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Alaska 2006

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Journal for 13-Sep : Nehalem

Overnight rain. Learned that silicone spray only keeps the inside of a pannier dry IF YOU REMEMBER TO CLOSE THEM!!!

As I'd only eaten salmon sandwiches for tea last night, decided a hot breakfast was in order. Rain had stopped by the time I'd finished cooking and eating..

Mosquitoes everywhere. The worst time is when I have to go and my backside is most vulnerable.

Absolutely awesome ride over to Ifjord. Google Maps suggested the would be a lengthy tunnel and associated straight road. Instead there we boom gates (road is closed in Winter, and in bad weather), and more twisting wriggling climbs than you could poke a stick at. I think I found the Norway I was expecting, probably a bit sooner than I'd hoped.

Climbed for more than 10km, into the misty drizzly clouds , past hanging lakes, icy tarns and remnant snow drifts. Absolutely incredible. Very very hard cycling, but incredibly beautiful.

Final descent into Ifjord fast, but only 2km long. Ifjord just a roadhouse, and the biggest dot on my map between here and Kjollefjiord. Reluctantly ordered a burger with salad and chips (for $20!!!). It may not have been the worst hamburger I've ever eaten (though it's definitely a contender), but it sure was the most expensive. And I couldn't even eat the chips because they covered them with asthma attack inducing MSG.

Considered staying at the roadhouse campground cabins. Not too pricey by Norwegian standards ($50), but decided the 120km to Kjollefjiord over these mountainous roads might be a bit much tomorrow.

Spectacular coastal riding around to Lebesby, which turned out to be a real town, with a tourist info and a café with more reasonable prices. The ride was pretty hilly, but also pretty spectacular. Slarty Bardfast really did a good job of the Norwegian coastline !

Sat around for a while in the café that's part of the tourist information office.

Coastal road after Lebesby must be one of the most beautiful in the world (now that the sun is out). And I've seen a few now!! Wonderful riding around Bekkarfjorden. Saw an unlikely spot to camp, so took the opportunity. I could see the start of some big climbs across the fjord, and knew if I didn't camp here the next possibility would be 400m above sea level among the ice.

Pushed the bike off the road through the defacto town dump at Bekkafjord, then up a hill through low birch scrub. From my camp site I can see tomorrow's road reaching for the stratosphere. It's only another 80ks to Kjøllefjord, but man it's going to be tough.

Cooking dinner, a ginger fox as plain as day walk into my camp expecting a feed.

Ordinary riding to start with.

Headwind up Columbia river (again).

The tiny Puget Is ferry pretty cool.

Lots of underwhelming riding, traffic, hills, narrow shoulder, no scenery, headwind, what am I doing?

Seals at Astoria.

Crashed out and stuffed face at Safeway.

Nice lady in tourist office very helpful.

Backtracked to hardware store for metho at hardware shop. Shop assistant instant they had none, and they didn't even have paint. 2 min later I returned to counter with what I needed.

Shitty bridge leaving Astoria. Narrow (no shoulder) and passed by 200 cars on the narrow bit.

Very heavy traffic, >1car per second. Wide shoulder, but very unenjoyable.

Stopped at hardware store (as it turned out) for a pee.

Last 20ks fantastic ; traffic died off, massive hills, forests, and spectacular ocean views not unlike Otford.

Met Martin at camp ground.

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