Fort Nelson tot Dawson Creek
Staying for a few nights in Fort Nelson was a good idea. The campground was a bit expensive but pretty good, in town we could found everything we needed, the weather was awesome and right besides the campground they had a nice ice cream bar.
So we relaxed around a bit, updated our website, ate an enormous pizza with the two of us and did make 12 Hamburgers by ourselves.
The start for today’s cycling feels like going to work on a Monday morning. We camped a few days on the same spot with nice weather which felt like a weekend. Maybe we finally come in a flow of “this is our live for the coming next year” without the feeling it is just a holiday?
The road for today is not as exciting as it was before. Long stretches slowly going up and going down. No big mountains for us today. So now and then we see big pipelines through the landscape for the oil and gas industry in this area.
In a small coffee bar we meet a few bikers on Kawa’s KLR650’s going al the way up to the most northern highway of Canada. They’re quite impressed that we do it all on bicycles to Argentina.
This part of the Alaska Highway is quite remote again which means a minimum on services like stores, restaurants or campgrounds for long stretches. On our map we made the note “wild camp”
On the iOverlander app we found a place called Prophet River Airstrip, a former official campground but closed down now. The note in iOverlander says “large places with fire pits, don’t camp on the airstrip itself”
Sounds good for us so we paddled down for 110km to make it to the airstrip. And indeed, the place was quite and ok. Only one campervan more was parked here for the night.
It stormed last night but in the morning we had sunshine again.
Back on the road the landscape is the same as yesterday. Slowly going up and down without real mountains and big trucks and RV’s passing all the time. Our goal for today is Buckinghorse campground but when we arrive close by we discover the campground is a few miles from the highway.
Campgrounds ok, but on bicycles we don’t do detours for them. So we set a new goal for today, just 20km ahead, Sikanni Chief River.
There should be a nice campground down there so we gonna give it a go.
On arrival we see the campground is on a low altitude compared to the rest of the road. For now we have to go steep down a lot. Tomorrow morning will be extreme climbing from the start.
At checkin the guy at the office tells us there were two grizzlies on the campground just a hour ago. Have a nice stay! “Euhmm ok.. tnx man”
At around 3 at night I wake up and had to go to the toilet, I zip open the tent and see it’s very misty outside. Even the mountains around are hard to see. Half asleep i walk to the toilet building and on arrival I realize “maybe the bears are still around, and if so I hardly should see them. I don’t have bear spray with me”
This thoughts scare me a little since the rest of the campground is in deep sleep and if a grizzly attacks me, no one would even notice. I went back to our tent in no time.
Juli 8, Sikanni River.
After packing everything up again we speak a few backpackers from Australia, Wales and Germany. Road tripping around Canada and Alaska. They’re telling one of the grizzlies discovered their tents last night and played with it for some time as it was a toy. Their tents were just standing 30m from ours😳🐻
This morning I discovered on google maps from were we are now it’s 840km to Edmonton, the city were Maud, Tom, Daniëlle and Dirk will come over to visit us. This 840km remembers me on a motorbike trip to Norway in the spring of 2011.
Almelo, Saturday night, 5am;
The plan was to have a few beers with friends in Café De Stam, go early at home and hop on the bike Sunday morning to drive the 840km to the most northern part of Denmark to catch the early boat to Norway on Monday morning.
But as often, plans never go as planned. One beer turned in more beers and more beers even turned in to much more beers. At 5 in the morning “Ben ik te min” played as the last tune for the night, the bright lights got on and we all been swapped outside to go home. I realized, go on the motorcycle fresh and early ain’t gonna happen but the boat was booked so I had to be in northern Denmark before Monday in someway or the other.
I got home and felt in sleep right away (after a few Frikandellen)
Around 11am I woke up with the feeling “I have to ride now otherwise I’m not gonna make it on time” I stood up and my stomach turned around. Not a good idea! Back to bed. At 1pm I woke up again with the same feeling “I have to go go go...”
Out of bed my stomach holds, I packed up the last things on the BMW, filled it up at the gas station and of I was. Full speed to northern Denmark. I think it was after the city of Hamburg that I had the feeling being a bit sober again. Finally.
Having a “few” beers was not a good idea this time. I made the trip in time with just two stops for a gasoline refill and fingers crossed no speeding bills afterwards.
At 11 in the night I found a dark campground close to the ferry terminal and hopped on the boat the next morning 🤞
Back to today again. We start off with some the nice 9% uphills to Pink Mountain. Pffff now that’s a warming up for the day.
We do the first 5km in 50 minutes and 20km later we find a nice coffee bar but filled up with people from a big touring car. We drink our coffee and Mnt Dew outside on a nice sunny spot on the veranda. Pink Mountain just 5km ahead sounds like a special place but on arrival it’s nothing more then a truck stop and a liquor store. We buy some chips and a few beers for tonight. We ask the lady “Why the name Pink Mountain?”
“Because the many pink flowers 🌸 in some times of the year” We did see just a very few.
