2010 Alaska Trike Trip

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

We had a little bit of everything today. We started early to try to get some miles behind us before the wind kicked in but hit wind right away. Soon we were putting on our rain gear, then taking it off and putting it on again all day long. We are finally sitting at our prettiest campground yet on at island in the middle of the peace river(40 miles). We took a 10K longcut to ride a section of the "original" Alaska Highway and cross the only original timber bridge still in use, the Kiskatinaw River Bridge. Then we ventured SLOWLY down the 10% grade to the Peace River. They are bringing our firewood soon, so it should be my kind of evening. I just need to look around for a good poking stick.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

We are camped about 1 mile down the Alaska Hwy and will head north as soon as this 40 mph wind calms
We changed to mountain STANDARD time zone so it got light here in the tent at 4:00 am. The wind is howling so I don't want to get up yet, and we have already discussed roadkill, so I decided to tell you about Canada's roadside trash. Of course, the number 1 item is beer cans. Surprisingly, however, number 2 is banana peels. Cal and I have concluded that Canadian beer causes a craving for bananas. Number three would let me retire if we could find a buyer for bungy cords.
We are going to spend a couple days here in Dawson -- lots to see, plus, Cal has to replace a couple trailer tires, I have to do laundry again and I believe this is the last Walmart stop for basic supplies for the next 1000 miles or so.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mile "0" Alaska Highway.
Another 75 miles and we are camped in Dawson Creek. That seemed so far when we started.
We had to break out the Deep Woods Off today. I don't understand how those suckers can land and bite when you are cruising down the road at 15 mph!
We noticed a few more honks and waives than usual today but didn't think anything about it until we got to the gas station on the border with. British Columbia and the gas attendant (yes, they still have full service up here) came out and directed us where to park. He knew all about us because a radio station in Grande Prairie had been broadcasting all day to look out for us on the road to Dawson. The gas station then gave us free ice cream, and if you know us, you know how much ice cream means.

Cal n Dee are now in BC

I don't think it is the world's largest, but it certainly is a big beaver at Beaver lodge. Notice the American flag

Thursday, May 28, 2009

After 49 miles we are camped at the Saskatoon Island Provincial Park just west of Grande Prairie. Met a couple here at the campground who may have solved the mystery of the lack of road kill. They said wolves haul off the carcasses so the highway of sort of self-cleaning.
We crossed the Smokey River this morning and had quite a climb out of the gorge, but the river was beautiful. Met Janice in Grande Prairie who invited us to the Chamber of Commerce party tonight, but we had to move on. Thanks, Janice.

We made it up the hill from the Smokey River and are headed into Grande Prairie

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Camped in the woods 40 miles west of Valleyview at GPS N55-12.731 W118-07.246. Elev 2082
We left our warm dry gazebo and headed west, knowing we wouldn't make it to Grande Prairie unless the wind decided to do us a favor and change directions or speed. It didn't and we didn't. We are camped in the woods just off Hwy 43 about 40 miles west of Valleyview. The wind is supposed to be the same tomorrow so we will PUSH on to Grande Prairie.
I've been meaning to ask if anyone knows what's up with the roadkill situation up here. In Kansas you see a dead animal at least every mile (skunks, deer, snakes, racoons, opossums, badgers, ground hogs, cats, dogs, you name it.) Since we crossed into Canada we have seen only 1 deer and 1 small unidentifiable animal and 2 birds along side the road. Are the animals smarter or drivers more careful or do the locals pick up the dead and make stew???

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We are sitting in the laundromat at the campground in Valleyview while it is pouring rain outside. We have our tent set up under some pine trees, but our trikes are getting soaked. Oh, well we'll deal with that after it stops raining.
We left the foothills and rode down into farm country today (55 miles).
Our rest stop was at Little Smokey (population 20) where we discovered the bathrooms at the gas station/general store were out of order due to a faulty water well. We went next door to the restaurant/motel (the only other business in town) to discover that they closed last week due to the recession. The owner was so sweet and offered his bathroom as well as blueberry pie. Like I said, people are amazingly kind if you give them a chance. In fact, the manager of the campground just came in and said we could sleep in the enclosed gazebo tonight out of the rain.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I forgot to mention that we met a native Indian last night in the campground and she gave each of us a beaded peacock talisman to hang from our trikes for good luck. She also gave me some dreamcatcher earrings that she had made. People everywhere have been so kind and generous to us. Thanks everyone.
We passed that 2000 mile marker today. The area today looked just like the Colorado foothills just west of Denver -- except there are no pine beatles here yet so the trees are all green. We screamed down one hill and plodded up the next all day for a total of 55 miles to our campground here in Fox Creek. I don't think we've ever had 2 bad riding days in a row, so today was a good one.

