Day 4 – After a much needed rest day in Quartz Lake we decided it would be best to travel another 32 km to Delta Junction where we could stock up on supplies. As we winded up Quartz Lake Rd towards the Alaska Hwy we spotted a cow moose and her young grazing. We had seen quite a few moose grazing on the side of the road between Salcha River & Quartz Lake, but nothing could compare to the site of a mother and her young.
An hour later we set up our tent, unloaded our bikes and decided to roll into town for some grub. Our camp hosts had suggested we pop into the Big Top Drive Inn where Brian ordered a double burger and I ordered a bison burger with jalapeno, bacon and cheese. We wolfed down our burgers and had milkshakes and sundaes for desert. If you’ve never been without access to food and services you might wonder “Why is this girl talking about food so much??”. Heehee! Get on a bicycle loaded with 50 LBS, ride 170 km and eat nothing but pasta, trail mix and oatmeal for 3 ½ days. How does a burger sound now?? Are you salivating yet?
Day – 5 We stocked up on groceries and cycled another 48 km south. While I found the straight, flat road from Delta to the Gerstle River very boring, Brian quite enjoyed the ride. That being said, neither of us enjoyed the headwind. We set up camp at a rest stop on the Gerstle River and Brian cooked up some french toast for dinner. After dinner I headed down to the river to wash the dishes discovered a beautiful view of the Alaska Range!
Day 6- Thankfully we were treated to tail winds and rolling hills. During our 49 km ride we didn’t see much in the way of civilization. Just lots of trees and plenty of lakes until we pulled into Dot Lake at 4:30 pm. We almost drove right by the little village, but then decided to turn around and enquire about campgrounds and services at the local post office. As we pulled into the post office parking lot we were greeted two gentlemen, one of whom was the post master, Jim Nelson. Jim informed us that the campground, restaurant, and motel had closed a few years back. The property now belonged to Jim who worked from the post office attached to his home. Jim kindly refilled our water bottles and welcomed us to camp in is back field for the night. He warned us of the local wildlife, beavers, moose and black bears. After struggling to set up our tent in the windy field we settled in early and woke at 10 am the next morning.
Day 7 – The next morning we were greeted by 4 American cyclists who had also stopped at Jim’s place. I thought these men appeared to be very tall, and their legs seemed to be endless, but Brian reassured me that while they were very fit and very thin they only appeared to be abnormally tall because they were wearing cycling shoes with toe clips. These gentlemen had just completed the Dalton Hwy, which they stated was a horrible ride and were now travelling light and sleeping in motels. It was refreshing to chat with them and we later caught up to them in Tok where they said “Go to Fast Eddies for dinner! The food is great but the portions are so large you’ll have to share a meal” LOL Brian said to me later “Do we look like the kind of people who can’t finish a meal”? Sure enough we both polished off our burger platters and enjoyed numerous refills of cola. In addition to enjoying the luxury of restaurant food that evening we enjoyed hot showers and the opportunity to do our laundry! While in Tok we also bumped into our friends Henriette and Lars! Just 10 days earlier we had met Henriette and Lars at the GoNorth hostel where they informed us that they would be traveling the length of the Pan-American on motorbikes- We spent the afternoon cracking Sarah Palin jokes over coffee and ice cream.
Day 8 – Sad to leave the comforts of Tok we continued riding up into the mountains and soon met cyclists Javier and Juan from Spain. Juan had been traveling north from Argentina for almost 2 years and Javier, like us, was new to cycle touring and had been trying to keep up with Juan since Whitehorse. While we enjoyed a tail wind our friends spent the day climbing uphill into a head wind and yet they were still in high spirits! That night Brian treated me to a dinner of smoked pork chops, asparagus and mashed potatoes. The next day we continued in the rain and retired early in Northway Junction. Over the next few days we would complete shorter distances of 40 – 50 km as we climbed up through the mountains. That being said we enjoyed the incredible scenery of the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.