Today we are in the biggest city we have seen in two weeks of riding, the only city really, Prince George. We are resting, repairing, and cleaning.
Yesterday seemed like a very long day. It wasn’t our longest day in terms of distance, only 105km, but it seemed to go on and on. It might have been because we were anticipating a day off. It could also have been because of the road conditions we needed to deal with.
There were hills, but really no worse than any other day. We climbed over 900 meters, had a couple of category hills, but we had done this, and more, on past days. The difference today was the traffic and the road itself.
The town of Vanderhoof boasts a very large, very efficient sawmill. Up the road, towards Burns Lake are a couple of mills that compete to be the largest in the world. While these mills do make 2×4’s and 2×6’s, it’s almost as if the lumber is a bi-product and the main thing coming from the mills is wood chips on their way to the paper mill in Prince George. We must have been passed by a hundred very distinctive transport trucks, smelling of wood sap. While most trucks give us lots of room, these ones seemed to take pleasure in holding their lane, almost mechanically. These trucks are really big boxes and push a lot of wind.
Our stress was compounded by the loss of the paved shoulder for a little more than half of the trip. The road got to be much like we are used to in Ontario with about a foot to the right of a white line, sometimes broken, to ride on. We are more than a foot wide, and on steep descents this space is just not enough for comfort. We end up taking the lane and trying to watch ahead and behind at the same time.
At the end of the day, we were happy to see our B&B, happy to have made this stretch without incident.
The bike is in the shop now. It’s at Koop’s Bike Shop, a bit of an institution in the area. We were presented with the guest book to sign. We are are first long distance cyclists to stop there this season. The rear tire will be replaced with only 2000 km on it. We could likely make it to Jasper on the tire, but are likely better safe than sorry. The brakes are pretty well done as well which is no surprise with the number of hills I’ve been braking down. (J gets uncomfortable over 50 km/hour, and in fact, so do I) It looks like the chain is still in good shape.
Tomorrow we are off again toward Jasper. There is not much between here and there and, unless the forecast is wrong, we will be riding in the rain.