Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2, 2014 - Fort Nelson, BC to Grande Prairie, AB

Last night was spent in a big box hotel which was a treat in a sense.  I had a fantastic shower, got our laundry done so clean clothes to put on and they put on a decent breakfast. All good.  We slept in a bit, had a good brekkie and packed up.  The sun was out and it was warm so I didn't need my heated jacket liner.  Hooray!  I even used my summer gloves which I haven't had on since Oregon.

Today's ride was not real thrilling.  The road surface was good for the most part with some construction and bumps and patches.  Actually, we had one very long stretch with tons of gravel patches and no warning.  Oh, well, there was a tiny sign that said gravel patches but the patches went on for miles and miles and miles.  No problem.  I only had to slow down a few times when I hit thick gravel.  Otherwise it was just motor on.

Also, the scenery changed.  We were riding down the two lane highway with the sides cut way back and then forest.  This went on for miles and miles.  Unlike most of our trip, we didn't follow any rivers and didn't have lakes and ponds constantly on either side.  Nope, this was just a path through a thick rolling forest.

There was also a LOT of traffic on this stretch.  Tons of commercial traffic, big trucks, and construction vehicles.  I don't know what's going on in this area but there was a mass of construction, building roads and such.  I suspect either energy (gas, oil, hydro).  Lots and lots of vehicles in support of this construction project.  Kept us on our toes as we had to pass the big semi trucks.

We didn't see many critters on this stretch.  I saw a single black bear and that was it.  We just motored on.  Fortunately, my XM radio was getting signal again so at least I had some music to keep me occupied.

We stopped here for a break.  No place special, just here with a sign telling us what fire/water/road repair district we were in :-)
 Oh Peace River Regional District!  Later on, we crossed another very long, steel grated bridge at Peace River.  I hate those bridges!

 We had just left the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and then hit Peace River.  The signs are nice :-)
We stopped here for a rest break.  Finally close to civilization because the rest stop actually had running water and flush toilets :-)
It really was a drone on kind of day.  Yes, it was beautiful, but it got a bit tiresome.  At some point, I got cold and put on my heated jacket liner.  That kept me toasty!  It seemed like forever but we finally got to Dawson Creek, Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway!

 Hooray, at this point, I had my heated jacket liner on and the temps kept getting warmer and warmer so when we stopped I quickly stripped off the liner.  Oh that felt wonderful!  We fueled up, bought a few things at the store and got back on the bikes.  It wasn't long before we got a few raindrops.  Rot ruh.... the sky was an awful shade of dark black tinged with red, but we were going south and the sky looked my better to the south.

Well, we went a bit south and then turned more east and the sky was ominous.  Really ominous with flashes of lightening.  Yikes, we rode directly into it.  I mean into a WALL of darkness lightened only by the lightening strikes.  GACK!!!!!

I now have only my jacket on, no heated liner.  And, my summer weight gloves.  The rain came down in walls of rain, not sheets.  Big walls of rain and the wind, oh my, the wind about blew me off the highway.  Rain pouring so hard I couldn't see and wind trying to blow me all over the place.  I had to pop my faceshield to see so rain poured into my helmet and pelted my face.  Rain bounced off the highway so I felt I was getting double rain - that coming down and that bouncing up.  I was soaked and couldn't see.  And the lightening...oh my heck...the lightening.  It was flashing all around us, to the left, to the right and straight on in front.  I saw one huge flash strike down from the sky and it must have hit something because at the end of the strike it went red with the red streak going back up the strike into the sky.  Yikes, yikes, yikes...I don't like this too much.

We rode in this for much too long for my liking.  I couldn't see and the rain was driving down, the wind was blowing and I wasn't having any fun at all.  I finally caught up to Eric who had passed a few big trucks and was just riding along.  Humph....we came to a small town and he had to slow down and I caught up and screamed pull over!!!  Our CB communication had long ago bit the dust.  Bless his heart, he did pull over.  We stopped at a gas station with an awning over the pumps.  At this point I told Eric that I didn't feel safe and we could stop for 30 minutes and wait for this weather to clear up a bit.  You could see lighter sky in the background.

He spied a car wash and suggested we hole up there.  Yeah, I'm good with that.  So, that's what we did.

 The sky looks good here, but the other direction was black, black, black.  While stopped at the car wash, I took off my jacket and put on my heated liner.  Changed my soaking wet summer gloves for my waterproof mid-weight gloves.  I took this time to dry some things off with a rag I kept in my pannier.

Once I got sorted and re-dressed we headed out and wouldn't you know?  The rain basically stopped, just spit on us a bit.  The rest of our ride to Grande Prairie was rain free.  Hahahah.  Murphy's Law?  Whatever.  We got to our lodging for the night, The Canadian Motor Inn.  It's not 5 star but it's not bad either.  The room is huge and has a full size fridge, microwave, sofa, flat screen TV and cinder block walls, hahahha.  It's just fine.

I won't bore you with the details of our dinner tonight.  Just suffice it to say, Cletha was not particularly happy.  I think I'll dig into my blue cooler and find something decent to eat!

It's all okay.  Tomorrow we ride to Jasper and hope to spend some time being tourist again rather than just ride all day.  The weather report is promising but we'll see what it brings.

Cheers to all,


  1. We are getting ready to be sad that the journey is ending. Of course we are thrilled that your preparation paid off.

    1. We're sad too. It has been an epic journey for us. I'm so glad I wrote the blog. It will help me remember when I'm old and feeble (next week). Hugs!

  2. If its not on your itinerary, you might want to checkout Lake Louise!! If its calm, the view is spectacular!!

    1. Oh yes Mark. Been there and I love it. I wanted to spend the night there but one night was over $400. So, we'll drive by and take pics instead :-)

  3. Jasper is nice, great food, good places to stay, great roads. Made a trip there is Oct of 2006 on my ride north until it snows ride. You've got some beautiful roads ahead.

    1. Yes, Kurt! We had a great dinner after walking all about and checking out different menus. I'm looking forward to our ride through the park tomorrow.

  4. I guess we have to take the bad weather with the good when we travel on the bikes, right? Can't wait for the Jasper post! That is where we are going in September!