Canada Ride, Southern British Columbia at SpotAdventures
Map created by SpotAdventures:GPS Geotagging
Daily Trip Log Notes
Monday, July 13
Beaver Creek to (40km before) Burwash Landing
140km / 1535km; 7.7h / 88h;
Late start at 12:30pm due to Blog update in Beaver Creek. Slow and hot
ride with dusty gravel sections. Many former rest stops are closed and
abandoned. Once I jump into a clear creek with shoes and bike jersey
and all to cool off while riding on! In evening at 10:00p I get to
another abandoned “ghost town” and see a sign “Burwash Landing 39km”;
so I stay there for the night (wild camping).
Tuesday, July 14
Burwash Landing to Haines Junction
170km / 1705km; 9h / 97h;
First 40km to Burwash Landing is hard work. There I have coffee and
send email / Blog updates (same place we stopped during bus ride
Whitehorse to Anchorage).
Then I see my first Grizzly bear cross the road in front of me!
More food and coke at Destruction Bay. Then beautiful ride along
Kluane Lake. Stop at Cottonwood RV park and again email connection.
Then stop at airstrip and reunion with Lance and Donjek (pilot to
Logan basecamp) – very nice to see them again!
3 hour Evening ride to Haines Junction, long 400m downhill at the end.
Camping and shower at Haines Junction.
Wednesday, July 15
Haines Junction to Whitehorse
160km / 1870km; 7h / 104h;
Walk over for early breakfast at Village Bakery around 7:30am. There I
meet David Cartier, the Alaska Direct bus driver with another group of
passengers. Then I start around 9am. Ride with slight tailwind, good
average speed initially. After 3+ hours I get very hungry. So I stop
at an abandoned roadside house and cook some freeze-dried dinner.
Later there is some light rain and I need to put on my GoreTex. About
2hrs of riding in rain and somewhat messy roads and passing trucks
Then I stop at a B&B (cabin rental) which looks very nicely maintained
from the outside. It is owned and run by Heidi Hofmann from Bamberg
who emigrated to Yukon 10 years ago – a very cozy place!
I keep going for another 40km and reach the center of Whitehorse by
7:45p, good time for dinner at Klondike Bar & Grill. Meet other folks
from hostel (incl. Brett). Hostel is fully booked, so I proceed to the
Robert Service Campground in the late evening.
Thursday, July 16
Rest Day in Whitehorse
Bike Tune-up at Philippe’s bike store:
Friday, July 16
Whitehorse to Teslin
182 km (196km actually pedaled) / 2077km; 9.4h (10.2h actual) / 115h
False direction start through town! Cost me 45min and 12km unnecessary riding :-((
Met German rider who flew in day before (Frankfurt – Whitehorse nonstop with Condor) and rode a few km together. He turned South to Skagway, AK.
Had second breakfast at RV park – nicely maintained by Swiss couple –
at 30km. Then along Marsh Lake – with two disappointing detours toward
lake in search of restaurants – and to Jake’s Corner at 80km. Met Adam
and Steve from Edmonton on their way North. Huge cinnamon bun and
blueberry scone plus coffee around 3:00p. Smelled the fresh
strawberries alongside the road!
Then 50km to Johnsons Crossing, Hwy bridge across the Teslin river at
North end of Teslin lake. Stop at RV park, Gatorade and rhubarb
bakery; thankfully free wireless Internet, 25min Skype with Jill
Last 52km to Teslin along lake up and down small hills. Initially rain
under a small cloud with sun from the side! Then beautiful evening
light with pictures and video (helmet mount and tripod). Felt really
strong despite headwind and 10+hr day.
Arrived in Teslin just around sunset at 10:45p – thankfully motel / RV
park office was still open until 11:00p. Quick email, then well-
deserved (and badly needed) hot shower and into tent by 11:45p.
