Photo Update #3

Current location: Yoho National Park, BC. On route to reunite with Wendy and Charlie in Calgary. I can’t wait!!!

I’m so happy to be riding and camping again. Goodbye hitchhiking and hostels, hello sleeping bag and wheels!

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Oh thank god. . . (Hope, BC)

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The Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park.

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French Beach Provincial Park, BC- Where I met Wendy and Charlie!

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Surviving the ferry to Victoria.

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The Beez Kneez Backpackers Hostel, Whitehorse.

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One of the many bunking options at Beez Kneez.

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Bertha!! The friendly sled dog at Beez Kneez.

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Beez Kneez again.

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The Yukon River.

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Backseat riding in Whitehorse.

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Carcross, YT

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Hiking along the Klondike Highway, YT.

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Skagway River, AK.

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White Pass, Yukon Route to Skagway, AK.

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Hello from Skagway, AK!

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An attempt to raise funds to pay for the 120$ room in Vancouver…

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Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (Cliffwalk), BC.

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Hike through Yoho National Park this morning!

Sleeping on the Streets in Vancouver

Well, not really the street- more like the park beside the street.

Current location: Vancouver, BC
11:40 am

Tonight’s hostel is a luxurious upgrade from last night’s residency. After hiking along the side of the highway from the airport (roughly three and a half hours), I showed up in a very posh community barefooted and wearing clothes that I haven’t taken off for three days. I wish I was still in Whitehorse, or better yet, beautiful Carcross!

My legs didn’t move as quickly as I had hoped they would, so I didn’t make it to the dealership to fetch the motorbike in time. My camping gear was still strapped to the back fender so I called every hostel in the phone book hoping to find a cheap bunk. The only one that had a bed was $120 dollars, which surpasses my sleeping budget by a long shot.

I slept under a shrub and tree in David Lam Park. My mattress was topsoil and my blanket was my camping towel and map. It wasn’t all that bad, but I didn’t move all night because I didn’t want to frighten someone taking a stroll down the beautiful boardwalk.

I was rudely awakened by a sprinkler system at 3:00am which drenched everything I currently own. I had no other option but to join the pools of fellow insomniacs walking out their frustration at unsightly hours of the morning.

I ate breakfast at four, picked up the motorbike, and am now hoping to leave Vancouver though I don’t have a route planned yet.

It hasn’t been 24 hours but I already miss the Yukon. Come back to me!

But guess what. My bike is back and ready to go! How I’ve missed winds embrace and the feeling of the hot sun on my hands!

Remember, keep your head up and mind set. You’re so lovely!

Misinterpretations

Current location: Skagway, AK

Bitch defined: A person who is completely subservient to another.
“she will always be his bitch”

Also known as my absolute least favourite term in the English language.

Hostels offer a great option for travellers to collect and develop a certain intamacy to eachother. We bond over our experiences, our lacking money, the layers of sweat caked to our skin, and the smell of adventures that are still fresh on our bodies.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Jack*, who has been staying at the same hostel as I. We sealed our friendship over our only common characteristic: we both ride motorbikes. We’ve spent the evenings together walking out of town and collecting rocks to make inukshuks along the roads. I was so excited when he offered to take me on the back of his motorbike- it would be my second backseat ride! Finally- I could see parts of the Northwest on two wheels!

He carelessly sped down the highway hideously above the speed limit. He rode with his five ‘buddies’, one of whom had his young daughter sitting in what they all kept calling the ‘bitch seat’. This is the motorcycle culture I’ve tried so hard to avoid.

Jack and his friends were disgustingly derogatory. How can you repetitively call women bitches when there’s a woman right behind you, and someones young daughter is sitting in the shadow of her father (a father who also happens to be joking around about ‘bitches that love to wrap their legs around [him]‘).How dare you speak about my body and try to touch me the way you did, even when I told you not to. How did such a seemingly fun person completely transform?

Jack parted from his friends and brought me to a dingy cabin on some remote road. I kept lying and saying that I felt tired, that I was coming down with something. I was ready to run into the woods and bushwhack my way back to Ontario.

Anyways, I made it back to the hostel here with all of my limbs intact. While I’m out during the day, I return to the hostel in the evenings and immediately dive into my bunk so Jack thinks I’m sleeping. I go out of my way to avoid him. I can’t wait until I can return to my tent and spend the evenings in the woods.

So Dad:
Thank you for teaching me how to ride the right way. Thank you for never introducing me to typical ‘biker culture’. And thank you for showing me that I’m better than that!

 

*Name changed for privacy reasons.

Photo update soon, I promise.

Bathing in the Yukon River

Current location: Beez Kneez Hostel, Whitehorse, YT

Finally, I feel clean!

I had originally planned to rent a kayak and paddle to Schwatka Lake, but there was a two person minimum so I rented a bicycle instead. I peddled over to Miles Canyon, ditched the bicycle in the woods, and hiked along the Yukon River Loop Trail hoping to avoid the pools tourists photographing the Robert Lowe Bridge that crosses the Yukon River and canyon. Five kilometers away from the bridge the trail narrows and foot traffic seemed to die off.

I hadn’t originally planned to go for a swim because of the strong current, but the dirt from the trail was sticking to my skin and the river was so enticing.

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The water was freezing and the current was strong but I couldn’t stop myself! How can you when the water is crystal clear and there isn’t a person in sight? I don’t know how long I swam for, but after returning to the banks to put my clothes back on, my fingers where practically translucent and my toes looked like prunes.

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How lovely the Yukon River is, how pretty the sun feels on my skin! Life is so perfect, how could I have ever thought otherwise!

Anyways, I won’t keep you, but after stumbling up the banks to return to the trail (recollecting most of the dirt I washed off), I picked up my first souvenir, pictured  below.

