14 July, 2012

Day 9, 750km: Back to the future

First morning where I woke up warm in my tent. The weather outside was 7 degrees C (5.30am ...) but I was warm! The trick? Nested sleeping bags. I was inside my liner, itself inside my summer sleeping bag, itself inside my winter sleeping bag. That was actually a pretty decent night, once I killed all the mosquitoes that made it into my tent.

A herd of bison
The highway 1 continued with its amazing wildlife. I guess the highway with its clean shoulders makes a nice sleeping/grazing place for the bison herds.

The sun slowly rises over the mountains
I wasn't really sure where I was headed today. Along the highway 1 for sure as there was no other roads. I figured I would stop when I was too tired.

Moose (is that a moose?) as dumb as it gets
You know the scene in every adventure movie where the hero is running down a hill/temple alley/road/corridor and is being chased a a gigantic boulder/ferocious animal/deadly soldier?
Well that is precisely what this poor thing felt this morning. I met him at the exit of a corner and stopped basically 10 meters from him. I expected it to run on either side of the road so I waited for it to move.
Well, instead of jumping out of the road it started running down the road!

That was hilarious so I decided to follow him on the bike. We were probably doing 20/30 km/h so I took my camera and snapped this picture while chasing him. After maybe 300 meters of this I carefully caught up to it and it finally understood the exit was on the side of the road.

Poor thing. It probably got so scared that it won't be back near roads anytime soon.

On some hills the view we had was really impressive, we could probably see 50km away or more
The highway 1 was in fact as underpopulated as the highway 37. I'm not sure why but I expected more towns on this way. Well the thing is that there wasn't more! Towns/outposts were still often 50km apart or furter.

  video

The northern part of the road was great with nice mountain roads winding through the forest. I tried to take the video above with my camera strapped to the handlebar. There was so much vibration that this sequence is the only one "barely view-able" in all the 15 minutes I have been recording.
Well, better than nothing right? The vibrations make it look like I'm doing the Tourist Trophy but I'm just at 60km/h. 


Leaving the mountains
Some sections of the mountain roads were being repaired and there would be sections of gravel road, the longest being around 10km. So what was meant to happen finally happened.


In one section there was a safety car opening the way on the gravel road, which was limited to one lane. Before going, waiting for our turn at the construction stop they let me up to the head of the line as I was on a bike. So I led the way into the gravel. The first few kilometers went OK. Then we entered deeper gravel. I didn't feel confident so I slowed down and try to make sure no car behind me was getting too close. Doing that I got into a part where the gravel was just too deep, I was driving on marbles. I slowed down as gently as I could until I was doing 5km/h or so.
At that point the rear wheel decided that it would like to be a front wheel. The bike chased and fell gently on its side (thanks to the side luggage panniers). I "gracefully" let it fall. I was on my two feet and didn't actually fall, it was more like an uncontrolled drop.
The panniers were a little brushed by the gravel but no damage to me or the bike.

A car behind saw me get down and stopped to help me lift the bike. Thanks Shawn! He is driving a bigger bike back home in Toronto (1200GS) and gave me a few tips on gravel driving:
#1 change your tires
#2 look as far ahead as you can
So I guess a proper training session at a riding school will be in order somewhere in the US before I enter south america.

Shame hurts
Eventually the mountain road was over and I was in for the most boring, depressing straight line highway. That went on for about 300km (between Fort Nelson and Fort St John).

God that was boring! And hot!
So while on the highway I didn't really trust Mr. Garmin anymore so I looked for signs to the next big city. Two were frequently mentioned. Wononow and Fort St John. The latter being 60km further. I settled for Wononow because I thought the name was cool.


So on that long and boring highway I started dreaming about getting a hotel room, cleaning all my stuff, getting the latest episode of Futurama (TV serie) and enjoying the aircon. Wononow became like a distant oasis, full of promises!


So imagine my despair as the city turned out to be ... this
No, there was nothing in Wononow! There was a "hotel" (containers fitted with aircon and a bed) on the other side of the road. No internet. That meant no Futurama. No way! So I had to continue to Fort St John.

Well not completely nothing there, look at this monster
Actually I saw many bikes like the one above, big road bikes with trailers. I think 50% of the bikes had trailers. I guess if you're headed to Alaska that's what you need. So Arturo, headed to Prudhoe Bay with his two duffel bags on his KTM is indeed a real bad ass!

Eventually I made it to Forst St John, stopped at a motel to unpack, clean everything, do the laundry and all that, where I am now.
Tomorrow morning: rest!

4 comments:

  1. coucou Guillaume, je suis une collègue ergo et nous suivons de prêt ton périple, c'est un plaisir de voir des belles photos.
    Bon courage pour la suite et à bientôt.

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    Replies
    1. Bonjour Mathilde et merci! Bientot des photos du parc naturel de Yellowstone ca va etre sympa ;)
      Guillaume

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  2. Vas y mollo dude!!! Ca commence a etre dur pour nous. Tu sais ce qu'on pense du bohneur des autres.... Du coup, on a bu tout le weekend pour oublier! Des GROS bisous

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  3. Nice to see the animal on the street...so lovely...:)

    Fong.

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