Happy 4th of July! (Tok, Alaska)
July 4th, 2008 · (Miles to date 745)
“Hey, Davy!” I whispered in his ear early this morning. “We’ve got a treat for you. A pancake breakfast!”
Davy woke up quickly. “Where?”
After such a late night last night, we felt terribly guilty waking the kids up early this morning, but we hoped to get into Tok in time for the 4th of July celebrations – which meant getting up early and pushing hard. (We had discussed it as a family, and the kids decided they wanted to go for it)
Craig and Lani, a couple of missionaries to the native villages in the area, had offered a pancake breakfast before we hit the road – an offer we couldn’t refuse.
With bellies full of pancakes and bacon, we hit the road – 47 miles from Tok. Normally, that 47 miles would take us all day, but the kids were motivated to get to Tok, so we pushed hard (very hard!) and made it here by 2:30.
Although we missed most of the celebrations, we arrived in plenty of time for a salmon feed and music. Larry’s dad (from North Pole) was playing fiddle in the band, so it was fun to hang out and listen to the music for the evening.
We are now staying with some friends of Larry and Lisa, Kevin and Shannon – it’s nice to have a place to call home for a few hours!
An Unfriendly Sort (Yukon, Canada)
July 9th, 2008 (Miles to date: 932)
“Git!” I heard from behind me. “Git outta here! I don’t want no bicyclists here!”
I turned around and saw a grizzled old man yelling at John, who was riding just behind me.
As we rode along this morning we encountered an RV Park. Given the remoteness of this road, passing an RV Park is an event, even if it does have a “closed” sign in front of it. Thinking we might be able to avoid filtering, we pulled in to ask for water.
I pulled up next to picnic table and got off my bike to look for someone to ask, just as the caretaker approached John. Needless to say, we turned around and left.
I have to say I feel sorry for the old man – I can’t imagine harboring such hatred and hostility toward people simply because they happen to ride bicycles. We talked with another cyclist today, and apparently the old man treats all cyclists as he did us. What a shame.
I can’t figure out where all these hills are that everyone warned us about. In Tok, people said it got really hilly as soon as we crossed the border, but we’ve been very pleasantly surprised. The cyclist we met today told us it’ll be like this til Haines Junction 130 miles away!
Davy and Daryl, once again, found a cold lake for a swim. There’s just something about those two – if there’s water, they gotta get in. I think I might start keeping a tally of how many lakes the boys swim in between Alaska and Argentina.
Luckiest Woman on Earth (Kluane Lake, Yukon, Canada)
July 10th, 2008 (Miles to date 981)
As I pedaled through the rugged Yukon wilderness, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky to have this opportunity to bike the world with my family.
Today we cycled through a gorgeous valley bordered by some of the highest mountains in Canada. Throughout the day, the jagged, snow-capped peaks occasionally revealed themselves through the clouds. It’s one of those areas where you look around and can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of awe.
On top of biking through some of the most incredible scenery on Earth, I’m doing it with the people I love most. I’ve got a husband who shares my passion for cycling the world, and two of the happiest boys around. And I get to be with them 24/7.
Davy and Daryl are so full of life these days. They are happy, vibrant, and absolutely delightful to be around. It’s like being out in Mother Nature’s handiwork has flipped a switch in them and turned them into the most creative, energetic, alive little boys imaginable. I feel so lucky to have this time with them, and can’t imagine the day I tire of watching them play.
I know so many people who simply can’t do what we’re doing for one reason or another, so I’m convinced I’m the luckiest woman on earth.
Traversing the Yukon
July 11th, 2008
I feel so insignificant – so miniscule and dwarfed in comparison to everything around me. The Yukon’s motto is Larger than Life, and I have to say it’s very appropriate.
Riding along the shores of Kluane Lake today, I gazed thousands of feet up at the “hills” on my other side. Their tops extended up to the heavens, and yet I knew I was looking at only the foothills – the real mountains were hidden behind them.
There are no words to describe this area, and I now understand why poets struggle to capture the grandeur and magnificence of the Yukon. Right now, I’m gazing out our tent door at the sparkling waters of Kluane Lake and the multitude of spruce trees surrounding us. Across the lake, enormous snow-capped mountains rise to the heavens. It truly is larger than life.
Ahhhh….Luxury! (Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada)
July 14th, 200
I never thought a shower could feel so good…
We made it - to civilization at last! Granted, most people wouldn’t consider Whitehorse (population 20,000) civilization, but when you’ve just pedaled 600 miles with a grand total of three tiny communities and up to 300 miles between anything, Whitehorse is huge. I mean HUGE!
We are now here in the Two-O-Two Motor Inn, and are basking in the luxuriousness of it all. It’s truly amazing what makes us happy.
We’ve had a fabulous ride here, but we’re tired. Yes, we’ve been pushing - a lot. For those of you who have followed us before, you know this kind of mileage is not something we do on a regular basis. But there are a few very good reasons for it right now.
The first and foremost reason for pushing hard is that we need to get to Mexico by the time winter hits. Given the fact that we generally pedal around 700 miles/month, and the fact that we have around 4000 miles to go, it doesn’t take a lot to figure out that we’ll be running into winter in the Rockies if we maintain our normal pace. Hence, we’ll travel faster than normal right now and slow down once we are in a safe zone.
The other reason for pushing on this last stretch was the sheer remoteness of it. “Towns” (I hesitate to call them towns because they were barely anything at all) were at least 100 miles apart, and one time we pedaled 300 miles between locations where we could buy food. When you are carrying all your own food, you know you have no choice but to move.
So - we’re here, and we’re happy we are. We’ll be staying here in Whitehorse for a few days in order to rest and recuperate before pushing on.
A number of people have asked what our general route is, so I’ll put it here. Keep in mind that this very well may change… At this point, we are thinking we will head down toward Jasper and go through the Canadian Rockies. From there we’ll drop down through Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and Arches National Park, then on to Mexico. If that proves too difficult for whatever reason, we’ll make a beeline over to the coast and follow the coast south like we did on our last trip - winter will be less severe there than in the Rockies.
Visit Nancy’s blog splot Family on Bikes for more entries, pictures and blog entries from the twins Davy and Daryl and dad John! And thank you Nancy for sharing your family’s journey with Donne Tempo and Donne Travels!