Day 49 Coldfoot to Fairbanks to Glenallen, 496 miles
Off at 6:45 a.m., a new record!
I struggled with going to Prudhoe Bay or not and finally decided against it and turned south. Funny as Coldfoot is named after a gold miner who got cold feet and turned back. I bet his feet were truly cold too.
However, it wasn't cold feet, but the problem with going 240 miles north as I
must then return 240 miles-make that 480 miles-to Fairbanks, adding two days to the Northern tour.
Retracing my footsteps proved much easier as I knew where I was going and wasn't exhausted. Also I remembered today to hold the grips loosely. Tense up and you get tired.
Zipping along I skidded to a stop to see Bill again. Today Bill trudged up
another hill. He rides a road bicycle towing a small trailer and when he gets to dirt uphills, he lays the bike down, pulls the trailer to the top of the hill, then goes back for the bike. On these gravel roads, I can think of nothing worse than a road bicycle with four inches of contact patch. Bill couldn't spell dentist, and I'm sure hasn't seen one for decades. He claims he flew in to Fairbanks from Milwaukee a week ago, but I doubt it. I asked to take his picture and he vehemently said no.
I met Matt (short for an unpronounceable German name) at the Yukon gas stop I
missed yesterday. He works for a German magazine and is traveling from Prudhoe Bay to the tip of Argentina. The mag provided the bike, the cash and a wage.
Funny, so many are jealous of me and my trip, and I'm jealous of him!
No regrets going south. After Fairbanks I'm once again blessed with awesome
views of mountains and the roads wind a bit more. Summit Lake brings its own
surprise with floating ice chunks. Mountains tower above the highway, sloughing off snow all winter, evidenced by the avalanche signs and the terrain.
Mr. Moose decided to cross the road in front of me today. I saw movement to the right, slowed down and then a moose came onto the highway from the left. Neither one of us were too wild to see each other, although I would have liked to have gotten his picture. Not going to hang around for that. He might not like his picture taken any better than Bill and I don't want a hacked off moose.
This trip feels like a separate adventure than the '50 States' as I am alone, ride the dual sport bike, no trailer, and ride nasty roads great distances.
Today was a thirteen hour saga, complete with tiredness and pleasure. Having no crazy stars and stripes wrap puts me incognito too. Now I must take the
initiative and speak with people.
Rolling into Glenallen, I was rewarded with a vacancy at the only motel in town.
After a tasty salmon supper, I walked the town in search of a church for
tomorrow. The options are the Bible church or a tiny Catholic church. Think I'll check out the Bible one. We'll do a Catholic church later in the trip.
It is after midnight and getting dusk. Someone in the not too far distance is
lighting off fireworks. The late light makes you want to stay up all night.
RANTS, RAVES, MUTTERINGS AND MUSINGS
Alaskans sure are proud of their pipeline, as well they should be! It is an engineering marvel, as it sits on teflon feet to allow for permafrost and ground movement without violating its integrity. Much of it is insulated and heated, sometimes it goes under the highway, and most of the time it is above ground. It's over 800 miles long and pumps 1.5 million barrels a day. Since 1977.
These people are tough. When you see an extra pair of headlights head high on the trucks, you know these truckers drive through stuff.
I asked a clerk why I haven't paid a cent in tax. The pipeline pays the taxes. Sooo... I pay the tax in the price of the fuel.
I miss Quilter Girl!
Today I went to a fabric store to buy Alaska fabric for her quilt and failed miserably. More on that when I succeed.
Much of Alaska feels like a third world country. Like no wifi, cable, tv or cell service in Coldfoot. I've had better success in Haiti. Really. But that place is so remote...
Does anyone know the difference between a county, a borough, and a parish? Buroughs up here.
Riding along the dirt part of the Dalton Highway today, I spotted something to my right. A plane, waiting for me to pass so he could take off from the highway. Love Alaska!
STUPID DRIVER OF THE WEEK
Apparently you were in a coma when I passed you, so when you saw me you sped up. Brilliant. Then tailgating me after that... Perfect. Please reenter your coma.
5.36. A gallon
199. A night, Coldfoot 'motel'
3. Hours of darkness
48. Inches, diameter of the pipeline
650. CCs. I thought the bike was a 650, then an 800. Goes like an 800
40. Miles Bill says he pedals a day. I think he's exaggerating.
2. Churches in town
60. Feet of snow average in Wrangell Mountains in winter