Sunday, May 29, 2005

E-mail communiqué btb (before the "blog")

(NOTE: Before setting up the blog, e-mail updates provided the latest news from my journey.)

Hey, gang!

Sorry – no website yet, so like it or not, you’re getting e-mailed (or as some may consider it, "spammed”). I’ve been a driving fool, trying to reach Prince Rupert in time for my slot on the Monday (tomorrow) morning ferry.

I know it sounds crazy coming from me, but I just love internet technology! I’m at a great little internet café called “javadotcup” in Prince Rupert, BC. Charging my computer’s battery, eating a bagel with cream cheese, drinking cappuccino, listening to music, checking e-mail - this is the life!

Since leaving Santa Rosa this past Monday, the weather has been perfect for motorcycling - sunny all the way (though the gale-force winds on the southern Oregon coast were a bit challenging.) Even up here in the northern lands, temperatures have been reaching the upper 80’s inland. The 2,000 miles of highway traveled thus far have been excellent. The Canadian highways have been especially well-maintained.

On Thursday, I briefly stopped to visit the "Whidbey Kampions". Almost as soon as I got off the bike, I was treated to an outstanding lunch at the local “Edgecliff” restaurant. First class. And for a short time, I became a part of the wild and wonderful Kampion social milieu (I think that’s a word.) Drew and Susan are like a pit crew for their gregarious young ones (and the passing guest)! It’s never dull in that house. Thanks to the Kampions – I wish my stay were longer.

And CONGRATULATIONS to Alana on her graduation!!!

From the start, the ride has been a constant learning process. You have to develop routines and checklists. But inevitably, when packing up, or suiting up, I forget something, and a mile or two down the road, have to stop again. Leaving a strap loose can lead to loss of gear, or a distraction that could be hazardous down the road. Leaving something behind is permanent.

Thus far, I’ve lost only a few minor things (so far as I’m aware): earplugs (brought plenty of spares), a handkerchief (it’s in the Kampion’s laundry), and the “bite-valve” for my “platypus” water bag. (Driving down the highway, I glimpsed through the rear view mirror the plastic hydration hose waving in the wind. The valve had fallen off and the water drained from the bag. If I were in the Sahara, this would have been the END of me! But here in British Columbia, there’s water everywhere. No big deal. As Drew said, these bags are stupid, anyway.) Many more things have been “nearly” left behind. Curiously, there’s a sense you develop that alerts you that something’s not right.

I have so much stuff, that any loss is in an odd way welcome. Shaving is not convenient on the road, so I jettisoned my plug-in electric razor and my battery-powered razor (but, just in case I change my mind, I retained the old “manual” razor.)

Except for the night at Kampions, I’ve camped each day. I’m slowly getting the hang of it. Tent set-up time has been reduced from about one hour to ten minutes. Mosquitoes accelerate the process considerably - motivation. Speaking of them, they are so big, you actually feel it when walking around and you bump into one! Two nights ago, in the fertile valleys around 100-Mile House, they were swarming, having just hatched with the warm weather.

There are plenty of creeks to wash up in. One of the best investments was a folding plastic bucket. I’ve used it to carry water from the streams to bathe myself, my riding suit and bike (all requiring regular clean-up in this “insect-rich” land. Actually, I feel a bit guilty about the swath of death I create when riding down the highway. We humans have a far-reaching impact.)

Last night, approaching Terrace, BC, I saw a black bear and her two cubs ambling into the trees just off the highway. How CUTE! You just want to cuddle them. Unfortunately, they were too fast for me to catch.

The landscape between Prince George and Prince Rupert, BC is truly spectacular, especially along the Skeena River. It’s much like Yosemite Valley, yet on a much grander scale.

The daylight is definitely getting longer up here. Raindrops woke me this morning. I scampered out to put the rainfly on my tent. It was bright out. I checked the time: 5:00 a.m. Last night, I stopped driving at 9:30 p.m. and set-up camp along Kleanza Creek. (I crack up when I see what they call a “creek” here – it’s a raging torrent!) When I went to bed at about 10:30, it was not yet completely dark.

Enough for now, wouldn’t you say?

I wish you were all here. THAT would be a blast.



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