Somebody was banging on the lodge door at 5am. I was instantly awake. This was news about the fire, and it could only be good or bad. Either the road was open, or we were being ordered out.
Either way, I was leaving.
"Hey! They've opened the road! The winds are down and they're leading them through the burn by pilot car."
That was it. Less than 15 minutes later I was on the road. There was no telling how long it would be open.
The cool morning air was thick with smoke, but it was a pleasant ride anyway. I met the pilot car at the Fireside gas stop, and was shortly on my way. We were lead about 40 miles and then let go. There was no active fire near the road, though in several places we could see the massive burn in the distance.
I waved to the pilot car, passed the RV that had been in front during the transit, and was gone.
I saw lots of wildlife today. There are buffalo out here! They are gigantic, and they give off massive amounts of steam from their entire body in the cool morning air. A very impressive sight indeed!
I also saw moose, elk, and black bears.
500 miles today. I am holed up in a cheap hotel in Haine's Junction, Yukon Territory. I should make the Alaska border in the morning, and Fairbanks by afternoon if things go well.
There are several more fires to worry about…some of the roads get closed off and on…this is a real problem if you first realize that there are only about 10 roads in the Yukon Territory anyway…
Hit several areas of construction today. As best is I can tell, they just pick up the road and move it over a few hundred feet. They do this in very long stretches. I have had to drive on gravel and sand for quite a few miles.
Not really a problem. The Valkyrie takes it all and waits for more.
I had excellent Chinese food at the bar that is part of this hotel. Go figure!
The last of my aches and pains are pretty much gone. I think the extra day off did me some good, especially since I spent a large amount of it soaking in the hot springs. A lot of the yellow bruising is going away too, though my leg/buttock is still kind of ugly (yeah, yeah…I know…they've always been ugly!). All the pills are gone too, and I am feeling great!
I had to laugh at the very old lady that took one look at the discoloration as I entered the hot spring and said, "Who'd you piss off?"
I just grinned and said, "Some hot chick's husband." We both got a laugh.
Anyway, tomorrow, Alaska!