First of all, thanks for all the comments on my website posts! I can’t always get to responding to them, but please continue! I love seeing them and getting your notifications and encouragement when I stop for a break and see them.
Today was just one of those silly days. Checked the weather upon waking to see the temperature at 4 degrees. Got on the bike and realized that I had forgotten my phone at Mikaela’s. Fortunately for me, I was able to go to the Tim’s, get onto the wireless and send her a facebook message and she was only a 5-minute walk from the house. Felt like an idiot, but what was to be done?! And…..wait for it…..I hadn’t left it – it was on the bike the whole time. Duh. Then I really felt like an idiot. So, I finally headed out just before 10:00 a.m. from Prince George.
Hit construction which gave me grooved payment for the first 20 kms or so. Grooved pavement on a bike is kind of like riding on marbles and reminds you to just let the bike do its thing. Definitely demands attention. But what was irritating the heck out of me when construction ended, was the truckers that were travelling along at 100 kms/hr or a bit under, then speeding up to 120 when they got to the passing lane so I couldn’t get by in time. The passing lanes were short and as soon as they were done, they would all slow down to under 100 again, and of course, couldn't climb the hills without losing significant speed. Pretty sure if they have a license, they can read the signs that say “Let others pass”. If they weren’t going to, then why be in the right lane?! It’s no fun being behind a line of semis on a bike and I don’t believe for a minute that not one of them saw me and all the cars trying to get by. So, either they were being obtuse or they OD’d on their jerk vitamins this morning. Combined with the chilly temps, I was good and cranky in pretty short order. I figured an hour into a 6-hour day was too soon to be ticked off so I stopped for a coffee and a sandwich at Vanderhoof. Vanderhoof is the geographical centre of British Columbia! Some locals chatted with me and told me to go into the “old town” when I got to Hazelton.
My equanimity restored, I headed out again and the universe rewarded my maturity (at least in action, if not thought), by giving me a practically empty highway for the next hour and a half! Thoroughly enjoyed the ride. It is beautiful countryside through Vanderhoof, Stellako and Burns Lake. A lot of cowboy country - rural farms and ranches - all backed by forest and mountains. The stretch between Burns Lake to Smithers is full of lakes and camping spots. And mosquitos…..can’t have everything. Smithers gives way to more alpine territory and is just stunning. All the way to New Hazelton is just gorgeous.
I stopped briefly at Stellako Esso station for gas (pretty sure it was Esso). Everyone was so nice there – from fellow travellers to the staff – 100% friendly and interested, down-to-earth folks. Someone asked me if I was heading west and I said I was. He said “Well, you’re riding into a storm”. Well, dang it. Decided I would ride into it anyway and see how bad it was going to be and if it was too bad, I was only 40 kms or so from Burns Lake and could call it a day there. I did ride into some rain, but it wasn’t heavy and I rode right back out of it about 20 minutes later to partly sunny skies and dry roads.
Arriving in New Hazelton around 5:30, I checked into the 28 Inn. Very basic hotel, but clean and inexpensive. Front desk staff was friendly and effective. I shed some extra riding gear and unloaded the bike before heading out to the “old town”. So glad it was mentioned – I wouldn’t even have known it was there and it’s really neat. Quite a lot of impressive history here. Everything was closed by the time I arrived, but it was actually really nice to wander around by myself and see the sights. Peaceful and very pretty. Settled into the hotel shortly after, happy to have landjaegger, cheese and fruit for supper from the market across the street. Looking forward to buddy Florian joining me for the ride from New Hazelton to Prince Rupert tomorrow! Supposed to rain cats and dogs on us, but it will be nice to have some company.
Time for bed to get an early start tomorrow. I hope you are all finding the journey a bit entertaining. I'm sorry they are so long, but I can't seem to help myself! :)