All three riding groups of the Texas 4000 take different routes that merge together in Whitehorse, Yukon. Whitehorse is the first Yukon city that they pass through. Located on what was known for years as “The Al-Can highway” that was built in the early years of World War II to get US Army equipment to Alaska for defense for an impending attack. Highway crews of Americans and Canadians worked 24-hours/day every day to complete construction in a very short time. But Whitehorse is also where the poet Robert Service wrote an epic poem–The Cremation of Sam McGee. The first verse you probably remember:
The cabin that was once his home and now a museum overlooking Lake Lebarge from atop a hill. A beautiful view and inside his desk and writing materials. On my visit there, I bought a CD on which he is recorded reading this poem.
But to get to Whitehorse, the Sierra group comes through Santa Fe. And SOB members have the unique opportunity to ride with the Texas 4000 from Eldorado to their hotel in the Rail Yard district. They will be wearing unique jerseys and riding identical bicycles donated by a manufacturer. The SOB jerseys that SOB members wear stand out among the crowd. The large group of riders enter the Plaza and the visitors there are suddenly aware of what looks to be a major bike tour arriving. Being typical men and women college students, there is a great camaraderie with hoots and cheers and calling of navigational obstacles ahead.
And this happens on Friday, June 7. SOB members meet the Texas 4000 at the Agora in Eldorado where the Texans take a quick break and then travel Old Las Vegas to El Gancho and then to Old Santa Fe Trail. Then down to the Plaza.
And then there is dinner at the Las Campanas Country Club hosted by the University of Texas Alumni here in Santa Fe. By the time SOB member and spouses and guests arrive for a social time and then dinner, the Texas 4000 member are all showered and gussied up. And they converse very easily and split up for dinner so that each table includes 2 or 3 or more students. Most students are upper division and graduates. Surprising how many are pre-med, and that’s welcome news for bicycle riders to know that surgeons will be available in the future. But there are those going into law, international relations, journalism.
So, here’s the schedule:
Friday, June 7–2:00 p.m. Meet Texas 4000 riders at Eldorado and ride with them to the Plaza
Friday, June 7–6:00 p.m. Join Texas 4000 riders and alumni of the University of Texas at the Las Campanas Country Club for social time and a great dinner.
More to read in this space in days ahead. Here’s a question to ask Texas 4000 riders: “What is the big animal you will see when you enter Alaska?”