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Category: Canada (Page 1 of 2)

Cowboys and Blood Tribe Indians

We recovered a few days in Banff before we took off on the GDMBR, The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. The longest mountain bike route in the world.... they say...
It starts in Banff, or at least it started in Banff till 2017, now it starts even more up north in Jasper. But we start the route from Banff. The route follows the great divide south. The great divide divides the US continent in two parts. On the west side of the great divide all rivers flow out in the Pacific Ocean, on the east side all rivers flow out in the Atlantic Ocean. Through this massive mountain range the GDMBR winds 4400km over gravel and single trail tracks all the way to Mexico. It’s not our plan to stick to the route all the time but to visit as much National Parks close to the GDMBR as possible. More south we probably even completely leave the route because we wanna end up in San Diego at the west coast so we can go over to Mexico’s Baja California.

But before all that we’re still in Banff and slowly cycling south to find the start of the GDMBR. There aren’t any signs to or along the route, you have find it yourself by maps or gps. We’ve loaded the complete route in our gps so finding the start, at a parking just behind a luxury hotel, is no problem.
The route immediately winds over a small track up into the woods, following a stream up. After just a few hundred meter we decided to take out our to warm jackets and take some photos.

GDMBR kick off

An older couple comes down on mountain bikes at the same time and starts a conversation because we’re not cycling on standard mbt’s but on fully loaded bikes and that makes people always curious.
We’re telling our story and they tell they’re from Queenstown, New Zealand and are here in Canada to visit family. They also tell they travelled al lot over the world with their kids in the old days, giving them home schooling along the way.
After saying goodbye we wind further up into the mountains. The scenery is beautiful but the track is rough and hard to cycle. We hope it’s gonna be more easy otherwise we’re not gonna make it into Mexico before the beginning of November when our long term US visa is ending.
After a while the track becomes even tougher but happily ends up on a wide gravel road after that.

On the GDMBR

Since we’re still in a National Park we’re not allowed to camp just wherever we want so we have to go on till a campground is found. Our app shows a small campground along a big lake. That’s gonna be our goal for today!
And indeed, after loads of gravel we find the nice back country campground along a beautiful lake.
As usual it’s a self register campground again. When we’re putting up our tent and start cooking some dinner another couple cycles into the campground. They’re not on normal bikes, not on mountain bikes, no they’re on a tandem mountain bike, packed with panniers and all other stuff. Amazing. They tell us they’re cycling the GDMBR as well and they’re kicked off from Hinton, near Jasper. Today they started in Banff as we did. We can’t believe you doing such a trip on a tandem but they’re happy with it for so far. But in their stories we can hear they walked and pushed up the bike a lot today. Again, amazing!

Along the lake

Dinner

Our Campground

Have a good look to see the tandem riders.

In the morning we say goodbye to them but halfway the day we see them again when we have some lunch along the road.

Fully packed tandem on the GDMBR.

Because of the rough gravel road we still go slowly, to slowly, so we decide to look for a faster route going south. After searching on our maps and in our gps we find an alternative, parallel at the great divide a bit more to the east but over asphalt roads.
“Cheat Mode On” 🤘

Goats...

Bears? We didn't see any!

Bye

As soon we hit the asphalt the road starts to climb up and up, and even more up. What the 🤬!!!
The higher we go the stronger the headwind becomes and we find out after a long time of climbing the top of the pass is at 2286m.
At the top we nearly blown off our bikes and a little rain starts.

Up up up!

Finaly the top of the pass

So rain jackets on, head down and go go... down hill in full speed. After 10km from the top we find a spot along the road, behind some bushes to set up our tent for the night. We cook, eat and fall asleep. Somewhere in the middle of the night we hear some wolves in a distance. We turn around and sleep further.
When we wake up the weather is good and since we’re still coming from the pass the road down goes fast, very fast.

Find our tent.

Hi...!

Going down fast.

Half way the day we drink some at a lonely gas station and we go further down in high speed. This day is definitely the opposite from yesterday. Fast and sun instead of slow and rainy. Because we cycle out of the mountain range we hit more farm land and in the beginning of the afternoon we hit Highway 22 again. The Cowboy Trail which we left further up north to cycle a big detour through Banff National Park.
In Longview we find a nice campground and because we drove so hard it’s still in the afternoon so we have some nice spare time to do.... nothing ☀️

Cows on the raod

Doing some dishes

Alberta Beef

Back on the Cowboy Trail

Next day: What goes down has to go up again. We descended a lot yesterday so we have to go up again today on the Cowboy Trail. The wind is ahead and the road south is busy. It’s warm weather, it’s Friday and it seems everybody in Calgary, north of us, wants to spend the weekend in Waterton Lake and Glacier National Park, south of us. The whole day the road is so busy and noisy we hardly speak each other. Not the best day of cycling, at all.

Count the caps. There were five meadows with these caps... maybe a few thousand caps.

Farms along the way

Range Entrance

Because all the farmland, wild camp along the road is not an option. We find a small campground along a nice river to camp on. It’s a simple state campground with just a pit toilet and no showers but we can sleep after all the noise of the day and that’s all what matterZzz...

Tiny campground after a noisy day.

The day after the roads goes along in the same way but with lesser traffic then yesterday. Our goal for today is Pincher Creek, a bit bigger town with proper stores and a campground called Sleep Hollow.
The owner of Sleep Hollow tells us the winter is coming soon now and in wintertime it can get as low as minus forty degrees celsius here.
Hmmm... I guess we have to go south fast and soon!!
We camp along the small river which turns into a small glacier in wintertime if we may believe our campground owner.

Sleep Hollow Campground

The next morning we depart late and after just one and a half hour cycling we see a Mexican restaurant in the middle of nowhere. A good one for a cup of coffee we guess. Inside it’s quite busy, it must be good then. When we stay inside and discuss some a guy on the bar next to us starts talking to us in Dutch. He introduces himself as Harry from Emmen in Holland. He and his wife Anja moved to Canada with their two daughters about eight years ago. All four of them were sitting at the bar waiting for being seated. We move outside with our coffee and Mountain Dew.
After not even five minutes Anja comes outside to invite us to join them inside for good stories and a big plate of nacho ships.
Because we started late today, the road is slow and we wanna make it till close to the US border tonight we’re in doubt to go inside with Anja.
But as we always say in Dutch “Gezelligheid kent geen tijd” we go with her. I think we sat there for nearly two hours, much to long according to our schedule, but we had a really good time with them and laughed a lot about all stupid Canadian things. Harry & Anja, we hope to see you guys again someday, somewhere!!!
After big goodbyes it’s five thirty already and we still have fifty kilometers to go with a big climb at the end.
But with good feelings about this day and the nice people we met, and after the nice nachos off course we just go. Go till the end, till we make it. We ride through Blood Tribe Indian country and the sun sets behind Chief Mountain with great views over the beautiful lakes of Waterton National Park. It’s already dark when we arrive at Belly River Campground just four kilometers before the border. But we have made it. What a day 😊

Look at my horse
My horse is amazing
Give it a lick
Ooo, it tastes just like raisins

Kim bitten by a...

Waterton Lake NP in a distance.

Long shadows in the evening

Blood Tribe Indians Country.

Chief Mountain

Sunset over Blood Tribe Indians Country

At the border the next day it goes quite easy. The big officer with a German accent asks us not to much and we’re in. In the US 🇺🇸 again, after our Alaska adventure.
When we started cycling this morning the weather was quite warm so we started in shorts and shirts. From the border the road goes down and the lower we come, the colder it gets. By the time we’re out of the mountains it’s just nine degrees celsius with a bit of rain ahead. We won’t stop now in the cold, we will stop in warm place so we move on, half frozen.

US Border

Hello Montana

At the tiny village of Bapp we find a Mexican Restaurant (Mexican again) for a coffee and a hot chocolate. When we see the menu we order big warm burritos as well. To warm up again we sit in the container build restaurant for nearly two hours before we hit the road again for the last small stretch to St. Mary. St Mary, the gateway to the eastern part of Glacier National Park and the start of the “Going-to-the-Sun Road” our destination for today.
When we arrive at the visitor center of the National Park the lady tells us the campground in the park is closed for tenters because of bears and the campground just before the park is full. “But in town are some commercial campgrounds” she says.
We end up at the KOA campground, indeed commercial and way to expensive for what you get.

