My route NORTH on the ALCAN Hwy ALCAN Hwy History Weather My route SOUTH on the ALCAN Hwy

Day 1

Friday, June 1, 2012 2:21 PM

Hello Family and friends! Day one. Do not worry I will not send out an e-mail every day for 6 weeks!

Left out at 6 AM this morning with a chance of rain, road northeast and hit rain at the Missouri state line and then road all day in rain. Got colder the more north I road. According to my GPS, I traveled 664 miles today, 11 hours and 54 minutes total, 10 hours and 38 minutes in the saddle. My overall average speed was 56.2 mph, my moving average was 62.9 mph. Got about 48 MPG. I am spending the weekend in Anamosa, Iowa on purpose. This is the Then Came Bronson yearly get together. If you want to know more than you ever wanted to know about Then Came Bronson, visit: www.jimbronson.com . Please note I do not belong to a "cult"!!!

I attached a picture of the bike as I was leaving Little rock this morning. For those that are interested in the bike, it is a 2010 Honda...of course...NT 700. It has about 11,000 miles on it . It is a V Twin, shaft drive, water cooled and fuel injected Sport touring bike. Sold in Europe for over ten years and here in the U.S. for only two years. I will send out updates when I can.

Thanks for reading.

Tom

Day 2

Hello family and friends, Ok I rode yesterday on the road! Never been great with correct grammar. Day 2 was spent here an Anamosa, Iowa at the National Motorcycle Museum with our group (not a cult) of Bronson guys hanging out.

Bill Weder, one of the guys, has his Then Came Bronson replica bike on loan in the museum for one year.

Will be here for a couple more days and then head for Seattle to see my brother.

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 3, 4 and 5

First the bad news, on June 3 Birney Jarvis passed away. He was the real Jim Bronson, the movie and TV show were based on his life. He and his wife Joyce were planning to join us in Iowa but due to his health was unable to do so. He will be forever missed.

His life had a profound and positive influence on many young boys when they made the movie and TV show, me included. If it weren't for Birney, I probably would not have had the passion for motorcycles and riding that I have today.

The Bronson reunion was a success and Bill W. did an excellent job with his display in the museum. Peter and Greg won 1st and 2nd in the bike show. Some of you may remember I sold Greg his Bronson bike. That makes two I have built and sold. Every time I go to one of these Bronson events I get the bug to build another one!

Monday I had a late start and didn't hit the road until 2 in the afternoon.

Made a brief stop at the filming location for the movie Field of Dreams.

Then headed west on hwy 20 until I found a camp ground west of Waterloo, Iowa. The last time I slept in a tent was over 35 years ago and let me tell you it wasn't easy. I could hear every noise as if the walls of my tent were fabric thin! I could hear the highway, several kids screaming and at least 5 different species of birds, all night long! So, I pick out a spot to set up my tent that was flat, but not level. Luckily I was laying up hill and not down. It was a long night and I got up around 6 AM and continued west on hwy 20. I am at a McDonalds having breakfast in Sioux City, Iowa. Next stop I am shooting for is Casper, WY.

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 6

After I updated you all at the McDonalds yesterday I had an uneventful ride going across the rolling farm lands on hwy 20 until the last 150 miles. The western part of Nebraska is very windy and I got quite the upper body workout. At times my bike was leaned over at a 20 to 30 degree angle just to go straight. So only 515 miles yesterday. I also forgot to mention my GPS quit working, so it is back to the old fashion maps, Rand McNally is my new friend. Today was interesting, more winds.

The sign on the highway (see picture) says "SEVERE CROSS WINDS USE CAUTION" Also, the posted speed limit in Montana is 75 mph, so what do I do, I go the speed limit. So what happens when you combine severe cross winds and ride at 75 to 80 mph, the answer is you use more gas. Yes, I ran out of gas just 12 miles from my intended gas stop, Bozeman, Montana. Luckily there was an off ramp and I coasted down and turned right. Then I pushed the bike about an 1/8 of a mile to a house.

No one was home, so I walked further down the road to a school and found a lady that agreed to bring me some gas. The ironic part is I have a one gallon gas can with me and was saving it to use in Alaska. Well I got to use it today. Only 465 miles today which means 677 tomorrow to Seattle. Staying at my first KOA in a cabin tonight.

