Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I was dreading making the solo drive from Salt Lake City to Alaska, but I have to admit that for the most part I have really been enjoying it. There have been times when I have "bonked" and had to stop and walk around for a while to gear back into driver mode. I've had to make quite a few of these stops. I've been overly cautious because I am terrified of falling asleep at the wheel, and the constant pressure on the gas pedal just sears my already tender Achilles tendon (that's right, 2,700 miles with no cruise control, no air conditioning and no power steering. No stereo either! Ha! Thank goodness for iPod.) But the little old beater of a car and this battered body made it all the way to Whitehorse! Just 108 more driving miles left! Hooray!

The drive turned out to be a positive thing because it meant I made two great stops in Banff and Whitehorse, two of my favorite places in the world. I've enjoyed relaxing meals and rides with friends, and I think these activities will help me bridge the gap between the single-minded focus of the Great Divide and the vague void that is my real life ahead.

And even though it's not the same from the seat of a car, the highway is incredibly scenic. My memories of the AlCan were filled wide pavement cutting through rolling black spruce forests. I forgot that after you meander along the high prairie, you still have to cut through the northern Rockies. That part of the drive is winding, slow and mired in summer construction, but spectacular nonetheless. And I hate having to rush through it, but life doesn't always move as slow as you'd like it to.

And Canada has been good to me. I pulled my Karate Monkey off my car rack this morning, brushed the flattened mosquitoes off her fork, chipped large chunks of New Mexico mud off her frame, pumped up her cigarette-paper-thin tires, adjusted the creaky brakes, lubed the dusty chain, and went out for my first ride(s) since I left the Mexican border. Whitehorse singletrack, like the Banff mountains, is good for the soul. My friends and I did two rides - one before lunch and one before dinner - for about three and a half hours of mountain biking. I struggled more than I thought I would - I couldn't power up the steep stuff, and I felt pretty wiped out by hour three despite a week off the bike. But when I finally hit my downhill stride, I could almost feel myself physically connecting with the flow of past to future. Part of me thought I would leave the Divide and hate my bike forever, or at least for more than a week. Churning up northern dust again proved that this relationship is consuming and difficult, but I might as well enjoy it because it's definitely long-term.

Now if I could only figure out a way to make my relationship with Canada last. Are there any rich, single Canadian men out there looking for a prospective partner? Must like cats and winter. Please inquire within. :-)

P.S. I will start posting more Tour Divide pictures soon.


  1. Define "rich".

    I drove the AlCan solo a few years ago and loved every mile of it. I confess I did have cruise, a/c, and a convertible, but it still felt like an adventure. =)

    Glad to hear you're almost home.

  2. No power steeeeeering! Impressive Jill! ;) So happy to hear you AND your car have almost made it!

  3. Is'nt there a rule that you would have to start saying Eh... and Hoser? gald you made it almost home!

  4. used to have a Geo Metro, three speed, great car! During trips there were times i thought my foot might fall off. Endurance driving, your journey re-defines it, at least for me. The stuff of legend, imagine telling your grand kids one day...i once drove a million miles.......

  5. Um,I am out. Poor, currently in a relationship with at least 4 bikes, American (although I do have a passport now), HATE winter ... sorry! Love your posts though ... well, sometimes I just look at the photos ...o/o

  6. "The vague void that is my life ahead?" OK, I resent that comment! Diaper duty on Goodwin is NOT a void! Ok, maybe it is ...

  7. Sounds like you're ready to do a bike tour abroad. If you end up in Bulgaria shoot me a line.

  8. I love the Alcan trip!
    We've been doing it at least twice a year for the last 8 years....yup we're crazy lol.

    But solo...umm...I wouldn't do it! I like it when its just my hubby and I on the trip.

  9. Ummmm what's up with the missing ( dangerously so) bar end caps and the tire off the rim in the photo? Photo op or bummer ride?

  10. I found TWO famous Canadian men for you !.....


  11. No power steeeeeering! Impressive Jill! ;) So happy to hear you AND your car have almost made it!

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  12. Unfortunately wrong gender, already married, and truly not rich in any way. But I'm sure it would take you about 2.5 days - if that - to find someone if you hung out in a bar in whitehorse!

  13. ME: Stuck in a dank office taking orders from little pricks just so I can keep paying the utility bills every month, 50 years old staring me in the face with every available smart woman running away as fast as they can.

    YOU: Good looking young woman who sets female record on the GDR, knows how to enjoy life, takes great pictures and tells a dam good story, somehow the vague void future described by a you is laughable.

    I have this feeling, the good life is just starting for you and will only get better!

  14. Ha! Single men? RICH? Ok, now you're dreaming. Don't even bother looking in Whitehorse! However, they mostly like winter so there's one thing! Hey, you never know... but the rest of us wonderful, single, winter-loving, bike riding, adventurous women would welcome you! :)


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