Canada 2013

Day 09

June 23


I sleep in - at least for me - until just past 6 AM. It's Sunday and usually I am up and about preparing for the Sunday service at our church. So I tend to my Bible reading a little more than usual since I'll not be in an organized church service today. After my devotions, I go downstairs and uncover Frost and get her ready for the run up to Salmon Glacier. Soon the restaurant is open so I wander on in. The same lovely lady that was here last year is still here. She has a lovely smile and a lovely attitude to go with it. Her name is Viri, and she has a dream to ride a motorcycle to different places. I encourage her -

"Save up your money and do it. It may take a while, but never loose your dream!"

  Breakfast is good and makes a great start to the day.  
  The road from Stewart to Hyder is a quick journey. What always strikes me as odd as there is a Canadian Customs coming out of Hyder, but no US customs going into Hyder.  
  There's a freighter of some sort docked at the terminal this morning as I pass by.  
  When I get back to Hyder, it dawns on me that the road going in is now paved. It has been a washboard, potholed affair up to last year.  
 And even more surprising, it is paved about three miles out toward the glacier.  
  As I make my way where the GPS says there is no road, I pass a bald eagle surveying his kingdom. It's a bit surprising to see one sitting this low in the forest but I suspect he is on the prowl for his breakfast.  
  But it seems all good things must come to an end and so the pavement ends and the gravel begins. And it is the thick, dicey kind so I slow down to a safer pace.  
  I don't have to be in a hurry as this the only thing I'm doing today. So I stop and enjoy the waterfalls along the way.  
  There are couple of really pretty ones back here where most riders never come.  
  But the road is the main reason because it is in pretty bad shape in some spots.  
  And some of the bridges do give you pause as you gingerly make your way across them.  
  But this sign explains it all as it is really only a construction road maintained for their use. And as the sign says, 'Proceed at your own risk'. 
  But if a feller is not in a hurry, he can make it just fine and sample some of the prettiest sights around.  
  When you first approach the Salmon Glacier, it is hard to take in just how really big it is.  
  You see it a long time before you actually get to the overlook.  
  But you can get glimpses of it as you make your way up the mountain.  
  The closer to the top, the more you realize how massive it really is.  
  At least the closer you get to it, the more hard pack the road is and the less gravel. 
  I'm a bit disappointed when I get there as the old man with the postcards is not at his usual post. But I do have it all to myself until a couple pulls up in a Toyota Land Rover. 

We strike up a conversation as travelers often do. They are from Genoa, Italy and are on their way from the southernmost drivable point in South America to the northernmost drivable point in North America. Inza, the lady, speaks really good English and we chat about our travels. They even have a name for their ride like I do for Frost, but it slips my simple mind too soon. They are curious as to where the road continues on. I see a cloud of dust coming from that direction, so I tell them -

"Hang on a minute, and I'll stop that person and ask them."

  It turns out to be an equipment hauler with a really nice driver.  

I ask him -

"Does that road go anywhere in particular?"

"Nope, it dead-ends after about 7 miles at the mining site. We've taken care of the avalanches, so you should be safe if you want to run it.'

I thank him for the info and return back to Inza with the information.

  They decide that it's not worth the trouble for just seven miles. So I take one more shot of Frost and we part company.  
  It's back down the mountain for me at a leisurely pace.  
  I stop often to take in the gorgeous panoramic views.  

But you still have to keep an eye on the road. I'd really hate to drop a front tire into this pothole at any speed at all.

  Half way down the mountain is a multi-colored mining lake. I assume it gets it colors from the runoff from the mine.  
  When I pass this, I wonder if it's a bit late or bit early in the season for it.  
  Since the road is maintained by the construction company, I guess this Alaskan guard rail does not have to pass federal standards.  
  Down on the flats, I'm back into the thick gravel which makes my front tire want to wash out - which would be very unpleasant. 
  But the end is in sight and for that I am thankful. 
  It's back to smooth sailing again on the freshly installed pavement.  
  Canadian Customs give me a quick pass through, so I'm back to Stewart in short order.  
  I put Frost to bed for the evening, since we have a long day lined up for tomorrow.  
  Since the whole expedition took about four hours, I've got time to catch up with my washing. I remember from last year that they have a nice wash area so I take advantage of it. Since they also have wi-fi, I also take time to catch up what the rest of the world has been doing over the last few days.  

Supper is a no-brainer as soon as I find out they have some more fresh halibut. That's something I won't be getting back in Nashville, so I get all I can while I am here.

  And once again I have met with the opponent and properly vanquished it.  
  I go out and check on Frost before I turn in for the evening. The bear assures me that he has everything under control so I can rest easy. 
  Tomorrow will be another long day and if the southern portion of the Cassiar is as rough as the northern portion, I'll have to be careful. With a full belly, it does not take long for the skin over my stomach to stretch and pull the skin down over my eyes.