Glennallen, AK to Tok, AK – 141 miles over three days.
This relatively short stretch of highway had some wonderfully varied terrain, some lovely weather, and a really great lodge where we spent a night. Oh, it was also relatively flat, which made it quite pleasant!
At first, it was flat and mostly through stunted black spruce trees. For miles and miles. A particularly amusing moment happened near a road junction where a few folks live. There were two dogs that ran out and chased us down the road a bit, and one was a giant brown shaggy beast. We joked that we had been chased by a bear, then a mere moment later, some guy in a pickup truck drove by, rolled down his window, and yelled ‘I bet y’all thought you were getting chased by a bear!” I think we all had a good laugh over it.
The riding was pleasant, but I (Daisy) have come down with a head cold so there was lots of sneezing and blowing of the nose. The weather was hot too – 70 degrees! I guess this is a heat wave for Alaska, and it certainly felt hot to us too.
We stayed at the Red Eagle Lodge, our favorite place so far by far. The owners bought a little group of historical cabins 6 years ago and have been restoring them ever since. It was only $23 to camp, shower, and both eat a delicious breakfast with them. They were a couple of characters full of stories, both from their own travelers, and from the travelers they’ve hosted. They said there is an English couple riding bicycles to Alaska that are only about 2 days in front of us! I hope we meet up with them soon.
After Red Eagle, the highway began to gently climb inland, away from the massive Wrangell mountains and into greener mountains. Near the top of the pass, the land leveled out into a wide floodplain full of moose (we saw 6) and waterfowl. It actually smelled like the beach, minus the salt. We stopped at a lodge at the pass and bought a family size bag of Doritos and a Dr. Pepper. As we ate the much-needed calories, we read the news articles provided by the lodge about the 2002 earthquake that rattled the area. It was HUGE – 7.9, and apparently even changed the frequency of geyser eruptions in Yellowstone. Wow. As we rode down the other side of the pass, we could see the spot on the highway where the entire road cracked open and split apart.
We pushed down the pass and kept pedaling all the way to a state-run campground, for a total of 78 miles that day. It was a long day for sure. At camp we met two guys and chatted with them for a bit; one had driven there from Maine, which also sounds like quite a trek. They gave us some water, which was good because the campground pump was broken. If only we had known before we paid…
Now we are in Tok, AK. It is a little town located where two highways meet. We are taking 1.5 rest days here to recover from this dang cold, work on the dissertation, and do some chores. Next we are heading up the Top of the World Highway to Dawson City, Yukon. I am so so so excited! The weather is about to turn cold, with highs in the 40s, but we are ready for it, and grateful that it won’t be raining the whole time. Next update from Dawson!