In my first week being in Canada I had met the most amazing people all with massive hearts and the biggest smiles and I travelled long, winding and beautiful roads. The rain had come and gone and with it I had seen spectacular clouds. I was still yet to see my first bear or moose but I was assured it wouldn’t be long before I did. Making it to Prince George was great but having a snapped frame wasn’t. With the help of John and Tracy they could track someone who could hopefully fix it and allow me to ride the last few thousand miles to the finish. From here my journey would head west to Kitwanga where I would turn north once again for yet another long stretch. It is always hard to know from a map what I was going to see on the road ahead and there was only one way to find out and that was to get on and do it.
Friday 3rd June
Having a day off and a broken bike I already knew how my day was going to be. I joined John and Tracey for breakfast and then had the morning to try and catch up on my jobs while John headed out to catch up on his. Having the morning to plan my route ahead and work on my blog I got my head down and set to work. John returned home just after 1.30pm and after a few phone calls we headed out to a farm to see if Dave could weld Dolly back together. Having already been brazed he was a little nervous about weakening the brass but he took his time and did a great job.
Dave working his magic
These two were great fun to be around
Once Dolly was fixed I thanked Dave for coming to the rescue and we headed back into town to pick up a few things. Having a Chilli cook off in the town tomorrow we headed back to the house and they set to work on their master piece. Not wanting to many cooks I was left to get my things ready for leaving tomorrow. Once the Chilli was on the go we sat down and had our dinner and enjoyed the company.
They were such a fun family to be with and I was so pleased to be here. Having been offered a place to stay 40 miles west of Prince George meant that I didn’t have to leave until 1pm and so I could help with the Rotary cook off. It had been a day of uncertainties but had ended well. Not only was my bike fixed but I could also help John and Tracy with their Chilli and I was looking forward to it.
Saturday 4th June
The day had come for the Chilli cook off and the team was armed with a very tasty Chilli in two massive pots. We loaded the car and headed to the venue and started to set up. With people already set up and serving we had a little catching up to do but we knew we should win because it was that good. Once it was all heated up and ready to go we were like a well oiled machine serving all the people that came. Everyone seemed to love it and many commented it was the best Chilli. It was so much fun and I had a great time helping them out, feeling honoured to have been asked.
With the pot getting low and many bellies being full it was time to head back and load up my bike. I said goodbye to John and Rob, then Tracy drove me back to drop me off. I’d had such a great time here in Prince George but once again it was time to head on. With my things packed I was pretty much ready to head off when Torre arrived home. I was so pleased to see her and to wish her luck for her future and also thank her for looking after me when I arrived. I set off out of town and headed west on the Yellowhead highway.
Once I had climbed out of town the road stayed pretty good only climbing slightly but the views were beautiful. With a tree lined highway that opened up to deep black lakes and birds singing it made for a nice ride.
I reached the turn off for Cluculz lake and made my way down a side road following the directions I had been given. I finally found the address and arrived a beautiful quaint cabin and went in to take a look. I messaged Karen to say I had arrived and opened the door to a beautifully modelled cabin. Their were moose everywhere and it felt so homely. Karen arrived shortly after and showed me how everything worked and I was then left to make myself at home to relax.
Karens beautiful cabin
It was just so relaxing
This picture was on the wall and made me laugh
It was the most relaxing place and I loved it. Deciding not to do any work I relaxed for the rest of the evening watching a movie with the food and beer Karen had brought me. I couldn’t believe I was here and just how lucky I was to be invited to stay.
The sunset was the perfect end to a great day
Sunday 5th June
With a day off planned I lay in my comfy bed knowing I didn’t have to get up. I hadn’t had a lay in for a very long time and it was so amazing knowing I could if I wanted to lay there all day. Eventually the sun was up and I couldn’t stay in bed any longer. Once I had made breakfast I set to work to try and catch up on my blog. Being behind I worked pretty much the whole day, Taking breaks to have lunch but also watching a movie to relax. Having had the chance to sit on the deck in the sun was amazing and being invited over to Karens I made my way over once I was done to see where her and Antony lived. I rode for about 5 minutes and arrived at a beautiful house right on the lake. It was so beautiful with the huge lake that spread out in front of them with firs that lined the waters edge and I could see why they had moved there. We had a few drinks and chatted about life and Karen said why don’t I stay for another night.
