Friday, October 07, 2005
"Alone Again Or..."
After a quick up date to the site I left Prince George Monday (10/03) continuing east on the Yellowhead Highway. And thanks to Sydney I left with a lot more coffee than when I got to town! Once on the highway and just out of town the forest again takes over and becomes my only companion. There are no services until McBride which is over 100 miles/160 kilometers away and it’s the only town between Prince George and the town of Jasper—there are 228 miles/367 kilometers between the two—making the ride a lonely one. Cattle farms continue to disrupt an otherwise isolated part of B.C. and once again the landscape changes back to a more mountainous setting. The highway is flat for the most part but rolls up and down occasionally adding some variety to an other wise uneventful ride. Not that I am complaining. The scenery is amazing and the pavement is smooth. And just like the first part of the Yellowhead from Kitwanga to Prince George the weather was cooperating and I even got a few tail winds to help push me along! I did see another BIG brown bear as I was pedaling into McBride! It was dinning on some berry bushes along side of the highway and took off in a hurry once it saw me riding along!
Wednesday morning (10/05) I left McBride with the intent to get as close to Jasper as I could then enter the park on Thursday. At Tete Juane Cache I pulled into the Tete Juane Lodge to find out some information about the up coming ride. As I rode up to the office Greg, the manager of the lodge, came out armed with a camera and immediately snapped a few photos. Being a cyclist himself Greg was very curious about the tour. We started talking about bikes and soon I was offered a meal and a place to pitch my tent. I had only logged 42 miles/67 kilometers but the offer was too good to turn down so I called it a day. I ate dinner and then hung out with Greg all evening. We talked about bikes, the riding in British Columbia and all things Canada. I also got to inspect his vintage Bridgestone MB-4 and checking out some of his head-tube badge collection before heading off to bed. Thursday morning after breakfast I said thank you and goodbye to Greg then turned the bike toward Jasper.
The ride through Mt Robson Park into the town of Jasper was awesome. The views are incredible and the road is silky smooth with very little climbing. The sky looked as if it would dump rain at any moment but it remained dry all of the way into The Province of Alberta and to the town of Jasper. I was able to cover 66 miles/ 106 kilometers in less than 5 hours and also cross into a different time zone.
(10/07) I am in the town of Jasper right now getting ready to ride into Jasper National Park and down the Ice Fields Parkway after I upload this here blog, get groceries and find out the condition of the parkway. The skies are grey and the air is full of humidity so I’d better get going before it either rains or snows. Next update will be from somewhere else further south!
Monday, October 03, 2005
Onward to Jasper
(10/03) It’s about 8 a.m. I am at the Starbuck’s where Sydney works getting ready to up the two blogs and then start my day. It didn’t snow last night so that’s good. I’m still beating the weather. It looks like the next up date will be in Jasper (?). That’s it, I’m off.
Along The Yellowhead to Prince George
(10/02) It was a pretty uneventful 240 miles from Smithers to Prince George. No real weather to deal with—including the wind—or big hills to climb either. But I’m not complaining. Sometimes uneventful is all that I want to deal with. The traffic is starting to increase but that’s a given because of where I am at now. The Yellowhead Highway is a busy road that connects a string of towns and small communities together before passing through the city of Prince George and is not at isolated. The landscape along the highway has gone from big mountains and valleys to soft gently sloping hills and vast rolling plains with lots of farm land, cattle farms mainly, dotting the countryside. The setting reminds of the riding around where I grew up in southern Indiana; pastoral, rural and tranquil. So no longer does just the occasional RV or truck pass by. Now its car after car after car all of the way into Prince George, the biggest city that I have been in since I left Anchorage. Prince George is home to a lot of industry and commerce with high-rise buildings and a university and a college to boot. It’s a little overwhelming to be in such a big place after two months of being mostly alone.
Really the only thing that still remains constant is the threat of snow. It’s actually supposed to snow tonight! No shit! Well hopefully it won’t but I wouldn’t be at surprised if it did. Three out of the past four mornings I awoke to a frosty tent. But I won’t have to worry about waking up cold tomorrow, for tonight I sleep indoors! That’s right! About the only exciting thing that has happened to me after leaving Smithers is meeting another like minded bike tourist. While in Houston, one of three major towns along the way to Prince George I met Paul Comparelli. A dentist by trade, Paul is also an avid bike tourist and loves helping other two-wheeled travelers in need. Immediately after introducing himself, Paul offered me a place to stay for the night. Well, it was too early for me to call it a day—actually my day was just starting—so I declined the offer but I was in need of some white gas/camp fuel. Without batting an eye he jumped in his truck and went to his home, got the fuel and rushed back to the 'Steal Head' town park across from the gas station where we met to fill my bottle! Paul has been on several tours around Canada and the United States and really knows how to spread good karma around! He always includes his 15 year old twin girls and 9 year old daughter when touring also which, according to Paul and I defiantly believe, helps empower them to achieve what ever they put their mind to! We talked awhile before it was time for me to hit the road. Prior to leaving he asked me if I had a place to stay in Prince George. I did, but he said to call or e-mail him if things didn’t work out and he could arrange for me to stay with his other daughter, Sydney. Well things didn’t work out, so when I rolled into town I phoned back to Houston to talk to Paul about his offer. With in 30 minutes after talking to Paul he contacted Sydney and arranged for her to pick me where I was in town! She then took me to where she was house-sitting, which is where I’m at right now. I’ve had a shower, a meal and got to type up this here blog, all under the shelter and warmth of a huge house. Pretty cool, eh?! Meet a guy in one town who is sympathetic enough to make sleeping arrangements for you in a town that is almost 200 miles/320 kilometers away! Yet another testament to how easy it is to make friends when bike touring! Thanks Paul and Sydney.