After a good night [and good beer] at the Beer Farm I start into the frosty morning of Thanksgiving Monday. Rather early I reach Pemberton - back on pavement, back in proper civilization.
Phew, after 10 days in the woods [and more than two month in the remote north] it hits me unexpectedly hard. I feel like I am having a cultural shock [and I don't mean that in a judgemental sense].
Within the first 10 minutes I see more Porsche, Tesla, Audi and Mercedes than in the last two month [no exaggeration, really! In the north people like their muddy, high clearance 4-wheel drive cars]. I see poodles instead of Alaskan huskies, fancy instead of practical clothing, raw vegan smoothie instead of drip coffee, loud traffic instead of silence, fancy houses instead of trashy backyards...
After some annoying climbing [no shifting, you remember] on the Sea to Sky Highway I reach Whistler. Pemberton on steroids - the cultural shock skyrockets!
Let me get this straight. I really [really, really] don't want this to sound judgemental. I've been part of those places before and might likely be in the future. Whistler is beautiful, I like the mountains and actually also really like the architecture [nice modern wood houses, I later learn that the city of Whistler actually dictates a design pattern]. But in this very moment it's almost unbearable for me.
Klaus and I are mud covered from tip to toe [or front to rear wheel], we haven't showered for 10 days [sb told me later that this is nothing to bragg about] and we haven't seen many people either. I feel slightly misplaced.
I am glad that I have these two days before Vancouver and Ilma visiting to slowly acclimatize. It's not about Pemberton or Whistler, I guess it's more the sudden realization that I am leaving the remote north that I loved so much [more than 90% of Canadians live in the proximity to the US border and Alaska is almost non-existent when it comes to the overall population of the US even though it's by far the largest state by surface].
Maybe I'll regret it but I immediately leave Whistler after a quick visit of a fast food chain [that remains nameless] to get some calories in. Back on the highway I enjoy a nice fast downhill. With the traffic it means shoulder riding for me. Shoulder means lots of crap and it happens what is meant to happen. I get a flat tire. This time it's a proper one from 100 to 0 in a few seconds, no chance for the magic self-sealing tubes. The sealant even splashes out of the tire - Klaus is seriously wounded. I am more than 5000km in, 1.5 flat tires I still consider to be pretty good [since Klaus healed his first flat in Alaska himself I only count 0.5 for this one].
It is almost dark and I am on a very busy highway with all the people going back to Vancouver after the the Thanksgiving weekend. That's why I decide to hitch a ride. The first pick-up stops [wow!] and I get a 5km lift to Chek Canyon where I spend the night. 100km left to Vancouver.