Monday August 16, 2010 – Day 11 – “Back to the Alcan”
I had set my tent up in the dark and when I stepped out in the morning, I immediately reached back and got my camera. It’s a tough life to wake up in Alaska...
but I’ll survive. ;-)
With a granola bar for breakfast, I packed up and headed south picking up some gas at Paxton. It was a beautiful clear morning and I enjoyed the views.
This little pond was still so I stopped for a quick pic.
I made it to the Tok Cut-Off and headed north to Tok and the Alcan Highway. I hoped to be in Canada tonight.
Michelle Shocked sings a little song about a friend that moves to Anchorage.
Hey Chel you know it's kinda funny
Texas always seems so big
But you know you're in the largest state in the union
When you're anchored down in Anchorage
It’s a story about life and how it passes by one day at a time, and the relative significance of the human experience compared to this large landscape.
This large state is amazing, so this song was running through my head as I was looking across this river valley at this mountain. I had ridden about 20 miles along this river watching this mountain grow until I got to this place.
I believe this is Mt. Sanford.
I continued on north through these mountians to Tok. I was filling up gas and I saw a small café called the Grumpy Griz Café. They had a nice burger and fries, and then I stopped at the bank to exchange some currency for my trip in Canada.
This is Tetlin junction, and I had to stop and take a picture of this sign. It is about 220 miles to Fairbanks from here. Last Wednesday, I had traveled 687 miles from Dawson City because of the road closure to get to this sign. I just about cried that night.
About 20 miles from the border, I was stopped at a construction zone. The flagger motioned me to the front of the line. He was a native and willing to chat a little. After I asked about the danger of riding a snow machine on the river he mentioned that he fell through the ice last winter. He lost his gear and his axe and was wet, but walked a ways and found a deadfall and started a fire. The next day he was found by a rescue party. He went back and recovered the snow machine, but couldn’t find his axe that he had for 20 years. Then he said that a lot of younger people didn’t like this job because it was too hard to stand out here all day. He was 68 and had worked up on the North Slope. I was disappointed to see the pilot car.
Here you can see some of the road damage that was on the Alcan. As you can see from all the tire marks, it makes for an interesting ride. It wasn’t too bad on the motorcycle as you would watch for the flags and then look for the easiest way through the damage. I would image that it would be less fun if it was raining and the visibility was poor.
Oh yeah, the mountains were kinda pretty also. ;-)
This is Pickaxe Handle Lake. I saw it from the road and had to stop and take some pictures. The reflections were just awesome.
The road is up in those trees there.
A duck swimming amongst the reflections of the trees.
I don’t think I’ve ever shown everyone what my cockpit looks like. The orange device is my spot tracker, on top of my tank bag. I kept the camera, phone and wallet in the tank bag. The GPS is mounted on a RAM mount on my handlebars. I would keep the speed and the daily trip meter showing on the main screen with the map. In Canada I changed the units to metric so I knew how fast I was going and what distance I needed to travel that day. The bikes trip meter was used to keep track of gas mileage.
These were the mountains I stopped to take a picture.
Back in the Pacific time zone the daylight was fading fast. I picked up gas and some supper in Haines Jct. There was a campsite just a short ways down the road.
I was able to get to the campsite by 9:00 PST and set up the tent as the evening sky got darker. The neighbors to my site invited me over for a coke and a taste of gumbo soup.
As I wrote out my notes for the night, I thought of the children’s song, “He’s got the whole world in His hands”. This grand landscape was all part of God’s creation and he is the architect. He is big enough to hold all this, and my life within his hands. It certainly gives more comfort and direction to life than Michelle Shocked’s song about Anchorage.
Stats for Day 11: 487 miles, 13.7 gallons of fuel, 12.5 hours