Canada 2013

Day 04

June 18

  Nothing clicked my breakfast button last night on my walk around, so I'm up early to weave my way out of the construction before traffic gets heavy.  
  Soon I'm back out onto the open road that I have come to appreciate so well up here.  
  But in some areas, it's a little rough along with the 'open'. If frost heaves, a little gravel, road construction and grated bridges give you trouble, this is not the area for you to ride around.  
  I'm on TC 16 , also known as the 'Yellowhead' for a little over 180 miles.  
  It's a pleasant run through areas dotted by small lakes ...  
  and occasional buffalo. I guess no one has told the buffalo that they could walk through that fence without much effort.  

But it just seems I seldom escape the ever present construction zones. The joke up here is -

'There are just two seasons - winter and road construction'

And they sure are making a believer out of me.

  As I whiz around Edmonton, I spot this unusual train bridge. It reminds me a lot of the truss construction used in some houses.  
  And I guess they don't have any short tunnels to go through since they are running double stackers on the rail cars.  
  But I'm back out in the country where I like it. I'd much rather look at this lovely old barn than the rumpled concrete landscape of a city.  
  But something else is getting rumpled, so Frost and I pull over for a fill-up and empty break.  
  The rain has been chasing me all day, but right now the clouds look like fluffy pillows. I remember this distinctive timber bridge from last year. But Alain and I were coming from the other side. 
  One thing you notice as you head northward is the gradual increase of elevation. It starts out like this with gentle hills and ridges and progresses into real snow covered mountains.  
  My stomach reminds me that it has been a while since I threw anything that way. When I get into Whitecourt, I see a Smitty's which works just fine for me.  
  And being the creature of habit that I am, I order about the same thing. And yes, it is as good as it looks and it does evaporate pretty quickly ...  
  After Whitecourt, I just kick back on highway 43 which will carry me all the way to Dawson Creek, the beginning of the ALCAN highway.  
  When I see this sign 'Moose Row', I wonder if the moose know. I didn't think moose even paddled much less did any rowing. Some how I don't think they really got the email since I don't see a one along this road.  
  Another interesting sight up here are the super long rigs like these. I'm mighty glad they are headed in the opposite direction from me.  
  Up ahead, I've got some blue and I've got some black. But I'll put my money on the blue and keep riding without putting on my rain gear.  

Before I know it, it's time to tend to Frost and her empty gas tank. And I do the reverse for myself as breakfast has now been thoroughly processed. There are two ladies behind the counter and they ask me -

"Where are you from?"

When I tell them that I left Nashville, Tennessee three days ago, they look at me like a calf staring at a new gate. One of them speaks up -

"Yeah, I'd like to travel. My kids are about gone" she adds.

"Well, don't wait too late. Make your plans and pull the trigger while you still can" I encourage her.

  Once I'm back at it, it looks like I am going to be 'baking in a bag' today whether I want to or not if the sky up ahead is any indicator.  
  The further I go, the worse it looks. Now the blue has turned to an ugly black. 
  I learned a long time ago that discretion the better part of valor, so I pull over and suit up before I get totally soaked. Having a waterproof boot full of water is not something I prefer to experience again. Folks sometimes forget that what keeps water out will also keep water in when it gets in!  
  I have to guess that it rains enough around here, that the beavers really get to be pretty big fellers ...  
  And if there is anything that's more aggravating than rain while riding - it's rain while riding in a construction zone! But it still beats working any day of the week.  
  Fortunately, when I reach this construction zone, the rain has stopped. And for that I am very thankful as this is a long wait and a long way through.  
  Soon I am pulling into Dawson Creek, my destination for the evening. I've made some pretty good time today so I'll have some time to do a bit of looking around.  
  I pull into the mile 0 marker and get the obligatory shot. The one I had of SweetTreat at this same spot was lost when my camera was destroyed. 
  And I still can't figure out where this feller is pointing to as he is not pointing to the ALCAN highway.  
  This is the 'official' government sign designating mile 0, but I like the other one much better.  
  Just a few hundred yards down the road I pull into the Lodge Motel for the evening. It is one of the nicest places I will stay on the trip. The folks are very friendly and the room is nice and well kept.  
  After I get my gear pitched in my room, I set out on my evening stroll. I am still trying to walk at least two miles a day on this trip to keep a little bit of my physical conditioning in place. And after all the saddle time, it is mighty good to get your circulation back in action to avoid possible blood clots. Just down the road back at mile 0 is a nice art gallery built in an old grain elevator. 
  And they have preserved the original rail station and turned it into a museum.  
  It's full of stuff that I remember seeing as a kid - so I guess that must make me some sort of museum piece ...  
  In fact, this kitchen reminds me an awful lot of my great grandmother's kitchen way up in the hills.  
  And we had an old stove like this one in the first house I lived. The house had four rooms and a path and one of these in the front room. When you fired it up with chunks of coal, it looked like someone grinning at you. At least that what it looked like to me when I was a little feller. 
  With my miles put in for the day, I wander back to the motel which has a nice restaurant on site.  
  And the cook knows how to cook so I am tickled to death. The soup is mighty tasty and the sandwich is even better. Nothing like good, simple grub done right and served with a wonderful smile. Since they do breakfast, I know where I'll be putting on the feedbag in the morning.  
  When I waddle back to my room after my splendid supper, I start looking at where I've been and where I'm headed. It suddenly dawns on me that I've covered about 2,400 miles to get to mile 0 of the ALCAN. This about the same distance as it is from Nashville to California. But pretty soon the rack monster is calling my name and I succumb to his efforts without much of a struggle.