North to Alaska

Day 16


I got the “money shot” – that’s a term for getting the photograph that you came here to get – and I got it.  But that comes later.


As I was loading the bike this morning in Jasper, a really nice British lady came by to say how much she like the bike.  She said that she and her husband were admiring it during their walk around the grounds last night.  As she was leaving she said, “That’s a toppa.”  I took that to be “topper” – and having the meaning “That’s really a cool bike.”


Cool worked its way into today’s events in a different sort of way.  I had been wishing for some cooler weather – after the last few days of scorching heat – and I got my wish today.  It was 53 degrees as I pulled out of Jasper onto the Yellowhead Highway – but no sooner than I had made the turn onto Route 40 – the Bighorn Highway – when the thermometer dropped to 40 degrees under thick clouds.


My weather forecasting skills bubbled to the surface in time for me to stop and put on my fleece liners and prepare for rain – and rain it did – four hours of 40 degree rain – had me wishing for 100 degree Montana heat.


I suppose I should say that I have made some adjustments to my riding gear since my previous trips.  In April of this year, I flew out to Duluth, MN to be fitted for an Aerostitch Darien two-piece riding suit.  I had wanted to try one out for some time – but could never bring myself to spend that much money on riding gear. 


Well, this trip has proved the wisdom of that decision in several ways.  Certainly I appreciated its waterproof features – together with the warmth of the fleece liners this morning – but it also saved my hide when I went down in the Badlands.  All of the medical personnel were impressed by my lack of injuries – even in such a low speed crash – and I credit that fact to the Aerostitch suit.


Once again I was reminded of how valuable the Bushtec Trailer is on these long journeys – as it allows me to carry enough riding gear to meet any eventuality.  Obviously, I also appreciate my Cruiserworks boots – which never fail to keep my feet dry – and my Nolan convertible helmet – which kept my face warm and dry.


By the time I reached Grand Prairie the sun was out – and, of course the wind was up – thought once or twice about stopping to fill my pockets with sand to keep from getting blown into the next county.


But the most important moment of the day was looking at my Valkyrie through the camera lens as it sat in front of the Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway Sign – the money shot.


I think I have to agree with the lady this morning, “It’s a toppa.” 


So to you and Iowa Sioux and Woody, Golden, Ohio – I say goodnight from Dawson Creek, BC – mile 0 of the Alaska Highway.