The morning started slowly. It was probably a good thing as it froze again over night and there was frost all over the bike. By the time I got going it had melted and was just a puddle of water. I started looking at the bike looking for odd things or loose things. I had been looking at it for two days now, but didn’t realize the small left side cover had fallen off at some point in the last couple days. I remember staring at the empty space, but couldn’t figure out what was missing until this morning. It is only cosmetic, so no big deal. I also found the top case mount was loose, so I whipped out all my little multi tool kits and had it tightened right up. Those little tools are almost fun to use. Scary. Tomorrow I should play with the chain. It seems a bit loose.
I didn’t realize it when I took the picture, but this was one of my last views of the mountains.
They quickly disappeared and were replaced with rolling hills covered in evergreens – pines mostly.
The sign out of Hinton said “No services for 140km” or something similar. The next town was Grand Cache.
The shoulders on the road were non-existent in most places, so I wasn’t able to pull over to take photos of the scenery very often. Not that I really wanted to. There wasn’t much to look at.
Some scraggly pines
A lake near the side of the road.
Just big open spaces of brown dotted with pines and spruce.
The weather was mostly cooperating. I enjoyed the bright blue skies. I could see rain clouds off in the distance, but the GPS told me I wasn’t going anywhere near them. yay!
I passed by an open coal mine. This was the processing center. They were loading the coal into waiting train cars.
At one of the turnouts I saw this abused animal-proof trashcan. It was shot several times, but is still standing. They are quite sturdy.
I saw my first bear today. A small black bear. Maybe a cub; I’m not really sure. It was running back into the tree line, so I didn’t get a long look at it.
I also saw another Caribou today. The one I saw yesterday was huge. I thought it was a moose until he picked up his head to look directly at me as I slowly road passed. His look seemed to say “don’t you dare take photo” I didn’t even think of stopping. The one today was looking the other way, and didn’t even bother to look up as I rode past. If Caribou are that big, I can’t grasp how big a moose must actually be. A cross between a horse and a cow by descriptions I’ve heard.
Even though this was billed as the “scenic road” it was a bit of a let down. Lots of large trucks hauling things -- mostly forestry products. I mean after the scenery of the last two days almost anything is going to be a let down, so I won’t hold it against the road.
They had a large beaver statue in Beaverlodge just west of Grand Prairie. Grand Prairie was 187km from Grand Cache and there was nothing in between.
Grand Prairie looked like any American town of 50,000. All the same chains and goofy drivers. One nice thing about riding in the middle of no where, there are hardly any cars. After Grand Prairie, as the name might imply, it was flat and straight. ugh. Oh, and the wind that had been blowing for the last couple hours really picked up with nothing to slow it down.
It was a struggle to just stay in my lane. It was wearing me out both physically and mentally as the gusts and trucks blew me from the left side to the right side of my lane and back. I wasn’t very enjoyable, but I’m not complaining too much because it was better than sitting in a cube.
A big storm moving in along with the wind just before Dawson Creek.
I made it to Dawson Creek with only a few sprinkles. The wind was quite fierce now and tested the durability of my “shockproof” camera by blowing it off the bike and onto the pavement three times.
The camera still works fine. Just notice how the clouds completely changed between the two photos along with the direction of the flags. Windy!
I splurged on a hotel. I was hoping to make it to Fort St. John, but I couldn’t stand the wind anymore. I think I crossed a time zone again too.
I spent a few hours just relaxing on the bed reading a book, listening to some music, and sipping some tea. Nice.
Tomorrow, after over 2,000 miles and 8 days, I finally start the Alaska Highway. I’m excited! In about 1,000 miles I’ll be in Alaska and in about 1,500 miles I’ll be in Fairbanks!
Don’t forget to check out the Week 1 roundup if you missed it.
Route for today:
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Other Posts in the series: