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July 27th, 2012 | Alaska

South to Anchorage…

After spending a day on my own to rest my ankle and do some writing, I left Fairbanks this morning and rode down towards Denali National Park, to hook up with the Prudhoe Posse again…

They had ridden the 200 km down there yesterday and had planned to camp out and wait for me to rejoin them…

Still a long way to Anchorage… These distances are in miles, and I have been caught out a time or two when I forget this…!!

I spent the day with my ankle wrapped in either ice packs or swathed in a pressure bandage to alternate between hot and cold…  Just as I had been instructed to, by “Mom”… (The term I use for Chenty when she is either advising or chastising me… It’s mostly chastising though…!!)

My ankle felt a lot better this morning and after lugging my gear down 5 short flights of stairs at the University of Fairbanks, I loaded up Skew Fella and made ready for the 600 km ride to Anchorage…

The road down to Denali wound its way through a thickly forested range of low hills, and warnings about Moose crossings were posted every few kilometres… Needless to say, not one of these animals put in an appearance during my ride…!!

Which was probably a good thing, because we have since heard that a biker recently hit a moose on this road and was killed when her bike veered into the path of an oncoming truck… She was the fifth biker that had been killed up in northern Alaska, that we had heard about during our trip…

I made a quick stop at a rather famous roadside bar and grill and took these photos…

Skinny Dick’s is a popular hangout for bikers making breakfast runs from Fairbanks…

The sign tells it like it is…!!

I met up with Trevor, Chenty and Mark, enjoyed a quick cup of coffee with them, before we made the last part of our ride down to Anchorage together… It was good to be seeing them either ahead of me, or in my side mirrors, again…

The Prudhoe Posse in Denali… They had camped out, and not had as comfortable a night as I did back in Fairbanks… That will teach them…!!

My companions certainly were REAL FRIENDS…!! After my ordeal on the Dalton, they had proved that many times over…!!

We had settled into a very good riding rhythm from the time we had left Vancouver, which, considering all we have seen and experienced, seemed like ages ago, and the day we had spent apart had not affected the way we rode together at all…

The highlight of our ride down to Anchorage, was the sight of Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America, and one of the sights we all wanted to see…

Also known as Denali in the local Athabaskan’s, it stands at 6 194 m, and is covered in snow all year round… Measured from its base to its peak, it is the highest mountain in the world…

Many other mountains are higher when measured from sea level to their peaks… Everest for instance, is not as large, but it does stand on the Tibetan Plateau, which is already higher above sea level than Mount McKinley…

While Trevor and Mark stopped to take the photos below from the northern side of the mountain, I was puttering along trying to stretch my fuel out for as far as possible…

I eventually ran out and had just emptied two of my last spare fuel bottles into my tank, when they caught up to me…

We later stopped to take photos from the southern end of the mountain, and by then I had run out of fuel again…!! There are very few service stations between Denali and Wasilla, and I had to use Mark’s spare fuel to get me to Trappers Creek, where both he and I refueled…

Mount McKinley…!! It reminded me of the Alps…. (Photo by Mark…)

Not when we were passing through…!!

We rode the last 200 km to Anchorage in good time, constantly on the lookout for moose that were supposed to be plentiful in these parts, but still saw none of these huge ungulates…

The closer we got to Wasilla and Anchorage, the more traffic we encountered… This strip of the country is the most heavily populated in Alaska, which isn’t saying much, because although Alaska is the largest state in the USA, it only has the 47th highest population…!! Less than a million people live in this state, which is two and a half times the size of France for instance…!!

Anchorage lies at the top of the Cook Inlet, and is surrounded by mountain ranges to both the east and the west…

It is the northern-most major city in the United States, and more than 40% of Alaskans call this home…

In 1964, the second largest earthquake ever recorded, 9.2 on the Richter Scale, almost leveled the city… Rebuilding it took a number of years, and was only speeded up when oil was discovered in Prudhoe Bay in 1968.

Nearing the outskirts of Anchorage with the Chugach Mountain range in the background…

We had heard that the University of Anchorage also rented out their student rooms during the summer, and we made a beeline for the campus… After a bit of a runaround we eventually located the East Hall, and checked into an apartment that all four of us could share…

It has two separate bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a central lounge area… We paid $180.00 for two nights which was cheaper than we would have paid in any local hotel…

Parked outside East Hall on the Anchorage University campus…

After settling in, we rode into the city centre to find a restaurant to have dinner at, and were surprised at how busy most of the places were…

Mark and I share a salad, which got us a ribbing from Trevor…!! Marks new haircut, has not gone down well at home, I understand…!! Using my battery operated shaver, it took almost three days and multiple re-charging to finally get it done…!!

Just as we were leaving the restaurant, we saw Rachel Evanson come bouncing down the aisle between the tables, arm in arm with a friend of hers…!! It was uncanny how many times we have bumped into her since she and Damon helped me out on the Dalton a few days ago…!!

“Rachel, we have to stop meeting like this…!! People will begin talking…!!”

Our next trip will be to Whittier, a small town south-east from here, from where we will take a Glacier Boat Cruise into Prince William Sound… Home to sea otters, seals, whales and many species of birds…

Should be good fun…!!

©GBWT 2012

4 comments to South to Anchorage…

  • Kim

    Glad to see you up and about, hope the ankle is not giving you too much hassles
    “Skew Fella” – shame on you… he didn’t mock you, when he had lotsa opportunity to…
    MMMMMM!!! Don’t tell anyone – but for the first time in my life, I think I like “Skinny Dicks”!!!!
    Go safe, BIG kisses
    K

  • patricia

    So wish I was not missing this…and really missing YOU!! xoxoxo

  • Hi Ronnie, enjoyed reading your posts. Hope you’re having a great time in Alaska. Is there any way we can email you to see if we can connect further? We are a non-profit that works with travelers and communities around the world to make a positive difference.

    Thank you!


    Daniel Anggara
    Daniel@TheMuskokaFoundation.org
    Do Good as You Go!

  • Mark Behr

    Now, as you wind down and focus on your next great challenge, make sure you are enjoying all of these special moments. Thank you for sharing!

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