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Archive for August 18th, 2009

Day 253– 18th August 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on August 18, 2009

Tuesday – Hyder, Alaska

What a difference a day makes

Well, after yesterday’s cold and drizzly rain, it was a pleasure to look out the window and see the sun was out 🙂

After spending some difficult time trying to upload photos for yesterday’s entry, it was one picture at a time or it would fail, I packed up and headed off into the sun. The forecast was good for today and maybe tomorrow, so I better make the most of it and head south for a while.

It did not take long before I was amongst photographic scenery, there was probably things like this yesterday which I never saw 🙂

Not long up the road I came upon the construction zone, this 4 mile section was extremely slippery I had heard from bikers coming the other way so I was a bit cautious, but with the sun out and no rain, it was not so bad, still a few goosy moments though.

Apparently, they have tried to pave that section many times but the landslides keep on stuffing up the road and taking the paved section downhill. It was still a cool day and I had the gear switched on, but the clear air made for nice views all over the place, a pleasure to ride today 🙂

Just as I slowed down for this construction zone I saw a bear just to my right, he went back in the bushes but I did not turn around. He was a black bear and not large, and had a mouth full of grass, but I was not going to upgrade his food source to protein!

Some more nice scenery before I arrived at an unannounced place called Bell II.

The reason I say unannounced, is because all the road signs had been about Hyder, Stewart etc, nothing was mentioned about this place until 2km before where a small sign said fuel, food etc, real strange. I did stop as I wanted some lunch and had a nice soup and sanger. I was not intending fuelling up as there was another spot further down, but I was told by some bikers coming from that way the junction fuel stop is closed, so I topped up here. One chap has been cruising around on a step through Burgman, while these other two on the KLR’s were heading north to Alaska, brave lads, it is cold and wet up there 🙂

I kept on going but not for long, the hot food and the warm clothes were starting to make me fall asleep, so I stopped at the first shady spot for a kip, a nana nap 🙂

That was short and sweet, but it was enough to make me feel more alert. As I continued I kept running through clouds of seeds, after a while I could see that they were the seeds from the Fire Weed, those purple flowers all over the landscape. The strong winds of about 30kn were billowing them everywhere, just another pointer to the change of seasons.

Some more magnificent scenery just around the corner, well just around any corner really 🙂

And for those that don’t like bikes in every shot, here is the same view by itself 🙂

Not long after this I arrived at the junction and I could see why the servo was closed, apparently fuel is flammable, well, the shop burned down so I guess they worked that out eh!!

I had a choice here, continue to Smithers, another 300km or so or slip into Stewart and as the weather was fine I could pitch my tent and dry things out. That was an easy choice, so I turned west and headed for the glaciers and the bear watching. 🙂 It was not long before my choice was proven to be a good one, the scenery was great once again and the glacier was nearly at my feet!

It was not far before I got into Stewart where I went to the visitor centre and asked about camp sites. The only one they had for tents had no WiFi, so when I mentioned about a place in Hyder, he claimed to know nothing, real strange, so I decided to go for a look anyway, as I had seen signs advertising camping there. So, into Stewart and out real quick and just up the road is Hyder, Alaska.

After a misunderstanding by going to the wrong place I ended up at the Sealaska Inn where I found what I needed, a campsite, WiFi, showers and a bar 🙂 What more could I need 🙂

There was an old truck lost under the trees near me, it seemed to have been here a while and was going nowhere I think.

So, up to the bar, this is the zero marker for this road and also is an ending for the Iron Butt Riders, that little box on the wall to the left is for paper towels for bike riders to clean their screens and visors etc 🙂

Inside the bar was another big bear, here I checked email etc and had a beer. I got snagged on the bears claws a few times, they are sharp!

After a short time and after asking the right questions I was directed 4 mile up the road to where the bear viewing boardwalk is sited. It costs to get in, but I have my US parks ticket, so that was a bonus as it allowed me in without paying extra. There are a lot of fish in this creek and it is called Fish Creek funnily enough 🙂

There were lot of people all watching and waiting for the bears. I did see the back of one as it trundled off into the bushes, but that was all, I may have to come earlier, or later!

There was a lot of information on the system that is here, about the fish and bear etc, it made for interesting reading. There were also a lot of dead fish here and the place stunk of rotten flesh, but I guess it is all part of the system 🙂

In between the blue pool and the nice creek system were the seagulls chewing on the dead fish. I asked a ranger about the fish and he said they were mostly killed by the bears. They only eat the nice bits, the eggs and the belly skin and leave the rest.

After that I headed back into Hyder where I saw this cute old(new) log house 🙂

Of course I hit the bar again and after a few beers I got “Hyderised”, this is where you get given a shot of ‘something’, you have to skull it and if you spit it up you shout the bar, I am a cheapskate so I swallowed it, but by crikey it burned 🙄

I met some people there, this is Ryan, a fly in fly out drillers offsider.

Up on the wall is the legends of the Iron Butt Association, these riders have ridden all of the lower 48 states AND Alaska all within a set time limit, usually under 7 days. The lady is BeamerBird, from Oz, she is currently in America about to ride in another Iron Butt ride of 11,000 miles in 11 days. Not bad for someone who was wiped out in Hobart earlier this year and had a wrecked bike and a broken hip. Goodonya Marg 🙂

A whole tour load of people turned up to be Hyderised, most of them did OK, some didn’t, my throat was still burning after 3 beers to cool it down!

This is Kerryn, the bar lady, she was fun 🙂

That is Simon on the left and Nora from Switzerland, they are also heading to Patagonia, but by car and probably flying in between, I may see them around Xmas sometime 🙂

And a couple of photos with me and the bar girls, Robin and Kerryn 🙂

After that it was all downhill, and a short stumble to the tent where I had an extra beer and listened to some music for a while before crashing 🙂 I was not planning on getting up early anyway as I had missed the bears today, so I will probably stay another day, which will give me a chance to see the Salmon Glacier up the road a bit.


Day 266 miles and 428 km
Trip – 31,771 miles and 51,130 km

Cheers
TravellingStrom

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