Once I fueled up in Beaver Creek after they let me back into Canada, I began putting back miles and rising 250-300 miles each day. I only briefly stopped to resupply and say hello to Bastian in Whitehorse before continuing on. There was a monster headwind for three days but the rain was holding off and I was enjoying the ride. Most pictures were with my point and shoot so will likely never see the light of day. Only sorta kidding there. As is typical, I noticed the same fellow travellers on the Alcan and Cassiar continuing on the same route and covering similar miles each day. Turning onto the Cassiar took me away from the row of RVs on a guided tour together which kept passing or stopping on the roadside. Having 6 of these beasts pass you on a narrow shoulder with a headwind is less than desirable. Happy touring elsewhere.
I was nearly finished with the Cassiar when a not-so-routine tire inspection uncovered a dimple in my rear tire the size of a dime. More proding revealed a 2" area elsewhere that was soft to the touch as if no metal bands were behind. Not good. Once I had service in Kitwanga, I called the shops in the area but nobody had scooter tires. Fortunately the shop in Prince George had my size in stock so I bought it. 350 miles to go on a bumpy and stressed tire. When I told Dad I would be taking it slower, he thought I was pulling his arm. At 30 mph max for the entire ride to Prince George, I earned 130 mpg and zero flats. The tire would heat up considerably but never went out. My guess is a big sharp rock and lower tire pressures combined to push into the tire enough to break the inner bands holding the tire together. The outer rubber tread wasn't compromised but there wasn't an inner strength beneath. My hunch, tomorrow we'll see when I spoon it off. Right now it looks like a goose egg is poking out of my center tread. Yeah, try riding on that for hundreds of miles! Oh the joy in Adventure.
It felt like a welcome home when I returned to Bob and Sharon Peek's in Wasilla, AK. They showed me to their gusthouse, known as Uncle Johnnie's, and we shared stories over the kitchen table and coffee. My visit coincided with the AK State Fair which we visited for $2/ea +canned goods on opening day. The claim to fame is the Matanuska region's collassal vegetables which benefit from fertile soil, abundant moisture and the extremely long days of summer in the north. The lumberjack show was enjoyable and if I'm ever back through Bar Harbor, I'll look them up and say hello. Although only a short visit, it was a joy sharing time with the Peeks and I look forward to the next visit.
After my peaceful visit in Wasilla, I used the break in August's rainy weather to scoot up the Glen Hwy. Along the roadside, the Matanuska River slowly erodes the bank and the fondation for this home.
The Matanuska Glacier still stretches up into the impenetrable mountains. The headwind was strong but fortunately turned directions when I crossed the mountain divide. The feeling of leaving the coast behind and setting off toward the south was comforting. Although I could feel the possibilities of future bike troubles or poor weather on tap, today I put it out of mind and rode with the afternoon sun.
Two days of pouring rain found me holed up one night in an American Legion picnic shelter, the next along the shore of Deadman Lake at the Tetlin NWR. This small lake offers 10 free campsites and now has three canoes for use of guests. All this free!
I felt at peace again paddling an Old Towne Pack canoe around the calm lake the following day. Sun came out and I lounged around camp making coffee, canoeing and helping the camp host paint the outhouse. It was a great way to spend an hour or two of my afternoon and really sped up her task. I've now done more painting (interior and exterior) in Alaska than anywhere else! As I lay my head down for my last night of sleep in the 49th state, I reflected on the new friends I've made and future adventures in this great land.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.