Monday, June 23, 2014

On the Dalton Highway...Still, June 18th 2014

Don't get me wrong, I like the Dalton.  I like its remoteness.  I like its scenery.  It seems like a trail at times, with cyclists at all different points, always a chance to meet interesting people!  But today was rough.  Yesterday's very steep ups and downs continued today and were supplemented by rain and, subsequently, mud.  Very sticky, grainy mud, due at least in part to the stuff that's put on the road to keep the dust down.  It wore away at our brake pads and rims, and Tam's chain got stuck and somehow pulled her derailleur into her rear spokes; she was able to stop and extract it before any huge damage was done, but unfortunately, the part of the bike frame that the derailleur attaches to was bent. 
bent derailleur hanger
We got it working, but Tam now cannot shift her rear derailleur without risk of entangling it in the spokes and wrecking the wheel.  So tomorrow and the next day might be slow due to Tam having to walk up the frequent, very steep sections, but, as I said to Tam earlier when she was worried about taking an extra day to get to Fairbanks, it's hard to get slower than the 3 mph we've been doing up these hills.  We're trying to get to Fairbanks for the summer solstice, which gives us two days to go the remaining 134 miles.  50 miles or so until pavement, so I hope the rain stops or tomorrow will be a slog.

On the plus side, we had the most fantastic dinner tonight at the Yukon River Camp.
Yukon River - almost done with the Dalton!  photo credit:
We weren't planning on having a full dinner, just something small, but while we were trying to decide on a side of fries or a salad with our veggie burger, our waitress, Ashley, to whom we had talked briefly about our adventure, decided to bring us both one of each!  On the house!  We were astounded and enjoyed every bite of the warm, flavorful food.  Our post-dinner plans involved eating dinner again, this time our regular (and always delicious) couscous, soybeans, and olive oil, so when Ashley came by asking whether we wanted some pie, I said thanks but that it probably wasn't in the cards.  Then she listed the options: blueberry, cherry, rhubarb, and something else.  They sounded so good I just had to ask how much a slice was.  She thought for a minute and smiled.  "On the house.  Now which one?"  Tam and I quickly discussed our preferences.  "I'm thinking blueberry," she said.  "I'm thinking cherry," I said.  Then Ashley said, "I'm thinking one of each!" and walked away.  We sat there laughing and again enjoyed every mouthwatering bite of our pies, a la mode of course.  Ashley likes adventure and wants to encourage that kind of thing, she said.  I am certainly encouraged, full, and content with a great finish to a long day.

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