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Skiing in retirement
6th Jun 2018 - 12th Jun 2018 - North American Epic 2018
Anchorage & Away

Long flight via Reykjavik over and done we have 3 nights staying with Debs ex-work colleague Katie. Katie is kindness personified: from meeting us at the airport in husband Richards truck, to loaning her car, to cooking for us and taking us on a late evening hike, nothing is too much trouble. On top of which she makes time to see Debs in her clinic to recommend appropriate exercises to address her persistent pains.

Two days of buying supplies and basic foodstuffs means we get to explore Anchorage shopping zones. REI takes quite a lot of our $$. In return we get advice, bear spray, bear-proof food bags, camping fuel: Clif bars, dry foods for a few days-we are told there will be no shops to speak of on the road ahead.

But its not all preparation: we also take a scenic drive with Katie, Richard and daughter Jane to a restaurant in Girdwood where we sample Alaskan king crab.

June 9th is departure day and cheered on by Katie and Jane we navigate numerous intersections north through Anchorage suburbs before joining the bike path tracking the busy Glenn Highway. Our destination is the first Warmshowers host Ben and Nicki. A short sharp uphill road brings us to their house in the woods above Chugiak. Our room for the night is a yurt - complete with climbing wall. Refreshed after the obligatory warmshower we spend the evening over supper in conversation with our hosts and their two children Leo and Kaya.

The next morning starts with a live-action demo of husky dog mushing - which is Nicki’s thing - and we are on the road by mid-morning. Traffic thins as we get further from Anchorage and the old Glenn Highway gives an early glimpse of the scenic splendours ahead. A brief stop for Clif bars at a king salmon fishing spot includes a chance encounter with Richard and Gary, both anesthetists out on a short ride. We get a free sandwich and lots of info about life in Alaska: Richard asks if we are carrying a gun for bear protection: we don’t but he does and shows it neatly holstered. It turns out to be just the first time we get asked if we have a gun: even though its not unusual to have one here, it still is a bit unnerving to know that guns is what ordinary folk routinely carry.

The ride is longer and hotter than we had imagined, and though the scenery is “awesome” we are pleased to reach Pinnacle RV park where we planned to eat and sleep. Eating is out as the cafe closed before our arrival, but having dropped in at a pizza place earlier, we managed without. Rain came at 8.30 and stopped 10 hours later. But the tent was (mostly) watertight.

Pinnacle has seen better days and we hastened to be on our way. Many places on the road appear empty or derelict, and quite a few roadside tourist businesses are for sale: it's hard to think there could be any willing buyers. The fine weather has broken and we are soon into rain gear for the 40 odd mile stretch uphill to the Matanuska glacier. We are booked into the RV park, but a call ahead to upgrade to a cabin means that we know we won't be wet-tent camping. Just as well, because the rain is heavy and the temperature dropping when we pull up at Grand View cafe after 9 hours on the road. The welcome is warm, the 16” pizza super-tasty, and by 8pm we are in Tundra Rose cottage with hot shower,ample drying room, comfortable bed and hot stove. Also some Jim Beam.

Day 4 is a short 25 miler that starts in bright sunny weather that deteriorates as we approach Eureka Roadhouse at mile 128 of the Highway. Yesterday they had 5” of snow here, but it's mostly all gone now. Snow in June seems to have taken people by surprise, judging by overheard conversation, but the weather remains changeable and there is the prospect of more rain - according to the report on the weather radio that we carry.

Previous: Prepare for departure on The North American Epic


Diary Photos
6th Jun 2018  Greenland isn't very green
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6th Jun 2018  See, ice off Greenland
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6th Jun 2018  Moose in Katie's hoose
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7th Jun 2018  King of King Crabs
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8th Jun 2018  We went shopping...but not for these at "Sportsmans Warehouse"
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8th Jun 2018  Expert Angela lone cyclist travelled from Anchorage to Colorado. .full of useful tips and much wisdom.
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9th Jun 2018  Le Grand Depart
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10th Jun 2018  Alaskan Ben...in his man cave
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10th Jun 2018  Yurt climbing ....makes a change from cycling!
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10th Jun 2018  Fishing for King Salmon
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10th Jun 2018  Taking in the view
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10th Jun 2018  Nicki getting ready to mush on a scooter. Ben readies the dogs
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11th Jun 2018  View from above
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11th Jun 2018  Day 3 route. 40 miles on the Glenn Highway
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11th Jun 2018  Dillin from Utah spends the summer selling jerky to passing cyclists. We chose Elk and Buffalo
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11th Jun 2018  Tundra Rose cabin
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11th Jun 2018  Just a small motorhome
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12th Jun 2018  All Alaskan women hunters off for game hunting. ...Eureka waitresses with big guns and 4x4
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12th Jun 2018  Room with a view over the Matanuska valley and Glacier. Tundra Rose Cabin
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12th Jun 2018  View down Glenn Highway
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12th Jun 2018  The only good bears are flat bears. .Eureka Road House
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