Kelly's 2011 Alaska Journey

Day 3 - Monday, 5/23

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Up until now, the trip has been nice, though not the "adventure" I've been anticipating. Sure, it's been wonderful seeing family and friends, as well as enjoying a more fun and more scenic portion of Interstate 5. But it hasn't been that exhilaration of something "new" that this trip is about.

Border Agent
Today that changed. Maybe it was my mindset this morning, maybe crossing the border into British Columbia changed my mindset. Either way, today was an absolute BLAST.

My border patrol agent asked me a LOT of questions, but somehow I don't imagine she was flirting!

I'd already planned to head north on Canada Highway 1 to Quesnel, but Roger had suggested I skip the Coquihalla (main freeway), and head up 1 through Frazier Canyon. He was absolutely right. I'd previously ridden the Coquihalla from Kamloops to the U.S. border, but at that time I was riding an Iron Butt ride, and needed to make over 1000 mi / 1609 km in a day. So speed was more important than "stopping to smell the roses." Today was another matter. Frazier Canyon was a road I hadn't tried, and it looked to be more fun. It was! From the sweeping curves to some tighter twisty corners, to the breathtaking vistas, this road could not have been more welcome.

Into Frazier
Canyon
The speed limit was a little low for my taste- But discretion being the better part of valor, I managed to not launch into stratospheric velocities. After all, I don't know just how lenient the B.C. police are. Still, after getting a litte more comfortable, I found the throttle twisting a little further on its own. Yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! :-)

Frazier Canyon
Knowing Frazier Canyon would be fun, I switched the helmet cam from taking a still photo every 2 seconds to HD video. The first 40 minutes were recorded that way. Sadly for you, the file's too big to put on the web! At the first stop, I switched back to still photos. While there were 10,000 today, they'll still be easier to go through than editing video.

I stopped at a very campy tourist trap in the Canyon. There's a gondola and bridge over the Frazier River called "Hell's Gate."
Very campy (but fun)
tourist trap
Looking down
from gondola
At Roger's suggestion, I stopped, and took the Canon camera to take some better photos. It was worth the time to take the gondola down into the canyon. There's a walking bridge over the raging river, and once venturing out a short way onto the bridge, the noise from the water was almost deafening.

After leaving the overlook, I headed north on 1, then connected to 97. Highway 97 will eventually take me to Dawson Creek tomorrow,
Walking Bridge
where it becomes the Al-Can highway- Something many motorcycists aspire to ride. But even so, I've already hit a milestone on this trip (the first of many, to be sure): I'm now farther north in North America than ever before. While Sweden is the farthest north I've yet visited, it's not in the Arctic Circle. (At least, I don't believe that Stockholm is).

But back to Canada. B.C. calls itself "Beautiful British Columbia," and I can't dispute that in the slightest.
Fields of Yellow
From the craggy Rocky Mountains (which are wonderful to ski), to the rivers and waterfalls, to the rolling hills of farmland,
Light at end
of tunnel
it's all amazingly picturesque. Being a botanist at heart, I paid attention to many things besides the road- The new new green leaves bursting from the buds on the birch trees, to the vibrant yellow of the mustard on the hills, to the growth and leaves of the vineyards' grape vines.

I didn't stop and use the Canon camera today (other than at Hell's Gate), but shots from the helmet cam will give you an idea of the views I experienced as I looked out over my windshield.

Wasn't I
heading north?
Scenic Drive
At the same time, the ride today seemed as though it would never end- I had a lot of long stops. A liesurely lunch at the Blue Moose, stopping to take off and then put back on my jacket liner, a few gas stops where I checked tire pressure and oil level, and so on. While I've ridden many days of much longer distance, seeing the hotel in Quesnel was a very welcome sight. I suppose it's also a little more strenuous blasting through canyons, pushing the limit of a bike's (and rider's) capability, to say nothing of keeping an eye peeled for the local constabulary and the ever-present (so say the road signs) wildlife.

So now I'm in Quesnel, at the Sandman hotel. It's clean, nice, and I've just had a shower, a couple of local beers, a piece of salmon and a pile of steamed vegetables. Life is good.

Sharks Club?
For those following hockey (the 2011 playoffs), the hotel has a sports bar called "The Shark Club." It's been temporarily renamed "The Vancouver Club." I expect that after the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks complete their playoff games it'll change back. But I took some delight in telling them that I was from the San Jose area, and I was deeply hurt by the renaming of the bar!

I managed to talk to Verizon this morning, and got Canada coverage and tethering added to my phone plan (for a not-inconsequential fee, I might add). Still, I find that I can't get data moving through my phone. Looks like another call to the wonderful Verizon support team is in order. But I'll manage to get my writeups and photos added to this blog, just bear with me. If I don't update every day, it's not for lack of wanting to!

Total riding distance today: 400mi / 644 km   Running total: 1350 mi / 2173 km

Stay tuned...

-K

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