September 08, 2007 GMT
Back into the mountains.

Tedium doesn't begin to explain the ride from Fort Nelson to Fort St John on route 97. A straight road and very little to look at, I hardly even had to stay awake (Actually been finding it hard to do so, maybe its a slow diminishing of my energy levels; maybe have a couple of days rest soon). This river view was one of the only worthwhile things to look at. So by the time I made it to town I felt deflated. No way was I about to spend another night in a crap town, and Fort St John looked no better than Nelson. I took a side trip through Hudson's Hope, round Route 29, taking me into and along Peace valley. AT Chetwynd route 97 was rejoined and taken all the way down to Prince George. I was back on track, heading towards the mountains; then, at last, the Rockies loomed large, right in front of me.Oh, such joy; a whoopin' and a hollerin' I most certainly was. I'd been in a seriously awful mood for the last two days, frustrated and angry. I nearly kicked in a campsite's roadside advertising board, just because they refused to allow bikers in. Peace valley did its job on me, the anger went, just leaving me flat and grumpy. A shame I didn't get a grip and enjoy the valley more, its proposed to flood it all for a another hydro-electric dam. At least being refused made me seek out an independent campsite. Very serene, I camped out by the river, pepper spray to hand, ready for any Grizzly sneaking up on me.

Feeling a grumpy bore can't be good to maintain, ask any ex of mine, and luckily I snapped out of it; even before the mountains re-appeared. The good folk of Hudson's Hope helped me out there, very nice and friendly, good to meet and feed off some of their pleasure of life. I even let the kind Welsh woman, from the museum, take my picture with her pride and joy. So thanx, and here it is in all its splendour!

I know its their job, but everyone I've meet at the Visitor Centres have been so friendly; not just helpful. Its been clear they enjoy what they're doing. Certainly no sign of surliness which seems common in places in the UK, though not necessarily in tourist offices specifically(before I upset someone else), the public service industry as a whole. At Chetwynd it was the Visitor Centre who organise the annual chainsaw carving competition. Some of the work was not really my ideal style, too may bears on trees, but well made all the same. This Indian I was impressed with, it stands about eight feet tall. The detail is something else, contestants spend about 30 hours on them over four days.

It was after Chetwynd the road turned very twisty, I could have soiled my underwear with delight. It followed a river meandering down the valley with a backdrop of the Rockies, lovely sweeping bends taken at full tilt. For days I've kept my speed to 70mph to conserve fuel, not when faced with such beautiful windy roads. They're much too frilling, I just had to open the bike up; it is such a delight to ride that way, who am I to deprive it of its natural prowess, swooping round the lumpy tarmac.

From Prince George I've followed route 16, towards Jasper, which I should reach today. This is written in McBride, a typical old styled American railroad town (despite being in Canada. Shhh, don't tell them that's how I described it.) I loved the converted station house, gorgeous food and people. Even the graffiti on passing trains is artistic, rather than autistic. This rail old railway carriage looks like its being lived in now, just as well, I'd have squatted it. The surrounding mountains are truly amazing , all topped with snow. With that observation, winter really is nipping at my heels, I'm going to have to head straight down south, without detours for visits. Bummer, I wanted to see friends again on the way south.

As a point of interest, this is not a Polar Bear: its a white, Black Bear! Often referred to as "Ghost Bears", people are very lucky to see one. They are found mainly in one region of Canada, which you can look up on the Internet, coz I've forgotten. But just let me get close enough to a black bear with my bottle of peroxide!

Posted by Leslie Kay at September 08, 2007 11:51 PM GMT

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