Today was wildlife day throughout. The second highlight was a five mile stretch going up over a mountain pass into the Northern Rocky Mountains. My ride was completed by a blown rear tire (today’s photo).
Nothing can compare to a crane drafting behind/beside me (yesterday’s experience), but today I confirmed the crane’s existence with photos of three feeding near the highway. A herd of five elk passed across the highway a quarter mile in front of me and a small black bear was feeding in the ditch. That was the first ten miles. A bull moose (still in felt) was feeding along the road as were a large black bear and deer. Numerous bear skat on my highway shoulder provided evidence I missed many.
Patricia kept checking and offering food and encouragement as I climbed (in my lowest gear) the 3,500 ft. Steamboat Mountain summit (Alaska Highway pass) overlooking the Muskwa-Kechika (Rivers) Management Area (an environmentally managed multi-use area for resource and recreational development while maintaining natural beauty).
So far on this trip, I have not had to stop, or walk, my bike up a climb. Today was by far the longest and toughest. My leg stamina was certainly tested, but the half hour break at the top overlook was well worth it. While there, we first visited with an RVing couple from South Dakota, and completed our break by visiting with two couples from Switzerland. One made their wedding trip 40 years ago over Alaskan Highway gravel roads. They were happy to share their repeat visit with friends this time in a comfortable RV.
My 71 mile ride today was cut short by three miles after I blew my rear tire (photo). This trip has gone so well, who would be the first vehicle that came by after I started walking my bike?
If you guessed a professional who makes a living helping and protecting people, you would be correct. A Coastguardsman who is also a bicyclist! He and his family were being transferred from Washington to Juneau, Alaska. Since I had only three miles to go to the cabin Patricia had found, we loaded my bike in the back of their pickup topper which had four bikes on top and a carbon road bike packed in shipping blankets in the box. Their moving trailer had no room, nor was there any room in the backseat with their three children (one in a car seat). To make room for me in the front, their border collie crowed into the back. Before leaving for Alaska, the Coastguardsman was advised to offer support to stranded vehicles. He said, “After hundreds of miles, what are the chances the first person we could help was a fellow bicyclist?”
As a seven+ year Air Force veteran, I am so proud to know our servicemen and women are still helping others wherever they are needed.