Whoever told us the Cassiar Highway was paved all the way lies!
As soon as we turned south onto the Cassiar, the road narrowed and turned into gravel, with thick forest either side creating the feel of a secondary forestry road rather than a main highway between Vancouver and Alaska. It continued to rain and it wasn't long before the mud and grit clogged up my gears and brakes. After only 5km my chain snapped again. Alex and I spent a while fixing it in the rain on the side of the gravel road. I put on my spare chain as the other one was worn out after so many miles.
We carried on in the rain with only the occasional truck or RV passing. It felt spooky and quite scary knowing we could stumble across a black bear at any time. Alex set up a saucepan on his bike, like a make shift electronic drum kit, to bang with a fork in the event of any bears.
We didn't get far down the road that night and ended up camping by Blue Lake. Our tents and clothes were soaked as there was no way to dry them so we struggled to motivate ourselves putting wet clothes on in the rain the next day. We were also low on food which did not help our moral.
The following afternoon we arrived at Boya Lake where the sun came out for a little while so we were able to dry our tents. I realised my rear tyre was flat and that the yellow patch on the tyre now went all the way round. I said farewell to my old tyre and deposited it into a bear bin, patched the tube and put on my spare folding tyre - I was glad I had packed it and carried it all this way. I must get to internet soon to try and order some new tyres to be sent my friend Heidi's flat in Vancouver - we aim to be there at the end of the month.
I had become a little used to people being really generous and offering food and water when we were further up north - now it didn't seem to happen so much. That was my feeling anyway and Alex and I were starting to loose moral and energy levels were dropping after over a week on the road. Our food was low as we hadn't been able to get any food at Junction 37 between the Alaskan and Cassiar Highways - the last place to buy supplies was a week ago in Whitehorse. Tony, a motorbiker came past and stopped while we rested on the ground on the side of the road. Tony gave us a tin of beans and some noodles - this really boosted us. At Boya Lake Jim and Louise O'Brien gave us some tinned soup, salmon and beers and offered for us to visit them in their pub in Victoria, Vancouver Island in 3 weeks - DEAL. Judy and Gerry Carruthers from B.C gave us some chocolate, hamburger meat, peanuts, almonds and apples - we devoured all the food that day we were so hungry. The following day Judy and Gerry past us in their RV as they drove down and stopped to say Hi. Judy was so kind and had baked us some cookies the night before. Again the cookies vanished before their RV had veered around the corner - Thank you all so much - it turns out people are as kind wherever you are - we just needed to improve our 'homeless and hungry' appearance.
Mechanical issues continued the next day when Alex got another flat. The inner tube was beyond repair but then we found that we had been sold the wrong size inner tubes by the shop attendant in Anchorage. After several hours of not knowing how we were going to get Alex's tyre pumped up, we decided to try the smaller tube that wasn't the right size in the hope it would last us as far as Vancouver Island, over 1000km away where we could buy spare parts. We are still going with no flats so far...fingers crossed - its very remote here and we are looking forward to some home comforts and urban civilisation again.
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