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 7

Thursday June 7th I left the K.O.A. in Bozeman, Montana at 6:30 AM and headed west on I-90. Had some wind to deal with, but did not expect it to be as cold as it was especially going over several passes with snow on the ground. The last 120 miles in to Seattle was rainy, which is normal. Got to Seattle just in time to add to the adventure by joining in the local rush hour traffic. I would much rather have dealt with the wicked wind and rain then rush hour traffic any day. Arrived safe and sound at my brothers, see picture. Will hang out here for a few days and give the bike and me a rest before heading north.

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 8, 9 and 10

Had a great time with my brother here in Seattle. We went to the newly opened American Car Museum, otherwise known as the LaMay collection. They had several of my all time favorite cars, like the Jaguar XKE ( used to own one, can't prove it though) Buick Gran Sport and a 1948 Tucker, not to mention several motorcycles! Went and saw MIB 3 and watched a few movies on Netflix. Played a few games of Skip-Bo, ate some pizza, and hung out with my brother and his dog Rusty. Next update will be from somewhere in Canada!

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 11

I left out from my brothers and got gas, checked the tires and hit the road north on I-5 to the Canadian border. The further west I rode, the higher the price of gas, paid $4.19 in Seattle! Compared to $3.06 in Little Rock! The border crossing was no big deal, had a nice chat with the border officer and headed north on their HWY 1.

This is also called the Gold Rush Trail. Very scenic riding along the Fraser River in a valley with snow peaked mountains on both sides. Great weather and a great ride! Stopped outside of Williams Lake at a camp ground and the walls of my tent are still fabric thin. Tried ear plugs and that didn't work. So up early, like 5am and hit the road. Drove in to rain and it looks like rain for the rest of the day. Goal for today is Dawson Creek. This is mile 0 for the Alaskan Hwy. Probably get a motel room this time. North to Alaska, were goin' North the rush is on!

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 12

Made it to Dawson Creek, B.C., the beginning of the Alaskan Hwy. 1488 miles to Faribanks, AK. from here. Hope to be there on Friday. The Canadians are more aware of motorcyclist, note the photo of several signs I have seen on my travels. Speaking of riding in Canada, it is like a whole different country, they have their own language, it is called Metrics! Luckily my speedo has both MPH and KM/H. The max speed limit here is 100 KM/H or 62 MPH. Great riding again through the mountains, rain was not bad at all.

Finally saw some live wildlife to day, two bears eating along side the road. I turned around and went back to take pictures. I thought the sound of my engine would scare them off, but it did not. So I remembered reading that bears do not like noises, so I thought I would test this out with the horn on my bike, no effect at all. Note to self: "Bike horn will NOT scare bears away! Staying at a motel to night!"

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 13

June 13th was an awesome day with great roads, scenery and lots of wildlife! I left Dawson Creek and took a short detour across the last remaining all wooden bridge on the ALCAN HWY. Wet, windy and rainy and very cold. I almost hit a bear as I was going around a long right hand sweeping curve. As the road straightened out a bear ran across from left to right. I had to apply maximum braking to both wheels and swerve left of the center line to miss it. It happened so fast I did not have time to flip the throttle lock off. Today I saw 11 bears, three of them were Grizzlys', two Elk, one Bull Moose, several Long Horn Sheep and Bison (Tatonka), and one rabbit. I also ran out of gas again,(do not ask) but at least I had my one gallon reserve. Started snowing going over one of the passes! Got to Watson Lake and camped in an RV park.

Note: (Tatonka) An ancient word for Bison. It is believed that the American Indian tribes of the Lakota or Souix were the first to use the word Tatonka.
Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 14

Woke up early in Watson Lake because I was camping in an RV park. Went to the gas station and had to wait for them to open. Walked across the street to the Signpost Forest which was started by homesick GI's back in 1942. Hung up our Bronson sign and then headed down that Long Lonesome - pot hole, wildlife infested, dirt, gravel, washboard, mud, wet, rainy, frost heave, RV, truckers, windy - Highway! It was actually pretty cool..and cold!