Campground in St. Mary, the gateway to Glacier National Park.
We stayed here for a couple of days. Stories are coming soon 😉

Cowboy Trail Cycling

The Road Trip through Western Canada and Vancouver Island with Maud and Tom sadly ended.
This morning we said goodbye to them on the Edmonton airport. The goodbye was hard and difficult. 😢
From the airport we took the bus and train back to the city center and now we sit at Starbucks with an empty feeling of loneliness.
We drink some coffee and lemonade, eat a cake and drink some more coffee and lemonade. It’s still in the morning and we try to contact Sandra, our host where our bicycles have bin parked the last few weeks. She lives 90km out of Edmonton and there is no public transport going her way from out of town, but she told us to contact her when we were back in Edmonton because she drives to town nearly every day and might pick us up.
After a while Sandra writes back she can pick us up around 7.30 at night. That’s good news, we wanna leave this city as soon as possible, just to be back on our bikes again and things go back to ‘normal’.
During day we hang around in town a bit and in the evening we head to West. The part of town where we will be picked up.
When Sandra and her daughter arrive she tells us she has to check a town hall, a place where she does the cleaning. The way back in the car is cheerful with wine and a puff marijuana. We visit ‘her’ town hall and finally we’re reunited with our bicycles.

Curling

Sleeping another night on the cough at Sandra's house

The next morning we sleep long and we rearrange all our stuff so we can leave today. We end up leaving late, around 3:30 in the afternoon. We don’t care and don’t have particular goal for today besides we wanna go south so we can end up in either Banff or at the US border in a few days.
After a few hours of cycling we find a nice camp spot near the road but also along a tiny lake. We’re not 100% sure we’re allowed to camp here but it’s Saturday night so small chance a worker or farmer will find us here. In the middle of the night we hear a group of wolves in the woods close by.

Secret camp spot

Making a paracord bag for our tent

On Sunday morning it’s a beautiful day and we don’t hurry at all to move on. It’s after noon before we leave our nice spot. The road is long and lonesome, it’s highway 22, The Cowboy Trail it is called. On this trail we meet three other cyclists, three young fellas from Edmonton on a trip to Banff for a few days. They heading the same direction as we do but they’re lightweight because they only carry stuff for just a couple of days. Just before the town of Rocky Mountain House we separate. We find a nice campground along the Saskatchewan River owned by a Dutch couple who started this campground in 2006 from nearly nothing. The campground was awesome, not cheap (Dutch he) but pretty awesome. We camped straight along the river.

The "Dutch" campground

The "Dutch" campground

From here we have to decide we go straight south, following the Cowboy Trail, to the US border or we do an extra detour, following the David Thompson Highway and Ice Field Parkway to Banff National Park. It’s a hard decision. Straight south is the fastest way and we can start a brand new episode of our trip: The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in the US. But we will miss the awesome National Park of Banff. And from Banff we can start the GDMBR anyway.
In Dutch terms: cycle from Almelo to Maastricht straight or cycle from Almelo to Maastricht via Amsterdam and some 2000m+ mountain passes.
After a lot of thinking, calculating and discussing we choose the hard way. Fuck the boring and flat Cowboy Trail, Banff here we come.

Gravel roads from Rocky Mountain House to the highway

Still Gravel

And even more gravel road

Along the David Thompson Highway we take it easy with long breaks and wild camps all the way. Again we hear wolves at night, this time even closer by then a few days before. “Does bear spray defense against wolves as well?”
On the third day on this road we cycle along the beautiful jade blue Abraham Lake. It’s just after noon when we find a beautiful small hidden beach for our lunchtime.
When we sit here for a while we realize; this place is pretty close to paradise, it’s such a beautiful spot, why not camp here for the coming two nights? We have enough food with us to afford it. We decide to stay.
The rest of the day and the day after we do nothing then relax in the sun. Read some, write some, swim some, do some handcrafts, draw some and make campfires at night. This is paradise 🏖

A random spot along the way

Early X-mas this year?

With Ben and Jason on the road to the Ice Field Parkway

Banff we're coming...

Wild Horses along the road

Wild Horses along the road

Nice spot but we still can't get used to the mosquitos

Camp with a view

Nice spot but we still can't get used to the mosquitos

The mountains are coming

Smoky mountains due the wildfires in the area.

Break?

Doing laundry

Cold but refresing

...

Making diner

Campfires at night

Moon

Sun

View from outside our tent

Doing some handcrafts

Even in paradise it sometimes rains. We wake up with thunderstorms and rain above the now grey lake. It’s only 6 degrees outside our tent, that’s 20 degrees lower than yesterday! ❄️
We dig up our winter clothes and shoes which were buried deep in our panniers. After we packed in our tent all wet we hit the road again. After let’s say 8km we see a resort with a gas station. The petrol from our camping stove is nearly empty so this is a nice opportunity to fill it up again. And go to a decent toilet of course 💩

Next day.... cold (6C) and rain.

Do we see snow???

Once inside we also order some coffee, hot chocolate and pies. In the restaurant we speak an American guy who worked all over the world and also in Mexico. He’s quite interested in our journey all the way to Argentina and has lot of tips about crossing the Mexican border. After a long conversation we say goodbye and continue our trip along the lake to the Ice field parkway. Just before we arrive at the junction with it we pass the park entrance were a nice lady checks our park permit. It’s ok and we may continue. She also tells us that the weather will be a tiny little bit better tomorrow but still cold.
On highway 93, the ice field parkway we go left. To Banff. After a late lunch with a fantastic view we start climbing to the campground 20km ahead. In the National Parks it’s not allowed to wild camp so we have to stick to the campgrounds. The planned campground for tonight is around 130 before Banff were we planned to stay for a day or two. The climbing is not to bad and we arrive around six so we have a bit of a longer evening before go to sleep. The camp spot is just along a nice river and our neighbors play beer pong.

First break on the Ice Field Parkway

Some sun..

The next morning we decide to do the remaining 130km to Banff in two days.
The day starts with climbing to the 2068m Bow Pass. “From there it’s all the way down to Banff” is what they told us. And indeed it is... mostly...
In Lake Louise we do a lunch and we paddle the last 20km to the next campground.
When there we find out it’s just a flat land without trees or something and with gravel camp pits. Not the best place to stay but hey, it’s a spot to camp and we have a nice neighbor, Barb with her tiny dog Jack. Barb is offering us a hot meal at her house when we’re in the Denver area next month. 😊

Boring and flat campground

Jack

Barb and Jack

After a good sleep we pack up for the last stretch to Banff. The route over the 1A road is awesome with great views. To bad the wildfires in the area are still burning so all nice views are smoky. On arrival in Banff we find us a Starbucks for some WiFi and after that we cycle further to Mountain Village Campground 1 were luckily is a free camp spot for us. In the evening we take a shuttle bus back to town to hang around as real tourists and for some dinner.

Nearly in Banff

Banff here we are again 🙂

Road Tripping Western Canada

Na twee en een halve maand, meer dan vierduizend kilometer fietsen gaan we nu drie weken verder met een auto. Vakantie? De fietsen staan gestald. De fietstassen liggen achter in de auto.

Wachten op bezoek 🙂

We pikken Maud en Tom op van de luchthaven en nemen er afscheid van Dirk en Daniëlle die ook mee zijn gekomen maar vanaf de luchthaven hun eigen weg zullen gaan met een camper.
De eerste nacht na hun aankomst slapen we in een hotelletje in Edmonton en verkennen Whyte. Een leuke artistieke wijk in Zuid Edmonton. We eten er hamburgers en zoeken al vrij snel daarna het hotel weer op. Maud en Tom kunnen wel wat slaap gebruiken na de lange vlucht vanuit Nederland.

De eerste burgers eten.

Wolfenstein 3D in het hotel.

Wolfenstein 3D in het hotel

De volgende ochtend zijn ze al op tijd wakker door de acht uur tijdsverschil die nog in hun systeem zit. We eten van het simpele hotelontbijt en gaan op stap. Eerst naar de beroemde en mega grote West Edmonton Mall en daarna op naar Jasper, een bekend Outdoor plaatsje midden in het mooie berglandschap van Jasper National Park.

Hero's!!!

Tja als ze ze bijna voor niets weggeven kun je ze moeilijk laten staan.

Jasper ligt voor ons aan het begin van de Ice Field Parkway. Volgens de meeste Canadezen het mooiste stuk Canada, volgens sommige Canadezen het mooiste stukje van de hele wereld maar ik gok dat die nog lang niet alles van de wereld hebben gezien.
Onderweg naar Jasper pikken we nog eerst even de rest van onze bagage op bij Sandra in Seba Beach waar onze fietsen gestalt staan voor de komende weken.
Als de bergen van Jasper NP in zicht komen betrekt het weer van warm en zonnig naar bewolkt en koeler.
Tom had vanuit Nederland vlak bij Jasper voor de komende twee nachten een kampeerplekje geregeld op een state campground in het national park.

Camping in Jasper

Goedemorgen... wij hebben een jetleg en zijn al even wakker.

