Beautiful B.C., Blueberries, Bears, and The Badlands
I know this posting has been delayed, but I’ve been busy.
Once I left Anchorage, I was just on a mission to cover miles. Mainly because I really wanted to stay. So less adventures, and more driving, or so I thought.
After reentering into the glorious Canadian terrain things got exciting. The bears were way more active, I assume due to the progression of the season, and were around my campsites quite frequently. The dogs do a great job of alerting me when they’re near, and keep them away, which is a love / hate thing for me.
On one break to pry myself from the driver’s seat, but mostly for the pups, we came across an abandoned campsite where someone had started to build a teepee and other living amenities, which I found to be intriguing.
At Watson Lake I was able to leave our sign in the infamous sign forest. All thanks to Cliff’s letting me modify my sign with his power drill while in AK. See if you can find it in the picture. I’ll post a close up next post. This may be harder for you that don’t know me in real life, hint hint. Then another “I wonder where this dirt road goes” moment lead to a great discovery.
While chasing a view of the Summer sunset, a sight I hadn’t seen in weeks, an old set of dirt roads came to a dead end amongst great B.C. forest. After deciding to make this our campsite for the night it was time to play in the woods. The dogs and I walked past where the road ended, amongst thick foliage, towards a dark and luring spruce forest. Almost immediately the dogs got excited. Their hair raised and their heads lowered to the ground. They had caught a scent of something enticing. In a few paces I discovered why.
We walked upon where some logs had been freshly turned over, presumably in search for juicy bugs, and a trail in the low and wide. It had to be either Cartman from South Park, or more likely a bear. I immediately jumped upon a tree stump to look for the furry creature, nothing. Then I started to follow the path the short distance towards the dark spruce forest. Once I hit the forest and mobility was great reduced, and visibility even worse off, I decided no matter how bad I wanted to see a bear in the wild, it wasn’t worth risking the dogs’ safety, so we turned back. Immediately after turning around I spotted a small blueberry patch, picked a small palm full of berries, and thought that was such great luck. They were sure to go great in my morning cereal or muesli.
Soon after returning to our campsite, while lying in car, the bear returned to check us out. Unfortunately I never saw it, but Apollo was very set on letting it know he knew of its presence. My only connection with it was spotting the pile of poop it left about 15ft in front of my car. Maybe it was trying to tell me something.
While breaking down camp, and looking for more signs of bears, I spotted a very small raspberry bush. No wonder there were bears here. I had no idea.
Long story short, I ended up finding a very large quantity of blueberries, and couldn’t resist picking some of Nature‘s candies. The dogs worked as alerts for bears, which I felt was imminent after finding this treasure, and got paid in berries. Then Apollo realized he could pick them himself. Apollo Bear really is such a fitting nickname for him.
After this we busted miles out and returned to America. Where we really started busting out miles, but we took a break to check out the Little Big Horn site, Mt Rushmore, and The Badlands. Since I like Nature the most, the Badlands was easily my favorite of the three. Definitely a sight to see. Reminds me of the dark forests in the Lion King, but not as dark, less hyenas, and actually rather nice. So I guess just the transition from prairie to the badlands is as abrupt as the Lion King setting.
From there it was get home mode. Driving briskly, for long hours, isn’t enjoyable, but after cover over 13,000 miles in 52 days, I’m ready to stop driving so much. With only 1,000 miles to go this morning, I thought this was home stretch, but life had other plans. At the edge of Missouri I stopped for gas, and as I slowed to take the exit I noticed an odd noise. I thought I had blown an exhaust gasket from bottoming out and water crossings. Nope. After doing some quick diagnosing after my fill up, I realized the noise was speed based, not RPM or load based. This eliminates anything with the engine. At the next exit I stopped for further diagnosing. Assuming a bad tire, I did some tire swapping and test drives that eliminated that hypothesis. After spending two hours in +95* heat I decided it was time to try driving on. Made it 100 miles without issues, other than the noise, and stumbled upon an Air Force base. They have a shop where I can really figure out this noise problem, and more importantly, if I can make the 500 mile drive home.
Since they were closed, I decided to hang around base and snag a needed shower. As soon as I finished the shower I had a run in with Security Forces, because people were scared of the two vicious dogs. This resulted in a long casual chat with a cool SF Sgt.
I guess I better crash now, and I’ll figure out what it’s going to take to get home tomorrow. Enjoy the pictures!