Thursday, 31 May 2012

June 29th-30th, 2010

This morning we knew we had a long day of riding ahead of us.  We made ourselves peanut butter & jam sandwiches for breakfast and got back on the road.  We managed to see an abundance of wildlife ranging from caribou to bald eagles.  We also got caught in a rain storm, but managed to ride out of it by the time we reached Fort Nelson where we had lunch at Subway.  Things started to get interesting when I noticed the chain on my bike acting up.  I checked the condition of the rear sprocket and it didn’t look too good.  The closest dealership is in Fort St. John, another 380 km away.  I hope it will hold. 

We arrived in Fort St. John late in the evening and everything was closed.  We had a bit of a dilemma on whether to keep pressing on and find a place to camp on the outskirts or to stay put and deal with the chain and sprockets first thing in the morning.  We stopped at a motel and the front desk lady was nice enough to let us use their Wi-Fi.  There’s a dealership in Dawson Creek just 75 km south from us, surely the sprocket will last and get me there.  The front desk lady also told us where we could pitch our tent just 20 km south of where we were; a good enough reason to press on and worry about the chain & sprockets when we get to Dawson Creek. 

 20 minutes of riding the next morning and this happens. 

Yes, I do consider myself lucky.  Back tire could’ve seized up and sent me flying; luckily it didn’t.  Instead of pondering about how seriously injured I could’ve been in, I focused on how to get us out of this jam.  We were in the middle of nowhere and traffic was fast and fairly busy.  It was dangerous being on the side of the road so I needed to think fast.  In retrospect, this was an idiotic idea, but I figure I get the chain back on, tighten it some more, and ride gingerly to Dawson Creek.  Did I not learn my lesson already?  Luckily a guy with a trailer pulled over on the other side of the highway and offered to take my bike and I to Dawson Creek.  Getting the bike across the highway was a $&*t show in itself.  The chain was jammed real good to the point where the back tire wouldn’t spin.  Amanda and I had to lift the back of the bike off the ground and push while the guy helping us steered.  Oncoming trucks on both sides had to stop in order to let us cross.  Amanda thought we were going to get run over for sure.  We loaded the bike in the trailer, strapped it down, and headed towards Dawson Creek.  

I don’t remember his name, but I won’t forget the nice gesture of helping out a fellow rider in need.

The dealership didn’t have any sprockets that would fit so I had to ride Amanda’s bike back to Fort St. John to get one.  The rear sprocket was the only part I can see that was really worn so that was the only thing I had replaced; another mistake and lesson I will soon learn. 

The whole ordeal put a huge dent on our schedule, but that didn’t stop us from getting a picture of the start of the Alaska Highway…

…or the giant beaver statue in a town called, ironically enough, Beaver. 

In order to make up for lost time, we rode well into the evening.  We needed to average 700 km a day in order to make it back for my cousin’s wedding, leaving us a day or two just in case anything else happens.  We entered Alberta and stopped in Grand Prairie to do an oil change.  Then we took highway 40 to get as close to Jasper National Park as possible so we could have a nice ride the next morning.  It was cold and we were tired and it didn’t help to see dozens of elk on the side of the road.  We managed to spot a recreation area and decided to call it quits for the day; feeling defeated for not fulfilling our mileage quota. 

Candy helped lift our spirits 

962 km

Sprocket wearing out.

Let’s ride it until it dies.

Nine lives running out.  


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