The Rough Denali Highway

From Healy to Cantwell

Tuesday, May 29
We pack the tent that we placed in the garden of Peggy. (Peggy is a friend of Robin our warmshowers host drom Fairbanks) Unfortunately we did not see her and her husband anymore. They had gone camping in Homer and would come home late with their camper. We expected them to come back around 10 o'clock in the evening, but eventually it was not until about 3 in the morning. Because we did not see them when we leave around 10.00 am we put down a thank you note with two twowheelfreedom straps.
Before we leave Healy we first go to the post office. We have chosen things that we will no longer use or what we expect not to use at all. We send them home permanently so that we can save weight on our bikes. It is pretty busy at the post office on a regular Tuesday morning, but in the end it is arranged pretty quickly. Outside we are addressed by a woman who is curious about what we do. We tell that we are cycling from Alaska to Argentina and she likes it very much. She used to live in Wiseman and she always used to see many more cyclists like us over there. Since she lives in Healy she does not see many cyclists anymore and that's why she thinks it's all the more fun to see us. She wishes us success after which we say goodbye.

The Healy Post Office

Arjan and I get on the bike for the first stage towards Cantwell.
Fortunately, it is nice weather. In Cantwell there is a Campground where we still want to stand before we go on the Denali Highway the next day.
The sun is shining today only there is a strong head wind that gives us a hard time. The road is also good to ride in terms of mountains. If the wind alone would not be so hard we could be a lot faster, but okay we cannot complain to much.
Somewhere half way the route is a nice parking lot with a viewpoint where we can sit in the sun and out of the wind. We enjoy that nicely. We take some afternoon food here: bread with Mayonnaise, cheese and lettuce and keep a short siesta.
It is time to go further. Just before we arrive at the Denali parkroad (road that goes into the Denali national park to see the Denali Mountain) we go through a kind of mini village with lots of merchandise shops, lodges, restaurants and hotels for all tourists who are visiting the Denali park.
We have already decided that we will not enter the park because "just" cycling back and forth to the Denali Mountain will take us more than two days. Plus the Denali Highway is also so beautiful that we think it will not have much added value for us. When we are about 12.5 miles (20 km) away from Cantwell we see a nice Lodge with a nice terrace where we have a drink and enjoy the sun. It is so nice here in the sun that we definitely sit and enjoy an hour here. We start at the last stage to Cantwell.

The first mountains showing up.

From Healy to Cantwell. Still paved road but not so long anymore.

We are almost at the Campground and then Kim gets another flat tire. The second one already this trip! To bad, especially because we are less than (3km) 1,9 miles away from the campsite. We change the inner tube again for a new one and it has to be fixed again later. Once at the campsite we set up the tent and Arjan starts cooking. Kim prepares the sleeping stuff as usual and then goes to the repair the pinched inner tube so that we can use it again. We also have neighbors at the campsite who are also on bicycles, but unfortunately they are not very talkative. After dinner we wash and brush our teeth.
We dive into the tent for a wonderful night's sleep.

Arriving at the campsite

Camping in Cantwell

"I will be your chef today, please place your order"


Off on the Denali Highway

Wednesday, May 30,
We start the day with a delicious shower. This will not be possible again in the coming days because same as the Dalton Highway there are not enough facilities on the Denali Highway. Again it will not possible to stand on the campsite every day and that is why unfortunately showering is not possible. We speak to one of the two girls who are next to us briefly. She comes from California and cycles from Cantwell with her not so talkative friend to Healy and probably further on to the north. She tells us that her friend has been coming from Anchorage and we understand that she has been on the bicycle for some time. The friend in question clearly does not want to talk to us so unfortunately we do not know how and what else. It is a pity, usually cyclists among each other are always interested in what the other person is doing, so it is very odd for us to see that it also can be different.
We pack our stuff again and Arjan cuts Kim her hair for. That was already necessary months ago so now a big part of her hair has to be cut off.
We decide that we want some bread for breakfast. We go to the local supermarket along the road where we passed last night. Having arrived there, they unfortunately do not have what we want. Kim will get a coffee to go of course! So then we eat the sausages from the night before only with some lettuce and left over mayo.
After breakfast we cycle to the beginning of the Denali Highway. The first piece is still paved, so it is easy to cycle. We are told that you are not allowed to camp the first 10 miles because that is part of a native reservation. We are going over that easily today so we do not worry about that.

Bye Bye Cantwell.

The route along this road is indeed impressive as promised. Beautiful nature and beautiful views with snowy mountains in the background. The gavel road is good to cycle but the stones and the sand is a lot looser than we are used to from the Dalton Highway. Not surprising, of course, because there is also much less traffic and let alone mega trucks. This is mainly a tourist route where mainly campers, cars and cyclists like us go over. That also gives the advantage that it is nice and quiet cycling.
Unfortunately it gets a little rainy in the day.

Denali Highway map

Just out of Cantwell, heading to the mountains.

The Alaska Range Mountains

We are on a mountain and one of the cars that passed us earlier also stops with us. A young guy gets out. He is interested in what we do. We tell what we do and he finds it completely cool. He tells us that we are standing in the middle of a historic point where the native tribes used to come to hunt for caribou. This is because at this point they had a nice view to see the caribou. The point where we are is also exactly the separation between two areas. It is the separation between Denali Borough and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. He also tells us that the king salmons swim up against the current from Anchorage and they follow the Susitna River. Those salmon swim up to the Yanert Glacier, where the Susitna River is formed.
He also asks us what we eat and whether we have lost a lot of weight. He shows us that he has just picked from all kinds of plants (or parts of plants) that are good to eat. He shows us that he has picked ferns that are not yet budded. You have to cook these first, then they are the tastiest. He also has Devils club. These are prickly plants where at the end there is a kind of bud that you can take off (but look out for the thorns!) You can eat this as well so we taste a bit. It tastes surprisingly good. You can also boil or steam this plant. He also has Fireweat. All these plants contain a lot of protein, making it a good natural supplement to your diet here in the outdoor of Alaska. Nice to talk to this guy and especially very interesting. His name is Tim, he now has a seasonal job at the airport of Anchorage as a wildlife expert. In the autumn he goes back to school to continue his education and finish it. Tim goes into the field where the caribou hunting used to take place. He hopes to find some horns from caribou there.

Native drawings

Tim Bembenic; Met on the Denali Highway. Awesome guy and with great knowledge of nature, wildlife and geographic.

We continue our journey on the bicycles in the rain. From now on, it will continue to rain. Arjan suddenly sees something crazy moving and asks Kim; “What is that!” It is a porcupine. How beautiful! The porcupine quickly runs away from the road, but is still so curious that it stops and looks back to observe us. Arjan has been standing with his camera in his hand for a while and is able to so get a picture from the front. Awesome!

Porcupine

Moments later Tim passes us again and again later he is standing on a super nice viewing point. He gestured to us that he sees a moose. We step off of our bikes and climb up on the viewpoint. The view alone is phenomenal! We are looking but it is difficult to find the moose. So it is a long search and we spend a long time looking together and enjoying the view. And yes!! We see some movement. It is unfortunately not super good to photograph, but we do an attempt anyway. Then they start moving a bit more so we get a little better view. Super cool to see of course. Tim tells us that the moose is very protective when they have youngsters against. The bears hunt the youngsters. When bears try to attack the moose stamp very hard with their front legs to scare off the bear. The moose are also the only ones of the hoofed animals that can kick ahead so that if they are attacked by a bear they can sell them a proper kick.
We are starting to get cold because we have been in the wind for a while now with our thin cycling clothing. Tim says he is driving to Paxson and we decide to cycle a bit before we set up our tent. We still see beautiful mountains with foothills of glaciers. We are also at a height of more than 900 meters and do not seem to be able to fall to just below. We are already above the tree line again. After a while it starts raining so hard that we decide to set up the tent. The find a super nice spot where we decide to camp. We have a view over the West Fork of the Susitna Glacier.

