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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Brian & Deya met in Vancouver Canada. After a few years together we were married and made choices. One was not to have children the other was not to take life for granted. The rest is yet to come.

July 30, 2009

Return to the 49th parallel

Once your at the Arctic Circle you don't have much choice but to got back. Of course you could carry on but with a time frame to keep in mind there's not a lot of choice. I have to admit though, the thought of returning saddened me. The North has a magic to it, I can't describe it, I'm not going to try.

On the route back we tested the limits of our fuel capacity, this challenge was issued by Chuck, though I don't think he meant it to be a challenge but a challenge it was. We took a lot of pictures, while riding Deya had the camera out and was shooting for 500 pics. Some worked out, others did not, the intention was to only have a few really good ones. The return seemed a little more hurried and a little less exciting; I really wasn't motivated to leave. Regardless, the weather was good and Chuck is a fine traveling partner. As luck would have it we made it all the back off the Dempster and to the petrol station with one liter of fuel to spare. Outstanding! The odometer read 390 km on 20 liters of fuel.

Our friends, the family, from Duncan BC were there. We chatted for a bit and the legend of Little Buddy began; it's a bit of a story and to save any humiliation I'll just say little buddy was a decent fellow, interesting and very insecure. I'm glad to have met the fellow and to have a story to remember, I hope he made it back in one piece though he might prefer to have been martyred up on the hill somewhere.

We headed into Dawson City to spend the night and intended to stay at the 5th Ave B&B. A fabulous spot hosted by fabulous people, a public servant and a talented entertainer. There we met several Texans who had paddled there way down the Yukon River from Whitehorse for 40 hours straight winning some kind of insane competition. We also met the folks who had left the Circle with the wounded GS650.

The GS650 was still very problematic and required some creativity, the baling wire trick came into play and apparently got them out of Dawson and closer to home. The problem with a breakdown when you are out in the sticks is that you are out in the sticks and many of the best options, like CAA, are not available.

After leaving Dawson City we neared Junction 37. An important point because this is where the Cassiar Highway starts and since we never took the Alaskan highway we had to decide. We stopped for fuel and decided, Watson Lake on the Alaskan Highway was our direction for the day but as we forged on the sky grew darker and colder and the lighting thundered in only miles away. We turned around and headed back for the junction to hide, in fact we sheltered under a closed petrol station. We made lunch and decided to wait it out, the lightning pounded all around us and rain was coming down in buckets. The oddity of going from 24 hours of sunshine to the cold darkness of night was demoralizing. We took it though and waited for the heavy clouds to pass and so they did and we headed South down the Cassiar having decided that fate told us to do so.

It rained and rained and rained and at some point we stopped to find that our spare tire had slipped and rubbed against the knobbies eating a hole in it. The rear spare was done so we found a suitable road side garbage can and left it behind. Sad really, it still had life and would have made a few things easier for us down the road, but alas, I don't think were here for easy.

We missed Stewart on the way up and so made sure to find it on the way down and what a lovely find it was. A beautiful route in and a quaint little town tucked under the glaciers and in front of the inlet. Hyder Alaska was close, hundreds of metres away and so we went for a look. The Canadian customs people were there keeping the hooligans out but to our surprise there was no US customs, no police and Hyder for all intents and purposes was a dump, literally a lawless place. The worst was the Canadians who where there, were behaving badly, an unfortunate sight to see. The best was meeting Jud from Georgia, an adventure rider on a sport touring bike, outstanding! We met Jud back in Stewart and headed to a charity pick nick for the kids, the food was great and we had a good time. Jud returned to Hyder were he, regrettably, had accommodations as the story goes. That same evening we met another couple who were traveling and camping in the lodge, they were sneaking Internet. So funny and enjoyable, we went for a beer with these charming folks from Saskatchewan who had retired to Mill Bay on Vancouver Island.

After leaving Stewart we headed to Smithers to stay with our friends again, oddly enough our fellow adventurers Micha and Flo were in Smithers at the same time but we never knew. We enjoyed our stay but were now only one day from home and thoughts of work, chores and the mundane repetition of the daily grind began to return to our thoughts. We headed back, the feeling of contentment gone now and only the road and the silence in our helmets to keep us free. The final day coming back and for a few days afterwards I felt angry, I wasn't angry at anything in particular but felt angst and I'm not sure why, like someone woke me to soon from a perfect sleep.

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