Paxson Lake BLM Campground to Gakona RV Park and Campground
This campground is nice. But riding an extra almost 2 miles downhill meaning going back up hill 2 miles was not my idea of nice.
We at some trail mix and then hit the road for 5 miles to the Meier Lake Roadhouse for breakfast.
We got there around 9.30 and didnt leave until 2pm.
Here is why:
First, we ordered their biggest breakfast. Both the cook and the waiter told us this and the waiter even commented that he was surprised we ate all of it. It was big and delicious, but not as big as the one in Maclearan.
Because of the terrible rain and wind and cold weather we had been having we decided we needed to change plans. As well as time considerations for being back in the lower 48 states.
We started looking at options and ferry schedules from Alaska to Prince Rupert, BC, Canada (from which we will go to Port Hardy and bike to Victoria).
When another bicyclist dropped by our table. She was a lot of fun to talk with and we ended up talking with her for an hour and half before she went to check out of her room (she stayed at the roadhouse).
She told us she was also asked to do a presenation, but for a school and one kid asked if she was married and she said,
“No, but I prefer having serial boyfriend that way you always get something new.”
And that was the last thing she said to the kids before they kicked her off 😂.
We made a plan to go to Haines, Alaska. So sticking to the original plan until Haines Junction. Then we will catch the ferry down. We also looked at the weather and it appears little to no rain. Fingers crossed!
By this point it was 1pm and people were ordering lunch. We went outside to pack and the woman showed up with her bike to head north. So we talked with her some more. Before we knew it, it was 2 and we finally shoved off.
Part of our slow get going was that we had an actual easy day. FINALLY.
It was mainly downhill with a tailwind. And sunny!
We still biked the 53 miles in 5 hours though haha.
There isnt much shoulder though so the cars were terrible. Some did move over and or slow down.
But a few gave us no room and one honked at us.
For those who dont bike, let me break it down.
1. Move over like you are passing a car
2. If it is not safe to do so, slow down until it is (think of it like this, are those 2 minutes you are saving by speeding by me at 60mph worth more than my life?)
3. Dont honk your horn even if you are trying to be nice. We see and hear you coming and it is louder to us than you
I’m sure I have mentioned this in the past, but I have terrible road rage on a bicycle. I will flip off cars, wave my arm around, and yell obscenities at their behinds.
Several times I have had to run into the ditch because vehicles would not move over enough. Sometimes the shoulders are not there or are soft gravel or dirt, which is dangerous for a bike.
Anyways, one truck Dad flipped off. We nornally dont see these cars again due to how fast we go, but this particular truck was held up by construction so we were able to catch up. Needless to say, that woman driver received quite the dirty look from me when we passed her (I like how bicycles get special treatment with construction works).
We stopped at Sourdough Creek Campground for a break and then at Gakona Lodge (2 miles from the junction), which has been there since the 1920s.
Gakona Junction is the start of the Tok Cutoff on the Glenn Highway and where we turned off the Richardson Highway.
We were going to get food at the restaurant, but the waitress was distracted and seemed overly distraught over how busy it was (8 customers) that she didnt talk with us so after a few minutes we went over to the bar to get a beer.
We had some local stuff, which was good, but lesson learned for me- dont drink before you are done… We had 2 more miles to go before the Rv park and campground and I hit the wall.
I was slow and super tired and grumpy. Though part of it was hunger since the last real meal I had was at 10 am.
The campground is 25 USD for a tent including showers and weak Wifi. The “fresh water” is very minerally. Dad had to filter it again, but it still wasnt that great. The shower water was the same.
We ate dinner then showered. Which is telling you how hungry we were. We usually shower first!
As a side note: I only had cell service from Paxson to the Roadhouse.
Gakona Campground to Midway Service Stop
We headed out around 8.30 am. We had 2 bagels each, but it isnt the same as a good old diner breakfast.
This day was pretty easy as well. We ended up averaging 14 mph while going generally uphill. It was pretty gradual for the most part and we had super great tailwind and sun!
We ended up doing around 57 miles, but we made stops a rest stop after 20 miles and then in Chistochina’s Posty’s trading post (convenience store).
We saw 2 German couples, one of which I have been to their town (please see my post on Karlsruhe), which surprised them. Actually, on this trip we have met 2 pther German parties that were from around Hamburg and I also have been there (please see Hamburg and Lubeck post) and that surprised them too haha.
