I left off on the ferry from Nanaimo to the mainland. The trip was good, it was a beautiful day, and getting warm early. My trip started during the hottest part of the summer. The scenery is really quite nice on the crossing.
The ferry arrived at the terminal, and we all unloaded. I pictured a nice ride up hwy 99 to Whistler, but instead merged into hordes of vehicles, all trying to get up to Whistler, as fast as possible. What a gong show! There were fender benders slowing down traffic, and police cruisers all the way up the Sea to Sky Hwy.
This was not the ride I envisioning.
By this time the heat was really warming things up, and I was starting to melt. I didnt want to stop, to have the cars, and bikes that I had passed during the brief passing lanes. I arrived in Squamish, I have never seen it so busy.
After a while, Whistler and Blackcomb resort came into view, and I new once I passed through, traffic would be a thing of the past.
A quick pit stop in Pemberton for gas, and I was on my way to the best part of this Hwy. Lots of twisties, hillclimbs, and amazing scenery.
Eventually I decided I should take a break, and stopped at a nice park just outside of Lillooet.
man was it smoking hot up here. I took all my bike gear off, to cool down. i took my boots and socks off, only to burn my feet on the parking lot!
My lunch was trail mix with fruit, and white yogurt chips. The heat had melted the mix into big sticky clusters.
I still had a ling day ahead of me, and the traffic earlier had put me behind, so Now was the time to get some miles in.
The road from Lillooet up to hwy 97 was more open and I had a blast riding and passing any slower traffic.
My concerns about the Wee being slow with all the extra weight we over, the little bike was doing great, even in the afternoon heat. I think the temperature was 36 degrees (96.8) F!
My next stop was at 100 Mile House, one of of the many towns up on the way up hwy 97.
It is a long ride up to Prince George, passing through several towns, and the country is very open ranchland, some nice lakes, Lac La Hache, Williams Lake, etc.
After many hours of riding, I saw signs saying Prince George was getting close. I was dead tired by now, after a late night to start the trip. I did not want to stay in the city, so I found a nice little campground just outside the city.
I checked in, and found a spot away from the RV crowd. After setting up camp, I had a much needed shower,
and heated up my dinner. I stuggled with my campstove, but finally got it working long enough to use. This would be constant struggle as the trip went on.
It was a nice night to be sleeping in my tent. It was still very warm, and already this far north, it stayed light later.
Day one completed with success!
Day one Nanaimo BC to Prince George BC Approx 875km.
Day to started off with another beautiful hot day. I packed up camp, and decided to ride into PG for breakfast.
Arrived in PG, and found a Tim Hortons, so I pulled in , and grabbed some food and coffee.
I rode away feeling good, and was now ready for another big day of riding. My goal was Hyder, and new it was doable, after making it to PG the night before.
Riding through Prince George, I was suprised at how big this place was, and I missed my turn off. I rode about 15 minutes, before I realized my mistake,
and decided to stop and get directions at a gas station. The woman I asked was amused by me, and kept calling my honey!
I said thanks to her for pointing me in the right direction, and was on my way. Riding out of PG you climb up a big hill, and the terrain is hilly with trees eaten by pine beetles.
There is a nice looking trail that follows the hwy for miles. I was tempted to ride it, but needed to keep moving at a good pace.
This was my first time this far north, so it was all new to me. Hwy 16, the Yellowhead Hwy, rolls on for a very long time, passing through some small towns. Eventually I came into Houston, BC. It was smoking hot by this time. I saw a tourist info center, so pulled in to get some maps and camping info.
I was rewarded by a nice cool air conditioned building. I did not want to leave, but I needed to keep moving. With a hand full of maps, I was again on my way.
The riding up this way was nice. the Hwy was in good shape, next to no traffic, and very few cops. I moved along at a fast pace the whole day, slowing down to the speed limit through the
towns the Hwy passes through, then open up the throttle again. Soon I arrived in Smithers. The scenery becomes more interessting here, and the mountains are right outside of town.
I stopped for lunch, and decided to buy a coffee press for camping.
Back on the road I came into New Hazelton, and found this scene;
I met a fellow rider here. he was from Hungary. He had shipped his big BMW 1150GS over, and had begun his ride in New York. He was on his way down from Alaska, and continuing
on down To Argentina! He made my trip seem not so long at all.
