Week 3 Review from Janine
Written by Janine Marek, the Ignite Possibilities Tour Bus Driver
This past week went super-fast even though I drive super-slow! We left Fort Nelson July 10 and have had no cell service for the past 6 days. The adults felt this to be very freeing and incredibly satisfying being one with nature and not feeling the need to check phones or email messages. The teens on the other hand weren’t as excited about this new and soon to be continued reality of ours. The service is limited and I’m on a time line so this note is coming at you fast and furious!
July 10 home for the night was a gravel pit close to Tetsa River. This was a quiet little spot along the highway that came with a unique early morning adventure. We needed a dry out center from the torrential down pour the cyclists were caught in the day prior. After they took off I set to work putting out the gear to dry behind the motorhome. Several trips later I had everything hanging in the sun and felt the need for a nature call but instead of heading to the bush I go back for another load. As I turn to head back a very large black bear comes meandering out of the exact trees I was about to head into!! Jorja and I stood at the door of the camper ready to dive in at any second but watched instead as he sniffed out the cycling gear and took off back into the trees. With blood flow well tweaked we carry on with morning chores, it was a pretty thrilling way to start the day!
July 11 home tonight was by the Racing River Bridge. The cyclists had scoped out a well-hidden little piece of heaven on their bike that I totally would have missed driving by as the approach was very small and not too inviting to drive down into by any stretch of the imagination, BUT in we went and with a little jostling of the camper we sat with a perfect view of the Racing river right out our window. It was lovely to have supper and breakfast sitting by the fresh water’s edge.
July 12 was lake side camping on a pull out beside Muncho Lake. The highway winds too close to lakeside for my liking as it comes with a ton of switchbacks and narrow corners often met with tractor trailers of various shapes and sizes. Driving along this beautiful lake, which is said to be the largest in northern B.C. was pristine and beautiful views, with calming waters and a beautiful sunset, a lovely place to be able to call home for the night.
July 13 Liard River Hotsprings. This was another beautiful stop that we had been looking forward to for a couple of days. Getting there had another unique experience as there are wild Wood bison everywhere up here and we had to drive past a large herd that stampeded when the bike went by nerve wracking for me but I caught it on film proving you still can’t roller-skate in a buffalo herd but you can cycle in one (Rodger Miller) The campsite at the hot springs had a huge electric fence around it to keep the bears and critters out so Jorja and I pitched a tent for some bear free fresh air sleeping, but Holy Mosquito Batman!! Being in the land of marsh and muskeg its perfect breeding ground for these spiteful creatures. So bad in fact that Citronella coils burning INSIDE the buildings. We manage to continue our adventure staying positive and embracing our environment but with the help of several extra layers of Deet
July 14 we found a nice approach somewhere between the now defunct Fireside motel and the popular Allen’s look out. The vista breath taking but prior to climbing the hill we spot a nice little road leading nowhere tucked into a wide approach so decide this shall be home, we backed in and set up camp for a peaceful night’s sleep.
July 15 HELLO YUKON TERRITORY! We’re excited to cross the border, but in reality we’d crossed it several times as the highway weaves itself over and back for many miles. At the third or fourth border crossing we get stopped. Paper work ensued as did phone calls because they didn’t know what to do with us. We are the first cyclists coming through since Covid and even though the grip has loosened elsewhere there are still many restrictions in place north of 60. We pass the exam and get the get outta jail free card and off we go with a smile on our faces happy hearts. We drive right through Watson Lake and stay at a place called Nugget City where we get to plug into the side of the restaurant free of charge and spent our first night in the Yukon!
July 16 we wake to a very cold rain and with it being all day business for Jb and Peter. We need to head back into Watson Lake as there is literally only a 15 kilometer stretch of highway that has cell service and we were outside that zone – oh the challenges of needing technology in the wilderness!
Summary: Driving the Alaska Highway, even though it’s a Major transport route is quiet and inviting to be on. With driving in my blood I think of my dad daily and wave to every trucker that goes by, like him I too love to stop and chat up the locals – which they find a little overbearing post Covid. A favorite unique experience so far is when the girls play their Ukulele while I drive; it feels like I’m driving in a motion picture just me and the open road. Things are going great; I’m still in love with my job. The weathers been good, roads have been amazing, I enjoy having the road side picnics with people as excited about exploring the scenery as I am. The family is kind, generous, respectful and fun. I couldn’t ask for a better summer job – I pinch myself! Stay tuned and follow along the adventure