Saturday, July 5, 2014

Biking Bliss and the Ramen Experiment, July 3, 2014

Because of the late night getting out of Denali (late dinner + food shopping for the next few days), we woke around 10 to the pitter of rain on the tent... or so I thought.  It was actually flies buzzing around the inside of the fly!  Contrary to my original thought about the rain, it was a beautiful, warm day with no wind, and our road was well paved with a large shoulder and moderate grades to the few hills.  All shades of wildflowers lined the road: purple lupines, pink pea plants, and yellow asters sharply contrasted with the austere sharpness of the white mountains rising all around.
 We made it to a Denali State Park camnpground around 7:00, having ridden 72 miles in about eight hours, including a long lunch break!  We were very proud of ourselves; back on the Dalton, 72 miles would have taken us twice that time.  We planned on having a low key night to catch up on journal entries, reading, etc., but I struck up a conversation with John and Maureen, two folks up here RVing from Anchorage for the July 4th weekend.  We ended up spending the evening with them and their son Jeff and his wife Sarah.  The warmth of their company and their campfire, in the shadow of the Alaska Range, transformed an otherwise mundane evening.  McKinley, the Moose's Tooth, and Mt Hunter were all clearly visible.  A wonderful day it was, with splendid company and the best scenery anywhere.

I did find time among biking and being social to experiment with a new food: ramen noodles.  We were given some a few days before by Brandon, just one pack.  We refused more because we didn't think it would hydrate cold.  We don't carry a stove for ease and convenience, so for dinner we always eat foods that quickly hydrate without heat, couscous and instant mashed potatoes being our main staples in remote areas.  Ramen never occurred to me; it's much bulkier than couscous or mashed potatoes, so it doesn't fit so well into a confining, hard-sided bear can.  Still, I was curious.  I left some ramen in water for about 30 minutes, and when I came back it was fully hydrated.  I would surmise that, due to its pretty much instant hydration in hot water, that it would take no more than five or ten minutes in cold or room-temperature water.  I hope that many of the frightening ingredients are in the flavor packet that we wouldn't use, but we still probably won't buy ramen due to its atrocious nutritional value.  In a pinch, though, now we know!  It's pretty good dry, too, as a crunchy snack.

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