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Category: Alaska

Alaska Highway

Cycling the Alaska Highway – Part 1

Hanging around in Tok

Wednesday, June 6.
Good morning Tok! Slept wonderfully! The Stooves Campground is next to a small airport so we hear some planes and helicopters go of. Quite funny actually. The supermarket is a little further back down the street. Arjan wants to have a nice breakfast here for us so he is going there to get something for us.🚴🏻‍♂️
Tok is not a big place, actually pretty small, not more then a junction of two highways but the last place before we reach the Canadian border. Tok is the last place where we can get decent food for a while. Today we use our rest day to plan how many days we think we need for cycling it and how much food we think we need for this stretch. In addition, we will relax today and view the shops in the village. They have enough gift shops here. It will mainly stay with looking at the nice things they sell because we really do not want to take many things on our bike. We also want to save every gram of weight on our bicycle, especially when we ride uphill. Believe us! When Arjan is back from the supermarket we have a delicious breakfast. Now it’s time for Kim to repair some clothes and other small things. Arjan will edit photos so that we can easily add them to the blog later.

Our neighbours next to the campground.

Later in the day we go shopping. For the coming part of what we are going to cycle towards the Canadian border and after that Whitehorse we already know that we will encounter few shops and supermarkets. We therefore decide to buy food for 10 days. That is quite a lot of food that we have to "just" carry on the bike. That is why in the evening we organize the panniers again.
The campsite is filled with new guests tonight. We have three motorbikers who drive with mini caravans where they sleep in very funny looking mini caravans that they have behind of their big motorcycles. There is also a pickup truck with a large caravan added with a family with three children a dog and a pig. The little pig does not really like to be lifted up when he has to be in the caravan so he gilds it as if his life depends on it. Arjan is completely surprised that there are people who take a pig as a pet. Well they really exist!
There is also a lady with her daughter. She tells the owner that they are hikers and they are looking for a spot on the campground. We are therefore very surprised when after a while they come back to the campground with their car!? Our idea about hikers is really that people are walking ... but maybe this term will be defined differently in America.
We jump in the shower for a moment. In the ladies it is all of a sudden rush hour. Because the toilet and shower building only has two toilets and two showers. Two toilets and one shower is already occupied. In the toilet are "the hikers" and in the shower the lady of the big caravan with the pig as a pet. So Kim takes the only shower that is still free. Once out of the shower it is fortunately less crowded. The other lady who showered is busy styling her drenched hair with a hair straightener. She cheerfully begins a conversation. Asks where Kim comes from. Kim tells her that we are from Holland and she starts enthusiastically that a little further after the Canadian border is another lodge where a Dutch man has lived since 1967. A nice fact is that his car is also from that time she tells. He would love it if you go visit him as we pass by she says. She knows this, she says, because they will soon be moving from Denver Colorado to Alaska and has met him. If we are going to Colorado there is a cool bike route that goes towards a high mountain that all cyclists come to do there. We should look into that.... She offers Kim some mini shampoos and soaps and apologises that she talks so much, it is likely that it is a professional habit since she is a flight attendant and she is used to talking to a lot of people.

Day off in Tok

After showering we decide to grab something nice to drink from the refrigerator at the campsite. You can just take it like that and pay a dollar that you put in the money jar that is also inside the fridge. We read some in our e-readers and then go to sleep to be ready for the next chapter....Canada!

Up to the Canadian Border

Thursday, June 7
We are awakened in time by the pig which is raging again because it is being lifted out of the caravan. What a wakeup call!
The sun is shining and the weather is lovely. We have a nice breakfast and pack the last stuff. If we have packed everything we have to refuel first, otherwise we can not continue cooking when we are on the road. Then we go to the local library to put one of our blogs online and to have contact with the home front.
We are not even out of Tok yet or it is already starts raining. Okay, let’s put on the raincoat again.....

Bad weather coming up.

The first miles are rather flat so it goes pretty fast. After a few hours of cycling it is time for lunch. It will be a short break because the weather is still not good enough to sit still for a long time.
Cycling is increasingly uphill so it does not go as fast as when we started. The upside of this is that it makes the landscape a lot more interesting though. We see a lot of lakes and because the air clears up we even get a nice view of the Est. Elias Mountains. If we have cycled 5 miles (93 km) we arrive at a state camp site. This one has the name Lakeview and is at Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. That sounds already good! As we get there we are not let down for it is indeed very nice with a super cool view over the lake.

Dinner at Lake View Campground.

The Lake View 🙂

We are therefore not disappointed. Here are also food lockers so that this time we do not have to hang our food in the trees against the bears. However, it is stated on an information board that a brown bear was at the campsite a few days ago.
Arjan cooks while Kim does the tent. After dinner we are so terrorised by mosquitoes that we decide to sit in the tent and read something there before we go to sleep.

Friday, June 8.
It is again very nice weather this morning. The squirrels also have a great time around our encampment. It is incredible how much noise these little creatures make. If you do not know the sound you would think that it is a bird that makes the sound. In the Netherlands our squirrels are never so noisy. Arjan sees as he comes out of the tent that a squirrel is nibbling on one of the flags of Kim's bike. There also seems to be a kind of dragonfly invasion here. Really very special. They come flying and settle somewhere. When you get close, they do not do anything and they just sit like they have to charge themselves to the sun. Occasionally they all fly up again and a little later they all settle down again.
We enjoy breakfast and enjoy the view and all the nice insects and animals around us.

Hundreds of dragonflies.

Beavers did their job.

We pump some extra air into the tires and are ready to leave.
It is quite a stepping through because we get quite some heights. We would like to have lunch at the visitor centre near the border and that means that we first have to cycle about 48km. We get a big rain shower on our heads again. The weather is still changing every few hours. Eventually we arrive at the visitor center where we decide to have lunch at the picnic tables outside. We wonder if the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge visitor center is open because it has been closed off with barrier tape on which says "keep out". We see a young family arriving in a car that seems to enter the center. Arjan is going to check it out and indeed they are open. Nice! We're going to take a look. Inside we are allowed to fill up our water bottles and we ask if we also can take a look around. That is of course allowed and the lady of the visitor center asks if we want to see the film that lasts 15 minutes. Of course we want that. We can also grab coffee and tea for free. After the film we take a look in the rest of the center. There are skins of all kinds of animals such as wolves, lynxes, beavers and so on. There is also an explanation of how the original natives (Atabaskan Indians in this region) can live here from the land and what they need to do in order to survive. There is a native woman who performs the original arts and crafts. And you can print paw tracks and view the tracks in a bin of sand. The lady of the visitor center gives us some tips for when we will enter America again. She is very enthusiastic about Montana and especially the Glacier national park. We buy a book about a legend of the Atabaskan Indians of Alaska.

Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Centre.

Time to go again. It is just a few kilometres to the border.
Once we reach the border, we take some photos and take a look around here. We still have to cycle 27km before we get to Canadian customs. Because we cycle into Canada, we also enter a different time zone. We are going from Mountain time to Pacific time which means that suddenly it is six o'clock in the evening instead of five o'clock. An hour less difference with the Netherlands! When we finally get to the customs, we are separately interviewed and after a short time we can just continue. The first village 20km cycling from here.

Wondering the electricity is still working?

Up to the US customs at the border.

A small step for men... Alaska to Canada.

Finally going back from miles to kilometers 🙂

27km after the border the Canadian Customs.

Here in Canada they also use just kilometres instead of miles, which makes it a lot easier for us Dutch people. On our way south we see a beautiful American Bald eagle from very close flying by (black body and wings with white tail and white head with a yellow beak) and a little later we see two wolves on the road!! Wow, what a cool sight! It is a shame that there is just a car passing by that honks his horn to scare the wolves away.

Wolves on the road.

