Thursday, July 16, 2009

2000km to Prince George

Yesterday, my bike computer ticked over 2000km! That was quite an achievement for me and my body is still feeling pretty good.

Over the 750kmish from the ferry terminal at Prince Rupert, to Prince George, the landscape has changed dramatically, from fjords and dramatic snowy mountains with broad, fast-flowing rivers and sparsely scattered habitation to broad open valles with neat fields of hayrolls and straight rows of fences, power lines and cut crops. Neat chocolate-box farmsteads painted in matching colours and flourishing gardens sit at regular intervals.

We've crossed British Columbia in record-breaking speed (my records, anyway), assisted by tailwinds, draughting with Robert, friendly terrain and, of course, pie. Yesterday we reached the pie destination we'd salivated over since the tip from tandem cyclists, Roberta and Kevin, at Fort Fraser's Petro Canada. We had delicious big slices but my favourite was still the one on the first mega day out of Prince Rupert.

I've now had 4 flat tyres! The last, immediately after eating pie was a double-whammy from broken glass.

I've been very impressed with the heavily used railway line that runs from Prince Rupert east for cargo. If the loads had been transported by trucks, our ride would have been far less pleasurable. Some trains pulled cars with double stacks of shipping containers and yesterday, I decided to count the number of cars pulled and stopped at 78 as I was in danger of falling off the road or into the traffic.

Robert made a great discovery of wild strawberries one morning on the roadside. Tiny, but sweet, they filled the fresh fruit void that day. We saw some roadworkers pulled up on the edge, wondering what they were up to. On closer inspection, they were all squatting in the grass, picking berries. I'm surprised we didn't see any bears doing the same. Perhaps the very smelly, decomposed black bear carcass on the roadside was picking the earliest of these.

The smell of pine sap early on, signalled the start of logging areas amongst the forests. Logging trucks started to make their unavoidable appearance (though mostly very courteous drivers). Peculiar domed cones of pulp mill furnaces poked out through the trees and close to Prince George, there were seemingly endles piles of pine poles ready for pulping.

Having had enough of truck traffic and eager to get into the Rocky's, I'm catching a train this morning to Jasper, which should enable me to have some time to meander through the Kootenays and sample wine and cheese but still reach Vancouver as planned around the end of the month (with a little more mechanised assistance at that other end as needed).

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