Because we started late this morning and had the big climbing at the start it’s already 3pm after just an 30km trip. Actually our goal for today was Wononwon, a small town but still 65km ahead of Pink Mountain. I don’t know we are gonna make it that far today, it’s still a lot of going up and down but we decide to give it a go and try. After another two hour cycle we eat some bread and past on. The hills become steeper and steeper from her and we change plans “we cycle till 7:30 and where we are then we will put our tent in the woods beside the road”
At 7:30 we see it’s “just” 14km to Wonowon... what should we do, camp here in the woods or go on for another 14 clicks? Plans change again... 🚴🏽♂️🚴🏼♀️
Wonowon looks like industrial town with lots of container cabins and just an ESSO gas station. No campground as we discover. But the Chinees lady at the gas station is very kind and lets us camp beside her gas station. At the gas station it’s pretty noisy with all the trucks riding on and off but it doesn’t bother us very much. At one moment a car even starts to make donuts on the gravel in front of us and is racing away on the pavement with smoking tires. Were are we here, in Hazard County or what? We find Wonowon is a strange village but who cares if you can camp for free after a day of hard pushing up hills?
The positive part about camping besides a gas station is, in the morning there’s hot coffee and fresh baked bread.
Around 9am we start cycling and the first part is going down.... 🤘
It’s Monday and the road is a lot busier then yesterday. Loads of big patrol, gas and logging trucks pass us al the time. A conversation is hard to make between the two of us. In a truck stop we drink something and eat there famous pie 🥧
A guy who is in the truck stop already tells us about the loads of logging trucks. In wintertime there can be up to 300 trucks on the roads in this area because one of worlds biggest logging company is settled around Fort St. John, not far from here.
We have a nice and long chat with the guy but after awhile he has go to work again, lunchtime is over. We sit a little longer and when we want to pay the lady at the desk tells us the guy already paid for us. Wow that’s kind a sweet, we didn’t expect that. The desk lady tells us it happens often someone pays for another after a nice chat or so. Canadians, lovely people!
The last stretch goes pretty fast and we end up at Charlie Lake Park, a nice government campground along Charlie Lake.
The weather is warm so we snack something, put up tent and go for the small hike to the lake for a swim. At the lake we discover there’s no beach or something and the water doesn’t look you want to swim in it... bummer 😒
A couple off days before we entered the Fort St John area we tried to get in contact with a Warmshowers host in the city but it didn’t work out, that’s why we ended up on the campground yesterday. While we were putting up tent and tried to get the nice swim a new message came in.
“Looks like you might be at the campground tonight. If you decide to come to town you are welcome. The backyard is big, let yourself in. We are out for a few hours but will be home around 7
Sent from my iPhone”
That was a nice surprise so we decided not to stay at the lake for another night, which was a bummer anyway, but to pack up our stuff today and go for the last 12km to Fort St John and stay with Liz and Jay.
The 12 clicks into town turned in like hell. They are reconstructing the road. The side shoulders of the road are filled with gravel so no way you can cycle on that and it is super busy with big trucks and four by fours. The luck we have it’s mostly downhill so we can go fast. Luckily we survived and went into town for a coffee at “Whole Wheat and Honey” a fancy restaurant in the city center. Since we looking like we come straight out of the bush with our smelly clothes and the people in the restaurant are dressed up pretty well we feel kind of uncomfortable but we ignore the steering eyes and sit there for nearly two hours. We have to replan our time schedule otherwise we’re way to early in Edmonton. We make some decisions, order another coffee and head out to a nice city park to hang around in with this great sunny weather.
At the end of the afternoon we text Liz we’re heading their home and if we are welcome already?
“Yep, no problem”
On our way to the right address it’s quite hard to find it since we aren’t used to the numbering of the houses which are linked to the crossing street numbers. But we figure it out and arrive at Liz and Jays place. There we find out they have 2.5 year old daughter, Petra, as well. We fill the evening with nice chats on the veranda. To bad Liz wasn’t there since she has to work till the next morning as maternity nurse in the hospital.
After all those days on the road we take a day off today and just go into town to do some groceries and having a look around.
The city isn’t very big but nice to go around. In the evening we cooked a nice pasta salad for the five of us and had nice conversations again.
Time to move on today. It’s morning and we pack up our bikes again for a nice ride down hill, what they told us, to Dawson Creek. A ride of 75 km. Dawson Creek is the beginning of the Alaska Highway. They call it Mile Zero over here. We arranged another Warmshowers address there so hardly anything can go wrong you might think.
After just 15 k on the road we cycle in this small town of Taylor but when we cycle in we see Taylor is in a big valley with on the other end off town a huge up hill ride.
In Taylor we go to the visitor center for maybe some extra info and off course a nice coffee. The lady at the visitor center is very very very nice and offers us loads of information about all the places we wanna go in Canada. She even makes some calls to check some things for us further down the road. After some chatting with her she ask if we like pizza? “Euh yes off course” and she orders a pizza for us at the pizza restaurant next door but for the employees price. Now that’s kind. After being to long in the visitor center we take off, let’s face that hill out off this valley.
The road goes straight up for a long time and after a while we discover it’s hills all the way with a lot of heavy traffic to Dawson Creek. Half way there is even a road construction going on which doesn’t makes it easier for us. We reach Dawson Creek in the late afternoon and come along the Mile Zero sign. To celebrate we eat in a very cool fancy 50’s style restaurant.
Cynthia, our Warmshowers host in Dawson Creek did send us a very clear description about how to find their home. So after the tasty hamburgers we got on a small ride to Cynthia’s. After 10 min cycling we realize it’s not gonna be a small ride. After a hour and 15 clicks over hills and gravel roads we finally get to their home. We get a very warm welcome at a pretty awesome place. We meet Cynthia, Randy and Caroline. At our surprise it’s Caroline’s birthday today so we end up this day sitting around a campfire with wine, marshmallows and a fine birthday cake 🔥🥂🎂
We gonna stay here for a few nights but these stories will be posted later on...