Went across the Nisutlin Bay Bridge and through the village of Teslin. Stopped in Whitehorse for lunch and took a picture of a 1929 stern-wheeler, it is a boat. Later on I crossed Jarvis River, some where in the Yukon, made me think of Birney. Before the day was over I saw three more bears, (total of 13 so far) one black bear with a cub and one Grizzly. Stayed in Beaver Creek for the night, in a motel because it was raining, for a total of 554 miles.

Note: The road bed on the Nisutlin Bay Bridge is a see-through metal grating that allows you to watch Teslin Lake underneath as you drive over it. Gas, Groceries and motels are available at the north end of the bridge at the city of Teslin (Pop~480). At 1917 feet long, it is the longest bridge on the Alaskan Highway.

The SS Klondike was the largest on the Yukon, she carried mail, supplies, passengers and silver ore along the 460 mile route between Whitehorse and Dawson City until 1955.
Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 15

Slept in a little, then headed for the border, about 27 miles down the road. Met a tour bus full of tourist and got a lady to take my picture. Many of them were very interested in my trip and where I was from. The border crossing went smoothly, the officer questioned my vanity plate and wanted to know why I had Charles Bronson on my license plate. I did not have to explain. He said it should have been Hansen, ha! ha! I said, out loud.

Made it to Fairbanks in time for lunch and then checked in to the University Of Alaska Fairbanks dorm. Some one here on the faculty is big in to motorcycles and set this up for motorcyclists traveling to Alaska. I have not slept in a dorm since 1975! The good old days, right? These are the good old days! Nice rooms, bath and showers down the hall, about half the price of a motel or less. I will be using this as a base to leave most of my gear when I head for Dead Horse on Sunday. Total miles today was an easy 356.

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 16

Today I took my bike to the Honda, Harley, Victory, BMW dealer for an oil change and a new rear tire. The only tire they had was a Pirelli Scorpion, not cheap! Too much interstate riding leaves a flat spot down the middle. Lots of curves helps reduce this condition. Must find more curves! (see picture). Met Karen and Tank at the dealership. They were having their Harley serviced, had lunch with them and talked about life in Alaska. I told them about seeing 13 bears on my way to Fairbanks and they told me that in the 36 years they have lived here they have seen maybe 4 or 5! Decided to ride to the North pole and visit the 40 foot Santa. Went to Mass at 5:30 and then went to a Salmon Bake for dinner, very good all you could eat Salmon and Alaskan King Crab! Took all the gear off the bike and will only take what is essential and covered it. A few more riders showed up at the dorms. It will be interesting to see how many of them head for Dead Horse (Prudhoe Bay) tomorrow. Going to the farthest point you can drive in North America on Fathers day!

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 17 and 18

June 17th and 18th. Well I guess I will be riding to the southern most part of North America, the Florida Keys, before the year is up. That is what I have been telling folks I would do if I made it to the northern most part of North America that you can drive to which is the town of Dead Horse at Prudhoe Bay. Going to Dead Horse is not really about the destination it is about the journey, and not just the road I took to ride there but the path I took to get to ride there.

Speaking of the road though...it was one of the toughest I have ever been on and it was mostly because I chose the wrong tool for the job and the weather. I should have had a dual purpose type bike with long suspension, knobby tires and a couple of hundred pounds lighter. My bike is a street bike, not a dirt bike, although it is a dirt bike now, (see pictures). For a street bike, my bike performed very well and my old Enduro racing days payed off too.

I left out on Sunday morning at 5:30 AM, rode to the Yukon River and got gas and had breakfast. Met Adam from San Francisco who was also going north and so we decided to ride together. Adam had the right tool, a BMW GS650. We headed north to the Article Circle and took pictures at the sign. Then north to about the half way point and the point of no return, the town of Coldfoot. Got gas and had lunch then headed north to Atigun pass. As we went up we noticed low clouds, that turned in to fog and rain, then it got a lot colder on the other side.

The road to Prudhoe Bay parallels part of the Alaskan pipe line and consists of partly paved sections, gravel, mud, rocks, pebbles, half paved, half rocky, half dirt and all of these surfaces can occur with in a 100 ft section of road and then you can mix in some pot holes, dips, frost heaves, ruts and washboard, rocky, dirt, etc. etc. etc. The very cold rain made it all worse, and with a smooth street tread tire on the front of my bike, there were a lot of " Oh Poop" moments of almost dropping the bike in the mud. Same goes for the rocky sections with rocks the size of baseballs and golf balls.

