Day 71: Burns Lake to Telkwa - Western North America - 2005 - CycleBlaze

July 27, 2005

Day 71: Burns Lake to Telkwa

Misty morning. Misty tent, misty clothes, misty glasses. I stopped into the Burns Hotel and had a great breakfast. The waitress was counting the minutes since there was nobody else there. I warned her that it only made it seem longer. She told me that she was the only one of her friends from high school who still lived in Burns Lake. Most had gone to Prince George or south or even to Edmonton.

A Grey Morning in Burns Lake
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I set off reluctantly into the mist and, sure enough, it started raining. I paused at the Decker Lake junk store and chatted with a retired log mill operator. He thought that all of the cutting was more about making a fast buck than about the pine beetle. The store owner asked me why folks cycled such long distances. I admitted that there were tough days - such as today - but like fishing or hunting, you had to get through the unpleasant times to experience those incredible moments. I think he understood.

One of Many, Many Logging Trucks
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Then it was back into the rain. Steady rain - puddles - a zillion logging trucks - each one spraying me down. I couldn't see 20 feet in front of me. Fortunately, there were wide shoulders. The road continnued to climb after the Bulkley Divide. I had forgotten. Ughh! But the rain stopped and the spray situation improved gradually. Hardly one of those incredible moments.

Rain, Rain - Go Away
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I had lunch on the front porch of the general store at Topley then continued on towards Houston. The fireweed was spectacular in this stretch and the patches of sunshine improved my mood considerably. At the Houston visitors' centre I complained about the weather and, more, about the inaccurate forecasting. Then I spread all my things out in the parking lot to dry.

Dome Observation Car on the Skeena - Hmmmmmm
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I really don't think the folks who did the "Biking the Yellowhead" website really rode much of it. They said the road was mostly flat. Hah! There's a killer climb between Houston and Telkwa and roller-coasters after that. I was disappointed to see that the dairy store had closed in Telkwa. I had been looking forward to a big chocolate ice cream cone for quite a while. Galleries and vacation rentals do not a town make.

Bulkley River Park in the Village of Telkwa
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I was supposed to meet Jean Pierre at the provincial park just outside town, but I was starving. So I stopped at a little park on a beautiful curve in the Bulkley River and had a sandwich. Next up was a huge insult of a hill to get to Tyhee Lake to camp. Jean Pierre had taken the train and had already found a campsite. We chatted until late in the evening about his trip to China 20 years ago. He snuck in illegally with his bike and cycled from village to village. He didn't speak any Chinese. He'd just point to something on the menu. The food was all horrendous anyway. One time he just couldn't eat the stuff, so he ordered something else. It was worse.. I died laughing. It was always hard to find even a postage stamp spot to pitch his tent, but when he did, curious villagers would come out and marvel all night. It was nice getting to know Jean Pierre better.

Today's ride: 84 miles (135 km)
Total: 3,882 miles (6,247 km)

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