The last week in Canada started off with losing my travel buddy Cowburt who had been with me from the start. We had sen so much together and he held a huge amount of sentimental value which made me feel alone without him. I knew he was a toy cow but after all that I had been through he had been there through it all. Having been invited to stay with JM and his family was amazing and being in the Canadian mounted police he had managed to scrabble an emergency team of land and air teams who scoured the land tracking any tiny footprints that finally lead him to 9month old child’s house. knowing he was safe and on his way back after his mind adventure it was time to rejoin forces and head into Alaska for a day then on up through the Yukon to the Alaskan border. Although I was excited to be so close to the end of my penultimate country I was really going to miss the people and the scenery and knew I would have to come back and see it properly.
Monday 27th June
The day had come to leave White Horse and say goodbye to another amazing family. I got up and had breakfast when James came down to see how I was doing. As I was almost ready JM and Cowburt arrived to drive me down to Carcross to continue my journey.
Cowburt happy to be back
It was so great to see Cowburt again and just thought it was brilliant that he had been on his own little adventure and had been creating his own Facebook page. I thanked James for his and his families kindness and helping me rest but again it was hard thinking I had made a friend and yet had to say goodbye.
Two amazing guys JM and James
We set off out of town when JM informed me if I reached Skagway early enough I may get the chance to go up in his friends helicopter and be taken to a glacier. Getting quite excited about the prospect I decided I was going to give it everything and try and get there as soon as possible. We soon arrived on the edge of the village where it was once again time to say goodbye to JM.
Saying goodbye to a new friend
He had been a real star not only bringing me down but having made the effort to find Cowburt and to bring him to me. With Cowburt safety secured to my bar bag once again I set off and started the climb.
The road climbed around 100 metres to a beautiful lake and then continued to climb and fall as it follows the mountains.
The scenery was incredible making me want to take a million pictures. Not wanting to stop to much I grabbed a banana every once in a while to give me energy and continued to slowly climb.
As I neared the top I could see a train coming and as it got closer I could see it was a steam train. It looked amazing with they high snow capped mountains behind and looked like a great way to travel and to see this beautiful area.
The White pass railway heading through the stunning scenery
I can’t find the words
After a long slog I finally reached the summit with loads of time to spare and dropped towards Skagway and the American border. Dropping from just over a 1000 metres to sea level was just amazing and the ride down was so great.
Finally at the pass at over 1000 metres and its all down hill to the sea.
Having had a strong head wind all morning was now helping as it was saving me from braking as it slowed me down. On reaching the border I was asked a few questions about my trip and was then asked to come in and answer more questions. Having cycled through the Sudan 3 years previously was now a security risk and I then had to wait to be processed and checked. I was there for 3 hours waiting and even the guys doing the processing thought it was silly. After what felt like a lifetime I was then told I could only enter the US one more time and so going to Skagway was now out of the question along with any helicopter ride. Even though my visa weaver was in date I decided the only option was to return to White Horse and head west. Turning around I looked up the hill and thought to myself oh no. I had put everything into getting here and I had very little in the tank left to climb another 1000 metres. Deciding to hitch was my best option but not at the immigration office. I started to climb and got off when a car passed but no one stopped. I continued to climb and saw a tow truck come up the hill so did the same. That to went past along with a few other vehicles and so I continued to push on when a few minutes later the tow truck returned and asked where I was going. Picking the first town of Carcross he was happy to take me and so I unloaded my bike and off we went. We chatted for a while and soon reached the Canadian border where I was interested to see what happens here. With a few questions we were allowed to continue and so we got chatting some more. Joe was an interesting guy having grown up in the former Yugoslavia and told me a story of saving a Canadian pilot in the war. It was fascinating listening to him and just incredible what he had gone through. He was a kind man with a colourful history that I was grateful to have met and he was so kind to drive me all the way to Whitehorse.
Many people would just see a tow truck driver but this guy had a heart of gold and someone to be admired
We arrived at the house where I was welcomed in and made to feel at home. I sat chatting to the boys while they played there games when shortly after James arrived back having driven to the border to find me. I couldn’t believe he had gone all that way and made me more frustrated with my US sim card that didn’t work. Now back where I started I would have to try again but this time west to the border hoping I would be allowed in to finish the trip I had started.
Feeling despondent it was time to get on the trampoline with Bear and have some fun
Tuesday 28th June
Having been turned back from the border yesterday I was left with my original plan and to head straight to Haines Junction then on to Beaver Creek hoping I would be allowed in their.
Their gorgeous cat making sure I had everything
Being just under 100 miles away I got up early and had the chance to thank Samantha for having me before she headed off to work. I finished packing the rest of my things then joined James and the boys for breakfast.
