8/1/83. After taking care of chores and saying goodbye to friends, especially John and Peggy, in Fairbanks, I finally got biking at 4 pm. Mostly overcast but no rain. Rainbow in front most of the way. Camped at Harding Lake for the night. Very few mosquitoes. Took picture at Wayside Pond, about 31 miles outside of Fairbanks, of a rainbow reflection. Not outstanding. About 43 miles today.
8/2/83. Left around 10:30 after my tent dried from rain during the night. Had lunch at Delta's visitor center's covered tables, during which it poured. Lost my rear view mirror in Delta. I was riding toward Dot Lake when I had a rear flat and a broken spoke. But sunshine and a tail wind again. Camped at a rest area by the Gerstle River. Rain during the night again. Arrived around 9 or 9:30. Saw many flickers along margin of road.
8/3/83. Dried my tent in morning sunshine and trued rear wheel. Left around 10:30. Great tail wind all day. Some hills, some flat. Met 6 bikers (1 couple and a group of 2 guys and a girl and an older person riding with them). All headed to Fairbanks. Shower in Tok. Camped at campground by the Tok River (5 miles from town). Met Dave (Friend of Mark Ross's), Bill (hitch hiking south) and Meinhardt (a German hitch hiker). All pleasant. Locals came by around 3 making as much noise as possible.
8/4/83. Got an early start, finally, around 8. Passed the German hitchhiker. Hit the hills and a headwind, but had seeing Butch (who was a roommate of mine in Fairbanks) again at the Department of Transportation as an incentive. When I got to Northway Junction, I realized he works in Northway (7 miles from Northway Junction, in the wrong direction). Decided to forget the idea of seeing Butch. Had some great apple pie at a cafe and headed for Gardiner Creek Campground, about 15 miles. Got on the road and discovered the wind changed directions and felt fantastic. Hit the area (18 miles) of construction I'd been warned about by motorists and told is wasn't so bad by bikers. It was fine. The pilot car drove me across the 7 miles of actual construction. The driver was a red-haired lady, about 40, who has been in construction for many years. Lives in a travel trailer now. CBers complaining about the wait or asking obnoxious questions were very tactfully put in their places by her. She's good. She said she thought she recognized me. I don't think so. Anyway, riding on the unpaved road (beautiful scenery) was so pleasant I passed up the campground and headed for the border. When I arrived, I was sorry to find out that Canadian customs was 20 miles further. I was tired and my back hurt (I moved the saddle up and think that helped). The Canadian highway is incredibly steep. I don't think the US could get away with that. Bumpy paved. I was totally exhausted upon reaching customs around 9:30 and about 100 miles from Tok. Went through customs (no hassle whatsoever) and pulled off the road at the nearest patch of upland trees (I guess learning about tree habitats paid off). Leaves were wet. Mosquitoes were very, very bad. Had a peach for dinner and crashed.
8/5/83. Oatmeal for breakfast, trying not to catch mosquitoes on the way to my mouth (six were in the boiled water). It started drizzling so I quickly packed up and left. I stopped at a store for some Cristie's apple-filled oatmeal cookies, which are better that Grandma's, and left Beaver Creek around 9 into a much worse headwind that 8/4's. Felt weak, probably because of the big day before with no dinner. Stopped for a "special burger" (not that special) and a glass of milk (very small for $1.00) at a cafe. Called Greg. He said he decided to join me, quit his job, but changed his mind when he discovered the cost of getting his bike fixed, panniers, bus to Haines, etc. He says there are things in Alaska that he still wants to do. Too bad, but at least I can relax now and don't have to worry about catching the ferry to Sitka to meet him. I felt kind of lonely then, and that damn wind. Didn't feel like peddling 35 miles to Kluane so I camped around 4:30 at Lake Creek Campground about 50 miles from Beaver Creek. Such a sort trip will make the next few jaunts awkward due to the spacing between campgrounds. Very nice campground and I had the best site - away from others, right next to the "creek" (actually river size). $5 charge. Built a fire, then joined the crew in the shelter designated "Kitchen No Sleeping" complete with wood cooking stove and two picnic tables. Met a young couple from Colorado, Greg and Sheri, who brought everything but the kitchen sink with them, had a top-of-the-line Northface tent, and shared my campsite. Also cooking (and maintaining the stove) were 2 older couples who traveled together. Very friendly and funny. They played cards.
8/6/83. Got up around 11, although my watch said 6. Was very slow at moving, hoping the headwind would die down. It didn't. Had a small expensive salad at Kluane Wilderness Village and a small, very expensive glass of milk with poor service. Trudged on to Burwash Landing (about 60 miles from the Lake Creek Campground) only to learn that the University of British Columbia's Arctic Institute was 40 miles further. They let me camp in a big horse-manured field (in which there was a wild strawberry patch!) Had a $12 steakette dinner. Good. Went to bed under clear skies.
8/7/83. Got up early. It was clear, but cold and windy. Had some of my shitty-sweet "frooty" cereal. Went back to bed. Got up. Still windy. Packed up. Met Meinhardt again at the resort desk. He had spent 3 days (unsuccessfully) hitch-hiking at Tok, finally got a ride, but the driver couldn't get across the border (no ID). Meinhardt decided to take a bus from Beaver Creek. Got lots of groceries at Talbot Arms. Was quite the tourist attraction. A bus load converged upon me, asking questions and exclaiming "Oh, my God" in unison. Got some cookies called "Chocolate Digestibles. Was a bit worried they were laxatives or something, but after eating some of them and some chocolate pudding, I was ready to tackle the rest of the trip to the Institute. Lost elevation and either the wind velocity died down a little or the food helped because I felt good. The sun was out. I took some pictures of Kluane Lake with an old cache in the foreground and snow capped mountains in the background. Stopped at a Park Service observatory at Sheep Mountain and saw 2 sheep. The lady attendant said they come to the mountain for the winter but it was too early yet. She also recommended a movie at the visitor's center in Haines Junction. After many delays, including awing at the spectacular scenery, I made it to the Arctic Institute (it was a 40 mile day). I introduced myself to Jean and Scott and was treated to a hamburger barbecue on the sunny beach. I took a shower and washed clothes. I pitched my tent about 40 feet from the water, said goodnight, made some hot chocolate, and watched the sun set over the lake and mountains. Ahhh!