Best Plate Olympics
Sunday, September 18, 2005
We've been on the road for 55 straight days with 3,000 miles of riding and keeping weight on has become an important issue. Again, we figured that the best way to solve this problem is with another beersks drinking bet that also involves the wide array of roadside trucker stops and mom & pops restaurants that are in abundant supply in southern B.C.
Rules are simple.
1) At any point along our route we can designate a roadside eatery as the venue for competition. The restaurant cannot be a chain, it must be the only of it's kind in the world and preferably a "Trucker Stop".
2) There is a 3 minute time restriction to review the menu and place an order, he who places the first order sets the price and gives the other competitor a 30% plus or minus range from which he can select a menu item.
3) The best plate is judged on three main categories a) presentation b) mass/girth c) taste d) variety of flavor.
4) The best plate Olympiad is a best of 5 contest.
5) The loser must purchase a six-pack of America's finest beer as soon as we cross the border to the lower 48 states from Vancouver. He will carry this six-pack for 120 miles from the border to Gregg's house in Seattle where all 6 beersks will immediately be consumed to celebrate our 5000K of cycling!
Round 1 - Venue - Whistle Stop Pub and Country Kitchen, Hixon, B.C.
Brooks dominated round one with the two patty, double cheese, bacon, and mushroom, house lumberjack burger that dwarfed Gregg's open faced steak sandwich.
Round 2 - Venue - The Alamo Cafe (open 16 hours), Quesnel, B.C.
Gregg's legendary order of the house Salisbury steak with 2 lumps of mashed potatoes, 1 beef macaroni soup, side of peas, and onion mushroom gravy trumped Brooks' French dip. The Salisbury steak order was truly unbeatable.
Round 3 - Venue - Sam's Truck Stop, 70 Mile House, B.C.
Gregg dealt another punishing blow to Brooks by going up 2 to 1 with the Nita's Special Club (named and served by the owner herself). In addition to standard club ingredients, the special triple layered club also included a sliced hot dog and fried egg.
Stay tuned for rounds 4 and 5...
* Pictures online for this Part of the trip in the Gallery
section of this Web siteSkagway, Alaska to Prince George, B.C.
After leaving Skagway, Alaska, we climbed from Sea level to 3,292 feet over White Pass and crossed the border back into Canada. We refilled our food supply at the oldest operating store in the Yukon in the small town of Caracross. We then rejoined the Alaska Highway south and were officially back on our original route after a 250 mile detour. Shortly after crossing the Teslin bridge (the longest span on the Alaska Highway), we met Harald, an electrician from Germany with a similar cycling itinerary--originating in Anchorage, Alaska and ultimately ending up in South America. Harald is a seasoned cycle-tourist and has spent his vacation time during the past 5 years peddling around Chile and Argentina. We would ride with him for the next 18 days and collectively became known on the road as the "the two fast Americans and crazy German who bicycles in jeans". At camp that night, the three of us ate fresh caught Grayling that Brooks pulled out of the Morely river.
En route to Watson Lake, Yukon, we crossed over the continental divide for the first time of the trip. We opted for a rest day at the Watson Lake campground where we taught Harald the fine art of campfire S'mores making that we've perfected during our past 3 bicycle trips. On his first attempt, the German scored high on style points with his innovative one handed stick rotation. We awarded him a solid score 7.5 but later deducted .5 points because he did not craft his own roasting stick. Harald also impressed us that night by downing 20 hot dogs for dinner. It was at that point that we knew that the three of us would make fine riding companions. We toured the famous sign post forest in Watson lake, started in 1942 by a lonely Army GI working on the Alaska Highway who erected a sign pointing the way and stating the mileage to his hometown. Others soon followed and now there are 54,372 signs. Among those, we managed to find one for the University of Oregon, our Alma Mater. We also took time to toast our first month on the road with a Molson Canadian at the Watson Pub.
Leaving Watson Lake, we turned South down the Cassiar Highway, a lonely 400+ mile stretch of tarmac through Northern B.C.'s Cassiar Mountain Range. The change to fall quickly became apparent as the trees changed colors and lost their leaves and our tent froze solid at night. Seeming more like a country road than a highway, with only a handful of cars passing per day, we felt like we owned the road and enjoyed chatting while cycling three-across. At camp on the Dease river, we had the first clear night in days and built a super-grande fire. We stayed up until the early morning and watched a spectacular display of Northern lights dance above the Cassiar Mountains and reflect off the river.
