Sunday, December 16, 2007

Talkeetna & more lessons

August 29th

Day 6 - Mile 193

Rode in the rain for about 20 miles today. Staying in the Latitude 62 motel. John and I are drinking Rolling Rocks and getting caught up on postcards and letters.

It's been raining all day & it is expected to rain for about 3-4 more. Kind of worried about staying dry - John's tent is soaked.....

....Thank God it's our rest day. Mentally I feel fine but my body is telling me otherwise. Looked in the mirror today for the first time in a week. I look tired, drained & worn out. I need the rest today.

I keep having these thoughts that I would like to do this trip solo. Not that I am not having a good time, it's just I would like to do a little more as I please. I am going to spend more money (I don't have) this way on food & lodging. Also, I know the limits of my equipment and know that my own tent would be fine. My down sleeping bag is soaked & that worries me. I now wish I had not sent my bivy home. I need the x-tra protection....

...Well, after six days in Alaska, I question John's and my sanity. This is going to be an epic trip. 6 weeks up here will feel like a year if the first 6 days are any indication.

I can't even document the highs & lows that I have went through. My emotional ups and downs are enough to wear me out. Now throw in the physical aspects of our trip & I am truly exhausted (going walking for the day).

Talkeetna is what I thought Alaska would be....As I sit in Latitude 62 bar, I drink my Rolling Rock and eat my chili watching the locals come and go. All of them knowing each other & exchanging words. No hostility seem to burden them. Talk of the lounge is of the town softball game last night. Seems they had a big game last night. As I look to the right I see a line up of locals waiting to play darts at the only dart board in the bar. The dart championship trophies are in the adjoining room. A small room over my back is filled with Japanese tourists being filled in by their tour guide on what they were supposed to see on this rainy day. The walls are filled with many hunting trophies, guns, whale skulls and artifacts. The beer coolers are antique wooden coolers. The main chandelier consists of 3 snow shoes in a star like pattern. This place is spectacular. These faces & people & places are the things I envisioned Alaska to be. I'm glad we decided to take a rest day here in Talkeetna. Without it I may still be in down spirits. Now my thoughts can be focused on Denali. We hope to reach the park by Thursday & apply for park passes. That way we can be off the road for Labor Day weekend. Wish me luck.

Looking back on this day, I was filled with emotion. I didn't know how to channel it. I was wishing to do more miles, spend less money, and longed for my own equipment that I trusted. Honestly, I was a bit pissed. You see, I scrapped my solo 4 season tent when John decided to go and we took his bigger 3 season tent that wasn't exactly up to the challenge. I still remember being pissed off we could only ride 20 miles on this day. Truth be told though, it saved me because we were able to dry out our stuff and properly prepare and pack for the rest of the trip.

I learned some things today. I'll call them lesson #2 & #3.

I shared #1 earlier, Do a test run with all your stuff.
#2 Be prepared for the elements. This means both proper equipment and proper packing. Last night and today we got caught in the rain and our stuff was not properly packed. We were stupid.
#3 Don't play darts with an Alaskan or at least not the Alaskans that hang out at Latitude 62.

Thanks Latitude 62. You dried us out and helped us prepare for Denali.

1 comment:

Guitar Ted said...

Funny thing about riding in the rain while touring. As long as you are confident in your rain-proofness in terms of packing, I don't mind it at all. You only can get so wet, and that happens about five minutes into it. Once you've settled into the fact you are wet, things are just fine. My opinion anyway, and yes- I've been caught out on tour several times.

Anyway, great stories so far! Keep 'em coming Gnat! (Still waiting for the story on that one, by the way)