Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride, 20-26 August 2000
What an adventure!!!

AAVR Main     Day 1    Day 2   Day 3    Day 4   Day 5   Day 6    Day 7

The Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride:   We were buffeted by snow, rain, sleet, and wind, we were also showered with heart-felt hugs, waves, and smiles from friends and total strangers.

The entire week was more challenging and tougher on the body than I had imagined.  I'd had some heart rate and blood pressure problems on the DC AIDS Ride so to be safe my doctor had me checked out by a cardiologist just two days before my departure for Alaska, up till the time he cleared me to ride I was not sure if I was going to be allowed to ride so I was rather nervous.  So I packed and prepared for the adventure of a lifetime.

Just getting to Alaska was one very, very long hurdle (remind me to use frequent flyer miles to upgrade in the future).

Aug. 18th, Friday, Day Minus 2 (two days till registration in Fairbanks)

Awoke at 4:15 am (12:15 am Alaska time) and headed to the airport for my 6:45 am flight.
6:45 am departed DC, arrived in Cincinnati at 8:20 am
9:25 am departed Cincinnati, arrived in Portland at 11:05 am
1:10 pm departed Portland, arrived in Seattle at 2:01 pm.  I had a 5 hour layover in Seattle so I hopped onto a city bus and went to REI's flagship store (outdoor gear) and bought gortex socks - something that saved my feet over and over again on the ride.
7:25 pm departed Seattle, arrived in Anchorage at 9:51 pm
10:55 pm departed Anchorage, arrived in Fairbanks at 11:53 pm
Retrieved luggage and waited for the shuttle to my room at the Univ. of Alaska, finally arrived at the University at 2:00 am Saturday the 19th, a full 26 hours after I woke up and started the day.

Aug. 19th, Saturday - Day Minus 1
I'd intended on spending the day playing tourist around Fairbanks but had such terrible jet lag that all I was able to do was check my bike in at the Carlson Center and go back to the University where I slept most of the day.

Aug 20th, Sunday - Day Zero
Arrived bright and early for Ride registration.  I immediately went to the Safety Video, a 45 minute video stressing the Ride's motto "Stay Alert - Stay Alive".  The video also told us what to expect on the route as far as hours of operation, camp and route services, and a good deal of warnings and admonitions on what to do in the event of a bear or moose encounter (for bears, make a lot of noise  and make yourself look as large as possible by holding your bike above your head; for moose, step back the way you came, slowly, very slowly, and pray the moose is in a good mood).

I continued through the registration process, got our tent assignments.  I rode as part of "Team DC — The Filibusters" and many of us got tents together in the same section (someone even brought a 7 foot tall Washington Monument replica complete with blinking red lights at the top so we were always sure to be able to find our tent section at camp!).  Why are we The Filibusters?  In addition to the more well known, modern meaning, the verb filibuster means to carry out insurrectionist activities in a foreign country. The noun is someone who carries out these activities. We went to Alaska to fight our own insurrection against the AIDS epidemic.

AAVR Main     Day 1    Day 2   Day 3    Day 4   Day 5   Day 6    Day 7


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