This is quite a long post. Sorry, they will get shorter.... and sometime I'll include nice pictures of Alaska in the sun – when I see it!
Made it! No problems with the flight and after a TWO hour wait for luggage and passport control (they took my finger prints and photo but didn't really grill me about the trip) I phoned up Motoquest and they came and picked me up. I was a little concerned when they said that Nicole (who is the person I had been dealing with for the last 6 months ) was “no longer with us” but everything seems to be fine. The bike looks, well, like a bike and they had the stuff I had ordered. Next to the small Motoquest shop is a huge Harley Davidson store)see picture). They have a small patch of grass out back where I can camp and there are free showers. There's another tent there and a UK registered bike so I might even make a friend.
Across from here is a “diner” mentioned in the Lonely Planet as “ Alaska at it's best; lots to look at - totems, stuffed bears and a gurgling stream – and big portions”. AND THEY ARE RIGHT. Although the vege option is very very limited. I came in last night and all I could have was omelette and potatoes. It was far too big and not very appetising. Monday morning, I asked for toast and scrambled egg. After giving me a huge variety of breads to chose from (what is soar bread?) I was asked if I wanted homefries or grits??? Being me I was too ashamed/polite to ask what that was, so said homefries. I ended up getting EXACTLY what I had last night, the eggs were more omelette than scrambled and the homefried were sliced potatoes fried. I'm finding it all rather weird, surreal and amusing. The waitresses are super polite, friendly and just so bloody American – as are all the other diners. I guess I'm still a little shell shocked/jet-lagged but I feel like I'm in a Nick Cage film. It's really weird being in such a new place which is so recognisable.
PS It has rained none stop since I arrived, and my tent seems to leak.
PPS I've already adopted American language, this morning I asked if I could “get” some coffee instead of “have” some coffee. OMG! Better go the the rest-room if I can bring myself to ask where it is...
Monday – what a busy day. After “cowffeeee and eggs” I got the bike signed over to me in 10 minutes, drove around the corner and sorted out the insurance and then spoke to the bike mechanic all before midday. The mechanic was really helpful and I'm happy that the bike is ready to go (despite the flashing red “brake failure” sign that comes on whenever you turn the thing on) Of course it was still raining today so I bought some bike waterproofs – NOT from the very expensive Harley shop. In the afternoon I actually RODE MY BIKE – in the rain. It was a little scary to actually ride it for the first time, mainly because it was still raining. I rode to a shopping area and bought a few things including a mobile phone. I went into a hunting shop to buy a knife! It was massive(the shop not the knife) and full of stuffed animals, guns and stuff to ATTRACK bears to you!! I meant to buy a bear repellent pepper spray but forgot so I'll have to go back tomorrow.
I'm getting into the “American way”. This morning for breakfast I asked for what I wanted and refused the homefries. “You got it” She said. I'm beginning to like Americans!
It stopped raining last night for about 4 hours then started again. It's no longer funny. Apparently Anchorage is surrounded by mountains, but I haven't seen one yet. The tent is wet and all my paperwork is damp. Even the cover of the LP has curled up in disgust. The forecast isn't good so I need to get out of here. I've got a few things to sort out today and then first thing tomorrow I'm heading off. If the forecast says head north to Fairbanks for sun then I will.
Will add picture later...