Sunday, June 07, 2009

Hatcher Pass...I Thought

At ten this morning it was already 64 degrees at my house. Time to ride!
I have been wanting to explore Hatcher Pass, and I assumed I knew where I was going, so without checking any maps I was off. As usual, the boring part of the ride is actually getting out of the Anchorage area. For me that means cranking some Bon Scott on my ipod and racing down the highway towards Palmer/Wasilla. I feel I've left Anchorage when I cross the Knik bridge, and not a second sooner.
I rode my FJR (Rosie) for one specific reason...range. Yeah, she has a six gallon tank, and who knows where I'll find gas up there. The tank was about 3/4 when I left, and I stopped in Wasilla and topped her off.
I rode out past Willow, out to approx milepost 60, to where the Hatcher Pass sign signalled me off the highway. I know there is a Hatcher Pass sign on the Glenn highway as well, and I assumed I could start on one end and finish at the other. Apparently, I was mistaken.
After ten miles of blacktop, the road turns to gravel. OK, this has to be temporary, so I kept riding. There was some very nice scenery, and quite a few people camping up there. Lots of tents, RVs, and ATVs running around everywhere, but no other street bikes.
I road about twenty miles (of gravel road) and gained some extensive elevation until the road ended at a mine. At this point I was confused and decided to backtrack out the way I came in.
I got several pics, but I was using a regular camera (not digital) and the roll isn't used up yet. I 'll post them when the roll is full.
Back at the highway I was starting to get hungry and needing the facilities. So I rode back to Big Lake and sopped at their little mall. Walked around while chomping a sandwich and an energy drink, used their bano, then I was off again.
By now the temp was 73 degrees! Woo hoo! Maybe this is just a taste of the rest of our summer!
I cruised down to the Palmer/Wasilla Highway and turned towards Palmer. My plan was to ride the old highway back to Anchorage. It has a lot of slow sweeping corners that are fun to ride. I did as planned, but there was so much traffic over there that it wasn't as fun as it usually is. I guess everyone else had the same idea.
Got home just before 4pm for a total of 245 miles. Not a lot of miles for almost 6 hours of riding... because the gravel road portion of the trip I could only average about 25 mph.
I had a couple performance issues with the bike, but I'll discuss those at a later date.
See Ya.

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