Exactly 2000 miles, elev 2560 ft. GPS N54-15.150 W116-04.169

Our camp in Whitecourt

Sunday, May 24, 2009

65 painful miles to our campsite in Whitecourt. First a hot shower and then the Advil. The head wind was forecast to be 5 km but was at least 20 mph. I don't think that works out mathmatically. We are now in hills and forests and it is starting to look like Colorado.

Largest wooden train trestle in North America (second in world) near Mayerthorpe

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Campsite at Lac St. Anne
After 54 sunny, warm miles we are at the Gunn campground on Lac St. Anne. We actually wore shorts on the ride today and turned our lilly whites pink. We haven't had this nice a temp since just before we got to Alliance, NE. Hwy 37 north of Edmonton looked exactly like Wichita, with all the gently rolling farms and pastures and trees. If you plunked us down on any county road near Wichita we couldn't have told the difference.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm sitting in the last of the beautiful, warm sun in our campground on the North Saskatchewan River in Fort Saskatchewan 68 miles from last night's freezing campsite. We left the Yellowhead Highway and skirted around Edmonton to the north. We've been to Edmonton before and decided to avoid the city with the trikes. Great weather today and tomorrow looks even better. I may break out the shorts. Maybe spring is finally here.

World's largest sausage in Mundare -- to go with the egg

World's largest pysanka (Easter egg) (Ukranian) in Vegraville
It is 23 with wind chill of 15 so we are going to stay huddled in the sleeping bags for now. When will it be summer?!?!?.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Too much wind to make it to Vegreville
Well, we thought Vegreville would be an easy ride today, but we only made it 49 miles to Lavoy. We are camped inside a covered picnic shelter. The headwind was 25-30 all day and it is still blowing that hard. Our little tent would blow over if we weren't inside the shelter. We even had to bring the trikes in so they wouldn't blow away. I've got to get inside the sleeping bag now so I can stop shivering.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just had breakfast and decided to see the local museum today instead of riding. It is 34 with NW wind at 25. Tomorrow looks like a much warmer day for a ride. I'm sure summer will come eventually, so there is no reason to torture ourselves today.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Now don't expect us to keep up this pace, because we rode 126 miles today motel in Battleford to motel in Vermillion, Alberta. If we had any common sense we would have stopped in Lloydminster, but we had a PRIMO tail wind and just had to go on. We stopped 4 times to warm our feet and get hot chocolate. Cal even got the propane heater out and we warmed up behind an abandoned church. The high was 43 and I don't think the wind chill ever got above freezing. We had first breakfast and then second breakfast and that was it except for all the hot chocolate, so we are starving!!!

Alberta, here we come!!!

Bye bye Saskatchewan

Garry and Glenis on our city tour

Saskatoon is nearly half way

Monday, May 18, 2009

Can't believe we are almost exactly 1/2 way to Skagway here in the Battlefords. It rained hard in the night and is still below freezing this morning with 20 mph N winds -- not what we want to ride in. The forecast is for 2-4 inches of snow tonight, so we we are going to spend the day exploring this little town. There is a mall and casino and museum close by, so we will have plenty to do.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

67 warm sunny miles from campground to motel in North Battleford. We actually got to work on our tans. The weather hasn't been this nice since Nebraska. Of course that means it is supposed to rain tonight with a cold front coming.
I just have to make a couple comments on Saskatchewan before we leave this province. I thought Kansas was flat and windy, but Saskatchewan has Kansas beat in both categories. There is hardly even a tree or bush to stop the wind.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What a fun day. We met Garry, a fellow cyclist, at the gas station at Dundurn and rode with him to Saskatoon. He invited us to his home for lunch and then he and his wife, Glenis, took time out of their busy afternoon and took us on a bike tour of the University of Saskatchewan and along the river paths of Saskatoon (the city of bridges). We are now camped at Langham (79 miles including the city tour).

