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Old 03-14-2013, 12:51 AM   #406
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Day 27: Prince Rupert - Williams Lake, BC

Day 27:
June 16, 2012
Prince Rupert, BC – Williams Lake, BC: 628 miles

I felt like a zombie. I can’t say I was in the safest condition to ride my bike. Just one hour of sleep and reminiscence of alcohol was a painful slurry moving through my body. My head ached, my eyes swollen, my muscles swamped feeling like sludge.

I packed up my belongings after being shaken awake to the thundering intercom with a terrible deafening and incoherent voice that only made my head ring more. I shuffled down to the car deck to pack up the bike and found Dennis and Billy already there.

I envisioned myself being a little more ecstatic at this moment, to be getting off the ferry, back on the bike. I did miss straddling its perfectly contoured seat hugging my ass all day with my hand twisting the throttle around windy roads. However, I was not looking forward to getting off in the dark and the rain in my condition.

Billy and I discussed riding together for the day. He was headed to California and we were both headed for Vancouver. We asked Dennis to join, but he declined saying he wanted to get home as soon as possible, hoping to get away from the rain.

The three of us departed from the Matanuska, bikes before the cars, in a straight line before Dennis peeled away waving goodbye. Billy and I both needed gas and coffee and found the only place open in Prince Rupert in an attempt to milk our hangovers and procrastinate riding in the rain.

After fueling up and refilling the RotoPax, I nursed a far-too-weak dark roast Colombian coffee while waxing my chain and checking my tire pressure and oil. In the fogginess of my self-inflicted state, I neglected to pay attention to the slight hill the bike was on while resting on its centerstand. I wasn’t thinking when I pushed the bike forward off the stand, without sitting on the bike. I always sit on the bike. Why did I do that? Because, I’m a fucking moron.

The bike slipped from my grasp and fell to its right side, now laying laterally, fuel dripping, rubber side up.

I didn’t even move. I just stood there and stared while Billy ran over and lifted it swiftly with no assistance.

“I can’t believe I just did that.”

Billy laughed. “It’s gonna be a long day.”

We left Prince Rupert by 4:00am, 3:00am our time. I had forgotten about the time change between Alaska and Canada. It was pouring down rain. I led, probably faster than I should have, hoping to escape the rain.

We followed the Skeena River down the Yellowhead Highway. It was barely light and I could scarcely see the mountains lingering like ghosts behind the curtain of rain across the water. Those first 200 miles were rough, cold and wet. It was beautiful however, and I felt my attitude about the shitty conditions wasn’t so bad since I had someone to suffer through it with me. I was thankful for a riding companion.

The sky cleared up here and there, but it continued to rain off and on throughout the day. We didn’t stop much, other than for gas and caffeine to keep us moving.



It was only 450 miles to Prince George from Prince Rupert, but traveling was so slow with the rain and half-hour coffee breaks at every gas stop, that it took us 12 hours to get there. I would of gotten there sooner if I had of been alone, but I wasn’t complaining. Billy was teaching me to slow down and enjoy the ride.



Dark thundering clouds rolled in and the skies opened up as we rolled into town. We parked the bikes and stood under an awning waiting for it to blow over while the wind and rain hit us sideways. Sadly we watched the bikes, our sacrificed soldiers, and all our gear drown in the street out of our control enduring the elements.

I revisited the hostel I stayed at to pick up my Bluetooth I had left behind. Honestly, I didn’t miss it much. I found trying to listen to music while riding (unless in a very boring place) was more distracting than entertaining. Plus having a device planted inside my ear under my helmet wasn’t very comfortable after a couple hours.

We discussed staying in Prince George for the night at the hostel. We were both already exhausted. However, I was eager to get as close to Vancouver as possible, since I only had tomorrow to get there and needed to get settled before starting my externship at the Aquarium Monday morning.

I looked at The Milepost, and Williams Lake was another 150 miles away, which would put me just 350 miles from Vancouver. The sky didn’t look good in that direction, it was black with lightning, but I had to push on. I was determined (fucking Taurus).

Billy said he’d join me, if I didn’t mind splitting a hotel room. He wasn’t one to camp in the rain and wanted a comfortable place to sleep after such a long day. It was kind of out of my budget, but when he found a Best Western, with a hot tub, I didn’t have to think twice. I knew thinking of that hot tub would get me through the next few hours of torturous riding.

We were both famished and decided if we were going to ride another few hours we should eat some hardy food and maybe avoid the storm ahead. We found a local pizza joint run by some friendly Indian guys. They made us custom gourmet slices that were so delicious and hit the spot. My hangover was finally dissipating.

I sat there thinking how different it was to be traveling with someone. I probably would never have stopped at all and enjoyed this moment had I not been. I felt happy.

I looked at Billy and said, “Don’t cry Billy, but I’m really glad that I met you.”

He smiled and said, “I’m really glad that I made it to that ferry.”

We left Prince George re-energized with a second wind heading towards a stormy sky. I couldn’t possibly of imagined the inconceivable life-changing experience I was about to have.