We finally arrive in the town of Beaver Creek where at a motel with a campground behind it. We check in. It is a lot cheaper here than in Alaska we see. That is favorable! We cycle to the place where we can pitch the tent. From the motel we are greeted to our amazement by Adam. Denise also comes out to of the motel and we have a chat. We really did not expect them here since they had left Tok the day before. We thought they would already be a lot further on the route. Denise tells us she was not feeling to well and that is why they did not cycle to far these couple of days.
We pitch our tent and start cooking. After dinner we get some beer at the motel shop and put a new blog on the website since we have WiFi here.

Bear!!!

Saturday 9 June
Arjan is approached by Denise in the morning. There is something with Adam's shifting what they do not get repaired themselves. Arjan helps them with that and in the meantime Kim clears up the tent. Denise's birthday is also today so we congratulate her. Because they slept in the motel she says that we can take a shower there if we like to use it. Of course we want to take a shower! Very nice! She tells us that we can get an information form at the visitor centre about what can be done on what kilometer along the road to Haines Junction. Good tip! We always visit the visitor centers because we always like it.
We have lunch, shower and leave late. At the visitor center we go inside. Sid van der Meer works here. He tells us that he originally came from Friesland and when he was 16 he moved to Canada with his parents in 1967. Very nice to meet this man. He can still speak a bit of Fries and also a little Dutch. (He used to work at the lodge and he is also the man who the flight attendant was talking about to Kim in Tok!) We take a look inside the visitor centre and ask for the information form.
Adam and Denise are still sitting outside because they would like to use the WiFi here. We'll probably see them somewhere along the route later and so we say goodbye to Sid and leave.
The weather is good and we actually have tail winds so we can cycle a nice few kilometres. We also have many beautiful views. Here we also see more and more flowers along the way. We notice that the temperatures are getting a little warmer here. When we have cycled two and a half hours we will take a break. We already did 44km and we want to try another 44km. We keep a short siesta and then look at our options for the route. We decide that at 88km we might be able to use the campground at the Pine Valley Bakery and Cabins. So we can be at the RV Campground the next day in Destruction Bay. But for that we first have to cycle a few kilometers. Also the cycling after lunch is fortunately fast and the wind is still at our back, so that is not too bad. We pass the White River Bridge. Here flows as the name of the bridge says; The White River. The color of the water comes from the volcanic ash of the pyroclastic eruptions of Mount Churchill in the Wrangler Mountain Range. This river flows into the historic Yukon River. We stay here watching for a while. It is a beautiful sight and again there a lots of small birds flying around here.

White River

When we go on we cycle into the area of ​​the Kluane First Nation people. There is a nice sign here with which they welcome us. The weather has been nice all day, but by the time we are at Pine Valley Bakery and Cabins it starts to rain a bit. We see two cars at the door, but no one seems to want to answers the door. The fences are also closed, including the fence which should clearly be the entrance to the campground. Arjan tries to find if there are people somewhere else on the property. He walks another round on, but no one is to be found here unfortunately. We have already seen a nice wild camping spot a little bit before we arrived here and decide to stay there tonight. We get a hailstorm on our head, after which we will set up the tent. Once that's done Arjan wants to start cooking and Kim makes everything ready in the tent again. Kim suddenly a bit shocked because at only two meters from the tent a bear comes out of the bushes. Kim slowly moves backwards towards Arjan and says; "A bear! A bear!"
Arjan does not see him at all, but in the end indeed; a bear! He is still quite young. It is a Black bear. He sees us, but is not interested in us at all. Walks towards the road where a truck and a motorcyclist pass which he does not seem to be impressed by either. Then we see him disappear further down the road in the woods. For a moment we are stunned by what has just happened and we think of what to do now... We decide to stay here. We think if we go 300 meters away we will probably come back to find the same bear. Although we stay here we do decide that it is probably better not to cook dinner. So instead we eat some muesli bars and eat some bread. Arjan hangs all the food and all the stuff that smells in a tree. There is not more that we can do...

Dark skies.

Welcome

Black Bear around the tent.

Hanging our food against the bears again.

Sandstorm at Kluane Lake

Sunday, June 10
When we wake up it rains regrettably, causing us to sleep long. Finally at half past ten it is still raining and we decide to clean up and leave our camp. We still have a lot of kilometers to cycle if we want to be able to reach the RV park in Destruction Bay. It is still raining. When we cycle past Pine Valley Bakery and Cabins we see that they are now suddenly open, although for the campground the gate is still closed. Well that's too bad! We decide to continue cycling because we have just had a good breakfast in the tent.
Fortunately, the air clears up after a few kilometers and after a long time cycling, it gets so hot that we can cycle in our t-shirts. Today the cycling is a little less easy than yesterday.
We want to make a pasta for lunch, because yesterday we were forced to skip our dinner. Our water is only almost finished, so we look for a place where we have a pond or a lake or something. Eventually we find a suitable place and Arjan makes a delicious pasta with chili con carne. It tastes great and fills our stomachs for the next stretch of today. We hope that we can get something to eat in a village that is 45km cycling. After that we have to cycle another 16 kilometers to Destruction Bay where we would like to camp. Along the way we encounter a beautiful viewpoint of the Kluane River.
The road keeps going up and down and we keep getting headwinds. We seem to go slower and slower for us, so we decide to add a little bit of music to it. Arjan has speakers on the sides of his handlebar bag so that we can enjoy the music together. That feels better again. What a bit of music sometimes can do! It is not until around 8:30 PM that we finally arrived at Burwash Landing where we wanted her something to eat. Unfortunately the restaurant here closes at 6 o'clock. Meaning that they are already closed when we arrive here. There is nothing else to do than go to our final destination 16 kilometers away. Just like almost every evening it starts raining again. Soaking wet we arrive in Destruction Bay. Destruction Bay is at the Kluane Lake which we have followed the last 12km.
The first RV park where we arrive has no facilities, no toilet at all. Fortunately, there is another RV park; Talbot Arm Motel. Here is a gas station, small grocery and souvenir shop and even a restaurant! Nice! We go inside and it is nice and warm. Here we can eat something tasty and become dry and warm again. When we are satisfied, we are going to pay. Kim asks if it is possible that we can camp with our tent at the RV park. The man at the cash desk does not think that is a good idea for us to go camping with all those bears walking around here. He does not want us to camp at all. So Kim says that we are going to camp here anyway. “If we cannot camp at the RV park we will go wild camping somewhere”; she says. Eventually he knows a nice place for us. On the other side of the street there is a little information building with a green roof, we can stay there free of charge, he says. Okay fine, we will do that! Perfectly arranged again! We are very happy with our beautiful place to sleep and we do not even have to pay for it!

Long Lonesome Road.

Destruction Bay improved camping.

Good Night...

Monday, June 11
We wake up rested the next morning. In the night the wind has started to blow hard and we already know that we will get a lot of wind during cycling. When we have packed everything on the bikes and want to cycle away, a camper stops. They also turn out to be Dutch. Their names are Danny and Claudia. They are here on holiday for about four weeks. It is not their first trip in Canada. Danny shows us super nice pictures of all the wild animals that they have already seen. They give us the tip to go to the hot pool at Liard River. We already had it on our list, but now we will definitely go!
They have not been to Alaska before, but they are going there now. They tell us that a niece of them had been dropped there last year and went to walk from the middle of nowhere to the Dalton Highway. Danny and Claudia now want to see for themselves where she was been then. That’s why they are heading to Coldfoot, Alaska before they have to return to Whitehorse to return their camper.
We say goodbye and cycle a bit further to the Talbot Arm Motel to get a breakfast. On the table next to us is a Dutch couple. They also happen to be from the east part of Holland. They too are on holiday with a camper and are making a nice tour. They say that in Whitehorse we would be able to enjoy ourselves for a few days. That was already on the schedule, but it's always good to hear that it's fun there. In the end it is time to say goodbye and leave. Fortunately, we do not have so many kilometers on our schedule. Happily because we have heavy head winds again. We cycle as slowly as if we are constantly cycling up a steep mountain and that purely by the wind. Today we cycle most of the day (about 45km) along the Kluane Lake. We have planned to cycle around 51km today and hopefully we can pitch our tent at Kluane Bed and Breakfast at Silver City.
When we have just departed from Destruction Bay we have a driver from the up posit side of the road he sings at us to stop. He tells us that we have to be careful because a few yards away is a grizzly bear with her two cubs. They are also on our side of the road so we are advised to cycle on the other side of the road. We continue to cycle a little less relaxed. Continue to keep an eye on the sides. A bit later there is another car driver who also warns. We ask her about the distance. She thinks about 10km. Okay, a lot different than the first person told us. We decide to ask every driver who warns us about the distance. Somewhat later we are warned again by someone. This man thinks or 1 to 3 miles. Again this is different from what the first two persons where saying. Somewhat later someone says about 3 miles. Because we have cycled a lot further this should be the same are the person that said 10km. Anyway, we are cycling on ... and what do you think? We do not see anything! 🙈 We actually wanted to see which of the car drivers is right about the distance, but unfortunately we have to owe you that answer. We never got to see the grizzly bear with her cubs. Through the whole grizzly bears thing, we have already cycled a nice piece and we decide to go lunch near to the lake.The weather is nice and we are going to sit close to the water. This, however, is not such a good idea because we are being attacked by mini-flies. So we decide to sit in the wind a bit closer to the bikes and that is indeed a better idea.

