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August 24th, 2009 - Camp Wal-Mart

No surprise here, I woke up late again. 4 days of a warm bed and good company has spoiled me pretty bad. The light was on in the room so I figured that Sabina had tried to wake me up but to no avail. I started packing my stuff right away and got on the road.

Highway 16 goes out of Edmonton for about 70km before merging with highway 43 which leads to the famous Alaska Highway. It took about 2 hours to get to highway 43 because of all the construction but I finally made it. Alaska Highway is a giant and well maintained road (well mostly) which starts in Dawson Creek, BC and runs across Canada to Alaska. It is eye-blinding green everywhere you look and at times I thought I was in Ireland. Towns are getting farther apart and gas prices are soaring by the mile.

Because of my late start, my goal was to get to Grande Prairie, about 400km north. I stopped for lunch at a gravel turnout next to an impenetrable forest of aspen. I had my usual tuna in olive oil and a wheat english muffin. English muffins taste just like bread but last much longer. Tuna in olive oil is my staple diet and can be prepared a million different ways (which all taste the same by the way); it also is a good source of protein and fat. I didn’t take my eyes off of the forest edge which was 15 feet away for fear of a grizzly charging at my tuna can. I need to get some bear spray.

After riding through a construction zone before Grande Prairie on 20km of grooved road, I made it into town. These grooved surfaces are not dangerous per se but novice riders seem to have a heart attack when they encounter one because the grooves on the road take the bike in their path and it feels like the bike has a mind of its own. 80 km/h on groovies was a treat after a long stretch of a flat highway.

I stopped at Wal-Mart and got a tire repair kit (which I had forgotten to bring with me), bottle of sunscreen, and stocked up on stew and fish for the next few days. I was ready to head out of town and look for a camping spot but then I decided to pitch the tent right there at Wal-Mart and call it good. Italian wedding soup and two english muffins for dinner, cup of hot chocolate and a cookie for dessert. Camp Wal-Mart is quiet and cozy. Let’s see if I can wake up early tomorrow.

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