Day I - Anchorage
Rode our bikes fifty-eight
miles to Palmer - 7 hours of rolling terrain. First day observations: Larry and
Les each dropped their chains. Larry had his usual 1Ist day stomach problems and
"off road" visits. We stopped at a river where spawning salmon
were everywhere. Bert and Les each lifted a seven or eight pound salmon out of the
water with their hands. Saw the points where the famous Iditarod Day Sled Race is
held. After dinner at the Gold Miner's Hotel, we went to the Alaska State Fair that
night. A 57 pound cabbage was a highlight.
Day II - Palmer
to Sheep Mountain Lodge
Seventy-one miles, mostly
uphill with steep grades. Per Bert, in the top five of our "toughest"
days. Saw the Matanuska Glacier. Great dinner at the lodge nestled in between two
Day III - Seep Mountain
Went white water rafting
down the Matanuska River for ten miles. Glacier water as 32 degrees. The coldest
water in North America - had a shore lunch - great time by all. Late afternoon -
3 1/2 mile hiking climb up Sheep Mountain. We followed the creek bed in between
the mountains. Great spaghetti dinner with lots of Alaskan Amber beer.
Day IV - Sheep Mountain
to Copper Center Lodge
Day V - 106 Miles
- Copper Center to Valdez
Tahneta Pass - Gergie Lake
- Glennallen to Copper Center Lodge. Eighty-eight miles of the worst weather we've
ever had on our trips. Rain and head-winds all day. Eleven hours of biking - no
scenery. We just kept going!! Of the twenty-three people who started, only four
completed this day's ride - "The Janis Brothers" (the fact we were the
oldest made this even better!). We stayed in a log cabin with an oil burning stove
and dried our clothes. Dinner was sensational - delicious halibut. Viewed the Northern
Lights at 2 a.m.
Followed the Trans Alaska Pipeline, passed Worthington Glacier) up Thompson
Pass and into Valdez. We left at 8 a.m. This was a new mileage record for all of
us. Very grueling and punishing trip. The weather, again, was raining with bad head-winds.
It was particularly tough since we had just done eighty-eight miles the day before.
We received cheers from our group when we rode up to the Village Inn. Only seven
of the twenty-three people completed the third day. Naturally, the Janis Brothers
Day VI - Sea Kayaking
in Prince William Sound
We left at 9 a.m. and returned
at 8:30 p.m. - Kayaking for nine or ten hours. The four of us were first in and
last out. Magnificent water falls and huge ice chunks everywhere from the Shoup
Glacier. We saw harbor seals and birds called " Arctic Turns" (thousands
on Kittyway Rookery). We portaged our Kayaks at some low tide areas and did some
hiking up the moraine. The group went back at 4:00 p.m. and we stayed for another
three hours. Pristine waters, total tranquility , eagles soaring over our heads
we were "one with nature". (No valium necessary this day.) At the end
of the evening, we went into a crystal blue ice cave at the base of Shoup Glacier.
An experience that cannot be described in words.
Day VII - Valdez
Took the 7 a.m. ferry from
Valdez to Portage. Boarded the train for 1/2 hour ride to Portage and then biked
to Alyeska Resort. The ferry navigated through large ice fields from the Columbia
Glacier .Saw several sea lions. Lenny somehow got us to tour the engine room. The
engines were from WW II submarines. We had a memorable last evening dinner with
our group. Lenny made a great speech on behalf of the Brothers. Skyler and Beth
(our guides) passed out small tokens to each member of our group. Greg and Laura
sang (a cappella) ..Over The Rainbow". It was an emotional moment. We all wore
our matching shirts with our names and ..4th Annual Biking Adventure" printed
on the backs. We finished four pitchers of beer among the four of us. Felt good
DAY VIII Alyeska
The plane trip to Denali
Park was canceled due to an 8 inch snow storm. We called every hour, but could never
leave. We still had a great day of hiking and taking the ski lift 2300 feet up to
the top and then an hour hike to the top of the ski slope. Beautiful vistas of green
mountains and ice glaciers. Had tile best cinnamon rolls (except for Mom's) at the
local bake shop. A beautiful day, but we struggled with the disappointment of not
going to Denali.
Day IX - Denali
Lenny called our Pilot (Keith).
The word was "go.” We were ecstatic. We left at 9:30 a.m. on a Cessna
185, 6 passengers with luggage on our laps. We flew 200 miles to Denali. A flight
of a lifetime… blue sky, frozen tundra, white mountains, spectacular vistas. We
cleared some mountain tops by less than fifty feet Flew past Mt. McKinley (the tallest
mountain in North America - 20,000 ft.). We landed at 11:45 a.m. after our pilot
buzzed the Kantishna Roadhouse. We threw our bags in our cabin, had lunch in fifteen
minutes, and started our seven hour hike up, through, around and down newly snow
covered mountains. Caroline Parker, world famous botanist, was our guide. The beauty
and majesty of what we saw was an incredible experience. At 4:00 p.m., Chas from
the lodge flew over in a small Cessna 150 and dropped four Alaskan Amber beers for
us. Lenny captured it all on video. His plane was ten feet from the top of the mountain
we had climbed. We continued to hike up and down forging new snow trails and we
saw several fresh animal tracks. We finally came in for dinner at 7:45 p.m., tired
but exhilarated. After dinner, we went to Wonder Lake. There was a magnificent pink
alpine glow reflecting off Mt McKinley .We were told that this was one of the clearest
days of the year . There were over fifty amateur photographers with expensive cameras
and tripods taking pictures of this spectacle. A day we will never forget. We felt
like National Geographic explorers.
Day X - Denali to
Left the lodge and took
a five hour bus ride to the train station. We saw some moose and grizzly bears in
the distance. Boarded the Alaskan Railroad for an eight hour ride in a glass top
car. We had lunch and dinner on the train in the dinning car. We arrived in Anchorage
at 8:30 p.m. celebrated our last night at the Regal Alaskan with two pitchers of
Alaskan Amber .
This was our 4th annual
bike trip. We've done Glacier (road to the sun), The Canadian Rockies (Lake Louise),
The Canyons (Bryce, Grand and Zion), and now the final frontier - Alaska. What will
be next for the Janis Brothers?!!!
A. This was the best group
of people we ever rode with. Friendly and fun to be with - very diverse, including
three Germans visiting America.
B. Thanks to Lenny for buying
us the expensive, hi-tech gortex jackets, pants and fleece vests. We could not have
completed EFI without them.
C. Modes of Transportation:
Car, Van, Commercial Airline, Bicycle (brutal), Ferry, Train, Sea Kayak, Cessna
Single Engine Plane, Hiking (major), Bus, Glass Top Train.
D. Another experience of
events that was incredible in all respects
However, the best of
all is the camaraderie we shared together.