Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spring 2008 Ride to Fairbanks

I got up early on Friday because I was too excited to sleep. I love riding, and the chance to do a new (to me) road on the bike was too much! I was curious whether I could get everything in my tank bag and top case. I almost succeeded, but the sleeping bags wouldn't fit. For the record I had my tent, jumper cables, emergency blanket, air mattress, jet boil, two Mountain House dinners, extra gloves, extra jacket, flip flops, a book, farkle, and mosquito dope in the top case. My change of clothes, comb, purse, camera and extra lens, kickstand plate, and various stuff was in my tank bag. I took two bags just in case the weather turned cold on me.

I had planned to stop at the Anchorage cemetery for a pic on the way out of town, but it was drizzly so I decided to go there another day. The rain continued all the way to Denali, so there are few pics on the way up. It was pretty chilly at elevation. I was surprised how much snow there was on the side of the road. Lakes still had ice and the smaller creeks were frozen.

After I crossed the pass the sun came out and it warmed up to the mid 60's. It was heavenly! I stopped in Nenana for gas and a couple pictures. The Tanana River is still widely used for transportation to and from many of the interior native villages.

By the time I pulled into Fairbanks it was in the low 70's! I drove 350 miles from early spring into summer.

I walked to the nearest grocery, and bought some Mike's Hard Lemon-aid to go with my Mountain House dinner. Farkle decided he needed a suntan so he hung out with me for a while enjoying the glorious afternoon and evening. Being Fairbanks, it hadn't gotten dark yet when I went to sleep at midnight.

I was thankful I had the two sleeping bags since it dipped down into the 30's overnight. Saturday morning the sun was shining though, and I stayed in my sleeping bag until it had the tent nice and warm. It was a pretty morning. After making myself coffee I packed up camp and headed off to the high school where my daughter was running in the State track championship.

Here she is carrying the Alaska flag after her team placed first in the 4x800 relay.

I left shortly after the awards were given because it was starting to cloud up and I didn't want to ride late in bad weather. I did stop for one classic Alaska shot...

I was glad I had left when I did. As it was, I ran the last 100 plus miles in heavy rain, wind, and 37 degrees. I'd have been in big trouble had I not had a heated jacket and grips. As it was I got mildly hypothermic before I stopped and switched into winter gloves and my extra fleece neck gaitor.

Total mileage on the trip: 763 miles
Wildlife Count: 2 moose, 3 rabbits, 5 swans, 3 beaver, 1 ptarmigan, and a lot of ducks and geese.

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