May 31, 2012
Prince George Ė Pink Mountain, BC: 384mi
Everyone learns humility. We all know if you ride motorcycles, itís just a matter of time before youíre going to drop the bike. I was surprised I had made it 3600 miles without dropping it so far.
It was chilly in the morning when I rolled the Radian out of the Jacuzzi shop onto the sidewalk. As I was packing up some folks from the hostel kept me company asking questions about my gear, my bike, and my trip. I let the bike warm up with the choke while I put on my armor, just as I always do.
In hindsight, I didnít let the bike warm up enough. I waved goodbye to the hostel folks as I rode off the sidewalk into the road to make a u-turn. As I got half way through the turn the bike stalled. I managed to come to a stop and put my feet down. But with the bike already leaning and the weight of all my gear, I felt the bike fall in slow motion.
I hopped off to the side with the Radian lying down in the middle of the intersection. Thankfully it was a quiet road and no cars were around. I threw my hands up laughing at myself while the hostel folks ran over to help me. It was leaking fuel so we got it up fast and rolled it to the side to sit for a bit.
Thereís a first time for everything. I remember feeling relieved. I finally dropped the bike. It was a good icebreaker.
Thankfully there was no damage. I was a bit shook up however, and after taking off for the second time I could feel myself trembling a bit. Just a little ways out of town I realized my left mirror was knocked loose. I pulled over and took a couple deep breaths while I dug out my tools to tighten it back down.
It took a little ways for my body to relax on the bike again and feel comfortable. I think that was the most important part of learning humility. Itís how I overcame it. By the time I felt relaxed, my riding become even more fluid than before. I became more careful and more efficient. I had more respect for the bike. Sometimes you have to fall hard so you know how to stand tall.
I left Prince George on 97 before stopping at Bear Lake for a snack. It was a leisurely ride and a bit boring compared to what I had seen so far. I was disappointed to realize I had lost my Bluetooth and couldn't even entertain myself with music.
I took the Hudson Hope Loop Road (29) bypassing Dawson Creek to get to the Alaskan Highway. It was pretty riding along the Peace River through lush green foothills and pasture that reminded me of Virginia. I started missing home and found myself lonely the majority of the day.
I stopped at a gas station and was uplifted seeing Alaska plates for the first time. It was a cute Volkswagen van, the kind where the top pops up. It reminded me of the old school-bus orange one my parents used to have in the 70ís.
We struck up a conversation since he asked if I had really ridden all the way from Virginia. It turned out he had just bought the Volkswagen and was driving it home to his family in Anchorage. When I told him I was headed there too he was happy to give me his name and number in-case I would need a place to stay or any help while on the road.
Feeling comforted for knowing someone on the road ahead, my spirits began to uplift. Itís funny how just one quick little interaction like that can have such an effect on my emotion. I was riding to Alaska! Be excited!
I stopped at Moberly Lake for lunch and found a sunny place to sit. It was very windy however so I didn't stay long. As I was leaving I ran into some friendly park rangers that gave me a Park Passport. Apparently all the parks in British Columbia have this to collect stickers of parks you have visited for future discounts. I wasnít really interested but was comforted to meet some more nice people.
Reaching the Alaskan Highway was very anti-climatic. There was no obvious sign and the highway was a straight road surrounded by evergreen trees and a mowed edge for spotting wildlife. It could have been a road from anywhere.
It may have been a boring road to ride on but I did get to see some wildlife. I saw a black bear that stared at me in curiosity as I drove by. He looked a bit confused but couldnít be bothered either. Later I stopped in the road to let a mamma moose with her baby cross. Itís amazing how tall they are. Itís hard to realize until youíre close to one.
According to the Milepost, Pink Mountain campsite is, ďone of the nicest campgrounds on the Alaskan Highway.Ē This was in fact the worst campground I stayed at on my entire trip. For an RV, it may be nice. It had all the hookups and supplies RVís consume. But for a street bike and solo tent, it sucked.
They were in the process of cutting down trees and moving debris to create more campsites. The place looked like a construction zone with tractors and dead trees everywhere. I struggled finding a campsite away from the roaring RVís and with a decent safe place to park the bike. Most of the parking places were on mulch hills with soft deep ground.
I had to weave around branches and rocks, loose dirt, tree trunks and holes in the ground to get to my campsite. I was wishing I had a dirt bike and was determined not to drop it twice in one day. When I finally found my site some stupid kid that worked there came up to me and said, ďyou sure look nervous to be riding that thing.Ē I wanted to punch the little fucker.
So I enjoyed a peaceful evening setting up my tent next to piles of dead trees and cooking my rice with tuna to the majestic sounds of tractors and RVís humming in the wind.
Hopefully, I will make it to some hot springs tomorrow and leave this shit-hole behind me.
The picture doesn't make it look so bad. But if you turned around, I had a view of RV's, tractors, and piles of trees.