I decided it was time to stop swanning around in Fairbanks. The dorm room at the University was getting way too comfortable, and I knew if I was ever going to reach the Atlantic Ocean at Newfoundland I had to haul ass, else I was going to be spending the whole summer in Fairbanks being a lazy old cow.
The weather did not look promising for a day’s ride, but, with steely resolve, I loaded the bike. Set off in 11 degree weather with a steady rain streaming down. My destination was Tok; you’ll remember Tok, where I made a dick of myself in the over-gravelled carpark. Tok is 326 kms from Fairbanks, not too far but a decent enough ride for the conditions.
It was no fun tying down the load in the rain, I have to tell you! I think I’ve been spoilt by good weather thus far during my trek through North America. Not to worry. When I first set off it was quite a comfortable ride, so I stopped at the town of North Pole, only 20 odd kms down the road. With a name like North Pole, the tourists are going to love a Santa shop, right? Absolutely, and, being a tourist, that’s where I stopped.
Here’s the outside:
Inside was populated with 60 and 70 somethings buying junk for the grandkiddies. I only saw one child there, and it’s a Sunday, so school is no excuse. I always reckoned kids know better than adults. Inside was pretty, in a garish, overpriced kind of way I guess. Inside was full of souvenirs which had “Made in China” written all over them. A $50 Santa sweater, $0.19c of which goes to the poor Chinese worker who assembled the garment, was an example.
I don’t wish to be negative. It WAS very pretty and well set out too. The owners must make a bundle of money out of this place. Inside:
Not surprisingly, the place was full of Santas:
And his relatives:
But the best thing was this! I found him, and here’s me thinking he was roasting on the grill all this time:
Searched around for Santa, but unfortunately he was out. Probably looking for Rudy, the silly old bugger.
Okay enough of this, or people are going to start thinking I’m a Santophile or something. The title of the post is “Big Girl’s Blouse” so I will whinily tell you why that is the case. As mentioned, I left Fairbanks in 11 degree rainy weather. Had the jacket, rain pants, helmet, gloves, et al., so I shouldn’t have got wet/cold, right? Wrong. 100kms up the road I was soaked and cold. It was down to 10 degrees by that stage, and much less with the windchill. Delta Junction was the next major town, and Tok was 160 kms from there. I just couldn’t go on. I mustn’t have put the rain pants on properly, because I was soaked, and also some of the rain got through to my neck. All in all it equalled a freezing ride.
Stopped in Delta Junction at a motel for the night. I was frozen to the bone and a campground would probably have given me full-blown pneumonia. It was early afternoon when I got there, and the owners were out, but the cleaning lady let me sit in one of the rooms to warm up and await their return, which I thought was very kind of her. Stopping in Delta Junction means an extra 160 kms the next day to get to Tok then Dawson City in Canada, but too bad. It’s a nice enough little place, “little” being the operative word. It’s pretty much one street:
There is a nice Visitor Centre in the town which features Alaska’s State bird. They really are this big too:
The Alaska Highway starts in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and ends here in Delta Junction, Alaska. It is 2237 kms long.
Tomorrow I hope to cross back into Canada. It will be a bit longer than I had anticipated due to stopping in Delta Junction today, but that’s okay. As cold as it was earlier, it is now about 23 degrees and sunny outside. Let’s hope it’s like this tomorrow!