Yesterday was our last day of riding as we reached our destination of Prince Rupert. Leaving Terrace, not surprisingly, we hit a downpour but fortunately it did not last long. Soon we were cycling right alongside the mighty Skeena at sea level. Prince Rupert has some of the largest tides in the world, rising four feet an hour, to a maximum of twenty four feet! The Skeena is affected by the tides and it was obviously low tide as many sandbars protruded. Eagles flew overhead, and wild flowers dotted the roadside like bouquets. The flat riding was easy cycling and at one point, I said to Tom that I kind of missed the hills. The gods must have been listening as right around the next corner was a 525 foot long climb. We all rode to the top of it lickety split, where driver Rick had lunch set up and waiting. We commented how strong our legs have become after these 10 days of cycling.
The town of Prince Rupert is stunning. At dinner, looking over the view of the bay to the entirely treed north shore, one could only think that this is the same view one would have had in Vancouver 100 years ago, before the bridges were built. Driver Rick leaves us today, taking the train back to his home in Hinton. We couldn’t have done this trip without him. Today we explore the area and then onto the ferry to Port Hardy tomorrow.
We started off our day all leaving Terrace early, however we had quite a bit of rain at the beginning of the day. The shoulders were very narrow and we decided it was too dangerous with all the water on the road. We drove for a while, and finally the sky began to turn blue and the shoulder reappeared so we got back on our bikes and rode. About 10 km outside of Prince Rupert Bill took a big tumble off his bike into a ditch and scraped and bruised himself up. I think he’ll be fine, but likely he’ll be pretty sore.
We checked into the lovely Crest Hotel and just finished an amazing dinner to celebrate the end of our journey.
We all drove to Kitwangak and Kathy, David and Bill left from there, heading for Terrace.
Rick, Tom and I stopped and took some amazing photos in the town of Kitwangak, then we drove a ways and hopped on our bikes. It was a lovely day of riding, with good rolling hills. We stopped and had lunch at a rest stop (as usual, with our amazing sandwiches) and connected with a young couple for Nanaimo, who were riding from Alaska to Prince Rupert. Rick fed them lunch and got their life story! We saw some live bear traps with bears in them, but didn’t get too close.
Because it was Ricks birthday, when we made it into Terrace, we decided to do a big rummoli party! We had drinks, appetizers, and ordered in pizza. We had chocolate cake for dessert and had lots of fun in our room.
We had a two stage start again, from Smithers. Group “B” left at 7 am and rode around 100 km. Group “A” (my group) left at 9:00, after getting the best cappuccino in the north, at Smithers. We met the fast half in New Hazelton, stowed some bikes at the Visitor’s Info Centre, and drove 6 km to Old Hazelton, where I lived for two years.
We poked around the town for an hour or so, and it was so strange for me……I saw the church I went to, the hospital, the school where I went to Grade 2 and where my father was principal in 1962-1964. I managed to find the house I lived in when I was there! A little smaller than my memory, and slightly run down, but it was there!
Hazelton was a very cute little town and we enjoyed our stop there. We had lunch overlooking the Bulkley River, then hopped on our bikes and continued our journey. We ended in Kitwangak and drove into Terrace for the evening. Dinner was at Mr. Mike’s and we had a pretty early evening as we were all tired!
We had a lovely day of mixed sun and clouds, moderate winds and the perfect riding temperature. The shoulders were pretty good and, although it was hilly, there were lots of amazing downhills. The climbs that I did were gentle, some long, and lots of rolling ups and downs.
The keen group left at 7 am, the second group joined them around 10:00, just outside Houston (not Texas!). We had a little warm up to Houston, then a snack, then we rode. The farms and scenery was amazing, and the mountains in this area are all snow tipped. We passed a lot of beautiful farms with lush grass. Houston is the home of the world’s largest fly fishing rod!
Fixing a flat.
We rode until about 1:00, had lunch and are now in Smithers at the Sunshine Inn. Rick and I walked the Main Street of Smithers, poked into a few shops, checked out the train station, and scoped out a possible dinner spot.
Bill, Kathy and David rode 144 km today. Tom and I rode 77 km and Sue had a good ride until her back gave her grief. I think this is our longest planned ride.
The ride today was from Vanderhoof to Burns Lake. Three of our crew got up early and three (including me) had a later start. We joined them just before Fraser Lake. Bill wanted us to have a small tour of the highlights of Fraser Lake, remembered from his time in 1973. The Fraser Lake Inn and bar were top attractions on our tour. However, the bar was closed, since it was Sunday. Bill had fond memories of his time there, living in camp. The hotel seemed pretty run down, I must say.
The roads were okay, the shoulders variable. We stopped for lunch at just the right time and were treated to a small shower right after we ate. We hung out in the van and before long some blue sky appeared. However, the roads were wet and dirty, and without fenders, we were pretty grubby.
Our distances today were 50 for Tom, Sue and Lynn; and 132 for Bill, David and Kathy.
We hung outside at our motel, playing cards and visiting.
Apparently the restaurants in town are not too wonderful, so Sue and I went into town to Overwaitea and we created a three course gourmet meal in our room! Can you say chicken wings, veggies and dip, sushi, kale salad, potato salad, fresh bread, roasted chicken and Haagan Dazs ice cream bars for dessert? Yum!
Sue’s Comments We woke up to rain in Prince George, a pretty damp and cold day. After a couple hours our 3 diehards agreed to head out. The rain stopped for most of their ride, although the road shoulder was lacking in several parts. Definitely dangerous to ride in certain spots. We’re now in Vanderhoof which is a small town but appears to have a healthy economy. There is logging, ranching and mining in the area. I played a joke on Kathy and told her I saw another moose and got a picture of it. (Picture below). It’s actually a pic of a photo.