Canada 2013

Day 05

June 19

  Looks like today is going to be one of those days you just kick back and enjoy the rain. There are worse things than riding in the rain all day, work being one of them. I make my way across to parking lot to the restaurant where the lights have just come on.  

Supper was great last night, but breakfast is even better. The lady that is waiting on me is as sweet as a grandma. I can tell this is not her first rodeo and she is a real joy to be around. In every line of work there are some folks that are just 'naturals' and she's the top rung. I notice that she is doing everything - serving, cleaning up, and collecting the money. We talk about a few things then I mention I am from Nashville. She says -

"I'm going to Nashville some day" with a faraway look in her eyes.

"Well, you need to just do it. And when you go, let me tell about something most folks don't know about. On the west side of town in a park is a full size replica of the Parthenon of Greece. It's really something to see when they light it up at night."

  Well, at the end there is nothing left but ashes and the silverware. It is one of the best breakfasts I've had in a while. When it comes time to settle up, I tell her -

"I reckon you must do it all - serve, clean up, and collect."

She says with a smile "And sometimes I cook too!"

I wish her well and head back to get suited up and hit the road.


With Frost loaded and ready to roll, I go ahead and put on my rain suit, as it is raining and appears that it's settled in for a while.

  The good thing about the rain is it makes you slow down a bit if you have any sense, especially in a construction zone. And that gives a feller time to noodle over stuff in his head.  
  Fortunately, the rain has all but stopped by the time I hit the next construction zone. This one has a pilot truck so I dutifully follow it through mud and the crud.  

As I head down the next big hill, the BC police have a road block setup and direct everybody off through the pull off. It's a place where big trucks are supposed to stop and do a brake check, so I think it's a bit odd that everybody is waved over. There are some cruisers behind me, so the young officer asks me -

"Are you with them?"

"No sir, I'm all by lonesome" I tell him.

He gives me a big smile and says "Have a nice day" and waves me on. I don't know if he has some special planned for them or not. But I'm glad I'm not part of it as I make a hasty exodus on down the hill.


It's funny how I have trouble remembering people's names, but I usually don't forget roads and stuff about them. This hill triggers a memory from the last time I was through this way.

  Matter of fact, I know exactly what's around this corner ...  
  a very long grated bridge across the Peace River to the village of Taylor. Grated bridges are not too bad if they are not wet and they are not long. But this one is long and wet, so I kick it back a notch and take it easy. You just have to relax your grip on the handlebars and let the bike wander instead of fighting it. It's a bit like a bank robbery - don't nobody make any sudden moves and won't nobody get hurt.  
  I'll be coming back through here in a few days, but hopefully it won't be raining then. Further on down the road, I wonder if the moose read this sign either. At least it's not telling them they have to row.  
  The road just stretches out before me and I am enjoying the peace and quiet.  
  I pass quite a few riders today on various conveyances. Some are small bikes, some are cruisers, some are mechanical couches. I always try to be respectful and wave as I go by.  
  I was hoping to get a picture of sasquatch, but I guess he didn't read the sign either.  
  The changes of elevation are getting more and more dramatic, which suits me just fine...  
  because generally that means there ought to be some curves involved - and there usually are.  

Gas is really interesting today because it seems a lot of places are shut permanently. This place was open but they had no gas. That's why you have to watch your gas level up here a little closer and not count on the next place on the GPS to even be open.

  I'm not in trouble, but I am at the point that I want to gas up at the next available spot. Fortunately, the next place I pass does have gas so I take advantage of it. It has the old style pump like the ones at the country store I worked at as a teenager. But the main thing is it works and they have gas.  
  I've still got my rain suit on as it is just one of those days where you are in and out of the rain.  
  Fortunately on down the road, I see a clear spot in the sky where I'm headed.  
  But the sky is the only thing that's clear cause the road is under construction and full of nasty muck.  

When I pass by this little church, it reminds me a lot of our church back home. You don't have to guess what is the purpose of the building. Plain, simple and to the point as God's business ought to be.

