I took Mike the Germans advice and back tracked to BJ's Truck stop and a great breakfast. BJ's is supposed to also change bike tires, but after meeting the owner, he told me the mech that did that was a "hammer mechanic" and damaged a lot of expensive bikes. No sweat says I. I can keep running to Fort Nelson where there is a real bike store (No, there isnt)
You cross the Simpson Range and get to goggle at the scenery. Quite beautiful up there.
Being a wanna be Geologist had me parked and ooohing for a while at plate techtonics in action.
If you can stand the bugs, a stay at Liard Hot Springs would be the ticket. $18 for a camp, $5 for a day pass to use the springs. I didn't see any bugs on the 10 minute walk to the water. But I met a Dutch guy named Eddie on a 1989 BMW 1000GS who had camped there and said it was as bad as he had seen. It did look tempting.
Beyond that the construction delays start to wear you down while you wait in the hot sun for the next Pilot Car
Beware the fuel situations up here. A sign will say Check your fuel. Next gas 110KM. No problem, then you get there and the place has been closed for a couple years. Carry 250-300 miles worth of fuel. You wont need it all but with the economy the way it is more places are closing all the time.
In to Fort Nelson and the language barrier strikes again.
I go to TireMart because they do bike tires. They even sell bike tires. So I show the mech my new Mefo and say can you install it?
No, we dont do that here. But go down the road to Northern Metalic and they will.
In Northern Metallic and they say. No, We dont do that here. Go to TireMart.
Like I said before. I don't make good decisions in the evening.
Can I just use your (baking hot) parking lot and I will do it myself?
What a stupid MF I am. I was hot and tired and I took on a hard job. Unlike the TKC80 that you can change in 10 minutes. These Mefos have a seriously hard sidewall that dosent give way easily. After an hour and a half of sweating and finishing off the last of my water, a mech getting off work came over and added the couple extra hands I needed to get the bead over the rim. Thank you Sir and God bless you.
Here's where the language barrier comes in. The mech helping me asks why TireMart isn't doing this for me. I said they don't do this. No says the mech. They wont take the wheel off the bike. If you had done that and handed him your wheel they would do it.
Now he tells me.
Camped at the West End Campground conveniently located at the West End of town. They have a full service bar at this campground! What a great idea. I camp next to Eddie the Dutch guy again and we go toast our success that day over icey cold Corona's
Day 11 565 miles
I had to give Eddie a mild lecture about riding ethics over the beers last. He is out for 8 months on his ride yet can't get out of bed before 1000 and can't get rolling before 1200.
I'm up at 0600 and quetly pack and get started. Eddie crawls out of his tent and tells me he can't believe anyone wou;ld get up this early. We say our goodbyes and will meet in Dawson Creek.
I back track again 20 miles and turn North up 77 to get into the NorthWest Territories and Fort Liard.
The road turns from nice blacktop at the border into bad gravel. Again 65-70mph is the best speed Jumbo likes to run
I think that 80 kph is a mis-print.
Fort Liard is a little turd of a town 10 miles off the main road. Swarms of biting bugs. A dried up little gas station and a new tourist center and gift shop. I really tried to spend money in the gift store but there wasn't anything I could carry home-very nice birch bark baskets.
So back to Fort Nelson and the West End Camp for lunch and there's Eddie talking on his Skype to his sweety back home. I eat lunch and come outside and he's still talking. Eddie promises he will leave in an hour and see me in Dawson. Nope.
I finish the day at Mile post 0
So I'm standing there thinking I should be high fiveing somebody or patting someone on the back and it's just me in the late evening heat feeling numb.
I know I've done something. I don't quite know what but it will come to me later I'm sure.
camp is back through town next to the Pioneer Park. Very pleasant and cool. The tent is pitched on grass and I'm next to two cute Swiss girls driving a filthy, muddy, but brand new rental car.
Sorry no pictures of the girls.
I sleep the best I have had since I left because it finally gets dark at night. The down side is on the other side of my tent is an elderly couple and one of them is farting like a horse all night.
The front TKC 80 is about shot and has a bad hump in it while I ride. The bike store in town is really a quad store and can't balance my tire so off I hop southbound again. At Chetwynd they have an Aprillia dealer. They have an Aprillia dealer in Chetwynd??!!! So I pull the front tire and the mechanic does his best to re-balance it, re-fill my water bottle with cold spring water and generally act like a great guy. The balance helps some and it smooths out above 50 mph so away I go with one more detour.
Mt Robson park in the Canadian Rockies is worth the side trip and I hate to admit was the best scenery of the ride and is only a days ride from my house.
The Shadows of Robson Campground was full.
My day ended after a run into Jasper, Alberta for a refuel and a scary ride back west into the setting sun. I avoid riding at night and had no choice because I hit this area on a Friday night of a 3 day weekend. Every place was full and I was trapped into pressing on. Riding with one hand and blocking the setting sun with the other, I had numerous encounters with deers coming up on to the road way. Finally It was too dark as I approach Valmount BC and saw a sign for a B&B.
The home was a custom loghouse. The owner was the head of maintenance for Yellowhead Helicopters just across the highway fro the road into the B&B.
I was tired and dirty when I rolled into Brigetta's (pronounced BriGEEta) driveway. She offered me some left over home made pizza and some spring rolls and best of all a cold beer. The bed was perfect and I would have slept for hours more if the other guest wasn't snoring so loudly through the wall. Breakfast was a smoke salmon omlette and a bowl of fruit.
She even let me park Jumbo inside her garage.
I highly recommend this B&B 1 (250) 566-1740 http://www.bbcanada.com/11119.html