The last week coming up from Kitwanga had been amazing. Managing to see the Salmon glacier, lots of bears and meeting more great people was the best but snapping my frame, getting eaten by bugs and feeling shattered I couldn’t wait for a rest. Having had Phil with me had really made the last few days fun and still having his company up to White horse was great. Hoping my bike would stay together and not have so many bugs it was time to head west once again to White Horse. Having a contact there where I could stay was a great incentive to keep going so I could take a break. Having had an amazing time at the lake finished off by a great evening with JM and his wife Natalie had prepared me for the road ahead.
Monday 20th June
Although it had been a late night it had been great fun and I had managed to sleep well. I woke to the tent heating up to see it was still only 4.40am. Opening up the vents I managed to cool the tent down enough to sleep some more. I got up around 8.30am and went in to see if Phillip was up and also to join Jim for breakfast. Still in the process of getting his kids up I went back out and packed away the rest of my things to give him time. I returned to the house where Jim made us all breakfast so we could sit and relax before we set off. Once we were finished I grabbed my bike and bags to load in the truck when the sheer weight of my food bag hit me. Why I was carrying so much food was beyond me but going into the supermarket after a long day on the bike was going to make me work for every ounce. As we loaded the bikes I then noticed Cowburt had gone walkabout and I was immediately gutted. I couldn’t believe it and felt totally lost without him. Having seen him the morning before I knew it must have been yesterday that he went missing. As we drove back to the garage where we had turned off I scoured the road as we drove but there was no sign. With JM being a Canadian police Officer he said he would put out an APB for a missing cow and scrabble the helicopters.
Knowing that Cowburt was out there with all those bears and Moose I was getting worried. Assuring me that the police force would do all it could to find him and return him safely all I could do was wait for news.
JM, Amelia and a very shy but lovely Sam
On reaching the garage we loaded the bikes and let Jim have a go on Dolly before we set off. They had been so kind letting us stay and to invite us in to their home in the first place. With the wind now picking up we knew we were in for a long tough day so we thanked them all and set off west to White horse. We went through a few road works where they were laying gravel on the road which made our lives harder but once we were clear we could get our heads down and try and cover the miles.
Riding through the dust I just hoped it didn’t last to long
Not having left the garage until 11.40am we knew we were in for a long day and with the wind it wasn’t going to be easy. Wanting to just keep going I left Phillip behind and just stuck at it only stopping to grab a cookie or a banana.
Although the bad roads continued the road was at least wet to keep the dust down
Although the wind was tough going I was making progress but what was the more annoying was my gears were starting to slip a lot more. Having to sit in the wrong gear for extended periods was tiring but I knew I just had to keep going. As I headed further west the scenery and the mountains became even more beautiful knowing we had that to come.
Riding towards the beautiful snow capped mountains
As I turned a corner I looked across at a lake then had to look again as it appeared to have something in the middle. I stopped and went back to see it was a large female moose grazing in the middle.
I was so pleased to see her and could’t wait to see a male
I was so happy to see it and just watch it put its head under the water and pull up the grasses it likes. Still having several miles to go I plugged away with the wind getting stronger and my peddles turning slower.
Often met guys on motorbikes passing with many happily waving back
As my GPS counted down the miles the low battery sign went on which I could totally relate to. I finally reached Rancheria and went into the restaurant. Seeing sausage, bacon, ham and eggs on the menu even though I was carrying half a supermarket it was to good to pass up. I sat down and I was then convinced not to ride on but to stay for free at the campground and have a hot shower. Even though it would leave a longer day tomorrow it had been a late start and I was shattered. While I sat eating my amazing meal I got chatting to a lovely couple that were on their way back south. They were so nice to chat to and made my visit there so much nicer. As I was about to pay for my meal a very tired Phil arrived who looked very relieved I had chosen to camp here and not to ride on. Also having brought a ton of food he ordered chips and joined me out in the campground. As I started to sort through my things I realised that everything I owned was falling apart. My brake pads had worn out, my chain needed changing, My gear hub was slipping, My bike frame had now been welded three times, my cycle shorts were falling apart although not quite see through yet ( I think) , I had lost my co-rider and friend Cowburt, My Bolivian doll was still refusing to wash and when I went to take my hat off I saw that it too was falling apart. Now with a long day tomorrow I decided to go to bed before my pants fell apart and catch up on some well needed sleep.
