DAY 144

August 5, 1999

I got up to see another busload of tourists here in Chicken. After walking into the cafe', I decided I couldn't stand being in there. Too many people, too much noise and everyone seemed to be in a hurry and stressed. I walked back out headed for my tent when a lady from a picnic table outside said, "you see many bears?" Crap, one of them is trying to talk to me, NO... go away! She thought I was a local since I appeared from out back and was going back in that direction. I wanted to make up a bunch of stories to tell her like the guy from Steamboat Mountain. But I stopped and just explained that I wasn't from here and told her about the bears I saw along the Alaska Highway. I was trying to be as polite as possible although I didn't want to talk to anyone at all.

After the bus was gone, I had my tent packed and I was ready to go. Before leaving, I went inside and had Susan fix me 2 turkey sandwiches for the road. That will be a nice treat for lunch, instead of pulling out my camp stove and fixing something.

It was another hot day like the previous days. I stopped after riding about 25 miles and decided to eat my lunch and just relax. It was probably about 30 minutes of relaxation when a van pulls off the road with a canoe strapped to the roof. Out jumps a dog with its owners. They waved and said hello, I got up from where I was sitting, I had been leaning against my bike that was lying on its side, and walked over to say hi. Their names were Magnus, Astrid and their dog Mika. Both of them are from Switzerland and came here for a vacation to do a lot of hiking in the wilderness. They got the dog while they were here and unfortunately Denali National Park wouldn't let them hike and camp there with their dog, but Kluane NP in Canada would. Anyway we talked for about 2 hours and Astrid shared some of her bicycle touring stories around New Zealand with a BOB trailer. She said that she wished she had more photos of it and asked if I wanted a photo of me riding. I said sure and she used my camera to take my photo.

This is incredibly cool to meet so many kind people! How can I really go back to the real world?! And why should I even consider Prudhoe Bay when my best times now are interacting with people? I've had enough alone time on desolate roads and I'd prefer meeting people like this instead of spending all that time on a long desolate road up to Prudhoe Bay. Maybe I will just go to Vancouver Island and visit those other friends I have made along the way that gave me their addresses there.

I continued on and decided I will get to Tok and definitely end my journey there. Susan was skeptical that I could make the 76 miles from Chicken to Tok with a loaded bike. She only knew of one German guy that road that distance in these long steep hills. Even with my 2.5-hour break I knew I could make it there no problem tonight.

After riding just over 40 miles, I was zoomin' on a downhill.... 35..36..37 ..38 ... 39 ..40 41mph!!!! yes!!!! 41mph on a rough dirt road "Banzai!" I was flying down and approached the bottom when I saw something in my peripheral vision. I don't look around too much when I'm flying downhill. I have to pay attention to every detail of the road and prepare for the road surface ahead. I took a quick glance and noticed another cyclist sitting on the ground in an open area near the road. I hit my brakes and my back tire begins to skid as I slide to a stop. The guy looked up and smiled at my antics as I rode up to greet him. His name was Bruce and this is his first ride too. After talking for a while, I decided that if this is definitely going to be the end of my ride, I should stop and spend one more night on the road before going to Tok.

Bruce told me a story about 2 kids that just graduated high school and had planned a year to ride their bikes from Prudhoe Bay to the tip of South America. On the morning of the third day along the Dalton Highway, one of them says, "that's it, I've had enough" and quits. The other one continued and Bruce met him on the road... hmmm I think it was near Tok. Anyway, I couldn't believe someone would give up so easily after a year of planning and only 2 days of riding, then hitch a ride with a truck. So the young guy is now solo to ride through Central and South America. That seems a bit too dangerous in some of those places with political unrest, especially for an American. Most of the foreigners I have met on my journey have told me the attitudes of most countries towards Americans. It is always better to lie and say you are Canadian to people you meet in other countries, then you will get treated better.

Today - 41.89
 Total - 6114

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