random musings from Tok to HJ
I have a little more time to write now. I am happy to be in Haines Junction. Last night, in fact, I was happy to be here. I will back up for a moment and notate the activites of the last few days.
Upon leaving Tok, sans cdt, Kayla and I decided that we needed to up our mileage a bit. We had been going only about 40 miles per day, far to slow to make progress toward the states. I am realizing that I will not be able to ride my bike all the way to Washington in time for Ashley’s wedding, I’m a little sad about this, but Greyhound starts regular service about 180 km from here. I figure we’ll get at least past the Cassiar by mid August. However it works out, my pace of life has been slowing substantially, so I really can’t make myself even worry about it. Currently my cell phone does not work due to heavy rains, and no service, so I don’t regularly have a timepiece with me. At first this was a little odd, but I think I like it now; it’s pretty cool to eat when I’m hungry, sleep when I’m tired, etc.
Kayla and I travelled the first night to the northern of two free campgrounds run by the US Forest Service. The day started late and included a strong headwind for most of the trip so I was glad to sleep. I was super lethargic for most of the day. Kayla got several flats and I got one flat.
The next day we traveled to Beaver Creek, Yukon. Hooray for Canada. Kayla bought me breakfast at Bucktooth Betty’s. In Tok we had a disagreement about weather it was ok to bargain in western society for everyday items. I don’t know how I feel on this anymore, and I certainly feel like I spend to much money on ‘stuff’ that I don’t need. I spent $3.50 on a bowl a generic puffed rice cereal when we arrived in Beaver Creek. I am starting to notice a stong negative reaction to simple, or cheap, living past a certain threshold. I’m a stong proponent of simple living, at least I think I am, but maybe I subconciously am not comfortable with it; or worse, I’m trying to keep up with the Jones’. I suspect it may just be laziness. Anyway, I think the breakfast was a nod toward compromise…plus I love french toast, thanks Kayla.
After breakfast we left Beaver Creek and immediately hit dust and gravel, 35 km of it. We travelled a little [lot] past the gravel and ate pb&j’s on the side of the highway. My knee was starting to hurt so we decided to camp early. 20 km down the road there was no campspot in sight, and Kayla and I found ourselves at facing a Grizzly on the side of the road. Kayla had rode up to it, almost on top of it, before realizing that that large ‘rock’ was in fact a bear. I didn’t realize what was going on until I saw her turn around and ride back toward me. We hung out, bear spray in hand, a few hundred feet down the road until we pulled someone over who could escort us past smokey. Pictures should be up soon. Just after encountering the bear black clouds where building in front of us. Since we couldn’t camp where we where we pressed on – the campground we where going for was still 15 km ahead. I think the rain and hail only lasted about 10 minutes, but it was ridiculously intense. This was the first time I’ve been truly grateful for my helmet (thanks Bridgette). We rolled into camp as the rain was subsiding and ate a great dinner of Tomatoe soup, with lots of pasta, rice, and tvp cooked over a warm campfire.
The next day we rolled to burwash landing, the first ‘civilization’ that we’d stopped at in 2 days. My knee was killing me, so I called for a rest day; we would travel the 40 km to a highly recommended campground that had a hot tub. As Kayla and I where rolling our weary selves into the free camping spot cdt appeared. Smiles, hugs, and happiness followed.
The following day (Monday) we arrived at the campground. Much to our chagrin, tent sites where $26, and the hot tub was an additional $4 per person – ouch! to much for my budget. we decided to press on to the next place, a hostel that advertised tenting sites. The hostel was about a mile down a lonely dirt road, literally in the middle of nowhere. The proprietor wanted $40 to put our tent down. It was tempting to accept, mostly due to the pouring rain, but we decided to move onto Haines Junction. The next 65 km where fairly rough, we didn’t stop save for a brief food break, and a flat tire. By the time we arrived I was fairly out of it – cold, soaked, tired, sore, etc., but our spirits where high. All I had to concentrate on was pulling one pedal then the other up in order to keep my knees from getting sore. I developed a rythm that was mesmerizing and made the time fly by. That sounds funny, but I guess you could say that last night the trip got pushed up another level; my mind cleared, I quit worrying about a lot of stuff, and was able to just enjoy a rainy day.
All told we went about 130 km on our ‘day off’. On the plus side we have a warm cabin to stay at, courtesy of one on cdt’s co-workers, and we went 75.6 km/h down the hill into Haines Junction.