Since entering the Yukon, we have prepared ourselves for even more wilderness and less human interaction. We have been pleasantly surprised with how many people we have met, with an overwhelming amount flagging us down on the road.
We’ve had cars stopped to hand us a coke, offer us energy bars, dinner, beer, or a high five to keep up going. People have stopped us to give us tips on where to camp, or tell us we can stay on their property where there is more protection from the weather. We’ve even had a First Nation elder teach us how to use local plants for healing wounds and minor sickness. And although usually we try to keep safe distances from large vehicles, some of our best stories so far have been the few RVs that have stopped to flag us down.
The first RV was driven by our new friend Stan, who happen to be the first man to have bicycled across 6 continents! Knowing exactly what bicycle tourists need, he enthusiastically offered us water, energy bars and socks. He told us stories about his many adventures, we asked him tips and advice about our journey and he offered up his daughter’s home in LA for when we pass through. Jokingly saying he’ll fly out for a visit when we are in LA, we have a good feeling we’ll be seeing Stan again. Check out his website.
Our second RV was a Latvian man who waved us down on our first day in British Columbia. Instead of asking us “If” we needed anything, Raimond asked “What” it is we need. After reassuring him we had just stocked up, he was not satisfied. He searched his RV, gave me some energy packets and then welcomed us in for a drink and dinner. (One thing you learn quickly while bikeliving is to swallow your pride and take any generosity that is handed to you.) Dinner was excellent, but Raimond’s stories were even better. As a 7 time biathlon champion, previous Olympian, and the star of not one but TWO documentaries about his incredible roller ski journey from the Arctic to Baja, and his journey traveling by canoe more that 3000 miles on the Yukon river, I couldn’t get enough of his stories. Before we knew it, it was past midnight and we were spending a night in Raimond’s RV. The next morning we woke to our first snow fall and a warm breakfast before taking on the cold. We said our goodbyes to Raimond, he gave us names of his many contacts along our route and we assured him we’d be coming to ski at his mountain in Latvia some day.
One of our best ‘flag downs’ was actually a big white van built perfectly for long roadtrips. Just as we were keeping our eyes out for a place to pitch a tent in the forest along the highway, this white van pulls over and out jumps a guy cheering and waving his arms. “Wohoo! You guys are awesome! I love bicycle tourists!” If only we could end every day with high fives from strangers offering us cold beer. Lucky for us, they had been looking for a place to camp as well and with a gravel road just ahead, we found a perfect place to hide a tent and a big white van. Brady and Diana cooked us an amazing dinner and we swapped travel stories for hours around a fire. I admired their adventurous, yet relaxed approach to life as we learned more about them. They worked seasonal jobs in Alaska and Colorado, which allowed them to mix in with road trips and world travel. They lived simply but their stories and many travel tips, made them some of the richest people in my book. They sent us off in the next morning with a big breakfast and a group hug.
Although bicycle touring Canada has shown to be risky in September, we’ve found that the race with winter is easier with support and encouragement from our friends on the road.