De dagen erna verkennen we het gebied rondom Jasper en het noordelijke gedeelte van de Ice Field Parkway. We moeten het de Canadezen nageven, het is inderdaad een schitterend stuk van Canada. Super heldere meren, hoge bergen, indrukwekkende watervallen en gletsjers domineren onze dagen hier.
Onze volgende bestemming is Banff wat ook weer in een gelijknamige national park ligt. Jasper NP en Banff NP liggen van noord naar zuid tegen elkaar aangeplakt en de enige weg die ertussen loopt is de Ice Field Parkway. De weg naar Banff is dus ook schitterend met wederom een overweldigende natuur. Tom had zijn huiswerk goed gedaan voor vertrek en had ook in Banff twee nachten gereserveerd op een state campground vlak bij het plaatsje zelf. Banff is net als Jasper een toeristisch plaatsje met veel Outdoor mogelijkheden maar net iets groter dan Jasper, waarschijnlijk door de vele wintersport activiteiten die hier in de koude maanden plaatsvinden. In de omgeving zijn diverse bosbranden gaande wat er voor zorgt dat we helaas geen vuur mogen stoken op de camping. En laten we nou net een bbq maaltijd hebben gekocht voor de avond. Met geduld en wat improvisatie komt er na veel wachten toch een goede maaltijd op ons bord.
De dagen erna verkennen het stadje, kopen wat souvenirs en duiken de overweldigende natuur rondom Banff in.

In de tent pasten vervolgens ook nog 4 Aziaten.

Tumbs up.

Alternatieve BBQ vanwege het vuurverbod op de camping in Banff.

Aan alle mooie dingen komt een eind dus ook aan ons bezoek aan Banff. Maud en Tom zijn drie weken in Canada en die weken willen we zoveel mogelijk zien... misschien wel iets te veel.
Het westen lonkt maar door de bosbranden zijn bepaalde wegen afgesloten waardoor we onze geplande route iets moeten verleggen.
Van Banff gaan we door naar Yoho National Park en Glacier National Park. We genieten van het overweldigende landschap, bezoeken hoge watervallen, staan tussen meters dikke oeroude bomen en zien treintunnels die zich als een spiraal in de berg een weg omhoog banen.
In Revelstoke National Park nemen we de lange weg tegen de berg op. Na elke paar haarspeldbochten stappen we even uit om van het steeds hogere uitzichtpunt te kunnen genieten. Boven aangekomen moeten we het laatste stuk lopen.

Love....

Treinen door de bergen, in de berg loopt het spoor als een spiraal omhoog.

Bedenk eens een bandnaam voor deze driemans formatie 😉

Na Revelstoke rijden we zuidwaarts langs verschillende meren. Tijdens een overgang met een pontje zien we in de verte onze eerste bosbrand.
We dalen verder af naar het zuiden, naar het hippie dorpje Nelson.
We bekijken Nelson en eten er in een mediterraans restaurant. Helemaal Mauds ding zeg maar. (not) Gelukkig voor haar hebben ze zoete aardappel friet.

Rare frieten eten.

Via vele bochtige bergroutes komen via Vernon en Kelowna aan in Penticton. We zitten nu midden in het wijngebied van Canada En het weer is in tegenstelling tot Jasper en Banff warm, bijna heet te noemen. We zoeken naar de onvindbare watervallen van Okanagan en genieten van een wijnproeverij op de nuchtere maag bij één van de vele honderden wijnboeren uit de omgeving.

Bosbranden

Van hier; op naar Vancouver. Het is nog altijd warm als we in Vancouver aankomen. We verkennen het oude gedeelte van de stad, bezoeken de haven en een gedeelte van het beroemde Stanley Park en zwemmen in zee.
Tom heeft familie in Vancouver wonen dus ook die brengen we een bezoekje. We worden zeer gastvrij en met lekker eten ontvangen door Renate en Jeff.

Stoomklok, de voorloper van de atoomklok?

Eten bij Jeff en Renate

Jeff & Renate

De veerboot brengt ons de volgende ochtend naar Vancouver Island. De overtocht is schitterend te noemen door alle kleine baaitjes en tussen kleine eilandjes door. Op het eiland, wat ongeveer 350km bij 125km groot is, zoeken we een centraal gelegen camping voor de komende vier nachten aan de oostkust van het eiland.

Bold Eagle

Vanaf hier verkennen we het mooie eiland met zijn wederom indrukwekkende landschappen, bochtige bergwegen en oeroude meters dikke bomen. Ook brengen we een bezoek aan grotten, deze mag je gedeeltelijk zelf op eigen houtje verkennen, iets wat aan Maud niet besteed is dus die wacht buiten maar wat de rest van ons groepje fantastisch vindt. Na het eiland te zijn overgestoken naar de westkust volgen we een reeks mooie surfstrandjes naar Tofino. Een soort Surfers Paradise.

Best spannend zo'n grot

Vlakbij onze camping ligt een verborgen riviertje met bijpassend idyllisch strandje. Dit geeft ons de mogelijkheid om ook eens even stil te staan en niet alleen maar onderweg te zijn van het ene moois naar het andere moois. Een welkome afwisseling dus. Relaxen, zonnebaden en zwemmen.

Na een paar dagen op het eiland te zijn geweest nemen we een andere veerboot terug naar het vaste land dan op de heenweg en vervolgen onze roadtrip via het, van de wintersport en olympische spelen, bekende Whistler naar Kamloops.

Primitief overnachten in het open veld.

Smoky Mountains

Landslides, een deel van de weg weggespoeld.

De tijd gaat razend snel. Het is inmiddels nog maar een paar dagen voor het vertrek van Maud en Tom naar Nederland dus we moeten opschieten om niet te laat in Edmonton te zijn. De laatste dag op de weg wordt dankbaar afgewisseld met een bezoek aan de heerlijke Miette Hot Springs. De hot springs liggen omklemd door de imposante bergen van Jasper National Park. “A swim with a view” zeg maar gerust.

Miette Hotsprings

Later, in Edmonton aangekomen geeft de teller van onze huurauto 5001km aan.
Het afscheid de volgende ochtend op het vliegveld valt zwaar. Er worden aardig wat tranen weggepinkt.

Het is nog vroeg in de ochtend maar de rest van onze dag in Edmonton voelt leeg en doelloos. We realiseren ons dat de drie weken samen wat ons betreft veel te kort waren. Volgens ons is tijd rekbaar, een niet vaststaand feit. Natuurkundig gezien is tijd een vaste constante maar als gevoelsmensen die we zijn is tijd dynamisch. Als dingen leuk zijn gaat de tijd snel maar zou je soms willen dat je de tijd even stil zou kunnen zetten op de momenten die er echt toe doen...

De Geluiden van het Bos

Ik slaap goed na een dag flink fietsen.
Na het avondeten direct in bed.
Ik ben geen langslaper en ik wordt vaak wakker midden in de nacht. Klaarwakker ben ik dan.
Ik lees dan wat. Ik schijf dan wat. Ik luister naar de geluiden van het bos waar we in liggen.
Het bos is eigenlijk geen bos maar een ongerepte wildernis.
In Nederland staan we de bomen toe om hier en daar met een paar bij elkaar te blijven staan. Dat noemen we dan een bos.
Hier in het noorden van het Amerikaanse continent wonen minder mensen en wordt de natuur wat meer ruimte gegeven.
Ongerepte wildernis kun je het dan nog noemen.

Ik lig wakker en luister naar de geluiden van deze nachtelijke wildernis. Een grote roedel wolven huilt elkaar toe in de verte. Een uil roept. Een andere uil roept terug. Fascinerend om te horen. Voor mij totaal onbekende vogels maken de meest fantastische geluiden. Een raaf krast in een boom boven ons. Twee eekhoorns roepen elkaar luid toe vlak bij onze tent.
En als alle dieren even stil zijn en ik echt goed luister naar de intense stilte dan hoor ik het gonzende zoemen van de insecten wat hier dag en nacht doorgaat.
Ik blijf luisteren en val langzaam weer in slaap.

Helaas zal waarschijnlijk ook hier met het verstrijken van de tijd de ongerepte wildernis overgaan naar aangepaste wildernis. Uiteindelijk naar bos.
We zien de voortekenen nu al duidelijk als we door het landschap fietsen. Ruimte moet worden gemaakt voor landbouw, veeteelt, olie winning, dorpen en steden.

En wat over zal blijven; hier en daar een paar bomen bij elkaar. Misschien.
En de geluiden? Ik heb geen idee waar die zullen blijven...

Dawson Creek to Edmonton City

Juli 16.
Randy pointed us some country backroads to reach Highway 49 east of Dawson Creek. It is warm when we depart and the country roads are dusty but with great views over the flat landscape filled with yellow flowered fields.

On the road we’re not hungry at all, this morning Cynthia made us delicious toast with backed ham and eggs 🍳 so when we reach the small settlement of Bay Tree we just take an ice cream before we move on. Further into Alberta. After the Yukon and British Columbia is Alberta our third Canadian state for so far.
Alberta uses another time zone then BC. Since we’re in Holland not used to land time zones is it very strange to pas one again here. From Alaska into Canada the clock changed an hour, now from BC into Alberta it’s an hour again. We now have a time difference of eight hours with Holland.

Up to Highway 49

Hot day....

Kims new setup: Empty front panniers and tent in the front.

Highway 49 is also known as “The Northern Woods and Water Route” but the only thing we see is farming. Fields full of weeds, grains and grass are filling the landscape. The road is good and less traveled.
That’s why we did choose this road instead of the shorter one to Edmonton which is very busy and will turn into a four lane highway further south from Dawson Creek.

We paddle in high speed further east. The wind is strong today and from the west, we’re nearly flying to Spirit River, the village where we have planned to stay for the night.
In town we do some groceries, have a brain freeze at a local cafeteria eating very cold slushies and search the local campground where they tell us that it’s maybe to windy to set up a tent. Euh yeah right 🤣
We pin our Hilleberg tent in the ground and even without using the extra lines no problem at all.

Stormy?

Juli 17.
Yesterday we hoped we should have the same strong wind from the west again so we planned a long stretch for today. 110km just going east on a long straight road. Back on the road we discover the wind is still as strong as yesterday so speed is building up again, on some moment even up to 40km a hour on the flat road.

Wide Load

Dusty Trucks

At Wanham we drink a coffee with bear paws and come in contact with the owner who is very into cycling, running and triathlons. She’s very interested in what we’re doing and likes to see our bikes and go on a picture with us for on their Facebook page. She also warns for a steep down and up hill within 50km from here. The only hill in the wide area and which she uses for her trainings. We will see.

Farming

Oil Fields

We move on and just before the dip in the landscape which we warned for we take a lunch along the road. Toast, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, pineapple and peanut butter. You won’t believe how much peanut butter we eat when cycling. We buy it every time per kilo container and it doesn’t last very long before we have to buy a new one. We don’t eat it only on toast but also put it on energy bars or through our dinner.
With all the cycling we can eat as much we like without growing fat. We sometimes have the feeling we can’t eat enough. For example, sitting in restaurant, ordering the biggest hamburger they have and after eating it all still thinking “I can eat another on easily”

Lunch break

We dive into the dip with a speed of 60 and pass Smoky River at the bottom. The climbing up again is not to bad but it’s quit hot with no wind at all. Our shirts are soaked when we’re up again.
Now on to Donnelly our destination for today.
At Donnelly it seems to be a France settlement with no services at all while on the map it is shown as one off the bigger towns around. No shops, no restaurants, even no gas station and for sure no campground.
Hmm what’s next? We did already 114km and the next smaller town is an extra 14 further east. Mc Lennan. We decide to give it a try. Just before we reach town we see a sign along the road “Mc Lennan 1km All Services” that gives hope.
And indeed, we pass over a small one lane railway track, see a big sign CAMPGROUND and find a grocery shop. The shop is run by a Pakistani family and because it’s nearly closing time the friendly owner offers us the all ready warmed up hotdogs. He’s telling us he came to Canada to have his kids growing up in safety. Brave man!

We cycle a little back and set our tent up at the self registration Kimiwan Campground. The toilets and showers are so gross that we don’t find it worth the 20 dollars it should cost so we don’t pay it. We stay because it’s the only campground around.

Bo!

Juli 18.
4 am.
A loud noise like a F16 firestricker airplane is starting up it’s engines right beside our tent.
“WHAT THE F*** IS THAT???”
I zip open the tent and in the red morning glow I see four huge diesel locomotives inline with each other. They’re pulling wagons very slowly forward over the small one line railroad we crossed yesterday. The noise is really intense. After a few minutes they stop. Honk there horn (which making even much more noise then the engines) and start driving backwards. This slow forward and backwards riding, and honking, goes on for a while and after at least two hours they seem to continue driving forward. I make a count and that makes 4 big locomotives pulling 147 huge wagons of all sorts but mostly for grain and weed transport.

Long and slow trains

After 6am we fall a sleep again for the last stage of the night. At 9 we have breakfast with yoghurt and banana, break up camp and hit the road again.
A few days ago we contacted a Warmshowers host in the city of Faust, 106km away from here. This can be a very interesting host since they cycled the world themselves for ten years straight. 😳
On our request they invited us and we answered them we’re glad we can stay but aren’t sure when we arrive exactly.

We had a hitchhiker

Because we did 128km yesterday we now can choose to do the remaining 106 clicks in one or in two days. We decide to do it in two. So an easy ride for today.
It’s just 65 to the village we have in mind and nearly before the end there is a bigger city called High Prairie. Halfway we do a long lunch in the grass along the road and cycle into High Prairie to do some shopping for dinner and have a milkshake in the local ice salon.
When we reach our planned town for camping there’s nothing more then farmland. No campground at all. Bummer😒
Since we don’t have a choice then just keep cycling we go on. The weather is still sunny and warm but behind us we see dark skies coming up pretty fast so we speed up a little extra. After a few kilometers we see a campground, probably the one we were searching for but misplaced on our free map from the visitor center.

Dark skies coming up.

By now the dark skies are very close by so we have to hurry. At the campground office is no one there but a small sign says “Please help yourself to in stall. See you when I return. John”
Thanks John. We quickly pick a spot and build up our portable house in a new world time record. The wind starts becoming very strong and close after the rain begins to fall. We hear trees cracking close by and see some cows running in the distance in search for shelter. Our tent is dry and we made it in time. We pop a beer. Cheers!

Dark...

Juli 19
The next morning it’s dry again and we have a short ride of 55km to our host in Faust. We ride fast and without breaks. Most of the route is along the big lake Faust is on. Despite we can’t see it most of the time from the road. Faust once was a centre in the big fur industry in the area. Since fur is not very popular anymore a lot of the building burned down and not many people living there anymore. Faust is on Slave Lake, one of the biggest lakes in Alberta and very popular for fishing. Our hosts dad is running a big campground along this lake and that’s were we’ve been invited to stay for the coming nights.
On arrival we ask about Peter or his dad but both are not in at the moment but we’re checked in for free and get a campspot close to the lake. While sitting in the sun we eat and drink something, over viewing the boat ramp on the lakeside. It doesn’t take long and a car stops close to our spot and a friendly girl steps out and introduce herself as Chahla. Chahla & Peter are our Warmshowers hosts and it’s Peters dad how’s running this campground. Chahla & Peter traveled the world from 2004 till 2014 in a long big journey all around the world. There plan in the beginning was to walk around the world in five years but they ended up cycling it in ten years. It’s great to hear all Chahla’s stories. Out of Chahla’s car there are also coming two little girls, Scarlet and Runa, their kids.
After a while a van stops by and a guy with a box of beer jumps out, introduces hisself as Peter. Peter joins the nice conversation and we drink some cold beers together. Cheers 🍻
For dinner they invite us to come over to campground office where Peter’s dad, Robert also lives. Robert has his roots in Norway and is living together with his wife Marcia. After doing some shopping at the small market in the gas station, the only shop in town, we eat hotdogs and fresh salad. The great stories continue and after a while also Robert and Marcia join the conversation for the rest of the evening.
Because bad weather is predicted for the coming days they come up with the idea not to camp in our tent but stay in a camper-van which is staying unused near the office. Sounds good to us!!
At night we move into the camper-van and have a great sleep.

The Van

Inside the Van

Juli 20
The weather is not to bad when we wake up but we still do a lazy and relax day off today. Organize pictures, write our blog, do some small shopping and hang around a bit. At the end of the day Chahla and Peter plus the kids show up again. They wanna invite us again to have dinner together tonight. This time Robert and Marcha join as well. The meal this time was a Latin American meal. Pretty awesome. The night went by with good stories and lots of fun. (They wrote a book about their adventures, we got a copy of it as well from them, which we are reading at the moment. Also their website is well worth to visit!)

Juli 21
Yesterday evening, after a few rum coke’s Robert came up with the brilliant idea to make breakfast for us this morning with steaks & eggs.
When we arrive at their house he’s already lighting the bbq and grilling the big famous Alberta Steaks.

Breakfast: Steak & Eggs

Marcha is making eggs and toast in the kitchen. Soon after, Peter and Chahla arrive as well to join this great breakfast. Yesterday evening we also decided to go together to the local museum that’s in the area this morning.

Robert

Marcia

Peter & Chahla

After breakfast we say bye and lots of thanks to Robert and Marcha and hop on our bikes to go to the museum where we meet Peter, Chahla and the kids again.
The museum is full of stuff from the old days in this area and the have lots of stuffed animals who are living around here.

Play some old music...

Bye Bye friends!!