The beautiful view from Karen’s house
With it being so nice there I agreed but asked if I could do any jobs while I was there. Looking rather excited after telling her I was a carpenter we arranged to meet in the morning and we would make a plan.
Another amazing sunset
By the time I went to leave it was already dark and so I headed back to head to bed. I was so relaxed and so pleased I had decided to stop.
Monday 6th June
This was bliss just waking up not needing to go anywhere. I resisted getting up but once again with the sun well and truly up I got up and made coffee. Getting more work done Karen arrived just after midday and said she was taking me for dinner. We headed out to the highway and took another track down to a The Cabin Restaurant which had only been open about 6 months. The owners were so lovely and they had got an amazing place also right on the waterfront.
One of the lovely owners of this beautiful restaurant
Once we’d had dinner we headed to Karen’s house to see what she wanted doing. With the plan to put up coving around the ceiling I set to work with Karen’s help and soon had it finished. Karen had a great eye for detail and the room looked loads better for it.
Karen was just the most amazing and kind person with the biggest heart
Once I was done I headed back and took it easy. Having an afternoon nap was amazing and something I never do. Offering to cook me dinner I got up and started to do a few little jobs on my bike one of which was to tighten the saddle when I noticed the saddle bolt had snapped. Knowing Karen had loads of tools I headed back over and managed to get it fixed. Once I was done I headed in to join Karen for dinner. I had really enjoyed being here at the lake and Karen was such a lovely lady I was pleased I had got to meet.
With the plan to cover some big milage tomorrow it was soon time to head back and get my things sorted. With my bike now back in action I could get my head down and head west to Burns lake.
Tuesday 7th June
Well its official I am rubbish at getting up in the mornings even if the sun has been up since around 4am. With my eye mask on and being in a very comfy bed I just wanted it to last that little bit longer before I got up but having over 100 miles to cover I knew my bliss had to end. Putting the kettle on was a good start and although I thought I was pretty organised it still seemed to take me ages to get my things packed and loaded on my bike. Once I had breakfast I checked I had everything and looked at the amazing place I had been staying in. It was the most relaxing spot, I had got loads done and met the amazing lady Karen in the process. With my saddle now fixed I pushed my bike up the short track and out onto the road. Once back at the highway I turned left and continued West past the trucks hauling the huge wind turbine.
You can get a rough Idea just how massive these are going to be.
The road climbed slightly and continued to undulate until I had covered the 20 miles to Vanderhoof. I stopped in the town to grab some snacks then rode out of town to try and cover the miles. After covering around 40 I saw a cyclist ahead who had stopped at the bottom of a hill. I came up behind him to his surprise and so I stopped and sat while we chatted for a bit. Looking shattered and knowing I still had a long day ahead I apologised I couldn’t ride with him and said my goodbyes. I set off up the hill and was soon out of sight. The scenery remained beautiful with a fir lined highway opening up at times to reveal the odd deep black lake that reflected like a mirror.
Passing many signs warning of Bears, Dear and moose I kept looking but never saw anything. I would sometimes daydream as I rode and would then think later that I probably passed loads on the road doing a circus act to try and get my attention and me riding past being totally oblivious.
Amazing clouds along the highway
Apart from the odd short climb the road didn’t get much above 780 metres or get lower than 650 metres. The slight headwind would come and go or even change to a tailwind helping me for a few miles before it would switch again.
Just a tiny portion of the piled tree that were ready to be machined
Apart from a half an hour lunch break next to a lake I kept going getting ever closer to Burns Lake. I passed a few nice places to camp but with another big day tomorrow I really wanted to cover the 100 miles today. With 15 miles to go I was exhausted and I had to stop a couple times to eat a snack or just get a minutes rest.
