North becomes south, the way through Canada
It’s cold in Alaska, especially North of the Arctic circle and said cold along with lots of forecast snow was what made me abandon my attempt to get to Dead Horse and begin my Journey south.
North becomes South
The first few days on my way south were the same as going north. Heading south from Marion Creek Campground north of Coldfoot towards Anchorage. Eventually, I turned east towards the Canadian border north of Fairbanks and crossed into the country with the friendliest population in the world near Beaver Creek.
Now a lot can be said about Canada but one cliche they do live up to is being the most friendly people you can imagine. I don’t know how it is possible to greet somebody with a friendly hello while standing outside in the pouring rain in 0° but they manage. Must be the maple syrup.
The first couple of days were dominated by little setbacks and hiccups getting settled in and working things out. The landscapes and the weather also did their part to keep my mood down but all that eventually changed when I hit Canada and made my way through the Yukon Territory. The scenery changed for the better along with the weather and I was soon riding through what I expected of the great white north.
There still was ice and snow, especially in the mountainous areas and more than once I was happy to have my heated underwear.
It’s still bearcountry
But, with every mile that I rode south things became better and better until I eventually rode under crystal clear skies taking in the suns warm rays on beautiful roads in southern Yukon and British Columbia. British Columbia certainly is a must visit place if you have the opportunity. It’s sceneries are gorgeous and the roads are immense fun all the way down to the US border. One thing to note is that in British Columbia I had my first and only bear sighting. Happily driving along all of a sudden there’s a black bear standing on the side of rode staring at me in bewilderment. Sadly I didn’t have my camera at hand fast enough to take a picture. The minute I began rummaging for it another car came along from the opposite the direction and the bear took off into the woods. Was a reminder tough that bears are very real in the area and I never let me guard down regarding the cleanliness of my camps.
One other thing to note about the way south that it was first that the real feeling of loneliness crept in after 1 1/2 weeks. When you realize you really are on your own and you get to pick where you go in the morning and when with nobody else to take into consideration for almost an entire year to come, that’s something few people ever get to experience and as such it’s something you just have to appreciate when it hits.
Welcome to Quesnel Forks, Population: you
A site of interest that actually was a “sight” along the way was Quesnel Forks. An abandoned mining town that is now kept and maintained as a sort of open-air museum. The way there was quite adventurous as there are no real signs posted. You just take a turn off the road where the GPS tells you and end up riding through dirt roads in dense forests for about half an hour until a couple of hairpins take you down to a small river with lots of abandoned construction machinery on the side of the road. The machines all have “Private property” and “No Trespassing” posted but there is nobody there and you just continue along the road until you eventually get to the parking lot.
The site itself, when I was there, was completely empty which gave the whole thing a slightly creepy vibe. There are not just old buildings and the cemetery but also lots of 1950s cars in the woods completely overgrown. The place isn’t really that exciting but it’s a fun detour that doesn’t take a lot of time and if you’re lucky like me you’ll have it to yourself.
After leaving Quesnel Forks behind I was gaining substantial momentum on my way towards the border with the US. A few days later I met up with a fellow inmate, Buck Snyder, that I met on Facebook. He was heading north on his F800GS and was hanging around Whistler Mountain for a couple of days before making his run for Dead Horse. We met on a bright sunny afternoon and ended up doing some exploring around Whistler. An absolutely beautiful area although the town itself was a bit too nice for my taste.
The area around Whistler is perfect for exploration and we visited a train crash site that was converted to a mountain bike park as well as a couple of logging and fire roads on the outskirts. Again, well worth a visit if you don’t mind the posh town.
Goodbye Canada, Hello USA
At the end of it all we had to part ways tough and I made my way towards my final camp in Canada before I got to Vancouver and eventually across the US Border. It was a lovely day and even though I stayed in the cheapest Hotel in Vancouver right in the middle of the Ghetto even the bums and drug addicts were super nice, that’s Canada for you. In the morning when I was packing up(the hotel manager insisted I take ALL belongings, even the secured Touratech Cases off the bike) the bike a couple of homeless walked by me and we began a friendly chat about my where from and where to and while they could barely stand in some cases they all had some kind words for me and wished me good luck on my coming travels.
And that was it, that was Canada. The next morning crossed the US border a little inland from Seattle and began tackling the lower 49 which brought lots of new experiences and problems.