Sunday, July 5, 2015

Striking it Rich

The stampeders came to Alaska for gold and the better life it promised.  Unfortunately, most of them never found it.  But maybe they found a different sort of richness in these hills; something people still come searching for today.

Most of the Alaskans we’ve met were not born here.  Although their origins vary greatly, what seems to draw people to Alaska are a few  basic human desires.  Whether it’s a better life, the need for adventure, a fresh start, or just to get away.  Many have found it in “The Last Frontier”.

So what drew us to Alaska?  The adventure and the wild, open space.
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Putting the bikes together in downtown Anchorage … ready to go!

The first leg of our trip took us Northeast from Anchorage about 520km to Tok, near the Canadian border.
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A very large obstacle in our path.  And the Matanuska Glacier with the Chugach Mountains.

Almost there!

The stampeders came to make a fortune, and while some still come here thinking that’s what they’ll find, if one gets outside the cities things are a little different.  There are houses or little stores scattered along long stretches of empty road.

The road is lined with blooming fireweed at this time of year.

We stop in almost all the roadhouses we pass.  For a few bucks we get a snack, a place to rest for a few minutes out of the elements, and a good conversation.  Everyone we’ve met has been very friendly.  But the conversations usually leave us wondering, why did you come to Alaska?
Stopped for a bowl of soup in a roadhouse.  An easy afternoon ahead!

Many of the people running these have started their own little communities.  People who live in the area stop by for essentials and tourists come by to fuel up for their trips.

Guard of the campground, asking for his share of dinner.

Whatever the reason that people come here, something about Alaska keeps them. It’s big and it’s wild, but it’s also welcoming.

Trying our luck in Little Tok River

Today we’re resting in Tok.  It’s been a while since our last bike trip and our legs sure are feeling it.  Tomorrow we’ll start over the hilly “Top of the World” highway to Dawson City, YT.

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