Let me paint you a picture. It’s 6:15pm and I’m on the way back down the Haul Road after reaching the top of Alaska. Stopping for the rare opportunity to fill up my gas tank, I noticed that my left fork seal is spurting out oil like blood from a carotid artery in any action movie. Alright, that might not be true:
But it was still a concern as I had plenty of dirt to tackle before getting back to Fairbanks that night, plus we were hoping to tackle the Denali Highway the next day. Inside Coldfoot camp, a fellow rider gave me the phone number for a father/son team who works on bikes, and he said they were open 24 hours a day. 24 hours, huh? Unfortunately, up in the middle of nowhere I didn’t have any cell service, so I saved the number, tied up a rag to prevent oil from flowing down to the brakes, and continued on to Fairbanks.
In any other situation, I’d be fine taking a little bit of time to get the service done. But I had recently received news that would cut our trip short a week, so now my remaining time was precious if I wanted to get back to Los Angeles when I needed to. As soon as I got back into town around 11pm, I called the number I was given but got a female voice. It took another hour before I was able to get internet access, at which point I looked up options on ADVRider. I found more mentions of the father/son team, but with a different number. So after midnight, I decided to really test this “open 24 hour” theory and gave the son a call. No answer, but I left a voicemail. Oh well.
6:30am the next morning, I get a call from the son. “I’m sorry but I didn’t hear the phone ring. I’m about to head to my day job, but I’ve given my dad a heads up and he’ll be ready for you as soon as you can get over to the shop.” Well, then. 45 minutes later, I found myself at the shop, curious to see how quickly I could get out of there.
But that’s when I met Dan, who was absolutely incredible. He took excellent care of the bike, explained things in a way I (as someone who’s not terribly mechanically-inclined) could understand, and somehow was able to work very quickly while still chatting my ear off about all kinds of topics. I realized now that this is somehow the only photo I took of Dan, which makes me an idiot.
Picture a cross between Rob Ryan (especially the hair) and Michael Chiklis? Or ignore my absurd attempt at a blending of celebrities and refer to this photo from Short Way Round:
I can’t say that the fork seal task tested Dan as a mechanic, but I can say he does good work, he does it quick, and he’s clearly passionate. He’s a no-bullshit kind of guy, which can make for entertaining conversation. Get him to start talking about bears – I highly recommend it.
Anyone searching for a motorcycle mechanic in Fairbanks, I hope you find this article. The 24 hour service is true (at least during the May-September season). I’m sure there are other mechanics in Fairbanks, but the service here is unbeatable. Get up here before they manage to pave the entire Haul Road, and let Dan take care of you.
Things You Should Know:
- First come, first serve.
- 362 Snowy Owl Lane Fairbanks, AK 99712
- Phone: 907-457-4259 (Dan), 907-347-4329 (Shawn – available weekdays after 5pm and on weekends).
- For those of you that can’t make the 240 mile hop from Coldfoot to Deadhorse without refueling, Dan rents 1-2 gallon containers for cheap.
- Free storage for those of you that want to leave some weight behind while goofing around on the Dalton.
In conclusion, Dan is the man. Go be entertained and make sure your bike is ready for the long haul…road.