“In just one hour I felt surrounded by all the elements of earth and nature to their extreme. I was humbled and actually felt enlightened and at peace afterwards. I felt fearless and calm. I saw the darkest of clouds with lightning inside them surrounded with the bluest of sky in the distance. I felt the warmest wind and smelled the most pungent spruce trees. I saw the sun peak through the clouds at its brightest and I saw the most vibrant rainbow. I was moved to tears and felt Dan was a part of it all. I felt like he was in the sky, in the rain, in the sun, in the rainbow. It was the most soul touching experience of my life. Even during the hardest rain I felt hail hitting my hands at times but I remained calm and fearless. It felt like an epiphany or closure to my Alaskan adventure. I’m so thankful to have experienced this with Billy too.” (Journal excerpt)


(This picture does not nearly serve the moment justice. Unfortunately the weather prevented me from taking many photos.)

Billy and I stopped for gas on the other side of the storm. The rain had stopped and the sky was clear. I doubted if Billy experienced the same feelings during that storm. I was shy to show my tears unsure if he’d understand.

To my surprise, when he took off his helmet, he had tears in his eyes. “I think I just found what I’ve been looking for on this trip,” he said.

I hugged him hard and cried.

It was just one more hour to Williams Lake, and the sky was clear with no rain. The sun set behind us casting pink shadows and the air was warm.

When we checked-in to the Best Western it was already 9:00. The hot tub was only open for another 30 minutes. I threw my soaked, cat-piss smelling gear into the room and bolted down there for a luxurious bathe after a 17 hour day and 600+ miles of riding on one hour of sleep, hungover.

There were a couple people in there I chatted with that informed me we had just ridden through a tornado watch area apparently.

The stench that hit my face in a warm cloud as I walked back into the room reminded me of my thru-hiking days on the Appalachian Trail. You could almost see the pungent steam radiating from the pile of soggy gear in the corner.

Billy blamed it on me. “I’m going to call you Skidmarks.”

He had no proof of that of course.

Soon my olfactory receptors were saturated and desensitized to the stink lofting in the room. I enjoyed the lavishness of my comfy bed grateful for a break from my sleeping bag for a night. Billy and I spent the evening drinking Canadian beer and talking about our epiphanies while exchanging a couple friendly back massages.

I slept like a log.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:23 AM   #407
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This is quickly becoming my favorite RR. Can't wait for the next post.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:31 AM   #408
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Beautiful, simply beautiful. Never been to Alaska or Canada, but when this is completed I will have, through your words and thoughts. Thanks, again for the adventure. tomp
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:44 AM   #409
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Awww...mannnn....it's almost over..... Lovin' it
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:38 AM   #410
Stan Dalone
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Has ANYONE proposed YET?
Just wonderin.........

Fantastic read. In August 2013 i will be in Alaska, I hope it is as good!
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:41 PM   #411
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Originally Posted by Stan Dalone View Post
Has ANYONE proposed YET?
Just wonderin.........
Sounds like Billy's about to!
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:53 PM   #412
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Awww...mannnn....it's almost over..... Lovin' it
Not by a long shot - stay tuned.

Virginia - remember?
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:22 PM   #413
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Here's hoping for a happy ending to this wonderful trip report.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:12 PM   #414
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Not by a long shot - stay tuned.

Virginia - remember?
Guess you missed this comment in the last entry?

"We discussed staying in Prince George for the night at the hostel. We were both already exhausted. However, I was eager to get as close to Vancouver as possible, since I only had tomorrow to get there and needed to get settled before starting my externship at the Aquarium Monday morning. "
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:16 PM   #415
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"Virginia to Alaska and back on an '86 Yamaha Radian" note the thread title...

She got there, now she has to go back to Virginia after her summer job. Hopefully, as wonderful as she is with words and emotions, she will discuss her job, too.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:42 PM   #416
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Not quite

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Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
Awww...mannnn....it's almost over..... Lovin' it
Haha!....don't worry, only halfway through...i think.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:46 PM   #417
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writing too

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffntuff View Post
Haha!....don't worry, only halfway through...i think.
Sweet....
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:49 PM   #418
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That's the idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtdreamer50 View Post
"Virginia to Alaska and back on an '86 Yamaha Radian" note the thread title...

She got there, now she has to go back to Virginia after her summer job. Hopefully, as wonderful as she is with words and emotions, she will discuss her job, too.
Yup, I'll probably do one or two posts about Vancouver and Vancouver Island, then pick up the daily reports again for my ride between Vancouver and San Francisco. Then I'll do one or two posts on SF, before finishing with daily posts for my ride home.

Thanks for following along. :)
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:56 AM   #419
AKDuc
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Originally Posted by ruffntuff View Post
Billy and I stopped for gas on the other side of the storm. The rain had stopped and the sky was clear. I doubted if Billy experienced the same feelings during that storm. I was shy to show my tears unsure if hed understand.

To my surprise, when he took off his helmet, he had tears in his eyes. I think I just found what Ive been looking for on this trip, he said.

I hugged him hard and cried.
Good stuff. Thank you for sharing. Mark H.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:34 AM   #420
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffntuff View Post
Yup, I'll probably do one or two posts about Vancouver and Vancouver Island, then pick up the daily reports again for my ride between Vancouver and San Francisco. Then I'll do one or two posts on SF, before finishing with daily posts for my ride home.

Thanks for following along. :)
Contact me when in SF. I will take care of your bike and help get it ready for the balance of your journey. We also have a nice home in the City if you need a place to clean up, do laundry and sleep.

Miguel
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