Days 60 - 72: Smooth Pavement and Salt Water

It is hard to believe, but we have reached the end of the second leg of our journey...we have reached Prince Rupert, BC and tomorrow morning we'll hop on a ferry to Port Hardy, the northernmost town of Vancouver Island.  We are on the outskirts of the land of plenty, and until we reach Patagonia, in about a year and a half, there will few other opportunities to ride hundreds of kilometers with not so much as a bag of chips for sale.  So, it is with a little sadness that we head south, but there are also a whole lot of perks to look forward to...such as:  not having to carry a weeks worth of food on the bikes, having drinking water readily available, and many showers in the land of plenty!  The final stage of our trip to Prince Rupert has been pretty great, Glenn's knee is feeling a lot stronger, the roads are smoother and we have started to meet a bunch of touring cyclists.... So, without further ado, onto the photos and highlights.

Dease Lake - Prince Rupert

So many cyclists!

During the first month and a half of our trip we were getting a little lonely, especially during those long cold stretches in Alaska.  We didn't see any other cyclists on the road, and perhaps for good reason, there was still snow on the ground.  Well things have changed ! The snow is gone, for the most part, and people are out touring.  While the number of bear sightings still far outweighs that of cyclists....we have probably met about 15 others touring this awesome part of the world....and we have been fortunate to hang out with a few of them.  A few folks deserve a special mention, because, while all touring cyclists are awesome, some are, well... extra awesome.  First, there was Christophe, the epitome of a french cyclist.  He spoke very little English, so we got to practice our French a little, turns out he rides, at minimum 160 km a day and his longest day (so far) was 255km...eeekkkk!  He was taking just under four weeks to ride from Vancouver to Anchorage - the inland route.  Take a look at a map, this is a pretty incredible feat!  We also met David, a New Zealander, he is taking a few months to bike from Vancouver up to Inuvik...  He was especially awesome becuase he didn't buy into the machoism that so often goes with cycling.  Since we were travelling in opposite directions we began to tell him about the route that lay ahead of him, when we mentioned the hills he replied "Ah, I just walk up all the hills.... if I see a hill coming I just get off my bike and start walking", you have to keep in mind that we were travelling the extremely hilly road.... but his attitude was golden, when you have what you need.... you have all the time in the world.    We met a bunch of other awesome folks... and had a particulalry good time hanging out with Matt (who was travelling from Moose Jaw to Whitehorse),  and talking with him about the joys and pains of life on a bike.  It was also great to meet Simon and Betrand, from France.  Betrand was just finishing up a year-long world tour, and SImon.... well it turns out he also started his trip in Anchorage, and he is also heading to Argentina...we hope that we will see him further down the coast....  OK.....that was an extra long one :)

Duck Tape and New Tires

The bicycle gods were certainly looking after us as we travelled down the Cassiar.  Somehow, against all odds, Glenn's tire made it almost 900 km to Terrace, BC....where there was a bike shop. Each day the duck tape would get worn down...and each day Glenn would apply more duck tape.  A second rip even developed about 200 km from Terrace, duck tape did the trick again.  I should also mention that we had no flats coming down the Cassiar... very very magical.   When we got to Terrace we went to the bike shop as soon as we could and bought four beautiful new Marathon Plus tires... they seem to be (as we found out from the cyclists that we met along the way) the gold standard of touring tires.... many layers of Kevlar make it extremely rare to have a punction.  Just today Glenn pulled a big staple out of the tire.... no flat.  Glenn is particularly enjoying riding on a smooth bike that doesn't bump every revolution because of a bulge. 

Some More Foraging... Plus a WARNING ! 

First the warning.  If you remember from our last post, we boasted about how we founds lots and lots of mushrooms and ate them.... and that they were Morel's.   Well it turns out, upon furhter research and a consultation with a local mushroom picker, that they were actually poisonous.  So, Please DO NOT EAT the mushrooms that were pictured in the last post....  Having said that, we didn't have any major reaction, but it probably explains why I had a headache for about a week, and it may explain why Glenn passed out for a very short and scary time in Dease Lake.  So, we have moved on to strawberries.... in the stretch between Kitwanga and Terrace we found a lot of incredible patches of wild strawberries... and luckily we didn't have to fight the bears for them :) 

Dealing with the Elements

Over the last stretch of road the weather has gone from hot hot hot and sunny, to rainy and cold, to pretty much perfect ... as it is today.   Dealing with the weather has just become a part of the daily grind for us, the wind and the rain play a huge role in shaping our day... probably just as much as the hills do.  But we have also learned, perhaps through necessity (very little internet access), that the weather and that road will be what they are, and we will...almost without fail...continue along regardless.  Other exciting parts of living outside include: many mosquitos, bathing in streams and lakes, having a picnic for every meal, and most of all - feeling incredibly connected with the world.

The Money Question

When we tell people that we are travelling on our bikes for a year and a half...maybe two, a lot of follks wonder how we can afford it.  Well... first we are pretty frugal.  Our primary costs, thus far, have been food and bike parts.  We occasionally pay for a place to stay, and a shower, but mainly we have found free places to camp or have been hosted by kind kind souls.  Prior to leaving we hoped that we would be able to sustain ourselves on $30 / day combined.  Unfortunately even living on your bike in the north is a little pricey, the main thing has been that the cost of food in the remote areas that we have been is extremely inflated... and food is pretty essential, so while in the north our budget has probably been a little closer to $45 / day, but we are hoping that this will even out by the time we reach Central America.  So...that is how we can afford it, we have been saving for a number of years now, and life on the bikes is certainly a lot less expensive than life in Toronto.... 

Milestone: 3333km

Reached another milestone... wrote another song!


Dease Lake - Marchuea Lake Recreation Site - 67 km
Marchuea Lake Rec Site - Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park - 63 km 
Kinaskan Lake - Bob Quinn - 74 km
Bob Quinn - Bell II - 48 km 
Bell II - Rest Day !
Bell II - Meziadin Lake Provincial Park - 99 km 
Meziadin Lake - Bonus Lake - 79 km
Bonus Lake - Kitwanga - 80 km
Kitwanga - Rest Day !
Kitwanga - Little Oliver Creek - 55 km
Little Oliver Creek - Terrace - 51 km
Terrace - Rest day...aka new tire purchasing day :) 
Terrace - Telegraph Point Rest Area - 90 km
Telegraph Point Rest Area  - Prince Rupert ! - 60 km