Hi from Kalispell, Montana.
Catch-Up – July 10th from Montana
Yes, it has been a few days – we had two nights with no internet and two nights with slow – really slow – wifI.
I have to admit, we were both pretty shattered. We’ve ridden just under 5,000 miles and are in need of a break from riding; just 3 days would be great but we will have to find somewhere away from the tourist traps in order to get a room for a decent rate. Tomorrow we will start heading back east – but slowly.
The motel we are in at the moment, a Motel 6 (cheap for this area at $70 a night – no fridge or microwave and $2.99 to use the internet) does have a laundry room though, so I washed our riding gear; the splattered bugs were beginning to look and smell like toxic waste! I expect we were beginning to pong a bit too when wearing them. Now they are soft and fresh – if not exactly sparkling.
OK, so, to catch up.
I’ll just add photos with commentary when needed.
The Final Fill-Up before Stewart BC and Hyder Alaska
and we were soon on the Alaska Highway
The road was pretty with wildflowers and snow-capped mountains either side of us, but it wasn’t yet in the league of the ride through the Canadian Rockies
The road was pretty good apart from one or two sections – this is a temporary wooden bridge in use until the real road is repaired after being washed away!
There were lots of rocky areas and Jan went bear-hunting…. actually, he thought he saw a fox
More glaciers along the way
Stewart is the town on the Canadian side of the border and here you can find the only gas station for many miles; you will also usually find plenty of bikers there having a coffee and Snickers
This group of two guys and one girl were riding their BMWs back to Washington after getting as far as Tok – and camping for the whole trip. We would bump into them another 4 times – in the Liquor Store back in Smithers and also we would share the same motel
We never even thought to buy the Alaska sticker 😦
The USA Border Patrol – deserted
And the road… just ended really
Hyder was pretty much an abandoned ghost town – although, there was a bar, motel and campground
But beware – you MUST be old enough to drink alcohol in Hyder
No idea who would arrest you if you break the law though!
We rode to the end of town and found that if you turn left at the corner, you came to an inlet of the sea!
We did go into the bar for a cold drink – but we didn’t get hyderised
Hyder has some notoriety as the place where people become ‘Hyderized’ Two of the town’s bars issue certifications to patrons of being “Hyderized” if the patron consumes a shot of 150 proof (75% alcohol) Everclear.
I think this gives an idea of the last time the bar was decorated….
Hyder is located at the head of the Portland Canal, a 71-mile (114 km) long fjord which forms a portion of the border between the U.S. and Canada at the southeastern edge of the Alaska Panhandle. Hyder is about 2 miles (3.2 km) from Stewart, BC by road.
The Nisga’a, who lived around the Nass River, called the head of Portland Canal “Skam-A-Kounst,” meaning safe place, probably because it served them as a retreat from the harassment of the Haidas on the coast. They traveled in the area seasonally to pick berries and hunt birds.
The area around the Portland Canal was explored in 1896 by Captain D.D. Gaillard of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In 1898, gold and silver lodes were discovered in the region, mainly on the Canadian side, in the upper Salmon River basin. The Stewart brothers, for whom the British Columbia town was named, arrived in 1902.
Hyder was originally called Portland City, after the canal. In 1914, when the U.S. Postal Service told residents that there were many U.S. communities named Portland, it was renamed Hyder, after Frederick Hyder, a Canadian mining engineer who envisioned a bright future for the area. Hyder was the only practical point of access to the silver mines in Canada; the community became the port, supply point, and post office for miners by 1917. Hyder’s boom years were the 1920s, when the Riverside Mine on the U.S. side extracted gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, and tungsten. The mine operated from 1924 to 1950.
In 1948, the abandoned part of Hyder, which was built on pilings, was destroyed by fire. By 1956 all significant mining had ceased, except for the Granduc Mine on the Canadian side, which operated until 1984. Currently, Westmine Resources Ltd. operates the only remaining mine in the area, a gold-and-silver mine on the Canadian side.
The canal is the last winter-accessible waterway in the winter time. It seemed there was still a little industry in business. I spoke to a man who told me he used to deliver iron ore to Hyder; he rode his truck 1,000 kms every day for pay of $300 a day, winter and summer. In the winter, he could take hours and hours to get there.
Well, we had spent – ooh, around 20 minutes in Alaska – now it was time to turn around and go back to Canada
Now, the Canadian border patrol are usually very nice – but I had this sudden anxiety hit me…. what if they wouldn’t let us back in? As we stood waiting for the Customs Officer to check our passports, I envisioned having to build a raft and escape by drifting down the Portland Canal – but I think I already told you that.
But the kind man allowed us back into his country and we rode off merrily on our way – back to Smithers.
A big thrill and a huge AWWW moment was seeing a black bear and her young cub sitting munching on flowers by the side of the road
Oh, and the sun came out 🙂
I’ll be back as soon as I can to show you some photos from the return ride through the Canadian Rockies and Mount Robson – oh, and to tell you about the bike refusing to start!