Anyways, we got some frozen chicken for lunch and microwaved it along with a 12 pack can of Mt Dew soda. We had 4 cans each and tuked away the other 4 cans for later.
We refilled our bottles from that mineral water and then off we went. We stopped another 20 miles at Grizzly Lake Campground, which looked really nice, but a bit to early for us to stop. We just sat on a bench for a few minutes.
The road here is damaged (there are signs). Forcing us to bike mainly in the middle of the lane.
There are some small climbs, but nothing that compared to before on this trip. We finally reached Midway Service Stop.
This is another grocery store/convenience store that offers cabins, showers, and tent camping. The owner gave us the cabin for free saying he usually gives cyclists the bus in the back, but that is being used by some other guys.
It is literally a made up school bus.
The cabin was nice, we still used our sleeping bags, but it had a strange smell to it.
The store ckoses at 9pm, but the owner told us where the key was. You have access to his whole store!
“We are nice people.” He said, “It’s simple. You steal something, I’ll just shoot you.”
We had bought some dinner things to heat up in his microwave and prepared for the evening. Actually, one thing we have gotten into on this trip is Mike Hard Lemonades. I don’t know why, but we enjoy them.
Midway Service to Tok
We actually got a decent early start today. I think it had to do with the fact that we were staying in the cabin for free. Just to get out of the owner’s way even though we weren’t, but to be polite.
We heated up some breakfast sandwiches we bought the night before and then shoved off.
The Milepost (guide of every mile marker in the North West of North America) says that around the stop at milemarker 61 is a 7 percent climb for 2 miles…..we prepared ourselves, but at the top of the rather small hill, it didnt seem like what we thought from past experiences of 7 percent climbs.
We had a run in with a Colorado truck and camper. They passed us without giving us any room on a dotted line to stop 10 feet later at the scenic viewpoint. I gave them a good long stare as we pedalled past. The driver and another passenger made eye contact.
When they passed again they gave us plenty of room on a solid line 😂
We biked 17 miles to Mentasta Lodge where we were expecting second breakfast at the cafe, said in the Mile Post guide and on their sign.
“I havent had a cafe in 3 years.” The owner said.
I was actually really upset because I was so hungry. We ended up getting coffee, almost 2 liters of orange juice, and these huge cinnamon rolls.
The owner was really nice and we had a good conversation with him while eating.
I also got a bit of a stomach ache from all the food and orange juice (I had like a liter and half of it).
The next “climb” was the Mentasra Summit. So, on this trip we have done the 2 most highest passes in Alaska. For fun, we looked up the highest passes in Alaska overall.
According to the Mile Post guide, driveable roads by private vehicles, they name 11 passes. Mentasta is the 10th highest.
In comparison to the first 2 and all the passes in the lower 48 we did, it was a joke.
It was starting to be the afternoon and the sun was finally appearing through the clouds.
I see a shape in the distance. I thought it was a cyclists, but it wasnt moving then it was….I thought I needed to get my eyes checked again. Well it was another cyclist.
He is going from Minnesota to Anchorage and he met a few people that we have encountered. We talked for an hour. We might see him again on the ferry or on Vancouver Island, we will see!
At this point, the wind picked up. We had GLORIOUS tailwind.
After all the bad days, it was nice having this 3rd day in a row of sun and tailwind.
At one point we were going 23 mph. It did help that we were going in a downhill direction, but there were some ups.
There is a bike path about milemarker 116 into Tok.
When we got to the one intersection of this town we came across a couple from Munich on bikes.
They also knew the other cyclist we met, but the weird thing is the woman has the same name as me, which is a pretty unique name so we bonded haha.
We checked into a motel, Snowshoe, for our rest day and because it had a laundry mat and was right next door to the grocery store.
The cool thing about our room is that it is like there are 2 bedrooms separated by a bathroom.
We walked over to Fast Eddy’s restaurant for dinner. We actually didnt eat very much this day. A breakfast sandwich and the roll with some trail mix when we stopped for a break at Eagle River recreation site amd campground (nice place about mile 109).
So we ordered their large pizza. It fit our needs and was very delicious!
This whole day was 63 miles, the longest day we have had on this trip yet.
Next, rest day and then off to Canada!