Anyway, back to our departure from Fairbanks.. We did not get very far before we reached the North Pole and I discovered my geography knowledge was highly inaccurate. The North Pole is not actually located on sea ice in the middle of Arctic waters, but a small town on the side of the Richardson Highway dominated by a large statue of Santa Claus and filled with tour buses. Jules and I did the whole touristy thing here, we went to Santas' House, visited with his reindeer and even bought a tree ornament from the kitsch shop (not a very practical thing to buy while cycling... but how can you resist a moose dressed up as an angel!)
We were travelling the Richardson Highway out of Fairbanks, which then turned into the Alaskan Highway, constructed in an amazing effort during World War II. Most of the cycling this week was fairly easy, good roads, at least one place to stop for baked goods/ice-cream everyday (a priority), nice campsites spaced not too far apart and not too many large hills. We had one very long day, where we cycled around 145kms, mostly with a head wind and with absolutely nowhere to buy any form of iced bun. It was our hardest day too date and we were feeling pretty knackered by the time we rocked into a small B&B in a fairly remote location. It was only a small place which mainly hosted workers, there were a bunch of geologists staying at the time, but we knew we could pitch a tent on the lawn. The German owner had just finished serving dinner to the workers when we arrived and she offered for us to finish off whatever was left of the buffet for $5 each. Oh my god.. we had died and gone to cyclists' heaven!! She showed us the table filled with every kind of delicious carb and protein you could imagine. We completely stuffed ourselves with a couple of helpings of everything that was left and then with good German hospitality she forced a couple of servings of the desert buffet upon us too. We then waddled out to the grass, pitched our tent and contemplated the sweetness of life from under the shadow of the mountain behind and our massive bellies in front.
The last night we spent in this part of Alaska was in the Tetlin Wildlife Sanctuary, a huge expanse of lakes and forest, populated only by wildlife. We had a campsite right on the lake, and nearby were three other cyclists. This was unusual because we had only run into a couple of other cyclists so far, and they had all been going in the opposite direction to us (no coincidence I'm sure). We had dinner with Juergen, Simon and Laura and shared stories of the road and the food that we had eaten (cyclists love to talk about food.. almost as much as we like to eat it).
The next day we all headed into Canada. Yukon Ho!