September 2, 2021 I make it to Alaska*! https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/fad5-5fe4c-4716/view Last night after I went to bed I could hear an animal--maybe a beaver--loudly slap the water. I woke up earlier than usual, which for me is not very early. The road here has great pavement, and almost no traffic. I saw some roadside plants which look like 1/10 scale versions of some of the trees in Baja. I stopped to refuel at Meziadin Junction, the turnoff to Stewart and Hyder. This becomes highway 37A, a spur to the coast and the border with southern Alaska. I recall a few years ago my friend Tyler told me about his trip to Hyder, and I read his ride report. That really put this place on the map for me. 37A is a spectacular route. There’s a viewpoint for Bear Glacier. I’d hate to see historical photos. Bear Glacier is a fraction of what it used to be not very long ago, and I’m afraid it will be completely gone soon. Nonetheless, it was an awe-inspiring sight for me. I rode through the town of Stewart following the signs to Hyder. Before today, I thought Hyder would be a small bustling community. Tourist shops and fishing boats. Once again, reality is not how I pictured. At the border there is a small, but official-looking Canadian border station. An office shack sits beside a covered inspection area, and there are signs that everyone must check-in before entering Canada. The Alaska side has none of this, just a hand-painted “Welcome to Hyder, Alaska” hanging above the road. Today there is also a stop sign placed in the middle of the road, directly on top of the international border which says “Locals only. No visitors.” I made a U-turn and parked beside the Canadian immigration office. A uniformed woman came out and I told her I had been interested in going to Hyder, but now I see I can’t. She asked if I were a US citizen which led to my next question. I asked if I were to enter Alaska, could I come back into Canada. She told me that I’d have to have a negative covid test within 72 hours, and she started to tell me about the floatplane schedule where I could go to get a test. I shook my head. I just wanted a couple of pictures. So I asked her how far I could go without getting into trouble. A young lady was out walking her dog and she saw my Colorado plates and asked me a bit about my ride. She told me that she and her boyfriend live a few hours away but have never been to Hyder so they drove up for the day. We laughed a bit about the situation. I asked her if she’d take my picture. There’s an international border monument just off the road and I walked over to have a look. Don’t tell anyone, but I stepped into Alaska out of sight of the border officials. I had another chat with a Canadian couple, they were retired and traveling in their RV. Ole and Vickie were quite interested in my trip and told me they had driven to Mexico a few years ago. Ole asked if he could have a picture of me with my bike. He was amazed that I had ridden my bike to Mexico. As he told me, he had a few friends with motorcycles like mine, big fancy BMWs with cases and lights, and then he laughed “I don’t think any of them have been out of BC on their bikes.” He wanted to show them my picture. I rode back into Stewart and stopped at the museum. It’s a lot of stuff like “This shovel was found at an old mine site 10 miles north.” And “Kerosene lamp used in the 1920s.” I went to one of the grocery stores in town and got a sandwich and potato salad for dinner. But never would have expected to see this across the street. There’s a cemetery not far out of town and I pulled over to walk around for a bit. The road goes back through Meziadin Junction. I didn’t stop this time, but I did take this picture. I know it’s Canadian miles, but this gives a little sense of how big this place is as I kept going north. Along the Cassiar, there are countless unmarked two-tracks leading into the forest. I followed a few of them. Some go back a couple hundred meters and stop. Some have a gate. Others go on and on and I follow them until I get bored and turn around. Though I didn’t need it, I stopped at the Bell 2 lodge for fuel. I went inside and purchased a bottle of water. The rain had been off and on for the last couple of hours and the temperature dropped. It was a cold, wet, and overcast ride. I hadn’t seen many animals so far. There were signs posted warning of moose, elk, caribou, and bear. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of a bear as it scurried into the woods, and that had been my only sighting. Today I passed a bear perched on a hill beside the road. He didn’t run off like most bears I’ve encountered. I had time to stop and pull out my camera for one quick photo. Afterward I started watching for someplace to stop for the night. I pulled off at one of the many rest areas along the highway. There were a couple picnic tables over in the corner, and though I don’t know if it’s allowed, I thought about pitching my tent beside a picnic table. Unfortunately with all the foot traffic, rain, and because of the large parking area, the ground was wet, rocky, and muddy. Instead, I sat at the picnic table to eat my dinner, then I carefully washed my face and hands with wet wipes I’m carrying and I disposed of all the food containers in the trash nearby. I rode across the highway into a level clearing and found a spot for my tent next to a creek. I was cold, my riding gear wet, and I was a bit nervous about bears. I got into my sleeping bag and slept fitfully.