Around noonish, I got up and Jen and I went to the bike shop. We were promptly referred to the main store where the owner was. I went to see him and he said he had the part and would charge me $25 for the derailleur hanger and $12 to install it. This was before he really even looked at the condition of the bike. I started to feel like this guy was only out for my $ and didn't seem interested in the fact that I had to make these repairs last 8+ days on gravel. So first impression: Bad, second impression: Worse. The derailleur hanger he was overcharging me for was used and imperfect (bad threading on one hole). It had been sitting around on some bike for who knows how long, and he was charging me $25 for it because it was "the only one in Fairbanks". Well, after going to the other outdoor/bike shop, Beaver Sports, I found out it wasn't the only one in town. But the work had been done, so I just bought the cheaper one as a spare for $15. I had been through enough verbal wrestling with the owner of All-Weather Sports and didn't want to deal with any more crap. I ended up having to buy a new BOB skewer ($29), new chain ($30), new rear derailleur ($30) (my old one got twisted up pretty bad) in addition to my overpriced derailleur hanger. With the labor, the total was $140! Oh well. Hopefully my bike will hold up and allow me to enjoy the scenic Dalton Highway without another breakdown. After I got my bike back, Jen and I rode through Fairbanks (she brought out her bike) for a while. We mostly took care of some more errands I had, but also got to enjoy the nice sunny day. I bought a new battery for my digital camera ($60), the old one is toast. I did my laundry at the laundromat and we went to the University of Fairbanks to use their showers, since Jen lives in a rustic cabin without running water. That evening, we ate well. Jen made some delicious turkey chili and we hung out with some of her friends and neighbors.
There were a couple of dudes who were cracking me up. These older guys, one had a very long beard and the other had just shaved his. Well, actually, the story is that 3 women approached him in the bar and offered to pay him $180 bucks to shave it off, so he accepted. You have to understand, these men took exceptional pride in their facial hair. When I presented my AK drivers license picture to them to show off my scruffiest look, they scoffed. I guess I won't be elligible for their club until my beard continues out of the photo! The neighborhood is about 8 miles outside of town and most of the homes look pretty rustic. Jen's place had electricity, but no running water. She and her roommates Josh and Molly share an outhouse as well. Dispite the fact that I was surrounded by 4 furry cats, I was pretty comfortable there. Hey, I am indoors! I have a bed!

Thanks for reading.

Peace

Dave