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August 5th, 2011 - Mile 0, Alaska Highway By GP

It looked as if I would ride right into the face of the mountain, but the Rockies were still 80km away. The highway north from Calgary was deceiving, the Rockies appear so close but it feels as if it takes forever to reach them.

 Once in Banff National Park I was again taken back by the scenery, mountains on both sides of me, a glacier river running beside the road and not a cloud in the sky. I had been to this area a few years ago but not by motorcycle, and it seems much different this time. I decided to avoid the tourist trap of Banff and just did a quick drive through. Instead of stopping at Lake Louise I decided to visit Moraine Lake about 14km away from Lake Louise. Moraine lake is smaller, less visited and just a beautiful as Lake Louise.  My next major stop was Athabasca Falls close to the park exit at Jasper. A must see for anyone visiting the area.

Stopping to take photos and ending up in great conversations with interesting people made for a fun day but not one of great distances. I camped for the night in Hinton Alberta at the most northern KOA campground.

Morning arrived with the heaviest dew I have experienced so far on this adventure. Waiting for my tent to dry delayed my departure. I was determined to reach Dawson Creek BC today and the beginning of the Alaska Highway, mile 0. Taking highway 40 out of Hinton, the “scenic route to Alaska”, proved to be just that, scenic. Mountains to my left, valleys to the right, twists and turns in the road and warning signs “Next gas 184km”. Making it to Grand Prairie for lunch was not a problem.

The problems came after lunch. Rain clouds move in, put rain gear on, rain clouds move out, now I am hot, take rain gear off, rain comes, now I am wet.  Rain gear goes back on before I get even wetter, Ok it’s staying on, no its not I am hot again, no dummy leave the rain gear on. I get splashed with mud by a small convoy of logging trucks. See, rain gear on was a good thing, but the bike is dirty.

I finally reach Dawson Creek and the rain gear comes off – for good. I get the customary photo in front of the “World Famous Alaska Highway” sign.  Feeling exhausted from the rain gear dance I decide to push on to Fort St. John and get a room for the night. The hotel has a room, a hose for me to wash my bike and ice for the Glenlivet. Life is good.

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