Tuesday, June 14, 2005

 

Fairbanks, Alaska!




Tuesday I got up, made coffee, broke camp and set out with a goal to be in Fairbanks by midnight. The morning started off hot so I stopped shortly after I started for a swim in the Tolovana River and also to filter some water. After an hour-long break I started off again. A wicked head wind greeted me as I got to the road and slowed my pace all the way along the hilly pavement of the Elliott. It was a frustrating ride. At times I was pedaling downhill, but it did keep the mosquitoes off me so I wasn't about to complain.

Along the ride I bumped into some familiar faces; Eric and Tara, who were heading down to the Matanuska Glacier to work for the summer, and Andreas who was headed down to Denali to take some pictures before making it to Big Lake to meet up with his family. It was nice to see them and say farewell one last time before arriving in Fairbanks.

It was 11:36 p.m. when I arrived in Fairbanks. I found a place along College Avenue to camp called the Tanana Campground. It was late and the attendant was asleep so I picked out a site, took a shower and headed out to find a beer to celebrate the completion of the first leg of the tour.

Not much was opened along College Avenue that late in the evening, except for an interesting looking bar called ‘The Marlin’ so I wandered in hoping to grab a pint. Chris, the super friendly and very accommodating bartender, was about to give last call so I quickly ordered a beer, took a seat at the bar and talked with him while he closed down the place. We talked and related experiences early into the morning until the day’s events started catching up with me. I said goodnight and promised to stop back before I left town then headed off for sleep at the Tanana.

The sun was shining brightly in the sky when I went to bed but I slept hard. The mosquitoes were not nearly as bad as they were up north and I was able to sleep a full 8 hours. Around 2 p.m., rested and refreshed, I set out to do some chores and find a computer to upload data to Molly.

With the Dalton Highway now behind me I turned my attention towards completing The Parks Highway, exploring Denali National Park, and back into Anchorage.



Monday, June 13, 2005

 

Almost to Fairbanks


On Monday evening I set out to finish what remained of the Dalton Highway.

It was 55 miles from the river to Livengood and a lot of climbing to get out of the valley, but the wind was strong again so at 6 p.m. I started the long climbs up the Dalton.

It was a rough bit of road but by midnight I was at the end. I made camp one last time alongside the road, close to the pipeline. After dinner and a brief mosquito battle I hit the sack, resting up for the next leg along the Elliott Highway 80 miles into Fairbanks.



Sunday, June 12, 2005

 

The Yukon River



At around 7 a.m., with the sun already bright in the sky, I awoke to find over 20 mosquitoes had found their way inside my tent.

They floated around in the air, fat with my blood. I began smashing them between my hands. After I finished off the last one my hands, peppered with little mosquito carcasses, were saturated in the blood that they had taken from me. After that I tried to fall back asleep but couldn’t. I got up, did some chores and waited for the café to open.

I spent all day Sunday and half of Monday lounging around the Yukon River. I swam and took a bath in the river, socialized with the locals, and battled mosquitoes. I also met up with Andreas at the ‘Yukon River Café and Camp’. We hung out and shared information on how to kill mosquitoes.