Saturday, July 11, 2009

AK '09 - Day 21

WARNING: I'm in a mood.

I am begining to hate western Canada. I'm tired of places wanting to charge me for iced tea refills, for goodness sake $2.50 should buy more than one glass of tea. I'm tired of crappy internet service. I'm tired of the people working in hospitality who are too dang stupid to remember more than 2 words when taking an order. I think I see why Canadians are known to be poor tippers, if I grew up with crummy service like this I wouldn't tip either. If you are from Canada, I'm sorry but your country isn't doing much to impress me right now.

So what about the ride? We were supposed to start at 6:30 but everyone was on the bikes a little after 6 so we were on the road at 6:10. The plan was to ride down the road until we found a place to eat breakfast. There's not much between Teslin and Watson Lake on the Alcan. But after an hour and a half of riding we found a little road side motel/gas station/restaurant that was open so we pulled in. You ordered at the kitchen and they cooked orders one at a time but they good and hearty. It was self serve on the tea and coffee, which was a good thing as I was sort of cold since it was in the low 50s for the first part of the morning.

Just west of Watson Lake we stopped at the Junction 37 gas station for a fill up. The Spyder doesn't have the range of the GS so I start worrying about gas after 150 miles. At 200 miles I'm probably going to be pushing. The bike has a 6.6 gallon tank and gets about 32.5 to 35mpg. The gas station was a treat, they had a sign on the door that said they didn't take Amex or Discover, they didn't accept checks, they didn't exchange US currency. So basically they were saying pay us in cash or Visa/MC or don't stop. Gotta love these friendly Canadains.

After the fill up we turned south onto 37 and left the Alcan. We were on a new road again. This road was about on par with a Texas farm to market road. Chip seal in some spots, hard packed dirty in others with a lot of gravel along the way. We went through one section where they had a sign identifying it as a Canadian roadway project. The road didn't really seem to be under construction through that stretch. It just seemed to be in complete chaos. Once we got past the sign, however it improved considerably.

We stopped at one rest stop to take a break. The mosquitos were bad enough that we didn't stay long. I was happy for the stop though, as it allowed me to stretch my legs for a bit.

As we got closer to Dease Lake we saw lots of beautiful scenery. There were georgous views of the Dease River along the road. It's amazing how clear the water is up here.

Finally we arrived in Dease Lake and stopped for gas. By that point my right hip was killing me. The spyder is fun but it's a little too cramped for my legs and it causes some real discomfort toward the end of a 300 mile day.

We stopped at the gas station to fill up and get some liquor. We were too early to check into the motel so we went next door to the restaurant, Mama Z's. It was decorated to be an upscale place and the menu tried to reflect that a little but in the end it wasn't really much more than a road house cafe. No free tea refills, grrrrr...

After lunch it was after 3 o'clock so we could check into our rooms. It went like any other check in and then we pulled the bikes around to the side and started to unload. Having just finished a late lunch it was too early to go eat dinner so we all passed the time on the internet and such. At first the Net was ok but as the day progressed it got worse.

Tomorrow we are riding down to Hyder and have reservations at the Sea Alaska Inn. This place is somewhat of an icon in the long distance and adventure riding groups. It's also very close to the bar so we can safely get "Hyder-ized" without worrying about the bikes. The road isn't going to be any better than today so it'll be slow going but it should be fun.

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