He told me a few things, including the best time to see Grizzly Bears in Hyder, was in the evening, a few hours before dark. I wished him safe journey, and continued on, exited by the news I could see Grizzlies feeding on spawning salmon. Afer a while I came to Kitwanga junction. There is a gas station, and a grocery store here and this famous sign;
If you look closely sitting on my dash is my travel companion TK (travel kitty) who comes with my on all my vacations!
Now begins Hwy 37, the Cassiar Hwy!
The road gets narrower right away, and begins to get more interesting, with the bush and trees come right to the edge of the pavement!
Riding this Hwy for 150km, gets you to the 37A intersection towards Stewart, BC, and Hyder Alaska, the road is called Glacier hwy, and it lives up to its name, just past the junction, the temp cools down, and you can feel the cool glacier air! This road is a blast to ride, and should not be missed. I soon saw a few black bears on the side of the road, and one or two ran across the road just up ahead! I had heard of this happening up here, and was cautious of wildlife all around me.
about halfway to Stewart, BC I came around a corner, and found this;
This is Bear Glacier. I have seen pictures, and I work with a guy who grew up in Smithers. The Glacier once came right up to the road, and has receeded a lot in the last several years.
The heatwave I was experiencing up until now, was not helping the glacier much.
And one of me!
Soon after Bear Glacier, I arrived in Stewart,BC. I rode around town a bit, some some bikes on the main street, lots of people camping, and enjoying the nice weather, and the long weekend. I wondered if there was going to be anywhere for me to stay?
I rolled into Hyder, which is just down a rough road from Stewart. There is no U.S. customs going into Hyder, but leaving back into Stewart you must go through Canada customs.
I pulled into Hyder, and found the Sealaska Inn. There were Adventure bikes all around, I felt right at home! You check in here at the bar, and what a place. Some local characters were
having happy hour. I ended up getting the last boarding room left.
I packed my gear up to the room, and relaxed for a while.
Alaska at last!
This is the view from the Sealaska Inn;
Tired but very happy!
I ended up talking to some fellow riders, and met a couple of guys from Washington state, riding KLRs. They mentioned they were heading up to see the bears at Fish creek, about 5 miles up the road. I was heading up there myself, so we agreed to meet up there. Things were about to get a whole lot better!
The ride up to Fish creek goes through the rest of Hyder, the road is rough and unpaved.
Fish creek is a state park and requires a small entrance fee of 5 dollars. Well worth it. As soon as I pulled up this it what I saw;
and a few more;
The two KLR rider from Washington showed up, and we talked for a bit, and decided it would be a great night to ride up to Salmon Glacier, to watch the sunset. I was tired and hungry, but could not pass this up. Lots of people told me the Glacier was socked in by fog and cloud most of the year, so tis might be my only chance to see it.
So off we went, my two new friends led the way, with me just behind.
The dirt road follows Fish Creek for a while, then starts climbing up a mountain. There is evidence of mining activity, and pick up trucks with work crews. The road up to the glacier is a lot of fun, lots of big pot holes, but all doable. We convinced a European guy on a rented Harley to to the ride up to the top, and eventually he made it up!
This place is unbelievably beautiful!
Me in the middle, Dan on the left, Steven on the right.
So happy we rode up here, what a sight, two glaciers in one day!
We ride down content. I let the other two guys head down a few minutes before me, I had the road to myself. I saw a porcupine on the way down, waddling down the road.
Back down in Hyder, we decide to find food, but everything is closed. some one tells us the is one cafe in Stewart open late, so we head there. We have to go through customs,
but that is no problem. Dan drops his lucky ball cap, and rides away, I see it fall, and pick it up for him. I plan on giving it to him at the restaurant, but I end up dropping it halfway there.
(a police car going the other way catches me going a little fast and flashes his lights, warning me to slow down. Thanks! We arrive at the restaurant, and I realize the hat is missing. So Dan has to go find his hat back on the road somewhere in the fading daylight. After a while he arrives with his hat! I feel better. We have a good dinner, and I celebrate a great day with a couple of beers.
We are all heading up to Telegraph Creek the next day, so I ask if they mind if I travel with them, no problem, they say. we head back to the Sealaska Inn, and call it a night.
Day two complete success!
Prince George to Hyder, Alaska approx 700kms.
