George To John – The Alaskan Highway

Prince George to Fort St. John – British Columbia, Canada

Last night while unpacking my motorcycle I found had lost something. Don’t you like that? Find something lost? Humor me, I’m trying to share this story.

Keys. I lost keys to my Jesse Bags, Touratech GPS mount and my Adventure Pipe secret “stash” pipe. I had clipped these keys to my primary key chain for my bike but they were on a separate smaller gauge key ring. This ring was threaded onto the bigger BMW key ring. Seems like the 500 mile day and rough roads of Southern British Columbia caused the poor “children” to vibrate off the key chain. Of course I had copies, but it worried me that so early in the journey I was already resorting to using my back up keys, so waking up this morning I decided it’d be best to get copies made before heading up the Alaskan Highway deep into the Yukon and Alaska.

I spotted a Strabucks last night while trolling for motels so thats where I started my locksmith search over perhaps my last cup of “good” coffee for sometime. As usual conversation and curiosity peaked about my journey with two young kids from Vancouver who were on their way to Tombstone Reserve and then Denali to do what they called “light mountaineering”. Also joining the conversation was a young Brazilian Girl. With backpack on and carrying a small puppy she admitted she’d like to do what I’m doing.

“But it takes time and money,” she agreed, “it all comes down to time and money, doesn’t it?”

I pondered perhaps one of my favorite subjects and philosophical explorations and said, “yeah, but at the end of the day all the money in the world can’t buy you time,” I explained, “so I’ll take time.”

She frowned and squished up her face and poked at me, “you couldn’t do this without money…travel the world. You must eat, buy gas…live.” Her thick accent coupled with the puppy made her appear so cute. But she didn’t get my point. She was too focused and insisted on the need for money. And while my answer may have appeared to her as a utopian view and a bit lofty, she didn’t get the concept that too many of us will complain we don’t have the time to do something that we want to do. I insist that you’ll never have the time so it’s up to you to make the time. And while we could work, work and work thinking we needed just a little bit more before we “find” the time to do something, the worse disease is to wake up finding you never found the time because you didn’t make the time.

I looked at the time and realized it was time to go get some keys cut.

Spending a couple hours at Prince George Lock & Key, I quickly learned that when you’re in Prince George and you’re local, it’s simply “George.” With a few new keys (including a key that needed to be hand cut skillfully by Anne , one of the owners of PG Lock & Key for the wacky key needed for my German made Touratech locking GPS mount) I was on my way and coming to the peace of mind that I’d probably never make it to Fort Nelson before dark, so I set my sights on Fort St. John just north of Dawson Creek.

As a twisted my throttle and headed up the John Hart Highway (97) out of George through low rolling hills past lakes and up through the Nechako Plateau and then down along the Crooked River to Williston Lake, British Columbia’s largest. Perhaps my first day without the heat of the beating sun, I zipped tight and crouched low as I wound through the rolling hills. Dark gray and steely blue clouds hung so low while the narrow two-lane highway climbed to meet the clouds I felt them race above me accentuating the spped of my motorcycle. For a moment I felt I was in a video computer game where trees, lakes and telephone poles flew by in my periphery while the clouds moved lower and lower.

Raising my hand above my head I felt I could rub my palm under the belly of these low lying orbs. Leaning into curve after curve the drama of the scenery, the purr of my engine and vastness of the scenery made me feel calm — forgetting about my foot, my computer and the disillusioned Brazilian girl lost at a Starbucks in George.

Soon I descended into the small town of Chetwynd. Here I made the decision to blow off seeing Mile Marker Zero (0) marking the start of the Alaskan Highway (Alcan) for the more scenic ride along the Peace River and by the Bennett and Peace Canyon Dams and through the old fur-trading post of Hudson’s Hope.

7 replies
  1. Korye
    Korye says:

    Allan, I love reading about your great adventure – and I often find myself wondering “Where is Allan right now?”. Just the thought makes me happy – and somehow connected to our big wonderful world.
    Your dialog with the young and doubtful Brazilian girl at Starbucks made me think of a great musical opinion on the topic. I actually can picture you getting on your bike and cranking up The Chambers Brothers as you head down the Alaskan Highway.
    “Time has come today
    Young hearts can go their way
    Can’t put it off another day
    I don’t care what others say
    They say we don’t listen anyway
    Time has come today (Hey!)”
    Here’s a nice version of the tune by The Ramones:
    Oh my Lord, I have to roam,

  2. Keith Love
    Keith Love says:

    Allan, really enjoying tracking your travels. I have much more to report, but of course, not to the whole world ! Later, Doctor Love.

  3. Shiva
    Shiva says:

    Hey AK nice chatting with you about your adventure. Reminds me of the Motorcycle trips we use to take. That one up to Carson City & Tahoe. Sleeping on the snow in Tioga Pass with those Austrian kids…by their fire. You should a strapped that Brazilian gurlie onto your tank for a cusion & given her the rider of her life….lol
    Here’s some road tunes to load your ipod up with. Remember this show we were at staying in the Holiday Inn?
    Grateful Dead
    Date: July 30th, 1983
    Venue: Ventura County Fairgrounds
    Location: Ventura, CA

  4. Johnny A
    Johnny A says:

    Is there some kind of legal issue around photographing and then posting the “smiling, frowning or otherwise” faces of the folks you’re meeting and writing about? Are you carrying model releases and getting them signed so you can feature these folks later in a film or book? Take your time and get some shots!

  5. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    Hi Allan. I sent out Wirestone K-1s and your came back for reasons that are now obvious to me. When you get a moment (or make a moment), could you e-mail me a permanent address that I could send it to? Thanks!


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