My Motorcycle Crash in Alaska


Well I almost make the UCC. I crashed 151 miles north of Coldfoot, AK or near MM84 and Happy Valley on the Dalton Highway (a.k.a. Haul road). I was riding on what I mistook for a paved section when I crested a rise to only to find the pavement covered with gravel. This gravel was oiled and dusted with calcium for dust abatement. Notice the faint yellow line beneath the gravel on this section of pavement/gravel road. Unbeknownst to me the dark spots were stealth potholes. A stealth pothole is a pothole filled with gravel and graded level. My motorcycle found one of these stealth potholes. Upon exiting the pothole my bike began to swerve until the front tire found a gravel burm along side the road. My bike then began a series of end-over-end maneuvers.

A passing NORGASCO lead operator and assistant found me, picked me up, dusted me off, and drove me 84 miles in 3-4 hours to the Prudhoe Bay Industrial Clinic. I had enough pressence of mind to see if my cell phone would roam and called my wife. Realize there was bright sunshine outside when I phoned my wife at 2AM. I told her she was going to have to hook up the motorcycle trailer and come get me and that my bike was 84 miles south of the arctic ocean. She later told me that that conversation had reashured her that I was OK (and don't ask me how many times I've made a similar call).

There a P.A. (phycian's assistant) examined me, fitted me with a neck brace, clamped me to an immobilization board and had me medflighted to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for further examination as Clinic lacked a CT scanner. I was released less than 12 hours after crashing. The emergency room Doctors in Fairbanks examined my head and said they found nothing. Steve, one of the rescue team members, called home from the road and had his father, Dale, pick me up from the hospital and take me to their home in Fairbanks. Steve and Karen felt I would be more confortable there than in a hospital.

The rescue team loaded my bike on the trailer along with several others who's owners didn't want to make the return trip on the Dalton Highway. Their RV pulling the trailer with my wreck came by and picked me up and headed for Wasilla. On my request we swung by a motorcycle shop to get a back-of-the-envelope analisys of my wreck. I wanted to know if it was totaled or was it just suffered some cosmetic damage. The mechanic looked at it, then me, then said "if you share your pain pills with me I'll give a higher estimate". Now there is a comment with a double meaning if there ever was one! They returned to Roger his trailer along with ime and my wreck. I stayed with Roger. From there I phoned my insurance and started a claim and called AAA and booked a flight home. An insurance adjuster came over and photographed my wreck. During our idle conversation he mentioned he had seen bikes with a lot less damage where the rider had been killed. Roger drove me over to my cousin's home where I had ditched alot of stuff like clothes to lighten the load for the trip to Deadhorse. I repacked my stuff and my cousin took me to the airport. I had changed planes in every US timezone except Hawaii by the time I had arrived home.

Before and after pictures of my motorcycle

Before
(quick disconnect windshield and saddlebags removed) After
(end-over-end maneuvers and coated with calcium)

For more images visit:

Key West to Happy Valley