If there were such a thing, I think Alaskan Musk would be a blend of deet (bug repellent), sunscreen, fish, and the butter that went with my Dungeness Crab at the Seafood Bus here in Hyder. Today we left our tents up at the campground and thought we would take it easy. It was far from a day of lounging around though.
We crossed the border into Stewart for some breakfast, but crossing this border is a breeze in comparison to the main border. There's one customs officer that checks ID and makes sure you don't have bear spray. She asked how long I was going to be in Canada, but it was much more casual than the other crossing.
The toast is thick. Not sure if it's a normal thing here, but the toast was thick, like French toast. This was the critical thinking of the morning.
We road back up the 37a, this time at a very slow speed. As trucks with trailers approached, we just slowed down, lined up on the right, and let them pass. We were in search of side roads and wild life, both which we found.
The first side road we found looked like an old logging yard. There were stumps here and there, but other than that, it was pretty desolate. It was still pretty fun to be riding the road bikes in the gravel though. We have lots of that in store for the upcoming weeks.
We rode further up the path and it started getting a little muddy. Paul was out front on the big yellow wing, and when I saw him turning around, I knew that I better too. Paul would be the last one to give in to the road on his wing.
Our turn-around point was Bear Glacier, that we saw coming in, but we found one more side road before making it to the glacier. This was another gravel road which looked well traveled. At one point I stopped and we talked about how we should be careful because it's probably a haul road. Last thing we need is to be a bug splat on a speedy logging truck.
When we got to the glacier, we ran into Glenn, a rider who lives in Fairbanks and was on his way to the Florida Keys. We had seen him earlier when he pulled over and asked us how far the next fuel south was. He forgot to fill up before he left Stewart and realized he needs to go back (10 miles) and fill up. He actually helped us out a lot as he filled us in on the roads we will be traveling. It was the details like how far exactly is that road we're planning on riding unpaved that helped out a lot.
I didn't get any pictures of the food, but you might see some in Steve's gallery. The food was great, and the crab was a lot of work to eat. Very fresh for sure.
In the thick gravel it feels more like a boat and I wonder if I'm really in as much control as I really think. The glacier itself was pretty nice. Nothing I can type here will say it better than the pictures, which hardly do it justice, so why bother right? On with the riding ...
Coming down the mountain 25-30 was a good speed. When it flattened out, 40 felt pretty good except for when I hit ruts. It felt very abusive on the suspension of a 900 pound bike to be hitting ruts like that, but I was having an incredible time. I was pretty sure I figured out what the next bike would be.
So here we are at the Sealaska Inn where you meet exactly the type of folk who would have to be that much different to be able to spend their entire summers or year round here in Hyder Alaska. One example is an older gentleman here named Jimmy Drum, aka "Watermelon Jim".
Jim is a semi-retired truck driver that lives in Tennessee, and each year he brings up a truck load of watermelons to Hyder Alaska. He doesn't sell them, he gives them away. The way he explained it was "do you know what a hobby is?" ... I questioned "something you spend lots of money ..." "Exactly! while having fun.". Ok, now that is one hobby that is truly his own. He could be the subject of his own post here, but back to the trip.
We'll be leaving tomorrow with much more dirty bikes as we arrived with and it's going to be back to a couple long days of riding till we reach the "interior" of Alaska, as Glenn the rider we met earlier referred to it as.