport Touring Association (now the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association) before I moved to AK and took along my 1989 Honda Pacific Coast. I had ridden w/ the HSTA when I lived in northern New York state and I had also been an active AMA Rider Rep. I quickly learned that Alaska is a REALLY boring place for MC Sport Touring so I stayed active by earning a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Safety Instructor certification and teaching the Advanced Rider Course whenever I had the opportunity. Along the way I met one of the very few other HSTA members in AK, my friend Juan. By coincidence he also owned a Pacific Coast, a 1990. Since my AK plate for the PC was:


It was called the Millennium Turtle and my friend Obi-Juan started calling me Ride Solo. Anyway, somewhere along the way we came up w/ this hair brained scheme to ride to the annual HSTA STAR that was going to be in West Virginia. We talked and planned and serviced our PCs and on the appointed day, in beautiful sunshine, hit the road south. Though we had planned to camp most nights, the rain started about the time we were going to stop for the first night and continued off and on (mostly on) for the next several days. Much of the Alaska Highway was under construction in scattered sections that were usually 40 to 50 miles long. We both got pretty exhausted riding those PCs through 40 to 50 miles of rocks about the size of coffee mugs! (often in the rain).

We were finally on the outskirts of Calgary in pouring rain and stopped at a stoplight. There was a hotel off to the right. I looked over at him and he looked at me and we both nodded at the same time. In less than 14 minutes we were checked into rooms and stayed right there until the weather cleared 2 1/2 days later. That night on the news it was reported that it had been snowing in Red Deer, right where we would have been riding, that afternoon. The entire rest of the trip was rain free except for a bad front that roared through Saskatoon on July 4th on our return trip. We found out that night we had been just down the road from where a tornado took out a drive-in theater. Ironically the movie Twister had been scheduled to show there that evening!

We headed south out of Calgary and crossed over into Montana where we tried out the lack of speed limit. Both of the PCs were steady and stable through that fast leg and did very well at sustained high speeds. At the next gas stop, though, we decided to sactifice speed for fuel economy and kept the speed around 75. Because of the time constraints we stuck mostly to the super slabs and made good time. We made it to northern Pennsylvania and spent a couple days with my parents and then went on to WV. Yeah, we got the long distance award at the STAR that year, something a bit over 4000 miles.

When STAR was over we headed north again. Juan had a set of tires ordered to be waiting for him in Duluth and while they were being mounted we stopped into the RiderWarehouse factory/store and Juan got a great deal on an Aerostitch suit. I had been wearing an Aerostitch and Juan had leathers and it had been evident that the Aerostitch outshines leathers for that kind of day after day, all weather riding. If I remember correctly the folks there were nice enough to pack up and mail his leathers home for him. Back on the road again and at the end of about three weeks we made it back to Fairbanks. We put on a total of just over 10,000 miles, lots on Interstates and way too much on the AlCan. Do I regret doing it? No. Would I do it again? HELL NO!!!
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