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Alaska 2006

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Journal for 15-Sep : Reedport

Woke in a blind panic: I'd missed the boat. I hadn't, but was damp and very uncomfortably cold. Started trying doors at random hoping one would be unlocked and found one ... the one to the (unsigned) waiting room.

Ferry ride pretty good. Not mind blowingly spectacular (grey misty weather probably the main reason for that), but pretty good. The ship is very impressive, and (man, I wish I'd known this before I locked everything on the car deck) includes a shower.

Couldn't find the campground at Honningsvåg to start with. Saw some other cyclists camped near the defacto town dump in a place approximating the location of the campground on the Honningsvåg tourist info map. Tried to join them but found the ground covered in broken glass.

Cycled north into the wind and found the campground proper 10km up the road. Set up camp in the misty rain and crashed out asleep.

Woke a few hours later and got to call home, for free! Campground lady had no phone cards to sell me, so she gave me a partially depleted one that had been returned, and it worked! It's been a big thing for me that it's so hard to call home.

Had my first shower in 4 days, but didn't really get properly clean. I had to pay for the warm water. And while the warm water was not as cold as the cold water, the description "warm" was clearly devised by a marketing executive.

Cooked myself a nice hot brunch then climbed back in my tent and sleeping bag and slept a bit more.

I don't know why but the cold is really getting to me. Maxed out at 9C but even with 4 layers on I still feel cold. It could be my illness, it could be the wind chill factor, or it could be my body has no fat left anywhere.

Another couple of hours sleep in my nice warm sleeping bag and it was time to pack up the tent and cook myself a nice hot breakfast/dinner/lunch in the heated camp kitchen.

By 9:30 (PM !) I was on the road to Nordkapp. The weather forecasters predicted light winds, sunny periods and 6C. They failed to deliver on the sun, but most importantly the winds were light.

Lots of serious climbs, some very spectacular. It was both exhilerating and frustrating to be able to see my ultimate destination form more than an hour's hard cycling away.

Worked my way up the last hill, past the sign informing people there is a $40 (what???) entrance fee, up to the toll booth.
"Where are you coming from?" I was asked as I reached for my wallet.
"Then for you, it's free !!"

Wheeled my bike out to the globe monument for the ceremonial photos. No shortage of people offering to take my picture. And three separate groups broke into a round of applause and a series "bravo"'s and cheers. Quite uplifting.

Back to the restraunt at the end of the universe (I mean the massive visitor's centre) for hot chocolate.

As a ceremonial finish to a tour, this one has not been an anti-climax. I suppose it should be given it's just a massive tourist trap and smells of overflowing septic tanks. And there was cloud cover and no midnight sun either, just midnight cold (forecast to be +6C). But from my vantage point in the coffee shop I can look out at the monument, and the Arctic Ocean stretching off to Canada (a bit more global warming and I'll be able to get a ferry to Quebec from here) and realising, there really isn't any further I can go.

There is only one problem with this as a ceremonial finish. It's not at the finish! Still several hundred ks of hard riding to go.

With a few exceptions, a very un-enjoyable days cycling. Most of it on busy highway with almost enough shoulder, nothing to see but the endless progression of meaningless American signs and a stiff constant headwind. I spend most of the time concentrating on missing the broken glass. Occasional beachside vistas some compensation.

Threatened to rain all day, but never really delivering.

The old road detour around Cape Foulweather was wonderful.

Shit myself walking the bike over the narrow road bridge at Newport.

In the last hour towards Yachats I counted 200 vehicles passing me. Probably the quietest hour of the day.

Impressive (but dangerous) cliffside riding near Strawberry Hill.

Made it through the second tunnel of the Oregon coast Ok. These have a button the cyclist presses outside that sets off warning flashing lights indicating cyclists in the tunnel. But it still involves an uphill sprint on a wet grooved surface.

Ordinary dinner burger for tea, plus cheap motel, with cricket fan owners.

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