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July 16th: 100 km: Day of Reconing!

(Rob) We were not far this morning from a place to do the usual, ‘eat-and-update-the-webpage’ routine for breakfast. Usually it takes us about an hour to ride to our breakfast location, whereby we will get our and enjoy the food and upload our pictures. We ended up spending a lot of time there, however, and ordered lunch as well. We didn’t know what was ahead of us when we left though.

With the wind at our back we road through these amazing mountain ranges with 3,000 foot peaks all around. At one point we dropped down into this huge barren lakebed. The trees here are very stunted which surely is due to the short growing season and harsh winters here. The sparse spruce forest that resulted expanded into the distance until we could no longer make out the existing vegetation. Then, as we traveled over a dirt road, something unexpected happened. BAMM! I blew a hole in my tire from a sharp rock. I had worn the rubber completely off my tire so that in three places I could make out the Kevlar threading that lined the inside of my tire. One hole had a huge chunk missing from it. I couldn’t go on in this state.

Occurrences like this are surely not uncommon on a long road trip like we were taken, thus we had packed spares. Our problem arose when we looked at the spare tires we had purchased. We got a kind of hybrid tire with lots of tread on them for dirt conditions. Unfortunately, however, our bikes were not meant to have much larger wheels on them and thus, the tire would rub heavily on the frame. If only we could shave some of it off. But, that wouldn’t be possible.

We debated for awhile as to what to do when a young guy in a pickup showed up. Rick was his name and he was a good country hunter-fisherman chap. Rick was on his way up from Minnesota with his Truck and asked us if we wanted a ride to the next town. We agreed that would be a better place to fix the tire. Half and hour or so we made it to the US boarder and the town of Beaver Creek. Unfortunately this town didn’t have what we needed. We figured it would be wise to try the next town. The next town, Tok, was not much bigger. We did find someone that had a tire, though he wasn’t going to be around until the next day. That was ok with us. We just wanted to get the wheel fixed.

I asked Joseph what he wanted to do at this point as I kind of regretted seeing the wildlife from the pickup and not the road. He really wanted to just keep going with Rick to Anchorage since we knew we could find a shop there. It wasn’t that far really to Anchorage and I suppose we could do more ridding there if we needed. I found out later that Joseph’s hands still had not feeling and that he didn’t want to ride on them anymore. I understa nd his concern and for that I guess it was a good decision to continue with Rick to our destination.

We finally made it around 4am in the morning. All in all I estimate we took off about 4 days off our trip by riding with Rick. In the long run, its not a long ways, and we now have the chance to research more wildlife here for the web, but in a way I also feel as if our trip was never finally completed. It’s silly to think that because we were so close, and given Joseph’s condition we probably shouldn’t have put too much more strain on his body.

(Joseph) With Anchorage just around the corner Rob and I have been on this trip for 19 days now. We have a tremendous amount of energy and seem to go a lot harder for longer periods of time. We were told there would not be any more gravel sections after the Cassiar HWY. Not so! We’ve been hitting gravel every hour or so. Now that we are in better shape we sort of power through it. As it turns out this was a problem. The gravel finished us. We completely blew out a tire on a particularly rough section. We both thought, no problem, just pull out the spare off-road-tires, we bought in Washington, and role on. Although we were clear as to what kind of bikes we had, we were sold the wrong sized tires. We were stuck. Anchorage was few hundred miles away. This meant the nearest bike shop was there. Luckily within minutes a hunter named Rick was headed for Anchorage and hulled us there within hours. Weird, were here now.