I awaken to the first real overcast day but no rain since Prince Rupert. It is only about 80 km from Houston to Burns Lake. The road is rolling but does include the toughest climb so far of the trip, 6 Mile Hill, named before the metric system was adopted in Canada.
Still not above 1,000 meters.
My first stop is at a curious simple country restaurant in Topley with a pig theme. Yes, pigs. The owners used to be pig farmers. A few years ago they put on display a few pig figurines. Now, through the obsession of customers who add to the collection from all over the world, they have over 600 pigs and they keep on coming. I order their lunch special and I am asked If I want fries or a wedge. I assume the wedge to be a wedge of lettuce but when it arrives I learn it is a description of another cut of fries. First translation problem of the day.
The second, maybe because I have pigs on my mind, occurs with a roadway flag woman controlling the flow of traffic around a washed out bridge. She tells me to be careful because there is a big sow up ahead. I ask why there is a big pig in the road. No, she says, a big mama bear. I proceed cautiously but do not see the sow.
To get through the construction of the bridge, I am given a personal escort from a pilot truck over the temporary wooden bridge.
It takes about twenty minutes but holds up traffic in both directions for much longer. The drivers look pretty unhappy and one shouts out: “I can’t believe we have to wait for one bicycle, damn.”
The first major rain hits me for the remaining fifty kilometers to Burns Lake. I find there are no campsites other than a free municipal site but it has no water or showers. So I find dinner and at 7:30 pm with the rain stopped and some blue sky showing I push on.
My goal is a rest stop about 40 km away. It turns out to be too ambitious and hilly and the sun sets before I reach it. Although I have lights and good reflectors, the cars and trucks don’t know what to make of a cyclist on the Yellowhead Highway in the dark. I push further and finally at seven kilometers farther than I thought I find the rest stop.
The rest stop is surprisingly active and includes truckers sleeping in the cabs of their trucks. I head into the woods a bit to find a spot and instead find an area devastated by beaver. There are dozens of fresh chewed trees.
I am not sure what they would do with me and my tent, especially of they find my food so I head back out to the rest stop and pitch the tent in the corner of the rest stop. I am so tired that I hardly notice all night the comings and goings of vehicles.
I am starting to get a bit lonely out here and missing family, home and friends. I knew this would happen but not so soon.
End: 20 km west of Fraser Lake
Distance: 126 km
Average Speed: 17.8 km / hr
Time on Bike: 7:05
Distance to Date: 1,391 km
Hang in there David – we are all with you!
Hello there David,
I’ve been following you along on this blog for a while now and thought it was time to come out from behind this monitor.
You are bringing up a lot of memories for me. The food, people, loneliness and the sheer magnitude of this endeavour.
I fueled myself across this country on dozens of Fig Newtons and gallons of chocolate milk, the cyclists “superfood”.
Take care, stay strong, cycle and blog away,
p.s. Val says “Hi”.
Hi Chris – every one of these suggestions help as I totally forgot about Fig Newtons but have indulged in many forms of chocolate. Thanks for coming out from behind the monitor. Are you still at Rider’s Cycles? I may have a part question or two.
Yes I’m still at Rider’s.
If I can be any help at all just ask.
Will do. To start: what chain oil did you use? I am using Boeshield T-9 and it is wearing out quick after rain. This morning my chain had rust on it.
I used ProLink and had to apply it at least every week and that was during mainly non-rainy days. I see the Boeshield site states that each application is good for 150 to 200 miles. But if it’s rainy dry lubes wash off but, unlike wet lubes, will not pick up gunk off the road and stick to your chain thus shortening it’s already hard life.
DAVID HAWLEY, College Director Pearson College UWC of the Pacific P 250 391-2438 M 250 744-7315 http://www.pearsoncollege.ca
Loneliness and even more (i.e. some pretty dark thoughts) are to be reckoned with in such a journey. I am not sure why, but they creep in during the second week, when this much time has passed when you are facing your own thoughts all day, conversations with strangers, although heart warming, have no future beyond the moment in which they occur. We get to a place where we long for known company: family and friends who know and understand us. Take heart David. You are on a beautiful journey. These dark clouds will pass, heavy as they are. That’s what, when we travel alone, is part of the journey.
Thanks – as I know it comes from someone who has been there. David
One of my favorite Ellen MacArthur quotes from her record solo sailing navigation of the globe. “When I was out there I was never ever alone, there was always a team of people behind me, in mind if not in body.”
🙂 Good energy winging your way.
Thanks Rachel – in some ways that is part of the challenge: I know many are with me but so far removed. David
Great to get this update David- as we lounge on the deck at Galiano- me with a rather sore Achilles tendon- don’t let that happen to you.
You’re not alone, David. Many of us are with you in spirit – admiring your commitment, courage and sense of adventure, reading every post, keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and standing by to help in any way we can.
It sounds like you had a long, tough day yesterday so of course you’re feeling a bit lonely – but it’s certain better days lie ahead as your body, mind and spirit become more accustomed to the demands of the journey. In the meantime, be as gentle with yourself as you can be and let us know if there’s anything we can do to make it feel a little less lonely out there.