Published: July 22nd 2010July 22nd 2010
For any of you folowing this blog please accept humble apologies. I didn't realize how sparse coverage is here in the north of Canada. Anyway today's jpurney to Dawson City was goodbut long (550 kms) and at present Adam and I are sat outside and internet cafe called Tasty Bytes that is about to shut down for the night so what I've done is copied and pasted the last few days worth of notes below for you all to read. I'll return to this cafe tomorrow to update further.
Sunday, July 18th
Where do we start…
It’s been an interesting day today. We set off from Smithers in British Columbia around 8am, enjoyed our last Tim Horton’s coffee for a few days, and pressed on towards Kitwanga. After a brief fuel stop (gasoline and food) in Kitwanga, we finally started to head north on the Stewart Cassiar Highway. It was a cold start to the day - the kind of cold that seems to seep into all of the gaps in your clothing, but as we approached Stewart, the weather certainly warmed up a little.
We took the
opportunity to stop in Stewart for a couple of hours to eat and I took the opportunity to rig a charging device from the bike to the laptop, in the vane hope that I can keep it charged. The journey out of Stewart is the same road (37A), and from either direction is a spectacular piece of scenery with hanging glaciers, lovely winding road, and lush greenery everywhere. It was so lush, you could smell it!
The 60 km out from Stewart also gave me time to think about my friend Skoby. As you may have read in earlier blogs, he was due to be on the trip with us, but sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, had to pull out at the last minute. I miss you buddy. I wish you were here with us. I look forward to doing this trip with you some day.
I’d like to say that I am writing this blog competently, but my friend Penny is actually typing this as I dictate. So I guess it could be said that I’m competently dictating this blog. And we are at present sat at Kinaskan Provincial Campground in northern British Columbia, around a slowly
crackling campfire and enjoying stunning weather, a view of the lake, and a scotch. It seems so very different from the rainy evening we had in Jasper just two nights ago.
Tomorrow’s plan is for Adam and I to head towards Dease Lake (not Dat Lake, Dease Lake), and turn left along the Telegraph Creek Road to experience British Columbia’s ‘Canyon’ whilst Penny and Andréa have a leisurely ride to Watson Lake to view the sign post forest, etc. Hopefully we will all meet up on Monday night at Big Creek Campground, Yukon, where the intention is to get a good night’s sleep before pressing on toward Whitehorse.
On with some technical stuff…
Tires - the Bridgestone TW152s that I have on the bike are wearing extremely well (thanks Ian).
For some unknown reason the bike was a little thirstier today than on other days. It also required a small oil top up.
I wish I had brought my thermal liner for my sleeping bag (idiot) because since I have had my blood pressure chemically lowered, I now feel the colder mornings.
I also wish I had brought my ipod because many hours sitting there inside a crash
helmet I believe is making me sing out a tune. The good news is… my fly was done up the entire way today.
And we repaired a hole in Andréa’s thermarest.
Our total distance ridden today was 590 km with a similar expectation for tomorrow’s distance.
Adam and I are praying for a dry day again tomorrow because we don’t want to ride the Telegraph Creek Road wet as we have road tires on the bikes.
Final note. I noticed that the tracking GPS system had turned itself off again today, and couldn’t lock on to any satellites when I tried to reboot it. I will keep trying for the whole trip in the vane hope that it comes back online again. When I get home I will either keep it, or use it as a paper weight.
Anyway folks, this blog was typed, but not sent (no cellular coverage where we are) on Sunday evening. Hopefully we’ll be in cell range in a couple of days to give you some more reading.
See you soon.
Monday, July 19th
What a day! Adam and I surfaced at 6am, ate breakfast, broke
camp, and were on the road by 7:15. Today’s mission was to get to Dease Lake in northern British Columbia whilst Penny and Andréa would have a more leisurely morning riding north on the Cassiar Highway to Watson Lake to view the Signpost Forest.
Soooo, Adam and I were not disappointed with the 112 km of dirt road leading into the dead end town of Telegraph Creek. Basically, it looks like a small fishing village without the sea. The road itself takes you in and out of the Stikine River Canyon in some of the most spectacular scenery I have seen in a long time. It’s no wonder they call it the ‘Grand Canyon’ of British Columbia. One of the locals there told us it got to 36 degrees yesterday, and I believe him because at midday today it was already 28 degrees.
I had a bit of a moment on the way out when my front wheel hit a patch of gravel and skipped out to the left, making me slow down for a number of kilometres thereafter. I guess I was getting a little too cocky.
Lunch in Telegraph Creek was a burger… with cheese on it. It’s only day four and I am already forgetting my low cholesterol diet! I will do something about this from now on.
Oh yes!! Adam and I met two very interesting characters today at Dease Lake. The young fellow was riding a 1967 BSA 650, whilst his dad was on a 1936 Indian, inclusive of the suicide shifter. They had come up from San Francisco and were still grinning. I remarked to Adam they make us look like a bunch of wusses. I have a lot of respect for those two gentlemen, and genuinely hope all goes well with them on the travels north.
After Dease Lake we pressed north to the Alaska Highway, this leg of the journey seemed to go on forever, until we reached Big Creek Campground in the Yukon where we are now bedded down for the night. Except Penny, who is feverishly typing as I dictate again.
We have just been talking to two guys who pulled in to our campground. One of them is on a V-strom and the other on a KLR 650. They are coming back from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and returning home to Kentucky. Again, huge respect for some of the motorcyclists that are out there at the moment! These two guys told us the road is treacherous when wet, and we are to look out for the dark patches in the highway when we ride there. They also said it was very cold there. Is that by Kentucky standards, or cold by Canadian standards? In any case, I will buy a sleeping bag liner tomorrow in Whitehorse.
Backtracking a bit - earlier today, whilst waiting for a pilot car to escort us through a construction area, a lady got out of a camper in front of us for a general chat. It turns out she is the mother-in-law of a gentleman called Dorian Amos that I was told by a friend of mine to look up in Dawson. As I understand, my friend Matt in Canmore (Canmore Quad Tours) told me his best friend is the senior park warden for Tombstone National Park on the Dempster Highway. How strange we should bump into his mother-in-law 2,000 km away from anywhere! Dorian, if you’re reading this, your nine year old son is a wonderful kid and one heck of a poet. I look forward to meeting you both in Dawson soon. It just goes to show - you can never get away from the mother-in-law!
Technical stuff for the day:
The bike ran much more efficiently today on fuel consumption.
It didn’t burn/lose any oil at all.
Adam’s KLR performed immaculately.
Technically, I shouldn’t have had that burger for lunch.
Plans for tomorrow… press on to Whitehorse (Takhini Hot Springs) and rest up there with Penny and Andréa as it will be our final night together on the road. I look forward to drinking a bottle of wine with them. Adam and I will press on to Dawson the day after.
That’s about it for now folks. Spread the good word and make people donate to the Heart and Stroke Foundation (don’t tell my doctor I had that burger).