Saturday, July 18
Teslin to Swift River
109km / 2187km; 6h / 121h;
Doing email and updating Blog; continental breakfast (disappointing);
visit to Northern Wildlife Museum (great); Skype with Jill; burger for
Late start at 1:30p up an 160m hill for starters! Despite some drops
when starting I’m dodging the rainclouds most of the day. More hills
than I thought – for a total of 1600m vertical for the day! At Morley
River I pause to eat some more and cool off by swimming in the clear
stream. Also filtering 2l water to drink.
Met John and Eddy from Cleveland on tandem since June 1st.
Then rain the last 15km to Swift River and very cold :-((
Luckily they take me in at the gas station – Thanks to Jerry, Big
Larry, Ken, Nick and Mike!
Sunday, July 19
Swift River to Watson Lake (-20km)
138km / 2325km, 6.5h / 128h
After a hearty breakfast I leave around 8:30am. Lots of hills make for
a rather slow start. Then there is the Continental Divide and
gas station / restaurant (20km). Rhubarb and coffee. Internet doesn’t
work here. I continue with tailwind following a river downstream much
faster now to Rancheria (40km). Here Internet works and I update Blog
and Skype with Jill as well as have a Special Omelette. Continue at
1:45pm downwind and sometimes downhill. At 57km I have a rear tire
tear and tube puncture. Fixing and only soft tire pump pressure. Meet
Laura at 80km; she is a teacher from Oregon on her way up to Alaska,
Skagway, Dawson City and time permitting the Dempster Hwy. She has a
tough time into this headwind! With her pump I can get decent tire
Continue through scenic, but very hilly stretch. Stop at 37 junction
about 20km short of Watson Lake after 140km and 1500m vertical for the
day. Excellent food (double-dinner with bumbleberry pie a la mode and
milk), shower and simple campsite.
Monday, July 20
Watson Lake to Contact Creek
98km / 2422km; 5.2 hrs / 133hrs.
After small breakfast (Apple Turnover and coffee) I start early 7:45
to get to Watson Lake. Unfortunately I have a flat tire (front) and
then realize that my new tubes shrader valve doesn’t fit into my rims!
(Never had this happen in 40 years of riding!) I lose a lot of time
fiddling with it and there is also 200m worth of hills to climb. Pump
up the tires at Watson Lake Motor Ltd. No bike store in town
Then breakfast and buying groceries.
Meet Scott Mullin from Pompano who is on the road since 5 months!
Visit to the Sign-post forest.
Skype chat with Jill from her office.
Leaving town at 1:50pm.
Flat rear tire again after 8km – tire needs to be replaced! I tie the
bike to a telephone line pole and hitch back to town with my panniers and back
wheel. I meet Scott again and it is my lucky day: He has a 26″ spare
tire! So I put on the new tire and again inflate at the garage. I
hitch a ride back, put the bike back together and resume my ride (at
After 2 hrs or so (73km) I stop at the Hyland River to look at the
map. There I have another flat tire on the front!! I replace the tube
with the new one from Scott (with Presto valve) and pump it up again
to resume riding.
Finally after many more hills I reach Contact Creek at 8:30pm. I buy
some milk and pastries. Owner Dennie also offers me hot water, which I
use to make soup. Finally I tent on the grass behind the building.
Tuesday, July 21
Contact Creek to Liard River (Hotsprings)
146km / 2569km; 7.25hr / 140hr
Some rain overnight, so I pack a wet tent. After breakfast and email
check from the convenience store it’s Goodbye from Yukon and Hello BC!
I start early (8:30) and know from Scott’s website how many hills to
expect. The first part is tough, as there are 4 substantial hills for
a total of 1000m to climb. Scenery is gorgeous, weather is cloudy, but
generally clearing after rains. I see some Bison on and next to the
road. I finally get to Coal River after 86km at 1:30p after a long
steep and fast descent (73km/h).
A restaurant and Internet access, so biker life is good! After a big
Western omelette I check email and update my Blog with the flat tire
The afternoon leg will be much easier, as the road follows the Liard
river downstream without major hills and there is a bit of a W
I get to the Liard hot springs at 146km around 7pm, one of my earliest
arrival times yet! That’s great, as the sun can still dry my tent and
the restaurant closes at 8pm. After dinner and tent setup I walk back
the 700m wooden boardwalk to the hot springs. The hot water feels very
soothing. Under a mini waterfall I get the closest thing to a back and
leg massage. I also get even more tired, so I quickly crawl into the
tent and sleep for 9.5hrs!
Wednesday, July 22
Liard River to Toad River;
120km / 2690km; 7.5h / 148h; 1530m / 29100m
After crossing the Liard river long uphill into a side valley; some stretches too steep for me to pedal. Entered Muncho Lake Provincial Park. Saw a black bear sow with two cubs -very nice. Once at the higher plateau of the valley nice views of valley, but also lots of annoying short steep hills – like a rollercoaster!
Finally arrive at the lake and ride alongside. Stopped at the Northern Rockies lodge, which I remember from 10 years ago. It is run by some Swiss folks who also offer scenic flights, kayak tours and fly in fishing excursions as well as remote cabins.
I have “Zuericher Geschnetzeltes” for lunch. (If I could have afforded it, I would have had another one right away.)
More scenic riding along the lake; then hard climb into the S headwind up some 400m! Seemed to never end – one of the hardest parts since the Dalton Hwy! Then 4100m descent at 7% at up to 60km/h, then turn and follow the Toad river downstream. Now the sun comes out and it is downhill and downwind Life is good! Great scenery, canyon walls to the right, river to the left. I stop to drink and snack; see a beaver in the river and two caribou on the road (until they get bitten by some horse fly and take off running).
Some gravel patches on the road lead to a lot of dust from passing vehicles. Finally after 120km I reach the Toad River lodge, where I have two of their Ribeye steak specials and camp for the night. Also free wireless Internet
Thursday, July 23
Toad River to Tetsa River campground;
98km / 2788km; 6hr / 154hr; 1200m
Breakfast at the restaurant. Steep hill to start, then some gravel and
pretty dusty. Then long climb up to Summit Lake at Stone Mountain, at
1260m highest point of the Alcan. Beautiful scenery coming up to the
pass. Getting water at “Bubble Canyon” where a camper truck lies in
Stop at Summit Lake where I meet Gary and Lynn, who travel with bikes
and a small camper, relay-style: One rides the bike, the other one
drives the camper; then they take turns. A great way to travel and
Long descent and one more gravel stretch (with pilot cars). Stop at
Tetsa River Lodge (86km) for the “Cinnamon Bun Center of the Galactic
Cluster” (road sign ad), then some WiFi and at 7pm steak night special.
After dinner I continue on to Tetsa River campground another 14km or
so. 2.5km off the Hwy down to the river.
Friday, July 24
Tetsa River to Fort Nelson
100km / 2895km; 6h / 160h; 1250m / 32000m
Aweful mosquitoes the first 30m gravel hill up through the woods
pushing the bike. 5min later I have maybe 50 bites :-((
On Hwy the day begins with a steep 100m hill, followed by some
relatively flat and well engineered section. After a few km the road
starts to climb up, eventually some 500m to 1135m. From there super
long descent to the East. Then another 60km or so of relatively
monotonous riding through the forest.
Nearing Fort Nelson the Alcan follows some ridge which offers sweeping
views to the West. More homes and some farmland. Eventually I reach
Fort Nelson and stop the library for cold water and Internet. Then
visitor center for info, a grocery store for lots of fresh food
(including the blueberries, mill and cereal for next day’s breakfast.
Doing laundry and Skype with Jill. Lastly dinner at Boston’s Pizza –
large Greek Salad, followed by Italian Penne and some fruit pie a la
mode – yummy!
Saturday, July 25
Fort Nelson to Buckinghorse River
184km / 3083km; 10.5h / 171h; 1900m / 33900m.
