Living the Dream
Well this post finds me in Iskut, B.C. about halfway down the famous Cassiar Highway in Canada. Over the past week or so I have had many adventures and experiences each as wonderful as the next. So, for the sake of clarity let’s just take a trip down memory lane and re-cap the past few days in my life.
Rest in Skagway was great and though it was where Greg and I were to part paths, we still ha a great time resting, eating, watching Mad Men, eating, drinkin’, eating and sleeping in.
My original plan to to ride the famous White Pass railway out of Skagway fell through due to me being a perpetual dirtbag and refusing to pay the $110 for me and my bike to ride a train for a mere 3 hours. Instead, I got a shuttle up the heinous hill by the friendly people at Sockeye Cycle in Skagway. It was a pleasant drive up the coast range and it reminded me of my own High Sierra.
Upon reaching Fraser I still had some elevation to cover but it was a glorious ride through some truly scenic terrain. Crystal blue lakes and towering granite peaks were complimented by snow on peaks and relative solitude on this lonely road.
I spent the night in Carcross with the intent of cycling back to the intersection of the Alaskan Highway to continue my journey as planned. I figured I might be meeting up with the crew at some point and upon reaching the junction got word that they were 10 miles back which meant I would be seeing them at some point in the next few days!
It was also here that I met John, a true inspiration for all us travelers and cyclists. John is currently on a bike tour from Whitehorse to Victoria raising money for Parkinson’s disease. This 70 year old man has proven, day in and day out, that more often than not, age is merely a mindset that you can overcome. I have had the honor of riding with him for a few days now and conversations with him cycling through Canada’s most scenic roads have been some of my best memories thus far. Of course, at this point we were still travelling on the Alaskan Highway but only as a means to access the fabled Cassiar Highway that elegantly winds its way south through the Cassiar Range.
Thus far, only halfway through the Cassiar Highway, I have been treated to daily shows of forests that come all the way to the roadside, massive snow-capped peaks, glorious lakes and many travelers. We have had to endure daily rain showers and many headwinds, yet the daily breaks in weather have shown us great views that more than make up for the cold wet hours spent in the saddle. In total right now, there are about 10-14 cyclists that I know of working their way north and south staggered all over this road.
However, this also brings me to the title of my post, the distance between. While it has been great fun keeping track of who is where and where we are staying and how we are riding, it has also made the distances between us more and more real. We are all on different journeys and even though we see the same peaks and hills and streams on our daily rides, we are all processing it in a different way. That, I think, is the beauty of adventure and travel. These great places brings out something different in all of us and the conversations at day’s end really brings these differences to light.
Another thing I have noticed along the way is the difference is how you are treated as a touring cyclists. Although I have only been made to feel unwelcome less than a handful of times, it has still come as a shock. True, we as cyclists tend to be a bit more frugal than those RV’ers filling up with $200-400 worth of gas. Yet, as a group we still love to be welcomed with a smile upon reaching a campground and not harassed for not spending more money (this actually happened!).
In spite of my petty grumblings, this adventure has been an amazing experiences and after resting here in Iskut today, I look forward to cycling the rest of the Cassiar, checking out the Hyder/Stewart area and my “big” rest day in Smithers!
For those interested:
Skagway to Fraser (shuttle!)
Fraser to Carcross 45 miles
Carcross to Johnson’s Crossing 64 miles
Johnson’s Crossing to Dawson’s Peak RV Park 40 miles
D.P. RV Park to Continental Divide Lodge 71 miles
C.D. Lodge to Yukon/BC Border 75 miles
Yukon/BC Border to Jade City 74 miles
Jade City to Dease Lake 61 miles (+12 mile construction shuttle!)
Dease Lake to Red goat Lodge/Iskut 56 miles
Total Distance traveled b/w Skagway and Iskut 486 miles!
Enough talk, here are a few pictures taken along the way…..