August 1, 2010
It was already bright when I got up in the morning. I had noticed my rack was quite loose yesterday, so I decided to check it out before I packed up. After looking around, I finally saw that the nut welded to the rear subframe had broke off. The folding chair I had stuffed under the rack was actually bearing some of the weight of the rack and cases. It was holding together, so I finished packing and hit the road.
When I reached the junction for highway 37, I decided to take it south in order to take a more western route. It was a fairly isolated highway, and much of it passed through forests. They had been having forest fires and while the highway was open, many sections required following a pilot car.
I was riding along a gravel section of road when I noticed the rear was feeling unusually loose, even for gravel. I pulled over to check my rear tire: completely flat. I put some air in the tire and the hole was immediately apparent from a hissing sound. After plugging the tire, I sat around and waited for the cement to dry. Occasionally trucks and RVs would go by and stop and ask me if I neeeded any help, but fortunately I had everything I needed to fix the tire.
While I was waiting around, I kept hearing what sounded like a deep snoring sound. Off the side of the road was a very steep descent covered in brush and trees, so I couldn't see very far down. This was bear country, so I kept my knife close and kept an eye out. I thought it pretty unlikely a bear would be interested in me, but not being familiar with them, I wanted to play it safe.
Last night I had noticed my marker lights and tail light weren't working, so I decided to take the down time to check it out. It turned out to be a blown fuse, so I replaced it with a spare. This wouldn't be the last problem with them.
After I felt the cement had set up, I aired the tire up, packed up my tools, and continued on down highway 37.
I occasionally passed through areas with active forest fires, but was unable to stop to take pictures because I had to follow the pilot car. The roads were smokey and smoldering brush was visible everywhere. I lucked out in that I barely missed some road closings that would have forced me back to highway 1 and 97. As I went further south, the roads became smoother, and scenery more interesting. I had entered another mountain range, and they don't disappoint.
After passing near Ningunshaw Provincial Park, I stopped in Bell II, BC for gas. There, I met an ADVrider, Tom Emberson. He had rode his KLR650 from Texas to Alaska, and was on his way back home. He had planned on riding to Prudhoe, but didn't think he had time since he had been told it would take a lot longer than it really would, especially on a dual-sport. We were headed the same way, so we decided to ride together.
When we got to Meziadin Junction, BC, we debated whether to take highway 37A west to Hyder, AK. This is a small town accessible only through this highway in BC, just across the border. I had heard that the salmon were swimming and the bears were out, and there's a good view of some glaciers there. But we were both concerned about keeping a schedule, so we decided to pass it up and keep heading southeast on highway 37. Another day...
It was getting dark, so we started looking for a place to camp. I was planning on doing my usual side-of-the-road camping, but Tom talked me into looking for a campsite to be safe (since it was bear country). We found a decent site in Kitwanga, BC and set up for the night there.
Copyright (c) 2010 Paul Miner <$email@example.com>