andres' life

Living the Dream

Tok to Skaway- The path less traveled

This post finds me in Skagway, AK after a week of truly living the bike tourer’s life. These past few days have been a true testament to everything that bike touring is and should always be, so let me re-cap as best I can, the magic of the past week.

Upon solidifying our plans to ride as a group of 8 as far as Haines Junction before splitting, we all left Tok, AK headed for the great Canadian border.

Canada didn't know what to expect!

We met this guy, Jack, along the way too! 9 cyclists!

I have never really toured with anyone before, instead only occasionally meeting someone passing me in the other direction. Needless to say, it was quite a change to go from 2 weeks of solo riding to riding with Kanetomo and Lang, to then being part of an eight person touring pelaton. I expected a little frustration with having to deal with so many other people on “my” tour, but I knew deep down inside that a chance to ride with this many people would maybe never happen again. Looking back, the past few days of big group touring have left me with many great memories that I would not trade for anything. Not to mention battling headwinds day after day is greatly aided by a 6-8 person draft line!

Boys will be boys, eh?

The past days have allowed me the social outlet I so desperately crave when I’m on a solo tour and this particular group has been fantastic to hang with. This was the perfect blend of young (21 yr. olds) and old men (29 yrs. old) hanging together all day cranking hard, laughing over crude jokes and living the dream in every moment.The riding over the past 7 days has been constant and challenging but always good. In total I have had 4 days in a row of battling headwinds but regardless, I would not change a single thing about it.

The pelaton taking a break from battling the headwinds

We always look out for each other and usually break down together too!

As a crew of 8 we cycled all the way to Haines Junction. These days were filled with late morning starts, different cultural and language exchanges, jokes and the never-ending search for the 8 cycling Scandanavian women who were somewhere ahead of us. Reaching Haines Junction was bittersweet since it was where Greg and I were to break from the group. Upon breaking camp in the morning, Greg and I said our goodbyes to the group as we were headed south on the Haines Road to Haines whereas the others were cycling to Whitehorse.

This is how us men says goodbye. We do push-ups in a parking lot....

The decision to make a detour to Haines was a great example of why touring solo can be a great thing. Greg had decided he was going that way and invited me. Seeing as how I had no “concrete” plans, it only made sense. Cycling the Haines Road was probably the best 2 days of cycling ever. Although we were battling headwinds for both those days while weaving in and out of the coastal range and countless valleys, we were also rewarded with mind-numbinlgy beautiful landscapes. This highway blows the Big Sur bike tour out of the water for sheer beauty and cycling perfection. Not to mention, it ends with a drop from 3,500 ft. to sea level over the course of the last 42 miles! The riding over the past 2 days has meant BIG miles and tough riding, but the experience was totally worth it. I guess as much as I loved Canada for a few days, I wasn’t quite ready to leave good ol’ Alaska! Upon arriving in Haines, we grabbed some delicious Mexican food then hopped on a ferry to Skagway where I FINALLY get some rest!

On top is a great place to be.

Ya gotta get up to get down!

There are moments in life that make everything perfectly clear. I was there to witness Greg's moment and it was beautiful.

I now sit here, in a town I hope to one day return to, enjoying some R&R and getting ready to purchase a train ticket north to Whitehorse where I intent to start cycling from in 2 days time. Every adventure should have some detours in it, and the Haines Road, a boat ferry and a train ride are just what I need.

More to come later. For now, I shall explore the beautiful sleepy town of Skagway, AK.

For those interested:

Tok-Lakeview C.G.     58 miles

Lakeview C.G.-Beaver Creek     55 miles

Beaver Creek-Lake Creek C.G.     40 miles (+12 miles of shuttles!)

Lake Creek C.G.-Destruction Bay     68 miles

Destruction Bay-Haines Junction     67 miles

Haines Juntion-Haines Rd. (mile 69)     72 miles

Haines Rd. (mile 69)-Skagway     83 miles

Tok to Skagway miles traveled     443 miles

And now, some pictures for your viewing pleasure…. enjoi.

This is how cyclist leave messages for each other!

oh Canada....

This is what we "had" to look at for 2 whole days....

Always know where you are going but never forget where you come from.

Due to a misunderstanding, I accidentally rode through a construction zone and got chased down by this lovely lady. She shuttled me the rest of the way.

You don't say.... Construction shuttle numero dos.

I almost stole this puppy. I named him Mitch.

We were destroyed by headwinds upon reaching Destruction Bay but this made up for it.

This beautiful world always has something to show us.

Greg Mu (www.gregmu.wordpress.com) doing that thing he does.

Greg polished off that peanut butter in 2 days!

This was a well deserved meal. Yummy Mexican food in Haines, who would have thought?

On a boat leaving Haines on my way to Skagway

Haines is a great place. I wanna ski here soon!

pure. glory.

Bikes on a boat!

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5 comments on “Tok to Skaway- The path less traveled

  1. Sarah Bly
    July 12, 2011

    I wanna ski there too 🙂

  2. Adrian
    July 12, 2011

    Andres, looks like you are making the best of your venture, enjoy every moment of it. love, dad

  3. JonJon
    July 12, 2011

    Looks like Haines was good for you. Incredible pictures! Keep it coming! Too bad you didn’t find those cycling women though.

  4. Marisa
    July 12, 2011

    you make me so proud brother!!!!!!!!

  5. wanderdrossel
    July 13, 2011

    I’m so excited for you, it sounds like you’re having a blast!!!

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This entry was posted on July 11, 2011 by in Biking and tagged , .

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