Cycling the Alaska Highway – Part 3

Tuesday 26 June
We slept well in the Dragon’s Den hotel. We take a shower, eat some breakfast and clean out our room.
It is time to go to the clinic.
At the clinic everything goes very quick. Kim is seen by a doctor who is very nice and helpful. She gets the prescription she needs and can get the medicine here at the clinic so we are outside in now time!

We go to visit the main tourist attraction of Watson Lake which is the “Sign Post Forest”. It was started in 1942 by Carl Lindsey, a homesick American soldier, while working on the Alaska Highway. When repairing a directional post, he decided to add a sign for his hometown of Danville,Illinois and inadvertently started the huge collection of signs.
The Sign Post Forest illustrates the historic and universal relationship between a traveler, their journey and their connection to home.
Of course we also put up our sign here. Like real tourists!😋

Our own sign at the Sign Post.

After that we go to the “Northern Lights Centre”. Here we watch a 50 minutes long movie in a planetarium with SciDome Hd projection system. In the movie is told about the working of the sun and how the sun affects or makes the northern lights. Northern lights is also called Aurora Boralis. It has 8 different kinds of lights that you can see.
Also they have a lot of photos of the Canadian astronauts. A gift shop of course and you can use computers with internet here.

After all this excitement it is time to get some groceries so we can get back on the road again. Outside the supermarket we meet two other cyclist. One is an American guy called Nelson. He is like us also Cycling all the way down to Ushuaia, Argentina and plans on finishing the trip in November 2019. He also started his trip in Deadhorse like us. Only he is going on the Cassier Highway from here.
The other guy, Otto is originally from New Zealand, but now he lives in London and he has 5 months to travel. He goes all the way down to Mexico and like us he will continue on the Alaska Highway. We will definitely see each other down the road again. That should be fun!

We are ready to leave. We only cycle 10km to be out of town and camp at a rest area. It is “wild camping” again so we don’t have to pay anything here.
It is still pouring rain...hopefully tomorrow will be better!

Wednesday 27 June
Today it finally stopped raining. So we can pack up our tent and other stuff dry again. The sun is even shining. We also have an early start today so we eat some meal bars and we want to eat some proper breakfast 30km down the road at a fishing spot. It is easy going and we even have tail winds. We arrive in British Columbia and we get welcomed with a big sign.

Also there will be a stretch of the road where there will be buffaloes. There is a sign warning about the buffaloes on the road and about how to act around them.
The traffic on the road is fairly quit so early in the morning, because al the RV’s start riding at about 11am.
We have our breakfast at the fishing spot as planned and we go on our way again. After lunch we seem to be getting more hills. After a while we see a black bear on the side of the road again. He is to busy eating to be bothered by us.
The cycling is going good and we are thinking about camping at Whirlpool Canyon if we are able to get there.

Ghost Towns along the road.

More Ghost Town

We meet Otto again for he is cycling behind us. He is a lot faster than we are. Which makes us think again about that we(Arjan and Kim) are carrying to much stuff on our bicycles.... Still it is very nice that he did catch up with us and is cycling with us now. We chat a lot so the cycling seems to go without thinking. It is nice to have Otto cycle with us now it changes the dynamics a bit. He just turned 30 and celebrated it in Whitehorse. He has also met a lot of people along his trip and cycled with a few already for bits of his trip. He tells us that this is his first cycling trip actually. But so far he is doing really good and cycling a lot of kilometres a day we can say!

We arrive at a lodge called “Contact Creek”. We are getting something to drink here. Otto has high expectations because the lady at the Visitor centre in Watson Lake told him how great it should be and that they are really nice to cyclists and that it might be able to camp here. When we go inside we are rather let down for its the strangest looking lodge that we’ve been to so far. But the people from the lodge are really nice we must say and we can still get something to drink here and it is not expensive at all!
Otto decides that he is not going to camp here so he is going with us. We still want to try to go to Whirlpool Canyon and otherwise if we can’t make it we’ll go wild camping.
There is a great viewing point over the river and we take a short break here. We take some pictures and eat some trail mix. A man who also stopped for the view tells us that there’s road construction up ahead like 10 miles (16km) down the road. We might have to go in a pilot car.
Okay that seems not to bad. We only have to cycle around 37km in total now.

