Forever young

Dear future me,

Sometimes spontaneous plans work out the best. Since I desperately needed some time off from my bike, I headed to the last part of Alaska I hadn’t explored. That is to say: the last piece I could reach by bike, as most of Alaska isn’t penetrable at all! So once again I crossed the Canadian Border to ride to the far south and re-enter Alaska’s Inside Passage. This South East part consists of glaciers, islands and fjords as far as you can see. The ideal place to go on a vacation. To reach it, you have to ride the Alaska Highway (Alcan) which is worst than most off-roads. I think this road is a bit jealous of the sea and tries to copy its features, so instead of riding on a smooth surface you ride on waves of pavement. Occasionally you see a sign reminding you that it is a bit wobbly over here, but it is as if they put a sign in the middle of the sea: you are already aware that you have to hold on to everything you got. I messed up anyway, because I didn’t check all the bolts on my bike and whoppa: I managed to get rid of the inside part in my speedometer cable when it came loose from my bike. I am used to it though as I’ve been riding on a Tenéré for years that had no clue how fast it was going.  And the bike stays young forever as the miles don’t count anymore. Seems like a good deal, at least one of us won’t wrinkle up and get all kinds of aging problems!

As the tall body on top of the bike does get older every day, it needed a good place to sleep and to relax for a while. So my heart was pounding with pure joy when I got sight of Haines, a small town at the waterfront in the South East. As I settled in to stay in a cabin for at least three days, I slowly started to transfigure from a traveler to a tourist. Most of the days I left my bike at peace and walked to this lovely town which reminds me of New Zealand. Within a day I made up my mind about my vacation to be and it took me 1 hour to plan and make reservations for my ferry trips: Haines – Juneau – Sitka – Petersburg – Juneau – Haines. Juneau, because it is the capital of Alaska. Sitka, because of its Russian influences and orthodox church. Petersburg, because I overheard someone saying it was pretty as a Norwegian village. Really nice these spontaneous actions of me, but I forgot to check if there would be any hostels. So I ended up in a hotel in Petersburg, which hurt my wallet big time, but pampered the luxurious nennie inside me.

I did think twice though about my transportation when I got to the islands. At first I thought about bringing my bike, just as a means of getting from the ferry into town. Juneau, proud capital of Alaska, has this ingenious system where they leave tourist on the ferry without any means of transportation into the town (18 miles) except for taxi’s. As 35 dollars one way really, really, really hurts a backpacker like me, I tried to find ways out of it. In the end I decided to play it safe and at least get a taxi for the first ride into town and share it with others. So, one taxi ride from my hostel in Haines to the ferry and then one taxi ride from the ferry to Juneau. Doesn’t sound too complicated, but in reality it is pretty hard to arrange. Not because it is difficult to call the taxi companies and ask them to come and get you at a certain time. No, the difficult part begins when your taxi in Juneau get highjacked by others and you mistakenly call the Haines taxi to ask them to send another. It took us 40 minutes to work out that they were searching for me at the ferry dock in Haines, while I was wondering around the ferry docks in Juneau.

Thankfully, this little mistake didn’t proof to be a sign on the wall for the rest of my vacation. In fact, I discovered that the weather gods are on the same page as me. They don’t plan ahead either, but just decided per day what is going to happen. When I left Haines, I prepared myself for cold and rainy days as the weather forecasts were really bad. I was actually a bit jealous, because I read all this nice reports of a heat wave in Holland. No worries, I got a whole week of beautiful hot weather, unheard of here in Alaska! They (people) were hoping for some more rain to please the salmon who are desperately in need of water. They (the salmon) must really need it, because they are all jumping out of the water to check if it is raining. No chance though, because this nennie needs sunny weather all year round to make her extra happy. And so far, the weather gods have chosen my side in this quest: Alaska has the greatest summer ever!

So here I am, between the jumping fish, the gliding whales, the gorgeous glaciers, the rainforest mountains and the stunning water sounds, happily on my vacation. Juneau turns out the be a giant tourist trap and you have to look beyond the big cruise ships from Rotterdam (yeah, Dutch Power!) to see its beauty. Sitka and Petersburg are marvelous little pearls on islands in the South East where comparisons to heaven are floating thoughts in my mind. Here it is, where my body is coming back to its original state, one that is fit, healthy and relax. Due to all the kayaking and hiking. Too bad it also made me aware that my young days are over: jumping over a river isn’t the thing I should do anymore. Especially when I have to hike for another 5 hours to get back down from a hill (for all the Dutch readers: a mountain!) and I’m trying to keep up with young Austrian fellow hikers. It added an extra element to my body: a giant bobble on my ankle. Mmmm, it’s time to get back on the bike!

SYL,

Annemieke, 31 July 2013

Reacties 7

Jacqueline 01-08-2013 09:43

Again the amazing adventures of 'The Nennie' continues , fun to read. Take care!

Trudie 01-08-2013 19:18

Hai there nennie. It seems to go very well. Keep up the unprepared and unplanned experience. That's more fun.

Jim Laura massie 01-08-2013 21:03

Nennie glad to hear you are continuing your great advendure in Alaska and getting some relaxing time.

Patrick 02-08-2013 21:29

Hoi Nennie,
Ik ben net terug van een motorvakantie in de CĂ©vennes in Frankrijk en vond de wegen daar al erg hobbelig. Maar dat zal niets zijn geweest vergeleken met de Alaska Highway! Overigens is het een goed idee om de motor af en toe te laten staan. Dan heb je daarna weer zin om te gaan rijden! Veel plezier verder!
Groetjes,
Patrick

Yvonne vd L 03-08-2013 10:46

Hello Annemieke,
I feel sorry for you that you realised that you get older. I know that's not a nice feeling. There will be a lot instead, I'm talking about my own experience, grey hair, wrinkles etc. So, keep smiling and keep biking!
Here in the Netherlands the weather is very good. A lot of sunshine and high temperature. At these days it's a pleasure to work in a airconditioned building, and in the evening it's like on holiday with a nice drink in the backyard.
I enjoy your stories and certainly your wonderful pictures. Dear greatings!

Harrie 04-08-2013 22:08

Hoi Annemieke
Leuk verhaal weer laat goed lezen hoe je daar te keer gaat . Ja je bent niet de jongste meer maar dat doet er niet toe je doet het wel en dat vind ik fantastisch. Dat die zalm helemaal het water uit komt om te kijken dat het regent dat is me toch wat . hahaha.
wacht met spanning af naar je volgende verhaal . sterkte en nog een mooie reis . PS niet te veel met die taxi's he heb je niets aan gewoon lopen of met de motor .
groetjes Harrie

Dennis 06-08-2013 11:54

Wat een gave verhalen! Ik zie nu ook pas dat je ook foto's hebt ge-upload, super mooi hoor.
Heb je met al die kilometers al een "Annemiekje" gemaakt?

Dennis

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