Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thursday, 05 August 2010 – rode from Ten Mile Lake, through Pince George to Vanderhoof, back down through Prince George and up to Whiskers Point - 181.9 miles

Today started out beautifully...
I had a lovely campsite at Ten Mile Lake. It was peaceful and serene. (Even though it was smoky, you could see the lake through the trees.)

I enjoyed a leisurely morning after a good night's sleep. I had a nice chat with the campground host. He said he heard there was a fire about 20 miles away but he didn't think it posed any immediate threat. I figured I was ready to ride the Cassiar Highway and was on the road toward Prince George by 10am.

I took Yellowhead Highway west from Prince George. There were a few roadside signs for a woodworking shop that used burl from local trees to make bowls, walking canes, etc. I took the gravel road turn off and found a nice compound of several homes, a woodshop and studio.

This is the sign that was on the studio door:

So, I walked in and looked around. They had many beautiful things but none that I could safely carry with me.

As I began to gear up, a fellow came out and we talked about all kinds of things: woodworking, motorcycles, which routes are best and current events. He told me there were fourteen fires burning around the Prince George area. UGH! No wonder there’s so much smoke.

He also told me there was a partial closure of the Stewart Cassiar Highway. That’s the route I wanted to take up to Watson Lake. We checked the maps. The only option was to return to Prince George and ride the Alaskan Highway instead. Dang! I guess it could have been worse: I could have gotten all the way to Hazelton before I found out. Ah, well...

The alternate route is supposed to be about 200 miles longer but it is all paved. And the map indicates that parts of it are scenic. If I’m lucky the fires will be out within a couple of weeks and I’ll get to ride the Cassiar on the way back.

When I got back to Prince George, I decided wait out the traffic. I took some time to finally post some entries to this blog. I also checked the BC road closures – good thing I did. My new route north was scheduled to be closed until 1:30. Thankfully, that gaves me lots of time to catch up with e-mail, too.

I rode a bit north after the traffic eased. There were lots of lily pads on both sides of the highway - Bear Lake.

I felt like I hadn't made any progress for the day when I stopped at Whiskers Point Provincial Park on Lake McLeod. I felt tired and cranky as I unloaded the scooter. That's when Dave and his border collie Jasper strolled by. Dave said he and his wife (and Jasper, of course) were staying at the park for a while. He was a trucker and had lots of great stories and great advice on all the Canadian and Alaskan highways. It was a treat to talk with him. It really perked up my sagging spirits.

That evening's sunset was kinda funny. Between the smoke and the cloud formations, the sun look like it was wearing a moustache and a sombrero.

I guess it turned out to be a pretty good day after all.

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