Saturday, April 12, 2008

Denali Hwy Bust

About 200 miles south of Fairbanks there is a highway between the Richardson and Parks Hwys that is closed to vehicles, but is snowmachined and skied all winter. It has spectacular views of the Denali range. A nice, big open world of white!

Friday night we drove down to Delta and stayed at a cabin owned by a friend of Julie.
It was a super cute little place but had a tiny woodstove so Debbie was nice enough to put some more wood in it when it dipped to near 30 degrees in the cabin around 3am. I was so warm in my sleeping bag it didn't bother me. :-)
Next morning we got up early to drive down to Paxson. The "highway" was in interesting shape, as they always seem to be up here. This was my first time driving down this way.
The views were spectacular once we got into the mountains. It was a beautiful morning but the wind was howling pretty good through some parts.
Got down to Paxson and met up with the others who stayed outdoors for the night. I am glad we had four walls around us even though I heard the auroras were amazing that night. It was about 10 degrees when we started the trip.

Check out Kris' sled.. that thing was massive and heavy as all get out.. I was tempted to jump in it and have him pull me around. It was long enough that I could have laid completely down in it. Ted only could ski a little bit because one of his dogs was sick and he had to get her to the vet.
Here are the biker chicks getting ready to go. Conditions were awesome for the first few miles.. it was cleared off and not a whole lot of drifted snow at first.
I enjoyed riding on the snow more than the pavement. I kind of get bored on pavement I guess.. with snow it's a constant thinking activity trying to pick the best path on the road, avoiding ice, keeping your wheels straight and not sliding and skidding around. My favorite is when there's a slight fluffy layer on top. Here is John skiing with his dog pulling his sled.. another good reason to have a dog!
We got into some pretty good headwinds throughout the ride. Parts of the road were unridable and we had to hike a bike.
The views were spectacular, the road conditions were in fairly good shape, but the wind was howling in spots. We got notice by some snowmachiners that there were 40-50mph headwinds ahead. We weren't sure if they were over-exaggerating or what so we continued to move forward. Two of the skiers got to the area first and turned back around. When we met up with them we decided it would be smart to turn back. We only got 10 miles in. :(
But but but.. it looks so nice and peaceful! I will say though, I don't think us bikers would have made it the entire way. One of the girls was having some major mechanical problems with her gears which I'm pretty sure was just very dirty cables.. but it was enough to reallly slow us down. I couldn't keep my feet warm but thanks to Trevor I got the feeling back in them for the ride back.

On the way back, I decided to try my new, bendable, small tripod called the Gorillapod. But, I tried to run back to my bike and get on within 10 seconds and I didn't quite make it.. haha! I thought I would post the pic anyway because it's funny.
Bummer with the trip.. oh well, still learned quite a bit about long winter riding...

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