We grudgingly packed up and headed out into the fog. Of course, as soon as we pulled out of the driveway, we began a three mile climb up into the darkness The fog had disappeared and we were all way over-dressed! Roland and I left together...Larry was still relaxing and trying to get himself together. Once to the top, we began riding a series of rollers as we slowly ascended to the Hub of Alaska, our next control at mile 119. I can't say there was a whole lot going on during this section. I had the pleasure of riding with Katie and Roland, but Katie left us when we stopped because you-know-who had to pee again.
We arrived at the Hub of Alaska around 3:30ish, tired and ready for some food. A Cup O Noodles and Coke were perfect for me! Before long, I was back to my perky self and ready for the 80 mile climb up to the summit of the Richardson Highway.
Sunrise emerged as we continued along. While some riders have a hard time riding through 3-5am, I seem to get really sleepy right as the sun is coming up. A stop for more food, though, and I was fine. Sometimes, you just need to get off the bike, walk around and eat something to get you back into the spirit of riding.
As we cruised up the road, I started looking for wildlife...it's a great way to keep your mind stimulated! Not five minutes later, I noticed what I thought were two horses in the road (we had just passed a sign that portrayed horses in the area). As we got closer, we discovered it was a female moose with its calf. They crossed the road and disappeared into the brush, and I cursed myself for not having my camera out. Roland may have gotten some good shots, and I wasn't going to let that happen again. We began our climb again, in search of more wildlife.
With our minds fully occupied, we quickly arrived at the Sourdough Roadhouse at mile 151. This was our first real road house experience, and it was quite worthwhile! Who could resist sourdough pancakes dating back to 1896? With a cup of coffee, they were delicious!
The road house was owned by Patty, an older woman who had been in Alaska forever. Her assistant, Shirla, had just arrived from Idaho yesterday and was beginning her Alaska experience firsthand! Finally, the local neighbor (can't remember his name) was hanging around, helping serve pancakes and tell us where to see the best moose, caribou and bears! It was quite the assortment of characters, and even included a genuine outhouse in the back! As far as I was concerned, this was classic Alaska.
After breakfast, we signed the guestbook and got a shuttle ride for 6.5 miles over some road construction. We were approaching the highlands, and the scenery was changing drastically as we got higher. The colors turned to reds and oranges, and the views were spectacular!
We were definitely in the interior of Alaska! We rode along Paxsom Lake to the far end for our 300k control at the Paxsom Lodge at mile 189.
Honestly, this Lodge was kind of a hole. While there, one of the staff complained about all the work we were putting him through (there were about a half dozen of us there at the time), and the food was expensive and not very good. They definitely did not win the best Lodge award!
(Originally posted on http://bentupcycles.blogspot.com/2011/08/bwr-2011-morning-has-broken-part-4.html by Dana Lieberman)