I wake up early the next morning, another amazing sunny day ahead!:
I decide to do some bike maintenance, Top up oil, check chain tension, lube chain, check tires, etc...Loaded up, I see Dan and Steven stirring, and we agree to meet in Stewart for breakfast.
I say goodbye to Hyder, vowing to come back here again. Crossing the border one more time, I pull into Stewart for breakfast. Temptations Bakery and Deli looks like the place for breakfast, and is highly recommended.
Soon my two new amigos arrive, and we fill up on great food. I buy some cinnamon buns for later, and we head out. before we leave I take these pics of Stewart;
We topped up our tanks, and loaded up with water, and snacks, not knowing what to expect along the road this day.
We stopped for pics at Bear Glacier on the way to the Cassiar Hwy junction;
A little up the road there is a rest area with this sign;
We arrive at the junction of Hwy 37, and take a left to head north. On toward Dease Lake.
The road is amazing! no traffic, no cops, just bears, suicidal chipmunks running across the road and doing a little dance. The Cassiar winds through pretty country, with mointains all around;
After several hours of riding, we finally arrive in Dease Lake BC. Not much here to talk about, we gas up and buy some food for camping near Telegraph Creek. The gas station in Dease Lake, also has a big market, and is well stocked with food, and supplies of all kinds.
I can't believe how hot is is way up here, were are roasting in our bike gear.
The road to Telegraph Creek is uneventfull for a while, paved for the first few KMs, then turns into gravel
Winding through forest with a few sweeping turns, the Wee is handling well, with only a few surprises in areas were the road is freshly graded.
Eventually when I begin to wonder why this road is infamous, (a few people had told us the road is in bad shape)
we come to a viewpoint, where we start to see the Grand canyon of BC.
This bridge is at the bottom of a fun steep corkscrew
I almost dropped the bike here, as the bank was steeped, the guys help me right it just in time.
The road continues through a valley, with the Stekine river flowing through. There are a few first nation fishing settlements here, as this is there land.
great scenery around every bend;
we find a few spots that would be great to camp at, but we still have a ways to go. more scenery;
We stop to take take pictures every few minutes, its just that good! The road is a blast along the way we see very few vehicles. We are having to much fun to be legal
After a long hot fun ride, we arrive in Telegraph Creek! There are some old dilapidated buildings around, and no place to have a cold beer
We ride up the hill to see were we can camp, and find an RCMP outpost with a lawn sprinkler. We decide to get water here, as it looks like nothing else around. As we are filling up our water containers, a guy comes out of the building and asks us whats up. He turns out to be an RCMP officer, and a super nice guy. Tells us all about the area, how long he has been stationed here, and where we can camp up the road a ways.
We ask if there is any where around to get food etc. He points to a building across the road with no markings. Turns out to be a gas station/ food market run by the local first nations. We thank the cop for his help, and head into the store. Ahhhhhhh, the air conditioner is cranked up inside, and its almost cold! We treat ourselves to ice cream, and buy some supplies for dinner.
we head out toward Glenora, and former gold rush settlement long ago abandoned. We ride about 15 more kms, and find a nice big clearing, perfect for camping. There are some trucks parked buy the river, but no one around.
There are a few shacks around, and we discover this is a fishing camp. We get a little nervous, because grizzly bears love fish. The place looks clean though, so we decide to set up camp. Its been another long day, and we are tired and hungry. Here is our camp spot;
We spend the rest of the night sitting around talking about our great day, and wondering when the bears would arrive.
We had a fire going, it was getting dark, we heard a vehicle coming, oh oh...an SUV drives into our meadow, and out jump three people. Turns out they are not hostile, they are travellers like us looking for a spot to camp, we welcome them, and they set up camp near our spots.
They had come down from the Yukon, and Alaska, and gave us some details on weather, roads and places of interest.
A while later another vehicle pulls up, and a first nations woman asks us why we are here. She tells us we are indeed at a fish camp, and gives us permission to camp here. Like we were going to leave! She warns us about the local bear population, and tells us to keep our food well away from our tents. We put everything the bears would be interested in in one of The KLRs aluminum panniers, and we try to rope up in a tree, but end up stashing it away from our tents.
Another great day comes to an end!
Hyder Alaska to Telegraph Creek BC, about 500km cover this day.