Canada! The people are friendly, the gofers are cute, the scenery is spectacular, the portion sizes are normal, they use metric, have payphones, chip&pin and have a nice flag. But when you are on the road, a big part of the experience is, well, the road. Canadian roads started out a bit rougher than the American equivalent, but that was before 50 miles of roadworks yesterday. The Dalton highway had bits of lumpy dried mud that shook you around, stretches of scattered gravel that slowed you down every time you hit a piece, strips of smooth fine but loosely packed gravel where you left an energy sucking track. But on these roadworks, there was the choice of all three on the same bit of road! You’re spoiling us, M. Trudeau! Later this just became general loose gravel – shallower in the car tyre tracks. Tackling this involved identifying the shallowest tracks (which could be on the far side of the road), then cutting through the ridges of gravel separating the tracks. At the same time, checking for on-comming traffic, and, by the end I had perfected the art of checking my rearview mirror for traffic looking to overtake (ie, close right eye, turn head slightly to left to get full rear view, focus left eye on rear view, check for vehicles, turn head back, open right eye, focus on road ahead all with out losing balance while being shaken about. I was becoming a Pro at this!). Not only was I coping with this, but was almost enjoying it – successfully navigating a recumbent with a 30kg load through a gravel field with increasing speed. Yeah! (Or “yeah baby!” after watching the end of an Austin Powers film a couple of days previously). Then it was the piece de la resistance – Washboard Gravel. Yes, repeated ridges going across the road. You’ll be pleased to read that I don’t have the words to describe this – click on this link for a short clip of the majestic Canadian scenery jumping around as I try to keep my head as still as possible through the washboard!
Anyway, enough about the road – here’s some of the dramatic scenery:
And a cute gofer (same as a ground squirrel)
June 5th – 70 miles to the Canadian border (or more precisely a few miles into the 20 miles of no-man’s land after US customs and before Canadian customs. A disputed border in a “US: you have it. CAN: no, you have it. US: no, really, you have it. CAN: thanks, bit we insist, you have it…” sort of way). Steadily climbing by stealth – each downhill not quite as long as the previous uphill. Passed 800m for the third time this trip. Rode for about 8 hours with 3 hour long stops.
June 6th – 20 miles to Beaver Creek. A late start after a late finish the previous day, legs tired, and Yukon is an hour ahead of Alaska. So there were going to be no big miles today. So booked in at Beaver Creek and caught up on admin.
June 7th – 110km (70 miles) to km point 1760. 40k in the first 2 hours, then roadworks – 5 hours for the remaining 70k! More gradual climbing – hit 1000m for second time this trip)