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Route Change – Rest day in Dease Lake

(June 13 – written by Dave)

A good rest day today, starting with a nice sleep-in and a leisurely breakfast.  Rest day chores were completed, along with a walk around Allan Lake here in town.  There is not much to Dease Lake but not because the locals are not trying.  Sophie and husband are heavily involved building hiking/riding trails and working on a hide tanning house for the First Nation folks in the area.

Allan Lake 2

Allan Lake

Allan Lake 1

Allan Lake

One of our chores today was to do some investigation on the route ahead.  We’ve decided to re-jig our route a bit.  The original plan was to ride down through central British Columbia, through Whistler and onto Vancouver, BC.  This would have had us going through Whistler in prime tourist season, and both Vancouver and Seattle (big cities) or at least their peripheries – we’re not huge fans of riding through big cities.  Much of that sounds not too pleasant so we have been thinking about other options.

So the new plan is to turn west at Kitawanga, the end of the Cassiar Highway and ride to Prince Rupert.  From Prince Rupert we’ll take the ferry through the Inside Passage to the northern most tip of Vancouver Island.  This route gives us that chance see the Skeena River gorge, Prince Rupert and a once in a lifetime ferry ride through the Inside Passage to Port Hardy.  Plus we’ll get Vancouver Island, a place we’ve never been but heard lots of stories about from when my parents went up there for trips.   (Editor’s note – funny thing though, a fellow we met in a campground a couple of days told us that the highest number of cougar attacks in the world occur on Vancouver Island….)

Once we reach Victoria on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, we have a couple options.

  1. Ferry across to Port Angeles and a direct ride to Portland
  2. Ferry across to Port Angeles and a circular route around the Olympic Peninsula before heading to Portland
  3. Ferry to Seattle and the “STP route” to Portland

Overall the new route is about 300 miles shorter than the original Whistler route.  Of course it depends on which of the routes to Portland that we end up following.  We are changing more to see things we may not get a chance to see again than trying to change or shorten the overall mileage.

Last topic of the day is the Arctic Pacific Divide.  Turns out that the sign we’ve been looking for on the highway for a few days happens to be right here in Dease Lake.  In fact according to Sophie the divide goes right through our lodge.

The Arctic Pacific Divide is the ridge where rain falling on one side flows to the Arctic Ocean and falling on the other side Pacific Ocean.  In theory you can see the ridge/line easily on a map with topographic lines.  I’m not so sure as I keep trying to get my head around riding downhill into Dease Lake – seems like you shouldn’t be able to ride down to a divide.  Anyway, there was a sign right in front of our lodge – it’s an old sign, but I think it’s legit.

Arctic Pacific divide

Look close you can see the divide line

We are really happy that we stopped at the Arctic Divide Lodge.  Nice folks, great location and the shared lounge room in the lodge has a nice vibe.  Plus they have two great lodge dogs to entertain guests.  Tomorrow we are heading south again.  We have roughly 6 days riding to reach the end of the Cassiar Highway.  We expect internet access to be spotty so posts may be delayed but we’ll post see how we go.

Freeman the dog

Freeman the dog

Dog doorstop

Lodge front door with dog doorstop

Oh yeah, we also purchased “bear bangers” here in Dease Lake.  They shoot a little rocket and make a bang – you’re supposed to use them in the minutes before you deploy the bear spray.  We’ll be riding with both for the rest of Canada – naturally with great hopes on not deploying them.

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14 responses to “Route Change – Rest day in Dease Lake

  1. Route change sounds like an excellent decision. The coastline on the inside passage is beautiful, well worth seeing. Mary Jo and I have not been as far north on Vancouver Island as Port Hardy but have been part way up and really enjoyed that area. I will look forward to the pictures of the area on past where we explored.

  2. the Olympic Peninsula loop before heading to Portland is worth it. It is nice ride. I have only ridden it once though I would ride it again. Enjoy Vancouver Island. I will be riding on the Island in a couple weeks from Nanaimo to Parksville then Quadra Island. If you get a chance visit Quadra Island and Cortes Island. Safe riding and tailwinds.

  3. I think the fireworks are a great idea. Even if you don’t see bears they could be fun for RVs that make too much noise after 10pm.

    I also think the coast route will be quite a bit more scenic.

  4. Your changes sound great! I have always wanted to see the Buchart (sp?)Gardens in Victoria. I wish I was riding by there! I’m guessing the most likely place for you to have bear trouble will be Yosemite since the bears there are not afraid of humans, I’d hang on to the explosives for then!

  5. My choice would be #2 – going around the Olympic Pennisula sounds great. and much better sightseeing without the traffic! The changes sound very sensible & much prettier! Just be careful & keep the spray handy!! Love, Mom

  6. davidbillstrom

    You will love Vancouver Island, and Victoria is a city to be sure, but bicycle friendly and a smaller scale than most cities. Fantastic food options.

  7. New route sounds great. There is a wonderful B&B 15kms (approx.) outside of Victoria. It would be a great place to take a breather as you would be the only guest. http://www.witsendretreat.ca/

  8. HIde tanning house, Arctic Divide, bear bangers, thanks for the great detail!!

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