The Wisdom of Chad

Alternate Title: Yukon Arrival

There is a private campground just a bit north of Dease Lake which has amazing views over a lake. This is one of the best designed private campgrounds I have encountered. Great location, well thought-out camp sites which give both reasonable privacy and a sense of community with fellow campers. A lake for recreation yet distanced just enough so that trees block any cold wind coming off of the lake.

The morning dawned to a near perfectly-still lake allowing for some incredible pictures of the mirrored scenery:

Canada: lake near Highway 37
Canada: lake near Highway 37
Canada: lake near Highway 37

Before setting out I need to take a look at a problem: My right-side heated grip is not turning on reliably. I suspect I know the source of the problem, a type of wiring connector I should not use on a motorcycle, so I decide to replace that with a posi-lock connector I have in my toolkit and see what happens. The repair is quick, easy, and effective.

But I notice the metal bracket which holds on the fairing has broken on one side. I try a repair of this using a cold-weld compound, but I do not have high hopes it will stick because there is a lot of vibration on the fairing and not much to hold the two pieces of the bracket together.

I have also have something drawing extra power from the bike that was not there before. This, however, will have to wait for a fix until I have a multi-meter to track down what is happening.

Canada, Highway 37

A short day today: Dease Lake to Watson Lake, but it is a significant milestone to me because we arrive in the Yukon. The sign at the border is up on a hill, but with a KLR I have no hesitation about riding right up there so I can get a shot of the Phoenix at the Yukon border.

Canada, Yukon Border
Canada, Yukon Border

Watson Lake is the site of the famous sign post forest, where there are now 71,000+ signs on display!

Canada, Watson Lake: Sign Post Forest Introduction
Canada, Watson Lake: Sign Post Forest

It is also time for an oil change (over-due actually), the first I will do on the road. It was recommended by someone I trust that I use diesel oil, so I expect this to be easy and I am right. I quickly find a truck repair shop which happily sells me a couple quarts of oil, lets me change the oil in the parking lot, and takes the old oil for recycling. All for whatever I can afford, so I give my best guess on the cost of oil and add in a few extra dollars for the trouble. Very easy, very fast, very helpful shop!

By this time, Paul and I are both feeling a bit tired from several long days of riding so we decide to stop here for the night. At a very nice campground (Campground Services), we meet Chad, who is riding a bicycle south across the Americas. Chad is a fascinating person who gave us an insight on what drives a bicyclist to head through such a remote location even when the weather is bad, and offered a bit of wisdom for travelers. The below is a paraphrase, not an exact quote (Chad, if you read this feel free to contact me and improve on what I remember!)

Travel is like eating an elephant. Each day you get a bite of a new part of the elephant, which inevitably means you will sometimes get a big bite of ass.

I love this philosophy!

I have had a small “bite of ass” a few times already, and expect many bigger bites before this trip is finished. But I know it will pass. I will probably sometimes even look back fondly on even those bites….

4 comments to The Wisdom of Chad

  • Margaret

    The “sign post forest” is hallarious! What is the story behind this?

    • othalan

      The origin (from wikipedia because I didn’t remember the details).

      In 1942, a simple signpost pointing out the distances to various points along the tote road being built was damaged by a bulldozer. Private Carl K. Lindley, serving with the 341st Engineers, was ordered to repair the sign, and decided to personalize the job by adding a sign pointing to his home town, Danville, Illinois. Several other people added directions to their home towns, and the idea has been snowballing ever since.

      It quickly grew from there to include signs showing the direction and/or distance to other locations, then signs from other locations.

  • Margaret

    Private Carl K. Lindley had a great sense of humor! Thanks.

  • […] Remember the story about the blind men and the elephant? Traveling the world for a long time is like eating that elephant. Every day you get a bite of that elephant. Some days it will be a big bite of ass…. Chad (at Watson Lake, Yukon, Canada, Traveling South on a Bicycle) […]

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