Early start at 8:30 after big breakfast (1lb cereal, 1lb blueberries,
1l milk, 1 yoghurt) due to grocery shopping last evening. Long hill
down and up from Muskwa River. Long straight roads through endless
forest, one 11km straight stretch with odometer test km markers. Hot
on uphills and around noon, hard to find shade… At noon I have 60km.
Finally at 95km I arrive at Prophet River, but there is nothing there!
A little further is a B&B and a wedding is going on, so plenty of cars
and people. No water (unless I wait until after wedding ceremony), but
I’m told there is a creek in 6km. Unfortunately the water is fairly
muddy, so I need to work hard on the water filter – I take 2l filtered
water. Getting up to the plateau from the river is another 100m hill –
Buckinghorse River will be very far, but there is nothing in
between… I am told there are no hills – not true: The road climbs
slowly but unrelenting; eventually I reach 1130m, some 800m higher
than in the morning down at the river! Total elevation gain 1900m for
the day – more than the last two days! I calculate that it will be
tight to get to the restaurant before 9pm; so I push myself hard, and
I get very tired.
Last hour on ridge in beautiful light and great views to the West.
Also see 1 big black bear and a moose with calf. Arrive at B.R.
exactly at 9pm after pushing hard up those last hills… Great food
(restaurant open until 10pm) for dinner, then walk over to Provincial
Park campground and tent setup at 10pm.
Sunday, July 26
Buckinghorse River to Wonowon
120km / 3204km; 7h / 171h; 1500m / 35400m
Early breakfast, then easy 23km to Sikanni River; stop and nice chat
with owner lady. Bought Alberta map. Then 350m hill back up to the
ridge – two long push sections and 45 min later I’m up there again…
Then another short section to a motel / restaurant just prior to Pink
Mountain which I reach at noon (49km). Here I have a clubhouse
sandwich and coke. Then I sleep in the shade of the building for 1h
while sun & wind blow-dry my wet tent Then Skype with Jill and
more email & Blog reading. Finally after the heat of the day subsides
I hit the road again near 5pm. There is another 150m hill up to Pink
Mountain, which then offers a rewarding view. From here it’s another
60km along a ridge with some gas field exploration sites. Plenty more
hills, unfortunately, but nice evening light again. Arrive in Wonowon
at 9:15pm – luckily the gas station / convenience store is still open
until 10:30pm and has wireless Internet I drink two milk mixes and
check some email. I set up my tent on a public rodeo field /
playground around the corner. Sleep at 11pm.
Monday, July 27
Wonowon to Hudson’s Hope
155km / 3360km; 8h / 186h; 1400m / 36800m
Early departure after coffee at the gas station. Rolling hills through
the forest, not quite as strenuous as yesterday around Pink Mountain,
with a bit more downhill than uphill. Some farmland as I get closer to
Fort St. John. On the last 20km of the Alcan I meet Danny Chew and his
nephew Steve who ride up North. Danny is a multiple RAAM winner and
knows Wolfgang Fasching quite well – small world! They travel on a
small budget ($10/day) and do 100miles/day! Hats off to them!
At Charlie Lake I drink and rest at gas station. Here the road turns
West to Hudson’s Hope in the Peace River valley. Crazy hills here,
lots of steep up&down. Very scenic, great views of the river; smells
remind me of the “Waldviertel” in Austria and our summer vacations
there on the farm as a young boy. Arrive at Hudson’s Hope 80km after
Charlie Lake late around 8pm. Dinner at Sportsman Grill, plus email,
then roll another 2km to campground near town limit. Pitch my tent,
good shower and then chat with Helen and Hans from Denmark who worked
here as engineer on the dam some 40 years ago and now comes back to
visit as tourist. Sleep at 11pm.
