Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Century! August 4th, 2014

We wake up to the loud chattering of squirrels.  It seems nowhere around here is quiet in the morning.  As we leave our campsite, the morning air is still.  Deep, thick, quiet forests fill the valleys alongside us.
Occasionally we see a lake tucked away behind the greenery.  The water is always clear and perfectly calm.  After about five miles, a light headwind picks up, but it's barely noticeable after yesterday's ride.  Above us, there's a high layer of clouds, and a giant rainbow forms in a circle around the sun.  Beautiful!  We leave the Yukon and enter British Columbia for a bit.  A sign says, "Welcome to Super, Natural British Columbia."  As we ride, there's no sign of civilization except for a wooden fence and a sign that says "horses at large."  Just as we are starting to think about lunch, a familiar car drives by.  Could it be?  It looks like our friends who gave us the ride from McCarthy, Jim, Janet, Dan, and Nannette, and indeed it is!  They stop just up the road to say hi, and we make plans to meet at a pullout just nine miles farther.  The next "pullout" is the old town of Swift River.  Once there were shops and a motel, but now it's deserted and run down.  When we arrive, Dan and Nannette are super excited about the rocks they've found in the area.  The rock shop that used to be here must have left some of their specimens!  They've prepared a bag of snacks for us for later, as well as PB&Js, which we eat with our regular lunch.  It's wonderful to hear their travel stories.  How funny and how nice to see them again.
Since this morning I've been thinking about getting to Big Creek campsite down the road, but it's pretty far.  Biking there would put us at about 100 miles for the day.  The only way biking another 60 miles from our lunch spot will be feasible is with a tailwind and some nice long downhill.  Lucky for us, that's exactly what the afternoon had in store. 
As we eat lunch, it begins to rain and the wind really picks up.  It's a tailwind!
We bike over rolling hills until we reach the Continental Divide.  The Alaska Highway crosses it at one of its lowest points.  We've just biked up from the Yukon watershed, which drains into the Bering Sea, and now we're about to enter the Liard watershed, which drains into the Beaufort Sea.  After the divide, we start an amazing downhill. The trees are blowing over in our tailwind as we race down.  I feel like they're cheering me on.  Go, go!  We pass Rancheria Falls Recreation Area and the run-down but still functional restaurant/motel at Rancheria, still going at high speed.  A bit down the road, we meet Xavier, a touring cyclist from France who started in Vancouver and is going to Anchorage.  He has an awesome recumbent bike with a dynamo hub.  We exchange road information then part ways.  Unfortunately our amazing downhill comes to an end, but we decide to keep pushing ourselves, sticking to our goal of reaching the campsite.  We must pedal over some steep and buggy hills, but we make it!  Our longest day yet!  Legs are sore, but spirits are high. 
Danny's odometer: 100.01 miles.  The mileage upon arrival read 99.6, so he rode around the campsite until reaching 100.

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