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Alaska 2006

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Journal for 17-Sep : Elk Prarie Campgrounk - Redwood state park, California

Got an early night last night, so woke early to a magnificent sunny morning. On the road early, but feel really terrible. Constantly wrenching and coughing up chunks of green and yellow flem.

Coped with the first pass of the day (all 285m of it) no worries. Not too steep, not to busy (at 5am :-)) and definitely not too ugly.

Norwegian summit signs have an annoying habit of appearing anywhere on the climb, from right near the top, to less than half way. The second big up and over took me up a lovely valley, and eventually onto the treeless Seebalande plateau. My headwind (did I mention something about a headwind in every bloody day of this journal?) had been building all day, and on the open plains was blustering along. And even though from a car it looked "flat", it was K after K of steep undulations. And thanks to those Norwegian signs, I thought each one would be the summit. Indeed, one of them probably was.
I shot down a short descent, then realised I was slowly climbing (the creek water was flowing the wrong way) a baron canyon with snow drifts lining it's walls.

The sight of yet another looming little hill was too much for me. "Enough !! ", and I pulled off the road to hack up a concoction of green and yellow slimy flem, and I had to use a stick to detach the streaming dollop of mucousy snot hanging from my nostrils.

It was a terrible spot to stop (not made any better by my presence), but I knew I didn't have another hill in me. As it was, that "yet another" little hill *was* the last one. The descent quickly had me back among trees and finally cycling down a river valley.

Just one more gentle climb, and the final descent of the trip emerged. Not too steep, hardly any wind, it wasn't even wet. It didn't even abruptly end in a tiny German villages' 30 zone with kids plying on the street. It wasn't a challenge, it was great fun !!!

Not too taken by my first impressions of Alta. Fair bit of local traffic, all pretty indifferent to cyclists. Got beeped at and yelled at a few times. More times today than on the whole
of the rest of the trip come to think of it.

Went to the airport to find out about boxes. None. Norwegian checking handled by disinterested SAS staff. The guy I spoke to looked like he wouldn't have known if his arse was on fire. Found a nearby maxi-supermarket that sells bikes and have organised a box through them (maybe).

Cycled up to the town Sentrum (CBD), found the tourist info, the free internet (and wifi) at the public library.

Worked out I needed more NOK, went to find a bank to change it at. Banks here open at 10 and close at 3. But teller services close at 2pm. Tried the post office, but they would not take Euro coins and told me there was
a 75NOK ($15) tax to change money, plus their fee, buy sell spread etc. I figured my bank's Visa charges are less than that, so ditched that idea.

Chose the campground closest to the airport, in anticipation of needing to walk there. This one not listed in the tourist guide, so not completely surprisingly is a dump.

Part of the reason things are expensive in Norway are the taxes. The GST rate is 25%, but generously lowered to 14% for basic food items.

Yesterday: stopped to take a cliffside photo, and an eagle floated up next to me on the thermals. He checked me out, decided I wasn't edible enough (or smelt too bad), and drifted off.

Nice early start, nice riding along the shore to Orange River.

Pretty decent climb (~250m).

Nice rest area at Brookings.

Fruit patrol at the California border.

California immediately opened up back roads, so fast cycling to Crescent City.

Tried Denny's for lunch, but there was a queue for tables, so had to settle for Jack in the Box (a Maccas clone).

Massive climb through the redwoods leaving Crescent City. No shoulders, and copped a bit of agro when I interfered with the race to the end of the overtaking lanes. LP reckoned >400m the max altitude, and it was undulating.

Incredible descent. Scary too. Half way down I pulled over to take a photo & let traffic pass, still at least 200m above the ocean.

Felt internal rumblings at the bottom of the hill: too much adrenalin.

Tried three places to use toilets in Klamath, all said "one mile down the road". One actually said "sorry", to which I replied "so you should be", which was fortunate for her because I could just have easily replied by pooing on the floor of her office.

Screamed into a Subway, only to be beaten to the door by .5 sec. Used Ladies (either that or the dinning floor). Queue of cross legged girls waiting as I left.

Major climbing into the Prairie Woods state park, but the last 8ks a magical gentle descent through a massive forest of massive redwoods.

Campground packed full of cyclists, some from Alaska, some (others) cycling from Alaska.

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