July 5, 1999
|We had mosquitoes from hell this morning
while trying to pack up. Patrick went and filtered todays water supply from the
river. Leaving at 9:30am, there was a hill to climb that put my left knee in a lot of
pain. Crap, I need a day of rest for my knee to get better. The day has just begun and
already I feel myself slipping into a bad mood. After riding about 5 miles, I find Patrick
waiting for me outside the Fireside Truck Stop. My bike computer had quit working and
after investigating all possibilities, I realize it must be the battery.
Later in the afternoon, I met another cyclist going in the opposite direction. He told me there was 50cm of snow in Banff National Park. Apparently, part of the road was closed but Im sure it wont be closed long.
Continuing on, I soon encountered another black bear on the left side of the road. A pick-up truck pulls up with 2 native females in it, "are you all right?" asked the passenger. They were trying to block the bear with their truck. After honking, revving the engine, and almost driving over it, the bear would not be scared away. I told them Id be ok and continued riding. They rode ahead of me about a half mile and pulled off the road. They got out of the truck coughing, as I approached. One of them told me she worked in the bush and that the bears are very aggressive this year. "57 bears were counted in the Ft. Nelson dump. Theyre even eating dogs." She said while smoking a joint. They offered some to me but I declined. Geeez! In the states people were always trying to "save" me, now in Canada theyre all trying to get me stoned! They were very friendly and just told me to be careful of the bears.
Soon I encounter 13 miles of mud and gravel. That was hell! Especially when those ____ RVs go flying by kicking up rocks. I have noticed that most Canadians go slow and way around you, unlike those ____ tourists from the US in a hurry to get to Alaska.
Stopping at Contact Creek Lodge, I decided to take another one of my many breaks. At this point I hated the headwinds, I hated the hills, I hated the cloudy sky, I hated the RVs, I hated the dust being kicked up in my face, I hated gravel being sprayed towards me as the RVs raced past, I hated the 13 miles of road construction, and I just wanted to stop for good. I bought a Coke and a candy bar, then sat outside trying to think of a reason to continue. As I sat there an old Pick-up truck pulled up. One guy and 2 girls get out. The guy walks by and says "hello", I said "hello" back and we began to talk. He had wild red hair and looked just a bit rough as if he had been camping for several days. A pleasant young man exhibiting a laid back, wanna hang out for awhile appearance. The 4 of us hung out and talked for a while. It was refreshing to have the conversation and it lifted my spirits a bit. It ends up that all three of them are going to Dawson City. Last year driving through, I remember thinking that it looked like a unique place to hang out, especially at the camping area across the river. "Tent City is what we call it. Some people go there to hang out for awhile and never return," I was told. They plan on staying for two or three months, so I said Id meet them up there. "Great! Well look for you and we can hang out."
I pedalled away looking forward to Dawson City. They finished paying for the gas and drove by me waving out the window with smiles. The rest of the road was just the same as ever up and down, up and down, up and down .Non-stop hills! And the scenery is unchanging as I continue following the Liard River. Of course this direction is going up river so there are more ups than downs.
I rode into the Yukon. I arrived at the campground services at the edge of town and Patrick is sitting at a picnic table, already in a tent site. He complained about the road too. "All day, up/down, up/down, those ____ hills." Hows that saying go, "Misery loves company?" Well, both of us have been having a lot of bad days. And we dont ride together so we dont influence each other while riding. Its just that at the end of each day we find out how the others day was. So here we are, another day of mostly misery. But I had at least one good moment .meeting those three headed to "tent city".
I took some quarters and headed to the pay shower. As I entered, I was greeted by a 350lb, naked man, drying himself off. The worst part is that he stood there trying to have a conversation with me. I quickly ducked into the shower stall to avoid an uncomfortable conversation. He continued to talk to me while I was in the shower, "it took me three quarters and that still wasnt enough time". I said that Id start with two. After a few moments, he continues the conversation ."How you makin out in there?", to which I replied, "Well, 2 quarters are more than enough for me." "Well, you have a lot less surface area", he said with a laugh. Geez! Ive never encountered someone that insists on having a conversation like this. Its bad enough when youre standing at a urinal and the stranger next to you starts having a conversation. Im not much for "urinal chat" either. Ok, Im tired and going to sleep
Today - 87.0 miles