Today was the worst. My face, hands and feet stung with cold until about 2pm. I guess the fact that they sting is actually better than not being able to feel them at all. All my drinking water froze up very early on, even though I’d filled it with tepid water from the hostel. My new so-called “windproof” Gore-Tex socks were useless at keeping my feet warm. And the gloves are useless as well. I eventually put my old holey woollen gloves under my new so-called “windproof” gloves and then put my padded cycling gloves over that. So here I am wearing three pairs of gloves; kinda restricts me from picking my nose properly. I’ll know never again to buy Alaskan winter gear from a salesgirl that spends every winter down in Southern California.
I stopped at the town of North Pole and posted a bunch of postcards at Santa’s house. The rest of the day was not quite as exciting. Long, straight, flat road, pretty golden trees but pretty boring and miserably cold. I was following the list that I’d copied from the “Milepost” but so far, every water stop, grocery store and campground that I had marked down has been shut. Shut since summer ended which was the other weekend. No one told me this would happen. I had too much time to think today and I spent the time deciding I would give up riding and start hitchhiking south if I run out of water or food.
While I was fixing a flat tyre I was a bit heavy handed and I snapped the valve stem. I’ve got no more spare tubes so if I lose another one I’m screwed. Anyway, it mightn’t be such a bad thing to run out of spares. It gives me another valid reason to abandon this madness.
It was a hundred miles from Fairbanks to the first place to camp at Delta Junction. The Australian-born lady at the RV park let me camp for free. It’s bloody cold.