Snot Covered Rocks and Other Horrible Things

*Warning! Danger Will Robinson! This blog has a graphic image posted below of a dead animal. If you are easily offended, or don’t want this experience, quit now. You have been warned!

Gas should be planned; No gas in Chitina. Last time I was here you could purchase gas in Chitina. Not so anymore. Closest gas is ~ 30 miles back out of town. You would think there would be a warning sign that said it was last gas. 60 miles later we were ready.
A very old fashioned gas pump that is locked and empty

Pumps padlocked and empty! Shit.

We rolled into town and had breakfast at the Hotel Chitina (on account that the Russians didn’t serve breakfast until 9 am). It was pleasant and we chatted with the locals. We were told that when the Kennecott mine closed down, Chitina nearly became a ghost town. A resident, just before she left, painted ghosts all over the buildings. Her name was Mary.

A ghost painted on the side of a log cabin

“Ghosts of Chitina” – by Mary

Jim, another local, wanted to share with us his good fortune. He took us out to his shed behind the restaurant.

image of dead bear in blood

Why are humans so stupid?

Dead bear. Gross. No rational explanation. Jim murdered the bear for no good reason except to have its skin. Apparently Jim’s skin is too thin. I was not going to post this on account that it may offend, but then I decided to post it. This is life in Alaska: Moments of absolute beauty punctuated with moments of human ugliness.

Needless to say, I was speechless when Jim showed us what he was proud of. Jaz and I sat there staring at this horrible mess. We left. We didn’t want to talk about it. We walked quickly back to the bikes and rolled out of town. We hoped that the more miles we put between Jim and Us, the better things would be.

The cool wind of the road helped.

I asked Jaz, “Is it better to ride on slick snot, like mud, or to ride on slick snot-like mud covered with marble like rocks that roll under the tires, as you slide across the mud?” She thought plain snot mud was better. So did I.

The road was nice, once past the snot covered rocks. The GoPro captured the drive. Still looking for fall, but it is elusive. Maybe in two more weeks. Too late for me.

Judy's motorcycle parked with the Copper River in the background surrounded by mountains and a cloudy sky

Great views of the Copper River.

The road used to be a rail bed that held the rails for the Copper River and Northwestern Railway which was constructed between 1908 and 1911. For 27 years copper was hauled out of Kennecott, before the last train left in 1938. Today, the rail bed serves as a 60 mile road into the heart of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and occasional old rail spikes have surfaced. The biggest problem is remnant splinters of old rail ties that will flatten your tire faster than you can say, “Crap I have no cell coverage, how do I call road side assistance?” I am carrying two spare tubes, a patch kit, a breakdown kit, and a pump that works off my battery. Let’s hope I don’t need it.

The road with very obvious old rail posts protruding from the surface

Old rail posts still in the road waiting to take a bite out of tires.

We thoroughly enjoyed the ride on account of the wet road keeping dust down to a minimum but not enough rain to make it miserable. At the end of the road, we crossed two bridges to get into the town of McCarthy, and headed straight up to the town of Kennecott. You could spend days in this area and not see it all.

By the way, after much confusion, I discovered that the town and National Historic Landmark are spelled, “Kennecott,” but the nearby glacier and river are spelled, “Kennicott.”

McCarthy will always be a strange town. People talk to the dogs here like they are people (different than the rest of the world… trust me). The dogs run wild, like the 4-wheelers. Dogs, 4-wheelers, and people gathered for a Tall Tale in the McCarthy Golden Saloon. We would have stayed to pitch our tales too, but prime rib was calling at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge. The dinner was fabulous. Better than some dinners in Anchorage. The strawberries looked better than what we get there too. Hmmm, how is that managed?

A dirt road with a yellow road sign of a centaur shooting a bow and arrow with the words "SLOW"

The weirdness of McCarthy is obvious immediately.

My room tonight served as a crib in a brothel of times past. I will be thinking as I lay in bed, “How many sex acts occurred in my room?” It might be a sleepless night. Jaz was pissed I said that to her because now she will not be sleeping either.

Several colorful doors all with numbers designating the different rooms

We are staying in crib #18.

Jaz holding a cup of coffee and standing outside the brothel/room with the motorcycles parked in front

Jaz resting on the porch of our brothel/room.

Kennecott Red, an Amish strike, and a very expensive day...
Looking for fall
About Maya

My name is Maya, and I wander.

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