Deadhorse videos now give way for a while to the chronological journey as the boys and the girls streak across the wilderness in a blaze of longing that would make maidens blush. Rudi is waxing eloquent, he thinks, as the boys wash road grime off themselves and their bikes, and the girls shop at Walmart in Anchorage for supplies, and then dodge moose butt on the highway up to the Nanana River, 80 miles south of Fairbanks.
This big boy weighs in at about 1,600 pounds. The “experts”
advise motorcyclists to try to hit a moose in the less massive hindquarters in the event of a collision. These are the same “experts” that advise you to identify an attacking bear by asking it to turn around to help you identify its species to help determine your defensive strategy. May these”experts” be stomped by moose and eaten by Ursus Horribilis for their temerity!, says Rudi.
The goals of both parties is a camp 20 miles south of Nanana. The plan is for a recovery day today, Saturday, and possibly Sunday, before moving on to Denali National Park. The guys ride south from Fairbanks and arrive a few hours early. Jesse reminds Rudi that they haven’t eaten in hours, so after securing the best campsite (Rudi is not above moving “reserved” signs around to accomplish this feat) they go to the Clear Creek Grill, a low, smokey ceiling log structure with the best burgers Rudi has tasted on the trip. The salty old girl slinging the hash tells Rudi that’s because the grill surface hasn’t been cleaned with chemicals since it started creating heart-clogging delicacies in 1962 when the lodge was built.
Stomachs now groaning the boys hop on their steeds and ride the four miles back to camp, pitch a tent to stay out of the rain, and await the arrival of Celeste and Angel with less than perfect grace. With names like Celeste and Angel, you’d expect an angelic reunion … the boys have something else planned entirely. But Rudi digresses.
This vehicle sits hard by the campsite, ready for the next winter’s snow. Rudi likes this kind of funky stuff that abounds up here in the north country. Rudi is easily distracted, this is a good thing for the rest of the party.
Celeste and Angel arrive … finally … and alas!, there is no photographic record of the event. Just as well given the PG nature of this blog. Ardor is dampened by the reality of four active adults encapsulated inside a 25-foot RV, however. Adjustments will be made over the next few days, and given the attractiveness of the great outdoors, all will be well. Right now, everyone is bumping into one another at an alarming rate.
Next day, Sunday, is given over to R & R. For Rudi this means doing nothing but longing for the grog hour, but for the others, fly fishing is one the menu, right after that three mile hike looking for the local black bear. This is Rudi’s idea of a good local black bear … the one hanging on the wall of the gift store.
This polar bear, now a protected species facing extinction challenges due to climate change, was shot in the 1960’s when such things were legal. The story goes that the guide was flying the plane due west over the Bering Sea when the client asked what the hell was going on. The guide responded that trophy bears would only be found in Russia, so they landed over there, shot the bear, skinned it, and flew home. No record of this covert mission exists except for this rather tangible piece of evidence. There is also no record of whether Sarah Palin witnessed this event either.
The day passed peacefully … except for that busload of Japanese tourists that arrived as Rudi headed for the shower ($3.00 and no time limit, but only one stall). Jesse and Rudi seemed to be taking personal hygeine to a new level in the past 24-hours. What’s up with that?
Tomorrow is moving day. The gang has reservations at Denali National Park, but because the boys did the Deadhorse run in two days, not the four originally planned, those reservatioins don’t start for tonight. The plan is to head for Denali State Park about 60 miles south of the National Park, with Jesse & Angel then doing an overnight hike along the Kasugi Ridge to Byers Lake, about 17 miles on a remote trail carrying copious amounts of bear spray.
We’ll let you know how that works out.
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Rudi G & Jesse