As I mentioned in the last post, I hardly slept at all last night. So at this point in the evening I am wiped out. I need to try to cover some real mileage tomorrow so my plan is to get up early, pack up, grab breakfast and just head out. As a result I want to finish up today's post before I go to bed.
I was wiped out tired all day. The introspection was at a minimum. Higher level brain activity was shut down to preserve energy for basic bodily functions like breathing and finding coffee.
I spent the morning writing. Then moved to a Starbucks in downtown Prince George and wrote until well past noon. Much of downtown Prince George is boarded up as the view out of the Ramada Inn Starbucks would indicate.
Once I had finished, I went in search of breakfast. I found a Denny's diner and ordered a huge pile of food in an attempt to counteract the copious quantities of coffee I had consumed at Starbucks. The waitress was very nice, as almost everyone in Canada has been.
Continuing my theme of "go slow", once I managed to get on the bike I realized I needed gas. Clouds menaced overhead. I have to admit the clouds up North are different than what we see in Maryland. They are spaced apart with small bands of blue between them.
Once I got gas I made it about 500 yards when it started to rain. No problem. I have my Transit suit but when it rains a bit more I still have to put a cover on the tank bag. (foreshadowing)
Once again, I was trying to cover some miles. I tried not to stop too often to take photos passing up a number of incredible lake shots. The landscape around Prince George is just littered with lakes.
And of course, the lakes are surrounded by flowers.
And as I rode on there were more beautiful lakes. This scene repeated itself dozens of times.
The clouds were odd. Rain seemed confined to very bounded areas. A cloud would appear, maybe less than a mile wide. It would rain under the cloud with enough intensity that the road surface would get wet but as soon as you got to the far end of the cloud it was dry. This repeated all day long.
At one point I was convinced that I was finally going to start getting really rained upon. It started coming down much harder than it had. I was fooled into thinking it would last. I stopped on the side of the road to put the rain cover over the tank bag when ...
Not more than 20 yards away from me a black bear appeared from out of the woods. Instinctively, I completely ignored the bear repellant and instead grabbed the camera. I snapped this photo just as he noticed me. Unphased by passing cars, the bear lowered his head and started moving it side to side and began to move in my direction slowly.
Put away camera.
Shift bike into gear.
Get the fuck out of dodge.
"No getting eated by bears.", she said. Noted.
I realized as soon as I clicked the bike into gear that bear disappeared back into the woods but I wasn't taking any chances. I was out of there.
I rode on for some miles when I came across what is arguably the most beautiful impressive awe inspiring sight of the trip ... and of course the photos don't do it justice. Somewhere on route 97 there is a pull off. As is the case with a number of such pull offs there is a cliff.
In this case, there is a huge cliff. I mean a huge sheer straight down several hundred foot tall cliff.
At the bottom is this pristine lake with a few evergreen covered islands in it.
On the far side is a steep mountain wall mostly covered in evergreens.
Photos again fail to convey ... but I will try anyways.
Ok, notice the foot. (Black boot). This drop off was more than vertical.
Some more shots, just to add to the frustration that no matter how hard I try or how much effort I put into it, these photos just don't capture it.
I admired the scene for a while and then moved on.
I happened upon a critter sign. "Moose!", I thought.
Unfortunately I did not get to see any moose today. I did see an eagle fly though.
As I rode North I noticed the trees were getting taller. I mean these are some tall evergreens.
After about 90 miles the pavement started getting a bit rough. You could tell it just wasn't being maintained as well as the roads closer to Prince George. At one point I hit some ice heaves that jolted the bike for a bit. Foreshadowing again? I slowed it down quite a bit. I began to lose confidence in the road. Up here that is probably a good thing.
There are rest stops every now and again. I try to stop at least once every 90 miles or so, so that I don't get too sore.
What has struck me is how green it is up here. It's the defining quality of the landscape here. Green. Vibrant living green.
While at the rest stop I walked to the woods to take a look in. Deep, dark and uninviting. The camera corrected for the low light. The woods are much darker than this. Think Mirkwood.
Have I mentioned I am completelhy wiped out. I'm nearly passing out here on the keyboard. Just a little more to go.
I rode on much longer than I should have. Gas was getting pretty low when I finally came upon a town with a non-bankrupt gas station. Through my helment and earplugs I could hear this chirping squeeling noise.
This little guy made an incredible noise and was hopping and jumping around all over the place until I stared at him. Then hne would get quiet. But as soon as I looked away he would go all nuts again. This little critter made some noise. Why is it the smallest creatures make the most noise?
Just outside Dawson Creek there are these fields of yellow flowers.
I was surprised to see them promote the Alcan highway.
I rode around town to see about finding a hotel and a place to eat when I coincidently ran into a couple who had stayed at the same hotel I had in Prince George. They recognized my bike. (There are very few royal blue BMW K100RS's in the world.)
There's a marker showing the start of the Alcan in the background.
I always look a bit crazy and deranged when I haven't had enough sleep.
They were nice and were on a tour of dams across the US and Canada.
Tim and Angela. I talked to Tim for a bit about the Englishman who had said the Dalton was so 'orrbile. "He had a nasty spill so he's probably biased. It isnt' all that hard if you just take your time and pick your weather window right.". That seemed to make sense to me.
He also mentioned he participated in an online motorcycle radio show called SideStandUp. Thye had podcasts and the like. Tim's focus is on motorcycling gadgets. On top of that he participates on advrider.com.
I snapped one more obligatory "start of the Alcan" and went in search of a hotel and place to eat.
As I pulled up to the hotel, I noticed an adventure bike. You see a tremendous number of them up here.
For the Dalton highway this kind of bike is much more appropriate.
Ok, now I'm falling asleep. G'nite.
If we didn't stay at the Ramada last time, we at least pulled up in front of it briefly. I remember realizing (too late) that the parking slot I pulled into was at a slight forward incline. This made it very challenging to back the goldwing out of it without assistance.
Don't worry about the pictures, we're "getting" it just fine from afar.
Seems to me our last oh <expletive>! moment was about 1/3 of the way out of PG on the highway toward Prince Rupert, not long after (or right before?) you had a flat on the K bike, when a black bear cub walked out on the road in front of us.
BTW, the yellow flowers look alot like Canola (aka rapeseed), which are used to extract the oil of the same name. We saw a lot of that in the UK back in '06.
Now that you're on the Alcan and heading north, any chance of picking up some enduro tires, like the Metzler Enduro 3's before you attack the Dalton?
I'd figure Duncan would be all over that bike with the trailer
Black Bear & out of dodge - good move they can be more temper mental than grizzly's - nice pic
watch out for young bears or moose because the mothers will go crazy if you get between them and their young - worse mistake you could ever make.