It’s already afternoon when we say goodbye to Peter and Chahla to move on to our next destination, Swan Hills. After days of cycling in flat lands we now finally cycle into some hills again. The weather is sunny and we have a nice and joyful ride to the top of these hills where Swan Hills is. Near the town centre is a nice government campground where we stretch out our tent for the night.

Lunch on the road side.

Also notice the Canadian Whiskey onboard.

Juli 22 and 23
Some government campgrounds are self serve and someone will come along then to collect the camp fee.
When we leave the campground in the morning, already late, we haven’t seen anyone so this stay was for free. In town we do some shopping and we go on The Grizzly Trail, the name of the road we’re on since yesterday. The ride today is downhill and as extra we also have a strong tailwind. That’s nice cruising😊☀️
In the backyard of a gas station annex hotel we have some lunch and some sunbathing as well. From here it’s a small ride to Thunder Lake were should be a nice campground beside a lake in a national park.
And indeed it’s a very nice spot to camp. We’re just 50m from the water. We decide to stay two nights because we still have a full week before we have to be in Edmonton, just 160km or so from here.

I have my ass sponsored 😉

Sunny along the watersite.

But rain in the distance

Buddha and The Red Racer on tour

Kim found a new toy 🙂

Hi

Juli 24
Peter our host in Faust organized a stay at his sisters place for us nearby Edmonton. By her we can park our bicycles while we are around by car with Maud and Tom who come to visit us from Holland for the next three weeks.
So today we’re off to Seba Beach were she lives. When we arrive in the town of Seba Beach the address we got from Peter doesn’t make sense and we can’t figure out were we have to go.

Containers doubled up on the train wagons.

Highway to Edmonton

We call Peter for some explanation and for Sandra’s phone number, his sister. After giving Sandra a call we figured we’re totally in the wrong spot. We have to go out of town and hit the highway again to go for an extra eight kilometers up in the hills. When we arrive at the right street we have to make a decision, go left or go right. We go left, what turns out to be the wrong way we discover after riding a rough hilly road after a while. So back to the highway again and go straight to the other side of the junction where we find another gravel road. This time it’s not far before we find the house we’re searching for.
Sandra welcomes with a warm welcome and she isn’t even an official Warmshowers host, “just” the sister of. Sandra lives in this big house on the countryside with her three daughters, horses, cats and a dog called Wolf.
She made a nice salad and filled sandwiches for us already. We’re starving so we nearly do eat all. We chat some and she shows us the huge basement where we can stay for the night. After the warm shower we fall in sleep.

Left or Right???

Wrong Way!!!

Finally the right one found.

Here will the bicycles be staying for the coming three weeks.

Looks like Couchsurfing instead of Warmshowers.

Juli 25
It seems we’re by ourselves and nobody is around in the big house when we wake up. Sandra told us yesterday she have to go to Edmonton today and she can give us a ride into town if we want. Off course we want that.
After packing our stuff we need for the five days we have in Edmonton we hear some noises in the house. It’s around two in the afternoon, two of the girls slowly wake up. We didn’t know they were still here.

Lots of animals around the house.

After Sandra shows up as well she’s ready to go to Edmonton. It’s an one hour drive to town and she drops us off at a Starbucks restaurant so we can go online to search a place to stay for the night. We send requests to several Warmshowers hosts but they usually don’t answer right away, so we have to wait. We also search for some cheap hotels and rbnb addresses. We find a cheap hotel on Whyte Ave, the trendy area of Edmonton. We decide to walk in the direction of the Whyte area and check for Warmshowers answers along the way. If one answers they can host us then we go there otherwise we gonna stay at the Blues On Whyte & Commercial Hotel.
It’s an one and a half hour walk. On the way to Whyte we get a few WS answers they can’t host us. Around 9pm we sit at another Starbucks, upper-site the Commercial, checking for WS updates the last time. No host for tonight. We check in at the hotel. No fancy pansy place but just a noisy hole above a blues cafe where they play live music every night. We don’t care, we enjoy the music, drink a beer downstairs at the bar and fall asleep on good music in our room.

SLEEP YOUR BLUES AWAY // JAM, SLEEP, RINSE, REPEAT // BOOGIE INTO BED

Edmonton Juli 26 till....
The day after we check out the nice area we’re in and we finally find a Warmshowers host in the late afternoon. We decide to stay another night in the hotel and go to Kevin and Corby, our new Warmshowers host, the next day.
After checking out from the hotel the other day we take the bus to our host. The bus driver is unable to sell us day passes so we may ride for free. Nice guy! 🚌
The last part we walk and when we show up at the right address, Kevin and Corby welcome us full of enthusiasm and showing us around in their lovely house.
Kevin is bike mechanic at MEC, a big outdoor store in town. He has more then twenty!!! bikes of all kinds and boroughs us two of them to go around town the coming days. Nice... we cycled more then 4000km so far but we still rather cycle then walk around 😇

Edmonton Skyline

Mile 0 – Alaska Highway – Dawson Creek

Finally we made it from nearly the end of the Alaska Highway in Tok, Alaska to the beginning of it. Mile Zero in Dawson Creek, Canada. 2100km cycling on one and the same road. A road with nearly no junctions and with a lot of different faces and different landscapes. Heat, freezing, rain, dry, flat, steep, empty and very busy traffic, we’ve seen it all. But now we’re finished it. Done...fini...check ✅🤘

Made it 🙂

The plan is to stay a few days at a Warmshowers host we contacted a few days before. Cynthia our host agreed and was well willing to host us. “You are my first Warmshowers guests for this season” she wrote back on our request.
When we arrive at her house we meet Cynthia, Randy her husband, Caroline a good friend and the old dog Spyro.
The house is far from everything, at the end of a few mile long dusty back road. A real country house with veranda, fire pit, outdoor hot tub and is surrounded by nature.

Today it’s Caroline’s birthday so we fall with the nose in the butter as we say in Holland. We’re right on time for a good wine, campfire and marshmallows. That fits!
Caroline guides us through the house and shows us our room were we can put our mattresses and sleeping bags.
A campfire is always good for getting each other known. So we tell our stories and they theirs. Randy tells he was also a long distance cycler in the old days, even far before the word “long distance cycler” was introduced. He cycled all over America, Canada and parts of Central America. Great stories to hear how it was back then, without high tech tents, Gore Tex clothes, ultra lightweight sleeping bags and a descent bicycle. He tells “I had no money, my bicycle had just a few gears and it was way to big for me. My stuff was heavy but I didn’t care. I was strong and well willing and my longest day of cycling was over 200 miles in one day.”
These stories are good to hear and make us realize it’s not a matter of what stuff you carry around and on which bicycle you cruise, just go and you can cycle wherever you wanna cycle.

The next day it is time for some maintenance on the bikes. Arjan build both of our bikes himself from scratch, he knows exactly how it is built up but Kim also wanna know her bike better and can do her own maintenance, and so she will.

We put on new back chain wheels and a new chain.
We also will try to pack the bikes lighter by sending more stuff home or get rid of it. Our plan is to carry that little that it will fit in just two back panniers each. So cycling without the front panniers.
Plan: one pannier filled with all cooking stuff and food for our daily breakfast, lunch and dinners. One pannier with all our clothes, even the winter stuff for colder days. One pannier with sleeping bags, mattresses and inner liners and one pannier with our tent. Occasionally an extra roller bag will be added to one of our back racks for shoes, down jackets and rain gear.
We search out all our gear and pick out a lot of things we did not or did rarely used for so far.
It nearly works out as planned, our front panniers are empty now, with only one exception we have to make. The tent will be on Kim’s steer in stead of in one of the panniers. Otherwise we don’t have enough space for bike maintenance tools and spare parts, first aid kit, laptop and electronics.
We try our new setup on the hilly road along the house. It seems to be ok.
For the evening we are invited to come over to the neighbors for some shooting and a bbq. We go there with the five of us, Cynthia and Caroline by quart and we in the back of Randy’s truck. Spyro runs behind us. The neighbors Jo & Joel also live awesome in a nice country house and close to a small river. Along the riverside there is a fireplace, an outhouse and clay pigeon launcher and after we lighted the fire the shooting is on.
First the weapons are explained and then the shooting begins.

In the Pick Up truck

Lessons

Dogs are hungry aswell

After a while the sausages and sweet corn go on the bbq and we have a great evening with some more shooting and lots of fun.

