Day 27 - Heading south onto the Steward-Cassiar-Highway

Distance: 69.3mi | Time: 7:01 | 2594kcal | 3167 vertical feet

bicycle-on-the-cassiar-highwayToday we started off after a good breakfast with pancakes and syrup in Watson Lake. This was the first day on the Steward-Cassiar-Highway which is a scenic road besides the Alaskan Highway. Unlike a regular Highway the road is much narrower, has no markings on the road and seems more like a back-road than a connecting highway. For the first part this road took us through an intense area of about 40mi, which got burned down through a large forest fire. But the new forest already started to regrow: We found many small trees with 1 to 2 inch height. Here our first collision happened as well: Mathias saw a fox crossing the road and turned left while Caros front tire was next to his rear tire. They both touched each other and Caro crashed a little bit. Luckily nobody was hurt, neither Caro nor the fox and no damages. Our today’s campground is located at Boya Lake, which is a very scenic and remote lake and is even warm enough to take a short bath.burned-trees-along-steward-cassiar-highwayregrowing-forest-along-steward-cassiar-highway

Day 28 - Searching for gold

Distance: 25.53mi | Time: 3:13 | 1085kcal | 1792 vertical feet

gold-mining-steward-cassiar-highway-british-columbiaToday filming for our documentary was on the program. After 20mi of riding we saw two people searching for gold with a very interesting machine next to the road. They were very friendly and Dalbert gave us an interview about himself and how his machine works. Together with his family he has been searching for gold for almost 30 years. The basic way of finding gold did not change. Due to a higher density, gold settles down compared to rocks when it is shacked and can be collected. What did change are the tools and machining, the original panning with a pan is now done with a huge machine named shaker. Since it’s a financial business, the answer to “how much gold can be panned here” was kept as a secret, but that is also understandable. Thanks again to Dalbert and his family for the nice and friendly hospitality! We were also invited for diner, but we kept it by a cup of ice tea, since we had not done very many miles so far on that day. In the starting rain we continued our ride further to Jade City. Here in the nearby mountains the rock jade is gained in a mine. In the local jade store we warmed up with a cup of coffee. The coffee and tenting is for free here; the owners hope to sell some ornaments made out of jade to the visitors. And yes this baiting worked on us :-)jade-city-british-columbia

Day 29 - Lakes as far as you can see

Distance: 46,7mi | Time: 4:01 | 1714kcal | 1436 vertical feet

along-the-cassiar-highway-after-jade-citylake-in-bc-cassiar-highwayAfter we enjoyed another hot and fresh brewed coffee in Jade City and also updated our blog, we started the ride after lunch. Today the highway guided us through mountains where the road fortunately stayed very flat. Next to the road lakes appeared, which were filled with crystal clear water sometimes little bluish looking. The sun also came out again and it was very warm. We could even ride in short pants. Almost unbelievable but the people in this region expect snow in about three weeks. That’s at least what a vender in Jade City where we stayed the night. Our todays campground is directly at the Recreational Area at Dease Lake. These “Rec Sites” are sites with a picnic table and a fire place and are for free to stay. We got a place directly next to the lake. During the night we had no clouds and we could see many stars in the sky. dease-lake-camping

Day 30 - Wind we don't like you!

Distance: 67,50mi | Time: 7:20 | 2999kcal | 4547 vertical feet

steward-cassiar-highway-bicycle-after-dease-lakeAfter riding for like 20mi we found right next to the road a large amount of jade rocks. Caro yet found a not to small piece which we decided to take with us (10lb). When they built the road here, they also found this type of rock just in the ground and used it to build the fundamental for the pavement, crazy usage of jade... Of course we didn’t want to take this large piece with us the entire tour. We decided to ship it from Dease Lake to Portland, where we will visit Mathias’ friends later on the tour. After this little town the tour continued under strong headwind of about 20MPH and too many high hills until we arrived in this Recreational Site at Morchuea Lake. These sites occupied by the Government of Canada are free for camping. We passed a very nice platoon yesterday but due to this strong wind, we did not enjoy the landscape too much. This headwind follows us for days now already. We arrived at 9PM at the camp and it was already getting dark again. Fast spaghetti and uncooked marshmallows (bear fear was still present) were the ingredients for our “premium” dinner tonight. steward-cassiar-highway-bicycle-after-dease-lake-platoon

Day 31 - Very wet and windy

Distance: 51.13mi | Time: 5:19 | 1872kcal | 4547 vertical feet

kenata-lakeäThe title sums up the entire day. We rode through extreme strong wind. The rain and mountains gave us the rest and we are very tired now. The only thing which kept us moving, was the knowledge, there will be a hot-tub in about 60mi from now on. Currently we sit in our tent and are extremely tired of the day...

Day 32 - Bear-Counter: 6!

