Tatoga connection Gord and Sofia
Smithers to Prince George
Rather reluctantly left Smithers behind with a wander around the shops and a top up at the Supermarket. Great to have some interesting food for lunch. On the road with ominous black clouds following me but no rain. Houston arrived at 70km so stopped at the Info Centre to have my pasta salad and fresh fruit. Talked to the lady on the desk for a while the back on the road heading for Topley.
Topley was another of those important looking dots on the map but again I passed right through before I realised the single shop and motel were it. Turned back to receive complicated instructions to a campsite at a nearby lake, until one of the customers interceded and suggested the big grassy rest area back up the highway.
I had just set up camp when another slightly eccentric cyclist arrived with his small dog. He switched conversations in a loud voice, alternately talking to me or the dog. I waited for the dog to respond first before I took my queue. The night was frosty cold and loud with both traffic noise and a elk bugling (according to my neighbour). I waited for the sun to hit the tent before my fingers would allow pack up. Quick free coffee at the shop on my way back through Topley and on the road again.
Five kilometres up the road a local native lady, a First Nation people occupying traditional land from Hazleton to Burns Lake. She took off on her 37 km bike ride. Pride and a need to warm up kept me in touch (at least no more than half a kilometre behind) until she reached her turn around point. We talked again for a few minutes and headed our separate ways. With a warning that ahead was a mother grizzly and two cubs which had charged her car when she stopped to photograph it a few days earlier. More grizzly searching eyes for the next 70km.
I was cruising towards Frazer Lake when suddenly a ute pulled up in front of me. Sofia and Gord, a young couple had talked to me 1000km or so back at Tatogga Lodge. They were heading home on a 15 hour long haul dash to Vancouver. My grizzly story is spreading far and wide.
Just short of Frazer Lake one of the small unmarked villages appeared on my left. Another First Nation village called Slenyah. A conversation with one of the local customers led to a tent site behind the store. I then had a long conversation with another local feeding the crows, a man with great knowledge of the local bird life. The warmth of sun and people at this site made the morning departure slow and reluctant.
The riding has been marred by heavy traffic, little safe verge and constant road works with tar randomly thrown across the road to stick over everything on my bike. The massive logging trucks constantly at my elbow are probably more of a risk than the grizzlies.
Prince George arrived today with the bustle of a city of 90,000 so no riding past this one.
Grizzly or one of these at my elbow every 20 secs - I take the grizzlies
A reluctant departure from Smithers
This one for Val and Grayson - the hay paddock stretched for kilometres up the highway