The man at the viewing point was right it was exactly 10 Miles. We where a happily surprised that he was right about it because we all discovered that most car drivers don’t have a good feeling of distance. When we get to the construction work a lady stops us and she tells us we can cycle if we want to but the road is really extremely dusty. We are also given the opportunity to wait for the pilot car to see if she can take the three bicycles and us to the other side of the construction work 11km further down the road. We can already see al the dust, so yes we’ll wait for the pilot car.
We are lucky she can take us and the bikes all in one time. We have a little chat with the lady and before we know it we are 11km down the road and getting our bikes off the car again.
Okay nice ride, now we only have 10km left to cycle for today.
Whirlpool Canyon has no sign at the road but we find it with GPS easily.
Wow what a nice place! It looks amazing! All these rapids in the water are like crazy. And it a very nice place to camp! All three of us are very excited about this place. We also see chipmunks running around. They are so tiny and look so cute!
We put up the tent, make a nice campfire and get some dinner cooked. We drink hot chocolate and sit and talk by the campfire for a long time.

I guess we have enough wood to burn tonight 😉

Thursday 28 June
It’s a nice day. We take it easy and after we put everything on the bikes we first eat some breakfast together. At 9.30 we are ready to leave Whirlpool Canyon. We still have tail winds and the road is mostly downhill so we are going quite fast. We only have to cycle about 65km.

After 10km we see the “Coal River Lodge” lodge where we can get some coffee. Otto also likes coffee a lot just like Kim. So when he is cycling alone he also stops for every coffee opportunity he gets.
We sit here for a while and fill up our water bottles before we leave.
The weather is really good and even warmer than yesterday. The cycling goes so fast. For us, Arjan and Kim, it is the fastest day riding so far. Just a few kilometres before we will arrive at the Liards hot springs. We see something very big on the side of the road. It looks like a very big bear or something. But when we approach it and we are a lot closer we see that it is a giant buffalo! And there is another sitting at the side of the road that we didn’t see at first. Wow! What are these animals impressively big!

2000 KG

We arrive in Liard at about 13.00. So we are very early. Nice to have such a short day cycling.
Otto doesn’t know if he will stay on the campground yet. He is thinking about just taking a dip in the hot springs and then he may cycle for a 50km further down the road. We, Arjan and Kim, are definitely staying here. Tomorrow we will have a rest day here as well.
We ask at the hot springs for the campground, but they are already full. We can camp on the overflow campground on the other side of the road the lady tells us.
When we check it looks not to good. Here we also meet Ben and Alisa, two motorcyclists from Germany who are almost doing the same trip as we do on their motorbikes in half a year. Www.a-b-reise.de. We all decide to go to the RV Park and ask if we can share a campsite with the four of us. Then we can split the costs between us. At the RV Park they say it’s okay, so we camp here together.
Ben and Alisa start putting up their tent. We first go for a dip in the hot springs with Otto and put up our tent later.
Otto still isn’t totally sure about leaving or not. But he’ll figure it out.

The hot springs are indeed very hot and very nice also. Because Otto decided that he will go on cycling after he has had dinner at the lodge. We all have dinner together before he leaves. The food in the Liard Hot Springs Lodge is very good! And the people are very nice here too. We even are offered to take some cakes from yesterday for free as a desert. They still taste very nice so we are really happy with this offer.
Otto gets himself ready to go on his bicycle again. Now we can only say goodbye. Maybe we will see each other again! Safe travels!

Cheers Otto.

We still have to put up our tent and now is the right time to do it! We have a chat with Ben who’s working on his motorcycle. They are going further north tomorrow before they go back down the same direction that we are going.

We want to go back into the hot springs! It is so nice!
We stay there until 21.45 and then we’re finally done with the hot springs. But tomorrow is another day and we will probably go back in again!😁

Path over swamp to the hotsprings

Friday 29 June
We sleep long and enjoy reading for a long time in the tent, because here we are safe for mosquitos.
When we get out of the tent we see that a squirrel is trying to get to our food that we have hanging in the trees against the bears. Luckily we’re just in time. The squirrel has made a hole in our bag that we now have to fix, but other than that the damage is small. He didn’t get the chance to eat all our food. So for us it’s now time for some breakfast and tea!

We know Trail Mix is irresistible too little #$#@er. Cheers for ruining our tent bag.

Arjan tries to fix the MSR stove that we bought in Whitehorse. It doesn’t seem to work as nice as we hoped.
Also there is a laundry room here so we can properly wash some clothes here. When it’s done we hang it to dry at our campsite and we go off to have another dip in the hot springs.
The day is nice and easy and the sun is nice. We enjoy our rest day to the fullest.

Saturday 30 June
Today it is raining and we don’t feel like getting up. Luckily the weather starts getting better and eventually it is dry and we even can pack our stuff in dry too. When we just left Liard Hot springs we're running into a big herd of bisons again. We have to wait for them since they are crossing the highway in full speed.

You don't wanna fight these guys.