Tuesday, July 28
Hudson’s Hope to Chetwynd (semi rest day)
70km / 3438km; 4.5h / 191h; 700m / 37500m
Today is a semi rest day for several reasons: The next town after
Chetwynd is too far to reach from H. H. There is the interesting
Bennett Dam here on the Peace River to visit. I have gone for more
than one week now without rest day and it’s very hot.
After breaking down the tent I roll back to town at 7:00am for
breakfast and email. At 8:30 I continue to the Visitor Center. There I
leave my bike and try to hitch a ride up to the dam. 1/2h wait, no
luck! I walk across the street into the restaurant there to have some
coke (as it’s already pretty hot). I mention the German flag outside
and there is chef Freddie from Germany. We chat a little bit and I
mention my plans to go up to the damn. Without hesitation Freddie asks
whether I have a drivers license. Before I really understand what’s
happening he already holds his car keys in front of me and offers me
his car – amazing!
I accept and go up the 20km by car – an unusual mode of transportation
for me after 1 month of just riding…
The dam is quite interesting and very large. Back in the sixties it
was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world. Total capacity
2700MW, together with the smaller sister dam at Dinosaur Lake
downstream those two create 1/3 of all of BC’s electricity need!
After I return I have lunch at Freddie’s and leave a good tip
including some gas money at least…
Then back at the Visitor Center more email and Twitter as well as
chatting with Kathy, the friendly agent. I buy some delicious apricots
and cheese bread at the farmer’s market across the street and also
check out the Hudson’s Hope Museum. Great views of the Peace river.
Then at 3:30p I finally start my ride. Quick stop at the smaller dam,
but they close at 4p. Then long, hot climb 300m above the river! Ride
leads past two lakes which invite for a swim in this heat. At the
second (Morley Lake) I use a technique to keep bikers cool on very hot
days: I jump off the bridge into the lake (local attraction for
Then one more 250m climb, followed by a 300m descent at 70km/h down to
Chetwynd by 8p. I shop for groceries, proceed to dinner at
“Buckroads” (great country style cooking and Internet), and finally
roll down the street another 2km to the local RV park, where I pitch
my tent at 10p in the dusk.
Wednesday, July 29
Chetwynd to Mackenzie Junction
158km / 3597km; 8h / 199h; 1280m / 38800m;
First 50km uneventful ride into valley with three huge high-voltage
lines. Stop at Silver Sands Cafe (73km). Meet with Florence from Lyon
over lunch who will stay here for the day. I continue on to the Pine
Pass – beautiful scenery along the Pine River. Unfortunately road has
no more shoulder, so I need to monitor traffic and pay close attention
Climb up to pass is not very high (990m) but very hot. At Lake
Azouzetta lodge I stop for a refreshing swim in crystal-clear lake
water with nice mountain scenery all around. And a chat over coffee
with owner Curtis, who has an interesting MTB.
Then fast descent to Bijoux Falls for a quick stop. Remaining 30km or
so are rather boring through forest. Arrive at MacKenzie Junction and
after bridge and short, steep hill at Windy Point lodge run by the
Dutch van Boois family. Very nice place here, free wireless – actually
phone-line based and fast DSL – free camping, nice chat with parents
and kids love playing with my iPhone. Email with Jill, sleep at 11pm.
Thursday, July 30
MacKenzie Junction to Prince George
151km / 3749km; 6.75h / 206h; 940m / 39700m
Relatively flat and easy stage. Get up at 6, breakfast at restaurant
at 7, depart at 8. During breakfast I see lightning and black clouds
to the North. I hurry to get going and only get a few raindrops and
some spray from passing trucks as the road is wet the first 25km. Then
I get slightly ahead of the cloud line and it gets sunny and warm. At
noon I already have 80km and pause at Bear Lake gas station /
convenience store. They have cool soda and wireless Internet. I write
two Blog posts, check email and so pass the time until 4pm! On the
road again by 4:30pm. Very fast ride the next 50km with flat good road
(some RR crossings, though) and slight tailwind. Then pause at Salmon
River and some snacks right next to the water in the shade under the
bridge. Hard climb up from the river valley some 120m and construction
zone with no shoulder… Finally reaching outskirts of Prince George
and stopping for food shopping. Lots of friendly and curious people
there. Luckily I hear about a campground just a few km down the road
and it’s just rolling downhill. I get to the Roblyn motel & CG by 8:40
or so. Free camping, shower and wireless Internet Very tired.
