Sharing the adventure with good friends

Sharing the adventure with good friends

It’s been a while since I updated my blog but I almost never had access to the internet. But now the Stewart-Cassiar Hwy is behind me, and I am enjoying the luxury of staying in Smithers, a nice town where I have the privilege to stay at friends’ for the night.

Bob and Caroline let me stay at their beautiful home in Smithers, even if they were not around, but we did meet briefly on the road!

The StewartCassiar was a pretty amazing road to ride on. And I had a really great time sharing this leg of the journey with Rick and Deb, two adventurers who managed to reorganize their busy schedule to free about 10 days of their time to join me. It was really nice to have company for that section, including the luxury of riding without my luggage, eating awesome food, and having a greater sense of safety in an area where black bears are numerous.

Camping near the truck helped to feel safer in bear country!
Morning ride with Deb
Rick at the top of a climb

But oddly enough, it is not the bears that worried travelers and locals on the Cassiar this year, it was the extremely sad and somewhat scary story of 3 murders that occured in the area. Most people probably heard about these tragedies already. Two young men killed 2 Australian tourists on the Alaska hwy and then drove down the Stewart-Cassiar, where they killed another man. Apparently they stopped at Jade City the day I was there, so I very likely saw them but luckily they were not interested in getting a bicycle. As we rode south of Dease Lake, we saw several police cars, and the area where the third guy was killed. It put a weird atmosphere into the air but it didn’t stop us from enjoying this very scenic road.

Beautiful road to ride on
The sun slowly clearing up the morning fog
Stunning views

Rick and Deb took turn driving and riding with me, they kindly followed my schedule that involves getting up early, and we rode usually until midafternoon, at which point we would usually reach a beautiful place to camp, ideally near a lake to get refreshed after the day’s effort.

Some lakes looked tempting but there were leeches in them… BIG leeches!
This one was leech-free but cold!
A quiet spot near the road
Sunset on the lake
At a Provincial Park, where we stopped briefly
My favourite lake, worth a morning swim too!

The weather was good almost all the time, although some afternoons there was really high winds and one morning we had to cut down a tree that fell during the night to be able to get back on the road. Rick and another guy from Alberta managed to cut it in no time even without a chainsaw!

Bikes could go under, but not the truck and camper!
Rick and another guy cut the tree down, faster than beavers!
That was the campsite, a recreation area next to a big lake, very comfy and free!

We saw very few cyclists, in fact we leap frogged the 2 cyclists I had met in Jade City for a couple of days, and saw one big group of Texan riders, but that was it. We saw more bears though, and surprised a few as we rode by, the Cassiar is pretty narrow and bears are often right by the side of the road in the bushes, but luckily they have lots to eat and we didn’t seem to be part of their diet…

Big mountains all around
We followed many rivers and creeks
Deb riding in the distance

When we camped near a lake, we always heard the loons, and one night we heard an owl. What a treat to be in nature for weeks at a time.

So many wild flowers, the smells were at times almost overwhelming!
Met this guy at Bell 2, he is from Ushuaia! I was not pointing at his butt, I was pointing at the word « Ushuaia » on his jacket!!! (yeah, yeah, I know…)
Enjoying a little break in the sun
Making a sign on the road to let Rick know where we went…

Having the truck and camper also gave us the opportunity to explore side roads when we were done riding for the day, so we ended up visiting Telegraph Creek, Stewart, Hyder and Kitimat. All interesting places that few people have or take the time to visit.

The road to Telegraph Creek. With grades up to 20% I was glad to be in the truck instead of on my bike!
Beautiful Canyon on the Stikine River
The area burnt extensively last year so it’s fireweed country
Stewart, a nice town with good ice cream
The seafood bus. Only place where we can get fresh sea food is in Hyder, Alaska, a stone throw away from Stewart, BC. Seafood and fish have to be shipped to Vancouver first for inspection in Canada…
Beautiful sculpture in Hyder
There are many abandoned buildings in Hyder, like everywhere else along the road
I didn’t take it personal…
Glacier on the way to Stewart
Mushrooms at the Farmer’s market in Terrace

And finally yesterday, after about 8 or 9 days together, Rick, Deb and I had one last coffee together with all kinds of goodies that we bought at the Terrace market, and then I put my luggage back on Laf, and off we went, continuing the adventure alone, while Rick and Deb started driving back towards Whitehorse. It was awesome to share my love of bike touring with them, and they already make plans to join me somewhere later, maybe in Mexico! That is a good sign!
Thanks Rick and Deb, you guys were awesome ans so generous!

The end of the Cassiar! And now off to the next chapter…

8 thoughts on “Sharing the adventure with good friends

  1. Great post Catherine. I have not seen that sign in the last photo. The advantages of driving the Cassiar at a more ‘leisurely’ pace I guess. Best wishes as you carry on.

    1. Thanks Harvey! Yes, cycling is slow enough to see a lot of things that we normally miss while driving. And it’s great to be able to smell the wildflowers on the way too!

  2. Lovely post Cat! You brought all those great memories and images instantly back! Thank you for being our passport to the wonderful world of bike touring (even if “light” touring in our case!) we will continue to follow your adventures and wish only the best (and no headwinds)!

    1. It really was my pleasure to share that week+ with you both and to do all the side trips that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I hope we get to do another section together later!

  3. Allo Catherine
    Moins facile écrire sur tablette, mon ordi me fait des ´freegames de ce temps ci. Trop chaude température peut-être!
    Très belles photos de ce Cassiar parcours. J’espère pouvoir rétablir mon ordi pour continuer l’enregistrement de ton périple.
    Continue de bien choisir tes partenaires de route afin d’éviter les bandits de grands chemins… Avec mon surligneur je suis rendu dans le bout de Smithers.
    Bisous et à la prochaine
    Fernand

    1. C’est super Fernand de savoir que je suis si bien suivie, au surligneur en plus! Belles rencontres encore aujourd’hui, comme quoi il y a beaucoup plus de bon que de moins bon monde!

  4. Hi Cat,
    Great pictures – especially your ‘road sign’. 🙂
    It looks like some of the roads are gravel – or were those taken on the side roads? The Cassiar is paved right?
    Leeches!! I thought those guys only liked warm waters – hope the lakes have signs so I do not go into the wrong ones!
    Take care!
    George

    1. Thanks George! yes the Cassiar is paved. And only one lake had leeches. And we found out because a big dead one was floating near shore! But it was also mentioned on iOverlander. Great app, if you don’t have it yet, download it. Free!

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