Just when I think I haven’t got much to tell you, I ramble on insufferably! Here goes….
Alexander McKenzie is the big cheese in history around the Peace River parts. He was a Scottish explorer and the first European to cross North America from east to west. His Peace River expedition was successful in finding the passage to the Pacific Ocean in 1793.
I got away from Hudson’s Hope in good time, then blew it by turning left instead of right from the hotel and taking the wrong road out of town. That’s a special talent of mine that you may not have been aware of.
I did suspect I was on the wrong road when I didn’t see distance signs for Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge, but it was a sweet road with lovely curves and I followed it for a bit. The road I was on ended at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. The security guards said since I was there, they would let me through to the visitor’s centre to take some pictures and told me that people come from all over the world to see it. So I obligingly rode in and took a couple of photos, although given my frame of mind from the previous day, my attitude was “meh, whatever”, and it didn’t break my heart that the visitor centre wasn’t open yet. In a more objective frame of mind, it is a marvel of engineering and probably could inspire awe and I'm sure the new one that wipes out the Peace River valley will be just as pretty (insert sarcasm here).
Getting pointed in the right direction, I continued on to Chetwynd. On the way out of Hudson's Hope, there is a really neat bridge and a sort of concrete "totem" telling the story of the significant historical events of the community in pictorial form. I thought it was a really neat way to encapsulate their history.
Chetwynd is obviously a lumber town. Acres of stockpiled trees and planks and boards. They have amazing carved statues all over the place! Some are fanciful, some are of nature, some are of people. The detail is incredible and a person could spend a day wandering all over and take a million pictures. I didn't, though, so I guess you will have to visit Chetwynd yourself.
I decided to stop at the Tim’s and have a coffee and a sandwich to bolster the protein bar I had scarfed down for breakfast. Met Kim there and we had a great talk about riding and travelling in Canada. She and her husband Rick have been riding to and fro all over the place for 25 years. They were travelling by “cage” to the Okanagan this time. Rick showed up some time later and we all got back on the road.
Onwards to Tumbler Ridge! I didn’t get too distracted by scenery today as it was much the same most of the way. Heavily forested mountains gave way to a more pastoral setting of cattle country and fields against that backdrop of forested mountains. I did make one detour, as a cube truck ahead of me was making sure I couldn’t pass. So, instead of getting annoyed, I turned off at Gwillim Lake Provincial Park and was so happy I did. It’s a beautiful lake and I toured around the little park, finding a bridge over a creek and a nice boat launch area that went down to the beach.
Interestingly, when I got back on the road and stopped at a gas station for water, there was Mr. Cube Van. I’m guessing he was about my age and had another, older guy with him. Mr. Cube Van says to me “Guess you gave up trying to get by me. Wasn’t going to let some chick on a bike pass me”. LOL Obviously the lake visit did me some good. I responded, without a trace of rancour: “Hey, man, if you need to be King of Tumbler Road, I don’t need to be on it with you. Besides, there are many more attractive sights than your rear end…” (double entendre completely intentional). Well, I thought his buddy was going to pee himself laughing. Then the older guys says to him, “It’s no damn wonder you’re still single. You still haven’t figured out how to treat ‘em”. I don’t think Mr. Cube Van will be hearing the end of that one for awhile. 😊
Stopping at the Tumbler Ridge Visitor Centre is worthwhile. They have a ton of information there. And if nothing else, do it for the "Do not Flush....." sign in the bathroom! I had to go get my phone so I could include a photo.
One of the pieces of information was that the Dinosaur Discovery Centre is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! Should have checked, but it just never occurred to me. However, the dinosaur trackways that were discovered there are never closed because they are by the river. The friendly lady there told me how to find them and off I went. It’s about a 3 km hike round trip and a slightly challenging up and down trail that gets your heart pumping. There’s some great opportunities to mis-step and pitch yourself off the edge of a hill. Seeing the signs about bears, I went back to the bike and dug out my dinner..…I mean, “bear” bell and threw it on my shoe. I guess it worked because I didn’t see any bears. I would stay away too – it’s pretty annoying.
The day being about 33C at that point, I was darn hot by the time I got to the river. Found the first set of prints no problem. The original discovery was a little harder as they are on the other side of the river. Despite shedding my shoes and blissfully stepping into the cool water, I couldn’t see a great way across. I could see some prints, but nothing that would show well in a photo. I did see a very clear homosapien print though and have included a photo of that from today’s collection. Though I had passed a few people heading back up the trail, I was the only one there, so I stripped off my shirt and soaked it in the river. Dunked my head in it too and the hike back out was cool and comfortable. By the time I was back at the bike, my hair was bone dry and my shirt barely damp!
The day wearing late by now, so I headed for Dawson Creek. My planned route turned out to have about 50 kms of gravel, so I chose the easy road. Stopped for food at Dawson Creek and finished up at Grande Prairie for the night. Bit of planning to do and decisions to make for the next few days and then off to dreamland!