Steve told us today was to be the most challenging day of the tour. Ha! I am finding this tour the most challenging bike trip I have ever done! There were some steep grades right away--the below photo was taken just a few miles from the start of the ride. It did not get any flatter as the day went on!
Look closely at the photo below to see Denali Highway ahead of us, taken from the hill I was cresting in the photo above.
I asked Steve to adjust my brakes at the first rest stop, about 8 miles into our ride. It's not a very good feeling to be hurtling downhill with brakes that don't work very well! We could see the Alaska range all around us, including the Gulkana glacier below, photo taken from the first rest stop.
We turned off Denali Highway on to Richardson Highway after 21 miles. It was then that the full force of the wind hit us. Our lunch stop was about 34 miles into the ride, and it was there that Connie decided she'd had enough--she is a very small person, more susceptible to the gusting headwind.
The rest of us continued on our way after lunch. The Richardson Highway had wide shoulders much of the time; for the most part the drivers have been courteous of us whether there is a shoulder or not. Much of the traffic consists of motor homes and large double-bottom tankers.
There are not many rest stops along this highway, but at least the people here have a sense of humor!
Dianne and I decided we'd had enough buffeting by the brutal wind after riding 60 miles. Clark and Jackie continued on for another 10 miles, and gratefully got in the van at the last rest stop. Once again Phil was the only one to finish the ride (78 miles). Of course it had started raining by that time. The van picked us up as it moved forward toward our dinner destination, a rustic lodge in Tok.
After dinner we drove to the small town of Glennallen where we checked into our motel for the night. It was already 9 PM when we got there, still broad daylight. We could hear the wind howling long into the night.