September 6, 2021 Didn't go far today. https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/fad5-5fe4c-4716/view I stayed in my tent for a couple hours after I woke up to write in my report. My tablet and keyboard were giving me some trouble. The keyboard wasn’t responding… I hope all the recent moisture hasn’t damaged it. The wind continued to blow this morning, off and on. Long stretches of perfectly calm air, and then sudden bursts of wind strong enough to deform the tent. On the positive side, it hadn’t rained and my tent was dry for the first time in several days. Packing up in the wind is a pain, and I ended up stuffing my tent into its sack rather than rolling it up like I usually do. My first stop today was to backtrack back to Smith River Falls. The trail down is steep, muddy, and not well-maintained. And at the end, the view of the falls is not much better than what you can see from up top. Not long after I got back on the Alaska Highway south, two loaded up V-Stroms passed me and we gave a wave. There are a lot of V-Stroms around here. I had been debating stopping at Liard Hot Springs just down the road, an oft-recommended stop along the Alaska Highway. I could stop early, get a campsite, soak in the hot springs, spend the night, and move on tomorrow. Or I could stop for a quick dip in the springs and continue on today. Or I could pass it up entirely. As usual, I was being indecisive. I pulled into the campground and told the attendant I was looking for a campsite. I planned to circle the campground to see if I felt like staying overnight. I saw one of the earlier V-Stroms at the entrance to the camping area and I pulled up next to him for a quick chat. He told me he and his girlfriend had just set up camp, and suggested I get a site nearby. He was very interested in my bike and what I thought of it. So that’s what I ended up doing. I found a site across from James and Vickie and set up my tent less than two hours after breaking camp up the road. They have an elaborate camp setup. I popped over for a quick chat and James had a bunch of questions about my bike. They currently ride two 2016 V-Strom 650, but he’s considering something smaller, like the CB500X. I offered that he could take it for a ride, so I got on his Suzuki, and he the Honda and we took a quick ride up the highway and turned onto a logging road. I had forgotten how smooth the V-Strom twin is. The whole bike felt great. The manners on the logging road surprised me. Damn, maybe I got the wrong bike! We rode back to the campground. Vickie wanted to take a nap, James suggested he and I walk to the springs. We got into the water and got to know each other. James is originally from Britain and moved to Canada five years ago. He and Vickie live in Vancouver and are planning their own long-term trip starting next year. We talked a bit about traveling solo versus with a partner and James admitted that they occasionally do separate things, like now. The pool is fed by a spring on one end, and flows out over a small dam on the other side. You can pick your ideal temperature by moving closer or farther from the source, but sometimes no matter where you are, a bubble of terribly hot water will flow past. The water was a lot hotter than I was expecting, and it felt great. I enjoyed the chat with James; we talked for about two hours before Vickie showed up and joined us in the pool. Since I hadn’t gotten anything for dinner, I got out of the water to go across the street to Liard Hot Springs Lodge, where there is a restaurant. The place was full and I had to wait about fifteen minutes for a seat, and the staff was completely overrun. I was happy enough to order the daily special. When I walked back to the campground, James and Vickie were finishing their own dinner and invited me inside their bug net. We didn’t stay up too long, but they were a lot of fun to talk to. Vickie went to bed early, James and I walked to the parking lot to watch for northern lights. James showed me some of his nighttime photos where he’d captured the northern lights. They were beautiful. I took a few long-exposure shots. Though the colors aren’t apparent to the naked eye, the green tinge of the aurora show up.