I am in heaven! Life on the road is amazing. Again, I am not sure how I will manage to summarize the last few days, they are all so full of happy moments and encounters.
I am now in Tok after 5 more days of cycling. I have to take it easy, my knees can’t take long days and everyday I wonder if it’s going to be the last one. But somehow they seem to recover just enough that I can keep going. The uncertainty is hard to deal with, but the very slow pace translates into having more time to meet really nice people and maybe I appreciate each day even more!
Fairbanks was amazing. I could have stayed much longer. Sven’s place sees a lot of interesting characters, everybody seems to be on some kind of big or small adventure and I had a blast chatting with them. Some guys from Texas were about to do their first big paddling trip, 3 guys were getting ready to try to establish a Guinness record driving from Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia in 11 days (it will probably take me 11 years!!!), a really cool med student was traveling in a jeep-type vehicle that reminded me of my minivan setup, other guys were on long motorbike trips and I also met Jeff, another tour cyclist who was soon to start riding the Dalton Hwy. I also had a chance to see a friend who lives in Fairbanks, eat lots of fresh food and have two showers!!
The road to Tok is pretty easy and I even had tail winds. I was once again lucky to miss the afternoon thunderstorms, as each day I reached camp before it started. On the way I met more interesting motorcyclists, we are kind of the same people, so it’s always nice to meet them. I was also invited to share a meal with retired people traveling in their motorhome, offered a coffee at a gas station, and hosted by really nice people in Delta Junction. Staying with locals is always great as I learn a lot about the area. Tiki and I played a fun game (called Qwirkle, I think?) after she offered a wonderful supper. The next day I took it easy and left pretty late to be able to enjoy the local market and buy some baked goods as fuel for the ride.
I saw several moose, some with calves, lots of beautiful flowers and great scenery. Even if I rode the same road last year, it feels different and I mostly camped in different places. But I also went back to one of my “old camps” where I knew exactly where to pitch my tent and set up my hammock: a perfect place to relax and rest the legs.
And the last day was also incredible, through friends of friends, I ended up in a wonderful homestead 30 miles from Tok, where Hank and Mary welcomed me for “as long as I needed”. Fantastic people with lots of good stories. And the world is so small, Hank remembered that he and his friend beat me and my partner in the Yukon River Quest canoe race in 2002!
Mary is a fabulous cook and the weather was so nice that I even jumped in the lake near their cabin. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
After coffee and a delicious breakfast, I reluctantly left their mountain cabin, but soon found myself chatting again with another motorcyclist, before I rode to Tok where I stay at Hank and Mary’s house. Such a treat once again to have a lovely, peaceful place to stay for a night or two. The road is calling but the sofa as well!