Tuesday 21st June
Knowing we had a long days ride ahead of us we agreed to get up at 7.30ish and try and get going by 9am. Hearing Phillip call me to see if I was awake all be it only just I got up and packed away my things. Still in a haze after having loads of really weird dreams I sat at the bench and made myself a coffee to pull me out of my semi coma. Phillip soon joined me along with the very familiar birds that would steal anything that was on offer.
This little chap was so cheeky
Beautiful morning sky which normally means rain
Once packed we headed out and checked our emails and knowing Phillip would be a while I got going to try and cover as many miles as I could before lunch. Once we’d had lunch we then had to climb to continental divide where the water that fell on one side of the range would go to the Pacific and the rain on the other would go to the Atlantic.
Crossing the mountains of the continental divide
As if by magic the rain started to fall but I wasn’t going to hang around to find out. Although it was raining it wasn’t enough to get me to wet but it didn’t make for a nice ride. Seeing a rest stop ahead I pulled over just as the rain started to get heavy and so found a building that would keep me sheltered. Once I had cooked I saw Phillip arrive looking pretty fed up with the rain and so he also stooped for lunch just as an RV pulled up to offer a bit more shelter. Having already eaten I set off again and slowly ticked off the miles and would only stop for the odd snack. As the day went on the sun came out and it started to get warmer.
The sky was incredible
It was beautiful scenery but today I saw little in the way of wildlife. I pushed on for a few more hours then looked for a place to take a break and as I went to stop at a rest area to take a couple minutes I was suddenly swarmed by thousands of mosquitos so I had no choice other then to just keep going.
I was so tired and I could have fallen asleep while riding. With the road rising and falling there was little in the way of rest bite and so I just had to keep going. As I stopped on a hill I saw Phil behind me and catching up fast, As he reached me he asked if I had a problem with my bike but I was just exhausted and would be pleased when it was time to stop. We then rode together for the last 8 miles and dropped to the river and crossed an amazing steel bridge with big holes in to let the snow through.
We reached Teslin and stopped at a small shop to pick up a few supplies to make a good dinner and went to camp when a lovely couple called Nina and Wayne asked if we wanted a beer and told us they would cook for us.
The wonderful Wayne and Nina
It was so kind of them to offer and it was just what we needed after a hard day. We set up our camp when our food arrived and we could sit and relax. The next two days would be shorter which was great as we could at lest enjoy or ride more but with the clouds building we just hoped it didn’t rain.
Wednesday 22nd June
Waking up to see it was time to join Nina, Wayne and the others for coffee was a great incentive to get up.
I packed away the main things in my tent like the sleeping bag, air mattress and clothes then wondered over bleary eyed to a very welcoming group. Unable to converse in German, Nina and her husband chatted away to me until Phillip appeared from his tent just the same as I did which sort of resembled a newly born calf learning to walk.
We enjoyed a relaxed morning sat in the sun knowing we didn’t have so far to ride and enjoying he company. With the group getting ready to leave we thanked them for being so wonderful and headed back to our camp to sort through our things. Having a few issues with my rear hub I managed to change the oil and re-sew my union flag back onto my handlebar bag. With my bike then loaded with even more food after having been fed by Nina and being given snacks I set off leaving Phil to finish off sending emails and arranging to meet a bit later. Once I had made my way out of the park I rejoined the highway and set off to the west.
The police in Teslin were a little thin on the ground
It had felt like ages since I’d had a day off and my legs were now starting to remind me of the fact. With a very heavy bike I started to climb and then noticed that my bike was feeling a bit wobbly. Looking down to see I had a puncture I pulled over and got my tool kit out only to find I had left my spanner back at the camp where I’d welded my frame. I couldn’t believe it and so wondered what I should do. I pumped the tyre back up and rode on for a few hundred metres then remembered seeing guys fixing punctures in Africa without even taking the wheel off.
I lay my bike down and started set to work and I was surprised at how easy it was. I couldn’t believe I had worked on bikes since I was a kid and yet I had never done this before. Pleased at the result I took a mental note to buy a spanner in White Horse I set off and continued to climb. As I rode I watched the clouds move in front of me and rain falling in the mountains beside me on the other side of the lake.
It was a beautiful ride and I wasn’t to worried about getting wet. As it got closer to 2pm I reached the bridge of Johnson’s Crossing when Phillip caught me up so we decided to stop and have lunch.
