Back on the AlCan Highway and heading straight east and sometimes even northeast towards the 37 or also known as the Cassiar Highway. The going on this stretch was long, not very scenic and rough. We hit tons of downpour rain, headwinds, and horrible chip seal pavement that on steel framed bikes chatters you until you feel like your teeth might just fall out onto the pavement. On the second day, the going was so rough and the weather so cold, we made it only 20 miles in 3 hours and when we stopped to take a snack break, we were shivering so bad Ville finally decided we pull over at a small camp and rest stop near a river and pitch our already soaked tent under a large tree and try and dry a bit. After resting a while and waiting for the rain to subside, we came out of the tent to find an Israeli kid cooking food on a cook stove and while we were chatting a bit, an RV pulled up and the man yelled out the window, "Cooking some hot food in about a half an hour!"
This is how we came to know Dana, Chris and Sonny from Montana. They invited us into their RV for an enormous pot of spaghetti, salad, bread, and lots of beer. We had such a great time chatting about traveling stories and shared hours of laughs. Dana was a soy and corn farmer who is now retired and he and Chris love to travel the world. The next morning when Ville was up to cook oatmeal, Dana came by our tent and said, "I wouldn't eat that stuff if there was eggs and bacon available." And man, they stuffed us with food! When we thanked them a million times over, he insisted that we needed a lot of help. I think he was referring to the mental kind and I whole-heartedly agree with him. After sending us off with a massive ziplock bag of pasta and salad, we headed on up the road waiting for them to pass us. By evening, we came across the Rancheria Motel/Restaurant and decided to get out of the cold and rain and have a hot drink to warm up.
There we met Linda and her husband whom Ville thinks looks like Paul Newman. They were super kind people that love cyclists and support the Texas 4000 (cyclists that go Texas to Anchorage every year fundraising money for cancer) and we ended up getting a room for the night to dry stuff off and clean up a bit. Thanks a million Linda and Paul Newman for the hospitality! Back on the road the weather was grim, but there were blue skies in the distance. Finally, we popped out of the clouds, hit sun, and had a fantastic tailwind driving us on at speeds up to 25 mph at times. Then, the coolest thing ever happened! Dana, Chris and Sonny drove by us waving and pulled over to say they were making sandwiches up at the next rest stop. We were so excited to see them again (it is just fun getting to meet great people and then when you get to see them again it's such a great addition to the day of cycling). Dana and Chris, we want you to know, you are the sole reason we are surviving so far and not wasting away, because after we left you, both of us have barely kept any weight on and we thank you for caring enough to push food on us like our own parents would. We talk about you both often :)
By the end of the day, we had finally hit Highway 37 and the start of the Cassiar. At the junction rest stop, we met a woman and her friend at a rest stop who after hearing of our adventure, gave Ville her latte! Thanks again for the pick me up :) Real quick we realized that this road was going to be different, not brushed on the sides, no shoulder and sometimes a center line. Awesome meandering curvy road that would be spectacular in a sports car or motorcycle, a lot more steep ups and downs on a bike. Coming down a steep hill we ran smack into a momma black bear with 2 cubs. We stopped and she started to come towards us, but my sexy Scandinavian Stallion (who looks way more like Skelitor these days) protected me. We made ourselves big, made noise, and she took off with the cubs.
The next few days on the Cassiar were scenic but it was hard to enjoy it with gale force headwinds and scattered showers. Riding into headwinds feels like you have a car tire strapped to the back of your bike and your pulling it up and down all the hills. Not many miles logged, but lots of output. We rode through Good Hope Lake (there was very recently some terrible stuff that happened there and we were a bit on edge, but look it up if you want to know more), Jade City (we got soda and candy bars and helped to rescue a bird that flew into the store), and camped by a beautiful river wrapped into some huge mountains where a German couple gave us cups to make some of our hot tea.
By the 3rd day we made it through some nasty road construction into Dease Lake and on the way in ran into some old friends from early on in the Yukon, Bill and Leatha. In Dease Lake we grabbed some burgers and they shocked us with paying for a night at the Northway Motor Inn. What a treat! Thanks so much you two for a night of restful sleep in a comfy bed, hot coffee, and clean clothes to head back out in. And if your passing through these parts, the Northway Motor Inn is a great stop! Back on the road, we had a few more days of nasty headwind, (a great stop to find coffee where we met Sandra and Bob who made us coffee at their campsite. Thanks for the save!) lots of ups and downs and then the winds turned and we blew through 85 miles to finish by 8pm at Meziadin Junction. We grabbed soda and bars at the gas station before they closed and sat debating taking the side trip to Stewart and Hyder. So many people along the trail had told us great things about watching the salmon spawn in the rivers there now and driving up to see the Salmon Glacier that we feel like the trip shouldn't be missed, but we have a lack of time and food to make the 80+ miles out of the way so we will see if we can't hitch hike in the morning to see it before we continue on. Thumbs up...
K.G. & Ville
On a cruise ship, heading north up the west coast to Los Angeles.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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