Yukon/British Columbia Southbound
As twenty miles of the Top Of The World Highway (From Tok, Alaska to Dawson, Yukon) had been washed away in heavy rain closing the road I missed out on returning south by a completely different route from my northbound ride. I returned on the same roads for about 700 miles from Tok, Alaska, through Whitehorse to the top of the Cassiar Highway. From the Cassiar junction I stayed on the Alaskan Highway (Hwy 97). The Alaskan Highway is a bit longer than the Cassiar but a similar road as far as traffic and scenery are concerned. There were more grizzly bears on the Cassiar and more black bears on the Alaskan Highway which also has a herd of bison in the north of British Columbia.
Bison Grazing By The Alaskan Highway
Posted by ianmoor at July 24, 2010 12:36 AM GMT
The distances are too great to plan to be anywhere each day. I decided to take my time stopping to wild camp off the road at the end of each day with coffee breaks if a cafť presented itself. The earth gradually returned to a more familiar rhythm as the 24 hours of daylight ended, the nights got darker and the days hotter as I moved further south.
The next stage of my journey sees me heading to Montana then through Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas to enter Mexico before my US visa expires.
Muncho Lake, British Columbia On Highway 97
There were a number of moose, a fox and a porcupine as well as the black bears on the Yukon section to Whitehorse. Judging by the number of bear deposits on the side of the road the bears are either trying to reclaim it as part of their territory or they are really really scared of the traffic.
I had been carrying my road front tyre which still had several thousand miles left on it since fitting duel tyres in Anchorage. I had a feeling that I would get fed up hauling it around and leave it somewhere but as I hurried to pack and leave the Whitehorse hostel by its 10am check out time I accidentally left it on the drive. If anyone is passing and can make use of it feel free.
Me, A Black Bear And No Fences Between Us - Alaskan Highway
I met a German guy at a coffee stop with a German registered BMW F800GS, the first foreign registered bike I have seen on the trip. He had ridden from Europe through Siberia to Vladivostok then taken the bike to Japan before arriving with it in Vancouver. At the same coffee stop there were two US riders who had been prevented from doing the Top Of The World Highway by the flood damage. They had ridden from Dawson west until they were turned back. They had met a Dutch couple with a hired RV (mobile home) who were stranded between two flooded areas and couldnít travel in either direction. Fortunately they had plenty of food and water but werenít going to be able to return the RV when it was due or make their original flights home.
Black Bear At Roadside Rest Area
After five days of travelling I stopped early at Tudyah Lake Provisional Park Campsite to chill out in the afternoon rather than ride until the early evening and wild camp. There were only a few others there and one day visitor said he had just seen a bear in the campground but didnít know what kind. A ranger turned up later who said black bears had been seen recently so I wasnít unduly concerned. I prepared and ate my meal well away from my campsite and secured my food and toilet bag in a pannier for the night as part of my usual precautions. Before I left England when I was researching this trip I got some information on precautions to take while travelling and camping in bear country. None of the precautions included carrying a gun which I suspected many North Americans would do. I passed on the recent bear sighting information to a Canadian from Vancouver who arrived. He told me he wasnít concerned as he carried a gun and had killed three grizzlies and seventy five black bears so far. He obviously doesnít just shoot as a last resort unless he has been extremely unfortunate and been attacked by 78 bears! Personally I hope the 79th has better success than its 78 predecessors.
Tudyah Lake, British Columbia
The towns started appearing more frequently once I reached Kamloops, British Columbia. The weather got hotter and drier as well as I entered CanadaĎs desert region. The wild camping spots became harder to find as I got into the more populated area. To the south of Kamloops a number of campsites were full and I got one of the last available sites in Kekuli Bay Provisional Park Campsite. I couldn't get the tent pegs into the hard gravel surface, the showers were poor, there was no electricity or WiFi and they charged $30 per night. Not good value for me on my own. The campsite was geared more towards the RV owners.
Kamloops Basking In The Sunshine, British Columbia
The two hostels in Kelowna, British Columbia were full when I phoned and I wanted to stay there to pick up spares for the bikes next service. Kelowna has the only BMW dealership on my route for quite a while. I decided to go to the two hostels in person and hope for a cancellation or failing that sometimes you can camp in the hostel grounds. Luckily I got into the second hostel which was within walking distance of the downtown area and a series of lakeside parks.
Kelowna, British Columbia
There were two hot days in Penticton which left me seeking a cool drink and some shade in the afternoons. I donít know how hot it was but I hope to acclimatise to the warmer weather before I get to the serious stuff in Texas and Mexico!
Penticton, British Columbia
The day I left Penticton was cooler and it rained a bit as I travelled south on a quiet back road to Osoyoos then east on Highway 3 to Nelson. Nelson would be my last overnight stop in Canada as I head south from there over the border into the USA.
Lake On Backroad North Of Osoyoos
I had to stop in the small town of Greenwood to put my wet weather oversuit on. The high street was interesting, lots of old decorated building and masses of hanging baskets of flowers. The showers didnít last too long and had cleared by the time I arrived in Nelson, British Columbia.
Greenwood, British Columbia
I arrived in Nelson at a good time as they were holding their annual street festival during my stay. The main street was closed to traffic with market stalls along the street and a stage area at either end for live music. I spent most of my time there listening to three women playing Blues music.
Nelson Street Festival
The following day I went for a walk along a footpath to a beach on Kootenay Lake with Jen, a fellow Brit. who I met at the Dancing Bear hostel. There was a group of mountain bikers on the beach who had cycled down a mountain to the beach and were being shuttled over the lake by helicopter to continue their ride. On the last trip the mountain bikes were slung in a cradle underneath the helicopter to be reunited with their riders.
How Else Would You Get Your Mountain Bike Across A Lake?
After fifteen months of travelling I am finally leaving my first country. It would take forever to get round the world at this rate but I have to exit The USA in six weeks time or face the wrath of The Department Of Homeland Security so maybe progress will accelerate a bit from now on. I donít have any timescale to keep to on this trip although from now on I will generally stick within each countries normal visa time allocation rather than apply for extensions following the expense and hassle of extending my USA stay.
Helicopter Ready to Pick Up Mountain Bikes In Cradle Slung Underneath