James, Lucas and Bear were just the best
Although I had been held up another day I had enjoyed being here and would leave feeling revitalised. Being ready around 9am James and the boys came to see me off and Bear road to the end of the road with me which was so cool.
Riding with the next generation of adventurer
It was now time to get my head down and cover the miles to Haines junction. After covering around 5 or 6 miles I started to think that it would be a good idea to ask James if he and the boys wanted to meet up at Haines junction and camp as e had mentioned he wanted to try out his new tent. Before I left the built up area I found a phone box and made a call to make the suggestion. Sounding keen I left it with him and pushed on west with the wind in my face and slowing me down. The road was fairly flat and uninteresting making me wish I had been let through the border but with it being fairly flat I was covering the miles.
The view did seem to get better as I got closer to the mountains
The clouds made up for any boring bits
Spotting a rest area I stopped to grab a snack from my bag to give me a bit more energy when a guy came over who was from Wales. I went over to their camper to meet his wife and was lovely to hear about their trip. Heading the way I had come I gave them some pointers of where to see and still having a long way to go I said my goodbyes and set off. After riding for around an hour I saw a car pulled over in front of me and a guy stopped and told me their was a young grizzly ahead. As I got closer I pulled up quietly and watched it as it grazed of flower heads.
I could have watched him for hours
It was beautiful and so chilled so not feeling threatened I watched it for quite a while before I decided to leave it be and head on.
As I rode on I was now getting hungry again and spotted a sign for the services ahead. Seeing this as a great chance to grab a cooked meal and relax I pulled in ordered my food then asked if there was wifi. Being able to connect I managed to send a few messages, check my emails and have a good break at the same time. With James now due to arrive at Haines junction at 7.30pm meant I had to get going and try and arrive at the same time. As I got ever nearer the scenery got more and more spectacular with the mountains rising out of the ground like giant guardians looking out over the forests.
It was just incredible to be here and see this in front of me.
It was hard not to be encapsulated by them and felt lucky to be in such a beautiful place. As I got within 10 miles I saw an animal cross the road in front of me to see it was a Coyote tracking down its pray.
It was the first time I had seen one in the wild and stood once again just watching it as it disappeared into the forest. Riding on I then came across a cyclist called Jan who was looking for a camp spot. He was a really nice guy and really great to chat to and it would have been great to have chatted longer.
As the time moved on I was almost 8 miles from the junction when James arrived with Lucas in tow. It was really great to see them and so made a plan on where to meet while they drove on into town. I soon arrived at the camp ground which was in the forest and all the camp spots had a fire place. I went to find an axe when James arrived and we got the fire going.
With the camp set up we then relaxed for the evening chatting and having a look around. It was so great to have them both here and it was also Lucas’s first ever camping trip. It was mad to think he was at the start of a lifetime of adventures and in a way I envied him for all the new experiences he would learn for himself.
Its moments like these I felt proud to be part of and can only imagine what adventures lay ahead
This was what it is all about and he had countless trips in front of him following his dreams and desires he just had to chose what he wanted and when to do them.
Wednesday 29th June
As the night went on it got colder but not enough to want to disturb the warm air in my sleeping bag to put my thermal on. I woke up and checked the time to see it was already 9am and James and Lucas were already up. I packed away my things and went to join them for breakfast.
It was so great having them with me and made my normal quiet breakfast much more fun. With James wanting to head back to Haines junction to grab a snack I loaded my bike and we headed the few miles into town.
The mountains behind the town were just amazing and I had to keep pinching myself at their beauty. I reached the town and ordered some food then sat with James and Lucas while we waited.
Once we had eaten it was time to say goodbye and head off. It had been so great for them both to come down and it really made my day. Dropping out of town I reached the junction and turned north towards Burwash Landing. Being 75 miles away I dug in and started to climb which seemed to go on for miles. As I neared the top I saw a cyclist coming the other way. We stopped to chat and found that he worked up in Dead Horse. I couldn’t believe it he worked where I was heading and felt great I had a contact. I gave him some advice on the route for him and we said goodbye and I continued to climb.
Once I had reached the top I then dropped slightly only to climb again. The road undulated from here still with incredible views of the mountains and also helped by a slight tailwind.
I dropped to a stunning lake and with it being 3pm I decided to stop and have some dinner. It was just the best spot to stop and today had been one of the best days for the scenery.
I sat and looked out over the lake with the mountains rising above it thinking how lucky I was to be here and see it.
After an hour of relaxing it was time to get back to it and so I continued on around the lake then followed it up its western side.
Having 30 miles to go I pushed on and with the tailwind and the road now levelling off I soon arrived at a garage in Destruction bay.
