I live on the mountainside overlooking Anchorage and it's starting to get mighty cool outside. Within a week or so I'll have snow at the house and most riding will be over. I got up yesterday morning and had plans to fart around the pad getting ready for winter but that seemed to be wildly boring and even the dog wasn't feeling it. The day needed spicing up for sure and it seemed like the cure for me anyway would be to toss a leg over a bike and scoot around for a few hours. Nobody I had to see and nothing that had to be done. This would be perfect. I called a riding buddy to see if he could scootch out but nooop... and I left the mutt to come up w/ his own solution which hopefully wouldn't be too rough on the place. I have some finely honed skills where glove losing is involved. I think my buddy at the couch there might play a role sometimes but he can't nail 'em all. Last week I was riding with one pile lined suede work glove and one nice riding glove so I figured that ought to be addressed bright and early. I went down to see Barb and Doug at Alaska Leather where they make the sheepskin butt pads a lot of you have seen. I love those things and have a couple three of 'em around the house. I have 3 KTM singles that will vibrate some of my own parts hard enough that an hour or two out will have me wondering about the long term effect of vibration on nuts. Those butt pads have been a good way for me to keep my own from rattling completely off. They also have an xlnt selection of riding gear and accessories so I slipped in to sate my dog's glove fetish. Or mine. For the first time ever I actually didn't pick what I was going to buy... Barb did. They worked perfectly for a fall day. Highly recommended. With that knocked out I hopped back on the bike and headed north. No particular route in mind but there is a back way over Hatcher's Pass up in the mountains about 50 miles north that was calling my name. En route I slid by Katoomer's place to see if he wanted to come out for a rip but he was either still sawing logs or somewhere else already. From the looks of the ice pile beside the front steps he might have had a pretty good time and a cocktail or two the night prior. The man can put on a lively soiree for sure. Locally referred to as the Klub Haus. I pointed north again and got through the boring stretch that lasts for 30 minutes or so. I wheeled over to the side when the highway started to turn rural. Not sure how far down it is but easily well over 500' and it's close enough to the highway that one day a good sluff is going to take the road bed with it right on over the edge. Not a piece of the roadbed... that whole stretch. Here's what it looks like maybe 75' from where my bike was parked. Lose your footing around here and you'll reach terminal velocity before you meet your conclusion. Enough of that. Time to see what's going on up high. There's an old saying about some Alaskans that touches on whether some of us are as well socialized as we ought to be. Doesn't apply to me but it might have at one time. Heading up into Hatcher's Pass I passed a place where a house used to be before I splashed it with a few gallons of hi-test and put a bic to it. I popped the cap off the well casing and set up a porta-potty over the opening before I left. Left a partially used roll next to it just to further excite the next viewer's imagination. Might come back to that later. I fueled up at the base of the mountain and hoisted the front wheel while leaving the parking lot. My next stop was at right about the top of the pass where there's an old mining road that's open during the summers and usually doesn't get closed down until there's been a little snow in the area. Not this year though and it put a little bit of a damper on my plans for the afternoon. A man can't stop at this kind of sign without considering the alternatives for just a moment. It'd be a cakewalk to just lean that skinny little 640 enduro over and squeak it under the gate... fire it back up and toss a few rocks around. Apparently I wasn't the only guy that had had such thoughts though and while I was parked there a park service truck pulled in behind to help make sure I had my thinking cap on straight. I snapped this pic and turned around. Probably best that way. Possibly. All was not lost though. There's an A-frame cabin and tiny restaurant close enough to bounce a rock off of and it's on the right side of the gate. I sauntered in for a Black Forest ham and cheeser with a Guinness to help it slide down the pipe. I've eaten a wheelbarrow full of these sandwiches over the years and there's something about the place that makes a ham sandwich magical. I'm not a big fan of getting a snoot full and going for a ride but one snort and a little gentler ride out would be happening. It was a really good choice. It's also dead enough in the late season that you can hog up the chief seat in the synagog without feeling like you should've spared the big table for another party. Because there isn't one. That sleet that you saw on the window sill was hammering down pretty good at one point but 5 minutes after it quit the riding weather was back to a beautiful autumn day with just a little moisture around to remind you to enjoy it while it lasts. It was time to motor... and it's time for me to motor about now, too. I'll round this out in the next day or so. Nighty night. (edit: there's something botched up w/ smugmug and it's not sizing the pics correctly. I'll sort that tomorrow, too).