Alaska 2023

Day 04

July 11

I'm back at it early this morning as I've got a few more miles to cover. This will be the second longest day of the ride but just barely. Highway 16, known as the Yellowhead, will be my companion for the day.
The skies sure don't look good for the home team but it's flat enough that I should be able to see the rain long before I hit it.
It's not getting much better as I move along but I still move along.
In fact it looks so bad that the wildlife are not even using their corridor today.
But thankfully it is holding off and I get to ride a dry bend or two.
I notice that even the local cows are laying low - a sign that they sense a coming storm. Some folks think that cows are pretty dumb, but my growing up experience with them tells me they are still smarter than a lot of people.
I like the railroads and remember playing with my toy railroad set when I was a little feller. This bridge reminds of that as I pass under it.
Off to my right is an impressive railroad girder bridge spanning quite a distance across the low spot. The engineering that goes into railroad bridges fascinates me as they have to deal with a lot more weight that highway bridges and for a longer time if the train stops on the span.
But soon I am snatched from reverie by the 'joy' of city traffic. The pleasure of it is somewhere between a tooth ache and a sprained ankle ...
There was no breakfast to be had before I left this morning. So I have settle for something I find at my first gas stop. I don't have a clue what it is supposed to be but it fills the empty spot and I can keep it down. Some days you just have take what you can get and be thankful that you can get it.
Either the rain gets here or I get there - I don't know which is 'correct'. But once again I am blessed to see it coming and I have time to stop under a bridge so I can get suited up.
This sign really makes me wonder how many smokers and how many packs are involved in this and will the rain put them out.
I finally ride out of it and for that I am thankful. And that is the way life generally is - if we just plugging along we will come out of the rain and into the sunshine sooner or later.
Across the railroad tracks to my right is a really nice lake that makes me want to stop and wet a line.
The closer I get to Jasper, the more to my liking the scenery becomes.
It's pretty area with lots of mountain peaks and lovely lakes ...
and some pretty interesting rock outcroppings. This reminds me a lot of Stone Mountain down in Georgia near Atlanta.
It's just one pretty view after another and it helps to remind me why I enjoy riding up this way, though it's a far piece from my beloved Holler.
As I pass by this area, it also reminds of the sadness caused by a major fire that has come through here.
Soon I ease into Jasper and I know from here the really pretty stuff starts to appear.
It's just one lovely vista ...
after another lovely vista ...
after another one. I like to use the description of like 'riding through a calendar' of beautiful scenery.
As I head further north I spot this sign and have to laugh. I guess everything can be 'world class' (a worn out marketing phrase to say the least) - but chicken racing? That sure seems like a bit of a stretch to me.
But I am snatched from those 'deep' thoughts as I encounter my first but unfortunately not my last nasty road construction loaded with gravel.
I take a break near McBride as it's time for gas again and a break from the dust kicked up by the traffic.
I figure I'll wait a little bit until some of the big truck traffic clears before I take off. It's bad enough to fight the gravel but being behind a truck and trailer where you can't see for the dust is a whole 'nother dimension.
When I pass these roadside flowers, it reminds me of the thrift that Ma (my maternal grandmother) always had growing at her house. Having been raised pretty rough and hard at home, her house out in the country was always a safe and loving refuge for me.
Soon I am back to reasonable pavement and I have it all to myself.

But unfortunately that does not last for very long. Riding a street bike in gravel is bit like a bank robbery -

'Don't nobody make any sudden moves and won't nobody get hurt!'


So all you can do is just chill and plug along slowly and sooner or later you come out of it hopefully with no drama.
As I near my destination for the evening, I spot another interesting railroad bridge - this one across a wide river.
It's been along day so I am thankful when I see this sign.
The Super 8 at Prince George is great to work with as they let me park BlueBelle right by their window where someone is on duty 24/7.
Inside there is an atrium that reminds me of the one at the Opryland Hotel back home but on a much smaller scale.
And there is a small restaurant right in the motel so it ain't a long walk from my room to supper. I go for the fish and fries and I must say it's pretty tasty not to mention I can look out from my table into the pretty atrium.
Tomorrow will be a much shorter day but through some more 'challenging' roads as I will be making my way back along the Cassiar to Stewart and Hyder. Hyder is the southern most part of Alaska that you can ride to from the lower 48 states. The condition of the Cassiar highway can really be interesting sometimes. So with those thoughts floating around in my head, I drift off into a pleasant slumber.