When we wake up the next morning and have one of Cynthia’s great breakfasts again she tells us we can borrow her car and go to the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark, a two hour drive from here. We check their website and see they have also an interesting guided tour along authentic dinosaur footprints at 2pm. We decide to go there. On our way to Tumbler Ridge we first go to the post office to send the gear home we decided we’re not gonna need it anymore.
At the post office the lady behind the desk does not have a clue how to send a package to Europe and keeps telling this is not her regular job. We have wait for someone else she says after a while checking her computer. The waiting takes a long time and after a while another lady comes in but still not the one who we were waiting for but she knows a little more and we finally got our package send. Because all the waiting we now gonna miss the guided tour in Tumbler Ridge. We will see and if we don’t make it in time we probably can do something else.
The ride to Tumbler Ridge is pretty nice over green hills. Halfway we realize we don’t make it in time. To bad... thanks post office lady😒
In Tumbler Ridge we find the hiking trail to the dinosaur footprints ourselves so we park the car and go for a hike. It’s a nice walk into a small valley to a riverbank were the footprints are. We find the footprints not that impressive but the hike and scenery is awesome. And if we follow the trail deeper into the valley we find a nice swimming spot to. We don’t have swimming clothes with us but who cares, there is no one out here except us.

Dino Tracks

Dino Tracks

Dino Tracks

Dino Tracks???

Off the beaten tracks

After the dipping in the river (to cold for swimming) we hike back to the car. It’s already late in the afternoon and we wanna see some more spots in the area. On the map we find some waterfalls we like to see but on our way to it the distance is way to far and leads over gravel road which makes time to come there even longer. We skip the waterfalls and check our map again for other interesting places around but everything seems to be quit far or only accessible by 3 or 4 hour hikes. We decide to hit back to Dawson Creek.
Back “home” Randy made steak for us on the bbq. Jummy!! It’s Saturday night and we end up at the campfire with Randy, talking about cycling.

The World Soccer Final is on TV in the morning and we see the France beting Croatia. In town is a big classic car show this weekend and Randy wants to go and asks us we wanna join. Sure we want.

Watching the World Cup Final in the basement.

Busy Car Show

V8 motorbike

Coming back from the car show we go by the liquor store for some cold beers and with a BVO we drive back home. (BVO = bier voor onderweg / beer on the go)

BVO-tje

Right behind the house is a river flowing and since it’s hot today we go for a swim and do some quarting. It’s a nice and relaxing afternoon.

Playing around

The next morning it’s time to say goodbye and hit the road again. We do a little interview when we leave the place since our host is collecting such interviews from all her Warmshowers and Couchsurfing guests. Many thanks folks to all of you for the great time we shared together!!!

Many thanks guys!!!

Alberta is calling and we’re just a few hundred meters away from it. Ride on...

Cycling the Alaska Highway – Final Part 4

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.

Weekend!!!

Making 12 hamburgers 🙂

Juli 6.
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?

Leaving the campground

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.

Lonesome roads

More lonesome roads

Even more lonesome roads

They had some wildfires as you can see.

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.

Prophet River Airstrip

Juli 7.
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.

Marmot

But also smaller animals found....

... a grashopper

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”

Our campground view from the Sikanni Chief River Bridge.

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.

What goes down must go up!!

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.

Pink flowers on Pink Mountain

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... 🚴🏽‍♂️🚴🏼‍♀️

Camping at the gas station in Wonowon

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?

Juli 9.
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!

Big log trucks passing by.

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 😒

Great beaches over here...not!

Juli 10.
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.

Juli 11.
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.

Pasta Salad

Doing another laundry.

Juli 12.
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.

Leaving Fort St. John.

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.

Taylor River view

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.

Classic 50's 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...

Finaly Mile Zero

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....

Cycling the Alaska Highway – Part 2

Tuesday 19 June
Today is the day we are getting on our bicycles again. In the morning we say goodbye to Jeanette before she has to go to work. We enjoy coffee and tea in the sun on the front porch. We both take a shower for we never know when the next shower will be when we are on the road. We eat some breakfast before we pack our last things on our bikes and leave. We go in town to get some last groceries at the supermarket. Now we are finally set to go!

When we cycle out of town we decide take a small detour to see Miles Canyon. It has great views and because it has become quite late already we decide to eat lunch here.

We have a short day in mind. Only about 65km total to cycle today. We have some steep uphill cycling coming from Miles Canyon up to the Alaska Highway, but once we are there the road is easy. We make great distances in a short while. We take a rest at a resting area. Here meet a man who is originally from Whitehorse. He gives us some water refills and he tells us that his daughter cycled from Whitehorse to Edmonton last summer. Arjan asks him how it was and how the road is all the way down. He says that the road shoulders should be very good going all the way down to Edmonton. He tells us that there is a Country festival in the small village called Teslin on the 23rd of June. We don’t know if we go to the festival because we will be there a few days earlier. Still it is always nice to hear about these things from the local people here.

Tonight we are staying at Marsh Lake Campground for the night. It is a very busy campground. It must be very popular because this is the first campground that we see with this much people. It looks great and we can put our tent almost on the beach of the lake. We enjoy a beer that we brought from our stay in Whitehorse and relax at the lake for a while. After dinner we enjoy some reading. The weather is nice and warm even until late in the evening.

Wednesday 20 June
We wake up and pack our things quite quickly. We eat some breakfast and we are good to go. We can still wear shorts and t-shirts for the weather is still very good!
When we are on our way for not too long we see a Bold Eagle🦅 sitting on a branch very close to the road. So we stop to take some nice photos.

The kilometres are going quite fast again. We have to watch out to not being sun burned. So we keep putting on sunscreen. After a while we get to Jakes Corner. There is a gas station with a restaurant here so that is a good opportunity to refill our water bottles. We also order something to drink. Again we see a Bold Eagle flying in the air. What a nice sight is that!

We arrive early at the Squanga Lake campground so we have our lunch here. There is a little squirrel that is very curious and is not afraid at all. He runs around our table and under it trying to catch anything that falls off that he might be able to eat.
The weather is not as good as we had hoped. It looks like it is going to rain soon. It looks almost as if it is going to rain. That’s too bad because otherwise we wanted to take a dive in the lake and sit there in the sun for awhile.

At the campground we meet a guy that arrived on his motorcycle. He is right next to us at the campground. He tells us that his parents are both Dutch and that they used to live in Gelderland. He himself has traveled to Peru, Chile, Argentina and lots of other places in South America. He gives us two cold beers that he just bought before he came to the campground.
Later when we want to start cooking and put up our tent. We see that there is a couple from Switzerland that just arrived. They drive with their own 4x4 Mercedes bus rebuild into a camper. They shipped it to Canada and will be touring trough Canada for a year. They are retired so they can take their time. They also give us two cold beers. What a day!🍻

The campground is very nice but there are a lot of mosquitos that are very annoying. We already have put on long trousers and jackets. But now they keep swarming around at our heads and ears. They get worse and worse when it gets later in the evening. We decide to eat our dinner inside the tent. This is the first time this trip that it is so bad that we have to eat inside.
We hear some noise at the table and we see that the squirrel gets a hand on our garbage bag as we are sitting in the tent. He is nibbling off some peanut butter from a plastic paper. Kim goes running after him and in the end she is able to get the plastic paper back. Okay, we should watch our food and garbage because this little funny creature will steel it away!

When we are done with our dinner we put the food and all the stuff that smells in de special food lockers that are again provided here at the campground. Good against bears but also good against squirrels too!

Thursday 21 June
Beginning of the day there are a lot of mosquitos again so we pack our things and eat a quick breakfast and we go. The weather is still dry but cloudy. It is warm enough to keep on cycling in shorts.

At Johnson’s Crossing there is a gas station with a restaurant and a very small gift shop.We go get something to drink here and one of their homemade cookies to go with it! We take our time here to enjoy our cookies and drinks. We take a look around in the small store. To our surprise we find the bannock mix that we tasted from the lady in Haines Junction. It is called “Grandma Treesaw’s Yukon Bannock Mix”.
When we are ready to leave we see that it just started raining. Well then let’s put on our raincoats again... Although it’s raining it still is quite warm so that makes it not too bad.
Eventually the weather clears and we get to see the sun again!

Bannock!

There is a sign at the side of the road that says “Extreme dusty conditions”.....well indeed dusty it is!!! Sometimes when traffic passes us by we completely vanish in dust. We have put on our sunglasses and bandanas to have some protection for our face and eyes. We sometimes even have to get off the road to avoid being hit by other traffic that might not be able to see us cycling in this dust. It feels as if we have gone into 6km long gravel sandstorm. Eventually the road gets better and we can just cycle without problems again. As if nothing ever happened. 😉

For a long time we cycle along the Teslin Lake. It looks beautiful!
After a good day of riding we arrive at the village called Teslin. Just when we enter Teslin there is “The Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre” but again we are a few minutes to late. It closes at 17.00 and it is already past that time. Well maybe tomorrow... After that there’s a viewing point were we take a look at. It has a nice view over the Teslin Lake.

We only have to cycle 4 more kilometres before we will be at the “Yukon Motel and RV park” that we want to stay at. It is expensive for what we are used to, but we will be able to take a shower here.
RV parks we now are never the most beautiful places to camp at, but when you are in a village there are never many other options.
We enjoy some beers we still have and make some dinner. The weather is nice and even better we are not bothered by mosquitos!

