The best kind of day today – rode with old friends and made some new ones! Left Prince Rupert about 8:45 with Florian and Leslie leading the way. Though it was still pretty chilly in the morning, the rain held off and we had a beautiful ride along the Skeena River from Prince Rupert to Terrace. Stopped a couple of times to take a photo or two and stretch our legs. We still made Terrance in good time, so we rewarded ourselves with a stop at Tim’s. Heading out of Terrace, we stopped at a little church along the side of the road. Pretty little thing and stands there - open to the public during the day. It is nice to see a little spot of interest like that open and unattended, and not vandalized. Also at that site, a logger was trying to get up on a stump. He couldn’t quite do it, so I helped him out. 😊
Hwy 16 took us to Kitwanga– the gateway to the Stewart-Cassiar Highway north to the Yukon. There’s a great gas station and restaurant at Kitwanga and we stopped for lunch there. Food was good and the tables were amazing - each table had different artwork on it and the name of the artist.
The day turned out to be very nice, so Flo and Leslie decided to continue on a bit further with me. While we were suiting up (ok me – I’m dreadfully slow), Florian struck up a conversation with a group of riders that had stopped for gas. They were up from the U.S. and were heading for Anchorage, but on their way to Stewart this evening as well. Leslie, Florian and I had them take our picture with the North to Alaska sign and headed out. It wasn’t long before the group caught up and passed us.
Turning off at the Nass forest service road, Leslie and Flo headed back to Prince Rupert and I continued on to Stewart. The whole ride was beautiful, but the road into Stewart from Meziadin Junction is something special! WOW! Stunning views everywhere you look – hard to keep your eyes on the road! I had been seeing signs warning about bears and was thinking “what bears” when I came around a curve and there was a bear! Fortunately for me, not ON the road, but in the ditch right beside the road munching away on the vegetation. Gave me a little shot of adrenaline at the suddenness of it and I was glad I was being conservative with my speed on the unknown road. I didn’t stop to take his picture......I know you don't want to mess with ME when I'm hungry.
Not long after the bear sighting, I rounded another curve to see a huge glacier right down beside the road. Quite breathtaking and the photo doesn’t do it justice even a little bit. From there, it just continued to be heart-squeezing beauty all the way into Stewart. I arrived an hour ahead of what google maps said I would, so apparently google maps doesn’t know everything.
Unloaded the bike and checked into the King Edward Hotel for the night. Very friendly folks and a good deal on a room. I went out for a wee stroll to stretch my legs and on the way back, spied some familiar looking bikes at another hotel. Wandered over and sure enough, there were our buddies from the Kitwanga gas station. They were just heading over to my hotel for dinner and were gracious enough to invite me to join them. Great bunch of guys who go on a big bike trip every year. They’ve been all over the US and Canada and even toured Europe last year. This year, they are headed to Anchorage where their wives are flying in to join them for a few days of road trip before ferrying back to Seattle and finishing the journey from there. We had great conversation and lots of laughs over dinner. They were keen to hear about my adventure and were very kind to think it is a brave pursuit. So, say hi to Rick, Mike, Joe, Moe, Steve and Frank because I promised them all they were going to be famous on my blog site!
Their group plans to be up early to try to see some bears at Hyder, AK, which is about 3 kms up the road from Stewart. Then they are heading for Watson Lake, YT and have extended an invitation to tag along. I hadn’t planned to go all the way to Watson Lake tomorrow, though it looks as though it is achievable, and would be a good stretch to have company on. If I can get my butt out of bed early in the morning, it would be fun to hop over the border to see the bears and glaciers there. The glaciers are guaranteed, the bears…..it’s a crap shoot. I’m sure it would be fun to tag along, but I'll have to hang out in the back, because I’ve been dawdling something fierce on this journey and I expect they’ll lose me in the first 100 kms.
So it will be an early night and maybe an early morning. All in all, likely to be a long day no matter how far I get as it is supposed to be rainy and chilly all day. Weather is more likely to dictate my stopping point than distance. Off to dreamland.