The weather services online had promised nicer weather, though it was still overcast. Fortunately, it was significantly warmer than yesterday. Not only did I not need heavy clothes or electrics, I later was able to remove the overpants and jacket liner. It was HOT!
Oh, it's pleasant, but for the most part the road is essentially an open space carved through trees. The trees are nice, but hundreds of miles of them seem sort of the same.
Bark beetles or some other parasite is killing the trees. This will make hardwood succession MUCH faster. As I pondered the miles and miles of just trees for scenery, occasionally something interesting like a bridge (of metal, being slippery) over a wide river would show up, or sometimes the the trees and clouds would break open, giving a view like:
On the other hand, a lot of these little towns really haven't got a lot of interesting things. Ft. Nelson, where I am at this evening, has a museum. But it's tiny. Still, it's more than most have had.
All were close to the road, though none seemed to pose any danger. The caribou still had velvet on their antlers, and the bear was larger than those in Yosemite. But, like Yosemite, some twit had stopped his car very close to the critter so he could get a better look. No respect for wildlife.
Today's ride was fairly short- Only 290 mi / 467 km. I'd thought of using the afternoon to head to Ft. Liard in the Northwest Territories, as that's a province (state?) I haven't visited. But a guy at a gas station said that the road into the territory wasn't paved, and was "very muddy" with all the rain they've had recently. I don't want to get bogged down. So I went back to my main plan of having my oil changed on the bike.
It turns out he's the only unofficial bike mechanic for 300 mi / 483 km. I bought some oil, went to a bank for some Canadian money, and headed up. It was only upon arrival when I realized I'd left the oil filter back at my hotel room! After another trip down and back, and we were working on the bike. Well, *I* was. I managed to get my clothes filthy in his garage, but the job got done.
All of the oil changing activities ate up most of the afternoon. I'll do some asking around to see whether it's a good idea to head to Ft. Liard tomorrow morning. It's only about 250 mi / 402 km round trip, and I'd like to go. The problem is, the only gas is 35 km across the mud, and my tank won't hold enough to get me to the border and back. We'll see. The road condition web page says:
Km 254 to Km 0, Check Point to the BC Border is in poor driving condition, soft areas between KM 125 to 185, watch for flag persons and follow their instructions.
A phone call may be in order.
I've noticed that the days are rapidly getting longer the further north I go. In Ft. Nelson, the sunrise is at 4:21 am, and the sunset is at 9:51 pm. It doesn't get dark until well after 10:00! I've been looking at the time of sun rise and set on the GPS. Going just 290 mi / 467 km north has yielded 29 more minutes of daylight.
After showering and getting ready for a walk to a restaurant, I find that I've forgotten to bring walking shoes. All I have are my motorcycle boots. Shoot. Still, there wasn't any room in the bags in which to carry them anyway...
I've been finding that having a smallish breakfast, skipping lunch, and having a reasonable early dinner is a good way to go. Often lunch times go by without seeing any civilization- So it's just as well that lunch doesn't seem to be necessary. I've been trying to walk (in the motorcycle boots, of course) to a restaurant for dinner, in efforts to get a little blood moving through my system. I look for quaint local things as opposed to the tedious chain restaurants. I'm finding that those quaint spots are variable in their creativity and quality. Some are good, but most are pretty pedestrian. Tonight's was no exception. It had a western theme, complete with wagon wheel chandeliers, guns and antlers on the walls, etc. Sadly, the food wasn't as interesting. With luck, options will get more better.
Total riding distance today: 340 mi / 547 km Running total: 2040 mi / 3283 km