Distance: 61,79mi | Time: 6:11 | 2211kcal | 3219 vertical feet

130905-windy-eastman-creekToday began like yesterday ended: Windy, cold and many hills. We started the ride early to still make it on time to the hot-tub. We expected another day with not many happenings between, 60mi straight through the forest. But suddenly after about 20mi it got interesting: We saw a black bear directly walking along the road. With bear spray ready and the cameras on we rode further. Unfortunately a car driving really fast towards the bear-mama scared her off and she and the little cub ran away in the forest. Sad, but soon later we saw more bears on two different spots directly next to the road. One time we were completely alone without cars and trucks around us, only the bear and us. This one time we were ready to leave as the bear came out of the bushes about 15 feet away from us and looked around. We stayed calm and quiet and were observing the bear from really close, a very nice animal. Soon it disappeared in the woods on the other side of the road. In total we have seen 6 black bears today, which were all very calm and not aggressive at all. In the evening we still arrived on the campground on time and took the long awaited hot shower! Afterwards put the cloth to the wash and got a burger / spare ribs, which made this day perfect!130905-black-bear-along-steward-cassiar-highway130905-black-bear-steward-cassiar-highway130905-riding-highway-37

Day 33 - More Black Bears

Distance: 61,79mi | Time: 6:11 | 2211kcal | 3219 vertical feet

bear-with-little-cub-and-bicycle-steward-cassiar-highwayThis morning we filled our energy tanks with three plates of the nice breakfast at the Bell 2 Lodge and could even take some of it as a lunch pack with us. We met a couple, who is riding motorcycles down to Whidbey Island in Washington, where we got invited to stay the night once we’re down there, thank you! We saw a total of eight bears today, all Black Bears. The most interesting was a Mama Bear with three little cubs trying to cross the road. But all the time they almost made it, a car came and they ran back to the bushes to hide. But soon the Mama was sticking her head out of the bushes again, and giving it another try. Finally they made it over to the other side safe and what did they do? They tried to go back to the other side of the road again, just where they came from. At the end of the day we reached our goal, the Campground at the Meziadin Junction, where we will go to Steward tomorrow. There the park ranger warned us about a grizzly bear sneaking through the camp just the other day in the morning and to be careful. We were not too scared after hearing this and just kept following the rules how to behave in bear country.bear-with-two-little-cubs-and-bicycle-steward-cassiar-highway

Day 34 - Back in Alaska

Distance: 46,86mi | Time: 3:42 | 1460kcal | 1588 vertical feet

bear-glacierToday we did a little day trip to Steward in B.C. and Hyder in Alaska. We started the trip with only a daypack from our campground. We let the tent at our place there and enjoyed riding one day without our gear. The road down to Steward is also called the glacier Highway and half way down we could already see the first one named Bear Glacier. It flows directly next to the road into a little lake. We ate a Burger at the Dash in Steward and continued to the b order to Hyder in Alaska. Border is overrated here, there’s pretty much only a sign saying “Welcome to Alaska” No Border patrol or homeland security office and no check of our passports. That was probably just forgotten or is not so important here. Anyway there wasn’t much to see in Hyder, except a few houses and the fish creek. That is a small creek used by the salmons to lay their eggs and there you can also see Grizzlies at work. But since other came back disappointed without any Grizzly sightings, we decided to save the $5 they charge for that. It smelled also really bad there and along the entire river were many dead salmon already which was a bit disgusting. We decided to rather see the salmon glacier 15mi further up the road. At the beginning we thought about hitch hiking up to the top but unfortunately the pickup of our taxi car was already too full for that. Since it was already quite late we still got on the ride with the friendly couple without our bikes. This glacier was indeed super large and from the road we had a perfect view down. On the way back we realized, that the couple and we are staying at the same campground and after some clean-ups in the back of the truck, we could fit our bikes in the back of the truck and drive back to the campground with them. Chili and beer from our friends, who we met the day before really made this day perfect!salmon-glacier

Day 35 - Salmon in the rivers

Distance: 79.77mi | Time: 6:44 | 2658kcal | 2824 vertical feet

red-salmon-in-british-columbiaNothing special that day except that we passed a river right at the beginning where we saw them: Salmon. Hundreds of them were in this little creek fighting against their rivals, the strong water, seagulls and of course the bears. To our surprise the salmon of this creek were bright red and already looked really exhausted, since they made it from the ocean all the way up to the place, where they were born. Now they are back to lay their eggs which is also the last what they do in their lives. After this last mission they all die in this creek. We already saw many dead ones in and on the side of the river, which makes this creek not a place where you would like to stay at. It really smells very bad all around. We wonder if we can ever eat salmon again after seeing all the fish dying and starting to smell doesn’t make us feel to have a fresh salmon soon. The road brought us further and further towards the end of the Cassiar Highway in Kitwanga. With a good breeze from the back we almost reached it today and stayed at a little rest area, where we camped and had also a camp fire next to a creek. Fortunately without salmon, so it smelled well :-)

Day 36 - Back to civilization!

Distance: 51.19mi | Time: 5:12 | 1561kcal | 2097 vertical feet

lake-before-hazelton-british-columbiaRiding up here can sometimes be not what you’d think. The road after the Cassiar Highway is very busy and stays mainly in the woods for the entire time. We also start to feel the hard riding we have done so far and decided to not ride too far for two days. We stayed at the nice Governmental State Park to cook and also took a nice bath in the nearby lake. It was surprisingly warm (of course not at the beginning...). Our today’s destination was Hazelton where we now stay in the RV Park of this town. Btw. If you’re ever in here the RV Park is run by a very friendly old lady and is very inexpensive. We only paid $8 for the night internet, power and toilets included. So compared to the B.C. State parks, where you pay $16 for a piece of grass and an outdoor toilet, this is a really good deal!