(May 28 – written by Dave) (Posted May 31)
Tough day in the saddle but we’ve made it to Canada and everyone is safe. It was a hilly, windy and almost hot day. This will be a short post – I’m not even sure that my editor is awake for an edit. We lost an hour today as we rode into Canada.
We were up pretty early. In fact, almost everyone was at least awake, if not up, at 1AM when a couple of cars pulled into our otherwise empty RV park. Nancy as on the tent door while I dreamt up a plan for the bear spray. I may have drifted off and thus earned no points in the “keep your wife safe” bucket. (Editor’s note – he started snoring again so obviously wasn’t paying quite enough attention).
We rode away from the RV park around 9AM. The sky was clear and winds calm. At least the skies stayed that way all day. It didn’t take long for the wind to pick up. We basically rode beside the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge all day. Lots of views to the east of the Wrangell Mountains (I think).
By mid-morning the wind came up and the big rolling hills had started. It turned into a bit of a slog and we were all happy to reach the Refuge Visitor Center in time for a late lunch. The center is very nice with great information about the refuge and history of the area. It is a beautiful log structure made out of hand-fit logs with no chinking and has a large deck off the back with views out over the refuge. We sat in the sunshine and ate our lunch and then went through the center, including watching a great 15 minute video they have of the area. Okay, maybe the free coffee that you get while watching was a bit of an inducement…
There was a tribal elder at the center making beaded items. She was curious to hear about our stay at the park. She did not seem overly impressed that the store clerk didn’t know too much but was happy that he was helpful. Interestingly, the volunteer manager of the center was staying at one of the little cabins across from the campground and mentioned that she was happy that she saw us there, as she was on her own. Funny, we were relying on people being over at those cabins, so I guess we all helped each other out.
After lunch we had more wind and climbing to the border. There was a US Customs post right at the line but we did not have to stop. The Canadian side was 20 miles up the road just before Beaver Creek, meaning that we rode for 20 miles in some sort of no-man’s land. I kind of wondered if they would send you back the 20 miles had you been rejected by Canada. I’m happy to report that we all got in without issue. They did not object to our strange national status, Chris’s “easy to profile” last name or Mark’s off colour humour with the border guard.
From the border we only had 3ks to ride reach Buckshot Betty’s – a locally famous roadhouse. We had not eaten much all day and all four of us pretty much over-ordered and then over ate. We recovered enough to waddle 300 metres down the road to the Beaver Creek RV park where we are now trying to stay awake long enough for laundry to dry.
Tomorrow we are heading back to Betty’s for brekkie then we have 54 miles planned. The information center tells us that we should expect flatter roads but the weather channel is calling for more headwinds. That only means we’ll ride slow, getting there eventually.
Note: in addition to time zone, we change currency and distance measurement today. Lots to remember for sleepy heads!
Tomorrow we hope to reach a little spot called the Pine Valley Bakery & Lodge. The promise of a bakery at the end of the ride should give us enough incentive to keep rolling.
A few more pictures from today…