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Haines, AK


So I had planned on being in Haines only a couple of days, but fate has decided that I could stay a few more. During a routine gear shift while riding around town today, my derailleur decided to defect to the terrorists and crash into my gears. In so doing, it wedged itself in rather tightly and snapped off breaking my chain in the process. I have never seen such a spectacular component failure on a bicycle before, and I am in awe of the majesty of the event.

I find that I am really not all that upset about it though. It broke in town near my campsite, there is a music festival coming up in a couple of days, and once I get a new derailleur, I’ll be all set. My serenity may be due to all that I have seen recently in Alaska, and the particular beauty of Haines itself. The architecture is a lot like the army buildings in the Presidio of San Francisco, but the location is so much more amazing (and I don’t say that lightly about the Presidio, it does have the Golden Gate bridge after all).

Getting to Haines was rather an adventure, however. I had to race 14 miles through pounding rain to get to the Juneau ferry terminal from downtown Juneau, and I boarded the ferry only 5 minutes before it untied from the dock. In my haste to leave, I must also not have strapped on one of my front panniers properly, because when I went over one very sizable bump, it shot off. Since there are no roads out of Juneau, and my two new Canadian friends were already on board, missing the ferry would have been the Big Suck. But Hooray!, I made it.

My time in Haines has been very relaxing so far. I have continued to strengthen the bonds of international friendship with Canada. I will be sad when Julie leaves on her ferry tomorrow. She has taught me quite a lot of Quebecois in exchange for learning some totally awesome new English from me, and we have had a wonderful time.

It’s now been a couple of days since I wrote the above. Both Sarah and Julie have taken the ferry across to Skagway, going where I cannot follow. Today I went down to the bike shop to check in on my poor Clementine. To my great delight I have discovered her to be as good as new, and if not that good, certainly better than before her terrible accident. For this I have nothing but thanks and kind words for Rick of Sockeye Cycles and Chad, who camps at a site adjacent to mine.

My opinion of Haines has only improved with the two additional days I have spent here. I have found in the Fireweed Restaurant a top notch pizza (I am very particular about pizza), and I have found in Moseys some of the best (new) Mexican food I’ve ever tasted. The local brewer shows a devotion to his craft which humbles me in the reflection of my own love affair with beer brewing. Coincidentally, his beer is amazingly good.

Add Haines to the list of places to look for me when I decide to drop off the face of the earth.

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