July 14, 1999
After packing my tent and getting ready to leave, I knocked on the front door to say good-bye once again on my journey. Raven answered the door and I thanked her for all she had done. It is times like this that really enhance my journey, meeting people that invite me in to share a part of their lives as I briefly pass through.
Now I'm again alone without a riding partner to meet up with at the end of the day. The dynamics are totally changed when alone. Even riding alone during the day, you at least have someone at the end of the day to share stories with, and someone who has just done the same thing that day. At times it is good to be alone, that is when opportunities seem to open up to meet new people. But it can be VERY lonely at times. That is my biggest challenge, learning to be alone. The mental challenge is far tougher then the physical challenge. If I'm tired I can stop riding, but I cannot stop the loneliness while here in the middle of the vast wilderness of the Yukon.
After riding about 20 minutes, Manfred and Jacqui pull off the road to talk to me. They will be in Dawson City for awhile and I told them to check the pubs and coffee houses in a few days to find me. At the beginning of my journey, I was able to quit my caffeine habit. But somewhere along the way I began drinking more and more cokes and coffee. Now I indulge in several a day and am back to my old caffeine habit. So naturally I spend a lot of time in coffee houses, my old favorite is Vanilla-Hazelnut Latte, now its Mocha with Almond flavor added.
Continuing my ride, I end up finding some signs of civilization on this desolate road. I pulled up to Braeburn Lodge and parked my bike next to the front porch area. While putting my sunglasses in my handlebar bag, I heard a female voice say "hello". Looking up, I see a girl sitting in a chair with a small nose ring and smoking a cigarette. She's a waitress for the café, taking a break. I was informed that other cyclists were camped here last night. Well, since I know all the ones on the road right now, that means it has to be the Germans. She verified that with her description of them. They were 2 days ahead, and now just 1 day ahead of me. Ill be able to pass them tomorrow, no problem. She asked about my ride, and when I told her she said, "Ive been hearing about you, youre a legend!" No way, geez, people are starting to talk about me. After guzzling 2 12oz cans of Coke, I hit the road with a little boost.
It was a very quiet night all alone on this desolate stretch of road. There were not anymore cars on the road late into the night. I listened to my walkman and the techno music helped to really enhance this surreal feeling I was having. The air was very cool, smelling so wonderfully fresh and alive. It felt as if I was moving through another dimension of space and time..... ahhhhhhhh I was sooo awake and alive letting the life force all around me get breathed into my lungs and through my body. This must have been another world I entered as I had begun to feel almost weightless just floating along in the cool night.
By 1:30am I was getting tired and needed to stop. I was being thrust back into reality by some of these hills and the headwinds that are brutal. Finding the "Plume Agate Gem and Mineral Trail", I walked up the trail away from the road and isolated in the thick bush. I pushed my bike back into the trees and laid on the ground to sleep. Without my tent and sleeping bag I felt like a wild animal sleeping directly on the dirt. By 2:30am the temperature dropped and I was very cold. I took out my sleeping bag and crawled inside to sleep.
If I really allowed myself to think about that fact that I am sleeping on the ground in the Yukon wilderness, I would kinda scare myself. In a way I was really tired and did not care if there were any bears around, but I did keep my can of bear spray clutched in one hand as I slept. My mind would play out all these scenerios of how a bear would attack me. Would he just jump on me and start clawing? Would he begin chewing and gnawing? Would he just drag me away in my sleeping bag? Would I have time to get my hand out of the zippered sleeping bag to spray him with the bear spray? I was indeed a bit fearful, all alone, off the road, in the forest, with my food close by. At least with a riding companion, you do have safety in numbers. The night was quiet and I laid there waiting to see if the morning would come. Somewhere in these thoughts, I fell asleep.
Today - 106.53 miles