Deciding to stop and grab a snack I managed to get on to the internet to check my messages. Getting messages from JM with a contact in Beaver creek was just amazing as this could help with my border crossing into Alaska.
Wanting to get as close to Beaver creek as I could I checked my distance and saw it was 185km away. Deciding to ride past Burwash Landing where I had planned to stop I rode on and looked for water.
Managing to find a road construction camp where a lovely lady filled up my water bag I could now relax and look for anywhere to camp. Now 12kg heavier with all my water full I got going and slowly covered another 20 miles getting me ever closer to Beaver creek. By the time I had stopped I had managed to cover 95 miles and found a good rest stop to camp.
With the wind now picking up from the north I found a sheltered spot to cook, log my day and wash. By the time my tent was up and I had finished my jobs it was midnight and yet it was still as light outside as it was when I arrived. It had been an incredible day starting with friends, followed by endless stunning views and coving the miles I needed. I was however tired and just hoped I would make it to Beaver creek tomorrow.
Thursday 30th June
Feeling tired I started to fall into a deep sleep when I felt something move underneath me. Not knowing what it was I sat up to see my sleeping mat delaminating in front of my eyes. Annoyed at the now new bulge and the fact it was only 3 months old I tried to sleep as much as I could before it was time to get up. Hearing people arrive in the carpark didn’t help as I would also wake to check my bags which were on the roof of the toilets to keep away from the bears. I then woke tired and with a long day ahead I dragged my tired body out of bed then put the kettle on in a now very grey, gloomy and cool day. Looking like it might rain I got my things ready and set off up the road.
Knowing I had a lot of roadworks to get through I knew would slow me down so I wanted to cover as many miles as I could. As I rode west the light rain started to fall but at first wasn’t enough to worry about.
After a few messages Brisanna finally caught me up after driving up from Navada city on her way to Alaska. It was so great to see her even if it was briefly but it made my day seeing a friendly face
I stopped to chat to some guys on a motor bikes to see it was the same two I had met a few days before heading to Skagway. As we chatted I watched as the clouds built up behind me with the rain now starting to catch me up. I set off away from the storm where I soon came across the road works with the first lot being pretty bad. Being muddy and sticky slowed me to a crawl but I stuck at it as I moved between the heavy machines. I reached a traffic light section which I rode on through only to be faced with the lady in the pilot car. Being told off for not waiting I was told to wait until she returned. Seeing the heavy rollers coming towards me and knowing I needed to get out of their way I rode on when another pickup arrived to take me to the end of the construction. Seeing how heavy my bike was she agreed I could ride behind her and soon I was back on the highway and away from the construction.
A few miles later I spotted a cafe that couldn’t have come at a better time. Buying a large pie and a coffee was perfect as the rain started to fall much heavier outside. I got chatting to another cyclist called Eric who was traveling the other way and could give him some tips on the route ahead. It was great to chat but wanting to get going and get to Beaver creek I wished him well and pushed on. The rain continued to fall and I continued to get wetter and wetter hoping at some point it would ease. The road works to the west had now been chip sealed but it was still slow going and not to pleasant as the cars that flew past churning up stones that would hit me like stray bullets. By the time it got to 4pm I was tired and looking forward to reaching the town. I saw two more cyclists heading towards me so stopped to chat and hear they were heading to San Diego and were from England and Scotland.
Great to meet a couple fellow Brits
Along with a south Korean guy a few miles later
It was great chatting to them for a while and check what was ahead so pushed on up and down the many short hills. Just as the sun had started to dry everything and I was feeling much more comfortable the clouds moved in for the last few miles in to town. By the time I reached Beaver Creek I was soaked through again and so went in to a restaurant to eat.
I was so pleased to get here but I knew my day wasn’t over yet. Having a contact in the town who was a corporal in the police force I went to the station to make some enquiries. Corporal Kim soon arrived from his house and offered me his house to stay. I couldn’t believe his kindness and so was soon at Kim’s home meeting his wife and being made to feel very much at home. It was great spending time relaxing and just hoped my day tomorrow would go well. I had been nervous about being allowed into the US before but this time there was a risk of not getting in and bringing my whole trip to an abrupt end. Not really knowing why I had such a problem I just hoped it was something simple that would soon become clear and allow me to finish my trip. It was now in the hands of the gods and I just had to wait and see.