Friday, July 31
Prince George to Quesnel
130km / 3880km; 6.5h / 212h; 1300m / 41000m
On the road at 8:20am after big cereal / blueberry breakfast at Robley
CG. Already hot at 9am. 120m climb out of P.G. in construction zone
and narrow sidewalk crossing of Fraser River. Stop near airport
turnoff for coffee to finish my 2 remaining Danish butterhorns –
yummi! Not very scenic ride today, and more little hills than I
expected! It always seems to come out to 100m vertical per 10km
distance. Brief stop at Stone Creek Lodge – nicely maintained and with
German flag (but owners were not at office). Lunch stop at Hixon. Some
coke, but no big meal. Continue at 1:30p in full midday heat. Another
stop at a roadside “Cinema Cafe”. Huge cherry pie a la mode – yummi
again! Then continue to Quesnel. On last long downhill into town
something feels weird with the bike. I’m cruising down at 65km/h and
an impatient truck driver trying to pass right behind me. When I roll
out at the bottom of the hill there is a campground. I inspect my
tires and get a sickening feeling: My backtire has a 1 inch long nail
in it which slowly leaks air! I patch the tube and have it fully
reinflated at a nearby tire shop. Decide to stay at the CG and take a
shower and pitch the tent. Skype with Jill and roll down to town
center for dinner.
Saturday, August 1
Quesnel to Williams Lake
139km / 4027km; 7h / 220h; 1300m / 42300m
Roll down to center of Quesnel, breakfast at Granville Coffee and
email / Skype with Jill. Start riding at 9am. First 20min out of town
are terrible: 120m uphill, construction, traffic, heat… But after
that it’s a good ride, slight tailwind, often 100m above Fraser River
with beautiful views. When I stop for some fudge and icecold coke I
realize how hot it is when stepping out of the A/C cool building – 1pm
and 32C. And no shade on the road… Actually, on the next long hill
up to lake Leese there is a thundercloud forming with lightning and
thunder, which provides much appreciated relief from the sun like a
giant umbrella! At Lake Leese I stop for a snack and drinks. Seems to
be the weekend getaway for the local folks, as the lake and resorts
here are quite busy and crowded. I meet Diana and Peter, who are on a
shopping trip up to Quesnel; they live in Williams Lake and give me
lots of useful information; we set a tentative dinner date for
After another 2.5h (45km) and a long climb to almost 1000m I roll down
at high speeds to W.L. I stop at Boston Pizza for a salad and emails.
Then at 7:30 I am at the next restaurant and meet up with Diana and
Peter. Turns out that restaurant is closed so we just switch plans to
another one 1km down the road. We have dinner and I tell them about my
At dusk another 5km ride along lake shore to Will Yum Campground.
Setup tent under clear sky and moon. After brushing teeth I walk back
to tent and notice bright object tracking across night sky – perhaps
the Space Station?
Sunday, August 2
Williams Lake to Green Lake
125km / 4155km; 7.5h / 228h; 1600m / 43900m
I get up early at 6:30 and hit the road at 7am. Per Peter’s tip I
detour slightly at the beginning of the next hill and take a small
backcountry road around the hill. Windy road, many cattle guards. At
one I stop and take a picture when I suddenly see Peter come out of a
driveway; he just wanted to ride back towards the campground to meet
me! Had I been 2min earlier we would have missed each other! So he
invites me into his house for breakfast – fresh coffee and toast with
fresh raspberry jam. After we talk for a while he joins me for the
first part of the ride back to Hwy 97. There it’s Goodbye to Peter and
I continue South. I pass the scene of a fatal head-on collision the
day before on the Hwy – a grim reminder of the fragility of life. Then
at 30km I have a flat back tire. I walk 200m to a litter barrel area
and unload all bags to find the leak and patch the tube. A car stops.
