Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dawson Creek, BC to Laird Hotsprings, BC-486 miles

Day 9, July 2, 2008. Today's ride was good. We got away from the campground about 7:30am and rode until we got to a town with a McDonalds, where we had breakfast. Then rode the Alaska Highway all day.

The first few hours on the highway found it to be wide, with good shoulders, with the roadsides cleared about 100 feet or so from the highway to the woods. That left good sight distances for spotting wildlife moving from the woods across the road.

After lunch, the road changed, and the wide shoulders disappeared; the texture of the road surface changed, but the cleared areas beside the road continued. We ran through several construction areas where there was loose gravel on the highway. I learned when you see the sign indicating construction or bumps, you'd better slow down and pay attention. I hit the first section doing about 65mph, and it scared me a little. Nothing bad happened, but I should have slowed more.

We crossed many rivers, and two of the bridges had steel decking. On dry roads, like today, it was no problem. But I bet it's a bear if wet. I can see how people get in trouble in wet conditions.

Wildlife—We've seen two small black bears (one about ¼ mile from where we're camping tonight). One bison (also not too far from the campground). Several deer. Lots of sheep (mountain sheep). Ground squirrels. Two bull moose (one alive and one fake!). One cow moose and two calves. And several dead moose along the Alaska Highway shoulders.

Gasoline is getting more expensive as we go north. Our last fill-up was $1.74 per LITER! That calculates to close to $6.66 per gallon. For regular. Also, we're finding less mid or premium grade gas as we go north. I wonder how it will be in Alaska??

We made our destination around 5:30pm. We're in Laird Hotsprings Provincial Park, camping. When we pulled in, they had one camping spot left, but the lady at the entrance said we could camp on the grass in a common area if we wanted. We looked at the numbered site but chose the grassy common area. Not bad; convenient and near the privy.

After getting the tents set up, we walked to the hot springs, then back to get our swimsuits to get in the hot springs. Wow! My first experience in one. HOT! It was like a big creek, with one end very hot (126 degrees) and cooler downstream. I could not stand the hot end, but the cooler end felt great. It was like a hot tub, but with a sulfur smell. Not overpowering, but noticeable. We stayed there about 30 minutes and returned to the campsite. I decided to walk to the lodge lobby nearby so I could blog without being carried off by the mosquitoes.

Speaking of mosquitoes, they hover and swarm if you get still. I am not being bitten much, but I don't like them swarming around my head, so I plan to stay inside as much as possible. I hate mosquito spray, but might have to give in along the way.

Tomorrow on north and west into the Yukon Territory.

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