Denali National Park to Tok, Tuesday, 10 July 2012, Day 36

Bloody cold!

What can I say about today except cold cold bloody cold. Brrrrr. I got up and it was drizzling so I got a shower packed the bike and had cold pizza and coffee for breakfast mmmm there is something about cold pizza. Plan A was to go and see the sled dog demo and after that I had not got a clue I had thought about going to Anchorage the long way round via the Denali Highway but the weather was not cooperating so I decided to wait till after the husky demo before deciding on what to do. The demo was great fun and you where able to get real close to the dogs and pet them and they are really friendly maybe I should get a dog when I get back as I do like them.

 

It was dry at the Denali National Park which was 10 miles away from the hostels so I decide to do the Denali Highway and I will decide after whether to go North to Canada or South to Anchorage that does not sound right but its correct I have to go a long way north to get back into Canada. Denali Highway is another dirt track and I knew it was a bit rough for the first couple of miles in and the last couple of miles out well it turned out it was crap and hard going for the first 30 miles no real track to follow and huge stones boulder all over the place and they had let one of those stupid huge road smoother loose on the road which in my view make the road worse for motorcycles as if left alone there is a natural single track which is easily followed but when smoothed there is no track and it is like driving in treacle.

Denali Highway

The road improved but then it started to rain so it turned slippery and then it started getting cold as I mentioned before I had changed all my gauges to American so my temperature gauge was hovering around the 42 Fahrenheit range but later as I started to climb and I went into the clouds when suddenly a big yellow light on my dash started flashing which shook me for a while as it was cold and wet and I was in the middle of nowhere and I realised it was ice warning light the temp had dropped to 37 Fahrenheit which I had no idea what that was in real money but I knew it must be near freezing as my flashing yellow light was telling me.I have just looked up the temperatures and 37 is 2 centigrade and 42 is 5 centigrade so its brass monkeys weather no wonder I had lost all feeling in my fingertips and to top it all cold wet slippery no visibility the rain had turned to sleet and the sleet had turned to snow.

37 Fahrenheit 2 Centigrade!

So this was supposed to one of the nicest roads in Alaska and I was trying to hang on for dear life except I had lost feeling in both me hands and had not felt me toes for quite some while and I was getting near to the end of 137 miles road which I knew was supposed to be bad and if anything like the beginning I was in for a hell of ride. I think because of the weather I could not see the road so I was just ploughed through everything and before I knew it was on tarmac again on the other side. First thing I did was find a café ordered a coffee and a Philly Sandwich and sat there dripping and shivering and trying to get some feeling back into my extremities.

Decision time, which was pretty easy it looks like the weather, had turned cold and Anchorage was another 350 miles away I decided to head to the border which was North to get me back on a southerly trail and hopefully warmer climes. I had a name of a hostel which was 170 miles away so I put back on my wet gear and batten down the hatches and I just got stuck in. Wet and cold and road works but looks like my off road skills are improving as I was able to keep up with the pilot car through and a long stretch of muddy road works so all the practise I been getting is doing me good or I am just numb and brain dead from the cold and oblivious to anything the bike is doing. I got to the place where the hostel was supposed to be but I could not find so plan D headed for Tok and I hoped that the ambulance I stayed in before  was free. This was another 60 miles down the road not what I wanted to keep on going but it had stopped raining and visibility had improved so I had  a quite a nice run into Tok even though my legs had stopped functioning and I had no feelings in my hands and even though it had stopped raining my wet kit was starting to dry and as the water evaporates this causes cooling so I was cold to the bone when I finally reached the campsite. Bugger Ambulance taken but fortunately they had a walled tent which is a hut frame with a canvas skin empty and that is where I am now I had a sort of a sauna and poured a bucket of hot water over myself so feeling a lot warmer and the Hut is reasonably large so my stuff is hanging up drying all over the place. Two of my panniers had leaked I am not sure if that was down to me not making sure the seal was clear or they are just crap I will have to keep an eye on this but the inner bags and the waterproof computer bag did there job so no biggie. Back into Canada tomorrow so the Alaska part of my adventure is over. I would have liked to seen a bit more of the south of Alaska and would have liked to see Mount McKinley in all its glory but I did not fancy freezing my nuts of to do this and have to make a call and live with the decisions that I cannot do everything even though I would like to.

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