Sunday, June 30, 2013

Burgers at Beaver Creek.

Although we left Alaska and crossed into Canada some 20 miles ago, it wasn't until we were just outside Beaver Creek, battling into a good headwind, that we reached the Canadian Customs Border checkpoint.

After clearing the checkpoint, which was a nice easy process with the Canadian customs officer being cheerful and humorous, we continued on, faces feeling dry and wind-blown, to the small town on Beaver Creek where we stopped at Buckshot Betty's café to have a good feed. And what a feed!

After thoroughly gorging ourselves, we made the days final push to Snag Lake CG, another 12 miles south into the still persisting headwind.

Headwinds are not fun. Especially on the rough chip-seal Yukon roads were are now not rolling so smoothly on... But the scenery is still awesome!

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Goodbye Alaska, hello Yukon.

The border has been crossed!

Although it says welcome to Alaska, in fact, we are leaving...

And have entered Yukon Territory. There was a distinct line between the two, as amusingly indicated by a small bench.

Now riding on rougher roads, we press onwards south east towards Beaver Creek, and then further to Whitehorse.



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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Another day of climbing...

We've been cranking uphill for most of the day, and the thighs are feeling it..!

Luckily, most of the ascents were well graded, with just a few real burners, plus a few roller-coaster sections where a mad pedal downhill would get you a good third of the way up the next uphill... Repeat that about 5 times in a row though, and you're feeling pretty pooped!

We started the day leaving Delta Junction under overcast and smokey skies, with a heavy low cloud and wildfire smoke making it a fair bit cooler than previous days. The clouds held off piddling on us for an hour or so, but just after 2nd breakfast (and the required 15-mile ass-break) the rain began to drum down... Light at first, it soon turned to a solid downpour that made us pull off the highway and seek the shelter of some pine trees.

It was here that Will adopted a new super-hero identity... The Green Helmet... It's hasn't made his riding any easier, but he just looks more stylish doing it... Hahaha.

Most of the riding was along loooooong empty roads, surrounded by pines, and for once we had a gentle tailwind to assist us too.

The time honored tradition of the "chucking of the rock" was also observed today as we crossed a decent sized bridge over a very muddy river.

And now, after 85 miles (136 kms) of riding, and just over 6 hours of "ass time" as we've taken to calling the time spent in the saddle pedaling, we are at a surprise-find, Cathedral Creek B&B and Campground, where we have each enjoyed a scorchingly hot and good shower and the benefit of solid Wifi. Hence this posting!

Tomorrow, we push on 25 miles towards Tok (pronounced 'Toke', not 'Tock') where we'll probably grab some hot brekky before making the push for the border... Another 80 miles further.

Whether we'll make it into Canada tomorrow evening, or camp one last night in Alaska will depend on the terrain, the wind, the weather, and how saddle sore out butts get!
(Plus how strong the alluring smell of Canadian Bacon is in our noses...)

For now,



- Posted using BlogPress from my amazing iPhone 5.

Location:Alaska Hwy,Tok,United States

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Feeling fine in Fairbanks...

After a couple of days hard riding from Denali, we have arrived in Fairbanks and we're taking a zero day here to rest and re-supply.

After leaving Denali, we had some sweet long downhills to enjoy, but unfortunately, the strong southerly headwind we had to fight into made it much less enjoyable... It was a hard fought slog to push forward, and having to pedal downhill really hurts, not just physically, but mentally too.

We were all podding (riding with iPods pumping out the tunes) before 1100, to make the wind less prevailing...
We did get to see a huge cow moose up close by the roadside and she grazed on the marsh grass there, before riding on south.

After taking a solid 2 hour break at the gas station in the small town of Nenana, we opted to clear one of the 2 large main climbs we knew we faced before we'd be riding into Fairbanks.
The afternoon sun beat down on us, roasting our black spandex clad butts, and the climbs were long, long long grades, not all of which were gentle.

Reading the road signs is as important for us, as it is for motorized vehicles... Seeing "truck lane 1000 feet ahead" means that it's about to get steep... Seeing "stay right unless passing" means its gonna be steep for a while... Seeing another one means its gonna stay steep even longer..!
Finally seeing "right lane ends" means the climb will be ending soon... Thank goodness!

The set of hills we were ending the day slogging up were shaped like the letter 'M' with the drop in the middle only goung about half-way down... And somewhere in that middle dip was our planned stop for the night.

We knew of a bar there that we hoped to get some water and maybe a cold soda at, and upon entering the very unique and rather adult-themed "Skinny Dicks" we found we could not only get some snacks and cold beverage, but they kindly offered us the use of their garden area to pitch our tents.

The night was pretty quiet, although still bright daylight of course, and we were up and off by 0800 to smash out the last big set of climbs to get to Fairbanks.
And big they were... Phew... Definite thigh-busters! Not just a pretty steep grade, but some were between one to two miles long as well.

