Amazing day. No wind but overcast and cold. 39F When I started and it likely never got out of the 40sF. Hills! And more hills! 74 Miles of them. Snow in the mountains to the south most of the day. This is the first time when my ascent (4226 ft.) exceeded calories (3371). At thirty miles into the trip, I figured feet elevation could not continue to exceed calories. (See today’s photo.) I was proved wrong.
One downhill outside of Pink Mountain (gas & lodging services only) had a warning sign in “Milepost”. “Suicide Hill, one of the most treacherous hills on the original Alaska Highway noted for its ominous greeting: ‘Prepare to meet thy Maker’”. I had to use both front and back brakes off-and-on all the way down. One stretch had narrowed the shoulder for a half mile with concrete abutments on my right and rumble strips. (Note: bike and rumble strips are not compatible.) This downhill was worse than any uphill!
(The Milepost guide, of services and points of interest has been published annually since the 1940s, covers Alaska highways and roads into the state.)
The most amazing part of this ride was a cow moose with very young calf at side came out of the woods about a 100 yards ahead of me. The tiny calf could not have been more than a week old. Anyway, the pair came up on the highway shoulder (my shoulder) and was trotting toward me. I stopped to grab my phone/camera when I first seen them. My phone battery was dead. I could have been, too, as the cow moose came right towards me. At most she was 40 yards in front of me trotting, face-to-face. I did not move as I strattled my bike. The cow stopped with calf by her back legs. She looked at me, puzzled by a strange object. Realizing I was not threatening, she trotted across the highway, down the opposite ditch and disappeared into the woods. Luckily, there was no traffic on the highway. As a farm kid raised around cattle, I’ve been chased by a cow protecting her calf. Fortunately, the moose did not find me offensive.
Today’s moral: On the Alaska Highway there is more than one way to “Meet thy Maker.”