It’s Dustin and Jennifer, asking whether I need any tools. I ask
whether they have an air pump. To my surprise he has an electrical pump
and so I’m back up to 50psi tire pressure right away
I continue to Lake La Hache at 55km. There I buy 1.5lb of fresh
apricots at a fruit stand and chat with Lionel (from South Africa) in
German! He also offers a delicious peach and Greek cheese for free.
Then I proceed to the Austrian Edelweiss restaurant across the street
and have Homemade “Spaetzle” for lunch – oh my, is this good! Checking
email and then going for a swim in the lake. Resume ride at 3:15p.
Again many hills until I arrive at 100 Mile House at 85km. Visitor
center with Swiss folks, plenty of info and free wireless – hence
Skype with Jill. Planning overnight stay, decide to detour to Green
Lake East of Hwy. Call ahead to “Little Horse Lodge” with German
restaurant sounds promising. Not too many hills, I ask. Not to worry,
no problem… Well guess what: Big problem; there are probably another
500m vertical in those 35km, so it takes me more than 2h and I arrive
very tired a little after 9pm when it’s about to get dark. Beautiful
sunset, bright moon (near full) and red colored thunderhead in the SW
distance. Here at lodge big disappointment: Restaurant already closed
at 8pm, only opens at 9am for breakfast, Internet not working … I go
to sleep hungry. Then my tent pole snaps near the top – going to be
hard to fix. Tonight is not my night, so go to sleep early. Tomorrow
is another day.
Monday, August 3
Green Lake to Clinton
58km / 4213km; 2.75h / 231h; 420m / 44320m
I get up, take a shower and cook some noodles as I’m really hungry.
Then I pack my gear and write a few emails. Finally at 9am the
restaurant opens up for breakfast. Over breakfast some more emails and
eventually I start my ride at 10:45!
Rolling hills along Green Lake, little traffic and some cattle guards.
Then at 30km I get to 70 Mile House. Coke and email break. I received
two donations within 24hrs of $350 total
The next 30km to Clinton are the worst of the entire trip: Nonstop
traffic both ways, bad shoulder almost unrideable (gravel, debris,
washboard), construction, heat, smoke – after a few near misses I have
enough of this and stop in Clinton. Unfortunately the roads via
Lillooet are closed due to forest fires; so it looks like I will have
to take the Fraser canyon route via Hope!
I decide to stay put for the day and let the insane traffic (from the
long BC holiday weekend) subside. All-you-can-eat BBQ buffet with ribs
help compensate for last night’s calories deficit
Two Blog posts and email. Also a walk up&down Clinton mainstreet (I.e.
Hwy 97) and visit to Clinton museum. Sleep at 10p – fixed up tent pole
using duct tape for now.
Tuesday, August 4
Clinton to Hope
241km / 4455km; 11h / 241h ; 2400m / 46700m
Rarely have I seen more difference in riding conditions within 12h:
this morning the air was at least 10C cooler, smoke-free, there was
much less traffic – well I started at 6:20am and the long holiday
weekend is over – and the first 40km were aided by a 450m drop and
tailwind :-)) At 8am I already had 40km. (I remember a day in the
Yukon where I had 40km only at 5pm!) At 11a I stopped for a quick soda
at 90km and at noon the 100km mark rolled around. At a fruit stand I
buy some apricots to eat a little later at Spences Bridge with coffee
and a cinnamon bun (1:30p, 135km).
