An end to my Alaska adventures. I really enjoyed my time here, but feel like I need to apologize to the state.
A sad day as I had to bid farewell to my wonderful hosts Matthew and Megan. I had some finishing up to do in the morning both, mechanically and digitally, so I did not hit the road until about 11 a.m.. Megan works 4-10 hour shifts and has Mondays off, so I got to spend a bit more time with her.
On my way out I was surprised to see just how little sprawl there was to Anchorage. It’s not as big-feeling as I thought it might be. In Nebraska terms, it is definitely more Lincoln than Omaha.
The drive out was awesome. Easy, but scenic riding.
I did not want to find out how deep this puddle was:
I saw my first bald eagle of the trip and yelled something about freedom as it soared overhead.
Getting closer to Tok, the scenery flattens out. It was almost a little odd to not see mountains in the distance for awhile.
I decided to make camp at the same spot I did on the way into Alaska: Deadman Lake, in Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. I really enjoyed staying there the first time and having a place that is free and safe is optimal.
A funny feeling to begin the morning: Today would be the first day I would see no new scenery. I would spend all day riding through the Yukon on a stretch of the Alaska Highway that I had ridden about a week ago. Lucky for me, this just so happens to be my favorite part of the Alaska Highway.
I crossed the border into The Yukon with no issues. This stretch of highway is probably the most rough section, with lots of dips and heaves in the road. My knees started to get sore as I was constantly raising myself out of the saddle to keep from getting bucked off.
Construction happens in a different way on this highway. Being that there is nowhere to divert traffic, they have to build their own detour in order to completely tear up a section. Not many construction areas have flaggers (the person with the stop sign), so traffic and machinery have to work together. I was really impressed with these crews.
My favorite section of the whole highway is the part between Destruction Bay and Haines Junction.
It has everything. A huge glistening lake, enough curves in the road to make it enjoyable ride, ample wildlife, a variety of towering peaks. Perhaps most importantly, it is still very remote. There are no resorts, tour buses or hordes of people. It is almost as if this area is undiscovered.
I decided to take a break and go for a little hike when I saw this mound that juts out into Kluane lake. The lake has receded enough to make it accessible.
Like many of pursuits in my life, I bit off way more than I could chew. It ended up being a tough climb through dense brush.
Annie is the little dot in the middle of the picture:
Some great views though:
This was my only significant break of the day. I had in my mind that I wanted to get from Anchorage to Vancouver, where my sister and brother-in-law live, in just four days. I made decent progress, but still ended up being a few hundred miles from halfway.
I didn’t have much of a plan for lodging, but as the sun began to wane I kept my eyes out for an appropriate spot. There are not many rules about camping along the Alaska Highway. There are often RVs stationed at rest stops and tents at random spots. I saw a little pull out right after I crossed the Little Rancheria River, whipped a U-turn and decided I had found my place for the night.
As I thought about my Alaska experience, I had to pull up my expenses spreadsheet. I realized that in 8 nights and 7 days in Alaska I had accrued $0 in lodging expenses and $0 in meals. With the dainty way that Annie sips fuel, I only spent $71 to cover my 1,400 miles in the state. My only other expenses were $15 for a new SD card and $7 spent on groceries to feed me for the 4 day (hopefully) ride to Vancouver.
Knowing that tourism is such an important industry to the state of Alaska, I feel compelled to offer my apologies to the state. I wasn’t intending on being such a freeloader, but your people are just too generous. Maybe I’ll come back when I am ridiculously rich and less disciplined with my spending habits (not likely, but surely possible). Now that I know what an awesome place Alaska is, I can not image myself not coming back. I still need to see Denali at some point….
Thanks for reading!