andres' life

Living the Dream

Iskut to Smithers- Big Days to Big Rest!

Well the past 5 days have been quite a whirlwind of adventure, big mileage days, fortuitous meetings and amazing rest!

Upon leaving Iskut, I had planned on meeting John at a campground he had stayed at the night prior (7 miles from mine) and only riding about 60 miles to my next camp. However when I heard that John wa planning on riding 90 miles to his next camp, I figured…why not? So thus began a long day of cycling which saw me in camp at Bell II after riding 97 miles! This was not only the furthest I had ridden on this tour, but also the furthest I had EVER ridden in a single day. It was an amazing day and I am glad I did this.

My first century day.... or close enough to it! I joked about cycling in circles for 3 miles to make it a "true" century!!!

The next day was a “chill” 60 miles day through amazing Cassiar scenery with an inspiring riding companion. Camping at a plush heli-skiing lodge was great but even better was the “All-you-can-eat” $15 breakfast buffet. I think they might have seriously regretted that breakfast option as I had more food than I ever want to eat in one sitting again. If memory serves me right, I had; 3 muffin/egg/cheese/salmon breakfast sandwiches, a mountain of breakfast potatoes, 6-8 strips of bacon, 3 cups of OJ, 3 cups of coffee, a heap of fruit, a jelly pasty and a cinnamon bun the size of my head! To top it all off, a gentleman at the next table, either feeling sorry for John and I wolfing down food or equally impressed bought our breakfast for us! Thank you sir, wherever you are.

One day when I'm old, fat and rich I might try heli-skiing. For now, I have my pride.

The ride that morning hurt a little due to a full stomachs but we got to camp nice and refreshed and slept well. The next day we again decided to do a big day and I ended up cycling 97 miles again! It was getting crazy how many miles I was putting in but I was once again rewarded.

All along the Alaskan Highway I had been hearing about the Texas 4000 riders who I was due to cross paths with somewhere down the road. For those of you unfamiliar with this group, they are a group of U.T. Austin students who ride from Austin, TX to Anchorage, AK to raise money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and hope. I had been counting down the days ’till I was to cross paths with them and was again lucky enough to stay in the same town as them for a night. I was treated to a community potluck in their honor and camped with them that night.

It was extremely powerful to see this group of young adults who had put aside their lives back for home for an entire summer to ride 4000 miles for a truly noble cause. Having had family members affected by cancer, it meant a lot to see this group on the road riding for a good cause and having a great time.

5 of the 22 riders I met en-route from Austin to Anchorage. You all are amazing for everything you are doing. I love you all.

I got to dedicate my day's ride to my brother, a cancer survivor. Thank you Texas 4000!

I had a great night with them and was once again treated to a great breakfast. I said my goodbyes to them after a truly motivational pre-ride dedication and chant. Mt goal for that afternoon was Smithers, B.C., 70 miles away. It was here that I planned on spending a couple day’s rest with Ingrid, a friend from Yosemite.

I was about 30 miles out of town when Ingrid passed me and offeredme a ride into town so we can shower and head to the music festival in Kispiox. I debated staying “true” to the ride for all of 15 seconds before realizing that an opportunity to meet a friend, get a ride then attend a music fest was way to serendipitous to pass up.

So I shuttled to Smithers, showered and was off to a GREAT music festival. I felt a tiny bit guilty not riding but the music, people and atmosphere of the festival more than made up for that. I purposefully did not even bring out my camera as I desperately needed “me” time and needed to enjoy the moment for a bit. That and had I brought out the camera I would have been in no condition to remember where I put it if it ever left my pocket….

I then spent the next day there listening to more music, eating practically everything I could in sight (side note: NEVER attend a music festival as a bike tourer without brining your own food, I spent damn near $40 on all the food I ate in a 16 hour span!)

I am now in Smithers, enjoying yet another rest day and debating either a third rest day or pedalling off manana. We shall see…..

For now, I will spend my time drinking mass amounts of coffee and replenishing calories with my trusty jar of Nutella at my side.


For those interested:

Iskut to Bell II     97 miles!!!

Bell II to Meziadin Campground     60 miles

Meziadin C.G. to Kitwanga     97 miles!!!

Kitwanga to Smithers     50 miles (+30 miles shuttle)

Total miles between Iskut and Kitwanga     304 miles!!!!!

p.s. From here on to Vancouver, I’m officially back in civilization with daily grocery stops and internet access. This means I don’t need to carry multiple days worth of food and more friendly people. It also means more traffic and less “wilderness”. I have mixed feelings about this…


Nice for cyclists, eh?


The scenery is always changing and always amazing.

I heart Brook.

It honestly never gets old.

poor bear got hit by a car... I have now seen 15 live black bears and 1 dead bear.


Aaron, one of the Texas 4000 riders. Way to go man!

Some of the crew posing for me!

The Yellowhead Hwy. is also known as the Highway of Tears. Many girls have gone missing after hitchhiking on this road. Sad.

Honestly, this sign is like a beacon for bikers on a long journey. All they need is free coffee and it would be heaven!


Finally hit 2000 miles!!!

A map of my last 7 days of riding.


11 comments on “Iskut to Smithers- Big Days to Big Rest!

  1. Marisa
    July 25, 2011

    Andres 2,000 miles!!! it seems like just a week ago you started your venture. You have no Idea how proud your “old” man is. Fair weather, gentle grades and safe cycling for the rest of the trip. When you finally get to El Paso, your sister, A’Edan and myself will let you sleep for a couople of days, undisturbed. Be safe, keep on cranking, both your bike and the great updates. love dad

  2. Adrian
    July 25, 2011

    last post should be from Adrian, not Marisa

  3. Adrian
    July 25, 2011

    by the way, save your CatEye for the rest of the 16,500 miles, to Tierra del Fuego. dad

  4. Mom
    July 25, 2011

    Yes, Mijo, we are all so proud of you. You have pushed yourself quite a bit and deserve to rest a bit. Oh, when will A’edan ride with you?

    • Andres
      July 29, 2011

      Next Fall? Seattle to San Diego? I think he could handle it….

  5. Martha Estrada
    July 27, 2011

    Andrés, how wonderful for you. I love it that you are so adventurous and are taking advantage of your carefree youth. Enjoy!!!

    Tía Marta from Virginia

    • Andres
      July 29, 2011

      Thank you so very much. There is so much to see in this world and I am glad to be seeing it.

  6. mario
    July 28, 2011

    congrats dude, simply, great job

    • Andres
      July 29, 2011

      Battle Kitty says “meow”, whatever that means.

  7. Mara
    July 28, 2011

    Andy, I shared your blog with my mom and she is now inspired to donate to Wildlink. Looking forward to seeing you back here in Yosemite.

    • Andres
      July 29, 2011

      Thanks you! I look forward to being home for a bit before work? Is there any floor space for a vagabond climber in TM this last week of Aug?

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