Almost two weeks now, and already 6,025 miles on the clock. It’s been a ride beyond anything I could have imagined before leaving home, and I guess the road will just keep getting better and better from now on. I crossed the border into Canada last Wednesday, via the Glacier National Park, and from there I took a northwest route via the Icefields Parkway (Banff and Jasper), and on to Dawson Creek, which is Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. The road is simply beautiful and in fairly good conditions, although there’s some loose gravel here and there, where the road crews work in reconstructing the damages from the winter. Some of the stops can be quite long, and in one of those, as I was first in line waiting to proceed, a very nice lady who was in charge of stopping all the vehicles started chatting and, by the time I was ready to go on, she handled me an unexpected four leaf clover and wished me the best of luck on my journey. The clover is now well kept in my wallet, and I left the place feeling quite touched by her gesture.
Banff and Jasper were a bit disappointing, although to say that about Banff at least is unfair, since I never got there in the first place… I had to take a detour to visit that famous little town, and on my way there I stopped at Lake Louise, where you have a gorgeous view of Lake Victoria. Well, I tried to, but the traffic jam was terrible and the number of tourist buses ahead of me made the whole thing not worth the price… I turned around, got to the intersection to Banff, still 40 miles out of my way, and decided I had already seen enough beautiful pictures of the place to bother to face another tourist trap. So on to Jasper and a beautiful road, unfortunately under really bad weather. Jasper seemed like a nice place to visit, but the hotels were absurdly expensive, and I followed on to Hinton for the night. From there, a long day riding 600 miles through some of the most scenic roads so far, via Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, stopping after almost 12 hours at Fort Nelson for a great dinner and a warm bed.
Yesterday I planned to take it very easy, and drove to Watson Lake and what is considered the most beautiful part of the Alaska Highway. Muncho Lake was spectacular, and so were the different camping sites along the road. Lots of buffaloes all over, and they all seemed I bit sad to me (they were that close). When I stopped for food somewhere and saw “Buffalo Burger” on the menu, I understood why… I also met a few fellow riders on my way to Watson Lake, including Mike and Mitch from Florida, who left for Alaska on the same day I did two weeks ago. Our routes up here were a little different, but they are headed to Prudhoe Bay as well and seemed to be enjoying the ride as much as I am. They ended up staying at the same place here in Watson Lake: the Air Force Lodge, a remodeled WW2 barracks for Canadian and Russian pilots. It’s an historic site and the place is a true gem on the Alaska Highway. We chatted until late and they were on today to Whitehorse, my destination for tomorrow. On Tuesday I should cross the border to Alaska, and will probably stop for the night in Tok. From there, I will decide which route to follow, depending on the weather forecast for Prudhoe Bay.
Life on the road is getting more and more enjoyable each day. I’m getting used to have something like 17 different pockets in my riding suit and by now I make fewer mistakes when trying to figure where things are. Same goes to little things, like the order in which the bike should be packed every morning. It seems like spending two months on the road will be a very interesting combination of little daily routines and unique grand moments, so life is never boring. My posts are not frequent, and although I wish I could share the trip here more often, at the same time it’s just not possible. I want to enjoy the places and the riding, and that means I’m taking my time on the road, stopping frequently and getting to my destinations very late in the day (the sun is setting at around 11pm now where I am). At that time, all I don’t want to do is to bother with Internet connections and such. I will do my best, though, for it’s also nice to share the experience here. Now for some photos from this second road week…