Friday, May 15, 2009

After 39 frigid miles we are at the Kenaston Campground for the night. We waited until checkout time to leave the motel, but it was still only 36 degrees and, of course, the wind was in our face - out of the north. It is calm now and we are sitting in the last of the sun. There wasn't room for old blue and big red in the tiny motel room last night so they had to sit outside in the rain and snow.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

For those of you keeping track of miles, we road 9 miles around Regina yesterday and then 76 miles miles today to Craik where we found a tiny motel just as it started pouring rain again. We had planned to avoid 4 lane major highways whenever possible and were going north out of Regina, but realized we would have a good tail wind if we went NW on the interstate, so here we are. It was a chilly 34 when we started out and soon we ran into a mixture of rain and snow. The new rain gear kept us nice and dry. Craik is so tiny that there isn't even a restaurant open, but we have plenty of food in the bear bin and we can make soup in the microwave.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

After it quit snowing we went shopping and found some impermiable rainproof gear. Let's hope this works. We then took our non-rainproof suits to the post office and shipped then home where we can use then in LIGHT Kansas rain. We spent the afternoon at the Royal Saskatchawan Museum and have now packed up so we can try to start making out way toward Saskatoon tomorrow.
At 8:30 am it is now 34 and snowing hard. That settles it. I'm getting out the resistance bands to work out my unused arms, not even walking to the store or museum any time soon.
Good morning. It is 40 and raining with N wind at 30 gusting to 45. Not a day for triking!!! If and when it stops raining we will venture down the street to a sporting goods store to look for that "rainPROOF" gear. Yesterday evening was perfect weather and we rode our trikes around the beautiful manmade Wascana Lake. There are some museums nearby so that is an option for today. We will have to wait and see if tomorrow is a better day for riding.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We are in beautiful Regina. It was 69 miles campsite to motel. We had 12 good miles before the rain hit. We have now discovered that there is no such thing as "breathable, waterproof Goretex". It is waterproof for 5 miles in a moderate rain or 10 miles in a light rain, but definitely NOT waterproof for 20 miles in a heavy rain. We are now at the laundromat again trying to get all three layers of clothes dry. Our next stop will be at a sporting goods store to find something that is truely waterproof.
We are watching the weather closely to determine what to do tomorrow. Right now they are saying rain and cold and NNW winds at 25-35 gusting over 40. That doesn't sound fun at all. Maybe we can sneak in a few miles down the road or maybe we will just hide under the covers.
We are just sitting here in the tent hoping the wind will dry it off a little. It rained most of the night.
I have to tell you about our border crossing. The agent asked Cal if he had any guns or weapons of any kind and, Cal said "no". Then the agent said "I see you have a baseball bat. Are you planning to play?". Cal said "I like to hit pinecones", and the agent said "Good answer!"
We have a tail wind again so we should make it to Regina before the snow comes tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

We had great ride across the northern border. 98 miles today!! We had a 10 mile/hr tailwind all the way here and just kept on riding. We are in the tiny berg of Ceylon, population =10, about 33 miles north of the border. We hope to make it to Regina tomorrow.

First province here we come

Oh Canada!

No more states, just provinces
Just passing through Plentywood. Beautiful weather and road so we will see how far north we get tonight. May or may not have broadband service from the road tomorrow. No towns, not even a gas station for next 117 miles, so a camping we will go.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

One More State!
It was a nice leisurely Mother's Day ride into Culbertson (46 miles motel to motel). After an hour at the local museum, we just got our trikes into the motel before the hail storm hit. After some wonderful hot showers we are ready to watch the finale of The Amazing Race.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

We got a late start out of Williston this morn. It was raining lightly, but cleared after a few miles. We got to Bainville just in time for ice cream and to wait out a thunderstorm. We only have another 15 miles to Culbertson for the night, so no hurry. In case you were wondering why we back tracked a little and headed west instead of north, it is called MOTEL and HOT SHOWER and WARM BED.
It has been a busy day here in Williston. We packed up some things we decided we could do without to reduce weight and headed down to the post office to mail them home, but got caught in the middle of a parade (band day) down main street. People had never seen trikes like ours and thought we were part of the parade.
I did the laundry and our total miles on the trikes today is 9. Cal spent most of the rest of the day changing all 10 tires and the chains on both trikes. He has us ready to travel again. We also went to Walmart to stock up on V-8, peanut butter, tortillas, Crystal Light and more warm clothes. That brings me to:

Helpful hint #8: Everywhere you fill your water bottles the water tastes different, and usually not good, so buy the little individual packets of Crystal Light.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Our luxury camp in Watford City
We got a late start out of Watford City while we waited for it to quit raining, so we peddled into Williston just in time to pick up our packages at the post office before they closed. As you can see from the photo, it was a challenge getting the supplies to the motel.
The area between Belfield and Williston is booming with oil exploration and drilling now, so Hwy 85 turned out to be a poor choice for triking or biking. The shoulder didn't exist for about 20 miles and many miles of the shoulder were either sand covered or totally distroyed asphalt, making it necessary to ride on the edge of the highway and constantly watch your backside (and frontside) for hundreds of oil field trucks.
Trip today was a chilly 50 miles from city park camp to motel. Tomorrow we regroup and prepare to move on.

