Day 78: Dunster to Mt Robson Park

I woke up early around sunrise, likey from a rooster telling me it was time to get up. Looking out the window I could see the sun peeking out over the mountains. I got up for a few photos then returned to bed for a couple more hours. The next time I woke up I went exploring the back of the farm where there were sheep, llamas, and some baby lambs. The lambs were all sleeping together and the llamas and the sheep stood up for my presence. I returned quickly with my camera but the lambs had already woken. Still I took photos of the animals, then more photos around the farm before we went to breakfast.

We had another huge and wonderful meal and sat talking for quite a while before we started getting ready to go. I definitely could have stayed there for days! We had decided to make it two days to Jasper so that we could enjoy ourselves a bit more in such a great area.

Around 1pm we started our ride with threatening clouds, made it up the big hill from the valley their farm is in (partly making up for the ride we took yesterday perhaps!) and we rode. There were quite a few hills and the dark clouds brought an intense headwind. With a lot of effort we continued with only minor stops until Mt Terry Fox where we stopped to read and sit for a bit, and just down the hill was Mt Robson Park. It was just before a huge hill, and being the largest mountain in Canada seemed worthy of stopping for the evening.

After a Pad Thai dinner (Canadian grocery stores make this easy) we walked up the river and I took more photos before calling it a night.

Day 77: Roadside turnoff (near Slim Creek) to Dunster

Our potential Warm Showers hosts waiting for us 30km past McBride and our less than stealth campsite encouraged us to get moving early. So by 6:30 we were up and viciously fighting off the mosquitoes so we could get to the road and start moving, hopefully leaving them behind. Once we reached the Slim Creek rest area we stopped to get something to eat. It was a very nice rest area definitely had areas to camp even though camping isn’t supposed to be permitted there. Unfortunately the mosquitoes quickly found us so we didn’t linger too long.

Most of the rest of the ride was rather uneventful – though with lots of sun and no rain it was a beautiful day. We were able to see the mountains get closer and closer as we made our way east. We made it to McBride in the early afternoon. We found a restaurant for lunch, Morels, which had great food at great prices, then we stocked up on some food for the next two days, and contacted our Warm Showers hosts.

After speaking with Bonnie & Curtis, they said we were certainly welcome to come over and even offered to pick us up as it was still over 30km to their place. We said no, we’d be fine, but still they offered to come out and get our bags from the bikes. We started the ride to their place in the evening sun, enjoying the view of the mountain ranges coming together. Seeing a truck ahead turn around when it saw us, we knew it must be them. Curtis let us enjoy the downhill and parked at the beginning of the uphill. This time when offered we accepted his offer of a ride the rest of the way.

We got to their farm and were shown our accommodations in a sheep wagon for the night. I was really excited to be there, and with the added beauty of the whole farm it made our stay even more spectacular. After I ran around a bit taking pictures, we sat down for dinner with a German couple who are on a working holiday in Canada and helping and are out at the farm for a couple weeks. We were also joined by Curtis and Bonnie’s neighbours. We had a wonderful lasagne with salad, bread, homemade beer and lemonade. This was definitely of my favourite experiences and favourite places of the trip.

Day 76: Prince George to roadside turnoff (near Slim Creek)

With a bit more running around and stocking up on food, we left Prince George fairly late – around 1pm. We definitely did not feel like we just left “Canada’s most dangerous city”. It actually seemed friendlier than most of the other cities we’d been to so far in BC. Many people said hello and approached us to ask about our trip. Maybe it’s not the prettiest city, and being in BC it probably has higher standards to live up to, and sure there were some dodgy looking folk around, but if this is Canada’s most dangerous city (or whatever that statistic was) I think Canada is just fine.

The rest of the day we spent riding, our only roadside stop being closed (as we were warned it often was). In order to make it to our next Warm Showers host tomorrow, we didn’t want to stop too early today so we pushed on until 9pm when we found a decent looking area to pull off into.

We were instantly attacked by mosquitoes, our craziest mosquito experience yet. We ducked into the tent as soon as possible, killing the many that were able to come in with us, even breaking the ‘no food in the tent’ rule. Much of the night was spent hearing them hitting the tent, which made it sound like a gentle rain. Ew.

Day 75: Vanderhoof to Prince George

In the early morning rain we packed up and went into the common area of the campground. There we had a bit of food, and happily received homemade muffins and other treats from the camp host which were wonderful and far more enjoyable than trail mix!

