Charley Barnes Recounts the 10,000 Mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride – Leg 2 [Pics + Video]
Today's story takes place from June 5 through June 6 and was the first time I had ridden this many miles in one shot. Little did I know it was the first of several big pushes.
Leg 2 - 1706.3 Miles
This part of the journey would be the first of three overnight pushes to gain time and miles we had lost. It would turn out to be a monster of a ride as we would ride the rest of Alberta, through British Columbia and make our way into the Yukon all in one ride, non-stop.
When I woke up the morning of June 5, I was still pretty bummed we hadn't met our goal of being in Calgary. Due to my passport issue the day before, by the time we crossed into Canada, we should have just about been to our destination in Calgary but could only make Lethbridge.
Today, though, would bring new adventures, and new country to see, the Alcan (Alaska) Highway and much more. After grabbing a quick bite to eat and gassing up our iron steeds, we hit the road and rolled on the throttles. It would be a good day, well, at least for a few miles anyway.
After leaving Lethbridge and about 1100 miles into the ride, the mount I had for my GoPro broke and yes, the camera hit the highway at about 80 mph. This new mount I had was made of metal and non-breakable so I had my GoPro mounted to it assuming it wouldn't break. I slammed on the brakes and luckily, there was no traffic at that point so I flipped a u-turn real quick and went back to pick up the pieces and see what the damage was going to be, assuming it would be in pieces like the one I lost in Texas last year.
As luck would have it (the first of what would be many mishaps with luck overriding the bad) only the case holding the camera was shattered but the GoPro itself was in fine condition. However, since I didn't have a case to hold the camera, I couldn't mount it on any of my back-up mounts so it would have to be a hand-held unit from here on out because we just didn't have time to go shopping for a new one.
Highway 2 was our route between Lethbridge and Edmonton, a highway my good friend Steve Bourassa said you could run 90 mph and still get passed. Steve, I'm not sure what day you were talking about but it sure wasn't this day. Good lord, I have never seen worse drivers and more of them. It was bumper to bumper traffic all the way so Mike and I were looking really forward to being out of Edmonton and the last of the big cities for thousands of miles.
From there we made our way through Whitecourt, Grand Pairie and made our way into British Columbia and Dawson Creek (with a quick stop at the Sign Post Forest) where the real adventure would begin and the official start of the Alaska Highway, also known as The Alcan. At this point, it was getting late and we knew that by the time we got to Fort St. John, all bets were off for gas stations that would be open and it would be the first time we would have to use our portable gas cans which held 5+ gallons of gas for each of us.
The pictures of us filling our bikes in the gallery below was somewhere around Sikanni Chief, British Columbia somewhere in the neighborhood of Midnight'ish and would get us into Fort Nelson which was big enough we knew we could find more gas without waiting for someone to open. From there, it would be on into Toad River, British Columbia which was supposed to have been our final destination the day before.
We reached Toad River, BC about 5:00 a.m. the morning of June 6. Mike and I decided that since we were now behind the gun, we would take a good shower, change clothes and hit the road about 7:00 a.m. which would have been the normal time we had planned on leaving Toad River...who needed sleep?
We'd push on and get back on track.
Push on we did, but by the time we got to Haines Juncton, Yukon at about 10:00 p.m. (still wearing sunglasses, by the way) we knew Fairbanks, Alaska was out of the question, and since I didn't have a passport, we just didn't want to chance additional border crossings and losing even more time. We decided to call Erik Jon Barrett, our ride coordinator, in Destruction Bay, YT when we stopped for the day and he advised us that the goal of 10,000 miles in 240 hours was still attainable but to do so, we'd have to "GET THE HELL OUT OF CANADA!"
After spending $52 on four frozen sandwiches, two bags of chips and two drinks, we got some sleep and headed South the morning of June 7.