We picked up the trike parts and now Cal has work to do

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dee in the Badlands.

This is where we were supposed to be tonight

We ended up in Watford City dripping wet. We are now at the launderama getting our clothes dry. Then we will head to the city park to camp. Would you believe there wasn't a vacancy in any motel in town. And, believe me, we tried them all during the down pour. It has now quit raining so we will be fine once we have dry clothes. We weren't even supposed to be here tonight. We planned to camp in the Theodore National Park. The picture of the tent (campground) on the map was right beside the Visitor"s Center, but when we got there the campground was actually 5 miles down a gravel road. Our trikes don't do well in loose gravel or sand, so we had to move on. From motel to city park is 70 miles again today. Donnal, could you post the elevation for today? The climb out of the park north was a "Lordy, Lordy" hill. I'm curious if it looks as bad on a graph as it was for real.
Off to Williston tomorrow to pick up trike parts and bear bin.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We just had a wonderful dinner courtesy of someone special. Thanks! It looks like the local newspaper will be here first thing in the morning for an interview. I guess they are short of news this week.
Wow, wind is not my friend! We made it to Belfield the hard way -- in a 25-35 mph cross wind with much stronger gusts. Cal's trike actually blew over in a gust -- not too much damage -- just a scratched mirror and bent trailer hitch. We hit the 1000 mile mark today with the 59 from Bowman.
We were welcomed here at the motel with a wonderful surprise -- "a group of friends" paid for our dinner. My legs are so sore I can barely walk, so having dinner right here at the motel will be wonderful.
We rode beside North Dakora's highest point today, White Butte. I'm just glad we didn't have to go over it.
I haven't given a helpful hit lately, so here goes:

Helpful hint #7: If you know your day will involve 60 miles in a really bad cross wind, just go ahead and start on the Advil at breakfast!!

South Dakota, we'll miss your beautiful highways, but not your weather!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

70 miles from Merchantile to motel in Bowman ND. What a difference a day makes. We went from horrible "I want to go home" day yesterday to "what a wonderful way to see the country" day today. We had lunch at the Crooked Creek #1 bar and grill in Ludlow, SD today met about 25 country school children also having lunch there. It seems they have no school cafeteria so they walk across the street to the local watering hole for their school lunch.
Left Newell yesterday at 5:30 AM and ran into trouble (rain and wind). Ended up spending the night on the floor at Crow Buttes Merchantile, thanks to Mary. 41 really bad miles. We are now in Buffalo and getting some food so we can get in a few more miles before the next storm hits.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spent most of the morning hiking Bear Butte, so only rode 23 miles to Newell, SD. Yes, there is actually a hotel here and we are the only guests. We had to call a number on the front door to get someome to come let us in. We are going to walk down the street to the only restaurant in town for Cal's birthday dinner. Forgot to mention that we met a couple nice ladies (Sue and Martha) from Boulder at the campground last night. They shared chocolates with us for Cal's and Martha's birthdays.

View of Bear Butte from our campsite. The native Americans conduct vision quests on the butte which consist of 4 days with only a buffalo hide and no food or water. Then they tie a prayer cloth to a tree branch at the end of their quest. Wish we could show you the thousands of colorful cloths, but no photos allowed. Cal & I did our own vision quest in only 2 hours with plenty of water. It was a beautiful view from the top

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Camping at Bear Butte State Park

Just passed Harley Davidson and stopped here to look around

May Day road trip to Crazy Horse

May Day road trip to Mt Rushmore

Wow, beautiful campsite by the lake at Bear Butte! 42 easy, fun miles with a side trip to Petrified Forest of South Dakota. 60 degrees for a high -- could it get any better. We survived 8 miles on I-90 with no issues.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Had a nice road trip today. We'll get back on the trikes tomorrow. We're heading north to Sturgis and then east to Bear Butte State Park for another camping adventure. We don't know if we'll have cell service there -- Verizon says it is spotty in that area, so we may be out of touch for a couple days. We will update when service is available.