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Dalton Day 2, continued

August 16, 2011

The story so far:

Our hero, Doug, is beginning to suspect he bit off more than he can chew by attempting to ride the Dalton Highway alone.  He is surrounded by a maze of pot holes, is tired, being attacked by mosquito hordes, and at pump station number 3.

I decided I’d had enough for a day;  it was time for a rest.  There was a little patch of flowers and some bushes offering a modicum of privacy, so I pitched the tent.  Dinner was an “Meal, Ready to Eat” better known as an  MRE.  I found the MRE’s to be quite tasty, especially when you are exhausted.  They come with a flameless heater that actually get hot enough to generate steam.  They all come with an entrée, desert, drink flavoring, and snack.  Some had a “milk shake” which (of course) was not cold, but I really liked.  Typically they have about 1,400 calories.  After dinner I crawled into my sleeping bag and immediately fell asleep.  It was a fitful sleep: passing trucks insured that. 

The morning brought rain.  I set up my stove in the tent (not recommended!) made coffee and had a freeze- dried meal for breakfast.  By then the rain had let-up so I broke camp and started off.

But I had a problem: I was tired.  So tired.  And there were hills.   Lots of hills.

When they give a hill a name, such as “Oil Spill Hill” it means the hill is going to be a steep one.  I was determined to make it up Oil Spill.

The origin of Oil Spills name is up to conjecture, but I came up with my own hypothesis:  It’s so steep that if your fuel tanks are full, oil will spill out of them when you go up or down. 

I made it all the way up Oil Spill.  100 feet from the top, I had to stand up; always risky on a heavily loaded bike, but I made it.  The price was as steep as the hill: I had no more energy. None.  Kaput.  Zero. Zilch.

After a few more miles I saw a pick-up truck pulled over, a woman stood near.  She gave me some water and I slumped against a tire.  I scarfed down a bag of M&M’s (with peanuts, my fav!) and sat there until she came back from her survey and had to leave.  There was another hill.  As I slowly cranked up it, a guy in a pick-up, traveling north, stopped and waved me down.

“After the crest of this hill, there’s a wolf hanging around.  He looks hungry and mean.  You better be careful!”  And he drove off.  I continued up.  Fifteen minutes later (I’m still going up-hill) another pick-up approaches and stops.  A woman says: “There’s a yellow wolf hanging around on the other side of the crest; he’s hungry but I gave him three dead squirrels.  He’s not a threat; he’s a nice wolf.  He won’t give you any problem.”

I thought: “Who the hell carries dead squirrels around in their car?”  But I thanked her.

Another fifteen minutes, another woman in a pick-up; this time traveling south.  I was almost at the hill crest.  “There’s a mean, hungry, wolf ahead.  You better be careful!” 

By now I was really looking forward to meeting Mr. Wolf.

To be continued.


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