Taking a rest break at the top of one of the big climbs, we managed to enjoy the previously annoying headwind, as it was nice and cooling, plus it kept the bugs away, as we are all pretty well bitten up by the damn mozzies. I also took the opportunity to do a manufacturer-advised short test spray of my bear spray, whilst Tom and Will videoed it from safely slightly upwind!

YouTube Video

All of the pain and effort from the long, windblown climbing was forgotten as we finally made it into Fairbanks, and straight into Taco Bell..!

My first Taco Bell in four years and it was SO. DAMN. GOOD!!
I had the big fat 1lb Grilled Stuft Steak burrito, and was thoroughly satisfied.

Tom opted for the Carl's Junior he spotted over the road, and once he was sorted with his Cod Burger and fries, he joined Will and I at Taco Bell, where we made good use of the free wifi to check out motel options.

The newly refurbished Best Western Plus, Pioneer Park Inn was our choice, and what a choice! For just $40 each, we have been thoroughly satisfied with our accommodation... Pool, wifi, cable TV, and a full breakfast service all included.
It's not often that the breakfast is so varied... Usually, toast and cereal, and maybe waffles are what's on offer... But we had all that plus fresh pastries, OJ, apple juice, cranberry juice, fresh fruits, yoghurt, bacon, sausages, eggs and muffins... All I can say is "BURP!"

We will be off to the supermarket to resupply later as well as hit Taco Bell again before a chilled evening watching TV (we hit the movie theatre last night to see WWZ, which was pretty damn good).

Tomorrow we head out south east for the ride down to Delta Junction, some 95 miles away. We don't need to worry about an early start due to losing daylight as we still have a midnight sun, but a good early start should mean we'll get a lot of it done before late afternoon when the sun really begins to have some mustard to its burn... And if we are really lucky, we will have either no wind, or better still, a tail wind, in which case I reckon we will knock out those miles by late afternoon just fine.

So, it's bye for now...


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Location:Airport Way,Fairbanks,United States

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We have wifi... And we're getting' it done in Denali..

Moose, Caribou, Coyotes and Grizzly Bears...

We've seen 'em all..! It's been a great past few days, and other than waking to a pretty cold and overcast day 3 days ago that also had us hitting some steep ascents, lungs burning in the chilly air, it has been some fantastic riding. We have also enjoyed the payoff to many days of climbing... Many hours of some great continuous downhill, with the added bonus of a strong tailwind!

Yesterday morning, we made it to one of the worlds largest and best National Parks... Denali.

And it's been a great couple of days here in Denali NP.

We stopped yesterday morning at the fantastic Creekside Café, about 15 miles south of the park for breakfast, and had wifi there, but I was unable to upload for some reason. I just tried uploading what I'd written, and somehow the lot got wiped... Most frustrating.

So I'm now banging out another bit of text, as I sit here, swatting away annoying Mosquitos that have manage to zone in on me, despite the nice breeze that is keeping the majority of them at bay.

We have taken 2 long bus rides into the park,one yesterday afternoon, that got us back to camp at midnight (still bright daylight, so very strange on the body-clock), and the other early this morning, which took us on an 11 hour ride right into the park and back, where we were lucky enough to see even more wildlife and views of Denali than yesterday

To recap the previous few days...

We spent the last few days slowly and sometimes painfully making our way up, up, up towards the national park. Some climbs were pretty gradual and well graded, but quite a few were of the ass-kicking variety, making all of us a bit sore of thigh and lung by the time we reached the top. Fortunately, the top of each climb did come, and wasn't as 'never-ending' as the climb into the Cascades from 6 years ago.

The views on the ride have been great though, and on our way up, we also got to see a number of moose grazing in the surrounding grassland.

The night before we got in to Denali, we made our own impromptu campsite just off the highway, but not before enjoying a huge burger at a great little roadside diner.

My Suunto Ambit watch has been great for tracking and showing the elevation changes and the profile climbed. Will is beginning to understand the importance of less-is-more when it comes to what to bring and what to leave behind, plus what continual days in the saddle feels like... But he's doing great and is constantly cheerful, and we are pleased he's along for the ride.

Tom is also doing well, so all the faithful worried followers out there can rest easy... He's fine!

Other than a few miles of uphil that had him puffing hard and wondering what we'd had for breakfast, (as we were hauling ass away from him) he hasn't had any problems... And that hard puffing wasn't due to any fitness problems... It was a slightly rubbing front brake pad, a nasty little technical problem that is much better found earlier rather than later! It was fixed before our café break, and since then, we've been cranking out the miles all together at the same pace again.

So after a day and a half in Denali, we are preparing to head off for another 2, maybe 2.5 days ride north to Fairbanks, where sme much needed laundry will be done, as well as some re-supply.

