August 2nd, 2011
The Alaskan Highway starts in Dawson Creek, but just west of there is a town called Fort St John. Along the highway, about every 300 miles, is another major stopping point. After Fort St John is Fort Nelson, than Watson Lake, the Whitehorse, and so on. I had camped at Charlie Lake, west of Fort St John, and left early. Along the way I met Jeremy from the Isle of Man (not the U.K., he points out, though I am pretty sure those two are related)
Yup, that’s a VFR800, shipped over from not-the-UK. I had seen the bike back in Banff, and apparently we have been tailing each other since. I would keep seeing him over the next few days. There is only the one road, after all.
Since I had camped at Charlie Lake I had a head start on the next 300 mile chunk, and reached Fort Nelson before 3 in the afternoon. Feeling impressed with myself, I decided to press on to Liard Hotsprings, which was supposed to be about another four hours up the road.
Something else about being up here. No one gives anything in distance to be traveled, “Oh, it’s about 100 kilometers.” Instead they give how long it would take them to get there “Oh, its just a bit over an hour.” This sounds like a good system, but I am not traveling as fast as a car would be.
The road was chip seal (Gravel dumped on tar and then pressed in), which was about par for the course up here. There were occasional stretches of straight gravel, and some dirt, and for what ever reason some areas with gravel dumped on top of the chip seal, which was the worst.
There were frequent campgrounds and parks along the road, and it was before Stone Mountain that I realized I bitten off more than I could chew for the day. The mountain itself was pretty spectacular
The highway took a pass over the mountain, and there was a campground (Stone Mountain, obviously), which I pulled into. At $16CAD it was cheap for Canada, with a pit toilet. No food storage, which was a little concerning, but the biggest issue I had was, well, it was cold. Top of the pass and all that, so I got back on the bike and rode down, planning to stop at the next place that looked decent.
It’s called Toad River because, at this point of the river, you would have to be towed across some shallows. I guess there was some confusion on the spelling. No, I didn’t make that up, it’s on the menu of the restaurant.
I can recommend Toad River for anyone passing though. At $28CAD (including tax) it was pricy, but included showers, firewood and wifi. The food was good too. And the view-
I slept pretty well, it seemed like it had been a while since it wasn’t a little chilly in the tent at night. In the morning I got up early again, adjusted my valves, showered and had breakfast. And took some more pictures.