"i know that accent" i heard as i was sorting a room out in coldfoot. Helen and gary from devizes in wiltshire. A great couple of characters. A pleasure to meet. New friends. They have been away for 3 months exploring the states and canada by hired car. They are masters in the hotel blag of getting the price down. We had a great laugh that night, with a few bottles of beer and a meeting with a nut case floridian, Daniel, who once walked for 9 months across the mountain tops of eastern USA. 340 miles that day. I felt good. Happy that the road hadn`t been to hungry and that the sun was on my side. Stories were coming in that the next section , to the top was getting ,more challenging by the hour. Snow had been falling up in the Brooks range. Fog was everywhere and temperatures were dropping fast. When chatting to people the first question was "which direction you come from ?" . I was feeling in awe of the south bounders that came from the top. Mostly intreptid car drivers. Some with family and some solitary. Mostly hunters. All with a wry smile and eyes saying "you dont know what ya in for ". SO next morning im up and away after all north bounders. Helen and gary have already left in the car. No bikers anywhere and the coach full of older peeps left half hour ago. 248 miles to Deadhorse. The sun was out again, bit of luck. Means the road is dry and faster and fun. Caught the coach up, passed it with hoots of hello`s. Up into th eAtigun pass and the fabled brooks range. A place i have wanted to be at for a few years now. Straight up into the clouds. Couldnt see a thing for 3 hours until riding back down the other side. Its was freezing. I was that cold i had to stop and try and warm up. Hands had frozen into the grip position, which i couldnt straighten for 5 minutes. I managed to get off the wrong side of the bike and kick the beast down flat. Took me another half hour top get the strength to strain it upright again. The clouds rose as i rode down altitude. The hills became smaller, covered in small damp shrubs and hunters in camo gear, with bows and arrows, Laying on the road shoulders wainting for their caribou to show. The hills flattened complety into the Arctic Tundra. This place seemed to me where the rest of the world had not bothered to go. All stops at the Brooks range. Silence reigns. 100 miles left and im freezing again. a place called Happy Valley turns up. One building and a few sort of buildings scatterd around by a beautiful blue river. I turned in hoping to buy coffee and warmth. A man steps out of nowhere. Ed, a friendly understanding man, who in winter lives on an Arctic island named Katovik and in summer heads south to 80 miles south of deadhorse. Hardly Hawaii ! He took me into his house, fed me coffee and great complements on the ride for FXS. It was hard to leave his warmth. 80 miles left, a warm torso, toes and neck, i ripped up the rest of the way as the sky seemed lower and greyer than ever. Landed in deadhorse to find the riders from the previous day, one of them riding a huge honda goldwing (how he made it up there on that i will never understand) and he got a ticket for speeding. The fastest i could make that day was 60mph. He must get some sort of reward for that ride ! $179 for a night up there in the Arctic caribu Inn. Nice enough room. Bears apparently everywhere, so we are told to watch out when leaving the building. Deadhorse i found out is part of the whole area of prudhoe bay. It lays a 10 minute slow drive by bus from the Arctic ocean. I took the bus the next morning along with an Argentine geezer who had just driven up from Buenos Aires after 7 months on his own. His car was just an ordinary rear wheel driven saloon car. A few dents here and there and a solar panel on the boot. We wern`t aloud to have a full dip in th esea, due to a polar bear being in the area. I didnt see it , but we were told it doesnt matter if we can see it or not, its there. It could be 30 miles away and sense we are in the ocean, so the next lot of bus riders could have him on their problem lists. Oh well, got my hand wet anyway and looked south wondering what i will be wondering when im at the southern tip looking north in all those months time. Met helen and gary again that night, which was fun again. Said our goodbye`s. I hope i catch them again soon somewhere coincidental.
I know we speak the same language, us brits as our mates stateside, but i am having trouble getting my name across. Simon, 8 times out of 10 becomes Sawman to people i chat to. So now i just say my name is sawman. Mind you a few people have said "whats that ? Solomon, you say ?". Think i prefer Sawman. My hold on the english language is in need of help ! ...................Everyone i meet i tell what i am doing and why. ALL are interested. All want to know what Fragile X syndrome is. Some have helped in placing this blog on their web sites. Some spreading via word of mouth. All have a sticker ! Some are coming up with ideas to help me in spreading awareness. There is the Anchorage news i will visit tomorrow. Fingers crossed they see a story worth printing..... Its 12.04 now. im back down in the AKrider office Anchorage again typing this. Its time for bed. Im sleeping with 50 motorycles tonight under the same roof........in sleepy briefness : The ride back from prudhoe was incredible. Had the brooks range all to myself , came 20 feet away from my first grizzly, a 3 year old rascal. mum had kicked her out last year. she seemed just as nervous as me. Muskox by the road. Caribou herds. saw mount mckinley out of the clouds, all 20000 feet of it. Met some more characters, who i will never forget, excentricity city up here ! . Seeing what was behind me on the way up there, when riding south was like riding through another place entirely. 1800 miles- 7 days. Got back, Brendan heroicaly cleaned the bike for me, getting the fan working again. Great chats with Nicole, about her adventures and the route i am taking to get to leadville , colorado and pete. New front tyre tomorrow a new chain and sprockets, then im off towards the canadian border. More mountains and beauty ! Will be hard to say ta ta to Alaska. The friendliest people, who will give you whats theirs -the most incredible scenery, shocking. Theres is too much to say about this incredible last frontier !