Great Alaska Adventure: It’s Always Somethin’
This is my second blog effort tonight. Earlier I wrote the most incredible post I’ve written on this entire trip. Witty. Erudite. Insightful. And then I accidentally deleted it. Gone to the cyber netherworld. So, what you’re about to read will be warmed over claptrap. Please have pity on this old motorcycle rider and his elderly inability to multi-task.
Nothing really bad happened today. Except for deleting my first digital scribblings. It rained briefly on a half dozen occasions, but at least the rain waited until the temperatures dropped from the low 60s to the upper 40s. And the turtle pie I had my heart set on at mid-morning was too chewy to chew. And the hotel we checked into had a broken hot tub. And no WiFi after the latest electrical storm wiped out their router. So I’m sitting in a really nice restaurant with my best friend after finishing my nicely done chicken fiesta with twice baked potato and crisp steamed vegetables that DOES have WiFi and rewriting the blog I originally wrote at the hotel and then painfully deleted while I was trying to order dinner.
We woke to temperatures in the mid-40s at Burns Lake but by the time we finally saddled up and headed of town at 9 a.m. it had warmed dramatically to about 50. Today’s ride took us through country I haven’t seen in several weeks: Substantial farms with fields full of freshly cut spring hay scattered in big round bales and cattle strolling through various pastures. At the same time, the ride took us by several lakes (e.g. Frazier Lake) that offered scenic views to break up the farmland. Until about an hour from our destination, we saw no snow capped mountains such as the ones we’d been seeing for the past three weeks. But McBride, where we are this evening, is nestled at the foot of some beautiful mountains as the attached picture attests. It was worth the half dozen times we were rained on this afternoon as the temperatures dropped back into the 40s to see the view we have from our hotel.
Our mid-morning pie break provided one of those serendipitous discoveries that frequently happen when you take mid-morning pie breaks. Approaching Vanderhoof, BC, I saw a sign that read: “Heritage Museum and Cafe Open.” Did they know I was coming? Museum and Pie? So we pulled into the parking lot and checked it out. Sure enough the OK Cafe was open and it did serve pie. And the OK Cafe and Hotel was in a re-located and restored building that was part of a dozen building complex at the Vanderhoof Heritage Center. We went into the cafe and met Collette who was the manager/cook/baker/waitress/cashier and who had come to Vanderhoof as a child and became the only female crane operator at a large lumber yard in town. Interesting lady. She recommended the turtle pie which one of her trainees had baked yesterday. Turned out her trainee needed more training. The caramel layer had to be cut into bite-size pieces with a sharp knife and about 200 foot pounds of pressure. We opted instead for a very nice coconut cream.
Following pie and coffee we toured some of the other buildings (jail, home of a master carpenter, Royal Bank of Canada) that, like the OK Cafe and Hotel, had been relocated in the 1970s by an active local historical society. Vanderhoof was named after a young Minnesotan who wanted a town named after him so in 1914 he bought the land, platted it, named it and started the town. He only stayed five years but his namesake town will have a centennial celebration next year.
After Vanderhoof, we headed to Prince George where I picked up a repair patch to iron on to Marilyn’s damaged rain pants. Did I mention that our hotel doesn’t have an iron? Also located a quart of AMSOil and topped off the bikes to get them to Billings and a full oil change.
Leaving Prince George, we headed back toward the mountains and rain, but the surface on the Yellowhead Highway is good and we sped along at the speed limit or somewhere near there. Our hotel may not have all the amenities (in fact it may not have any of them) but the young couple trying their best to manage it were kind enough to steer me to the Giggling Grizzly Pub and Grill where I’m writing this and, hopefully, will publish it in the next few minutes if I don’t do something stupid again.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, we should see some of the most spectacular scenery we’ve seen since we left Alaska as we go to Jasper then turn south on the Icefield Parkway to Banff/Canmore.