Some old cars on the old highway north
It was a great place to sit out of the bugs and even better to try and reduce the weight of my food bag. We set off once again and this time heading south west to Jakes corner.
Even on a cloudy day the lakes were colourful
The road cut through between two mountains with sheer rock faces on one side. It was just the most amazing feeling riding through these mountains with the thin firs lining the highway. As Phillip was a head he pulled over and he headed off onto a track towards the rock face so I followed to see what he was looking at.
We were quite pleased they were heading the other way
Having spotted two bears one being brown and the other Black we went to take a look and watch them in the distance. We saw them play and were both surprised at how fast they could move.
Enjoying the ride
Now only being a few miles from the junction we soon arrived and went into the rest and to have some chips.While I was there I got chatting to the lady behind the counter to find she was from an Inuvik first nations group and was born on Banks island way up in the arctic circle.
It was so cool to meet someone that was from somewhere that was so far north and so remote. Deciding while we ate to take a slight detour to Carcross we set off again into an even more beautiful valley to ride to a camp site at Tagish. Seeing Phillip stop to take a picture I got my head down and managed to get way ahead of him and find a hiding spot to jump out on him. With the side of the highway cleared so cars could see animals crossing it proved to be a tough challenge but after persevering I spotted the right bush, hid my bike and waited. Having just seen two bears only an hour before was perfect and so I watched as he got ever closer. All I can say is I wish I had filmed his reaction but it took a little while before he could ride again. Once he had composed himself we set off and after another half an hour we reached a bridge to be faced with the most stunning views out across a huge river with snow capped mountains in the back ground.
Even these guys loved the view
It was just the most amazing scenery and we were both so pleased we had taken the detour. After quite a while on the bridge we set off to the other side and found a cool RV park where we could pitch our tents.
It was just a great place to grab a cold beer sit and relax before tea. Still with a ton of food I managed to get the weight down a little more before retiring for the night ready for a slightly shorter day tomorrow and then finally a rest day. YES a rest day.
Thursday 23rd June
Waking up to the sound of the birds singing and the silence of being in the middle of nowhere I got up and joined Phillip for breakfast. Only having 100km to ride we had an easy day so sat and enjoyed breakfast while we watched a huge RV drive into the campground and pull down the power lines to the pub.
Along with countless other old items they had these two old tractors still in great order
Before we left we had to check out the lake one more time
Spotted this little chap on the way to town
We packed up and left them to sort out the mess and joined the quiet road to Carcross. We soon covered the distance into the town and once we made our way to the centre we found a beautiful small centre where the White Pass railway terminates with the train just coming in from Skagway.
With its cultural buildings, totem poles, aqua blue water complete with a beach, snow capped peaks and old railway it made for a very picturesque small town.
The view across the lake was stunning
The White pass train getting ready to leave
We both wondered the town and grabbed some food before it was time to get going and head towards Whitehorse. Being 44 miles away we set off passing the Carcross desert which is mainly the movement of sand dunes and continued to climb.
The road away from the town was beautiful with blue and emerald lakes that were just stunning to look at.
From there the highway was forest lined and the road became a little less interesting and the cars became more aggressive. Why we would get abuse when there was no one else on the road was beyond me but I felt sorry for the drivers who couldn’t appreciate their surroundings like we were.
With Phillip struggling and wanting to take it easy I pushed on to reach town and once at the main junction I headed northwest for the last 10 miles to White Horse. From here the wind had turned into a hard head wind which made it slow and very tiring. Although the last few days had been amazing I was tired from the long days and the wind wasn’t helping. Reaching the turn off for the town I turned right and dropped into the centre and arrived along a cycle trail into the edge of town and the Klondike paddle steamer.
It was great to see such an historic and iconic landmark but being quite late I tried to look to see where I needed to head to. I searched the streets for the right street name but found nothing. I then went into my maps app and found I was in the wrong part of town and would need to climb the long hill back up to the highway. I couldn’t believe it and I was so tired. I set off back down the way I had come and saw Phillip coming the other way. It was great to see him as I had no info on him and so it was great to see him before I headed off. I set off up the hill and after 45 minutes I arrived at James home and met his family. I was shown to my room and where I could rest while he cooked me some dinner. It was so kind of him to have me and I knew I would get some good rest while I was here.
Friday 24th June
Arranging to get up round 7.30am for coffee only to find I had slept in till 9am I knew I was tired. I got up and James came down to make me a Coffee. we chatted a while and with James needing to head out it left me to get some work done before he came home. After a few hours James arrived back and took me into town to get some things including new gloves and a spanner along with a few snacks for my trip back to Carcross on Sunday. With it being quite late we headed back to the house to have lunch and then I was taken out to see the area.
I was taken to Miles canyon where the early pioneers would come down the river in the gold rush and get caught in the rapids.
The railway tracks made from fir trees and wheel to suit made the transfer of materials much safer
A Paddle steamer navigating Miles Canyon before the dam was built making this stretch much safer then it was before.
With the stretch being so dangerous a railway track was built using trees as railway lines to bypass the bad bit. I was then taken to see a couple more view points before we returned to the town to pick up some cold drinks.
Still having work to do we returned to the house and relaxed while I caught up on my jobs. It had been a good day but I was tired and in a great place to rest.
Saturday 25th June
Being in a comfy bed after a long couple of weeks and a great sleep was amazing but even better then that was I had received a message from JM in Wateson lake that Cowburt had been found safe and well and had been on his own little road trip. He had decided to go walkabout near the sign post forest and had hooked up with a 9 month old girl to play with.
Cowburt having an amazing time with a very lovely family
In the driving seat
After a long day it was time for bed and plan for another day of adventures
Checking out where to go next and feeling on top of the world
She showed Cowburt around the town along with her parents and had an amazing time. Today he was hanging out with JM in his police car to check out the town for any baddies.
Come on JM lets nail these bad boys
Who are Victor, Charlie, Mike and Romeo? are they the baddies? if so lets get’em
Knowing he had been in good hands and was heading to White Horse with the police I could relax and look forward to his arrival and being reunited with my friend and wingman.
Having so much work to catch up on I made coffee and spent the day working. It was great to have the time to catch up and to rest as I knew the next stretch was going to be as long and probably more sparsely populated then what I’d been through before. Being in the house pretty much all day James kindly took me into town to have a wonder and pick up an ice-cream. It was nice to get out and with the plan to go for a run I was there for an hour before I was picked up again to head back. Having managed to catch up on a lot of stuff but still having more to do I relaxed in front of the tv to catch up a little more. I knew I wasn’t going to be on top of it all but I was the closest I had been for a long time and that felt good.
Sunday 26th June
With a run planned with James at 9am I got up and put my kit on. Not feeling that energetic I did a little stretching and went to find James who was all ready to go. Deciding to leave my coffee until I returned we headed out and hit the trails.
It was beautiful running through the woods along the various footpaths that spread out in front of the house. Managing to cover 11km of undulating trails I hobbled back in to the house slowly loosing the ability to walk.
I had a cold shower to try and help and slowly I regained a bit of movement. I love running but my body doesn’t and knew if I wanted to get better I would have to stick at it and keep practising.
Pleased I had got out I relaxed for the day and caught up with news from home. It was great to see the news and speak to family and friends which alway gave me a boost. Having the rest of the day free I changed my chain, added new oil to the hub again and checked through my things. Apart from my legs feeling a little tight and making the most of the hot tub I was looking forward to heading off and hitting the road. With Cowburt not due to arrive until tomorrow due to other arrangements I could relax and enjoy my last night in a comfy bed and a good nights sleep.
Having lost Cowburt earlier in the week was devastating and had played on my mind as I rode west to Whitehorse. He had been through so much, seen so much and put a smile on so many kids faces and I was sad not to be finishing with him. Then to hear he had been on a bit of a jolly and getting up to all sorts of things I was pleased he’d had fun and even more pleased he was on his way back. It had been a week of great scenery, pretty towns and more great people. I had however got very tired from the long days and hundreds of miles and the rest hadn’t come soon enough. James and Samantha had kindly opened their family home to me and had allowed me to rest and relax whilst being great company. They had allowed me to clear my mind and prepare for the next big section west. My first part would take me south into a small part of Alaska and over two big passes and adding an additional 200km but I was told it was beautiful and so wanted to check it out. With Phillip heading north we had said our goodbyes and I was now back on my own for the next big stretch. With JM due to arrive in the morning to drive Cowburt and me back to Carcross it was time for an early night and some good sleep.
Thanks for reading xx