My workbench

My workbench

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fort Nelson, BC to Grand Prarie, BC

Laying awake in my hammock, I hear a car pull up to the visitor center I am camped out next to.  A person gets out of their car, and a dog start barking.  I hear him urinate in the parking lot, and know that the dog is barking at me (Why do they always bark at me?!).  After he leaves, shouting at his dog to quiet down because nobody is there, I return to a tenuous sleep, always concerned that I may be discovered, despite this having never actually happened.

Upon waking in the morning, I discover a constant, light drizzle of rain, dampening my mood considerably.  Upon my arrival in town, I had seen a trio of bike tourists camped out in a pavilion near the edge of town...In the interests of lightening my load, I remove some excess food (falafel mix, powdered milk, potato flakes, etc) and offer it to them.  They invite me to lunch, where I find out that they are from Cordoba, Argentina.  These three guys have shipped their bikes up to Anchorage, and are biking back home from Alaska.  Damn, and I thought my trip was a bit crazy...  A pair of local thumbs turn up, cursing the weather and determined to catch a bus "down south" for only a few hundred dollars...I am a bit surprised, but do not like to question anyone else's actions directly.  We part ways, I head to the visitor's center to use the internet and bathroom, and then head out to the road.

Hitching turns out to be a fairly quick affair, with Matt picking me up, and giving me a lift all the way to Fort St. John.  The kilometers fall by quickly, with our conversation running from well-drilling and gasworks (he is an mechanic for a gas exploration company, an industry he despises but a job which pays well and work he enjoys) to veganism and mechanics.  He had hand-rebuilt his truck from basically the frame up, building quite an impressive machine considering it's original design.  We traded software and some flicks, and though I have yet to watch them, I am excited to see Food, Inc, as well as some of the others.

Dropped by the road in Fort St. John, I was given a quick lift, along with some beers, by a young man on his way out to a gas rig.  From the top of the hill, overlooking town, I had my first chance to really unwind, reflect, and relax.  Marie quickly arrived, giving me a lift to a town just outside (the far side) of Dawson Creek.  My plan was to go through Grand Prairie to Edmonton, meet up with a friend, and then continue south.  With the shadows growing longer, and minimal traffic passing my way, I began looking at the trees for a prospective place to camp...

A pickup truck with a mobile medical treatment shell on the back screamed past, with a gaggle of women leaning out screaming at me.  I smiled, waving at them as they flew past, figuring they were just letting off some steam whilst headed home from work.  A quarter mile up the road, I saw the vehicle grind to a halt, pull a quick U-turn, and return in my direction.  Again a tire-squealing U-turn was used, and suddenly there were three women in a pickup truck shouting for me to get in.  Not having to be told twice, I jumped in, and held on for dear life as the truck lurched to speed, quickly hitting 160km/hr (100mph). 

These three women were medics up at one of the gas and oil camps, and returning home after being out for three weeks straight.  Disjointed conversation circling on the upcoming time off, events, reunions and various shenanigans were only briefly interrupted by a steady chain of cigarettes constantly smoked, extinguished, and only to be replaced by a fresh nail.  The first two were dropped off to see their respective boyfriends, when the third, the driver, turned to me.  "Where are you sleeping tonight?" she asked rather gruffly.  I explained that I would find somewhere to hang my hammock outside of town, and resume hitching in the morning (it was dark by now).  "Do you like vodka?" she asked, again rather gruffly.  I smiled, telling her that I do indeed, and she invited me home with her.  "Nothing funny, but I am going to my friend's place, and we could use a third."  The evening was a mix of alcohol, music, stories, and laughter.  It was the perfect ending to a long day of hitching.  I was put up in a cot in the basement, the first time I'd slept indoors since my trip to whitehorse over a month earlier.  It felt...strange.

The morning saw me fueled with caffeine and dropped by the side of the road.  My destination: Edmonton.

Haines to Whitehorse

Many of you have seen the photo on Facebook..."HEADING TO A WEDDING" was my jump-off sign from Whitehorse.  I had caught a lift on Monday, after a wonderful breakfast with my WEMT-learning friends at the Chilkat Bakery, from a pair of older First Nations women up to Whitehorse.  There was much joking and a semi-serious discussion as to whether or not I should be scared of these women, as there were indeed two of them and only one of me...It was all in good fun, and after a blessedly smooth time crossing the border, I found myself landed in Whitehorse.
    With a new friend whom I had been communicating via the 'Net, a walk up the Yukon river was to be had.  Whilst heading slightly off trail, we stumbled upon an impressively expensive, brand-new Specialized Rockhopper in pristine condition, sans a transplanted rear wheel.  Carrie looked at it curiously for a moment, and then excitedly called up a friend on the phone; "We found your bike!" she exclaimed.  As it turns out, the bike we had happened upon had been stolen a few days ago from her friend's porch, and he had been quite distraught over the loss of the new, expensive toy.  I wheeled the bike out to the road, just in time to see a man running towards us.  I could tell that he was the owner of the bike by the wide smile on his face, and after careful inspection, he thanked both of us profusely.  The three of us walked back to his vehicle, where his wife sat with their newborn child, equally surprised, grateful, and relieved.  Upon their departure, Carried turned to me, and without needing any prodding, decided that beer should be the reward for such a deed (albeit luck as it was).  Dinner and beer were to be had, along with much interesting conversation.

After parting ways, I headed out of town to find a spot to camp.  This was accomplished easily, and a good night's rest was obtained.  The next morning, I stopped by a small campground to clean up, brush my teeth, and comb my hair, for the road ahead.  A LOOONG walk uphill to the ALCAN highway, where I created my now-infamous sign. (may or may not work...)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fort Nelson, BC

Hitching out of Whitehorse wasn't too bad...I waited around for a little while, made a small sign, and caught a lift about ten miles up the road, to where the road splits for Skagway.  Armed with a slightly larger sign, I caught a lift with Josh, my new Yukoner friend, all the way to Fort Nelson.  We ate, drank some beer, laughed, and talked.  We arrived around 8PM (9 hrs, 1000KmS), though I distinctly recall my watch reading closer to midnight before I crashed out in my hammock.

Now, it's raining.  It's been raining on and off for the past eight hours.  While I don't particularly enjoy the rain, it is rather light, and I know that it's dry where I am heading...So I just really need to get the hell out of here.

See y'all soon!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I am actually considering removing this blog altogether, as I tend to post things on to facebook, and see this as redundant...But I haven't made that decision final.  Drop a comment if you have an opinion on the matter...

Otherwise, there are my plans for the next month or two...
You may need to zoom out a bit to see the full scope of my idea.  It will be roughly 7,500 miles, over the course of two months.  I'll be visiting friends, hot-springs, and various areas of interest along my trip.  Otherwise, I'll be hitchin.  Mad hitchin.  Like a machine.

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