As we rode in to Dead Horse, we saw Caribou along the side of the road. We arrived around 9:30 PM that evening, about 16 hours of riding! My speed was anywhere from 60 MPH to 10 MPH, there was no way to keep a steady pace. The next day, Adam chose to take the tour to the actual Arctic Ocean at 1pm and I left out at 6:30 AM heading south. It was nice to have someone to ride with getting there, I rode alone on the way back. The weather was perfect, no rain, although there were several road construction delays. They also water down the road in sections and make it nice and muddy! Lots of truckers and a few bikes along the way, but there were times when I was alone and no one around for miles. Made it back in 14 hours, washed the bike off and took a shower. Now I can scratch this goal off the bucket list!

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 19, 20 and 21

Tuesday the 19th I hung around Fairbanks, did some laundry and went to the museum here on the University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF) campus. Very nice museum of Alaskan history. I received three emails, one from Joyce, one from Jim W. and one from a guy by the name of James. James used to be neighbors with Joyce and Birney when they lived in Hawaii. I was invited to come visit James in Anchorage and so I decided to ride down and stay with him yesterday, about 360 miles. On the way I saw a giant Igloo for sale. Visited with James and his wife Robyn, we talked about Birney, TCB, motorcycles, cars and RV's until after midnight and could have kept going. Slept in his restored RV, very nice! Today I headed northeast to the town of Tok for the night. Saw a Glacier on the way, and rode about 325 miles today. Tomorrow I will cross the border back in to Canada and spend the night in Dawson City, Yukon Territory. (see new map link at the top of the page for my ride home)

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 22 and 23

Spent the night in Tok, AK on Thursday night. Woke up at 3:30 AM and took a picture of my bike outside my cabin. Rode through the community of Chicken Alaska (no jokes please). Arrived at the Canadian border on the "Top of the World Highway" an hour and half before they were to open. Rode a ferry across the Yukon river to Dawson City, YT. to attend a motorcycle gathering called the D2D, Dust to Dawson. Over 300 riders showed up from all over on their adventure motorcycles. Camped in Dawson City and headed out this morning and came across Curt from New Hampshire on a Goldwing. We decided to ride together for the next few days as we leave Canada. Camping outside of Whitehorse tonight, with the mosquito's!

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 24 and 25

Spent the night at a campground in Dease Lake, one of the nicer ones. Curt, the Goldwing guy from New Hampshire, talked me in to going down the Cassiar Highway. So, we decided to go back to Alaska and stopped at Hyder, AK. The southern most town in Alaska you can drive to from the lower 48. It is a one way in and one way out town with a Canadian Border crossing to get out. Saw another glacier today. It has been raining most of the day and the temperature in the 40's. Staying in Houston, BC. tonight.

Later on and farther down the road. Tom

Day 26, 27, and Home!

I decided I had enough time on the road and headed south on my own today. I left out of Houston, BC. and rode through Jasper and Banff National parks on Hwy 93. On the way I saw another bull moose, 4 bears, and 2 deer, also the coolest Canadian school bus that they use to drive around the ice fields in. Rode in rain and cold weather most of the day. It got really windy in southern Alberta and northern Montana.

I really wanted to get back to the good old USA and planned to stop in Shelby, Montana, but there were no rooms available. So another 100 miles and I stayed in Great Falls for a total of 997 miles.

The next day, Wednesday, June 27th It took forever to get through Montana because of detours and a wildfires. Not fun breathing smoke for most of the day. Only put 541 miles on today and stayed in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Thursday, June 28th I decided to head on home. Had a close call in Kansas City with two cars wanting my lane while I was still using it. Saw 8 deer in Arkansas and made it home at around 1 AM Friday June 29th for a new personal record of 1134 miles in one day.

The trip was great, the bike ran flawless and now has over 21,000 miles on it, over 10,000 this trip alone. I am grateful for being able to do it safely. Thank you to all those that supported me through out my trip with words of encouragement.

Home sweet home! Tom