Before Lytton my good luck with the tailwind runs out and it changes
into headwind This also brings smoke-filled air from a nearby
forest fire :-((
Of course the initial downhill is long past, and there is a lot of
up&down now in the canyon. While this provides often great views and
some relief / fun on the downhill, it takes a lot of sweat to grind up
those hills in the afternoon heat. Eventually the smoke clears and at
last I can breathe easily again.
At a hill called “Jackass Mountain” (no kidding!) I stop at an
overlook with a 250m drop to the river. A German couple also stops
there and we chat briefly and take mutual pictures. (They got my last
At Boston Bar (175km) I drink another liter of Coke and wonder whether
I can still go all the way to Hope with this wind and only about 3h of
daylight left. Usually the wind does down in the evening, but not
before I have to fight some more jet-like blasts through the half-
dozen tunnels. Traffic is moderate, but a few trucks pass pretty close
where there is little shoulder. Last bottle of Pepsi in Yale, then
24km to Hope. Towards the end it starts to get dark, and there is one
more 90m hill after 10.5h on the bike -yikes. Then rolling down and
over Fraser river bridge into town. I eat at Subway, as no restaurant
in sight is open at 8:45pm. The campground is right next to the river
and I pitch my tent under some huge Redwood trees. I’m tired but also
very satisfied. Great shower, then some email and fall into a deep
Wednesday, August 5
Hope to Lynden, WA
121km / 4576km; 6h / 248h; 650m / 47250m
After the long ride yesterday I take it easy in the morning. Yet, I wake up at 6:30 and go looking for some breakfast place that’s open in town. There I feast on some “Logger’s Special”, followed by a cinnamon bun, while I update my Blog and do email. I continue with the latter from my tent, as I’m trying to coordinate a meeting with Rich, our Logan mountain guide.
I leave around noon and expect a semi rest day, i.e. somewhat shorter distance. After 1km or so the road merges onto the Trans Canada Highway 1, a four lane divided hwy – one of only two choices in this valley. It feels like riding on the Interstate or German Autobahn. Trucks and cars are passing at 100km/h while I’m riding along on the shoulder. It’s relatively safe due to the wide shoulder and also cyclist warning signs – and it’s definitely legal, too – but what bothers me most is the noise. I can hardly hear anything but the wind and engine noise – it’s deafening. At one point bicycles are rerouted to a parallel route, which is infinitely nicer through residential neighborhoods and some rural areas. Lots of farmland and fruit growing up here. Once coming out of the mountains it’s completely flat. Yes, there is some headwind, but no more hills.
I stop at Chiliwack (60km) for some food at a Best Western after inquiring at the Visitor Center about roads and restaurants. Due to my rather leisurely pace it’s already 5:30pm when I start rolling again. I underestimate the distance to the border: It’s another 40km zig-zagging down towards the SW through beautiful and quiet farmland. What a contrast to the noisy hwy earlier. Here I only need to stop for the occasional dog “attack”. At one point I am close to pulling out my bear spray due to a somewhat aggressive Rottweiler out on the public road – that’s one thing I don’t like about free running dogs…
At 8pm I get to the border at Sumas. The usual questions about where I live, what I do for a living, who pays for the trip etc. But it takes only 10 min and I’m riding South again, now in Washington State. The sun goes down as a perfect red ball over the cornfields. To the West I briefly see Mt. Baker with its glaciers, triggering memories of my ascent 10 years ago at the end of August 1999…
I continue on West to Lynden, which has a KOA campground, about 10km (which I have to come back tomorrow) in the dusk. I’m happy to get there by 9pm, when they just close the office. They send me to a plaza some 3km away, and there I find a Pizzeria Bar still open. I eat two pizzas and have a glass of red wine in celebration of the event. Also I receive a phone call from my parents, who realized from my Tweets that I am back in the US and my phone probably is working! Rolling back to the CG around midnight. I don’t even bother with my tent and just roll out the sleeping bag – which is a bit warm (it’s 15C, some 40C warmer than most nights on the glacier), but there are no mosquitoes and no rain (bright full moon).
(end of British Columbia section)