Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dease Lake, BC

Sitting in the "Northway Country Kitchen" dining room; a large open room with one low partition in the middle and "sensible" linoleum floors. A light rain is falling. I'm thoroughly chilled from riding in the cold rain. Without the electric vest and heated hand grips, it would have been miserable. Ah, technology.

The restaurant soundtrack is "oldies from the 50's and 60's". A song from my childhood, "The Wayward Wind" is strangely emotional under the circumstances. Ordered a bowl of the mushroom soup, not expecting much. Surprised when it turned out to be quite good. Of course, the "Northway Burger" was a mandatory accompaniment.

The ride from Kinaskan Lake has been challenging. Sprinkles turned to a steady soaking shower, and it is considerably colder today. This MUST be an "Alaskan storm system". When it comes to gauging "cold", I keep comparing to my December "break-in" run from Santa Rosa to Las Vegas, where temperatures dipped into the 20's. It didn't get that bad today, but the rain was a new element. Then there were the 20 or 30 miles of hard-packed dirt, which developed a thin film of mud. And thrown in for good measure, a few mountain passes with steep grades and tight turns. All in mud. Now, today's was a good second to that December ride. It was my first experience in the mud with this bike, so I was tense, which only compounds the problem. It's another two hours of riding to Watson Lake and the Alaska Highway

I just washed the thing last night!

The motorhomes and trucks pulling campers in our caravan had an easier time, the occupants waving from heated comfort. "You know, that looks like a smarter way to travel." I met one of the drivers at a refueling stop. Minn-a-SOTE-ans (you know the funny way they say it.) They have semi-sized motorhomes that dwarf the SUVs they're towing.

Over the past week, I've asked several Canadians if they'd heard a weather forecast. A common reply: "Nope. You can't change it anyways." They simply roll with the punches up here.

Kinaskan Lake, along the Cassiar Highway

This morning, as I lay trying to sleep, I heard the first gentle drops of rain. But, by 2:15, it was intensifying, so I crawled out to put up the rainfly. Glancing about with my "Petzl Teka Light" ("Petzling", as Jeff would say), I was a bit uneasy at what wildlife might be lurking.

Last evening, I heard the cry of a lone wolf out across the lake. In the still air, the haunting and beautiful sound reverberated throughout the valley.

My campsite at Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park, on the Cassiar Highway. As you can see, these campsites are meticulously maintained. I felt so domestic, lined up with all the motorhomes. This was taken yesterday, after setting up camp.

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