Along with the incredible scenery, the Cassiar also brought us a ton of rain. Each morning we left camp and turned into a cold, misty, headwind. However, as bear sightings began to increase in frequency, we often forgot about the weather. Riding up on three full grown black bears enjoying a roadside berry patch is both and incredible sight and one that makes you a bit nervous when you don't have a car or RV to retreat into for safety. Bears sightings never lost their rush and as each animal seemed to have its own personality. An oasis from the rain, we stumbled upon Bell II, an $8,000 per week heli-skiing resort that we somehow managed to camp at for $10 and were also granted full access to all of the spa and lounge facilities. Paying guests watched in horror as two hungry, stinky cyclists, infiltrated their dining hall and dealt the all-you-can-eat Prime Rib buffet a punishing blow. The following morning we lounged in the hot tub as our clothes and tent dried out in the sauna. As we put our extra dry tent away that morning we had no idea that we wouldn't be using it for the next eight consecutive nights - a streak that will surely stand for a long, long time. We all had our eyes open for any covered area that would keep us out of the rain. Sleeping on picnic tables at campgrounds, in an abandoned lumber yard shack and in an RV Park building that has been vacant for years all seemed to be very good options.
We made it to Meziadin Junction and left the Cassiar for our second detour of the trip, into Stewart B.C. and back across the border to Hyder for one final visit to Alaska. The road into Stewart and Hyder validated our decision to change our route right from the start. Once over Ward Pass, we glided a never-ending downhill through a valley of glacier-capped mountains. We cycled past Bear Glacier and waterfalls that ran the 1,000 ft. length of the rock walls on either side of the road. We spent two nights in Stewart and one in Hyder, deemed the friendliest ghost town in America. Each day we visited Fish Creek and watched bald eagles, grizzly and black bears fill themselves with salmon as the season's fish run was drawing to a close. We rode up to Salmon Glacier, a 4,000 foot, three hour climb with the most amazing view at the summit that you could ever imagine. It's hard to find the words to explain it, so you'll have to see the picture for yourself in our gallery. The three hour climb also rewarded us with a blazing fast downhill back to sea level. We both broke our dirt road land speed record of 41 miles per hour (our tarmac record is now 48.5 mph). Once back in town, we found some time to get "Hyderized" at the Glacier Pub while we kicked back and listened to a good bluegrass band with all fifty of the town's residents.
We peddled back out of Stewart and got to enjoy the same stretch of road that we had ridden a few days before, but this time it was sunny and warm! We passed streams full of the brilliant red colored sockeye salmon and stopped at a man-made waterfall on the Nass River to watch the Coho & Chinook salmon try their hardest to leap up the falls. Kitwanga marked the end of the Cassiar Highway and we turned left on the Yellowhead highway that would take us to Prince George, B.C. The weather finally improved and a few days of sun and tailwinds enabled us to ride fast and arrive in Prince George a day early. We had a huge dinner and a few beers at Earl's to celebrate our last day of riding with Harald. Hopefully our paths will cross again at a road-side taco stand somewhere in Mexico (that is if he doesn't freeze in the Rockies on his way down).
Our next major update will be in Seattle Washington in late-September.
Stage 1 Part 3 Miles: 1,255.8
Total Trip Miles: 2,438.6
Elevation Gain: 79,123 feet
Ride Time: 102.5 hours
Flat Tires: Brooks 4, Gregg 0Sponsored by:
Co-Motion Cycles, Schwalbe North America, Rudy Project, Outdoor Research, eRoi, ThinkHost, ZUM, Bay Club, Canright Interactive, R Bar, IBEX, Lombardi Sports, Jaunt
Since bear sightings were few and far between for the first 35 days of the trip, we attempted to improve on our luck with another good ol' beer drinking bet. As we turned south down the Cassiar Highway, B.C. from the Alaska Highway, Yukon, we decided on a win-win betting scenario--we drink one beer for each bear sighting. The final beer drinking session was to take place in Hyder, our last stop in Alaska. The bet seemed reasonable at first until we saw 15 brown and black bears on the road in a three day period of time. To say the least, we slept VERY well on our first night in Hyder Alaska where we honored the terms and conditions of our agreement in full at The Glacier Pub.
Our next official update (with pictures) will be coming when we reach Prince George, B.C. next week.