Wild Animals, Rain, and A Hot Finish, Day 5 From Missoula

Posted on July 7, 2010


Within 10 minutes of leaving camp, Jesse spotted the first deer of the day, looking like it needed to jump in front of a motorcyclist to make its doe day … but she held off, perhaps waiting for the rumble of a Harley instead.

By noon two black bears and an eagle were seen on the side of the road. Rudi and Jesse were much refreshed after a good night’s sleep and were making tracks heading for Fort Nelson and then into the Canadian Rockies again.

Be prepared for lots of road work in Canada as it’s a short season to repair winter-damaged pavement. Most repair sections in Canada are shorter than in Alaska, where they can go on for twenty miles or more. Usually the flag person (almost all are women) will signal motorcyclist to come to the head of the line to avoid getting hit with gravel or coated with dust. Be polite, says Rudi, and patient.

Miles of Repair Await the Motorcyclist. It's said that over 200 miles of gravel travel can be expected for those who choose to stay on the Alaskan Hiway and other major roads on a round trip ride to Alaska from the U.S.

The rains came at 10 a.m. and stayed with the riders for most of the rest of the day. Not a hard rain, but cool and steady. This is where the waterproof fabric riding suits earn their keep, and the guys stayed relatively warm and dry. Rudi says you get used to riding just this short of shivering. Oh yeah, Rudi had packed two electric vests to use on days like the last three, but had neglected to pack them on the bikes in Montana. So while the guys suffered, two warm vests lay quietly in Missoula, the motorcycle gods laughing at Rudi the whole time.

An afternoon caribou sighting followed by a few large woods buffalo rounded out the wildlife for the day. Rudi met a a rider from Gainesville, Georgia, at a rest stop, on a Suzuki VStrom, and the two traded lies for a while. Steve waited for the boys and followed them for a while before bailing out at beautiful Muncho Lake and a night inside the lodge there.

Jesse Pulls Into Our Liard Hot Springs Campsite in a Drizzle.

Rudi And Jesse motored on toward their day’s goal, the Liard (rhymes with “weird”) Hot Springs Park for a night of tent camping. Ooops! The campsite is full, it still being Canada Day weekend, and Canadians taking full advantage of their great outdoors resource. The ranger says we can look at setting up in the day use area by the parking lot, and that’s what they did. Five feet from truck bumpers and just close enough to the path to the hot springs for walkers to trip on their tent lines all night, Rudi and Jesse settled in for the evening.

Jesse Coolin' It After Five Days of No Showers

Their visit to the actual hot springs deserves a post all its own, and another Rudi moment is about to occur.


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