Friday 22 June
We first wanted to stay in Teslin for the day but because the RV Park is quite expensive we decide that we do what we need to do here and just go. Kim really wants to see the “The Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre” but Arjan does not feel like it. He will clear out the tent and do some groceries while Kim goes to the centre that is 4km back. We meet again somewhere later.

The Heritage Centre is great. It has a big collection of clothes, shoes, carved masks and other arts and crafts used by the Teslin Tlingit. The display a movie about their celebrations were they wear the original clothing and masks and they perform their dances in. The clothes are very important because it shows where they come from and at what clan they belong. Outside the centre there is a boat house where you can take a look at. Inside there are a few boats displayed. One in particular is a original carved out boat that is made out of one giant tree. In the boathouse is displayed how it is done.
Around The Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre you have many beautiful views on the Teslin Lake for it is built on a great spot. It is really worth to go see this place.
Kim has a lot of nice photos to show to Arjan.

We meet each other again and we cycle back to the RV Park. There is a gift shop with a small gallery at the back. It shows all kinds of wild animals in there natural environments. The animals aren’t alive anymore off coarse.

After this we decide to leave. Leaving Teslin means we have to go over a long metal bridge that goes over the Teslin Lake. At the viewing point we have a nice view over the bridge and Teslin. We eat our lunch that Arjan bought at the local grocery store.

It is already late so we don’t cycle for too long today. We find a nice fishing spot where we are also allowed to camp and it is for free. The spot is called “Morley River”. Arjan takes a plunge in the river. The water is very cold!!

Skinny Dipping.

In the evening when we are having dinner there is also a couple with a camper that stays here and another cyclist that has just arrived. The couple and the cyclist are all from the lower 48. The bicyclist is originally from Toronto, he tells us. He has cycled from Tuktoyaktuk what is the most northern point of the Demster Highway (also the most northern road of Canada). He wants to cycle to the most southern point of Canada. He is cycling for two and a half months and he does it for the Alzheimer’s foundation.

The mosquitos are driving us crazy again. As soon as we are finished eating Arjan puts our food and smelly things in the tree. We dive into the tent to avoid being eaten alive by these little buggers.

Mosquito net on.. first time.

Hanging food in the trees...again.

Saturday 23 June
Arjan starts the day filtering water for us we clear out our tent and eat some breakfast. Off coarse we are bothered by the mosquitos again, but as soon as we put on some insect repellent we are quite okay. The weather today is still very nice and for most of the day we got the wind at our backs. We do have to climb a lot but still we are going fast. Because we don’t find a good spot for lunch we put our bicycles on the side of the road and go sit a little further down to be away from traffic.

Arjan's Boy Band Look 🙂

We enjoy lunch and just when we are ready to leave a man and his wife pull over with their campervan and he starts yelling at us. Saying something about that he thought our laid down bicycles were motorbikes that have had an accident and that we should be more visible!! He thought something had happened to the bikers and therefore he was probably angry that we were “just” cyclist having lunch! All the more embarrassing for Kim was that she had her pants down her ankles and was taking a pee while the man was shouting at us....😏 therefore all that was left for Arjan to do was to give him the finger!🖕🏻
When we go on our bicycles again we are still a bit confused about what had just happened. If the man would not have shouted at us we probably would have had more compassion to what he was saying and it would have had much more result for him. Well lets shake it off and think happy thoughts again.😋

The cycling still goes pretty fast. We want to try to make it to Rancheria Falls. There should be a fishing spot again like we had last night and we probably can camp here again. To our surprise we pass by a Gas station with a motel, a restaurant and RV Park. That is nice because we can get something to eat and refill our water bottles. The food is good and not too expensive. We enjoy the sun on the terrace for a while.

We now only have to cycle 4km to Rancheria Falls.
The place looks great and it turns out to be the best camping spot we have had since we started our cycling trip. Wow, we really enjoy the waterfalls here and we can just pitch our tent very close to one of them.
Sometimes people come and go to see the waterfalls and we have a nice chat with them.
We sit en enjoy a nice and warm evening here. Just relaxing, reading and writing on the blog for a bit.

Making our sign for "Sign Post Forrest" in Watson Lake.

Sunday 24 June
We start our day early for a change for we want to cycle all the way to Watson Lake. It will be stretch of 130km. A minor glitch is that Kim is not feeling to well today because she woke op with a urinal infection. So we decide that we will see how today goes and act on that.
The cycling seems to be pretty easy. After almost 20km we arrive at the Rancheria lodge. We get some tea ☕️ here. There are a lot of people eating and drinking here because of a touring bus that just stopped here. It seems to be a special tour for elderly people. They all wear a name tag. It looks a bit silly from an outsiders perspective, but it also looks like these people are having fun. We enjoy our tea while we watch the spectacle.
Kim seems to feel a little better so we head out on the road again.
Either we are very lucky today or it’s just because we’re passing through “Bear Valley” but we see 5 bears today just a few kilometres away from each other.

Fist we see a Black Bear mother and her cup and later three other bears just walking to the other side of the road or just eating along side of it. They all don’t seem to care that we are there. One Black Bear heard us talking and ran straight into the bushes! We probably scared him away with our talking. It’s fun to see some wildlife again and these bears are beautiful creatures! We also see a big Eagle today it looks like a Golden Eagle but we are not really sure. We know they too have their habitat here.
It is lunchtime and we see a rest area that is only 9km away. We decide to go there and make tea and hot chocolate. Kim is still not feeling to good but after some lunch it seems to be a bit better again. After 10km it doesn’t feel to good anymore for her and we decide to go to the Big Creek Campground. It is a state campground again and it has a water pump, bear proof lockers, toilets, garbage cans and even wood that people can take to build a campfire with. When we arrive it is only 14.30 and we already cycled 70km. On the campground we find a nice spot right next to the creek.
We built a campfire and make tea again. Arjan takes a dip in the creek and we enjoy some relaxing and reading.

Skinny Dipping Part II

There’s a man arrived at the campground who is with his motorcycle and comes to make a chat with us. His name is Angle an he is from Toronto. He is interested in what we are doing. He used to cycle a lot too but now he prefers his motorcycle because it is easier. He just retired and he is riding for two months. His wife doesn’t like motorbikes so that is why she isn’t going with him on his his trip he tells us. He is going to Deadhorse, Alaska. The place that we started our trip almost 5 weeks ago on our bicycles. He has a Kawasaki tour motorcycle, that should be an okay bike for the Dalton Highway we tell him. We even saw some Harley riders there!

Tomorrow it will only be about 65km to Watson Lake. If we are able to leave early in the morning again we will be able to arrive early in Watson Lake too. Hopefully Kim will feel better and otherwise we might be able to get some medicine for her there.

Monday 25 June
It started raining early in the morning. No early start for us! We want to wait awhile to see if it will stop raining. But that seems not to be the case so eventually we clear out the tent.
On the campground they have a dry spot. That’s a place with a roof and two picknick tables. We take all our stuff there so that we don’t have to stand in the rain to pack up our bikes. We meet Mario there. We ask him if he likes some tea or hot chocolate. He likes a hot chocolate. We sit down together to have a nice chat. He is also with his tent and his motorcycle. He tells us he has driven from Port Albanie (That’s his hometown at Vancouver Island) to Tuktoyaktuk. He is 83 years and still riding. That is incredible!

83 Year old Mario on his way around Alaska and Canada

He has also been riding with his motorcycle to South America with his wife on their honeymoon when they just married 45 years ago. He gives us some advice, but he also says that his information is probably not the best for it is of course 45 years old. So we have to double check on some things. But still it is very nice to hear his stories. He gives us his home address so that if we will be in his neighbourhood we can come and camp in his garden if we like. He gives us two apples and for him it is time to go.
We also pack up our last things and start cycling in the rain.

Today it keeps on raining all day long. It doesn’t seem to stop. There’s a guy on a Vespa 🛵 passing us by on the road. When we stop at Nugget City lodge and motel we see him there again. He is just leaving and we talk to him for a while. He just had two weeks off from work and wanted to do something else he tells us. That is why he is driving his Vespa. He is driving from 6.30 till 16.00 every day he tells us. He went all the way up on the Dempster Highway. He didn’t go all the way up to Tuktoyaktuk otherwise he would not be back in time to go to work again. He lives all the way to the south of British Columbia and this country is not like Holland at all! You have to make a lot of kilometres a day to get somewhere!

Vespa Man!

We go inside where it is nice and warm. Outside it is still raining so there are a lot of men with motorbikes who are also stopping here to get something to eat and warm up again. The guy working here does not seem to have his best day. But hey, at least it is dry and warm here! We finish up and take a quick look in the gift shop. We fill up our water bottles and go on the road again for the last stretch. It is only about 10km. That’s not to bad!
When we eventually arrive at the government campground just before Watson Lake we decide a sign there that it is still 2,5km to get to the actual campground. We already have cycled 2,7km from the main road to this sign at the beginning from the campground. This is more than 10km we have to cycle extra going back and forth to Watson Lake. That is a little to much so we decide to cycle into town and hope we can camp on an RV Park.

