Motorcycle Expedition to Alaska 2007 travel blog

The Road To Manley

Dog Team Crossing - Only In The North

Manley Roadhouse - 1910

The road to Manley is a very nice ride which high runs along the ridge of a mountain range offering huge scenic vistas on both sides. The road is paved for a portion about half way. I can't quite figure out these northern roads. They can be gravel/dirt for miles and miles then suddenly, in the middle of no where you hit a stretch of pavement.

I have two theories. Either the sections they pave are to soft to maintain as a dirt road or, these are the only sections they can keep pavement on due to frost heaves. I will have to try and find out sometime.

Along the road to Manley I stopped in th only other town out here which is Minto, a native community. This village was starky different than the one I had visited in Eagle which was basically just shacks and cabins. In Minto all the street were paved and most of the houses were fairly new and identical. It appeared to be a fairly wealthy community.

I arrived in Manley about 4:30 PM. This happens to be the furthest point west you can drive in north america.

Most towns at least have a "Welcome to" sign and some information about the town posted. There was absolutly no information signs or anything about Manley anywhere. I stopped at the the Trading Post and got a fairly cold reception from the guy running it. I asked about camping and he said down by the bridge then turned around and went back to whatever it was he was doing.

I went over to the Manley Roadhouse and found the reception a little better. The lady had rooms to let and downstairs there was a very nice bar with a laundry so I decided to stay in the roadhouse.

That evening the pub filled up with local people and I sat at the bar. The main subjects were hunting and fishing. They were definately not interested in letting any "outsider" into the discussions; much different than any other small place I have visited in Alaska.

It turns out most of these people work in Fairbanks during the week and commute to Manley each weekend.

I did end up talking to the other "outsiders" in the pub, a group of fire fighters and some helecopter mechanics who were battling a forest fire about 15 miles away and got some insight into firefighting.

I also talked to the School teacher from Minto. He was from Minnesota. He explained that although Minto looked prosperous, it was a facade created by government grants. The majority of the people there lived off welfare and there were plenty of social problems.

I did not find Manley very friendly and would not recommend it.

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