For now, I'll leave you with a few more images from the sights of Denali National Park... All 6,000,000 square miles of it...!



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Location:McKinley Park Rd,Healy,United States

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

All light & no sleep makes Kobie a tired boy...

Sunset... Or rather "sunset" is at 2330... And "sunrise" is at 0400...

This was the view from my tent at midnight last night... Yes, that's the sun... (And Will's tent).
Plus being near the highway meant plenty of traffic noise too, so neither Tom or myself got much sleep...

Will, who'd chosen wisely and brought earplugs, burrowed under his covers and slept well...

Well, it is another lovely day, so we are just breaking camp and getting geared up for a short 2.5 mile ride down the road to Walmart for a few supplies...

Then we'll push on a bit further to the Sportsmanship Warehouse to get out bear spray cans, and after that, maybe a naught late breakfast/early lunch at McDonalds.
Right now, I'm typing this update and enjoying the view from the deck of the campground office whilst Will finished his packing and Tom is washing up...

There's no wifi and I'm out of 4G, so I'll save this and upload ASAWHW (As soon as we have wifi.!) ...
For now,
- Posted using BlogPress from my amazing iPhone 5.

Location:Matanuska Rd,Wasilla,United States

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And so it begins...

Mountains. Snow. Clear blue skies. Totally amazing...

These are the fantastic sights we saw on our flight to Anchorage, as well as a great view of Mt McKinley.

Our luggage arrived quite fast comparatively unscathed,

but the motel pick up shuttle somehow too a bit longer than the quoted '10 minutes'... It was an hour and 15 minutes to be precise, and although standing in the warm sunlight surrounded by snow-apples mountains was a nice place to wait, it did eat into out "gettin' stuff done" time.

Eventually the bus found us and we got to our motel. After doing our gear, it was time for a feed, as the budget airline we'd been on for the past 5 hours didn't have any food... Well, none that wasn't overpriced!

Arby's was the choice of the day again, although I made the mistake of ordering a 'medium' meal... I should have gone with a small, as the medium is HUGE!

We spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening grabbing a small selection of snacks and groceries for the next few days on the road, and the evening assembling the bikes... A long process, especially when fatigued!

Will arrived safe and well at 2100, which to all three of our body clocks was midnight, so once he'd got his gear in the door, we pretty much all cakes it a night.

Having broad bright daylight at 2230 is going to take some getting used to, especially in a tent, but I think we'll manage.

Will woke this morning to an iPhone in the face, as he needs to get used to there being no privacy or decorum when it comes to life on the road with us... Hahaha. He's taking it all in his easy-going affable stride..!
Now it's his turn to get all his gear assembled.

Ladies. Watch out. He's used to letting his hair down whilst shirtless, so we may be sexing up the posts a bit more for you from now on...

Tom is doing the email thing and some recon on my iPad. I'm doing this update. And then I'd better do the final pannier pack...



- Posted using BlogPress from my amazing iPhone 5.

Location:E 5th Ave,Anchorage,United States

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bike gear, bags, burgers, & boxes...

It's been a highly productive and enjoyable day...
We didn't get to REI yesterday in the end, as Tom's ordered item that was being sent there didn't arrive until today... So today was the day I got to go to my most favorite store...

The day started at Menards, where we picked up some empty cardboard boxes to pack our bike bags and camping gear into for the flight tomorrow. There we found a perfect tool for banging in our tent pegs. We haven't told him yet, but Will is going to be the one carrying it..!

After Menards, we hit REI so I could get the few last minute items I needed, including the cleats I'd forgotten. They are looking shiny & new on my new Pearl Izumi shoes... But that won't last long.

We searched a few bike shops for the new handlebar bag I needed too, as we came up short on that item at REI. Whilst looking around one of the bike shops, Tom found a nice new pump for Will to also carry on the ride...

Unfortunately, although a great bike shop with a small selection of bags, the second store still didn't have what I was looking for, so we decided to grab some food and ponder our next move.
Lunch was a glorious, long awaited treat at another much loved American classic fast food joint, Arby's.

On our third try, we found a bike shop that actually had a good range of handlebar bags, so I picked a nice Topeak one of good size, with various handy pockets and overall good functionality. Sorted.
This afternoon, Tom and I got all our gear packed into the boxes, and have them all loaded into his Blazer, ready for tomorrow morning when big bro Steve-o drives us down to the airport and we head north. Way north! Will is primed and ready to go too... We just spoke with him for a last minute gear-check, and he is set.
So by this time tomorrow, the Roadwarriors will be welcoming the newest member, Roadwarrior-Candidate Will to the team.
Undoubtedly, pictures will be taken!
More soon.
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Location:2nd St NE,Columbia Heights,United States