The Three Amigos!
Teslin to Swan Lake

September 10th, 2014

What happened…

Andrew writes: The sound of tires crunching gravel woke me today. Some guy dressed in full camouflage, with a camo truck, and camo trailer, probably wearing a camo garter belt, drove into the campground; he stopped long enough to wake us up, and then left. So since we were awake, and it was 830am, it was time to get the day started. I was a little grumpy with Junyoung this morning as a result of almost being killed by his campfire last night. Maybe he could tell. When it was time to leave, he took off, and we ended up spending 15 minutes by the side of the road putting on rain-gear since it started to rain. One of the advantages Jojo has, as it relates to saving time, is that he doesn’t have any rain gear to put on. This has distinct disadvantages also.

We caught up with him down the road at Johnson’s Crossing. He met us outside the cafe/bakery, clutching his 2-day old, $0.50 muffins and cinnamon buns. Amanda and I spent $9 on ours, and we all sat inside eating, surfing the internet, and charging devices. Junyoung left before we were done our food, but since he had been there for an hour already, I couldn’t blame him. Just as we were about to leave, we ended up talking with Mike and Cathy from Alaska, who were on their way to Penticton to cycle the Similkimeen Valley. I always love it when chats with complete strangers result in a couple of cans of beer to take with us. Thanks Mike/Cathy!

The sun came out shortly after and we were able to shed our soaked rain suits. They even dried a little as we continued riding towards our stop for the night, Teslin. I had contacted a host, Mira and Andre Gutenberg, back in July about staying with them when we rode through. Warmshowers hosts are few and far between up here in the North and we relish every opportunity to stay with fellow cyclists. It is really nice to instantly have something in common with the complete stranger whose home you’re invading. I had received some detailed instructions from Mira about how to get to their lakefront home, but it was still a little frustrating getting there. She had mentioned that the road to their house was gravel, and did offered to pick us up from the highway. “Heck no! We cycled the Dempster, we aren’t worried about gravel!”, I responded. Ooops. The road to their house, lets call it their driveway, since they are the only ones who live at the end, is 3.5km long. 2km of this was uphill, in 2-3” of loose gravel. When we reached the top of the hill, let’s call it a mountain, Amanda looked at me and emphatically shouted, “I’m not riding up this tomorrow!”. We still weren’t entirely sure that we were in the right place. It was late. We were tired, and hungry. We started navigating our way down the hill towards the lake. Just as we reached the bottom, a pick-up truck came careening around the corner, and it was Andre, our host, who had come to look for us. We felt so relieved! We were practically at their house by then, so we finished riding. I say house, but their home includes a float plane/boat dock, helipad, hanger, greenhouse, immense garden, and a wonderful area for camping which included an outhouse and fire pit.

Junyoung was setup at the campsite, eating dinner. He had been there already for the better part of an hour. I made dinner and talked with Andre and Jojo around the fire, while Amanda setup the tent. Andre had many good stories of his adventures over the years, which included motorbiking in Africa, heliskiing in Alaska, and cycle touring in Cuba and Australia with his family. After dinner, we went up to the house to meet Mira, and sat in candlelight talking until it was time for bed. Why candlelight? It turns out that the entire property is “off the grid” (solar powered). They bought it a few years ago and only just moved into the house in the spring. Mira admitted it was a bit of a challenge getting used to not having electricity all the time, but the lifestyle was growing on them.

My favourite part of the ride today came about a dozen kilometres from the finish. When Amanda and I ride, I will typically take the lead and she will tuck right in behind me. This happened as we were screaming down a hill. I looked in my mirror and there she was. We came to a rise in the road, and I started pedalling for all I was worth, trying not to lose momentum. Usually when I accelerate, I drop Amanda like a bad habit, but I checked my mirror again, and she was still hugging my rear fender. We stayed in sync like this all the way into Teslin. When we ride like this I feel such a strong connection to Amanda, as if we were one bike, with four wheels, instead of two. Our minds are melded, and we pedal onwards, pushing each other harder, and further over every hill and obstacle. That’s why I love riding with Amanda. As we were about to fall asleep, Amanda and I stood in locked in an embrace, staring out over the lake, lit up by the moon, which was obscured by clouds. The lake was so still, that the reflection was eerie. You couldn’t really tell which was the sky, and which was the water. They were melded together; just like us.

Amanda writes: The day started with rain. Quite a bit of rain in fact. At first it always seems like a daunting task to gear up but once it’s on and you’re riding; it’s not so bad. The ride was nice today although a bit slower than the day before. I was trying so hard to go faster. I’m still getting used to the fact that I’m slower than Andrew and that he is okay with that; usually. So as the day progressed I continued to push myself harder to try and keep up. As Andrew said it really is a lovely feeling when we can draft each other and keep pace. Cruising up and down the hills becomes a lot of fun.

The climb at the end of the day was rather hard but the prize at the end was worth it. Mira and Andre’s property is beautiful and they were both so hospitable. The lake view was breathtaking and as we went to bed the shadow of the clouds on the water was incredible. If you didn’t know there was a lake there and you had a couple of drinks, you would certainly think you were standing upside down or that maybe you had drunk too much.

Today’s Photographs

The Three Amigos!
Teslin to Swan Lake