Met my friend Steve in Brevard and spent a day a sunny day at Cedar Rock. It was my first time climbing there. Lots of water coming down but we managed to find some parts that were (mostly) dry. Steve was a big factor for me getting back into climbing after moving to Missoula and it was great to meet up with him in the east.
3 days at the Red with Tucker.
The first day we got our butts kicked trad climbing, ending with my first rappel in the dark after starting some adventure-chimney route near dusk. The start was a small roof where you are hanging from 2 hand jams after scrambling up a little ways, pretty serious for 5.8 I thought.
By the third day we left the trad-rack in the car. (gasp)
All the climbers we met were friendly, the sandstone was solid and varied, and the woods had a welcoming deciduous forest softness to them.
While I was driving from NC to CA with my friend Val in August we stopped at Shakespeare Ghost Town outside of Lordsburg in southwest New Mexico on I-10. Out of dumb luck we arrived just in time for a tour, which only happen on 2 days out of every month.
Last week I drove up to the Red River Gorge and did a few days of climbing there. I was lucky enough to meet Alex at Miguel’s Pizza after about 5 minutes of trying to find a partner. He turned out to be an awesome guy and super-fun to climb with.
This was the first climbing I have done since leaving Montana and my first time climbing in the east in nearly 10 years. I hope to go back again in the next week or so.
In honor of the first day of fall here are some pictures pulled off the old SD-780 of summer randomness.
We got off the ferry and were a bit caught off-guard by the blackness of the night. The midnight sun was no more.
We had a few days to spend in Juneau, aka “The San Francisco of Alaska”.
Carrying a bike box while you are riding a bike is not easy. (Thanks to Cycle Alaska for the boxes).
We were flying out of Juneau, but there aren’t any roads that go there. Gotta take a boat. The ride was 5 hours or so, but I wish it had been longer. One of the few times in my life I didn’t want to arrive at my destination so quickly.
The Alaska Marine Highway System is awesome. The ferry goes as far south as Bellingham, Washington. You should go check it out sometime if you haven’t. I will be back.
These pictures cover our last 3 days of biking.
Thank you Benny for your kindness to a couple of random white kids on bicycles. Take care of yourself and your sister.
Big ups to Dave at www.vaguedirection.com for being such a baller. Nothing like riding into town and being greeted with pizza.
Thank you Joe, Trish, and Tucker for your amazing hospitality, and to Joe and Lisa, and Barry for crucial rides.
Thank you to every driver who moved over to be completely in the other lane when passing when it was possible, and for the ones that would have if they could. Thank you Canada for building those awesome shelters.
Thank you to every mosquito that didn’t bite me. Thank you to every raindrop that avoided us. Thank you sun for every ray you shown on us. Thank you wind for every time you were behind us. Thank you bike for not breaking.
Thank you Biz for being my friend.
Davy I wish you could have stayed with us. Love you brother.
Our time in the Yukon was most memorable due to the large amounts of rain we encountered. The warm weather we encountered near Fairbanks seemed like the distant past.
Fortunately, many campgrounds in the Yukon have shelters with giant wood stoves in them, with precut wood in covered bins nearby. Thank you Canada. These saved our butts. No matter how wet and cold we got during the day we knew exactly how many miles we had to cover until we had the chance of being warm and dry again.
Another challenging aspect of this time were a couple of 15K stretches of roadwork where the pavement was replaced with loose gravel. You were forced to bike on the narrow section than had been compacted by car tires and cars speeding by in the other direction would shoot rocks towards you on occasion.
During one such stretch of construction when it started pouring down rain and we were forced to run unto the woods for cover for the first time. A decent-sized spruce tree provides surprisingly good shelter, and we were to use this technique several more times during the tour.
I believe these pictures cover 5 days of riding.
After Fairbanks we did two of our most mellow days, both consisted of 50 miles of flat riding in the sunshine. We were hot. We ate ice cream. It was grand.
We camped right in Delta Junction and from there it was 95 miles to Moon Lake, right outside of Tok. A consistent tailwind went a long way to make that distance seem to go by rather reasonably.
The stretch of road between Delta and Tok was extremely desolate, we had a car pass us about once every 15 minutes. The highway started to feel like a giant bicycle path.
After Tok it took us two days to cross the border into Canada.
Morning at the mosquito onslaught at Sanctuary River meant a quick exit. After packing and being turned down for a ride by a full bus, we biked the 10 miles out of Denali from Sanctuary River (repeat scenery… ) to catch the free shuttle at the Savage River.
Once we were back on the Parks Highway it was about 60 miles north to Nenana, home of the world famous Nenana Ice Classic, where you can win hundreds of thousands of dollars by guessing the exact data and time (to the second) that a weight will break through the ice every spring.
Nenana to Fairbanks was only 50 miles or so, but hilly, somewhat hot (WHAAA??!!), and exhausting. I recall spending a decent amount of time in Fairbanks lying on the grass napping. Once sufficiently rested, we ditched our stuff in the campground downtown and spent the evening biking around the city, checking out the University, and watching the sunset from the banks of the Chena River that flows through the center of town. For a weekend night in July things seemed relatively quiet.