Office hours

Dear future me,

Sitting in Fast Eddy’s (Tok, Alaska), having a steak and a beer, it feels like I’m home. Not because I have steak’s and beers back home (I hardly ever drink beer, only when it is really really necessary… when I had a nice motor ride or when I played sports or maybe going to a theater or just on a Friday afternoon at the office or…well, hardly ever). No, it’s because I’ve been here twice. It’s the portway to or out of Alaska. Four weeks ago I passed Tok on my way to D2D in Dawson City. Two weeks ago I passed Tok on my way to Fairbanks, where I took some time to prepare myself for The Dalton Highway. This is the road that all bikers talk of because it’s leading to the Arctic Circle on 800 km of (shitty?) off-road. Well, it might be a really bad road when it’s raining, but once again my happy flags and all the other good luck tokens I got from friends are doing their work! And this time I’m in good company: Peter, a English guy I met in Seward, waited for me to get to Fairbanks. Or was it because his fuel pump had broken down? Anyway, this time it wasn’t me and the mosquitoes. This time it was me, Peter and all the friends and relatives of the mozzies. I heard cheering (translated to Mozzies: bzzzzzz) all the way up to Prudhoe Bay and they all tried to hug me. As I’m not familiar to the habits of these mozzies, I misunderstood them and kept my helmet on…..all the way.

We did make it to Prudhoe Bay, or actually Deadhorse. It’s a funny big oil complex where bunkers serve as a hotel. Inside this hotel a sort of underground city evolved and I was a happy habitant for 110 dollar per night. Happy, because mozzies where not aloud. And happy because the food was unbelievable good and ‘free’!! It made the trip up to this northish end of Alaska worthwhile even if some parts of the road where pretty tricky. The road itself was heaven on earth compared to the Dempster Highway, that I took earlier. It was where the road works started, that it got a bit challenging. Not the parts where there actually was a sign saying ‘Road works ahead’. No I’m talking about the parts where you are suddenly nose to nose with a tractor that is spreading soapy stuff on the roads out of nowhere. Thank god that my KLR is a happy camper on these sorts of unpavement, so I made it back to Fairbanks in one piece.

That’s no to say for Brian, a guy I met in my (beautiful) hostel in Fairbanks the day before I went up the Dalton. He just bought a beaver skin and was thrilled about it; threw the pelt practically in my face. I did explain that I wasn’t really fond of scraping the skin off nature’s inhabitants, but on the way up to Deadhorse he constantly talked about his beaver skin. As Peter and I were heading back to Fairbanks, we met his co-riders, who told us that Brian lost his precious beaver on the tricky parts of the road. He apparently was so upset, that he decided to ride back to Fairbanks in one stretch. As bikers always talk to each other on the roads, we learned later that Brian had an accident: broke his rib and kept on going even when he and his bike were in bad shape. Wow, this beaver really had his revenge! I hope that all the other pelts that are sold here in Alaska don’t have their ways of getting back on their (new) owners, because then there would be heaps of people being miserable.

As I earlier said, I like the animals most when they are quiet alive and walking around. And as weeks progress, I can say I did see them in this condition near the roads and in national parks. After Fairbanks I headed for Denali National Park, that is only accessible by bus. I changed my tires to walking feet and hiked my way up some mountains. Not that I saw any animals up there, but that had probably to do with the fact that my ranger kept yelling ‘Hey Bear’ to scare off the bears. I think that most animals don’t know there NOT a bear, so I only got to see Moose, Caliboe, Foxes and Grizzly Bears when I was in the bus. Except for the bear at the Eielson Visitor Center, who clearly didn’t attend bear school where they learn that the accepted distance to humans is 300 yards. Even with my tiny camera I shoot pictures and video’s that show an actual bear instead of a brown dot. That was the only time I wanted to see a bear. In all other circumstances, my blind eye helps me out. This feature (given by mother nature herself) helps me not to see dangerous animals in dangerous times (grizzlies that are chasing a moose calf at 30 meters from my tent) or in disgusting times (dogs on barbeques…different country though).

Leaving Denali was hard, but riding the Denali Highway was heaven on earth. This off-road gives you fantastic views on the Denali Range and the Alaska Ranges, while riding through a tundra valley next to the river. Wow, I never get enough of this! Although the long rides I make per day (450 km) are wearing me out now. I didn’t get any rest when I was camping near Valdez, because I took these very exhausting day trips to Valdez en to Kennecott, an old mining town in the Wrangell St Eliot National Park (another pearl of Alaska). Especially this last ride was a  bit heavy, cause I explored some old wagon roads on my bike. Lots of fun, but it made me concentrate on the big rolling stones, the fallen tree (just across the road..mmm) and of course all the bears I was expecting. It did make the beer taste extra good this time.

Yes, being on the road is hard work, damn this whole journey is hard work. Apart from the riding, I’m constantly chatting to people I meet everywhere, taking a million photos and video’s per day (extra thanks to my Go Pro), editing all my million photos and video’s per day (double extra thanks to my Go Pro), uploading all my million photos and video’s per day (magnitude of thanks to my Go Pro), writing my diary, writing this blog, keeping my locations updated and skype with my parents. But I’m sticking to my usual office hours, so I never leave before ten in the morning and never seem to arrive sooner than eight in the evening. But I think I need some time off, take a holiday away from office. So I’m heading to Haines to stay there for a while, leave my bike alone and hop on a boat to Juneau. That sounds like a plan!


Annemieke, 17 July 2013

Reacties 7

Trudie 18-07-2013 21:05

Hey there,
Sounds like fun.
We 'er going on a holiday too.
See you in september.
See you,

Rita 19-07-2013 07:02

Hi Annemieke,
You are really having a good time!
Hope to remember what you told me about the food and drinks in Peru (I'll let you know).

Marlen 19-07-2013 16:44

Hoi Annemieke,
Je hebt het maar druk!!! Geniet ervan en een hele fijne reis verder!
Groetjes, Marlen

Harrie 19-07-2013 22:18

Weer een mooi verhaal en zo te lezen volkomen naar je zin . Je maakt het wel mee groots hoor .

Harrie 19-07-2013 22:19

Weer een mooi verhaal en zo te lezen volkomen naar je zin . Je maakt het wel mee groots hoor . Het blijft landings bier

Adri 19-07-2013 22:28

Hoi Annemieke,
Blijf vooral schrijven! Leuk om zo mee te reizen!
Veel plezier nog,

Patrick 20-07-2013 19:47

Zo te lezen zijn er al heel wat mooie kilometers onder je wielen door gerold! En ja, ruim 400 km. per dag is best inspannend!
Woensdag 24 juli vertrek ik met een vriend samen op de motor naar de CĂ©vennes in Frankrijk. Iets minder ver dan jij, maar ook daar schijnt het mooi te zijn. Ik ben echter na 10 dagen weer thuis, terwijl jij nog heel veel dagen voor de boeg hebt. Geniet ervan!


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