Day 2: Whiskers Point Provincial Park to Fort Nelson, BC (via Hudson's Hope/Hwy 29)
We woke up to damp tents, cool temperatures, and a bug or two. After breakfast, we packed up, and set forth to tackle another long-ish day.
Something about the boots waiting patiently by the bikes really made me smile about this scene.
The skies remained docile through the morning, and as we crossed this railroad (with a gas station just south of it, the last one for a fair number of miles), I rolled to a stop, checked with the Deerslayer operator to make sure he was game to wait to fill up at the next gas stop, and snapped a few shots of what I was feeling at the time.
It was what I refer to as a "Gordon Lightfoot Moment," with a railroad cut through wilderness, open skies,
and wild flowers adding just a dab of color on the otherwise drab surroundings.
Further on, we encountered a mountain pass which barked at us with weather yet bit with but wet roads.
As Weird Al would say, life was going swell and everything was just peachy.
We neared Chetwynd just as the little tank on the DRZ gave up its last morsel of fuel.
And contemplated the best place of worship in town; it was Sunday after all.
Amen, and yeehaw.
We didn't quite have the time (lousy schedules) to actually check out the church, but settled instead for fuel (where we met a well-equipped KLR and his rider who'd just returned from the Arctic Circle), and our own fuel in the sense of coffee and breakfast at the Chinese restaurant down the road that also served breakfast.
Definitely a different sense of life being lived in a place like Chetwynd versus Clinton. More of a rough, wild-west form of existence found up here in Peace River country, whereas Clinton has almost turned into a retirement community. The topics of conversation here ranged from drunk driving laws, to badmouthing the waitress's gumption, to a dire warning about tires in regards to the Dempster. One feller at the table next to us had driven truck up there and said we'd be wise to carry spare tires with us. We'd consider it, of course, with a grain of salt due to his strong opinions on all other topics mentioned.
Anyway, after a late second breakfast (we'll call it brunch: that's original, right?), it was back on the road. North sounded a little more scenic than west to Dawson Creek, so up the 29 we carried towards Hudson's Hope and over to Fort St. John.
We'd wanted to escape the straight, boring roads, but the GPS told a different story.
Couldn't beat the weather though
With the coffee working its way through the system, this bridge and dam looked like just the ticket for a quick break.
Onward and forward, into the heart of Peace River country
The Deerslayer DRZ felt right at home, although the KLR thought it may have been better suited with its own set of horns proudly mounted. Ah well, it'll have to wait until a suitable hood ornament arises.
And of course, the riders needed to be color coordinated. A biker somewhere once told me that black shows less fear, or something like that.. Being a little more fearful than the old man, I did the black helmet too.
Well, enough photos. We had to lay the rubber to the road. There was plenty more tarmac in front of us for the day, and after some fantastic twisties on the hind end of the 29, we reached the Alaska Highway with a grin which soon turned to grimace.
Many had mentioned how straight and dull the Alaska Highway was, but I guess a person has to experience it to actually understand. I mean, sure, it was nothing like last year, across the Prairies, but the wind from the flats was still there in force, and the road ran straight and with little hesitation.
Ah well, there ain't no getting to the good stuff without a bit of work.
But seriously, some sort of corner would be nice.
We found our excitement in different ways. As we neared Fort Nelson, we happened across a slightly distraught looking couple standing aside their Goldwing/trailer contraption. We carried past, but pulled over and discussed going back to see what the problem was. Reason won out, we turned around, and saw what we could do to help.
Evidently, the long-distance touring machine had run itself out of fuel. Well, that was no fun for them. Luckily, however, the hero, my Pa, was to the rescue. 4 liters of fuel were produced from nooks and crannies all over the DRZ, and administered to the ailing Wing. With their prescription filled, and Dad's wallet slightly heavier (due to their gratefulness, not his demands), we carried on our way to the end of our day.
It had rained for the last hour or so as we came into Fort Nelson, and after asking for a good, cheap, place to stay, the thought of a warm bed was much more appealing than setting up camp in the wet. We found a room after some slight confusion involving a half-clothed Harley rider, room key hijinks, and a very apologetic motel manager.
Figuring a stay in town was worthy of more pampering, we hopped into town and picked up a salad (oh, luxury that is lettuce) and a bottle of wine.
There's something just a little wrong about the smell of white gas in a motel room.
Ah well, if everything did everything "right," how exciting would the world really be?
After a delicious dinner, it was time to get outside, lube the chains, and make sure the bikes were ready for a good solid day of riding as pennance for such a cushy night's rest.
This led to our first encounter with a crazy Australian, going under the alias of Errol Goodenough. He was on a 1200GSA, had come up from California, and was on his way to northern Quebec (I know, I already said he was crazy), with a quick side-trip to Inuvik as well. We had a great time chatting as he scoffed at our chain-drive ways and let us admire his fine piece of German engineering. The forecast was for rain, and he was going to take it easy in the morning, source some TKCs in Whitehorse, and carry on. We wished each other goodnight, and slunk back into our room for some slumber.
Final mileage, June 28th:
Not as big a day as yesterday, but a bit of a challenge staying awake once the Alaska Highway came into the picture.
In any case, it was time to catch some Z's. There had been talk about cutting a night out at Watson Lake and going straight to Whitehorse instead. We'd see what'd come of that in the morning.