DAY 112

July 4, 1999

Fourth of July, Woo Hoo! But no one around me celebrates. Where are the fireworks? Of course I'm in Canada, hangin'’out with a guy from Switzerland, so it doesn’t mean a thing to anyone around me. Besides, fireworks up here would really suck since it never gets dark here this time of year. I have to sleep with my headband pulled down over my eyes.

It rained all night and we got out of our tents about 9am. Patrick fixed us some coffee to warm us up since it was 1 degree Celsius. (33.8 degrees Fahrenheit) The conversion is 1.8C + 32, I still remember that from Chemistry and Physics in college. It seems I remember stupid, trivial, stuff and forget the things I want to remember. Anyway, my powerbar was as hard as a rock so to prevent a chipped tooth, I would just dip it in my coffee and warm it up first. After the coffee and powerbar, I decided I'd rather sit in the café’ for a while.

While inside the café’, we met a guy that camped at Summit Lake last night. He woke up to 3 inches of snow this morning. Wow, a day earlier and that would have been us. We hung out most of the morning watching the thermometer outside the window. The cook/owner is from Scotland, so I thought I was in the movie "Braveheart" talking to him. When it wasn’t busy, he and his wife took a break from the kitchen and sat at a table. She is Canadian so she didn’t have that accent. His accent was so funny, and the rest of the day Patrick and I would imitate it.

It was noon when Patrick left and 12:35pm when I left.

    • 2:45pm – 16.5 miles, 8.5mph avg., I've been riding into cold headwinds, but it looks like blue skies ahead
    • 3:15pm – I see stone sheep near the road
    • 4:00pm – there’s a black bear on the left side of the road. Man, there sure are a lot of black bears out. Last year we only saw 2 during the summer, now they’re everywhere. I feel like I’m wasting film on these guys. This bear held his head up, sniffing in my direction. Fortunately, I was down wind so he had no clue as to what I was. After a couple of minutes, he walked up to the tree line, went into the woods, then re-appeared about 50 yards down wind from me. Oh, you think you’re a smart little sucka. He began sniffing again and walks towards me. I’m sure he could smell the food in my trailer and I decided I didn’t want to see how well that pepper spray worked. As I pedaled away, he stopped, looked towards me, and then went back to eating grass.
    • 5:30pm – Approximately 45 miles, (I didn’t check) I met Patrick at Liard Hot Springs. The sign said "No Bicycles On The Boardwalk". That leads to the hot springs but I wasn’t about to leave my bike and gear unattended. I told Patrick that we would just push our bikes back there. While on our way back, some RV drivin’ redneck tourist said "did you know that bikes are not allowed in here", in an arrogant, cocky, voice. We ignored him and continued towards the less crowded Beta pool. Sinking into the warm water, I felt totally relaxed. I kept my bike clothes on to clean off some of the sweat. There were just a few others, most of the tourists were at the alpha pool. While soaking in the murky warmth, I thought of the 2 days Chris McCandless spent here. I wonder if he dislikes tourists as much as I do. A park ranger came walking back after that tourist in the RV reported us. He didn’t do anything though….just walked back.
    • 6:40pm – we decided to continue riding. The sky was blue, and the sun was warm…perfect riding weather.
    • 10:30pm – 88.16 miles, 11.5mph avg. We arrived at an area called Whirlpool Canyon along the Liard River. Setting up our tents, we were bombarded by hundreds of mosquitoes. I took out my last 2 Mountain House freeze dried meals. After eating those, we had to escape those blood suckers and find refuge in our tents.
    • 12:30pm – The sun recently set over the horizon. It will remain light the rest of the night. The temperature is dropping as I bundle up in my sleeping bag using my jacket as my pillow.

Today - 88.16 miles
Total -  5237 miles
Avg. Speed - 11.5mph

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