Day 7 - At the Polar Circle

Distance: 61.88mi | Time: 6:41

130806-taking-pictures-of-mooseIn the morning we first enjoyed a typical all American breakfast with pancakes, eggs and bacon. This was right base for the stage today. Although we already crossed the large mountains, the Brooks Range, it did not become flat again and it was more an up and down.130806-taking-pictures-of-moose-with-zoom-lenseWe crossed wonderful landscapes of lakes and discovered in one of them two moose, a little one and its mother. Around 10PM we reached the Polar Circle after very many hills. There we met our friends from Italy again, who we already saw in Deadhorse and in Coldfoot.130807-camping-at-the-arctic-circle-in-alaska Here there was also a campground with fire pits where we rested and recovered us for the next day.130807-sunrise-at-the-arctic-circle

Day 8 - The Rollercoaster

Distance: 61.88mi | Time: 7:44 | 3213 kcal

130808-beaver-slideWe directly camped on next to the Polar Circle and it was nice and warm outside. Most of the people probably won’t believe it but here in Alaska it can be very warm. We mostly had about 68F to 77F (20°C to 25°C)! We slept a little long and could see the best attraction you can imagine. A tour bus brought about 20 people up to this place here. But except for the sign saying you are at the Polar< Circle, forests and mountains, there is not much around here in this place. Whether the brought cake tasted different at the Circle, we will never know. Shortly later we started the ride because we wanted to reach the Yukon River Crossing on this day. The route after the Circle is called rollercoaster and it has this name for a reason: The road goes directly over every mountain instead of staying in the nearby. On the backside of every mountain you ride down what you previously rode up and so on for the entire day. That was really exhausting for us! The road still was now more made out of mud instead of gravel, it was usually packed but with some really dusty passages. Trucks were usually followed by a huge cloud of dirt and dust. Some time that day we realized, that Caro’s damper was sinking in way further than usual. That did not look good at all and made the uphill passages for her even worse. Very late after 10PM we reached the Yukon camp, where we could still get a sandwich and a shower for $10. 130808-burned-trees-after-forest-fire-in-alaska

Day 9 - Creative Repairs

Distance: 51.88mi | Time: 7:44 | 2757 kcal | 4866 vertical feet

130808-fixed-rear-shock-for-this-passageOn the next day we got up really early to to ride as many miles as possible. After another real American breakfast with pancakes, syrup and coffee we realized, Caro’s rear shock was completely out of air now. With this we could not ride any further. The first solution, which came to our minds was, to finish this tour to Fairbanks on the back of a pick-up but we soon dropped this solution. There must be a different solution. Our Italian friends were also standing outside with us and discussed this problem in the typical Italian way. The solution: Blocking the damper. After one failed attempt with a cable connector we tried it with straps and a lot of duck-tape (Quote Marco: “Better more than less”). Caro now had now a hardtail and we could continue our ride over more mountains and through valleys until we camped 8mi before the end of the Dalton Highway on a little parking place next to the road.130809-big-hole-in-the-dalton-highway

Day 10 - DONE!

Distance: 65,62mi | Time: 8:50 | 3172 kcal | 5058 vertical feet

130810-beginning-of-the-dalton-highway-after-the-elliot-highway-alaskaOnly 8mi to the end of the Dalton, we finally beat this crazy highway. After about one hour and another 3 mountains we are finally there at the beginning of the Dalton Highway after the junction of the Elliot Highway. This was the first junction after 500 miles by the way. Until Fairbank we had another 81mi to go. We tried to get as far as possible, but also the Elliot Highway had many hills. There we also did 1500 vertical feet uphill only to ride them down on the other side and up and down and up and so on… We still reached more than 60mi that day, also because we were riding until it got dark at 10:30PM. Parts of our trip today were covered in thick clouds from a forest fire burning nearby. These fires are typical for these season here in Alaska; we have now fire danger orange (green-yellow-orange-red). After a good portion of spaghetti we fell in our sleeping bags.130809-riding-towards-fairbanks-on-the-dalton-highway

Day 11 - Hospitality

Distance: 20mi

130810-old-airplane-in-fairbanksOnly 20mi to Fairbanks left! Our food is almost completely gone. Breakfast cereals were already eaten and we were not up for rice for breakfast so we decided to skip it this one time. Only a hot chocolate and a few power bars were left from a MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) we got from a trucker. After 10mi (hilly as usual) we came to the mountain top gas station were we bought some chocolate bars and tooth paste (we lost ours about 2 days ago, really disgusting). There we met Greg and his two kids. He passed us on the road and was interested were we come from. We chatted a bit about our trip and he invited us for a shower in his home near Fairbanks. There we could get the needed shower and finally wash our cloth again. Afterwards we drove down to two bike shops in town to get the shock fixed and could also repair a cable we accidently damaged on the way. Our charger for the battery, which got fried through one of the generators along the way, could also be replaced. We had to order the damper directly from the manufacturer and had to wait five days for the part to arrive. During the entire time family Culbert let us sleep in their camper, which was very nice of them! We used the time and did a little trip to the Denali National Park with Mount Denali (Mount McKinley), panned some gold and got our equipment cleaned and setup again for the next stage. Thank you Culberts for the incredible hospitality and help! 130811-gold-panning-in-fairbanks-alaska 130811-moose-in-the-denali-national-park-alaska 130811-trans-alaska-pipeline-in-fairbanks