A bald eagle looking for its next meal
The highway was often lined with dense firs
If it was for a snack I would continue riding but at a slow pace so I was at least moving forward. By 7.45pm I finally reached the town and spotted a pub that served food. I went in and ordered then sat outside and chatted to a lovely group of ladies who were celebrating their mums birthday. They so nice to chat to and sit while I ate my dinner. With it now almost 9pm I headed down to the lake where I was told was a free campsite and looked for a good spot. On arrival it looked perfect apart from the toilets were closed so once my tent was up I put on my swimming shorts and jumped into the dark water.
This was such a great spot to camp
It did take my breath away but it was much warmer then I thought it would be. By the time I was set up and I had done all my jobs it was 10.30pm and I was very tired. I just hope I slept well for my big day tomorrow.
Wednesday 8th June
I woke in my tent with the rain hitting the flysheet so I decided to lay in for little longer until it stopped. I got up just after 9am which was far later then I had hoped and sat by the lake to make a coffee while I packed away when a guy came over to chat. He was great to chat to and made a nice change to what would have been a quiet morning. By the time I was ready to go it was almost 10.30am at which point I realised I had 90 miles to cover and not 80 as I first thought. Feeling the pressure to get going I got my head down and just concentrated on getting to Smithers as soon as I could.
Making my way up to Six mile summit at 840 metres
The worlds largest fly rod in Houston
One of the early fire engines
Huge train packed with wood shavings of the paper mill
Having a Rotary meeting at 6pm I couldn’t hang around and so I didn’t really have time to stop for any kind of break. As it got closer to 12pm I was now getting so hungry I knew I had to stop before my body stopped. I found a store and picked up a few snacks just as the rain started to fall. Feeling lucky I was out of it while I ate I soon found I wasn’t going to be so lucky for the rest of the day.
I set off in the rain that just got heavier and made my life pretty rubbish. It wasn’t bad going with only a few biggish climbs but all I could think about was the average speed I had to keep up so I would make it in on time. As each hour went past I didn’t seem to make any headway and when I did I was then faced with a hill which would knock my average back to where it was.
Heading towards my next pass in the rain, Hungry hill 844metres named because they used to have to feed the horses half way up
The two hours left me needing to do 14mph which after a hard 62 miles I was starting to fade. I stuck at it and as I got close to town I made a quick phone call to say I would make it and arrived at the meeting 6 minutes late. As soon as I walked in I was handed a beer by Steve one of the Rotarians and sat and enjoyed a great evening with them all, all be it soaked through to the skin.
My contact in Smithers who was called Dan was away but had arranged for me to stay on his parents on their farm not far out of town so not long before the meeting ended Orvy, Dan’s father arrived to take me back. Once the meeting was over we loaded my bike into the truck and he took me out to his farm where I would meet his wife Cornelia. It was really great to meet them both and so we sat chatting for a while before it was time for bed. It was so great I had made it but what a day I’d had and being in a bed after such a tough day was just amazing.
Thursday 9th June
Waking up at 9am was great especially after a very long couple days. I joined Orvy and Cornelia in the kitchen for breakfast before their son Tim took me out to look around the farm.
Being a milking farm of 70 friesian cows it was great to see them and to sort of help out but really I think I just got in the way and in the process got covered in cow muck. Now being very presentable in the only pair of trouser I had We then headed to the golf course to have lunch over looking the green and the mountains behind.
Now with the sun out we could see just how stunning this place was
A great spot with great people Orvy and Cornelia
It was such a beautiful area and I could see how no one could get bored of the views. I was then kindly taken around the area to see the sights and visit the twin falls which are two waterfalls that comes straight off the glacier.
It was just incredible
Cornelia and Orvy
It was just amazing watching the amount of water that came off the shear drop. We then drove the back roads around the area before heading back to the house to have dinner. Cornelia kindly cooked dinner while I caught up on a few jobs and then joined them all around the table. I was once again in an amazing family that I was so pleased to be part of even for just a short period of time. Once we’d had dinner I continued to check out my route north before I jumped in the car with Cornelia to head to the supermarket to pick up a few supplies. Once I had picked up a few snacks for another day on the road we headed back so I could continue to work.
