If you’re riding a motorcycle in the Northwest, you’re never lonely or wanting for conversation. Up here bikerdom is a fraternal order. All the bikers wave (even most of the Harley riders) and at gas stations fellow riders are quick to wander across and compare notes on roads, campgrounds and stories. Its a truly liberating feeling of comaraderie’.
Along the way we have met a plethora of fine people and as we headed further north we found ourselves running into the same people again and again. Geoff from Vancouver on his LC8, Al from Seattle on his 1150 Adventure, Dave from Oregon on what is quite possibly the world’s lightest 1200 GS and of course Klaus (ze German) on his big orange beast.
Klaus first entered the teams’ life in Mexico, then ended up camping with us in Vernal, Yellowstonea nd Jasper. Then we ended up drinking heavily with him in Dawson and Fairbanks and the bond was further strengthened. A truly fine fellow – and one we hope to see down under later this year.
Then there are the people that make you feel truly humble – ones who are taking a path that makes you feel like a wussie as you ride your flash bike and sit in your flash gears.
Two days ago in Fairbanks we were just leaving Fairbanks Honda and a chap in oilskins rides up on a 1980 Yamaha AG200 with a duffel bungied to the back – a bike commonly known in NZ as the Grasshopper. This is a bike designed for farmers doing their lambing – and not sold in the US at all. And its a 2 stroke – so you have to stop and mix oil with the petrol along the way.
A sprightly fellow gets off and Roger commences the normal exchange of where are you from, where are you headed? The rider was Arthur from Adelaide. On a whim he had shipped his farm bike to Terra Del Fuego at the Southern tip of South America 4 months ago and commenced to head for Prudhoe with nothing more specialised than a big piece of perspex wired to the from of the Ag bike and a pup tent. Now he was within striking distance of his goal – the Arctic Sea.
And what did he plan to do afterwards – ship the bike home of course – after all he’d paid $500 Australian for it. He planned to have it mounted in his lounge.
One last thing – Arthur is 80. “I reckoned I’d better get on and do this ride before I get too old” he said in a restrained Australian drawl.
Arthur – you rock.