It was 100km to Prince George and we had a Warm Showers host waiting so we didn’t want to arrive too late. With the huge tail wind we were able to keep up our speed and fly to town. There was rain off and on but nothing too terrible. We stopped about halfway at a roadside restaurant and RV resort that had just opened up. We were happily surprised with the good food and good prices.

The last 50km into town we were racing a huge and menacing dark could. As we neared town it erupted so we ducked into a gas station which had a small seating area. Getting off the roads was nice – this stretch from Vanderhoof to Prince George was so far the worst stretch across the Yellowhead highway. Though with all the road construction this may soon change.

In the gas station we were able to get organized and figure out our next tasks. We had shipped a cell phone case (for my difficult to accessorize phone) to the post office and had also ordered new wheels into the bike store. The package was waiting at the post office, and it was an easy transaction at the bike store. They had our wheels and even installed them for us, staying open a bit later than the posted sign.

We then went to find our Warm Showers host, but he wasn’t home at the time so we waited in the park nearby, moving under the tree when the storm began again. After just a brief wait he came home and we were able to get in, dry off and relax for the evening with Theo’s very social dog and cat – he had plans for the evening but luckily still let us stay for the night.

Day 74: Fraser Lake to Vanderhoof

We left our quiet waterfront free camp and went up the road to the breakfast diner. We had a nice breakfast there and were able to delay our departure until it warmed up. The sun did come out and we started on our way to Vanderhoof. It was another short day, hopefully giving Jesse the time to get some work done once we arrived in town.

It was a fairly uneventful ride, and we made it into town fairly early in the day. We visited the old town museum buildings and got lunch at the cafe there as well. Afterwards we went to one grocery store but the people loitering outside made us a bit uncomfortable. We checked out their municipal campground and it was nice with separate sites, but it was very quiet and still the same cost of the RV park up the street. The municipal sites aren’t to relaxing when we’re worried about locals coming down and causing some trouble, and we’re realizing the RV Parks often have fairly high levels of facilities to appease the RV folks, so they’re becoming a nice option we never would consider on any other type of trip.

We found another grocery store and a Tim Hortons, so we setup in there for a while. When arriving, a man stopped to talk to us, briefly asking about our trip. He quickly told us he was the town mayor, and was disappointed he didn’t have any pins to offer us. He ran off to refill his supply then came back to find us and give us the pins.

After many purchases at Tim Hortons, hiding from torrential rains, and getting a fair amount of work done, we set off up the huge hill to the RV Park. There we setup in the rain, and ducked into the common area for the evening.

Day 73: Burns Lake to Fraser Lake

Since our campsite wasn’t really the kind where we like to relax and take our time, we were quickly up and out from there. We went with Yvon for morning coffee to New Leaf Cafe on the main street in Burns Lake where we received probably the most unfriendly service of the whole trip. Not rude, just indifferent to our presence, or perhaps as if we were a nuisance.

We said goodbye to Yvon here since he had plans to go farther than us today. Jesse had work to do so he was hoping to be able to get some done today. It’s not unlikely that our paths will cross again as our routes are quite similar, though Jesse and I seemed to add on extra detours to our overall route and tend to be a bit slower.

Since we couldn’t find anywhere in town to work we decided to ride to Fraser Lake to hopefully be able to hang out at the library in town which was open until 8pm. With this goal we started our ride.

It was 70km to Fraser Lake so we rode straight through, only stopping at the roadside rest stops. During most of the ride it didn’t rain but there were cold dark skies which kept us from lingering when we did stop. As we were just making our way into town, the rain started. We found the library but realized it didn’t open until 3pm, so we went to a nearby restaurant for some food and to wait. When we did go to the library we found out they didn’t offer wireless internet, only wired internet and after the first 1/2 they charged $1/30min. So we quickly planned out the next few days, I bought two books for $0.25 each, and we made our way to the campground.

The municipal campground in Fraser Lake was also free, but this one is much nicer than the one at Burns Lake. It’s a large open park area right on the water, with beautiful views, and far enough from town that we were comfortable to relax. Soon the rain started pouring down, but we setup in a covered area and even found electrical outlets so we could charge everything that needed charging. Having done more camping recently we have fallen behind with our technology needs.