Dry and fully revived we rode out of Haines Junction eager to make it across the border back into Alaska. Riding alongside the Saint Elias Mountains this morning was just stunning. Even though it was overcast today the dark green vegetation against the rugged black rocky mountainside made for a dramatic visual as I weaved alongside Kluane National Park. I saw people with binoculars looking up across the mountainside and decided to pull off at the small ranger station to see what all the fuss was about. It was Dall Sheep looking like dandruff, dotted high on the mountain ridges around Kluane Lake. Kluane Lake was also a beauty to behold, with its vast cool opaque turquoise waters running alongside the highway for 50 kilometers or so!
The road from Deconstruction Bay onwards kept us on our toes with collapsed portions of very uneven tar. There was more to come. We paused briefly at Beaver Creek for a late lunch and some fuel to attack the next section between the border. We inquired about the 20 miles of road between the Canadian check point and the U.S. Border, and got various reports. All we know is that it can be a fairly challenging section of roadway in "no mans land"! Here we go…This pretty gnarly section of road construction was laid heavily with loose medium sized, sharp angled rock, that caught your tires from time to time. The shallower areas were muddier, but in my opinion, easier to handle. I really was not enjoying this, but knew that I could make it through. After traveling at a nervous 20- 30 miles per hour through this section we were fairly wiped out we finally hit "Christmas", as we call paved road, at the U.S. Border Control Checkpoint. Kev got a major chewing out, for not "stopping" completely at the stop sign before the booth! Kev was born in California, and just can't help it!!!..lol Not really the welcoming that you are expecting especially after traveling through that hellish construction zone. I proceeded through and also received a chewing as apparently I could not answer efficiently enough where we had been traveling from! Get a life, Major A-Hole! We then proceeded on to a very unimpressive Tok. Tok probably looks great in the winter! 300 miles took us 9 hours today and we are done. We checked in at the best place Tok had to offer… a very seedy hotel. We picked the cleaner of the beds, tried not to touch anything and slept fully clothed. Tomorrow is another day, and with some shut eye everything looked brighter in the morning…when we left the room, that was!!…ha ha ha
Kev and I have opted for an easier ride today. It is only 202 miles to Fairbanks. Alaska's high desert and where the aurora borealis is viewable 200 days of the year! Unfortunately wildfires have been blazing this area and the air is thick with white smoke. What you can make out of this beautiful Alaskan scenery is hidden within a haze…kind if eerie! Actually the smoke was quite thick in areas, causing me to break into a couple of coughing fits inside my helmet...not the most pleasant reactions. It was about then that I was wondering how I could fit a recycle air button onto my helmet??? We did reach the North Pole, checked out the Reindeers, rode in Santa's Sleigh and splurged at a comfy B&B in Fairbanks. We walked into nearby down town Fairbanks, visited the Cultural Visitors Center, ate dinner and walked along the Chena River. That night, or I should say very early morning I did look out for the aurora borealis, but I think that the haze from the fires has blocked its dancing beams...Oh well!