Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day 22 - Denali Highway - Part 2

This post is a continuation of my Alaska trip in 2012 for anyone reading my blog for the first time.

After the bear paw prints incident I get back on the bike and continue east along the Maclaren River Valley, the lush green valley and the mountains always in the background providing one of the most scenic rides I have ever taken.

I stop again at the next bridge over the Clearwater Creek and walk down to the water edge.   I wanted to put my hands in the water, to feel how cold it was.

Yes, it was really cold but extremely clear too.  I wonder what kind of fish you would find out here.  Hadn't seen anyone along the way but these must be good fishing waters.  I sit under the bridge just listening to the roar of the rushing water, a very soothing sound.

I get back on the bike and a little later spot this house in the distance.  I pull out the camera and zoom in, the place seemed empty but not abandoned.  There were no cars or bikes anywhere but I didn't dare go near, people in this part of the country always carry weapons and might not like intruders on their property. 

Towards the end of the Denali Highway I come upon the Crazy Dog Kennel.  I go in and chat with a young attendant that had come out when I arrived.  While chatting with him I see a KTM go by but the rider never even slows down, must have been in a hurry to get away from the beautiful scenery.  We walk around admiring the dozens of dogs and he tells me the story of the owner of this place.  The owner, Zoya DeNure, was a former super model that moved out here after her modeling career ended to take care of sled dogs and race the Iditarod race.   You can read more info on the link below about this amazing lady.

Zoya DeNure new house being built up on the hill behind the Crazy Dog Kennel and the office building of the Maclaren River Lodge.  I go inside and have a snack and a warm cup of coffee while chatting with the lady inside.

It was getting late and I still had a long ride south, my plan was to head towards Valdez and find a place along the way.  I start going a little faster but had to stop for photos when I saw the glacier in the distance.

The last 21 miles of the Denali Highway are paved and soon I was on a newly paved road and able to pick up my speed.  I come around a bend and there's a pullout area and a single bench facing the mountains, I had to stop again, couldn't miss the opportunity to get a photo.  I stayed there for a few minutes just admiring the scenery and taking photos.  The place was extremely quiet, only the sound of the wind breaking the silence.

Another glacier in the distance.

I get to Paxson and start looking for gas but the only gas station hadn't had gas in its tanks in a very long time, the place was falling apart.   The temperature had dropped quite a bit and the drizzle continued falling as I speed south now on the Richardson Highway (Alaska Route 4) towards Copper Center.   From Paxson to Copper Center is about 85 miles, about an hour and a half riding.  I arrive in town and set my GPS to the Caribou Hotel only to find the hotel fully booked.  The lady tells me the Mccarthy Lodge across the street is also fully booked but then she suggest a motel on the other side of town and she knows the owner, she quickly calls him and there's a room.  She gives me the address and I point my GPS to it.  I get there and it's maybe a one star motel but I was tired and just needed a place to crash and there's a bar, a bonus for sure.  I enter the bar and the owner signs me up for a room.  I quickly unpack the bike and get back to the bar where I proceeded to have a tasty burger and a local beer while chatting with a few couples sitting at the bar.  I retreat to my room much later, get in bed and quickly pass out.  It was one of the best days of my trip.

Copper Center link

To be continued.....


  1. George, I'm always impressed by your photographs and the beauty of the area.

    So how was the road surface? It looks like a dirt road...could a stock Sportster traverse it without any problems? Alaska is definitely on my ride list.

    Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy

  2. George, It's great to see the updates. Looking at your pictures and all the green is a nice break from all the white of my winter world up here.


    1. Thanks Erik. I went through a time last year where having two jobs just didn't leave too much time to do anything else. I also lost a little interest but I have all these beautiful pictures so I'm going to finish my adventure no matter how much time I take. This will allow me one day to read all about it again.
      Spring is coming, if you ever this way let me know.