  I see this sign and it kind of makes me wonder ....  
  because at this point it would do you no good to check. The place is shut and appears to have been that way for a while judging by the weeds in the parking lot.  
  This is about as heavy as the traffic gets on the ALCAN and for that I am very thankful. You'll encounter some when you get close to a settlement, but for the most part I have the road to myself.  
  Looks like they've had pretty serious rains around here lately as the river is really up.  
  And once again I'm at yet another construction zone.  
  But then I'm through with that and back to the open road.  
  You have to get about two hundred to three hundred miles up the ALCAN before you really begin to see the pretty scenery like this.  
  For all the world, this picture could have been taken from most anywhere on the Blue Ridge Parkway back home.  
  The mountains are starting to get more rugged and before long I know I will start seeing them with a white mantle gracing their tops.  
  Then I 'get' my first 'bear sighting' Most folks don't realize how quick a bear can cover short distances. So I don't tarry long to get this shot.  
  I'm a little too far out to make it the rest of the way on the tank of gas I have. So when I see the sign that they have gas, I pull off the road to take advantage of it.  
  I have to laugh at the sign on their old gas pump. In case you are wondering, their gas was $1.78 per liter which figures out to be about $6.22 a gallon. Some days, you just have to pay the fiddler if you're gonna dance.  
  And the head dog has no sympathy either for traveling strangers.  
  I guess he got that way because his beggin' hasn't done him any good. He should know better that to try to beg food from a 'healthy' feller.  
  The road gets more and more interesting with incredible scenery and some pretty nice twisties.  
  And every now then another grated bridge. After a few of them, you sort of figure out the drill. But I don't know that you ever get real comfortable crossing them - at least I don't.  
  Up ahead are some interesting mountains that remind me a lot of Stone Mountain down in Georgia.  
  They are just barren rock with no apparent vegetation on them at all.  
  And I pass by another place that has been closed. I guess when the economy tanked back in 2007, tourism shut down. And these places live on that trade since there is very little local economy.  
  The farther north you get, the more beautiful the views become. This seems like it would be a mighty fine one to wake up to every morning.  
  When I see this sign, I just figure it's just like all the other signs that the animals ignore.  
  But evidently the sheep are better educated than their other animal brethren and can read quite well.  
  Once I negotiate around them, there is some good riding to be had.  
  Not only is it twisty, but it is beautiful. The road stretches out before me like a twisted rope just waiting to be untangled.  
  Then you pass from snow tipped peaks to incredibly green peaks in the ever changing vista.  
  It just doesn't get much better than this for a rider - an open, twisty road with a gorgeous back drop.  
  And did I mention there are a lot of grated bridges up here?  
  The sign indicates a rough road for a motorcyclist - and they sure aren't kidding!  
  Off to my left I see a couple of elk making their way deeper into the forest.  
  Every now and then you come into small settlements like this one. But you never know if there will be gas or not.  
  Then it's back to the views that are unspoiled by man's progress.  
  As I approach Muncho Lake, it reminds me a lot of some of the views out west in the high desert.  
  It's beautiful lake, a little over 7 miles long and over 200 feet deep in some spots.  
  As I keep rolling on, I spot another place boarded up and out of business. Someone else's dream has been crushed by the reality of a poor economy.  
  It's just a pleasant day for riding and I am so glad that I have been allowed to participate.  
  I am thinking that it's about time to see a buffalo, and my memory serves me correctly.  
  Pretty soon I pass through the first major herd. Fortunately, they are off to the side and peacefully grazing. And I certainly hope that's where they stay as I make my way past them. A ton of furry fury is not something I want to joust with today.  
  I love roads like this where you can see out ahead and take advantage of it.  
  Even though it is a very small bridge, it does remind of the Golden Gate Bridge just a little bit. You just don't see many suspension bridges in this neck of the woods.  
  Before long, I pass a smaller herd of buffalo and they stay put also. One thing nice about riding a quiet motorcycle - the animals don't seem to take very much notice.  
  I'm running alongside the Liard River now which appears to be swollen from recent run off.  
  Then I come to an area that always saddens my heart. The ravages of forest fire are everywhere and I always think about the suffering of the poor animals that are caught in such a disaster.  

When I stop for this bear shot, I notice he seems to be looking for something. Then I hear what he is muttering as he looks up to me -

"Soy sauce, soy sauce, where did I put the soy sauce. Motorcyclists are always so much better with soy sauce"

Or at least that's what I think I hear him say so I make a very quick exit.


When I come to this contruction zone, it's one with a pilot vehicle. The lady waves me on up to the front around the other cars, trucks and RVs. This zone is full of nasty gravel and she doesn't want me to get blasted going through here. As I am waiting, we talk a bit. I tell her -

"Thanks a bunch for waving me up. Getting blasted by gravel shooting out from RV tires is not my favorite thing."

We talk about being on the road and such. I say -

"I bet it gets pretty tough out here."

She tells me - "My day is usually 12 hours long."

"I bet that really makes your feet hurt" I add.

"Yes it does" she says. "And one day I was out here when the herd of buffalo came walking really close by. I stood real still and hoped for the best."

Since there was no place for her to go, I can only imagine the things that were going through her mind - too tired to run, no place to run to.

  Soon the pilot truck comes back, so I thank her again and it's away to do some off roading.  
  After I get through that bit of business, I see this feller sort of stretched out. I guess he must have worked the night shift and is a really tired buffalo.  
  Soon I arrive at the Coal River Resort. You have to remember that up here, everything is a 'resort' - even if it's just a lean to and a tarp. And most of them are priced according to the title not the facilities.  
  I have the privilege of meeting the Head Dog and he takes a liking to me.  

After I get my evening walk in, I clean up a bit and head for the restaurant. At the next table is civil engineer who is working this construction area. He says -

"I like it out here so I can stay out of the office as much as possible. I've got my laptop and my cell phone and can do what I need to do from here."

"Well, I reckon I understand that" I tell him. "I think back at most offices they wear ties. And ties restrict the blood flow to the brain. And that's why most companies make such stupid decisions back at the office."

He just laughs and nods his head in agreement.

Before long, a young lady comes by and takes my order. I decide since I am probably past most of the buffalo, I'll have some of their uncle for supper. So I select a buffalo burger and some soup. It's reasonable but nothing to write home to momma about.


When I go up to pay, I tell her -

"This card has a chip in it" because most cards in the U.S. don't. She replies with a snarky attitude -

"Just how long do you think I've been doing this?"

Since she appears to be way south of 20 years old I have an answer but I keep it to myself. I reply "Well, I reckon I don't know. Just trying to be helpful."

Obviously she has not been doing too long as she cuts herself out of the tip process by pressing a button too soon. I just smile and sign the receipt, chuckling to myself as I make my way back to my room. The room is okay even though the shower has peeling paint and the beds are on rollers. But I came to spend the night not my life so I'm out to the land of sweet dreams in short order.