Wednesday, July 4, 2007 – day 28 (Tolsona Lake – Long Riffle Lodge (Matanuska Glacier)
Distance: 68.3 miles (109.9 km); overall distance so far: 1,642.9 miles (2,644.0 km)
Average: 11.5 mph (18.6 kph)
Weather: 9°C – 21°C, strong & painful headwind all day long, in parts horrible weather: fog, grey all day long, misty, rainy, cold, clouds
July 4, Independence Day, the day I initially possibly, maybe, perhaps, somehow had in mind to reach my destination. That day clearly showed me that I was still far, far away from where I wanted to be. What a day. The fact that it was Independence Day was something I completely did not realize – and I was not surprised that I didn’t as I was pretty much back in the middle of nowhere. But what I did not expect is such horrible weather. Not only was in cruelly headwindy, no, it also rained from time to time and the entire area was just covered in clouds (nothing new, happened before), but in addition also in mist and fog. Horrible!
It would only clear up a little bit towards the end, but it was a long way to go to that end. Really not a nice day to be on the road by bike. But well, that’s all part of the whole story, and I tried to accept that I was only able to cycle with 5 mph uphill and without pedaling no faster than 10 mph downhill. It was really a pity as especially towards the end there were great downhill sections.
Also a pity that I missed so much of the beautiful countryside I cycled towards. I think, every mile brought me closer to amazing mountains, dramatic rivers and creeks, gorges, the whole area seemed to become more and more spectacular. Despite the limited view, I was lucky enough to see Tazlina Glacier while I was cycling along Nelchina River.
And just 10 miles or so before I finished for the day, I got stopped in a steep downhill section, just before a 180°C bend – road work. But not a normal road work. Less than 6 hours before I got to that section, a rockslide came down and blocked half of the road (well, when it came down it probably blocked the entire road). Good timing, wouldn’t have wanted to be there when those rocks and mud came down! As after the curve it went uphill again, the roadworking guys stopped cars on both sides of the road and let me cycle all by myself through that section – not that it was really necessary as I caught up with the cars slowly driving ahead of me, lining up at the point where the actual slide was, but it was a nice gesture after such a painful day against the wind.
I stayed right opposite of Matanuska Glacier, a 27 miles long glacier – which one would never ever have guessed. I could see maybe half a mile of it, and the very bottom section seemed to have pretty much melted away.
Typical Alaska: guns & planes in front of the house:
Motto of the day: “Fireworks for the country… for me, not quite yet.”