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White River Roll – Beaver Creek to Pine Valley (91k/619k)

(May 29 – written by Dave)

We had a great day riding the Alcan today.  The traffic continues to be very light, at least going in our direction.  There are a lot of caravans coming the other way however.  The road surface has become a lot more chip-seal in Canada and the shoulder is much smaller now but rarely do cars going both directions pass near us so it’s been very safe.  At times it seems like we haven’t seen cars going in any direction for quite some time.

We started with brekkie at Buckshot Betty’s.  They do a pretty good classic big brekkie and we waddled down the road for the first hour at least trying to digest large amounts of food and coffee.  We stopped in town for a photo of the smallest Catholic church in Canada, or at least it looked like it could be.

Beaver Creek Catholic Church

Beaver Creek Catholic Church

Early on we spotted a couple eagles just off the roadway.  We are seeing lots of birds including more trumpeter swans and geese (we think).  None of us are birders so it’s hard to say for sure but the big white birds (probably the swans) are massive – we saw a couple taking off and it’s hard to see how they fly with their size.

Eagals

Eagles

Mountains near Beaver Creek

Mountains near Beaver Creek

We were warned last night about having to truck our bikes at construction sites along the road.  In fact, we were told that it’s the law in Canada.  We came across a big road works project where it looked like they were working on a culvert and some road slip.  There was no flagger, just a big cat moving earth around and no one to tell us to put our bikes anywhere.  We just rode through.  It was a little muddy but perfectly safe.  Mark had spoken earlier to a work crew who told us that it was rideable – and it was.

Construction

Construction

We had more mountains to entertain us again today.  It really does seem like we get a new batch of “wow” moments at every corner.  I again took too many photos but I’m having fun doing it and other than dropping back a little, I’m ok riding faster for a spell to catch back up.  Nancy is nervous as we are hearing more bear spotting stories and wants us riding close together all the time – so I’ll have to watch my photo stops to keep the peace.

Riding to the snow

Riding to the snow

Mountains near camp

Mountain views

Mountains near camp 1

More mountains

We had a lovely lunch stop at a resort called Discovery Yukon Lodgings.  This RV park is right on the White River and in a very scenic location.  Their cafe wasn’t really open for the year but the proprietor found us 4 iced teas to go with our sandwiches.  They are really nice folks running the place and had we not been with the boys, and on a schedule, we probably would have stopped there for the day.  The place looked very well-cared for, with nice grassy areas for tents and lots of trees for shade.

Yukon Discovery

Discovery Yukon Lodgings – great looking campground on the Alcan

As we were riding out of parking lot, in pulled a Rogue Brewery motorhome.  We didn’t know what to think of it really.  Most of us thought it was probably some Canadian brand camper.  Turns out that it actually was from the Rogue Brewery down on the Oregon coast and they were headed to Alaska to do some events.  Chris, with all his charm wrangled two beers off the boys driving – one of whom was the ‘Rogue Nation’ president and features on the van.  Given that they can only bring 24 of them into Canada, two beers was a very kind gift.  We enjoyed them at dinner a few hours later.

Rogue Nation Nancy

Rogue Nation road trip – Newport Oregon brewery

Open Range

Open range – fun at the Discovery Yukon

Swans on the lake

More swans on one of the many ponds

Not stopping at the Discovery Yukon meant that we had to stop a state park or a French Bakery/RV park.  While the later sounds like a weird combination, it’s hard to go past a bakery.  We arrived in better shape today than yesterday, still a little tired but the winds were not as bad today.  We each devoured lovely French cooking, making the extra miles worthwhile.

Good food, bad service

Pine Valley

Home for the night

Pine Valley camping area

While sitting in the bakery, a couple other cycle tourists pulled up – Patrick and Mary Ann (I think).  They rode the Southern tier route from Georgia to San Diego, drove to Seattle and took a ferry to Haines.  They’ve been on the road since March and hope to ride home to Massachusetts by November.

While the food at the bakery was nice, the camping was pretty primitive – no power or water out in the camping area, and we had to go into the hostel cabin for showers.  I suspect they don’t really get many overnighters.  We were asked to move our tent as we were setting it up as the owner came out and said we were in an RV site.  Seemed a bit odd, noting that there was no one else in the camping area other than Mark and us (Chris splurged on a bed in the hostel cabin – all on his own!).  Oh well, a taste of the French in the middle of the Yukon.

Tomorrow we are off to Destruction Bay.  We’ve had no internet or mobile signal since last night so we’re guessing on the weather.  Last night it predicted today’s headwinds but also tailwinds for tomorrow – fingers crossed after a couple of days with wind going the wrong direction and a metric century on the cards tomorrow.

A few more pictures…

Riding the Alcan

Riding the Alcan

Panhandle Lake 1

Panhandle Lake

Dog sled truck

Sled dog truck – returning to Alaska after driving to Utah to drop off 20 dogs

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