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Oh, and after returning to the bicycle, a group of  travelers winked and asked,  ‘was the water cold?’
Oops.

Goodbye Motorbike, Hello Whitehorse!

Current location: Beez Kneez Hostel, Whitehorse, YT

30 days of riding has turned into 24 days or riding, 6 days of hiking and hitchhiking, and a few hours of flying. I left my bike at a dealership in Vancouver (technical and fuel troubles) but caught a flight to Whitehorse. Lacking space in the cabin meant that I ended up with a free ticket to ‘first class’ from economy so I was spoiled with a plethora of free warm foods and drinks! The gentleman beside me even gave me the window seat!

I hitchhiked from the airport to the hostel, got offered a job with an RV company (don’t worry dad, I turned it down. . .), and spent the evening with other travellers watching a can-can show, exploring downtown, and exchanging ideas and support.

I’m on my way to the airport to meet up with Marsha, a woman I happen to serve coffee to in Toronto, then spend the day and night with her and her family in a little cabin outside of Whitehorse. I’m so nervous! I tried to wash my shirt in the hostel kitchen sink and now it’s damp and wrinkly. I’m going to make such a poor first impression!

I’m not sure where I’ll be tomorrow, but I’m excited for wherever that is. I’m going with the wind even though I don’t have to motorbike as my guide!

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Red Lipstick

Current location: Merritt, BC

Two showers in the past ten days has left me standing with pools of soil, sand, and road dust at my feet.

Ten days ago, I packed red lipstick thinking that I was doing myself a favour. I thought that when I hadn’t showered for days or when I walked around a downtown somewhere, I could somehow look cleaner and feel prettier by wearing lipstick.

How silly of me.

My hair may resemble old straw, my palms may be covered with soil, my boots may be full of sand, and I may not be wearing red lipstick, but I’ve never felt more beautiful.

RIP lipstick.
Buried in Kamloops, BC.
Never remembered.

Photo Update

Current location: Calgary, AB
Feeling: Nostalgic for trees, leaves, shrubs, and shade

I can’t say much about my brief time in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, only that I’m thankful it’s over (for now). While the Prairies are vast and beautiful, I’m ready to move beyond the clear-cut terrane and the lacking gas stations. More frustrating, though, is the overwhelmingly strong winds that sweep over the Manitoban and Saskatchewan segments of the Trans-Can. I almost blew right off the road! Alberta has been better, but I’m ready for the Rockies!

Below you’ll find a few photos from the past few days.

Aloha Saskatchewan!

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Red Rock Coulee, SE AB

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The Stampede!

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And lastly, Motocross.

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Purple Gas and Mr. Mahon

Current location: Regina, SK

For those of you that are not familiar with the provincial licence plate statements, Manitoba’s reads ‘Friendly Manitoba’. It’s true- I’ve never met such a friendly population.

I chose to stray from the Trans-Canada after Portage La Prarie (where I finally got to stand in the presence of the worlds biggest Coka-Cola can) and travel along a more remote road. I drove that gruelling straight-line road without passing a person, car, or home for 140km when I realized that there barley any fuel in my tank. I sat in the middle of that isolated ‘highway’ in the beating sun for at least 30 minutes until a gentleman towing a livestock trailer came by.

He told me that there wasn’t gas for another 40 miles. I think he could tell I was anxious, so he said that everything was going to work out, and no matter what, he’d help me. He drove behind me to Holland, where we found that the gas station was dry. He continued to reassure me, and said that he understood because he has daughter- Tammy Mahon. Tammy Mahon is Canada’s strongest volleyball player who plays on the national team.

This gentleman called his son and less than five minutes later, they had filled my tank with purple gas. He didn’t want a single penny for the fuel. Because of this man, I made it to Brandon, Manitoba. I’ve met many wonderful people in the past seven days, but I’m so lucky to have gotten stuck at the time I did and in the place I did. Thank you, Mr. Mahon. You have no idea how much your help meant to me. When I think of Manitoba, I will think of you.

Field Notes and Photos

New Setback: Faulty battery and poor fuel/air ratios in the engine of the motorbike. The bike is spending a night at the Harley dealership.

Current Location: Super 8, Winnipeg. I had to hike here from the dealership. I was able to get $50 off of the regular price of a room simply because I may have exaggerated the truth (sorry mom!) by claiming that I was a free-spirited hitchhiker in need of a cheap room, closet, bathroom stall, or any usable sleeping space. I haven’t showered in four days, so I think I looked the part. Thanks university for teaching me how to put forth a convincing argument!

Photographs:

Ouimet Canyon, Dorion. It may not be the Grand Canyon, but it’s certainly grand to me!

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The tow truck ride to Thunder Bay subsequent to my silly decision to ride up a steep gravel road. For the record, the mechanic at the dealership was phenomenal and took the time to fix my throttle even after the dealership had closed.

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Lunch with two lovely hitchhikers in Ignace. Both are on route to new beginnings.

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Don’t forget: life is perfect! You are wonderful!

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A Misadventure

Location: East Loon Lake Rd
Attempting to: make the steep climb on a gravel road to get to an amethyst mine.
The result: a tipped bike, a busted throttle, and a tow truck ride to Thunder Bay (in two hours)

If it wasn’t for David and those four other people that came by 10 minutes after my spill, I’d still be lying here with my food stuck under my wheel. But thanks to them, my foot is intact, I have new friends, and I have a tow truck coming.

So it’s going to be okay, right? Ill get to Thunder Bay by dark, camp a night, then go get replacement parts at the dealership tomorrow. I’ll still reach the Yukon, right?

In the mean time, I think I’ll change into shorts and a tank top, climb to the top of this road, work on a tan, and wait it out. It is what it is, I can’t change it. Life is still beautiful.

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