It is twenty miles from the Canadian Customs and Immigration border crossing at Beaver Creek to the Alaska border, then another quarter mile to the U.S. Customs border crossing. Not that it would make any difference; there are no other roads, just the Alaska Highway through the mountain foothills and marshes.
Today’s photo is not a selfie at the Alaska border. Why?
My back tire went low about three miles before the border, but the tire fluid kept it from going completely flat. I was going to wait at the border for Patricia, since there was no cell phone service. Within a couple minutes a pickup pulled up and offered to take my photo if I would take theirs. We did.
As they were departing, they asked where I was going. I mentioned North Pole, but I had to wait for my wife because my bike tire was low. The driver said, “No problem. I have a small air compressor.”
As we were pumping up the tire, I asked where they were heading. The driver said, “Kodiak. I’m in the Coast Guard transferring from Florida to Kodiak.”
I have biked over 2,700 miles; had two flat tires at that point, and the first vehicle to arrive agreed to help me and they were both U.S. Coastguardsman. With all the Alaska Highway traffic, what are the chances the first vehicle after both flat tires were Coastguardsman?
I needed help, and they were there and willing to help.
The tire went completely flat eight miles later. Patricia had stopped and took a half hour hike. I flagged down a vehicle and they found Patricia returning to her car. She came with our extra replacement tire and tube.
It was a long ride (115 miles) with NO town between Beaver Creek and Tok.
My troubles were not over. About 65 miles into my ride, I picked up a small piece of metal that punctured my back tire again. Fortunately, Patricia was close behind, and we repaired the flat quickly with a patch.
Not that it makes any difference, but we asked two people about the Highway between Beaver Creek and Tok. Both reported “It is relatively flat.” In reality, there were over 85 miles of mountains and foothills making my total ascent over 4,400 feet. The takeaway: Never trust a driver to give accurate elevation, distance, or road conditions if they have never road biked.
Tough day, but we made it to Tok, Alaska. Patricia found a very nice bed and breakfast in the woods about three miles from Tok. We have our own log cabin. Very nice way to end a long day.