We don’t have to go to far today so that will be nice. The sun is even shining again and we change into shorts. We do have some big head winds, but still we’re progressing alright.

At least we can see were to go.

Lunchtime.

Eventually we arrive at the Muncho Lake. “Muncho” means “ big lake” in the Kaska language. With its length of 12 kilometres it is one of the largest lakes in the Canadian Rockies. The lake is very beautiful and the colour of the water appears to look Jade green.

We stop at the “Northern Rockies Lodge” to get something to drink and fill our water bottles. The lodge is one of the better looking ones. It is very busy at the restaurant too. There are even people waiting to get a table.

Just a Coke so no waiting for us.

Af few kilometres along the lake we find our campground “Strawberry Flats Campground” it looks quite full already. We find a place and directly get offered a beer by our neighbours Karissa and Koltin. Carly is also talking to them, she is standing on the other side of them on the campground.
When we are drinking a beer and chatting for a while, we get offered a campground from four guys from Toronto. They want to go to the hot springs in Liard because they’ve met some nice girls that are staying there. They have already paid for the campground here, but because they want to leave again we can take theirs for free. That’s a very nice offer so of course we don’t refuse. Thanks a lot guy and have fun 👉👌😆

We put up our tent just in time for the rain. While it’s raining we make and eat some dinner. Eventually it clears again and we go chat with Karissa and Koltin again. Their neighbours are also there and now we are having something to drink together around the campfire.
Carly and her husband have a RV, but they live in it full time so this is their house now. They sold everything and bought the RV and now they are on the road for nearly two years. That seems like a nice way to live.
Karissa and Koltin live in Whitecourt, Alberta not to far from Edmonton. They have a few days off now and that’s why they’re traveling now. They invite us to stay at their home when we will pass trough their hometown on our way to Edmonton. That is very nice! We will probably except that offer. It is always nice to be able to have a warm shower and even nicer to have good company!
Eventually late in the evening we call it a day.

Sunday 1 July
We wake up late and pick up our stuff. We say goodbye to Carly and her husband. Koltin and Karissa already left for the hot springs. We will probably see them again when we pass through Whitecourt?
A few kilometres from the campground we just left is a the “Double G Service” where they have a restaurant, lodge, gas, post office and a bakery. We go in for some coffee, tea and breakfast. It is not expensive and the food is good and the portions are very big! We can go cycling for a long time on this good breakfast!

Today it is a lot cooler than the last few days have been. It is not to bad because we have to climb up hill a lot, but only to go downhill again the last part of the day.

Zen......

While cycling we have a great view on the “Folded Mountain” and it looks very beautiful. We can see the layers in which it is built up very nicely. The story about how it’s formed is that originally all the rocks of the Canadian Rockies lay flat on the shallow sea bed of the western continental shelf. About 175 million years ago, the continent of North America began to move westward, overriding the Pacific floor and colliding with offshore chains of islands. The continental shelf was caught in a squeeze. The flat-lying layers slowly buckled into folds as we can see now on the mountain.

Today we thought that we could camp at the “Toad River Lodge and RV” but when we arrive they only want to give us the rate of a RV. The girl behind the counter explains that every place has a full hook up and that is why she can’t rate us less. Sorry $36 is far to much for just a tent so we decide to find ourselves a nice wild camp spot. We know there is a fishing spot just 6km away from here and we decide to check it out. This was a very good idea! It’s a very nice spot where we will be able to camp easily! Nice!

Monday July 2
Racing River is the river we camped along last night. The streaming is very hard and noisy, maybe that’s it got it’s name from.
The roads are still wet from all the rain last night and we nearly start climbing from the start. Today the highest point of the Alaska Highway, Summit Lake at 1295m above sea level is on our program. The climb will be 45km, at the top we will decide we camp there along Summit Lake our we go down to find another nice spot for the coming night. Arjan found two nice wild camp spots on iOverlander, an app were everybody can give in nice camp spots. Legal, illegal, free and payed spots, it’s all in there. But for now, the Summit first! As most of the time the road never goes to the top straight away, same for today, it’s a rollercoaster road again. 20m down, 25m up, 20m down, 25m up... etcetera etcetera.

But the weather is good, the scenery even better and five kilometres under the top we find a small gas station to fill ourselves up with coffee and a coke. In the last five kilometres to the top we past lots of stone sheeps who are attracted by the salt deposits along the roadsides.

Summit Lake is stunning with it’s jade green colour and stone grey mountain tops around it. We hang around a little at the lake and decide to go on and camp somewhere further on the road due the strong and cold wind over the lake. So downhill we go and that’s awesome. For 35km 🤘

Marmot running.

