Wednesday, July 29, 2009
We've finally hit Mile Post 0 of the Alaskan Highway in Dawson Creek. We have cycled 1650 miles from Anchorage in 30 days and still have 650 miles before we reach Vancouver! This is a big, vast country! We are ready to hit more populated areas where food and water are more dependable.
The terrain is beautiful but after seeing it day after day for 7-8 hours on the bike (70-90+ miles a day), it is starting to become monotonous. The Canadian Mountains and the heat (which is now reaching 100+ degrees) are challenging. It is definitly toughening us up. All in all we are really enjoying it and loving all the friendly people that we are meeting along the way.
Photos of: sunset in northern BC, Ward catching fish for supper, sign for chains on tires (never a good sign for cyclists) and the Mile Post 0 sign.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Little did we know what was in store for us as we entered the Canadian Rockies. Not only did the terrain change from flat and rolling hills to steep grades, summits and sections of gravel but the wildlife changed as well. In a 2 day period we had 3 different encounters with bear, woke up to a moose in the pond right next to our tent, saw many dahl sheep, played "chicken" with a caribou and passed by many bison right on the side of the road. Do you know how big and intimidating they can be when they are only 10 feet away?
Some things that did not change were the miles of nothing, the many stores and lodges that were closed because of economic times, the wild camping, the cycling 7 hours a day (65-90 miles), the duration of 4-5 days without a shower, the diet of rice and pasta and...of course, the GIANT MOSQUITOES!!!! When we do come to a town we tend to take the day off to hopefully internet, do laundry, resupply our food, enjoy some civilization and mentally prepare for the next leg.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I knew we were in for very desolate wilderness but I was surprised at how beautiful the landscape was. The dark green pines standing tall in front of the snow capped mountains were phenominal. It was just as pretty as Denali Park.
Along the way we saw many moose, a fox, wild horses and we even had a black bear cross the road right in front of us. Because we had to bike stretches of 400 miles without a town, we had to carry all of our food with us. We tended to free camp in the forest and a real shower was a luxury. Otherwise, in desparation we would wash up in a nearby ice cold lake.
We ran into 2 younger guys that are biking down to the tip of South America. They are raising money for Autism. We also met up with an English guy who started biking in Prudhoe Bay. We biked together for a few days. The additional company helped the miles go by faster and also increased our safety level.
We are in Whitehorse at this time and we're enjoying a day off of the bike in real civilization. Tomorrow we hit the road again.
Alaska has totally overwhelmed us by the hospitality that has been offered to us. Because of the vast wilderness, lack of roads, harsh winters and generally hard living...the Alaskan people really depend on each other. Nina, a fellow Rotarian provided us with all the necessary fishing gear that we would need and had us over twice for dinner. The halibut and king crab were a specialty. We were also invited to outdoor barbecues while we were standing in line at the grocery store and had numerous home stay invitations. One invitation was just too good to pass up. We stopped at the Midway Service Station to have a rest and take a break for lunch. Before we knew it the owner had arranged for us to stay in a refurbished bus behind his station, he had 2 fisherman take Ward out fishing, grilled cod and halibut for supper and asked us to help him deplete his supply of beer. He would not take any payment. He said, "this is what we do in Alaska." WOW! Hats off Alaskans. You are some really cool dudes.