Finally, I am on the road with Laf. I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to start from Prudhoe Bay, but I soon realized that it was probably a good thing. I had forgotten how hard it is to start a bike trip and I really don’t think I would have been able to ride the Dalton, and for sure not in these conditions. As I pedaled away from Fairbanks, I thought that at least I had been to Prudhoe Bay with my bike, so in a way I felt satisfied. I also felt sorry (and still do) for the cyclists that are still facing such hard conditions.
I am now 4 days and 333 km into my trip, mostly flat roads, but somehow I finish my days exhausted. Part of it is that I am still carrying winter gear that I only needed for the Dalton, and too much food! And I needed to get back into shape.
One night I camped next to a beautfiul roadhouse built in 1909. I fell asleep thinking about all the travelers that found shelter here over the 100+ years.
Last night I camped near a big river. It was getting very windy so I pitched my tent near the bushes to be somewhat protected from the gusts. However, the wind just got worse and worse. By 2 am I woke up and realized the wind was just insane and that things would not be good if it started to rain. So I got up and moved tent and gear into the bush to be more sheltered. Not a restful night, but at 6 am I was already on my bike, trying to take advantage of a calmer morning.
For the first 2 hours I saw more rabbits than vehicles, and as I stopped at a creek to get some water I was thinking about how basic my life is: finding water, food, shelter and staying warm. And pedaling, of course.
I finally made it to Tok, where I was hoping to stay with someone and enjoy Alaskan hospitality, but unfortunately, once in Tok, I found out that the house was 5 km before the village. By then, my knees and legs had decided that I wasn’t going back, especially against the wind. I felt a little better when I ran into another tour cyclist who said he also had knee pain.
I stopped at a hostel to inquire about camping fees, but while we were talking about the different options, the caretaker pulled a secret weapon: she gave me ice cream. So that was it: I ended up staying in her nice hostel, where I had a delightful shower, washed some clothes, cooked a delicious meal and now plan to spend the rest of the evening on a sofa with a book.
Well, maybe this is why I do these things. Basic comfort feels so amazing!