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