Susitna Glacier

The wind blows very hard and Arjan secures the tent with some extra straps. He also puts some large boulders on the pegs so that we can be sure that they stay in the ground. Eventually we are in the tent after a while. Wet and cold. Kim makes the bed ready and puts on dry clothes. When the rain gets less Arjan cooks the water for our meals. In the meantime it is already about 20.30. Arjan then also changes his clothes and we crawl into our wonderfully warm sleeping bags. It takes a while before Arjan is warm again. He remains shivering and trembling for a long time, but in the end he finally gets warm again

Camp with a view.


Big Mooses and great views

Thursday, May 31.
The day starts super nice. The sun is shining. Our coats and other things are hanging to dry outside. Arjan has some "hobby" projects that he is working on this morning like making a mudguard at the bottom of Kim’s bike. We also found a license plate of Alaska along the road. This uses Arjan to pimp his own bike with. Kim is writing a bit about what we have experienced in the past few days. We start the day super relaxed and we leave very late. Around noon we are ready to go on the road again.
We enjoy beautiful views while cycling and the road goes up and down slightly. We will stay around the 800m to 900m altitude. We see some motorcyclists who pass us and we wave to each other. Some have a license plate from Alaska but there is also one with an Australian license plate.
After cycling some 15.6 miles (30 km) we see a gas station with a nice lodge. “Clearwater Mountain Lodge” is the property's name. This lodge was not mentioned on the information signs or on the internet so we are pleasantly surprised. We therefore decide to take the opportunity to have a drink here. The bar looks shut so we decided to cycle towards the reception of the lodge itself. There we are beckoned through the window by two young boys and a girl. We are more than welcome and can take coffee and tea. They ask what we do exactly and they are familiar with cyclists like us. Every year there are a few passing by who, like us, cycle the entire route down to Ushuaia Argentina. One of the guys named Sean told us enthusiastically about the lodge. They have built almost everything themselves. He told that this lodge was always the dream of his father, but that he unfortunately passed away. His brother and he both used to work in a different lodge so they already had experience with the work and when their father passed away they started helping their mother with their own family lodge. He tells us that he actually has a degree in IT. Over the years he has learned to do everything around the lodge like being a plumber and how to make tables and even how to build this lodge. Whatever you can think of that has to be done they do it all themselves. You almost have no choice living in such a remote area. In the past when he was still living in Chicago for his studies he was also crazy about mountain biking. He was the chairman of the mountain bike club where he organized trips to Moab for. (Moab seems to be the mecca for mountain bikers we have already been told by different people)
Since he helps his mother in the lodge, he hardly cycles anymore. Partly because he simply does not find the time for it, but also because his rim and tire of his fat bike are broken. We have already heard that in parts of Alaska it is more difficult to get stuff and there is a lot of second-hand trade. It is also often much more expensive to get there because some places are so remote.
We ask him if they get a lot of guests through the year. He tells us that in the different seasons they have a few peaks. In the summer they have many tourists from Europe, in the winter many people who ride with sled dogs and in the autumn they have many hunters as guests. We had understood that in winter the road was closed to traffic, but this information turns out to be wrong. (despite that our map indicates, “Highway closed in the winter.”) Sean says that there is certainly traffic in the winter. If the snow is not hard enough then they drive with snow machines. The road is maintained by some kind of snow machine like they use at a ski area. When the snow has become hard enough he even drives over with his "normal" car. Well with special tracks around his tires.
Every Alaskan may shoot one bear a year. That is because at one point in Alaska there were so many bears that the bears killed calves of moose that they did not even eat but just used to mark their territory. Geologists who did research found that this was due to overpopulation of the bears here. Sean says that Alaskans are not trophy hunters, so when they shoot an animal they use them entirety. We ask if they also serve the meat to their guests? That is possible, but then the meat must first be sent to Anchorage to be inspected and that of course costs a lot of money. So basically they use this meat mainly for their own consumption. The same applies to the blue berries that will soon be good and where you can pick thousands from at the side of the road. You can use this for your own consumption, but as soon as they want to use it for commercial use, it must first be checked according to the law.
When we leave, we can take two more apples and we do not even have to pay for the coffee and tea. Really very sweet! He asks us what we eat as there are not many occasions along the way where you can get food. We tell him that we have freeze-dried meals with us. He asks us if we have made it ourselves and tells us that his brother often does it for them. The meals in the store contain a lot more calories. But that does not matter to us. We really need these calories with all those distances that we cycle is also his conclusion. Unfortunately we have to say goodbye to this friendly guy and get back on our bikes.

Clear Water Lodge

We are not yet on the bicycle or it starts to hail and then rain and that continues for a while. But not much later it gets better again. The weather here between these high mountains is so crazy and changes so quickly. Occasionally you can see the rain coming from a distance. You could not possibly give a good weather forecast in this area, so changeable is the weather here. We are not going very fast. After about 28 miles (45km) on the counter we come across a lodge again. The Alpine Creek Lodge. We decide that if possible we can eat an nice dinner here. We see the Australian motorbike and the other bikes at the lodge. The guy with the Australian motorbike just arrived. He recognizes us from earlier today and we make a chat. He is also called Sean (how coincidentally!). The guys with the motorbikes eat and sleep in this lodge tonight.
Arjan walks in to ask if we can get some dinner here. That is possible, it is an "all you can eat" concept says the lady in question. Her name is Jennifer. That is great we really would like a good big meal! We take a drink first and sit outside for a while. The lodge has a great view! Plus the sun is back again so we enjoy it. Jennifer tells us that dinner is ready so we go inside. On the menu is rice with corn and beef. It tastes fine and we both take a second round. Then we get a tasty dessert; cake with cream and blueberries. It is very nice, so also take a second piece of this. We no longer see motorcyclists (from Australia). They are all in the bar that is in the lodge here. The bar was not open officially but the motor guy have closed a deal with Jennifer. They want to stay overnight, but only when the bar is opened.

Leaving in the rain

When we are ready to leave, it rains and rains again. We decide to wait for it. Fortunately, it takes about half an hour before it clears up again. In the meantime it is 19.30 so decide to cycle as long as we feel like doing. The route is super nice and cycling is easy again. Probably it is also because we have full stomachs so we have good energy again. We see a some kind of bird on the road. It looks like a pigeon, but when we get closer it is a chicken chasing a female chicken. They are disturbed by us coming so they go away. Less than ten meters further down the road we suddenly see two moose. It is a moose with a young. They are standing on the road facing each other. Eventually, when they get see us they walk slowly into the bushes. They move very slowly so Arjan can make some nice pictures. What a super nice animals. Very impressive! It gives us a lot of energy being in this beautiful environment and seeing all these beautiful animals.

Moose...

Eventually we arrive at Clearwater Creek Wayside. It is a nice spot to set our tent here. We have already cycled 12.5 miles (20 km) since dinner. The point is right after a bridge on the water. Little birds fly over the water and catch insects. They seem to be family of the swallow, but they have orange belly’s . Beautiful!
There are also toilets on this spot. Furthermore, there are no facilities here. There is also a rental camp where a guy is walking. He says something to us and turns out to from Belgium. He tells us that he is on vacation for a few weeks with his girlfriend. They have a few days before they have to go back to Belgium. He is going to take a walk. We decide to walk to the river and to the bridge to take some nice pictures. A little further down the road we see a porcupine walking. Unfortunately it does not walk in our direction. The sun disappears behind the mountains and it gets colder. Time for bed!

Campsite

Camping with a view.

Sunset


Over the Pass

Friday, June 1,
Kim did not sleep that well this night. Her toes did not get warm. Arjan says that he also looked at the thermometer in the night and it was around the freezing point inside the tent. We have not jet beenthat cold inside the tent to our knowledge.
The morning starts again very well. The sun is shining and the sky is now crystal clear again. We eat a heavy breakfast, wash some clothes in the river and brush our teeth before we leave. Today we have a mountain pass on the menu for the second time this trip. This mountain pass is slightly lower than the Atigun pass we had on the Dalton Highway but it still promises to be a nice climb. Today we only pass the Maclaren which is 4084 feet (about 1350m) high. But we did not camp directly in front of the pass so we first have to cycle a few miles. The weather is fortunately nice but the miles are not very fast. We mostly cycle uphill which makes us slow ...

Frozen lakes

Frozen lake

Just before we climb the mountain pass there is another river called the Maclaren River which means that we first have to descend a bit before we have to start the high climb to the top.
Let there be a lodge here too! So we take a rest here for a while. We drink coffee and chocolate milk so that we can get ready for the climb. In the bar area inside the lodge there are dollar bills hanging on the ceiling and walls with greetings from people who have been staying in the lodge. Tracy, the woman who manages the lodge here, tells us that it is originally from the time when there where saloons in the Wild West. She says that the people who had a drink in a saloon in that time first had to give money to the barman and that their name was written on it after witch it was pinned to the ceiling. This of course, to prevent that once they were drunk they would not be able to pay. Very funny fact.

Dollars on the walls.

Once ready for a good climb we step back on our bike. Shortly after we leave we see another moose with her young. It is always a great experience to see these beautiful animals.
The climb is not too bad. He goes up nicely gradually. You would not think you were cycling a pass. The passes we have cycled so far have always been much steeper than this one. That is a nice windfall. Somewhere halfway through the pass we meet a French couple in a rental car. They have seen us arrive cycling and the woman has already got off and makes pictures of us while we cycle upstairs as if we were celebrities. Very special but also funny experience. Meanwhile, the man has also stepped out and he is the one who still speaks some English. He tells us that they both like to cycle and that they have cycled mainly in Europe just like we do here now. They have been in Alaska for some time and have been close to Anchorage on the coast in Homer and Seward (everyone in Alaska tells us that it is super nice) They also went to Vancouver in Canada and Vancouver Island. In Vancouver they have unfortunately been deprived of all their belongings except for a small backpack that they had on their backs. Luckily they have friends living in Whitehorse where they can finally borrow clothes and other things. What a story! We hope that that will be saved during our one and a half year trip. We say goodbye and continue with the pass.

Meet the France

Almost on top is a sign with the height of the pass where we of course have to take a picture. We continue to cycle quite high after the pass. In this area we see a lot of ground squirrels. Every time they cross the road just in front of our bikes. Occasionally they stand on their hind legs to watch us, and when we get too close they run away. They are really super cute to see and it is a nice diversion when cycling!

Pass... not so high but we did it.

Find the squirrels

Eventually we arrive at Tangle Lakes where there is also a Campground. At first we want to camp here but when we find out that there is no shower we decide to save the money for food later somewhere. We finally camp at a general camping spot along the road where we also light a small campfire. In principle there are enough places along the Denali Highway where you can camp for free and we make full use of that. We eat some more at the campfire and dive into the bed.

Kim making our first campfire.


The last stretch to Paxson (and beyond)

Saturday, June 2
Today we cycle the last stretch of the Denali Highway. The sun and is shining and we're going downhill. We cycle towards Paxson where the end of the Denali Highway is. We had hoped we could do some shopping here, but we have been told that Paxson is a gost town. That's not too bad, we can still cycle a few miles to the next gas station where they hopefully have something to eat. We turn off at Paxson on the Richardson Highway.

On the road again

Along this road is also a Roadhouse which means that you can get something of hamburgers anyway and there would be a grocery store. Eventually after a lot of miles cycling there we also like something to eat. There is indeed a store but mainly candy and cake. Not really much to make a meal out of. So we decide to eat something so that we get a reasonable meal. We are here a decent time to recover. The lady who runs the Meiers Roadhouse at mile 170 tells us that this one was put here years ago and in 1906. She tells us that the purpose for which the Roadhouses were built at that time was mainly for miners who came by. They could then stay overnight if they passed here. Every 25 miles there was such a Roadhouse. We get a book from her where some pictures and the history of it.
She asks where we are from and when we tell her that we are from the Netherlands she tells us that her son also lives there with his wife and her 4 grandchildren. Unfortunately he has never come to Alaska to visit with wife and kids she tells us. She herself can not go anywhere because she is open all year round. Her daughter is in the kitchen and also makes all kinds of home made cookies and other delicious sweets.
The burgers we take taste great. We find it a shame that if you can eat something along the way, it is always hamburgers and never anything else. But the food here does taste very good. We have WiFi here and find out that some things at home have not gone as we had planned. We have send some e-mails to this and that. Hopefully it can be solved. Then only a third cup of coffee for Kim and another glass of water for Arjan. Finally finished with all the things to do, we walk through the miniscule shop and we buy two clif bars (our favorite candy bars) and six home made cookies.
On to Sourdough! If all goes well they have a supermarket nearby where the campground is. Sourdough is still a long cycle trip but it is al lot downhill from now. Eventually we arrive there but unfortunately no supermarket. We decide to stay at the campground. Here they have drinking water and toilets. We have to pay $6 for this, We have 95 km in the legs now so we are done with cycling for today. Fortunately we still have three freeze-dried meals where we eat two of them tonight. The campground is nice here. There are even food containers against bears where you can put your food and everything that smells. There is therefore no need to hang out food in the trees. After dinner we crawl into the tent again.

No food to find

Sunday, June 3
We have breakfast with the cakes that we have left. Arjan has put some tea. We searched for supermarkets or stores on the laptop last night, but at the Gacona Junction there should be something of a store. Sourdough to Gacona Junction is about 19 miles (30km) cycling. Along the way we see an oldtimer car on the road that is for sale. Eventually when we arrive at Gacona Junction we are disappointed again. Here too there is nothing open and it seems as if the people have already left. On to Gecona itself. Here there would be a Roadhouse, restaurant, Lodge and a shop. That should go well, we hope. Still a few miles further. Once arrived there are people who are busy fixing up. A man who comes walking from the lodge asks where we are going to. He says then you are probably Dutch since the national activity is cycling and skating. He guessed right! They are unfortunately not open he tells us but we can get water. Here too there is no shop yet and not even something to eat as we have hoped. We can take a look around and relax on the picnic benches in front of the bar. We will sit there for a moment. Meanwhile a woman comes out of the lodge with a plate of sandwiches. There are also three kids. Two boys and a girl. She asks us where we are from and if she can do something. We ask if they know if we can find a supermarket somewhere or a store where we can get food. The nearest one on our road is about 30miles (48km) away. So hmmm, that is still a long way without food. We will not be able to go that far from here without lunch. The woman proposes to make some sandwiches for us. We are of course completely happy. The man we met first paints the bar and chats nicely with us. He proudly tells us that they are from a family with seven brothers and that they have all been in the army including his father. The other man who comes to eat his sandwiches is one of his brothers. They are fixing things up here. The bar and restaurant are not open now because they are waiting for the government on the water samples that have to be taken every year. If they are approved they may only receive and serve guests. He also wants to open a store for cyclists like us who need some parts but that will only happen next year. Then his family will also come to Alaska in the summer. Meanwhile, we eat our well-filled sandwiches with turkey lettuce and tomato and some potato chips. We also put on mayo and mustard we get with it. The more calories the better! It tastes delicious. We get to see the sled dogs of the painting brother and he himself is also a bicycle fanatic, so he also shows us his beautiful cannondale racing bike. He has taken this from home but has not yet found time to go cycling. He is here the handyman he tells us so there is always something to do!
We ask them what they want for the sandwiches and we get a total of $12
In the end we pay $10 and we pay the rest with some change in euros and Icelandic crowns. One of the children saves foreign money. He is very happy with it. We give them a number of twowheelfreedom straps and go on our way again. Looking for a store with food! Still "just" 31 miles (50km) cycling so. This piece is a bit less nice. Head winds and finally a big rain. The last miles are heavy. We arrive in the village called Chistochina where there is another Roadhouse with a Campground. The store is 3.5km away. We decide to first cycle to the store. Once there, it is 7 pm and the store is closed at 6 pm on Sunday. Unfortunately bad luck again.

Sadly closed... still hungry 🙁

We can already see through the window that they have enough products that we can make a meal out of. We rest on the sidewalk for a moment and decide to return to the Campground with Roudhouse 3.5km back. Here we can camp and shower for $15. Nice, finally a shower again. The owner of the campsite guides us around. Unfortunately, we can not get food in the Roadhouse here, it is not in operation. We decide to prepare our last freeze-dried meal that we share together. Then we take a shower and sit at the reception because we know we have Wi-Fi. Short contact with the home front. There it is now early in the morning while it is half past 11 in the evening here.

Chistochina Logde


Finally something to eat

Monday, June 4
Arjan is up early because he wants to make a video call with the home front. Kim is now writing the blog of to catch up on the last few days. Then we start cleaning up so that we can go to the store to eat breakfast and buy food. The owner of the campsite comes to say goodbye to us. He has to work he says, what means that he probably has to do some shopping and things like that. He gives us some information about where we can get some food along the way and that we cannot camp at the next Roadhouse. Always good to hear this kind of information. We already found out that the info you get from local people here is always the best. We say goodbye to the camp owner. We pack our last stuff and leave.
On to the store! Food!!
Once arrived, the store is now open. There is a nice woman behind the counter who says to us that when we want to eat and drink that we can sit inside for a while. There is a long table near the coffee machine and the other hot drinks. We first do our shopping that we put on the counter. Then we take coffee and chocolate milk and warm our morning burrito in the microwave. (The microwave is also one of the things we often see at gas stations with shops here in Alaska) We have a delicious breakfast. The lady comes to sit with us from behind the counter to have a chat. She says she has two jobs. One as a cashier here and another job as a cleaner later in the afternoon. She tells us that her salary is low and that she would like to have more hours. She has a family with two children who are mainly with their father and uncle during the day. She tells a lot about her two daughters. As every mother is proud of her children.
In the end we are ready, so we pay and say goodbye. It is already half past one in the afternoon so we really have to go cycling now. Today it is mainly uphill we know because we are cycling towards a pass again. The pass we go on will not be very high so the climb is not too steep. Because of this we can still cycle through quite a bit and still make many miles. On the left we constantly see the mountains of the Alaska Range and on the right we look at the Wrangell Mountains which creates beautiful views.

Hi there...

End of the day we find a nice camping spot on a river. It is an official resting place which means that there are toilets and a picnic bench where we can eat nicely. The bikes and tent we put a bit more hidden on the bushes because we are on a somewhat busier road. Arjan makes a delicious meal from the stuff we bought.

Making Dinner

Camping on a hidden place along the road.

The last stage to Tok

5 June
We wake up in time because we hear a family who has sat down at the picnic table. When they discover our tent they are rather scared. They don’t know how fast they have to get in their car again and leave this scary place! Arjan and I have to laugh. We decide to get out of bed so that we can leave on time this morning. We first have breakfast with bread and cheese and then we leave.

Breakfast... I Like 🙂

A few miles away is the Roadhouse where we could not camp, but we can get excellent coffee and warm chocolate milk here and nicely fill our water bottles. Once there we get in conversation with the owner. A super happy man. They've had an earthquake here a few years ago and on the walls are all newspaper clippings about this fact. It had been very intense he tells us. It was so violently that in the bar and the shop everything from the cupboards and scraps had fallen to the ground. It was one big mess. On the newspaper clippings we see a picture of cracks in the asphalt that are so big and deep that a few children around the age of 12 almost can disappear in it.
He asks us if we have seen bears but no we have not seen them yet. He tells us that a few days ago they unfortunately had to shoot a bear who came back to the Roadhouse for food every time. He let his neighbor kill him because he has an official license and he likes to eat bears meat. He himself is not really crazy about bear meat so win win situation for him and his neighbor. He shows the claws of the bear that he got from his neighbor. He always told his sons that it is not the bears that you have to watch out for, but the moose. This is because if you do not pay attention and they feel threatened you can be kick hard by them. We tell him that we have cycled the Denali Highway and that it was so beautiful. He also made a trip there with his family and his father, but they had a caravan behind the car that and had three flat tires because the road is so bad there. We laugh and can confirm that the conditions of the road are indeed not the best. In the end it is time to say goodbye.
Time to cycle the pass again...
The pass is so equal that we do not have to put a lot of effort into it. Unfortunately, we have a lot of head wind so we do not really benefit from going downhill. But it is going quick. At noon we take a long break in the lovely sun. The miles are going fast. We are going to make it to Tok today easily. Unfortunately the weather changed so we cycle the last miles in the rain. Once in Tok we go looking for a place where we have WiFi to check if we have a warmshowers sleep address. We see a store where outside is already indicated that there is free WiFi so we go there. Outside the store we see the first two bikes that are also packed as ours. Once inside we see the people who are the ownership of the bicycles. It is Denise from Holland and Adam, her American boyfriend. We have seen them before at the beginning of our journey.
On the same day that we started on the Dalton Highway in Prudhoe Bay / Deadhorse they have been a lot less fortunate than us. Adam suffered from his knee so they had to return to Prudhoe Bay for the Atigun pass. They rented a car so that Denise could still cycle the last part of the Dalton Highway while Adam as support car drove behind her. He could then let his knee rest so that they would be able to cycle together again at a later time. They tell us that they have been cycling together again since Fairbanks. And today have had a rest day. Tomorrow they want to continue cycling towards the Canadian border. Outside it has started to rain very hard and the store is closed. Ultimately, we are waiting there nicely with his four until it gets dry. Denise and Adam know an affordable restaurant where we can eat. They have already eaten here the night before. Mr. Fast Eddy's. We decide to defy the rain to eat together. The food is good and it is also nice to chat with other cyclists who know how life is on the road.

Stoves Campground

After dinner we go to the cheapest campsite in the village. Denise and Adam still have to go shopping and want better WiFi so they go to another campsite. We say goodbye to each other but we will undoubtedly meet again this trip!
Nobody is at the campsite at the reception, but we can just pitch our tent. You pay here by means of an envelope where your money source does. This shows you when you arrived and how long you stay. It is a small campsite but the facilities are fine. Here we can sleep well for the next 2 nights. We pitch the tent and go for a nice shower, after which we take a look at some pictures of the last days and after that jump into bed again.

Some people wonder when we do all the writing for our website. Here Kim is at the office, writing text on iPhone Notepad. After this is done we copy and paste it on the website when we have WiFi.


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Warmshowers, hiking & drinking beer in Fairbanks

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Cycling the Alaska Highway – Part 1

1 Comment

  1. FMRN Loohuis

    Dag dappere fietsers. Jullie schieten al aardig op!
    Terwijl jullie moose fotograferen, zetten de Fransen jullie op de foto. Famous in Alaska.
    Een beer zien, niet van al te dichtbij, zou een mooi toetje zijn.
    Succes met het vervolg van de roadtrip.
    FMRN

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