Kluane Lake

Lunch with flies!

The second stage of the day we go into we have to get through a kind of corner in the lake where the Slims River runs (see map) there we have to go through the bend. After that it is only a few kilometers before we are at our sleeping place. The wind blows so hard before the bend at Slims River so we almost do not get ahead. There is also a lot of sand that is blown up from the river bed. After all, the roughage is as good as dry during the time of the year.

On the way there is another camper with a canoe on the roof. They want to chat with us. They are called John and Jolinke and ask if we know “Warmshowers”. They are also members of it and if we come through British Columbia we would otherwise be able to stay with them. They can also speak Dutch what we just did not expect. They tell that they grew up in Canada but in a Dutch colony, so that is why they also speak Dutch. We are very sweetly offered a nice Cliff bar which we obviously do not turn away. Who knows, maybe we'll stay with them later. You never know! We continue our heavy journey. On everything we do not cover, we get sand. So we put on sunglasses and scarves up over the nose and ears! We see that there is a visitor centre where we would like to take a look if it is only to be out of that wind. When we get closer we can see that the Tachal Dahl visitor center closed at 16.00 ... it is now 16.45 .... a shame, too late. Arjan makes some videos during this part of the route so that you as readers get a little bit of an impression of what we have to endure. 😉 It is otherwise not really good to convey. It is a pity that you can not feel the sand that we get over us on the film. Arjan jokes and asks if it is already a taste for Patagonia? Well, you might think it. But we have to be honest it is a special experience and it makes our bike tour a lot more interesting today.

Eventually we are through the sharp bend with the super strong wind. Since lunch we have been cycling for almost two and a half hours. Fortunately, we now have more tail winds on this last piece. We are almost there. The B & B we see already indicated on a sign next to the road, but once we arrive at the point where this should be we are again disappointed. Unfortunately this information on the page with info that we received from the visitor centre in Beaver Creek is not correct. We decide to cycle a bit further and the first nice spot that we encounter we will go wild camping. A good opportunity arises a few meters away. We make the tent ready, eat and take our food to a safe place. It is enough for today and crawl into the tent to relax and read.

Hiking around Haines Junction

Tuesday, June 12
Today we have a short day of cycling ahead with hopefully not as much headwind as yesterday. The day starts well. When we have just packed the tent we spot a bear on the side of the road. A park Ranger just drove past. He sees the same bear as us and turns around and comes back to warn us. He asks us if we have already seen the black bear and we. We do indeed tell him that. He tells us you have to pay attention when you pass by. Knowing to cycle because a little further down is also a mother black bear with her boy.

Chrismass Creek.

Save enough against bears?

He tells us that she probably will stay away from the other Black Bear with her two cubs, because the males are rather aggressive at the time against the mother bears with their young. But he says: "You look like you know what you are doing!" Well, that is reassuring. 😉
At the moment we leave, we no longer have a visual sight of the male. So we try to talk a bit harder with each other so that if the bear is still somewhere he will not feel surprised at all by us. Eventually, when we pass the spot where all the bears should be sitting around, we do not see any of them anymore and they all disappeared among the bushes. A while later we see a car that drives us first and then drives back a bit backwards ... we are already on it ... indeed a bear again. Eventually we stop at a safe distance and then the bear decides to cross over to the other side of the road and walks into the bushes. When we have passed safely, people in the car stick their thumb to us and wave. Still very nice that they help us in this way.
We cycle further and climb steadily. We are going back over a high stretch. We have to reach a height of about 1004 meters. It is expected to be fine again. Unfortunately we only have some headwinds again, although it is already a lot less than yesterday. Finally when we reach the top after about 33km, we decide to take a break here. It cools a lot if you are at such a peak for a while, so before we go further and go down a lot, we pull a jacket extra. It is actually a lot colder today which is of course partly because we are at a considerable height. We first measure 6 degrees as temperatures and a little later it gets warmer 9 degrees Celsius. Just before we cycle into Haines Junction we see another fox walking along the side of the road. He also sees us and quickly makes him come away, but still looks curiously in our direction when he is safely in the bushes. Because today we have to cycle a total of 58 kilometers to Haines Junction and because we go downhill the last few kilometers, we are already at 15.00 at destination. We decide to visit the Visitor Center first. Eventually we are distracted by a sign indicating "Wanderer's Inn Backpackers Hostel".

It draws our attention so that we decide to go here to ask if we can also camp there. Once we arrive at the Hostel we meet the owner Martin. He is super nice and gives us a guided tour. We can certainly camp there and have full access to everything inside the hostel. We can take a shower and use the kitchen and we can take free coffee and tea all day if we want. That sounds good to us. We first set up the tent and then we make coffee and tea so that we can enjoy one on the terrace in front of the Hostel. We have put on our shorts and t-shirts because down here in the village and out of the wind it feels like 24 degrees. I it is so nice to sit here on the porch and relax for a while!

Camp at the Hostel

Meanwhile, we get acquainted with Walter. Also a guest here at the hostel. He is Canadian and a very nice man where you can have good conversations with. He has seen quite a lot of the world.
After a while, Adam and Denise also arrive at the hostel too. -Link to the website of Adam & Denise- They have spent a while at the Village Bakery in town here they tell us and happened to find this nice hostel through internet. Still funny that we do not knowingly seem to make the same choices every time about where to stay. They also come here to camp. Martin has already said that he will light the campfire tonight so we are going to get some beers at the local liquor store. You can not get them here at the supermarket as you can in Holland. Then we walk back to the hostel and we meet a lady who belongs to the First Nations population (as they call it here in Canada and America) she sells something typically traditional what is called “bannock”. She also sells the dough in certain local shops. Arjan had indeed already noticed in Destruction Bay at the shop in the tank station. She tells us that after her day job she now tries to sell her bannock in the evening so she can promote it in the hope that people will actually buy it in the shops. It tastes really delicious and she only asks for $2 each. (= € 1.50) Arjan likes it so much that he takes a second piece.
Later in the evening we decide to have a meal at Frosty's, an ice-cream canteen and eatery.
In the evening Martin has indeed made a nice campfire for the hostel. At the campfire it is very nice with Denise, Adam, Walter and Martin. We even eat some Smores (kind of marshmallow with two cookies and chocolate in between). In the end we go to bed at 1.00 am through all the fun and interesting conversations. That is special for us since we have been in bed since we are often at 10 am at the latest.

Wednesday, June 13
Today we have spontaneously decided to stay in Haines Junction for another day so that we can enjoy this place a bit longer. We have cycled a lot the last few days, which is a lot of fun, but it is also nice to see some of your surroundings in a different way. Otherwise it still feels like you cycle a little along everywhere, but nowhere really looks good. Occasionally stopping and taking a rest to enjoy your surroundings is also important.Walter is going to walk a trail in the neighborhood today and that seems a bit too. Denise and Adam stay here for another day and eventually we go with his five in the car of Walter towards a trail. Fun such spontaneous actions! We walk Auriol Trail in the Kluane National Park. It is still quite a big hike of 15km with quite a bit of altitude. It is between 4 to 6 hours of walking. We all have our bearspray to be sure. This has actually become quite a habit and det must also, of course we are in "bear county". But we chat pretty well during the hike that the bears probably hear us from far away (luckily). We enjoy the views on the different points and the route is quite diverse which keeps it interesting. We all enjoy it. After about 4 hours we arrive back at the car and luckily none of us have to use our bear spray. Apart from two rabbits and some birds, we did not see any animals at all. Once back at the hostel we drink some coffee, tea and chocolate milk and we all do our own things again. We have to go shopping for the next two days towards Whitehorse. We expect to cycle for two days. And in Whitehorse we have already found Warmshowers address so that looks very promising. From Martin (owner of the hostel!) We got a super cool tip. At about 75km from Haines Junction we can probably camp at the first nations people. We have to go to the blue information board with the text "Long ago first nation peoples". Then it will be a few kilometers where these people live and there can ask them if we can camp there according to Martin. This seems to us very interesting so that will be our goal for tomorrow. We are going to eat something and are still in the hostel. We chat, write and read before we go to bed.

Hiking time.

Horror Trees.

Diamonds

On the bike again to Whitehorse

14 juni
Today it is time to go on our bicycles again. Because it has been poring rain al night long the tent is soaking wet when we have to pack it. It is still raining actually. We both take a shower and we sit down in the hostel to drink some tea and coffee and have some breakfast. Walter, Denise and Adam are also having breakfast. Denise and Adam are probably also going to cycle again but they are not totally sure yet. Walter is leaving too and will be heading in the opposite direction from us to Kluane Lake. We say goodbye to everybody and we leave towards the visitor centre. We want to see it and we want to get a new information form for the road to Withehorse. The visit centre in Haines Junction is really nice. We stay here for over an hour. There is lots of information about the nature and wildlife here in this region and about all the First Nation people that live in this area. We could easily spend some more time here, but we have to get on our bikes because it is already late in the morning.
The weather luckily cleared up and the road is nice. Not to much high hills and we have some tail winds. Therefore we cycle very easily.
After lunch it seams like the direction of the wind is changed again into headwind for us. This slows us down again.
A little later we stop at Canyon Creek Bridge to take a look. It is a historical wooden bridge that was built for because of the gold strike at the Alsek River drainage. Therefore there where a lot of miners that came to the area to mine in several creeks around Kluane Lake. The bridge was built in 1904 by Sam McGee and Gilbert Skelly. This bridge survived heavy traffic and spring floods. It had to be rebuilt in the 1920s by the Jacquot brothers from Burwash Landing. During the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 the bridge was dismantled and rebuilt in 18 days by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The little pioneer bridge was left in place when The Public Road Administration built a permanent bridge just down the river. That was the bridge we actually cycled over.

Canyon Creek Bridge

We see Martin from the “Wanderer’s In hostel” on the road coming from Whitehorse because he had to do some grocery’s there. He told us that he gets his groceries there because everything is much less expensive than in Haines Junction.
We have to get into a pilot car again because there is construction work on the road again. The girl who is driving the pilot car tells us the could not work yesterday because someone stole the ambulance and had an accident with it. The person sadly died. They don’t know what exactly happened and it was not someone who lives in this area.
The girl from the pilot car has two jobs and a little girl at home. Also she is studying still. This is just a seasonal job for her. We think it is incredible how she can have so many jobs and a kid at home and also manages to study! We say goodbye and go our separate ways.

Pilot Car...again but our first in Canada.

A little later around 75km we arrive at the sign that says “Long ago people” where the Kwaday Dan Kenji people live. It is possible to camp here, but because we have to cycle about 12km extra before we will actually get there we decide to not take the turn of from the road we are on.
We deside to cycle a little longer to Mendenhall Subdivision where there will be a B&B and a restaurant that is called “Irene’s Place”. We arrive here an the sign of the B&B says that it is closed. Irene’s Place however is opened so we go in to get something to eat and ask if we can pitch out tent somewhere here too. Of course you can pitch your tent here anywhere Irene tells us. No problem. We can put it anywhere we like. The dinner we get here is really nice. Everything is home made and she offers more than only hamburgers witch is quite rare here.
We pitch our tent behind Irene’s Place at an old American bus. The weather is still so sunny and warm that we stay outside and read for a while.

At Irene's Place

15 juni
When we wake up the weather is still great! We leave Mendenhall Subdivision and the day goes fast.
At the Takini River Valley viewpoint we stop to take a rest and to take a look around.
In this area we have to watch our for Elk on the road. They were first introduced in 1951-1954 from Elk Island National Park after they first had died out sometimes after 4000 years ago. The intent was to provide Elk for new hunting opportunities, which would eventually reduce procure on other big game. Still Moose outnumber Elk in Yukon by about 290 to 1.

We go on and later get some lunch. Kim for the first time is cycling in shorts after lunch. That really says something about how warm it finally is today!
When we are approaching Whitehorse more and more it also gets busier on the road and we find ourselves to have to adapt to this again. We are going to stay at Jeanette who is our “Warmshowers” host here in Whitehorse. She is not at home when we arrive but she left us a key so we can get into the house. Not much later Jeanette arrive’s too. She has put up a nice stew and makes us a very nice dinner. Wow, that is very sweet as we are always very hungry since we have been on the road. We shower and chat for a long time with Jeanette. Her parents were from The Netherlands and Belgium she tells us that is why she can understand Dutch too. That is also why she has a Dutch name. We show her our photos and she gives us some tips and advice for what to do and see in Whitehorse.
Before we know it it is already late in the evening.

At our host address in Whitehorse and do some washing.

We will hang around in Whitehorse for a couple of days before we're off to Watson Lake. Have a nice day 😉

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.


Warmshowers, hiking & drinking beer in Fairbanks

We had breakfast the first day of our stay. We stay with Robin and Jessica who really live in a super nice house in the mountains near Fairbanks. Unfortunately Jessica is not there this weekend, she has a wedding on the west coast.
That should not spoil the fun because Robin is also a super sweet and friendly girl! She wants to drive us everywhere if we need something or want to do something.
In the morning we wake up reasonably early because there are some workers who are building a garden fence for Jess and Robin in the garden. Robin tells us that they suffer a lot from moose and that if she plants something in her garden with vegetables it is eaten every time.
Arjan and I are going to have breakfast and Robin has the coffee ready. Delicious! Kim is of course super happy with the coffee!
Robin has already eaten and goes into the city to buy plants at the hospital. The proceeds go to a good cause, hence it is at the hospital.
In the meantime, we are busy working on our report of the past two weeks for the website. We also do the laundry, which is also necessary. From two weeks only washing things in water streams, it is obviously not as nice to clean as with a washing machine.
In the afternoon when Robin is back we decide to eat together and do some shopping at the local supermarket. We end up eating deliciously at a Mexican restaurant after which we are super satisfied. Apparently the waiter can serve us because we get another dessert on the house. Typical American cake with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. It tastes good so we still eat it even though we are already super full. For now we do not have to eat anything anymore ... We have Kodiak (the dog) with us and he is still waiting for us in the car so we decide to take a long walk along the river. It has become super nice weather and so we can nicely excite the food.
In the evening at home we drink a beer on the couch and we show Robin our pictures of the past two weeks.

Hiking around the Chena River

On Sunday there is a second hand bike exchange sale for second hand bikes and bicycle parts. Very nice to see. Kim buys a slightly larger mirror for her bicycle.
In Fairbanks, regular sales of this kind of second-hand sales seem to be marks for anything and everything. Robin explains that this is because in Alaska it is more difficult to get certain things and therefore more of this kind of sales are organized. We really like it and most used stuff is often almost as new.
After that, Robin and two friends agreed to go hiking in the woods in the mountains around Fairbanks. Erin and Robin are colleagues and Wes is her husband. They moved from Kentucky to Alaska and just like Jessica and Robin they now are living here for nearly a year. After the hike we go to a viewpoint on one of the mountains above Fairbanks. Wow, super!

Hiking in dense woods

Viewing point full of shotgun shells

shotgun shells

Kodiak our roommate of the last few days passed out

It is dinner time again and we all decide to have a beer and big pizzas at a typical American pub. The pub has a lot of choice in terms of beer, but of course we are in Alaska so we decide to go for one of local ones. The pizzas are not just regular pizzas but big American style pizzas (16inch / 40.6cm). We still have Nachos in advance, but they are mainly because it is good. With the five of us we couldn’t manage the two big pizzas that are on the table now🍕🍕
Everything tastes delicious and what we have left of course goes home in a doggy bag.
After this we go home. We would like to spray and prepare the bikes and bags for the next stage and Robin would like to plant vegetables in the garden now that the fence that must protect the vegetables is finished.
We put a new chain on Kim's bicycle. The old one had already had 5000km and was quite stretched. New rear brake pads must also be replaced. Arjan his bike just needs little maintenance.
On the Dalton Highway we found out that our bikes where packed to heavy so now we organize our panniers again and send the rest back to Holland.
After we drink another beer in the living room with the three of us, we go to sleep.

Today (Monday, May 28) Memorial Day in America. Hereby all war veterans are commemorated. This means that Robin also has a day off. Arjan and I decided that we are going to cycle the Denali Highway. We doubted because we did not know if we wanted to cycle so many mountains on gravel road again straight after we finished the previous one, the 414 mile / 666km of gravel on the Dalton Highway. From what we have heard it must be very beautiful down there so we decide to cycle along it instead of doing the much easier Alaska Highway to the south. Robin has already said that she wants to drop us a bit south of Fairbanks so we can skip the boring part and start in Healy. She has a friend there, Peggy with whom she arranges that we can camp in her garden.

Camping in Peggy's garden

In the afternoon when we arrive in Healy, Robin goes for a walk with Kodiak and we put up the tent and do some shopping and relaxing in the sun. In the supermarket we meet Robin again and we eat and drink something in the 49club brewery. The weather is nice so we can sit outside on the terrace. Here is also a replica of bus 142 of the film Into The Wild, which is well-known to most people. It’s time to say goodbye to Robin. It almost feels kind of strange to say goodbye when you’ve had such a great time with someone if you think you might not see each other ever again. Well who knows maybe Robin and Jessica will decide to come biking with us somewhere further down the road..😉 Well girls you will be more than welcome!

On the road again...

At the Brewery

Who's that dude on the left?

BEER!

Hey dude!!!

"Into The Wild Bus 142"

"Into The Wild Bus 142"

Bus 142

Bus 142

Bus 142

Thanks Robin for letting us stay!!!

The stories about us cycling the rough Denali Highway are already written but will be posted later on... stay tuned!!!

Arctic Circle

The Dalton Highway – Part 2: The South

Day 7 – The Arctic Circle ​

21st of May.
In the morning in Coldfoot we do the last things. Refresh at the toilet, post the postcards, fill water and we are ready to go. It is promising to be quite a rainy day, we know. We packed our tent just in time before it actually started to rain. We leave around 10.30. We make a last chat with Jeremy and Kristel. They are heading for Fairbanks today and will be passing us later in the day. Jeremy wants to put an interview of us on film for his project about the Arctic.
This day covers some heavy climbs...again.

Going up and down

After cycling for about 30 km we encounter road works on the road. When we're close by an employee stands along the road and holds us. He communicates with his colleagues and eventually the pilot car comes our way where we can put the bikes in the back. We are dropped off 10 miles further! Nicely far away and not bad at all since the weather is cold and rainy and the road from the road block is rising considerably.

Pilot Car

In the Pilot Car

We want to try to get the Arctic circle today and that suddenly seems a lot better after the ride. It keeps raining. After having passed pump station 5 the road goes further into the mountains in a long climb to Globbers Knob.
*Pump stations are not petrol stations where you can refuel petrol, but large industrial installations through which the oil pipeline goes to boost the oil pressure in the gigantic oil tube.

Gobblers Knob

Pasta at Gobbler Knob

When we are about 16 miles ahead of the Arctic Circle, Jeremy and Kristel are finally hit. We had actually expected them before but they had done other things first. We're running the interview for the camera in the rain. They give us a super lunch package with a sandwich with cheese lettuce tomato and onions, a big super tasty cake with chocolate in it, chips and a can of coke. Very sweet and very welcome! We love you guys!!

Coke

Chips and Coke

We say goodbye but who knows we meet in Fairbanks again.
When we finally arrive at the Arctic Circle where we would like to camp, we meet Sheppert and Mary. Mary is spotting birds while her husband is repairing the camper. They have already started a wine and the first question that comes to her mind when we meet her is whether we want a glass of wine or a beer. Of course 🍻👍
Actually, the couple had wanted to sleep in Coldfoot tonight, but because the rack on the back of their campervan has failed, they are stranded at the Arctic Circle. Mary gets the cheese, toast and olives. So we get a warm welcome very unexpectedly. Mary and Shep have traveled all over the north, middle and south Americas. They are particularly charmed by Mexico. This is their favorite country. They have had a good running restaurant for years and they speak a good word of Spanish too! They have disposed of the restaurant because they are retired and that is why they now have plenty of time to move around with the campervan. Prudhoe Bay is their destination on this trip.
Mary also cooks for us and we have a nice dinner together. Very cozy and especially super nice. She can cook really well. For us a welcome change from our meals where you only have to add boiling water.
They ask if we want coffee the next morning. Nice, of course Kim wants coffee. Arjan of course not, he does'nt like coffee. With a well-filled stomach we dive into the tent, there are 6.20 hours of cycling and 78Km on the clock.

Day 8 – The Ice Road Truckers

May 22nd.
Mary is standing at the tent and wakes Kim with coffee. She has put down a thermos and Kim can start her day wonderfully.
When she wants to bring the thermos back, Shepert and Mary want to leave. Kim drums Arjan out of bed for a while so we can take a picture together.

We also leave as soon as we have packed everything.
The weather is pretty good and ultimately very sunny. The road looks good too except that it goes up and down in style. It looks like a roller coaster where we are in, where we unfortunately have to climb up ourselve all the time. Halfway through the day we are pausing in a parking lot. There are two trucks arriving that both stop here too. They would like to have a chat. They have seen us cycling several times and camping along the road. They had even seen that we were snowed in with our tent and did not expect us to cycle that day. A third trucker stops to enjoy.
Then all the stories come about all the cyclists they had met over the years and had given a lift because they couldn't go any further. One story even more beautiful than the other. Famished cyclists, frozen cyclists, cyclists with bad luck, cyclists who were completely through it, and so on. They tell us most cyclists start in Ushuaia, Argentina and end up in Deadhorse. Exactly the opposite of our route.
According tothem we started in just the right time. July, August were the worst months to cycle following them while most cyclists are on the Dalton Highway. One of the three jokes that if we can finish The Dalton the rest of our trip to Usuahia chould be no problem because most cyclist came from the south but couldn't make it. We will see hopefully he is right!
We have set ourselves the goal today to camp at mile 60. There is should be a nice camping spot, running water and a toilet, just 5 miles before the Yukon (river) crossing. Because of the many heavy climbs we do a long time today and meet Russian guy who is traveling the world on his motorbike for allready four years. http://khariton.com/

Four years on the road!

Finally around nine o'clock in the evening we reach MP 60. Thanks to the nice weather today, we decided to cycle for a long time to get this point. Once we have arrived we make good food and we build the tent so that we can sleep well. The weather is nice now but for the coming days again bad weather with a lot of rain is predicted so we will see ...
Bike facts: 7 hours and 81km cycled today.


Day 9 – The Mighty Yukon River ​

May 23.
The sun is shining when we get up so we are pleasantly surprised. We have breakfast with meal bars and tea. Arjan sees that one of his rear bags is broken. Probably by all bumpy roads a screw has been shaken loose and fallen out. After the repair we leave but it is almost lunch time. The Yukon crossing is already over 5 miles. There is a viewpoint over the Yukon river and of course a restaurant. A noodle bar. We have a look around and we treat ourselves to a nice lunch. We enjoy it and are definitely here for an hour, so we start cycling at half past 2.

The Yukon

Yukon Bridge

Fortunately the weather stays good. We have some good climbs again. Our goal today is to at least get Hess Creek overlook at mile point 21. When we arrive there it is already eight in the evening and we decide to make our dinner and eat here. The views with the low hanging sun above the deserted and rugged landscape are magnificent. Then we cycle a bit further. As soon as we can find a nice place to put up the tent, we stop. Kim makes the beds ready and Arjan hangs the bag with food and sunburn in a tree against the bears. Finally, we can sleep after 6.5 hours and 69km cycling.

Sunset


Day 10 – Mile Zero ​

May 24.
In the night has rained quite a bit, it is clearly a less beautiful day than the other days. The start of the day does not foresee much good for the rest of the day. We climb and drop again time after time. Especially the climbs are long and steep.

We are getting a quicker appetite for food. Apparently we are already starting to go through our body fat reserves because we feel we can eat whole day long. Around midday it is equally dry and we go to a water stream to purify water and eat pasta. That is where Mary and Shepert drive by with their campervan. They stop for a short chat. After a drop-off with beer and delicious cookies with chocolate, they go on again. They have tickets for a basketball match in Fairbanks where they want to be on time.

Bye Bye...

Eventually we arrive at about 15.30 at the start of the Dalton Highway (for us the end of this road) So we have achieved another great goal!

Welcome?? No, we say goodbye to this stunning road.

After turn on to The Elliott Highway we see one of the ice road truckers again that we spoke two days before smoking a cigarette in a parking lot. He waves and enthusiastically yells; "You made it!" 🤘 Very nice that we just see him here.
Now on to Fairbanks but it's impossible to get there today as there are still 135 kilometers climbing between the start of The Dalton Highway and Fairbanks and we are stranding on a nice spot along a river where Daniel, Robert and Ethan, students geology. Together with a few others they are stationed here for different study assignments.

Day 11 – Into Fairbanks ​

May 25
The climbs are long and steady today. The descents happely as well. It is increasing to 600 meters and then descending to 200 meters again and again and again. In contrast to The Dalton Highway with the short climbs and descents, they always take 6 to 10 kilometers here. That we are getting closer to Fairbanks is clearly noticeable, traffic is slowly becoming busier and more aggressive.

Post boxes along the road.

The Oil Pipeline

Just before Fairbanks we stop to refill our fat reserves at Hilltop Truckstop Restaurant. We have some online contact with Robin, our Warmshowers host in Fairbanks, and we kick the last kilometers with well-filled stomachs. We meet our host Robin and we dive into the bed in their guestroom. How nice, finally a real bed and shower.

More later on... stay tuned for the Denali Highway.

The Denali Highway is certainly one of the most spectacular drives in the world. Much of the route lies above timberline, so the vistas go on forever. The mountains and glaciers of the Alaska Range form a majestic backdrop, with miles of rolling tundra punctuated by shallow lakes in between.​

Dalton_Highway_Map

The Dalton Highway – Part 1: The White North

The Kickoff

After a two-hour flight from Achorage we finally arrive at Prudhoe Bay AirPort in Deadhorse on May 14th. The most northern point in Alaska where there is only one road that goes to the "civilized" world. We land around 9.25 am on a runway of gray gravel. The landscape looks white, cold and rough. The arrival hall is no more than a small busy area of ​​10 by 8 meters where everyone is waiting for his or her luggage. Once we have all our stuff and most people have left the small space we can unpack the bikes and put them together.

Prudhoe Bay Airport

We have a lot of claim from, among other things, the staff who work here at the airport. One girl in particular is very interested in what we are doing. Her name is Crystal Berwick and she tells us that she has cycled through Spain last summer for 4 weeks and that in June this year, like us, she plans to cycle The Dalton Highway from Deadhorse to Fairbanks. She gives us a ziplock bag with candy and we exchange phone numbers, e-mail and Instagram information with each other. Who knows, we can keep in touch and meet again somewhere on the road.
After picking up the bikes we leave for our hotel "Prudhoe Bay hotel" right in front of the airport. We can finally pack our bags and put our stuff in logical places before we start cycling. In the local store we buy two buses of bearspray and some other last things. Bearspray is a can of pepperspray which sprays a substance over a distance of 10 meters which you would rather not get in your eyes but which works well against a possibly attacking bear. It says on the package that it is absolutely not allowed to be used on people, but whether we will stick to it, should we ever be caught in mid or south America is still very much in demand. Bearspray is not allowed on the plane so we buy it on the spot here in Deadhorse.

Prudhoe Bay Hotel

Prudhoe Bay Hotel

The hotel is all-inclusive so we can eat well. Also the good night's sleep is very welcome before our trip actually starts, the air travel and short nights chop in nicely.
In the local store we meet another Englishman who has cycled from Ushuaia to Deadhorse in 99 days. He now has the world record for his name. He obviously cycled without luggage but with supporting team and TV crew! We get the name of his website from him, but if we try to find this in the hotel we can not find it. Too bad!
In the evening the food in the hotel is delicious. Then we immediately dive into bed.
The next day we have to make sure that we are checked out at 11.00. At the filling station in ice and snow we refuel our petrol fuel in our MSR fuel bottle so that we will be able to cook on the road. Then we check out our room and have a quick lunch so that we will leave with a well-filled stomach.

Day 1 – The Arctic Tundra

May 15.
We leave late so that we can take a lunch at Prudhoe Bay Hotel. The food the night before and the breakfast were already delicious so we are curious what the lunch will be like. When we start cycling it is already 12.30. So pretty late. But well it stays light here day and night so that should not spoil the fun.😉

Deadhorse

Leaving Deadhorse

Once we turn into the long, lonely road from Deadhorse, it is fairly flat but with many large boulders gravel which makes cycling difficult. The landscape is very vast and behind us we see the last industry of Deadhorse slowly merging in white.

Oil Fields

The Oil Fields

Muskox

Muskox along the way

It is very empty and abandoned, very occasionally a big American truck passes by, but otherwise it is only the wind that we hear about the snow-covered tundra. Occasionally we walk next to our bikes purely because we suffer from frozen toes.

walking

By a wrong estimate and because of the midnight sun we stop with cycling around 23:30. In total we are already 11.5 hours on the road. We are exhausted and tired, poke our tent somewhere along the roadside and dive into our warm sleepingbags with a few cakes for dinner. In total we cycled 9: 15h today over a distance of 100km.

camping

Nice Camping Spot 😉


Day 2 – Into the mountains

May 16.
After a good night's rest, we break up the tent next morning. The tundra is starting to get a little less white but is still cold. The cold and the many miles over the bumpy gravel road are slowly starting to break us up. Kim is starting to suffer from pain in her left knee, but fortunately not as bad that she can not cycle anymore.
What strikes us is that the truckers who regularly pass us around 20 to 45 minutes take great care of us. When they pass us we make sure we cycle as much on the roadshoulder as we can and they make sure that they keep a sufficient distance from us and clearly reduce their speed. Still very nice because it is pretty big trucks that pass us by. By the end of the day the tundra slowly made way for the first mountains.

Mountains

The First Mountains

Oil Spill Hill

Up to Oil Spill Hill

Caribou

Caribou on the side of the road.

Finally we find a nice camping spot near a river but again close to the Dalton Highway. Every time a truck driver passes us by it seems like it's coming through our tent with full force.
We have been on the road again for many hours, but our bike counter gives you 6,5u cycled over a distance of only 63km. Less than 10km p / hour on average so 😳

camping

Camping without snow


Day 3 – Snowed in ​

May 17.

camping

Camping with snow!!

At night we wake up a few times because we hear snow fall on our tent. When we wake up in the morning, we are totally snowed in. Arjan first has to get rid of the snow with the lid of a pan at the entrance of our tent, before we are able to get out.

Snow

Digging ourselves out

The landscape is completely different because of the snow that has fallen in the night. We get a look at the road if it will be possible that we can cycle it or not. We decide to try rather than stay and sit in our tent for another day. The large trucks ensure that the road is clear, but it still is very muddy.
It's up and down all day and it also snows a big part of the day. Through the fog you only see about 22 yards ahead. It is a pity that we can not see the beautiful views. Plus we have no idea what to expect in terms of what the road looks like up ahead. Maybe better too.

snow

Go or no go?

A friendly trucker stops and we get very tasty grapes, two ziplock bags full! They taste extra good as fresh fruit is lacking in our own meals. If you have to take breakfast, lunch and dinner for two weeks you have to make concessions. Fresh fruit is sadly one of them.

Fresh grapes

During cycling Kim still suffers from her left knee, but with all the climbing it is feeling better. After a long day of only cycling 27 miles (43km) through the white mountains our conclusion at the end of the day is; We are going to take less stuff with us!
Because everything is white of snow we can not find a suitable place to set up our tent so we decide to put it on the snow. We make warm water by melting snow in a pan to be able to freshen up. The last shower has been a few days ago...

camping

Camping on snow and ice

melting

Melting snow for water


Day 4 – The first trees ​

May 18.
Despite the fact that the floor of the tent was below freezing because of the snow where we were on it was not cold at all. Our comfortable mats are officially approved for this. In the morning the sun finally shines! Arjan has a lot of energy. Kim totally does not.

See Kim at the right bottom

After having cleaned up our belongings, the air has also been completely closed in to fog in a very short time. That is so typically Alaska, the one moment the sun shines and in the other moment it is suddenly completely different again. After the first few kilometers Kim already has a flat tire, that is so 🤯. So we put in a new inner tube. We will repare the old inner tube at a later point.

flat tire

First flat tire

Fortunately, the air clears up quickly and we hope it stays that way. Kim's energy level has also come up nicely. Maybe it has something to do with each other? 😜
We pass an American, Cargo who is walking to Deadhorse from Ushuaia. Our entire bike ride, in the opposite direction, walking!! Even after he has had a heart attack in California, he (now with the support of a friend in a camper) walks the last miles to Deadhorse. Even for imaging; the man walks on crutches and his left foot is held high by a self-made pick-up of elastic, attached to his belt. And then we sometimes ask ourselves if we are crazy doing this ... Meet the man who was walking 15,000 miles is his facebook.

Cargo

Cargo on his
crutches

Here a little video about Cargo.

Later in the day we meet an American couple who are making films about backpackers. Their car drives past us, stops, the young guest jumps out of the car and asks us if he can film us with his drone. That is of course possible. They promise when we arrive in Coldfoot that they will treat us on a beer. He gives us his ticket, Arjan gives us our 2WF strap. Later in the day, at about 8 pm, we cross the highest mountain pass in Alaska. The Atigun Pass which is 4,739 feet (1455m) high. We decide to go over today because the weather is still good and you never know what the next day will be like in Alaska.

The Atigun Pass

The Atigun Pass

After a long climb and long descent we finally see the first trees. Up until now we were always so far north that we were above the tree line. We will find a place to sleep late. There are a lot of rabbits around our camp, still white in color of winter. Trees, that means that we also have to hang our food in the trees because of bears. Cooking and eating should also take place further away from the tent as the air can attract our brown friends. It is very late and we dive into the tent for a good night's sleep. The counter gives 8.08 hours cycled over 85.6km.

hanging

Hanging the food because of the bears

Dag 5 – Hello Coldfoot ​

May 19.
Het is really super warm when we wake up. Kim pulls out her vest for the first time, which she normally had on in her sleeping bag. Our hats can also go off while sleeping! Great! That is a good sign. Hopefully this slightly warmer weather will continue. Next to the tent we hear rabbits nibbling and hopping around the tent. We both wash our bike shorts in the stream and take a big breakfast. Beef stroganof with noodles and chicken teriaki.

rabbit

Lots of rabbits

washing

Washing Clothes

cooking

Cooking breakfast

We start cycling and it goes nice and fast. The road is dry and we cycle a lot down Hill. It would be nice if we can get to Coldfoot today, but that's still around 100km of cycling so we do not know if we can really make it yet. After cycling about 15,5 miles (25km) we encounter a road block, we are stopped. The lady with the stop sign in hand tells us that something will be blown up in a few minutes and that we have to wait for that first. The pilot car is on the other side of the road block, which will come our way again soon after the explosion. We can then put the bikes in the back of the box and we get a lift to the other side of the road block about 4 miles (7km) away. Here we can unload the bikes and continue cycling.

Pilot Car

Just out of the Pilot Car

By the lady who is on the other side of the road block we are asked if we know that there is a mother grizzly bear with her cub and another grizzly bear somewhere alone. We check where she has seen them exactly so that we know where we need to be extra cautious. Eventually we do not see any them. In the meantime, it has started to rain pretty hard. We have our drinking water and have to purify water again. Because of the rain we do not really feel like it, but Arjan comes up with the good idea to do this under a bridge so that at least we are dry. Here we take a break. We eat 2 meal bars. At this point we cycled only 24 miles (38km) in total and traveled a few miles with the pilot car. So it is still al long ride to Coldfoot. After this break we put the speed in, the road surface is good, even asphalt so that cycles nicely.

We see a beast on the road at one point. We slow down a bit to better see if it is a bear. It is too long and slender to be a bear so we continue. Unfortunately, there are just two trucks driving past that honk their horns to get the beast off the road. It was a moose! Kim still sees a glimpse of a nice big moose that still runs in the woods on the other side of the road. What a gigantic beautiful, big animals! Wow!
Cycling is going so well that we finally arrive at Coldfoot at 17.45. Outside at the restaurant we meet a Chilean who has been traveling from his home country with his motorcycle for about 5 months and is still heading for Deadhorse. He wants to spend the night there and has two months left to travel to New York and California before he has to go back home.

Inside the warm and dry restaurant we meet Jeremy and Kristen. We also met them yesterday just before we crossed the pass. They were the ones who filmed us with the drone. As promised, we immediately get a beer and also see the films they made of us the day before. Very cool! They are working on a project that they are currently financing themselves with their own savings to film the actic wildlife. They want to put the migration of the caribou on film and follow it for a while. Jeremy also shows us some beautiful images of a fox he has made while trying to catch a prey in a hole in the ground. Beautiful images to see.
In the restaurant we both refresh ourselves in the toilet. We can finally wash ourself completely. We immediately feel more human. After a super good meal and some beers we set up our tent. It is allowed to camp for free on the field in front of the restaurant. Outside we talk to Some people who stay here and are curious about what exactly we are doing. Good night...
The cycling went a bit faster today; 5.45 h. cycled at a distance of 90.91km.

Day 6 – A day off ​

20 May.
This day we decide to take a rest and repare the inner tube so that we can use it again if one of us get a flat tire again.

Repairs

We decide that we want to send postcards to the home front and our warmshowers host in Iceland. We still do not have internet access here, but a nice postcard will certainly be appreciated too we hope. Kim is already awake at 8.30 and can not sleep anymore. Arjan still sleeps until well after 10.30. This is quite special because normally Arjan is always the one who is awake very early. It is very warm in the tent. For today we know that the weather is very well predicted. Unfortunately for the rest of the week when we are back on the bike we will get a lot of rain showers. Still no good prospect. It seems that the trip to Fairbanks will not be given to us just like that. Like actually nothing here in Alaska. The weather conditions can be very unpredictable and can make it all a lot more difficult we have already noticed. Once we get out of bed we go to the restaurant to have a good breakfast.

You can re-fill the coffee and tea as often as you want. After breakfast we decide to go and see the area. We take a walk along the Historic Coldfoot Cemetary, the Coldfoot Airstrip of Coyote Air and we walk a part of a winter trail. We also make a round trip towards the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center which we know is still closed until the end of May. When we arrive there are people present, guides who are trained for the season. One of the employees, John asks if we want to look inside. "Yes of course! Please if possible!” We go in and see a lot of interesting information about the whole area we are in. About the game and birds and its migration, about how the working of the midnight sun works, about the plants and minerals that are in the ground and you name it. Everything you want to know about this area can be found here. We are therefore very grateful that we are allowed to go inside even though the AIVC is officially not yet open.

In the afternoon we prepare the bikes for the next few kilometers, chains are lubricated, gears and brakes are adjusted and Arjan finally gets the GPS tracker at work, connected to the hub dynamo of the bike instead of on batteries. The evening we spend to write the postcards and get somthing to eat. We drink another beer with Jeremy and Kristen after which we decide to crawl into the tent.



Part II of The Dalton Highway will soon be coming.

Alaska plane

From the Vikings to the Last Frontiers

Kim’s longest birthday

Voor Nederlands, scroll even naar beneden.

Kim's longest birthday starts in a pub in Iceland. It is around 12 o'clock at night and we drive up to the local pub that Simon, our host, recommended. Once the three of us have arrived, the first half-liter glasses of Gull come to the table and there is a toast to Kim's birthday 🎉🍻

Simon and Kim

Gull is the local beer here. Did you know that beer in Iceland has only been legal since 1989?
In a second bar we visit we see tough Vikings dancing on Justin Bieber, special to see we can report.
When it gets light outside again we find our bed ... was it really dark? Euh... nope?

The next morning it is early to cycle back to the airport. In contrast to all rain from last week, it is now super nice weather.
In the Bike Pit we make the bikes ready for transport again and we pack the remaining luggage so that we both only have 1 baggage left. On to Anchorage, Alaska!

The lady at the check-in desk is super friendly and checks all luggage in one go to Deadhorse, including the bikes. Do not ask how it can be done, but we do not have to pay extra this time.

The flight of almost 7 hours is boring but goes well with fantastic views over Greenland and Northern Canada. During the passport control at arival, our travel plans are once again thoroughly reviewed by the customs officer, the friendly man takes a few fingerprints again, prints our longterm visas and we are allowed to continue. 🇺🇸

As we walk past the baggage belts we see our bags by chance, despite the fact that they were booked directly to Deadhorse, our flight destination for tomorrow. A bit later the bikes come too. This means that we have to arrange bicycle storage for the night or that we have to take them to our hotel. But we will not get away so easily. America is very afraid of diseases from outside the country and we are asked if the bikes are clean. Euhm nope... we just came from Iceland. After a cursory check of the staff of the agriculture department, it is decided that they should be removed from the boxes and disinfected.
Peter arrives with a lot of wipes and a spray can of disinfectant and starts to drift fiercely. Thanks to Peter we start our journey on clean bikes 🙂

We are looking for a place where we can park our bicycles safely and call the Ramada hotel for the free pick-up at the airport.
It is now half past seven in the evening local time. For us, it is half past four at night in Iceland time and we are very hungry.
A thick fresh Alaskan salmon fills Kims burger, It's still her birthday and now finally it feels like a birthday.

Unfortunately, the day is not over yet, despite the fatigue that is beginning to dawn, we still have to arrange food for two weeks to survive in the desolate area between Deadhorse and Fairbanks. We already knew this and had invented that there is a Wallmart Superstore in Anchorage that also sells a lot of outdoor stuff. This includes special outdoor instant meals.

Mike from the Ramada hotel is kind enough to take us to the superstore and we throw our shopping cart in full speed with food for two weeks. We want to sleep as soon as possible and hop in at 10 pm. The alarm clock is set at 4 o'clock.

Our flight is at 7 o'clock and we get back to the airport well in time to pick up the bikes again for our last flight for the next 1.5 years. On to the area of ​​The Last Frontiers.

Frontiers

Kim’s langste verjaardag

De langste verjaardag van Kim begint uiteraard in een pub op IJsland. Het is tegen 12en ‘s nachts en we tuigen op naar de lokale pub die Simon onze host voordroeg. Eenmaal met z’n drieën aangekomen komen de eerste halve literglazen Gull op tafel en wordt er geproost op Kim’s verjaardag 🎉🍻

Simon and Kim

Gull is het lokale bier hier. Wist je trouwens dat bier op IJsland pas since 1989 legaal is?
In een 2de bar die we bezoeken zien we stoere Vikingen dansen op Justin Bieber, een bijzonder gezicht kunnen we melden.
Als het buiten weer licht wordt zoeken we ons bed op... was het eigenlijk wel donker geweest? Nee dus.

De volgende ochtend is het vroeg op om terug te fietsen naar de luchthaven. In tegenstelling tot alle regen van afgelopen week is het nu super lekker weer.
In de Bike Pit maken we de fietsen weer klaar voor transport en de overige bagage pakken we zo in dat we beide nog maar 1 stuks bagage hebben. Op naar Anchorage, Alaska!

De dame aan de incheckbalie is super vriendelijk en checkt alle bagage in één keer door naar Deadhorse, inclusief de fietsen. Vraag niet hoe het kan maar bijbetalen hoeven we dit keer niet.

De vlucht van bijna 7uur is saai maar verloopt goed met fantastische uitzichten over Groenland en Noord Canada. Bij de paspoortcontrole worden onze reisplannen nogmaals goed doorgenomen door de douanier, de vriendelijke man neemt nog maar eens een paar vingerafdrukken, drukt een stempel op onze longterm visa’s en we mogen door. 🇺🇸

Als we voorbij de bagagebanden lopen zien we bij toeval onze tassen liggen, dit ondanks dat ze rechtstreeks door geboekt waren naar Deadhorse, onze vliegbestemming voor morgen. Even later komen de fietsen ook. Dit betekend dat we fietsopslag moeten gaan regelen voor de nacht of dat we ze mee moeten nemen naar ons hotel. Maar zo makkelijk komen we er niet vanaf. Amerika is erg bang voor ziektes van buitenaf en we worden dus gevraagd of de fietsen schoon zijn. Euhm nee... we komen net uit IJsland. Na een vluchtige controle van het personeel van agraculure afdeling wordt besloten dat ze uit de dozen moeten en ontsmet moeten worden.
Peter komt aan met heel veel doekjes en een spuitbus ontsmettingsmiddel en begint driftig te poetsen. Met dank aan Peter beginnen we onze reis op schone fietsen 🙂

We zoeken een plek waar we tegen betaling onze fietsen veilig kunnen stallen en bellen het Armada hotel voor de free pick-up van de luchthaven.
Het is inmiddels half 7 in de avond locale tijd. Voor ons gevoel is het half 4 ‘s nachts IJsland tijd en we hebben berenhonger.
Een dikke verse Alaskaanse zalm vult de burger van Kim, ze is nog steeds jarig en voelt zich nu ook eindelijk jarig.

De dag is helaas nog niet voorbij ondanks de vermoeidheid die begint toe te slaan, we moeten nog voor twee weken aan eten regelen om te kunnen overleven op het desolate gebied tussen Deadhorse en Fairbanks. We wisten dit natuurlijk al en hadden uitgevonden dat er in Anchorage een Wallmart Superstore zit die ook erg veel outdoor spul verkoopt. Waaronder dus speciale Outdoor instant maaltijden.

Mike van het Armada hotel is zo vriendelijk om ons naar de superstore te brengen en we gooien onze winkelkar in sneltreinvaart vol met eten voor twee weken. We willen slapen en stappen om strak 22uur in bed. De wekker wordt gezet op 4uur.

Onze vlucht gaat om 7uur en we laten ons ruim op tijd weer op de luchthaven afzetten om de fietsen weer op te kunnen pikken voor onze laatste vlucht voor de komende 1,5 jaar. Op naar het gebied van The Last Frontiers.

Frontiers

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