Happy B-day Shaunie Shiny Shoes and PJW!
The first hour was flat but muddy, which made it hard going and slow. At least, there were not too many mosquitos while cycling, so we could leave the headnets off. Suddenly the hils were back in full force.
Dalton Highway Rule #8 for cyclists: if a hill has a name, it is mostly bad news as it will be very steep..
We were definitely nearing the Brooks Range now. The vague shapes we had seen in the distance were coming into focus and turned out to be nice mountains. The road meandered through but was already slowly going up as well. The road looked friendly, but the many remains of exploded tired reminded of what the Information booklet had told us: Read more
People who know me, know that I am generally quite laid back. I hate a few things though: intolerance, dishonesty, general stupidity. And mosquitos. Especially mosquitos.
The wind was gone and the air was filled with a low but constant buzzing noise. Millions of mosquitos were hovering above the tundra. In Alaska the mosquitos are not just annoying, they are annoying in very large quantities and sizes. We were warned about them and fortunately Peter from Outdoordacht had supplied us with some Sea to Summit head nets. It might sound excessive, but unless you have experienced this, you have no idea how crazy these bugs can drive you.
We had our breakfast inside our tent and then packed quickly and headed off. We noticed that as long as you were cycling, it was still reasonably doable, but when stopping, even for a moment, the mozzies would attack. we almost wished for the wind to return, not sure yet, which of the two makes the cycling the hardest. Read more
You lose all sense of time when it doesn’t get darker at night. The sun doesn’t set at 70 degrees North, but just circles around you like a vulture above a fresh kill. As we do not have watches, only our cycle computers and Lenny could tell us what time it was. The other cyclists were buys packing as they were on the 08.00 tour, but as our tour only started 6 hours later, we enjoyed the extra hours to relax for the first time in weeks.
When we finally headed over to the Caribou Inn, they had already finished and were preparing for their trip. As a biketraveller, you have to take care with your money, as you never know where you might need it. That is why we were hesitant to attack the $18 lunch buffet that the cyclists had raved about. Once we took our group picture outside and said goodbye to the others, we had made up our mind to feast; but we were too late as lunch was over.
Only then we found the hidden secret of the Caribou Inn: the packed lunch. For $10 you could take a quite large paper bag and fill it with whatever you like. I am sure they had no idea how many salmonburgers, hamburgers, ham/cheese & salami sandwiches, chocolate cake, yogurt, fruit juice and potato salad a pair of cyclists could fit in just one bag Read more
Again, we had no sleep, but our bodies seem to have gotten used to that by now and anyway, it doesn’t get dark here!
We left Ericka’s place at about 4.30 in the morning as we wanted to be sure we would arrive in time and cycled through the empty streets of Fairbanks. It is strange but nice to be in a place where it never gets dark, it makes many things so much easier. We cycled past the airport until we found the office of the Northern Alaska Tour company. We were welcomed by a bunch of very friendly people, who were all interested in our trip. They mostly do trips to the Arctic circle and places like Wiseman & Coldfoot, but also regularly all the way to Deadhorse.
Our driver was Michelle, a great girl with much knowledge about everything. she had been driving the roads for many years and was a joy to talk to. Our other passengers were Dan & Curt. Dan was a politician, working for Condoleezza Rice -so unemployed soon- going to his family’s cabin ear he Yukon River.
Well, we are not able to stop running it seems :), we are off to the start in a few minutes!
But already we have our choice of Good People to mention. First Romke helped us out so much (again) yesterday by dropping us at the schiphol Airport. Thanks for all your horpsitality Rom & Anouk, and sorry for the mess we made in your wonderful house!
We were greeted at Schiphol by Bas who helped with the check-in as we were too sleepy ourselves to do it!
To our amazement, all our gear arrived in Fairbanks with usm meaning all 12 bags and two bikes! Shame my headlight was busted by some aggressive bagage handler, but the good news is that we do not need to worry about it as it does not get dark here for the next few weeks
We found our way to the CouchSurfing hosts Erick and Miles who helped us out by taking us around the shops for the last minute shopping: inner tubes, mosquitonet-gloves and bear-spray! I asked about ‘after-bear’, but that did not really get any useful answers, just some blank stares…
They let us stay in their house and we had a nice dinner together. Ericka had also accepted the packages we sent them, so now we have a brandnew Big Agnes tent and plenty of Honey stinger bars to test!
Matt Atkinson from the Northern Alaska Tour Company had already been great by email and confirmed it by phone: we are going with them to Prudhoe Bay today, free of charge! Thaks Matt & Katie. Does this mean we have slept last night: no, but that is ok, we had not for the past weeks. But we are happy and are going out right now. We will try to start cycling down from Prudhoe bay tomorrow, which will probably take at least 12-14 days before we get back to Fairbanks and the real world, so we can post updates and images.
So see you then, lookin forward to your reactions,
All teh best from the last Frontier,
Harry & Ivana
We are very busy preparing for our trip and as we start in Alaska, we are focusing on all that awaits us there. We are already aware of the bears, wolves and moose that might want to taste or maul us, but now there is a quite different type of threat.
Apparently, the Alaska state is giving our hunting permits for the blind. Though I have always supported blind people as much as I can, but the thought of a blind guy or gal legally carrying a gun around and enthusiastically shooting any approaching object does frighten me 😉