GRMA Day 20: Halfway Point
A note: For at least the next couple days and maybe longer, I’m only going to post small file-size photographs. The WiFi service is just not strong enough to download the large images. Later, I may go back and post the larger images, but for now I’m going to increase the size of the small ones and not post any full-size images.
Sometime today, yesterday or tomorrow and somewhere on the road in the past couple days, the Great Rocky Mountain Adventure reached its halfway point. I’m 20 days in on a roughly 40-day ride and the trip odometer rolled over 5,500 miles today. Seems like I just got started and now I’m on the inward half of the Adventure. So what do you think so far? It’s been good for me. Beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife, a little hiking and more riding in three weeks than most riders get in a year. And there’s an equal amount yet to come.
I mentioned the “quaint” Ripley Creek Inn I stayed in for two days in Stewart, and I can’t leave there without a shoutout for their onsite restaurant–“The Toasterworks.” As I understand the story from my waitress who was a niece of somebody, one of the family ancestors had a thing for old things electronic–especially toasters and toaster-related items. I’m not sure how or why it started but over the years he collected maybe a thousand antique toasters and a variety of other small-scale household appliances. So they decided to put them in the restaurant. Everywhere. On the walls. On the tables. On shelves. On the floor. And they’re really cool. Given the progress in toaster technology, most of us have never seen the early ones which were simply hot, coiled wires surrounded by a rack of some sort to hold the bread which usually had to be flipped over to toast both sides. The inn/restaurant is operated by a husband & wife team; he does the inn and she does the restaurant. Next time you’re in Stewart, British Columbia, you should stop in and look around. It’s a unique operation to say the least.
I left Stewart this morning in a 55 degree drizzling rain. I arrived in Dease Lake this afternoon in a 55 degree drizzling rain. Between those two points I rode much of the time in a 55 degree drizzling rain. Not always, but probably more than half the ride today fits that description. The half that doesn’t fit only had wet roads and 55 degrees. I know there were mountains around me, but most of the time they were topped by a cloud layer that was either very large or a small one that just happened to be taking the same route I was taking. Note to anyone thinking about long-distance riding: Get a good rainsuit and heated gear. Those two items kept me toasty and dry all day. My bike has now gone about 18 days without being washed. Filthy only begins to describe its current condition. Like Little Orphan Annie, however, I hold fast to the belief that the sun will come out tomorrow, tomorrow.
Today’s road is one that Marilyn and I covered on the return trip from Alaska and not much has changed. Imagine a narrow country road without any yellow or white lines. Now imagine that country road is 300 miles long. That pretty much sums up the Cassiar Highway (Highway 37). There’s some logging and some mining and the occasional recreation site beside one of the many small lakes that dot the area but not much else. Mile after mile of tree-covered mountains that you can sometimes see sticking up above the uncut brush that grows on the shoulder. There’s some wildlife (I saw another black bear early this morning) but there’s so much space up here that they don’t seem to spend too much time on or near the road. Saw a sign warning about caribou in the area but wasn’t fortunate enough to spot one. I had to keep reminding myself that when one is driving on twisty roads one shouldn’t spend too much time looking from side to side.
Tomorrow is another relatively short ride of about 250 miles and it will take me to the northern end of the GRMA at Watson Lake on the north side of the Liard River which most geologists agree is the end of the Rocky Mountains. The mountains north of that are considered to be separate ranges.
Other pictures from today that I liked: