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500 miles later

June 19, 2007

Arrived in Fairbanks, late last night.

We have had a very safe and awesome trip so far. The Arctic north is very very beautiful, peaceful and warm!!!! The big misconception about Alaska is that is so cold all the time. Summer is great, sun never sets here, so of course, Ralph talked me into biking all night the forth day into the trip we did a century (100 miles in a day).

Here is a brief overview of the last 11 days:

June 8 – flew up to Prudhoe Bay, AK and arrived at the airport early AM. Took the bikes out of the boxes and found all the pieces and parts in order, except for Pat’s front shock was leaking oil and the seal was broken. Found a Napa store and added some oil and they had a seal! Left about 6 PM and rode 25 miles and set up camp. Margaret and Jerry from Longmont were visiting there, took our picture and posted on the website (go to our pictures.).

Next day was not too exciting because the road crew was watering, blading and making it difficult. By the 3rd day were getting into the foothills of the Brooks Range and getting really, really beautiful. It is so quiet up here you could here a pin drop, until a truck comes hauling along the “Dalton Highway” also known as the “Haul Road”. This is the 414 miles of gravel, some pavement Highway built in the 70’s for the Alaskan pipeline. Now trucks go up and down it all day long carrying supplies.

On the 5th day we went over Atigan Pass ( only 4500′, nothing compared to Colorado) got to the other side and it was all downhill from there for miles and miles, so we kept on riding into Coldfoot and arrived there by 4 AM. Found what looked like a restaurant, opened the door, walked in and tall guy was cooking. He said breakfast would be ready by 5 am, told us to go take showers next door and come back and eat. He made a great buffet of Blue cheese omelets, french toast, eggs, bacon, reindeer sausage, etc… Wow, did we eat!!!! People were very friendly and helpful at Coldfoot.

We decided to take a day off and stay there, so we pitched camp, then took a tour bus to a little town called Wiseman. A man named Jack gave us a tour, he was born there and lives off the land, growing gardens (which grow 4-5 inches per day), hunting, trapping, fishing, etc… Very interesting guy. He kills about 8-10 Caribou, 4-5 moose and 2-3 bear per year to feed his family.

Next day we decided to bike to the Arctic Circle! Well the road was slow going and we got caught in a rainstorm, so had to stop and set up camp and fight off millions of mosquitoes. In the AM we dried everything out and got going again. Meet up with a couple on recumbent bikes (the kind you sit back on and ride). They are from Australia and are biking the same route to Fairbanks and then down thru Canada and to the US. Wow, looks like a heavy load, they are way over a 100 pounds each (Pat’s bike is about 55 pounds, Ralph’s is about 85 pounds).

Next few days were up and down a multitude of gravel hills. We stopped at a roadside store for free coffee, and meet the storekeeper. She and her husband raised 23 children there (5 of their own – the rest were adopted).

Finally arrived in Fairbanks yesterday and hope to be on the road again tomorrow. Heading toward Denali. BIKE ON !!!!

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6 comments

  1. Sooooo cool. Will check back regularly for updates. Love Dennis, Mari and Riley


  2. P and R:

    You two are looking good. Quite the ride. Pat you will come back riding like Ralph and have to drive the truck over to Paradise Valley and ride your bike back to hike with us to Crested Butte. Yipee for you two!


  3. Your trip definitely fits the two of you, bike on!! Cheering you on from your old home state! Love to you both, Barb


  4. Great update, looking forward to seeing you two in Denali. After 1 week back working fulltime I’m really envious, wish I had done something more adventerious with my year off. Love Phyll


  5. Sounds great- I pictured you out in the wilderness, but here you are meeting interesting people. Here we are trying to escape people. We went to Turret for 2 days and did escape. Pat, we will be hiking to CB in July and thinking of you-probably over West Maroon. Ralph, your house is still there- I’m sure Alicia checks on it. So glad you are following your bliss! Bets and Thane


  6. G’day Ralph & Pat.
    Great meeting and spending sometime with you on the road. Good luck with the rest of your ride. We’re about to head off out of Fairbanks in the next day or so after a good rest, anyway, safe travels to you both and thanks for the company.
    Regards
    Andrew & Joanne
    Aussie Recumbent Riders



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