The weather forecast was predicting sunshine and +65°F days, so it could not have been a more perfect time to go. I decided to ride from east to west so the road would end facing Denali. In order to accomplish what would be a 687 mile ride and have a day to catch up on chores over a three day weekend, I packed my camping gear, spare tire tubes, clean socks and undies Thursday night so I could blast 199 miles out to Copper Center after work on Friday.
My friends Tom and Kimberly were the gracious hosts who fed me, gave me a room to sleep in, and pets to snuggle with. Their newest is Lucy Cat.
Late Saturday morning, nearly noon, it was time to wander on. The sky was clear, so I meandered 13 miles the opposite direction just to admire the Wrangell mountains across Willow Lake.
For those who don’t know, Denali Highway is 135 miles long, and 111 of those miles are unpaved. Although most of it has been improved since my last jaunt 2 years ago, there are still roughly 14 miles of potholes to dodge just east of the Susitna River. I actually really enjoyed riding around and through them, but it did take my attention away from the mountains.
There’s a lodge/bar/campground a mile west of the Susitna River (Clearwater Mountain Lodge / Formerly Gracious House). I posted my tent there for the night. It’s still camping if you eat chef prepared meals and take a hot shower, right?
Sunday morning, I packed up my kit, refueled at their pump, and continued along the remaining 45 miles of dirt and gravel.