4th Time Across the Continental Divide
Junction 37 (Yukon) to Boya Lake Provincial Park (BC)

September 13th, 2014

What happened…

Andrew writes: I’d like to say that I woke up when the alarm went off at 6:30am, except I woke up many times throughout the night from the sound of RV generators, or that big rig that idled his engine most of the night right next to our tent. Why do I keep insisting on commercial campgrounds over wild camping? They cost money, and the amenities they offer to a cyclist just aren’t that appealing I don’t think. In this case, the washrooms were out of order too.

So we were up and packed in record time, about 45 minutes. The original plan was to then go into the Rancheria Cafe and eat breakfast. I thought better of it though. Not only would we save about $30 by eating breakfast at the campsite, we might not have to pay our camping fee either. While the idea was good in theory, Amanda took exception to having to unpack some of the things she had already packed. This delayed things further as we proceeded to wake up our neighbours with displeasure at unpacking. In the end, we were out of Rancheria before 9am, with food in our stomachs.

The terrain today was these big swooping hills that went up 2-3k and then down 2-3k, and it really made the day go by so fast. We stopped for a nice long lunch at the Big Creek Campground and were terrorized by some grayjays that wanted our whole wheat tortillas; they didn’t get any, and I got some nice pictures in the process. After lunch the hills got even bigger and longer, including our first hill of the trip with a passing lane. This just meant that there was no shoulder, but traffic has been light on the Alaska Hwy so it didn’t really matter. Of course what goes up must come down! Wheeee!

We saw the first signs for ‘Nugget City’ around 4:30pm and I started to get excited. The signs promised espresso, home cooked meals, a licensed bar, a campground..really everything I look for in a place to call home. I even thought to myself that it might be fun to hang out all day Sunday as a rest day and watch football with Amanda in the bar. The reality however proved much different. On the surface, Nugget City is a beautiful series of log dwellings that look really smart for the setting. The cafe/bar was closed when we pulled up, but we could hear voices inside. I walked down towards the campground and someone ambled out of someplace to tell us that it would cost $25 to put our tents up. I walked back to tell Amanda the great news and noticed that now the cafe/bar was open. I went inside and talked to the sullen eyed chef/owner, Dave. I said to him, “Dave, I need a place that serves a great cup of espresso, fine home cooked meals, and somewhere where I can watch football with my wife all day tomorrow.” Dave’s monotone response was along the lines of, “Well this here is the restaurant, and we ain’t open most of tomorrow.” And so that was that. Amanda and I decided to head another kilometre down the road to Junction 37.

Approaching the junction of the Stewart-Cassiar and Alaska Highway you can’t help but notice all of the buildings setup. There is a weigh scale (closed), the Squirrel Cafe (closed), auto mechanic (closed), and a giant log home saloon!! (closed). The woman inside the gas station was friendly enough, but the food being offered there was pretty piss poor. A few bags of chips, a couple of cans of Chef Boyardee, and a few musty souvenir T-shirts. We decided to just ride down Hwy 37 to find a wild camp spot and call it a night.

It was still early, so everything got done with the sun still up. We were about 500m from the Junction and decided to go back in the morning to get some fresh water. Little did we know that there would be something even better waiting for us in the morning…

Amanda writes:

The cycling today was great. Yes I was a bit annoyed at having to unpack my bags after Andrew declared we were going to make breakfast, but in the end it was a good decision. Putting the bikes together with the gear is an art and one that takes time each day. After breakfast we rode and we were in good rhythm. Lunch was nice, the weather cooperated and the sun even came out.

When we arrived at Nugget City as Andrew says it was a disappointment. In particular there was a distinct lack of welcoming spirit from anyone we met. The man at the RV park was far more interested in the two RVs that had just pulled up than answering Andrew’s questions. I was actually glad to be leaving and was really starting to miss the Northern hospitality and friendliness that we’ve become so accustomed to.

It was great that we were both on the same page of just moving on and found a great camp spot. I also came to the realization that I would be missing yet another week of NFL football. After voicing my concern about missing football he reminded me that I gave up everything; including my MLB and NFL. I really miss it.

Today’s Photographs

4th Time Across the Continental Divide
Junction 37 (Yukon) to Boya Lake Provincial Park (BC)