In the time zone? Or in the riding zone…? Yes. And Yes. The time zones were having fun with me yesterday. Stay tuned for that story, but I will begin where I last left off.
Taking a leaf from Florian’s book, I have been quite destination-oriented since leaving Prince Rupert. A few work commitments along the way and the need to arrive at my end destination in time for a high-school gathering on Saturday, I’ve been making tracks in order to leave a buffer for unexpected weather, etc. as I travel. As it happens, it has been PERFECT riding weather and Night Fury and I are enjoying ourselves thoroughly.
Burns Lake was the first stop after Prince Rupert, but fires throughout northern BC were making views hazy and there wasn’t a lot of point in stopping to take many photos. Upon arrival in Burns Lake, there were significant fires within a couple of hundred kms and some evacuation alerts in neighbouring communities. So as tired as I felt, Night Fury was unloaded and then taken for a full tank of fuel on the off-chance we would be asked to evacuate overnight. On the way back from the fuel station, some riders headed for the Dempster had arrived in Burns Lake and I passed the info on to them and we had a quick visit before I called it a night, lounged in a hot bath for a while and went to bed early.
The next day, I had intended to stop at Valemount (no accommodations in Tete-Jaune Cache), then loop back up to Hwy 16 to continue to Edmonton the next day. The smoke cleared some time out of Prince George though, and I got a hot last-minute deal on a hotel in Jasper, so I kept rolling. Pretty smooth sailing, if quite cool with overcast skies. We hit 25 kms or so of gravel due to roadwork after Prince George. Somewhere between Valemount and Jasper, the skies darkened, lighting flashed and there was about 15 minutes of pelting rain. I thought “Here we go! This last hour is going to suck”. But it was just a little tantrum – enough to wash the bugs from my visor and keep Fury and I on our toes. Arriving in Jasper about 6 local time, I unloaded Fury and left her visiting with her friends in the parking lot while I went in search of the first "real" food I'd had all day.
Having made Jasper, the planned destination of Edmonton the next day was a bit too soon to stop. So I stopped in for a quick visit with my niece. Her wee laddie was home too so I got a fix of baby smiles and lunch. The other wee laddie was in daycare, so unfortunately I missed him, but must catch up with him next time as he is motorcycle bonkers. Great-auntie Alyson must encourage such corruption, along with other shenanigans – it’s my responsibility and I take it seriously! As it was, I just left a couple of little books I had brought for them and a CD of kids' songs that I'm certain will be irritating little ear worms that will drive their mother mad in short order. Mission accomplished!
Knowing I could put a few more miles behind me, I contacted my friend and colleague, Camela, in Lloydminster who had been foolish enough to offer me a bed if I landed there for an overnight. Land I did! Settling my stuff in my room, I looked at my phone. 6:15 p.m.!! That took way longer than I thought and I had told them I would arrive around 5-5:30! Then I went to the kitchen. The clock on the stove said 5:15…… Lloydminster sits on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The location of their home means if you are in the bedroom, it is an hour later than if you are in the kitchen! Even though at this time of the year, SK and AB are on the same time.
Camela and Len fed me a fabulous dinner and then Camela and I set about exhausting our 20,000 (and far more) words for the day. Len, finding this activity less than scintillating, retired to watch all-star baseball and go to bed early. Apparently he had to work today or some such nonsense. While Camela and I have known each other for a couple of years as work colleagues, we have seldom had a chance to visit and I have discovered another truly kindred spirit in her. We went to bed later than planned and I set my alarm for 8:00 a.m. instead of 7:00 a.m. to ensure I got a good rest. But the time zone got me again! Alarm went off at 8:00 a.m. I felt nice and rested, got up showered and went to the kitchen. 7:15 a.m.! Camela and I got a good start on today’s 20,000 words and it was 8:30 before I actually got on my way. Time well spent, in my opinion!
Had a training session to deliver and fortunately, my trainee was patient with me (thanks Colette). When I entered Saskatchewan, my brain had retained the Lloydminster experience and I forgot that SK doesn’t lose another hour in the summer and did not reach a location where I could deliver my session until an hour after it was due to happen. The Tim Horton’s in Saskatoon provided the table, coffee and snack and I was once again struck by how lucky I am to be able to take my work on the road with me. I so enjoyed the ride through Saskatchewan - the bright. clear day, the vivid, fragrant crops of blooming canola, the scenic, pastoral landscapes of prairie grass, crops, animals and farm houses. I may be biased, as a prairie chicken myself, but beauty is where you choose to see it.
I had hoped to connect with family in SK on my way through, but they were away, so Fury and I topped up with fuel and kept on rolling. Another several hundred kms behind us and I arrived at my destination for the night with sore muscles and a rumbly tummy. Grabbed food from the KFC next door to the hotel I landed at and went back to my room, wondering if I should soak in a hot bath or eat first. In the end, I ate my supper while soaking in the hot bath! Oh, the luxury!
I am within 400 kms of reaching The West Rides Again’s goal of riding the length of Hwy 16. Tomorrow’s the day to reach the goal part of this trip!