A week of bicycling in Alaska

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8

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End of Day 2

Slowly and slowly, chugging along, I reached my destination for the day. I decided to camp at one of the only two lodges on the Denali Highway. I was about to sleep a well spent day, but back home, everyone was worried. No cellphone connection, no phones anywhere, no contact.

Day 3 begins: Susitna River Bridge

A fine start of the third day. Clear weather, high spirits, good sleep, good views. Standing a top the Susitna bridge. Trying to establish some contact home, I asked a passing car to call Himanshu if and when they get the network signal, and to let him know that I am safe and strong. Himanshu would then call home telling them about my safety. Later I was told that this technique worked as people back home were able to know of my safety, however, not able to hear me they were still pretty worried.

Think of the devil

How could everything go on so smoothly. There has to be mishaps. I was just thinking about how lucky I was not to get a flat tire. Lo and behold, a flat tire. From this point on, I had at least three more flat tires but most of them were due to my inexperience with the tire and pump. At times I punctured the tubes while installing back the tires. At times the constant wobble of the pump while filling in air made the valve joint weak and ultimately unusable.

The high point

This photo marks the first high point of the trip. The white dots on the back are actually hailstones. This is how the story goes.
A couple of incoming cars were wet, on inquiring they told be about heavy rain ahead. Over an hour lost to fix the flat tire made it difficult to wait for rain to subside, not even knowing if it would. Putting on my rain gear, I marched forward. To my horror, it was not rain that I was destined to meet, but hailstorm. Consoling myself that things could be worse, I decided to continue. Half a mile more and the hailstorm intensified. I was literally riding on a road turned white with hail. Literally. Almost on the verge of defeat, I saw a motor-home approaching me. As it neared, the lady in the passenger seat started applauding. A smile on my face. The next moment, the car almost stopped, the driver also gave me an applause. A smile in my heart. This was all the encouragement I needed. Two strangers, whose glimpse is what I got to see, were the reason I got strength to go on. Strength enough to think clearly, as to take a photo as soon as the hail mellowed out.

Hail Storm

Thankfully the hail stopped after a mile or so. Looking back where I came from. Fallen hail on the nearby hill, and falling hail on the one behind that. To further lighten the mood, I met with another approaching motor-home. Seeing me wet and tired, they stopped and offered me some water. "Thanks, I appreciate it but I have enough water", I replied. "Just wait a minute" came back the response. She went back in (its a motor home, you can actually go back), opened her refrigerator and offered me a bottle of juice. "This would help to get some more nutrients for the ride".

Nature congrates

Another four miles and I was actually riding in clear weather again. I could not help but laugh. Few moments back, I was greeted by hail, rain and what not. Right now sun smiling at me, probably letting me know I passed the ordeal.

Looking back

Fifteen minutes later, I crossed the Clearwater Creek. The mountain engulfed in hailstorm half an hour back were now shining in clear sun.

End of day 3

Next the route passed through something called Kettle Lakes. Pools of Life, these are hundreds of small lakes that are reminders of ancient glaciers passing. As the glaciers receded they left behind blocks of slower melting ice that formed depressions called kettle holes. It actually started raining again in the last few miles, but now I was immune to the scare of the rain.

Day 4 begins: Maclaren River Lodge

The third night I was lucky enough to find accommodation at Maclaren Lodge. I was also lucky enough to find a satellite phone there to call back home. Its interesting to see that they dont have electricity (they use generators), but they were able to provide the guests with internet connection.

Cumulus clouds

The best cloud formation I have ever seen. Miles and miles of clarity with cumulus clouds.