Somewhere halfway we see a sign “Cinnamon Buns 1/2 mile” nice, we have to check that one out!!!
And man, they where huge and by far the best ever. If you’re ever on the Alcan Highway, check them
out yourself for just $5.

In front of the restaurant we met Wilma again, a lady who we met before as a waitress at the Liard Hot spring restaurant. She quit her job as being a waitress and now was doing the garden at the restaurant. “Yeah, they didn’t pay well, just $12.50 an hour, and I work where they pay me most”
We have a nice chat with her and move on after giving her one of our twowheelfreedom bracelets. Back on the road again, downhill even further.
After a hour Wilma passed us on her way home to give us cold water and a full bag of candies... “That’s a nice trade, isn’t it” she said, smiled and jumped back in her car to move on. Wilma we love you!!

We found a free camp spot in iOverlander called “the steamboat” and that’s gonna be our goal for today we decided. Kim checked her gps and finds another high mountain pass on the way to “the steamboat”
From 675m altitude we have to go to 1050m again. And in a rollercoaster scenario as well. The pass itself is covered in mosquitos, we have a short chat with a biker and we go downhill again. And fast we go, nearly 60km/h which is quite fast with fully loaded bicycles.

After 108km of cycling for today we see “the steamboat” in no-time.

The Steamboat; and old forgotten ghost town with some rotten buildings and a gas station dried up for many years already.

Tuesday July 3
When we where laying in our tent last night we heard a banging sound in the distance once in a while like someone was hidden in a dungeon underground and wants to get out.
Now It’s 2:19 am and I wake up in a shock. We’re laying in our tent, there is absolute silence outside and I’m definitely sure I heard footsteps nearby. Since we’re camping in this ghost town there should be no one around. I lay completely still so our noisy mattresses don’t make any noise and I keep listening if I hear more footsteps outside. My heart starts beating up and my breathing follows. “Is there someone around in this spooky place in the middle of the night?”
I keep laying still a while but don’t hear anything apart from the absolute silence.
“This intense silence is weird anyway since we’re on a top of a mountain, there is no wind at all and no single animal of bird makes a noise”
I start moving, the mattress crisps and I zip open our tent to have a look outside. Nothing to see.
With my head outside the tent I lay there for a short while and the mosquitos start to eat me.
“Who made the footsteps outside and what is he or she doing here. I didn’t hear a car or so in this lonely place”
With these thoughts I fall back in sleep.

The next morning we wake up in the sun and the view into the valley underneath is stunning.
We discuss the banging sound and footsteps of last night but don’t get the clue.
We pack up camp to move on to Fort Nelson, a small village about 75km ahead.
When I walk to one of the fireplaces to grab the empty packages of the easy meals which we eaten last night and which I putted here for the night underneath a few big stones so we don’t had to store the smelly things in the tent I discovered they’re gone. Completely disappeared with the stones still on the same place.
“Weird, there must be an animal who has taken these, and maybe this animal made the noise like it where human footsteps?”
And what about the noise like someone is buried in a underground dungeon all night long?
We figured it could be some kind of pump as well and maybe this creepy place got it’s name from this weird sound? Steamboat. If you have some fantasy the banging sound is like a real steamboat.

Whatever, we have to move on so we dive in the downhill ride from this mountain top. The road is empty and the weather is warm. The ride is kind of boring. We past the junction to the Liard Highway. The gateway to the Mackenzie Highway were all the filming is done for Discovery Channels Ice Road Truckers.

I know, it's a hard way to ride on. Complete burned out motorbike on the road side.

In Fort Nelson we end up on Triple G Campground were we would camp for a few days, relax and bad in the sun since it will be 23 till 28 degrees in the coming days ☀️

I think we'll be okay here for a few days....

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Cycling the Alaska Highway – Part 2

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Cycling the Alaska Highway – Final Part 4

4 Comments

  1. Gerrit Lansink

    Wat a great storie till now. Regards
    de Boderie. Albergen.

    • 2WF

      Hoi Gerrit,
      Dankje! Over anderhalf jaar komen we wel een keer een afsluitend weekendje kamperen bij jullie!
      Groeten aan heel Albergen en omgeving.

  2. Wim en Truus

    Hallo wat fijn om te horen dat jullie genieten.Wat is de aarde toch mooi.Al zoveel mooie natuur en wateren gezien.En al die leuke mensen onderweg en uitnodigingen.Groeten uit Almelo en een goede reis verder en genieten.Wim en truus

    • 2WF

      Hoi hoi, ja al heel veel moois gezien en leuke mensen ontmoet onderweg inderdaad.
      De groeten aan heel Almelo en wijde omgeving terug 😉

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