Rancheria to Junction 37

September 13th, 2014

What Happened…

Andrew writes: I had set the alarm for 6:20am again this morning since I really liked getting such an early start yesterday. The thermometer read 1C when I got out of the tent, but the sun was coming up. Unfortunately, where we pitched our tent was great for getting the evening sun last night, but not so good at early morning sun. Oh well!

We set to our daily chores, which meant that I was on KP. I made some delicious chocolate chip pancakes, and we had prepped a thermos of coffee last night. While the pancakes were piping hot, the coffee sadly, was not. We’ll keep experimenting with the thermos to see what we can do with it. Typically right now it is used for mid-day tea drinking. We were ready to hit the road by 8:45, and decided to break our rule of riding backwards, so that we could revisit Junction 37 to get water. We were glad we did!

I walked into the gas station searching for water and the nice girl behind the counter mentioned that a Korean fellow was looking for us last night. Junyoung! She pointed across the street and said that he might still be there. I glanced at the clock. 9am? Yeah. He’s probably still asleep, I thought. I rode over, and as I got near the abandoned weight scale building, I could hear Korean pop (K-Pop) music blaring from an MP3 player. There was Jojo, eating breakfast and rocking out! It was so nice to see him.

When we last saw Junyoung, it was 9am on the 11th and we were sitting at Andre and Mira’s breakfast table. He elected to stay behind and dry out for a few hours, and it turns out that he didn’t leave until 2:30pm! He only ended up riding about 40km that day, whereas we had ridden 100km. The next day however, he rode all the way to Rancheria, but he had stayed at the Territorial campground, not the campground where we were. Then he rode basically the same day as us, except a few hours later, arriving at Junction 37 about an hour after we had left looking for a camping spot.

He can be so resourceful at times. There he was enjoying free electricity, free WiFi from across the street, and had managed a few free cigarettes from the lady at the gas station. He mentioned that he was having issues with his spokes on his rear wheel. When I looked it, all of the nipples were covered in industrial glue. What the!? “So they don’t come loose”, he explained. I wonder if he knows that they can’t be tightened now either. Oh well. He was going to hitchhike to Watson Lake or Fort Nelson to see if he could get his bike fixed. Maybe we will see him again in Prince George in a few weeks time.

So now it’s 9:45am and we’re on our way into BC on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway; also known as the Yellowhead Highway, or Highway 37. It definitely lived up to expectations. Everyone we had talked to previously raved about how scenic it is, and it delivers there for sure. Of course, “scenic” in cycle-touring lingo means hills; and it delivered there also We spent the first 3 hours going up, and up, and up. Then after lunch we found the terrain a lot more rolling, with flat pitches. The headwinds were terrible though. I let Amanda draft behind me, and she really started to flag in the late afternoon. So it was quite a relief to come across the Boya Lake provincial park right at my magic 6 hour cycling mark.

Rather than set out to reach a certain point on any given day, I’m trying to just set out to ride for between 4 and 8 hours each day. That way I don’t care so much about how fast we’re going, what our average is over the day, or even where we’re going to end up; since we seem to be doing so well wild-camping, it just doesn’t matter. It’s a really difficult thing to accomplish, but it’s getting easier every day. By leaving early in the morning, it usually means we are setting up camp and eating dinner between 5pm and 6pm each day. This makes for a really relaxing time in the evenings.

Amanda and I started the day ‘out of sync’ with one another, meaning that there was often distance between our bicycles, and when there wasn’t we weren’t talking. This changed after lunch when Amanda confided in me that she was having a difficult time trusting me still. I wasn’t surprised, I know it will take a long time. Perhaps the Internet has some suggestions on what we can do to strengthen the trust, or to rebuild the trust that was lost between us over the last few weeks?

Amanda writes: It was pretty cold in the morning but we made a great team packing up camp. It was also a big bonus to see Jojo before leaving. I’m so glad we did as I was feeling badly about being disconnected the last couple of days. The terrain was hills in the morning but I was expecting that based on what I had researched. The riding was beautiful and the traffic was reminiscent of the Dempster Highway in terms of how light it was.

We arrived at the campground after Andrew let me draft for the afternoon. Thank heavens that he did because the wind was pretty strong. The campground was 2.5 kilometres off the highway and down a big hill. We were both quickly reminded of how convenient it is to wild camp when you can just pull over right off the road. Having said that the campground was very pretty nestled beside a lake. We had a nice dinner and off to bed again by 9pm. I’m really enjoying the routine.

Today’s Photographs

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Rancheria to Junction 37