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August 29, 1999
Auburn, WA

Randy made it safely home to Denver. After he left us at Gakona Junction he rode to Denali National Park where he spent two days. Like Julia, he didn't see the 20,320 foot summit of Mt. McKinley, but reported that wildlife was abundant, the scenery spectacular and said the trip was well worthwhile. On his drive back to Anchorage he traveled the Hatcher Pass Road, a 50-mile "made for motorcycles" drive, much of it gravel, that connects the towns of Willow and Palmer. He says traversing the rugged Talkeetna Mountains across this road was one of the high points of his trip. The KLR hasn't shown up in Denver yet, but United Airlines promises it's on its way. Randy is non-committal about Central America, but I believe he will be there as the Panama Canal comes into view.

I haven't talked to Eric and Julia yet, but I trust they are hard at work, saving their money for Central America. We will have Thanksgiving with them this year and I can imagine that much of that afternoon will be spent reminiscing about Alaska and the Yukon.

It's two weeks since Jan and I rode home from Bellingham, and our two bikes are still in the garage, exactly where we parked them. Dalton Highway mud still thickly coats the BMW and sidecar, although Jan washed it twice in Anchorage. At first I just couldn't get at it. I have a store to rebuild, a house to rent, a checkbook badly out of balance, and the grass to mow, among the hundred other details of daily life. So, I have valid excuses for not washing that dirty BMW. I keep telling Jan I'm going to get to it. But as the days pass, I notice that my trips to the garage are more frequent and I linger a bit longer. I'm beginning to believe that I just enjoy looking at that Dalton Highway mud.

Tom Hunter