Part Four: Cycling Theology 101 (Cariboo Hwy – Sea to Sky Hwy)

24th Sept Day 60 (Price George –  Quesnell) (121km)

25th Sept Day 61 (Quesnell  – McLeese Lake) (75km)

26th September Day 62 (McLeese Lake – 150 Mile House) (60km):Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! ….Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world! Crack nature’s moulds, ….” [King Lear Act 3, Scene 2].

I too taunted the winds to do their worst .…and that they did.  I reluctantly emerged from the comfy sleeping bag early in the hope of beating the forecast strong winds or at least making some headway before the cheeks started cracking.  After the 45km ride to Williams Lake a smarter person might have pulled into any one of the ubiquitous cheap motels and called it a day, but ever the optimist, on I forged.  The strong southerly eventuated mid-afternoon and, I regret to report, it battered your hapless correspondent into submission. When the bike simply refused to budge into the wind about eight kilometres beyond ‘150 Mile House’, I felt the much heralded hard-core melt away to a mushy jell and I turned the bike away from the teeth of the wind and literally sailed across the road back to ‘150 Mile House”.  Happily, a lady at the garage ran a B&B just up a side road. I comforted myself with the thought that, “The better part of valour is discretion“. [Henry IV (Part1) (Act V, Scene IV)], and off I slunk to reassess.

It might also be a silly part of the year to travel south if the prevailing winds are from the south.  However, after days and days of Southerlies it is tempting to go with the idea that orbs or gods are somehow conspiring against me. An a-the-ist, a-Santa-ist, a-Goblinist, a-cargoist, a-Raist, a-Yahwehist, would obviously take the former but could it be that wind, orbs and gods are constantly against me? Best to hedge. Therefore, if a benevolent god of wind can show up right now I’ll devote myself to his magnanimousness; even wear a frock and spend my time giving hapless choirboys a jolly good rogering if that’s the call. Sacrificing virgins? (preferably daughters of huge camper-van drivers or Holland-America tour bus drivers?) not a problem. Just need the right one (Google, Google, Wiki, Wiki……)

  • Aeolus, the ruler of the winds in Greek mythology
  • Amun, Egyptian god of creation and the wind
  • Anemoi, the Greek wind gods Boreas, Notus, Eurus, and Zephyrus
  • Ehecatl, one of the creator gods in Mesoamerican creation myths documented for pre-Columbian central Mexican cultures, such as the Aztec
  • Enlil, the Mesopotamian/Sumerian god of air, wind, breadth, and loft
  • Feng Bo, the Chinese wind god, Feng Po is the name for the human form of Fei Lian.
  • Fūjin, the Japanese wind god and one of the eldest Shinto gods
  • Njord, in Norse mythology, is the god of the wind. There are also four dvärgar (Norse dwarves), named Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri, and probably the four stags of Yggdrasil, personify the four winds, and parallel the four Greek wind gods.
  • Pazuzu, the demon of the South-West wind and son of the god Hanbi in Assyrian and Babylonian mythology
  • Shu, Egyptian god of the wind and air
  • Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, was an Aztec god of wind.
  • Sídhe, or Aos Sí, were the pantheon of Pre-Christian Ireland. Sídhe is usually taken as ‘faery folk’ but it is also Old Irish for wind or gust. [1]
  • Stribog is the name of the Slavic god of winds, sky and air. He is said to be the ancestor (grandfather) of the winds of the eight directions.
  • Tāwhirimātea, Māori god of weather, including thunder and lightning, wind, clouds and storms
  • Vayu, the Hindu God of Wind, Hanuman‘s father
  • Venti, the Roman gods of the winds, were essentially renamed Anemoi, borrowed from the Greeks.

I think Stribog’s the chap. Control of wind directions is appropriate. He sounds like a serious kick-ass wind god and much harder-core than a more generalist Wahweh or a thunder technical specialist like Thor. Stribog could no doubt bring down some serious pre-medieval Slavic MMA submission holds on their Canaanite and Norse bot-bots. Stribog it is.

Oh Stribog, you are so big and powerful we are really impressed down here, I can tell you (Python). If it’s not too much to ask could you kindly give it a rest with the Southerlies even just occasionally, and blow some wind down from the north across Canada in the coming week. Amen

27th September Day 63 (75km) (150 Mile – 100 Mile)

28th September Day 64 (74km) (100 Mile – Clinton)

Stribog is the goods.  Out of ‘100 Mile House’ and a 5km rise up to 1,100 metres elevation and then a lovely rolling along a plateau then a swoop down to Clinton.  All the while with a gentle Nor-Wester caressing the right shoulder.

29th September Day 65 (72km) (Clinton – Lillooet)

30th September Day 66 (100km) (Lillooet – Pemberton)

Big ride over the top of the Lillioot Range.  70km up and up to the top of the pass then a plummet at 14% down towards Pemberton.

‘Stribog! Why hast thou forsaken me?’ Towards the top and it was wind against and rain which didn’t do much for the view at the top of the pass.

Lillooet to Pemberton

1st October Day 67 (32km) (Pemberton – Whistler)

Stribog has turned out to be a large stinking pile of bear doo-doo in terms of wind god effectiveness. Perhaps it was the lack of virgin sacrifice that was the problem? I’m in Whistler so there just aren’t any virgins of sacrificable age. (someone must have hacked in and written that – Jenny and her friends at The Keg Bar are quite obviously of impeccable character – and the steaks exceptional).

Whistler is a fun place and a classy (read ‘expensive’) village where happily cycling is taken very seriously, prior to the ski season anyway.  It is all of the ‘sick’ and ‘narly’ single track variety with some designer bikes, “specifically designed for the Whistler conditions” whatever that means.  Loads of bikers catching the ski lift and piling down the tracks back down to the village.  Have been holding up here in the lovely bars and restaurants is just the tonic from the road.  Loads of shops full of things you can only marginally imagine a use for but all very tempting nonetheless.  Will be a pity to leave really.


