Surprise Encounters

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While in Vanderhoof last night looking for dinner, I saw this painting inside a pizza shop and knew this was the place for me.

The kind owner of Dave’s Campground really surprised me this morning. She came and delivered my pannier full of food untouched by bears and brought other gifts with her. These included three fresh baked rhubarb muffins, a banana, two yogurts, coffee with cream and sugar and offered to make me French Toast. She told me all about her twenty-three grandchildren as I enjoyed this unexpected treat.

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I finally set off around 11am for Prince George. Another gloriously sunny day with a tailwind so strong that it almost made me feel guilty to be pushed up hills. Even where there were passing lanes added on the hills I stayed in my largest front chainring just about all day.

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Got to see up close the damage done by the pine bark beetle. There are forests in British Columbia that have lost as many as 80% of their trees. With a series of warm winters, the larvae are no longer being killed off in the winter.

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Shortly after taking this photograph I have one of those small world surprises. I am flagged to pull over on the side of the road by a man and a boy. They turn out to be Chris Blondeau, Director of Operations at Pearson College, and his son Morgan. They are returning from a trip to the Yukon.

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Continuing on my journey, I find so many forest tent caterpillars on the road that they create a slip hazard. There are millions of them for kilometers. As I cannot avoid them, especially when going fast downhill, as my flattish tires hit them they go pop, pop, pop.

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With my help and all the vehicles moving in my direction, at least they don’t make it to the forest on the other side of the the road. They sure leave a slick.

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Everything is relative, including a journey of 10,000 km on a bicycle. I meet long distance cyclist Lorenzo Rojo on the road. He is cycling around the world and has been on the road for over three years. He is a professor of Basque and we try a few languages together until we get to Spanish for a good conversation. He started in Venezuela, went to the southern tip of South America then pedaled north to
Canada and is now on his way to
Alaska. It makes my trip like a run for groceries. Don’t worry Leisa, I have no plans to follow in his tracks.

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He is the second cyclist in all black clothing I’ve come across. I will take up colours and visibility in some future blog.

I make it into Prince George where I get to have a pasta dinner and catch-up on a career in medicine in progress with Pearson Year 14 alum, Sara Nimmo. She is one year away from finishing her residency in family medicine. Prior to this, she worked with homeless drug addicts as a nurse in Calgary. Oh so wonderful to have a bed for the evening. No blowing up the air mattress, no mosquitoes. Thanks to Sara’s son, Alex, for giving up his bed and room for me for the night.

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Stats

Start: Vanderhoof
Finish: Prince George
Distance: 96 km
Average Speed: 21.4 km/hr
Time on Bike: 4:30
Distance to Date: 1,577 km

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