We were warned about Glennallen, just down the road from the eastern side of the Denali Highway. Be extra careful about speed traps. The area is close to Alaska State Trooper training ground, where speed enforcement training is in regular operation. On this run, however, the only thing we had to worry about was the rain. A few drops had turned into a steady drizzle which turned into a steady downpour, and the temperatures were dropping into the low 50s. Although I had planned for temps down into the 30s for the trip, I had yet to toss on the long johns, and the prospect of taking off the suit and pants to get an underlayer on seemed too much.
We continued to forge west on the Glen Highway, hand warmers on full blast, and then little patches of blue appeared in the sky. Matanuska Glacier appeared on the side of the road, the pavement began to dry and turn a few twistys, and we found ourselves staring at Anchorage and Wasilla road signs. That wet and cold combo was one of the most uncomfortable weather segments of the trip, yet when I compare with other road trips this summer, seems we should be thankful it wasn’t worse. Anchorage was then under our tires, and we made our way to the Harley dealership for a tent spot and shower for the night.
Let me give HD Anchorage a shout out for the free campground and nice shower facilities. And free wifi. Most appreciated.
After taking care of supplies and bikes, we headed south the next day, embracing the scenic Route 1 around Turnagain Arm and down into Sterling as we made a beeline for Homer. But first, we had an important stop to make – perhaps this is common knowledge to all the local Alaska folks, it never occurred to us to hunt down the point of the most western highway on the continent. We had to stop at Anchor Point. It’s a couple of miles off the main highway on Anchor Point Road, there is no signage to indicate the way. (But the Chamber of Commerce folks are happy to give you directions.)
And for an extra surprise, we were lucky to enjoy the Anchor Point version of docking a boat. No piers or boat slips here, they just run a tractor out into the surf, the boat races in with the waves, a deck hand ties up to the trailer, and the tractor emerges from the water and up to the parking lot. Fun to watch on a calm day, and I’m thinking this takes on turbulent proportions in serious weather. Here’s a short photo sequence of a pick-up while we were there.
We chatted with the staff after the above extraction, apparently they have more videos on YouTube. The manager didn’t want to talk much about the maintenance costs on the tractors with the salt water, upkeep is a bit pricey, even by Alaska standards.