When we arrive at the tunnel I still wish they would let us cycle through. Of course we are not allowed. The alternative? Asking for a ride from someone with a large SUV that can hold two bikes. This is really outside of my comfort zone, but if we want to get to Whittier on time we have to go through that tunnel. The people here are, as they have been throughout the trip, extremely helpful! In less than 10 minutes we are in the back seat of an SUV. So far my first hitchhiking adventure.
The poor men's cruise
We take the ferry to Valdez, a trip of no less than 6 hours. When the smallest space has been used and all the cars just fit into it, we can finally leave. Along the way we see orcas, a whale and dolphins; this is truly fantastic. The ferry sails along small islands and floating ice blocks. A successful rest day and a nice change from cycling.
Climbing out of Valdez
On the ferry we meet Jonas, a Swiss with a pretty impressive cycling resume. He made a bicycle trip of more than two years all over the world. Argentina, Japan and Mexico are some of the countries he cycled through. Now, like us, it's Alaska's turn. We cycle together for a few days and it is nice to be able to share experiences and feelings from being on the bike.
The climb out of Valdez is tough! With a bright sun and temperatures above 25°C, this is hell! How relieved I am to be at the top. I feel my body getting stronger, if we did this climb 4 weeks ago I should have pushed for sure!
We are on our way to the last major highlight of these 6 weeks of Alaska. McCarthy is the next stop: a village that has remained completely frozen in time and this in the middle of the wild wilderness of the largest national park in the United States.