Everything was so quiet, there was no traffic on the road. This pattern continued in the morning. As i rode the hour or so on the Eagle road towards its intersection with the Taylor highway it was surreal at how dead the place was. In places the road was washed away but there was always ample room for a bike to skirt around the side or ride over it.
As i went up and over the range as i approached the intersection, a heard of reindeer, more locally known as caribou were forced to move from their slumber on the road.
A helicopter sitting on the road was another sign that something wasn’t as it should be.
Time and again i would navigate around some damaged road. It seemed to have all been caused by heavy rain and swollen rivers. However it was easy and i questioned why i hadn’t really seen anyone else. Ten clicks after i had passed the intersection and turned towards a place called Chicken I came to a stop…
To me the river looked passable providing I carried my gear separately but the two bearded and dreaded workers sitting on their haunches with their rifles resting on a nearby log thought otherwise.
They also said that they had walked through from Chicken and that the road was far worse ahead, a definite no…
The only other way into Alaskas core was to go back out and around through Canada and enter at the other border….. hmmmmm….. NO!
Build another raft and float the four days to Circle…. hmmmmm…. NO!
Camp and wait the estimated two weeks until the road opened…. No, NO, NO!!!
Lost on what to do I headed back to Eagle in the hope i could find someone to charter me through to Circle on a motorboat.
A few miles back towards Eagle this guy was coming the other way, heading for the damage…
Two weeks I thought…. Surely you can push enough dirt with this thing to make a trail quicker than that!!
When I entered Eagle i kept my story on the down low and pretended as if i had come through the road from Canada and was looking to get through to Fairbanks in Alaska. I quickly learnt that the fuel cost for running a motorboat there didn’t make it viable.
I slept in the towns campsite that night and hung around the local store the next day.
I changed my back tyre to the aggressive dirt tire i was carrying, borrowed 50 meters of rope from the local mechanic with a pipe that permanently hung from his lip, washed my clothes in the laundromat beside the store and waited for the library to open at six so i could get an internet message out that i was alive.
2wd motorbike! I could defiantly have used that at times.
While i was feeling the pressures of delay it was a good day chatting to the locals of the area. I sat out the front of the store and quite quickly found out during one of the conversations that the customs/immigration officer based in Eagle had been washed off the road in his car. NEWS ARTICLE
While this news made my task easier, I was effected by it. It saddened me and i got shivers down my spine. I cant explain why, i didn’t know him, I knew of him and had hoped to avoid meeting him but the thought of someones last moments in that river spooked me.
I contacted the world that night from the library, let everyone know i was alive and announced that in the morning i was heading back out to the road with some rope, pulleys and my new tyre to do what it takes to get out.
When i left the library, Jan the librarian asked where i was staying. I told her that the campsite had everything i need and said goodnight. Then moments later her husband Dave appeared and asked if i would like to spend the night in a camper van out the back of the house.
With rain clouds in the air i would have been stupid to refuse. Five star sleep in luxury that night, listening to the drops hit the roof.
In the morning i had an early breakfast with Jan and Dave and then hit the road with no plan of resting until i was out and on the sealed stuff to Fairbanks..