At Watson Lake we ask at Downtown RV parks if we can camp with our tent here. The man is not to nice to us, he first says that there are no places for tents. Then he changes his mind and says that we can stay there but have to pay the full rate of a RV. Okay, thanks a lot but no thanks!
Kim also starts to feel not to good again because of the infection. It is still raining and we are cold. We go to the supermarket and Arjan sees Denise and Adam going in. We meet them again in the supermarket and we ask them where they have been camping. They have been camping at the library (illegal) for one night and another night they could stay with another cyclist at his hotel room. Also they got some money from a lady and therefore they decided to go in a hotel for this night. We will probably not see each other for a while for they are going on the Cassier Highway and we are staying on the Alaska Highway. So we say goodbye. Until we will meet again!

We got our groceries and are going to the visitor centre. See if they know any other options. Hellas, they only know the government campground. There is nowhere where we can stay and camp in our tent. The lady even phones the other RV Park for us but they cannot help us either. We ask if there is medical help here and the lady of the visitor centre tells us that there is a hospital and a clinic at the side of it. The clinic will be open at 9.30 tomorrow morning. That’s good news. Eventually we decide to go in a hotel for one night. Here we can be warm and dry.
If Kim was feeling better we would probably have made a different decision. For now this feels like the best option. We can make lots of tea, take a shower dry our clothes and other stuff and have everything we need!

Dragon's Den

Whitehorse In Three Days

Our welcome message at Jeanettes place...

Jeanette is already up early. She baked some very nice muffins for all of us for breakfast. She is going on a hike this weekend so she already packed all her things and she will be back on Sunday late in the afternoon. In the meantime we can stay at her house. We have breakfast together and Jeanette has to go to meet up with her friend for her hike.
We are doing some laundry here first because it has already been some weeks that we have been able to wash our clothes and other stuff properly.

Wes is contacting Arjan that he wants to meet up with us somewhere down the road. We met Wes in Fairbanks a while ago when we stayed there. We did a hike with him,Erin (his wife) and Robin (our Warmshowers host in Fairbanks) and ate together at a local restaurant there.
He is on the road coming up from Kentucky because he had to get some things that are too expensive in Alaska even when you want to buy and get it shipped online. He decided to get it himself. He thought he could catch up with us and bring us some supplies. Since we are not on the road but in Whitehorse we decide to eat lunch together. Wes is with his cousin so that they can shift turns driving. It is a long what driving from Kentucky to Fairbanks and it is much nicer and quicker to drive with two people. We decide to go to “Klondike Salmon and Ribs Restaurant”. We thought it was a barbecue restaurant but wen we get the menu it is not to much barbecue but a lot of different hamburgers with meat or fish.The food is good though. The restaurant is also very well known here. It is nice to catch up wit Wes again and have lunch together. Than it is time to say goodbye again. We take some photos together in front of the restaurant. Maybe we will see each other again some day!

We are taking a look in some shops in the shopping centre of Whitehorse which is not very big but it’s nice and cycle around town for a bit. We see a lot of very beautiful wall paintings all over town.

We want to go to the visitor centre here to see if we can get some extra information about the things to do in Whitehorse. When we get there we take a look around and find the information we want. We meet another cycling couple here. We saw their bicycles outside already before entering the visitor centre. They are Catherine and Pierre from France. We ask about what they are doing and they tell us that they want to cycle in Canada for two years. They tell us that they started their trip in Vancouver. They have a working permit here so they are also allowed to work. They give us some tips for when we would go on the Cassier Highway. But we will probably not go that way because we will not be able to arrive in in Edmonton when friends and family arrive there. Pierre also cycled the Alaska Highway that we are following down to Edmonton, but he likes the Cassier Highway more because it is more beautiful and much less traffic and there is more wildlife to see there. Catherine tells us about The Kwanlin Dun cultural centre. They have been there today and had a guided tour. She says they did the guided tour and she thought is was really interesting. We have plans to go there to so that is always good to know. We will find out when the guided tours are and take one of those too another day. Their website: www.cparlabas.unblog.fr
We walk around town for a bit and see some stores and get some groceries.

When we arrive at the house we make some dinner and decide to watch a movie before we go to bed.

We sleep till late in the morning the next day. Today it is time to work on updating our blog and Patreot page. It is nice that we are able to do that and just be inside a house. We are so used to being almost always outside that a day being inside a house is quite nice for a change. We only go outside the house to get some groceries.
Jeanette is also home from her hiking trip so it is the three of us again. Arjan is making pancakes for all of us. Nice!

In the evening we look at the map to see what our possibilities will be for the next stretch of the road down to Dawson Creek. Jeanette tells us where we can get groceries and where there will be restaurants so that we will know how much food we will. It’s seem like again there will not be a lot of possibilities for getting food and we do not want to go to a restaurant too often, because it is will be expensive if we do this too much. So we decide to bring food for every day. That means we need to get groceries for 14 days. Again we will carry a lot of extra weight on the bicycles because of the food we need to bring.
We drink some beers and we have some nice conversations and good laughs before we decide to call it a day.

Today it is Monday so Jeanette has to go to work. We decided to go to see a shop that is called “Changing Gear” that is nearby Jeanette’s house. This shop sells all kinds of nice second hand outdoor clothes, shoes and all kinds great outdoor gear and stuff. We like this store a lot. Anything you could possibly need you might be able to find here for a much lower price. But still everything looks good, almost new.
We are very excited about it. The owner of the store tells us that they only exist for two years now. In the summer the shop is full of everything you might need for summer activities such as hiking, bicycling, canoeing, camping, climbing and so on. In wintertime, he tells us, the shop is totally trance formed into a outdoor winter activity shop such as skiing, snowboarding,
Arjan buys an extra thing for his steering and another MSR whisper light stove for when friends and family coming over at the end of July.
After this we decide to go to the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, because they have guided tour on certain times of the day. We pass a nice looking bicycle shop on the way to the cultural centre and because we have a little bit of time left we take a quick look around. At the back of this shop we see there is also another shop that is actually more of a coffeehouse. It looks very nice and it is called “Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters”. We decide to come back here later in the day when we have more time to enjoy and to have a drink.

At the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre we only have to wait for a few minutes before the guided tour starts.
There are two girls guiding this tour who tell us that they are both original First Nation. Here in the region you are either part of the Raven or the Crow clan. This can only be passed trough the mother so when she is part of the Crow clan her kids will become Crow too. In the old days when they would get married it would be arranged that someone from the Crow people would marry someone from the Raven people. If the man would be arranged to marry a Crow woman he would go to live with her people to learn about her ways and land. His kids would be thought this way of life too. So when they are married the man would come and live with his wife and her clan.
Throughout the years the First Nation People have known a lot of oppression.
Also there are a lot of First Nation women disappeared or killed in the past and most of these disappearing and murder cases have never been solved. There are therefore still a lot of families that today still not know what happened to their daughter or sister.
Today still First Nation women have more risk of being killed than any other women in Canada and America. Why that is? That is still a big mystery.

After The Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre we are going to see the SS Klondike. The guided tour have al just finished but for $2 we can get a folder about the history of the boat. Before we go on the boat we watch a movie that also tells us a lot about the history of the boat.
The SS Klondike was the largest sternwheeler on the upper Yukon River. The first one was built in Whitehorse in 1929 but she sank in 1936. It was rebuilt the following winter using the original superstructure and machinery that was salvaged from the wreck. The boat was re-launched in the spring of 1937 and continued carrying passengers and cargo until 1955. It was the last Yukon River sternwheeler in active service.
When we take a look on the boat we see that everything is very nice restored and they have done their best to give us a good idea about how it must have looked like in the old days. We can go on the first floor and the second floor. Here we can take a peek into the kitchen and some storing rooms. In the back you can see the on board restaurant used for the passengers. Sadly we can not take a look at the top of the boat because it still needs a lot of restoration and it will take up to five years before it will be open to the public. Still it is nice to see everything here and learn about the history.

The SS Klondike

It is time to go back to the coffeehouse “Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters”. Because we didn’t eat lunch we order coffee and tea and a nice homemade cookie to go with it. We cannot stay too long because for the coffeehouse it’s almost closing time.

But that’s okay because we should be getting some groceries at the supermarket anyway.
Arjan is going to cook a nice dinner for Jeanette and ourselves again.
He makes us potato’s from the oven with broccoli and topical Dutch meatballs!
We enjoy our last evening together.

Thanks for the great time staying at your place Jeanette!!![/caption]

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