Alaska 2008 – Day 17, July 20

Day 17, July 20

Laird Hot Springs to Fort Nelson BC

190 miles

When we camp we don’t ride as far the following day. I think that for me, long days in the saddle are hard, camping is hard. I can do one, but not both. So, that’s my excuse for being a little whiner and insisting we stop early today.

For awhile the road is similar to what we saw yesterday, with more bear and moose. Views are constricted by dense forest. Mucho Lake and Mount St. George are incredible. Mucho lake is that impossible glacier-runoff blue, with mountain peaks surrounding it on every side. The road winds past huge mountains and wide valleys, following the river for a ways, then rising above and into the foothills.

There’s oil in this here town. Fort Nelson is surrounded by an oil field and an Indian reserve. This is redneck country, with no police force of any sort that’s visible to the naked eye.

Fort Nelson looks like someone tried about 10 years ago, maybe they got funding for city enhancement projects, but it’s all dried up now. There’s dirt, dust and garbage everywhere. Next to a brand new hotel is the burned-out carcass of an old one.

Of course, since it’s on the Alcan, there are many places to stay here, ranging from beat-up motels with single beds monthly rates for oil workers to brand new Super 8’s for the tourists. We find a renovated older motel just off the main drag where we can park the bikes right in front of the room. I fall asleep while Mike goes to wash bikes.


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