Part Three: The Cassiar Highway

The Cassiar Highway is a lovely piece of road The entry below notes the lead up run down the AlCan from Whitehorse which was uneventful and not such a lovely piece of road.

Day 35 (110km) (Whitehorse – Gov Campsite)
Day 36 (75km) (Campsite – Teslin Motel)
Day 37 (124 km) (Teslin – Continental Divide Lodge/Camping)
Day 38 (115km) (Continental Divide – turn off short of Watson Lake)

With my arrival at the turnoff to the Cassiar Highway on the border of The Yukon and British Columbia, I now declare myself a seriously hard-core northern adventuring global solo cyclist.  Conqueror of all Alaska and master of all of The Yukon; from the tundra of the Arctic north to the shrubberies of the Canadian forests; undisputed heavy duty cycling demi-god of all of the little fury things and the large hairy things that inhabit the north of the American continent.  I now further my quest for glory southwards into British Columbia, …after having had a little rest for my sore legs.

Day 40 (120km) (AlCan Turn off near Watson Lake – Jade City)

Day 41 (115km) (Jade City – Dease Lake)

Day 43 (98km) (Dease Lake – Tatogga Lake)

The Alaska-Canada (‘AlCan’) Highway as I understand it used to be imbued with romantic notions of serious northern adventure travel.  Now it is a sealed modern and tamed national trunk road that conjures little but the desire to be done with it.  That is why it was with some relish that I took a right turn off the AlCan just prior to Watson Lake and headed down the Cassiar Highway.  Even more fortuitous was the timing in that the road has been cut by excessive rain (near Bob Quinn and Bell2) and resultant flooding which also washed a couple of bridges and verges away.  I therefore had the road virtually to myself for much of the way apart from some local vehicles and a couple of trucks heading down to repair the road. The fainter hearted, faced with lengthy delays or being turned back might have been tempted to go back around and back onto the AlCan but not your hard-core intrepid correspondent.  I battle southwards ever southwards come what may (“come hell or high water” literally).  This highway is popular with cyclists so after having seen only three cyclists on the entire road from the top of Alaska, in the last two days I have seen seven.  Am happy to report the belated sighting of bears.  After much talk of bears (maybe too much talk) and bear avoidance and defense tactics, I actually saw a mother and two cubs.  Came across a caribou and kid who were too stupid to run off the road so I chased them down the road for a good three kilometres.  Then last night as an added bonus outside the lovely Tatoggo Lake ‘resort’ I also got to see the northern lights in a huge swathe across a clear sky.  The good folk of the local hunting community here are full of rumours of highway closure and when it might open again but I will head south tomorrow and see what happens (such is the happy-go-lucky adventurer that I am).

Day 43: Tatogga Lake: Hanging out with the moose hoping that the highway opens.

Stuffed Moose

Day 44: (144km) (Tatogga Lake – Bell2):  Today’s ride deserves special mention in that it had to be the best day’s ride of the trip to date. Clear weather, beautiful scenery (refer video log), no wind and a lovely surface on a winding road devoid of traffic which loped down through picturesque valleys bound by snow peaks either side. Couldn’t ask for much more really so took full toll for 140km.  At 60km down had to negotiate the first road closure barricade but talked my way through.  Three more bear sightings.  Two adult black bears and a cub on the road and on my approach they too approached!  I tried to “make myself large” as instructed and wave the arms around and made growling sounds but two of them just stood up and looked curious.  Not sure what the next move was going to be (probably ‘run away!’), but happily a helicopter happened past overhead and this confused the bears enough for them to take to the bush rather than deal with the large wavy growly thing.  Trundled down the road at a rate of knots and had to parry away another two ‘pilot’ car drivers who were insisting that your correspondent put the bike in the back of the car and ride to Bell 2.  ‘Not on your nelly’ for this hard-core adventurer is not going to dot the line just because of some road works.  From the conversations it became apparent that they didn’t actually have the authority to insist that I load the bike, so load I did not.  It turns out that the road is just about back in repair and there were only minor works to negotiate.  The Canadians have a thing about ‘piloting’ vehicles through road works which is just silly.  They also are way too conciliatory in trying to get hard-core solo adventuring cyclists to bend to their will.  Regardless, I had none of it and find myself at the Bell 2 ‘resort’; camping  but able to get laundry done and have a good feed.

Day 45 (93km) (Bell2 – Meziadin Campsite)
Day 46 (123km) (Meziadin – Camping near Gytanyow)
Day 47 (70km) (Camp Gytanyow – Hazelton)
Day 48 (69km) (Hazelton – Smithers)

The bottom half of the Cassiar Hwy has been a lovely roll through the low hills still with minimal traffic from the road closure.  A pity that the side road (37A) to Stewart is completely cut due to a bridge about 10km from Stewart being washed away entirely.  Spent the last camp night with Amaya and Eric from France who have been cycling for 5 years and are heading for Vancouver and then China to continue their marathon ride around the World to every country.  With the departure from the Cassiar Hwy the road is busier heading towards Prince George.  In Smithers there will be a day’s break to rest and reassess.  Can report a number of bear sightings and almost ran over one. At one point you couldn’t swing a dead bear without hitting a bear so the bear novelty is quickly wearing off.

Day 49 (Smithers)

Day 50 (66km) (Smithers – Houston)

Day 51 (78km) (Houston – Burns Lake)

Day 52 (128km) (Burns Lake – Vanderhoof)

Day 53 (94km) (Vanderhoof – Prince George)