We pick up where we left off, just one week into Gordon Scott’s 76-day journey from Alaska to Mexico on his Wabi Classic. The second week brought snow and thrilling wildlife sightings, as Gordon’s friend Mohammad pushed through continued knee troubles and the gang crossed over into Canada.
© Gordon Scott
September 13th, Day 7
Our shortest day. Mohammed’s knee is slowly getting better, but we decided to make it a short day to rest for more time. We will ride the rest of the way to Tok tomorrow.
September 14th, Day 8
Today was crazy! We got a quick start, and it was freezing for the first hour of riding. We made it to Tok really fast. We will need to start going farther each day because we are getting better. We had a lot of spare time in Tok—probably too much. We are all ready to set out in the morning again. Mohammed’s knee is getting better. He talks to Stephanie every night on the phone, and I find things to occupy my time. Sometimes I just listen and laugh about how he romanticizes everything for her. Pretty funny stuff. What the heck would I be doing up here if he and my dad didn’t do this with me?
September 15th, Day 9
It was so cold today. Not particularly rainy or windy, just cold with not a drop of sunshine all day. Mohammed’s knee was bad today, so we moved slow. I really hope he feels better soon; it could be a big problem to our adventure. One of the funniest parts of the day was the gnats—they are everywhere, and Mohammed was moving so slow that the gnats could stay with him. When I would pass him, I could see him just suffering in his cloud of gnats. I think he may have kept the same ones with him all the way from Tok. We are camping out tonight. We made a huge fire and read a lot of “Speaker for the Dead” and had our first run-in with the Alaskan mosquitoes. I hate them! Anyway, we had a good time relaxing by the fire and preparing for bed. Now I hope we have an uneventful night and a good start to tomorrow. It will be the day we cross over into Canada!
September 16th, Day 10
We made another huge, warm fire this morning, and that was great! Nothing like a good camp fire to start and end each day. Mohammed’s knee was really slowing us down for the first half of the day, then after lunch he had some miraculous recovery and did great! It started to rain right before we got to the Canadian border. We stopped at a lodge and asked how far to Beaver Creek, and they told us 23 miles, so we decided we will add that to tomorrow’s load. We have the hardest part of our journey coming up—very remote and bad weather coming. This will test us! Bring it on, Poncho Via!
September 17th, Day 11
It snowed last night! That’s the earliest snow of my whole life! We woke up, unsuspecting and innocent, and we were greeted by an angry, wintery, Alaskan storm. We soon passed the angriest border agent in the world and had to put our bikes in a pilot car to get past a few miles of construction. Nothing big. We ate a wonderful lunch in Beaver Creek, and I will always remember the huge cinnamon roll Mohammed and I split. Then we kept right on riding. It was the coldest I’ve been since we started this trip; my fingers and toes were screaming in pain, but it got better throughout the day. We were going to try and ride into the night and get as many miles behind us as possible, but we found a lodge at a place called White River and are staying here for the night. We also got to watch the first two episodes of The Legend of Korra, season two, so that was a special treat. The smallest things bring such great pleasure to us. This is such an experience.
September 18th, Day 12
By far the longest day so far! We rode for twelve hours, with a headwind and hills. I thought Mohammed was a goner. I don’t know if I have ever laid eyes on a more exhausted man. This morning we got a good start. Right as I was leaving the lodge, I saw a fox in the road. It just stood there until I rode right up to it—maybe ten feet away—then it ran into the bushes. It was really cool. Later on in the day, Mohammed and I saw a beaver swimming in the stream by the road, and we walked over to observe. It swam around, gathering branches for its dam, and when we got to close, it slapped its tail and disappeared. Then it came back up on the other side of the dam and kept swimming around. At sunset Dad saw a grizzly bear walking down the road, but by the time we had caught up to him, the bear had gone into the woods. That was the point when Mohammed was really starting to struggle and consider camping where we were instead of getting to the next lodge. I was riding alongside him, talking to him and trying to keep his mind off his pain. It was hard to look at him. I just wanted to take some of his pain or burden—I even suggested we tie our bikes together, so I could pull him a bit, but he did not even consider it. He was a warrior to the very end. The bear helped give him the motivation he needed to get the next twenty miles to Burwash Landing. That’s where we are tonight, and few places have ever looked more welcome to tired eyes. It was an inspiration to see Mohammed break past his limits like he did today. It was a miracle that we made it! What a day!
© Gordon Scott
Check back soon for more journal entries from Gordon’s adventurous cross-country trip.