Happy Holiday Land

Dear future me,

Somehow Mister Time has switched bikes in the last two weeks. As it was first just cruising on a Solex, it hopped onto an really fast race monster and I just can’t keep up. I could swear that I just wrote my last blog yesterday, but as I recall what I’ve been doing since, it feels like ages ago. Weird. When I went down the Cassiar highway two weeks ago, I decided to take  a short side trip to Telegraph Creek. A biker told me it was beautiful and I should have known: when a biker tells you something is beautiful he means THE ROAD (and not necessarily the destination). I was happy that I didn’t bring all my stuff, as it was challenging. I had to maneuver down and up a very steep riff and I had to test my brakes thoroughly. It did bring me through native villages, but I discovered that these villages try to stay low profile. In fact, most of the times I don’t feel really welcome which is a new sensation to me. Normally, people always seem to warm up to my smile, but in these villages they ignore me completely. That’s pretty hard to do as you have to look pass 1.91 meter of woman flesh which is saying hello to you. Telegraph Creek didn’t fit this profile though, because I felt very welcome at the visitor center annex shop annex small café. It was almost the only building in the historic site of Telegraph Creek, where…what’s in a name..they started a telegraph line to the Yukon.

On my way ‘home’ I saw another biker heading for Telegraph Creek, although it was pretty late in the afternoon. It turned out to be Dennis from Florida, who came to the same campground in the evening. He started in Florida and made his way up with a friend of him, who he strangely lost in Alaska. Now he was cruising on his own and had no idea what to see or do down the Cassiar. Although the sticker on my case clearly says: ‘Tailgaters suck’, Dennis didn’t bring his glasses and followed me with much joy. I must say, he was fun to ride with and proved to be a very good companion in endless talks. He hooked on to Stewart, where we crossed over to Hyder to see a Alaskan bear (add one to that side), and after to Prince Rupert to see many Canadian bears (add at least four to their side) and some lava beds. The scenery was wonderful with high mountain ranges in the far distance and hardly any traffic, at least until we got down to Highway 16 (called Yellowhead). There we said goodbye to the lonely roads and hello to civilization as we know it. I was actually feeling quite good about seeing a real town again with friendly native people. Prince Rupert even has an Walmart and a cinema. Too bad Ryan Reynold didn’t make a good impression in RIPD, it was a pretty bad movie. As this Prince town (one of many) is well known for its ferry harbor, it is even more famous for its rainy days. At first I felt at home, because it is always raining in Holland. But this prince is making a joke out of my small country. When I left Rupert, my raincoat couldn’t stand the waterfalls from heaven anymore. Cold and very wet, I turned to the East, on my own again.

Highway 16 brought me back to familiar territory: farms and hills, just like in Germany or France. And the traffic on the road seem to multiply by the second. Smithers was my first rest stop and I wish I could have stayed there a bit longer. No, this time I was on a schedule as I had to get to Prince George for my new speedometer cable and service on the bike. This is a really ‘big’ city with a beautiful park, but that’s all there is to see. The service hurt my wallet big time, so I wasn’t too much inclined to stay around, although all the men around were very keen to help me when I had to do some re-service on my bike myself. From the cold in Prince Rupert to the hot weather in Prince George, I was ready to get some fresh air further eastward.

And so I entered Happy Holiday Land (also known as the Rockies). Although I didn’t need to show my passport, I did have to pay almost 60 dollar for a visa, but at least in this land you can stay for a whole year. Not everyone seems to welcome me however, as I got attacked by a wasp who entered my sleeve while I was riding on my bike. His present came to me in the form of the Popeye forearm, which isn’t really handy for anything. But I seem to be able to mingle in with the rest of the million people that travel these lands. It’s funny to see how you really can tell the difference between people who are rich and who are not. Rich people move around in big white cans, where others don’t have the means to get by and have to walk or bicycle all the way. I met a lot of people who couldn’t afford the gondola up the (Whistler) mountain and had to hike all the way to the top. Poor ones! Well, I did my good deed and joined them, just to show that I can use my feet too (finally). As I moved further down this fabulous fairy tale land with huge rocky mountains (who seem to be very shy as they hide themselves in the clouds) and clear blue lakes, I really got in to this ‘doing good deeds’ thing. At Louis Lake I accompanied a couple from Quebec to protect them from the bears, because they seem to be everywhere. As a matter of fact, Canada wins the Bear Contest by far from Alaska as I see bears every day (on the bike). But not when I’m walking, because I am fully loaded with bells, sprays and bangers. And to be extra kind to this couple, I let them drive me back to my hostel so I wouldn’t have to get through this big scary forest full with bear warnings again. Just to ease their mind. Uhhh, or was it my mind??

Now I find myself at the tail of the Rockies, or the center of Happy Holiday Land: Banff. From Jasper in the north to Banff in the south is one big rollercoaster ride. I realize that I’ve been rushing too much through this super fantastic land and so I promised myself to return some day……..that actually means next week in my journey. First I’ll pay a visit to Calgary and Drumheller and then I’ll loop back to the Icefield Park Highway for a second run. Just because I can do it!

SYL,

Annemieke, 28 August 2013

Reacties 6

Patrick 29-08-2013 12:01

Hoi Annemiek,
Zo te lezen heb je het nog steeds "bere naar je zin"! Letterlijk en figuurlijk! Het voordeel van zo`n lange reis is dat je de tijd hebt om terug te gaan naar de plaatsen die echt de moeite waard zijn. Blijf lekker genieten! Groetjes,
Patrick

Adri 01-09-2013 08:37

Heerlijk om te lezen, Annemieke. Ga zo door!

Peter 05-09-2013 22:34

Hoi Annemieke, wat een geweldige reis tot nu toe zeg. Gelukkig heb je bij ons goed leren (be) sturen zo kun je tenminste alle beren die je op je weg tegen komt omzeilen! Geniet er maar goed van.

Nicoline 06-09-2013 19:28

Ik vind het weer zo leuk om te lezen! Ben supertrots op je zus! En nu ben je ook in gebied waar ik 13 jaar geleden geweest ben! It brings back good memories!

Sue 07-09-2013 22:40

Ik geniet ontzettend van je verhalen - wat een geweldige reis ben je aan het maken. Blijf genieten !!

Peter 08-09-2013 11:32

Hoi Annemieke, wat een geweldige reis tot nu toe zeg. Gelukkig heb je bij ons goed leren (be) sturen zo kun je tenminste alle beren die je op je weg tegen komt omzeilen! Geniet er maar goed van.

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