As the daylight broke over the urban landscape, I shook the dew from my rainfly and packed in the bedroll. I showered, sent out a last few emails before breaking out onto the highway north with Fairbanks in my sights. I don't remember much from this day. There's not a lot on this highway. Plenty of wilderness, but in the end the highway all looked the same. The day was socked in with low flying clouds, blocking out the sunlight and obliterating any hopes I would have of a clear view of the mountains. Nearing the Denali Highway turnoff, I remember it being cold. Real cold. Like, really fucking cold. The win kicked in pretty viciously and at one point I sought shelter in what appeared to be a giant... foam... igloo. There may still be black skid marks in the road when this building came into view. I poked around a bit as I tried to dry off. The combat boots I bought for the trip proved to be very much NOT waterproof and at this point had incorporated garbage bags into my feet layering. I poked around what turned out to be known as Igloo city for a bit and contemplated building a fire in one of the trash barrels. I even cruised around towards the back of the property where I found a collection of standing hunting cabins. I must have checked every door in hopes of finding one unlocked. I was so cold and miserable by this point that I would have gladly crawled in through a window to get out of the weather and off the endless highway. I wouldn't have broken in of course, and had planned on leaving a $20 and a note, but let it be known that I would had a wood stove toked in no time. But, no luck, so I reluctantly slid back onto the sun-bleached seat pad and pulled back out onto the highway.
I didn't make it much further. As a matter of fact, I stopped at the very next stop opposite the entrance to the Denali Highway. I mooched some coffee and hot chocolate at the gas station and picked the owners brain a bit about the igloo down the rode. The story goes that was another gas station and the owner had built the igloo to be a hotel, known as Igloo City. Apparently he didn't do much research, or for whatever the reason he hadn't added enough fire exits or some such and it violated building and safety codes. I walked around the water-logged and unfinished interior a bit before. I remember an open center with three or so circular floors along the outer walls, each with several small rooms branching off. Imagine three doughnuts of rooms stacked on top, covered in foam. I didn't get any decent pics, but I hope that's clear enough. Anyway, it was all abandoned and now just sits there absorbing the abuse every year since. Alrighty then, I gassed up and pulled into the rural road just down the highway. I scoped out a campground and a few side trails before settling on what looked to be an abandoned homestead. The house was toast, but the yard provided an adequate spot to pitch camp. I got a good fire going, even with the wind blasting me through the night. Ate some decent MRE and passed out with the wind-socked tent creating a half-decent white noise.