We break camp and head two more miles down the Alaska Highway. Here’s our turn for the Taylor Highway. The road starts climbing and doesn’t quit. We’re out of water and everything is dry.
There’s a sign for Four Mile Lake, off road down a 4×4 trail. We take it. Off roading! This is fun. This is why I have been pushing knobby tires around for the last 10 days, just so I can ride this short 4×4 trail.
We’re rehydrated and back on the road. We go up, and we go down. Rain clouds chase us. Logic says I should be tired, but I’m not. These hills are much more fun than grinding on a flat road. They are less intimidating than everyone said they’d be.
We camp 49 miles in on the West Fork of the Fortymile River. The Bugs find us.
A short climb and then a long downhill into Chicken. We find showers and a place to pitch our tent, near two German cyclists. They plan to ride to Dawson, then paddle a canoe down the Yukon to Circle.
Chickenstock is on Friday. A man offers me ten Canadian dollars to speak to his tour group from New Mexico. It will buy me a burger in Dawson, I think.
Friends from Anchorage arrive. We pass two days in Chicken, listening to music and throwing rocks down by the river.
Sunday’s here and we are ready to leave town. We fill our frame bags with homemade baked goods and leave.
We share the narrow road with RVs the size of buses. They have names like Adventurer, Ultralight, Bounder, Sunchaser.
We’re pedaling up up up.
The border is open until 8:00 pm. We make it.
Where are you headed? Whitehorse, then Skagway and Haines. South America eventually.
How long will you be in Canada? 10 or so more days.
Do you have any weapons, tobacco or alcohol? Only bear spray.
Enjoy your stay.
There’s still more up. Then we are zooming down down down. Looking for water and a campsite. Water is a puddle in a parking lot. Camping is in the same parking lot. Lentils for dinner, and chocolate chip cookies from Chicken.
The sun is out. We’re moving again, heading for Dawson.
I put my head down and pedal up the hills. Sunscreen and sweat drip in my eyes. Banana Boat is not sweatproof, I guess.
Tyndall stops to write at the top of each hill. He tells me his brain is on fire. That’s great, I think. My legs are on fire.
I’m screaming down hill, squinting through the dust with one eye open and hanging on.
There’s a sign. It says 6% downhill grade for the next 14km.
We arrive in Dawson and search out burgers.