Fourth of July

I’ve been uploading plenty of pictures on my flickr account, trying to catch up with almost 2 months of stuff.

As tens of thousands of people gathered on the shores of Lake Michigan to celebrate the Fourth, I was by myself in the middle of Alaska, with nary a patriotic display to be seen.  During the first few days on the Dalton, there was pretty much a tailwind the whole time, but when I woke up that day, this had changed to a headwind.  That afternoon, I started to notice the sky darkening significantly behind me, and thunder off in the distance.  The black clouds started moving in quickly, swallowing the mountains and scenery with it.

Approaching Storm


With a storm with lightning approaching from from behind and a strong wind coming toward you, it doesn’t take a meteorologist to tell you that the results will be impressive.  I decided to make a quick sandwich while I could, after all, I rather eat while dry and ride in the rain that will eventually come, than ride in the rain anyway and be hungry.

Right when the first drops of rain hit me, there was a turn off to a pipeline maintenance site; perfect timing.  Several times earlier in the trip I had noticed leftover concrete blocks that are used when laying the pipeline underground, and told myself that they would make nice little shelters.  There happened to be some where I pulled over.  I grabbed some warm clothes and crawled under the concrete blocks as the wind began to howl and lightning sounded overhead.

Fourth of July


Instead of fireworks I had my own little show.  After the storm passed I took a long nap while until drizzle stopped.  I kept pedalling that evening until I got to Coldfoot, the first place on the Dalton Highway with a gas station.  I saw a note waiting for me there from Baptiste, he had spent time there before finding a ride the rest of the way back to Fairbanks with his broken bike.

I enjoyed a patty melt and fries (with a side of mayo of course), and also enjoyed just sitting in a chair and a table and feeling somewhat civilized, if not rather worn out and grimy.

I think my favorite part of the Dalton was the few days before and after the Atigun Pass.  Here, the road followed rivers and crossed many crystal clear creeks.  After Coldfoot, the rest of the Dalton became much hillier, the scenery a little less dramatic, and mostly covered in haze from forest fires.

3 comments to Fourth of July

  • Grandmama Dear

    Hello Matthew, this is your dear loving Grandmama. I just thoroughly enjoy reading your reports and looking at your pictures. I still say you ought to write a book when you finally get home and take a shower. I will be glad to buy a copy, maybe two copies. You have a gift for writing. I hope you survive the bicycle seat and bumpy roads. I pray for you ever day, for your safety and your health. Take good care of yourself and take a bath at least once a month. Lots and lots of love, and have a great time!

  • Cooper

    Awesome photos Matto. Way cooler than any fireworks in Chicago.

  • Linder

    but not cooler than fireworks in Baldwin, MI over Big Star Lake. wait, actually i remember those fireworks were pretty lame. holla matto, dude i love that you’re biking through Jasper and Banff, you know i did a backroads biking trip there with my mom and bro like 15 years ago? i remember it being incredibly beautiful and me feeling incredibly saddle sore. enjoy it dudeman, i’ll pound some Yoggi in your honor tonight.

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