Two locals, Joe and Lisa, gave us a ride to a campground a bit north of Anchorage. They were extremely hospitable and had done some bike touring themselves. Lisa had just finished divinity school at Duke and started a job as the first woman Methodist pastor ever in Homer.
A wet evening and morning led to a mercifully dry day of biking up the tree-lined highway (with some sun eventually!) and a campsite beside Montana Creek. Davy’s knee had been hurting him and he was not optimistic about his ability to bike as much as he had planned.
The next day involved a similarly wooded day of biking. We were close to the tallest mountain in North America but couldn’t see it through the clouds. A mistake of pitching our tent at a wooded walk-in site led to the second-most buggy campsite of the entire tour. Evening rain forced a retreat to the tent for one of several competitive games of Oh Hell. One more day of biking and we would be at the entrance to Denali National Park.
Leaving La Paz was rough. Lots of stores were closed because of the holiday and finding food in the morning was challenging. Also, we ended up biking about 9 miles in a completely wrong direction, and so we started the day with 20 M’s before we went anywhere.
We also decided to not take Highway 1 out of La Paz. We thought a side road would have less traffic (which it did) and take us closer to the beach (which it did). What followed was possibly the 2 hardest days of biking I have ever done in my life.
Taking the 286 out of La Paz starts with a 15 mile up-hill (maybe 20?). Due to our misstep in the morning we did that in the hottest part of the day.
The giant uphill was followed by a downhill of about the same distance, most of which was on a single straight-away. It was wild to be coasting in the same direction at over 30 mph for half an hour. It was glorious.
Our route abandoned the paved road (which ends) and crossed some mountains on a dirt road. We did this in the late evening. It was rugged. By the time we were camping I remember any sort of movement was a serious challenge.