Friday 1st July
The day had come to enter my last country/state of Alaska but knowing I had been turned back at Skagway after being in The Sudan I wasn’t even sure if I could get in. It was however Canada day and with Kim and the other policemen on parade I wasn’t going to leave without watching and showing my support. Hearing them getting up I packed my things had a shower then went to join them for breakfast. With the parade not starting until 11.30am I had time to relax, check my messages and sort out my things ready to leave. Joining Fran and her neighbour we walked over to the centre and got ready for the precession. With only 80 residence in Beaver Creek the parade was pretty small, in fact it was probably the smallest parade I had ever seen but I admired each and everyone of them for showing their solidarity not only to their country but to their town.
Yep that was all of it
Once the parade had passed which took around 3 minutes we headed over to the information centre for the BBQ. It was really great to be part of it and I couldn’t have wished to be anywhere else. As if to mark the end of my penultimate country I felt like it was all for me and so it was time to hopefully say goodbye to Canada and hello to Alaska.
This was very good cake
With Fran wanting to ride with me to the border we set off and rode the 20 miles to the start of Alaska.
Reaching the Alaskan border at the same time as Ignacio who was a very nice motorbike rider from Chile
It was soon time to say goodbye to Kim and Fran thank them for being so amazing and head off and hope for 5the best. Reaching the immigration office I handed over my passport and was then asked if I had been to The Sudan. Answering yes I was then told I couldn’t come into the US and that they now had a big problem. My heart sank and I started to think about how I was going to get home. I stood for a while in a state of shock while the lady went off, with a million and one things firing through my mind when the lady returned and asked me to come into the office where I was interviewed and asked how I had got into the US to start with. Explaining I’d had applied for an ESTA which I didn’t need because I hadn’t flown in but had been approved anyway, then had been interviewed at the Mexican border and approved there as well they tried to see what had happened. After some digging it transpired that a new regulation had come in a few days after I had entered the US not allowing anyone to enter if they had been to The Sudan after 2011. After a few phone calls and a lot of explaining the lady made a call to her boss who it turns out she already knew about me. Willing to come in on her day off they then spent the next 3.5 hours paroling me into the US by filling out an emergency tourist visa which would allow me into Alaska for the next 3 months. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was but part of me felt like I was being let off a crime I didn’t commit. What ever the situation I knew they were doing their job and were being very good about it. I certainly appreciated the time the ladies were putting in and however long it took I was willing to wait. Once everything was done I was given a stamp and allowed to go and finish this trip. With all of this and being on the road for so long living out of my panniers if I wasn’t ready to go home before I was now. I knew I would love Alaska and would soon settle in. With the dread of finishing something incredible I was also going to enjoy being at home and enjoy a normal life and finally some stability.
Once past the border I was now on good roads but climbed and fell making my going a bit slower. Looking at my GPS I had around 780 miles to go and my gears were slipping badly. I knew everything I had was slowly wearing out but I was so close and I knew I could make it if I just stuck at it. Wanting to cover a few more miles before I stopped I rode for another 28 miles before spotting a campsite at Dead mans lake. Being 2km off the highway I made my way down to find a pretty spot by the lake where I could pitch my tent.
It was my first night in Alaska and although it had been a close shave getting in I was pleased to be here and ready for my last section.
I was now in Alaska and it felt so great to finally be here in my last country. After such an amazing ride through Canada and with the problems at the US border I was already missing it but knew I had to keep going if I was going to finish this. I have always wanted to go to Canada because of all the Canadians I have met before in my life had always been warm, welcoming and kind hearted. This had been backed up during the time I had been here and the scenery had far surpassed my expectations. Knowing I had touched a minuscule part of this country I knew I have to return and explore much more . Now being in Alaska I could now explore my last country and ride to the finish. This wasn’t going to be easy with a 500 miles of hilly road with most of it being gravel that makes its way into the Brooks range and through the Atigun pass into the Arctic interior. If that wasn’t hard enough the road is known as the haul road where trucks take cargo up to the oil fields and with the road being so windy I knew I would have to be on the look out so I could get out of their way. I was excited to be doing this as it would be tough but first I had to get to Fairbanks. After a few very long days I was tired and I needed to rest before I took it on. Luckily the road to the city was mainly flat and I had a place to stay once I reached there. I was almost there and with the girls getting excited about coming out in 3 weeks for a holiday I also couldn’t wait to reach Anchorage to see them and have some time off and fun before heading home.
Thanks for reading xxx
Currency: Approx £1= 2 Canadian dollars
Number of days in country:
Totals from Ushuaia Southern tip of Argentina/ South America
19,301 miles/ 31,055 km, total alt gain 357,536 metres
Total distance cycled in Canada: 1,991miles / 3,203km
Running Distance total: 35,449mls /57,037 km
Total altitude gain in Canada: 28,356metres
Running Altitude total: 551,340metres
Altitude gain per mile: 14.24metres/mile