We’re arrived in Tok, just 92 miles from the Canadian border. Our tent is pitched beside an airfield and this morning my alarm clock was the loud buzz of a light plane – akin to someone running their thumb along a giant comb right by my ear – taxiing along the scruff of land that marks the runway. Well, it’s a change from the lower pitched but more pervasive buzz of a mosquito…
Born from a construction camp setup in 1942 to build the Alcan – the Alaska-Canada Highway – today Tok doesn’t feel like much more than a sprawl of RV parks, tourist trinket shops and gas stations, each a tell tale car-friendly few hundred metres apart. If you’re not in one of the goliath RVs passing through, chances are you’re here to hunt – almost every other pickup truck (the favoured mode of transport in Alaska) seems to be pulling a quad destined for the bush. Accessories include oversized, camouflaged gun cases bolted to their sides like gunslingers rocking into town, and mini-trailers for dragging out the hefty kill – a droopy nosed, 1000lb plus moose, most likely. Tellingly, I don’t see any yoga classes advertised in the local grocery store…
We could have less than halved our mileage and been here days ago, but as usual, we’ve followed the advice of our Alaskan friends and taken the ‘back way’. Out of Fairbanks, we rode the Parks Highway towards Anchorage (stumbling apon the mellow Anderson Bluegrass Festival), before tuning off onto the far quieter, more scenic and gravelly Denali Highway. Linking this with the Richardson and the Tok Cutoff acrues another 750kms on the clock, bringing our tally to around 2500kms or so.
Tok marks another night in the tent, which means we’ve yet to feel the comforts of a bed since arriving in Alaska. (it also marks my 6th shower in almost 5 weeks, a statistic I’m misguidedly proud of…) Unfortunately, our almost unblemished record of hot, beating sun has finally been broken, as we’ve hit some heavy weather, with driving rain permeating waterproofs and drizzling down necks.
As usual, following the road less travelled proved to be excellent advice. There’s plenty of stories, pictures and videos to post (like the bar completely wall-papered in one dollar notes, quill-covered porcupines and crisp views of 20 320 ft Mount McKinley) but these will have to be saved until we find somewhere with a better internet connection.
After a good feed last night at Fast Eddy’s (the namesake of the character in one of my favourite films, the Hustler) we’re now ready to follow the Alcan. Next stop is Hanes junction and Whitehorse, before we turn south to Alaska’s panhandle, resting cycling legs to pick up ferries along the Alaskan Marine Highway, through Juneau and Sitka. More soon, hopefully.
Looking forward to seeing the pictures…our run of awful weather seems to have been punctuated by a weekend of sunshine…just enough for Sarah to take first place in the Upper Wraxall annual petanque competition…that’s how we roll!
I’m glad someone is getting some sun! Let’s skype when I have a decent connection. Love to you all.
Loving the blog, the pics, the story… would love to be there.
My favourite was the guy with his gun strapped to his chest. That just might be my answer for clearing out the other weekend warriors on the busy single-track round here. Enjoy!
Hey. Great blog as usual Cass, keep it up!
It’s inspiring me to look into a touring bike (or is that just an excuse for some new kit?), and I’ve been upping my jogging in preparation for an adventure! 🙂
Hi mate… am just ahead by a bit and in Burwash Landing. They have free camping here and wifi 🙂
When I hit Whitehorse, will stay at the Roberts Service Campground, probably for three nights.
take it easy
Cheers for the comments. Darrel, if I have inspired only you to tour, then I will consider it all to have been worthwhile!