Tuesday, November 20, 2007

4th of July

We left Prince George early the next morning. It felt strange to be outside the US on the fourth of July. We were wondering whether we could make it Hyder, Alaska, but kept getting different estimates of distance and driving time. At some point during that day, I’m not sure when, we both decided to keep going until we got there regardless of how long it would take. We made stops at a waterfall for pictures, and a few rest areas along the way, but mostly we just rode. At the junction where the sign says “North to Alaska,” we met a fascinating old guy who was riding a beater of a motorcycle. He was full of stories about prospecting in the area and fun to talk to. We took his picture and he took ours; as it turns out, the only picture we have together from the entire trip. One way or the other, we rode 350 miles or so and pulled into Hyder, Alaska at about 6:30 that evening. Hyder is a tiny town with gravel streets, a couple shops, a couple bars, and not much else.
We were tired, dirty, and hungry so we went in search of a motel first. Nothing looked to good on the street as we rode into town, so we went around the corner. Bobby was leading as usual in town. He gave up on finding anything that direction and turned around. I went a little further to turn around in an RV park, and as I turned right in front of me was the Grand View. It was a decent looking place so we went to check on getting a room. No problem, the guy even had squares of wood to put under our kickstands in the gravel. Because we’d been riding hard, and hadn’t eaten much all day, we figured after cleaning up we’d get a good dinner and hang out at the bar for the Fourth of July celebrations. Turns out, everything in town was shut down for the evening parade. While we were eating the corn on the cob that turned out to be the only dinner we’d get that night, and waiting for the parade to start, Bobby turned and looked the other way down the road. Imagine our surprise when a black bear sow and cub crossed the road!
The parade was really funny. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be. The locals took it pretty serious when the fire trucks came by with their sirens going. They were followed by old trucks with political signs, and a truck with local kids playing rock music in the back. The funniest was an old fishing boat on a decrepit trailer that lost a wheel as it went around the corner.
We had a few drinks at the two local bars before making our way back to our motel. We saw a lot of motorcycles, most of them dual-sports like ours. Only a few days on the road, and already we saw other bikers as friends and sources of information on road conditions and friendly places to go. Trading information on luggage, communication, and destinations, past and future added an unexpected dimension to the trip that will always stay with us.

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