I woke up having no idea what time it was because of my broken watch. I checked my watch, which said almost 2pm! But it turned out to be only about 9:30am. I packed up my stuff and headed to the grocery store to sit and eat some breakfast. I checked out my eyes in the bathroom mirror and noticed they were red again, so it looks like I'll be wearing my eyeglasses for a while. Someone left a pack of 4 cinnamon and raisin bagels next to my tent so I took them and bought some cream cheese to have them with for breakfast. I also ate a few bites of that BBQ steak before tossing it. It's an overcast day but I think I might be lucky enough to avoid the rain. The Indians from last night were insisting I stop by in the morning and from the sound of it would have probably loved for me to spend a few days there helping them gill net and smoke fish. But I decided to move on and didn't visit them this morning as I felt it would have been hard to leave. I headed off for a very long day that tested my endurance. I took a break at Minto campgrounds and had a nutella and granola sandwich. From Minto, it was sprinkling off and on. Sometimes it was off/on with the layers of clothes as well. I passed the Five Finger Rapids of the Yukon River and took a photo. I noticed a couple of people in a canoe passing through. It made me think about how cool a river trip would be out here someday. I pushed it all the way into Carmacks, dreaming of the goodies I'd prepare for dinner with help of the supermarket - my second in two nights! I got some ground beef and started making mac and cheese with sautéed beef mixed in. I cooked right in front of the gas/grocery store and seeing the various people stop in provided some entertainment. I gave away some sunflower and pumpkin seeds I got for free from the waitress in Steward Crossing to a couple from Connecticut traveling to Alaska. When I was about to leave, I started talking to an Indian guy named Ronny. We talked about bikes for a bit then took a walk in the nearby woods to smoke a peace joint between us. He started spilling his guts about his bad relationship with his wife, but I managed to keep the conversation in a positive 'enjoy life' kind of mood. I told him farewell and he gave me a couple of rolled ones for the road. I cruised out of Carmacks at about 10:30pm feeling pretty good. Ronny caught up to me on his bike and insisted I share his fried chicken with him. We stopped at the rest stop 2 km out of town, sat and talked some more. Finally we said goodbye.
Maybe what these small communities need is just good friends - more of a variety of influences. I am impressed with how generous and kind people have been along the way. I rode out of Carmacks and into some light sprinkling, enough to make me wonder why I didn't just camp in Carmacks with Ronny. Miles! I want to try to make it to Whitehorse tomorrow. Well, I got about 10-11 more and finished at 77 miles. I'm noticing how much darker it's getting at night now. I used my Petzl headlamp a bit on the road and then when I took my beast into the bush and up a hill by foot. I was a little bear wary so I took my tent and hiked about another 100 ft uphill to set up. They are seldom seen around here but are talked about frequently. I believe I've picked a good spot and it will be a glorious sight in the morning when the light is out again. Now I lay down in my humid hot box, spreading my arms out to feel the cool ground as I rest up for another day on the bike. All is quiet and all I can hear are animal sounds through my thin protective enclosure. Ground squirrels scurrying through their underground tunnels, popping up to chatter with one another, owls calling back and forth to each other, and of course the harmonious 'BZzzz' of 100 mosquitoes outside my tent, waiting for their next drop of blood. (77 miles)