June 22

The day dawned clear and warm in Chena Hot Springs.  We went to bed about 1am so we slept in and got a later start than usual, 11am.  The ride back to Fairbanks was very scenic and going the other way let us see things we had not seen going in.

Justin needed a new rear tire and we went to Adventure Cycle Works and Dan Armstrong got right to it.  He operates out of his house and has a reputation for helping riders in need and he speaks his mind so he can be a little hard on some people.  We had lunch and went to Trail’s End BMW to see the place before we headed south to Delta Junction and the Richardson Highway.

It is a dull ride to Delta but once on the Richardson things get a lot more interesting; you are headed straight for the Alaska Range of mountains and they are an impressive wall of peaks.  The road winds toward them and offers up some fun whoop dee dos and corners.  We spotted several moose on the way.  The road winds through a split in the range and as we headed there the weather looked like it could get ugly at any time.  The big storm to the west stayed over that way and a smaller one to the east we edged around.

At Paxson we turned west onto the Denali Highway headed for the park.  My GPS displayed a knife and fork at Paxson but it is wrong.  The place is deserted.  By now I had the feeling of really being in the boonies.  From Paxson we followed the Tangle river valley which is nearly treeless, mostly shrubs and had an ominous feeling with storms in the distance that looked like we were riding into them.  If it gets rough there is no place to shelter.  The mountains all around are very rugged.  We planned to camp about 20 miles in until we got to the Tangle River Inn and inquired about a room.  It is a bit pricey but with the weather looking iffy we decided to stay there.  This place has been here 53 years and feels very isolated, but beautiful.

Dinner we walked down to the lake to look at flowers and whatever, in broad daylight at 10:30pm.  We watched several beavers swim in the lake and wheN I made a little squeaky sound on turned and swam toward us.  We coaxed him into about 20 yards away and got some photos, then he slapped his tail on the water and dove under, very cool.

Today we rode about 270 miles.  Tomorrow we ride the Denali Highway for about 100 dirt miles and then about 30 miles to the park.

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