I always seemed to have so much to do but always felt good to try and keep on top of as much of it as I could. Being almost 1am by the time I was done left me with little sleep but it was a case of having to and being in the perfect place to do them.
Friday 10th June
Wanting to get up by 7.30am I asked for Cornelia to give me a shout but I was already awake and pretty much packed by the time she called me. I joined them for breakfast which was amazing and just what I needed to get going. Tim had been wanting to take me out shooting so once we had finished breakfast he took me to a safe place to shoot. Once we arrived he pulled out his R15 assault rifle so I had a go.
This was so cool
It was surprisingly easy to fire but after a few shoots my ears were already ringing. We handed back to load my bike in the truck so that Orvy could take me back to where I had ridden to.
It was great being taken back into town in the truck with a ShelterBox on board
Feeling lucky to have met such a great family
We headed into town and I was dropped off and ready to go. It was great to have had the chance to be here and to have had such a great time with Dan’s family. Once I was ready I thanked Orvy and set off south for Kitwanga. I was about an hour out of town when I got a call from Marg in Terrace to say she could come and pick me up and take me to Terrace for a Rotary meeting. I looked at my distance and although it would be tight I thought I could reach Kitwanga by 4.30pm.
Being a better day it made for a great ride west
One of the Salmon runs that the locals would come to the fish or net
Needing to get my head down I tried to keep up my speed without stopping. The ride west was stunning with huge snow capped mountains rising above the tree lined highway and all the time slightly dropping with little in the way of big climbs.
I kept on pushing on and arrived at Hazleton where I was told to take a look at a bridge that crossed the gorge.
With it only being a mile in from the highway I rode in and take a look to see it was in a beautiful area. I made my way back to the highway and continued on to try and meet Marg.
With the road following the river down stream I was making good progress and making up on time. As the day went on I started to drop down a long hill at between 20-25 mph when I saw something move to my right to see it was a black bear running through the grass and barge its way into the woods. It was so cool to see it and I was pleased I had seen it without a confrontation.
Now getting closer to Kitwanga I kept the pressure on and arrived at the garage at 4.25pm which was 5 minutes before I had estimated then spotted Marg waiting for me. I went to say hello and thank her for coming to pick me up and so we loaded the car and grabbed an ice cream. As I went in I passed a bike with a trailer and wondered if it was from the tyre tracks I had seen crossing the pass from Pavilion to Clinton. I stopped to introduce myself and asked if it was and sure enough it was. I chatted with Phillip for a while before we had to leave for Terrace. The drive down to Terrace was stunning with the 7 sisters along the way and many other snow capped mountains that lined the road that ran beside the river.
Heading down to Terrace with the beautiful mountains rising above the highway
A ferry crossing on a very treacherous stretch of river.
Arriving in terrace
We reached Terrace where I was very generously booked into a hotel and had time for a shower before Marg picked me up to take me to a rotary BBQ and the instillation of their new club president. They were all so much fun and so great to be around. Once they had gone through their agenda I was then introduced to the members and so got up to speak.
Heading into the club house as the rain started to fall
Changing of club president
Terraces new club and very lovely president, the amazing Marg and me
They were all so kind and I was so pleased I had come down knowing they had done so much in the past for Shelter Box. With the plan to head back to Kitwanga in the morning Marg was going to pick me up at 8.30am where I was then going to be driven back to where I was picked up from. It was so kind of her to do this and I knew it had taken a lot out of her day.
Looking out across the mountains from Terrace
This sign was very appropriate for the rotary
We headed back to the hotel where I was dropped off and left to rest for the night. It had been a very long day but it had been great to cover the miles and so much fun meeting such lovely people.
Heading west through even more beautiful scenery has been so great and having even more rotarians to meet up with has allowed me to meet more amazing families and see how the many communities are held together. I had also been making great progress in getting the miles covered which was great as the next section would take me north through some very remote and sparsely populated areas so now being comfortable riding big distances and remain in the saddle for extended periods of time would be easier. With a rough plan of distances to destinations I was keen to get going and see what lay ahead but with the promise of more bears I knew I had to keep my wits about me.
Thanks for reading xx