Living the Dream
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.
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.
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.
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…