9 August - Prince Rupert
Here I am back in Prince Rupert! Oh really, and is it raining, by any chance?
Slight change of plan (as I've said before, woman's prerogative). It would have taken me about 2 months to reach Vancouver on my original route via Dawson Creek. As I am about a month behind my anticipated itinerary (I arrived in North America towards the end of July instead of at the beginning), I decided to return to Prince Rupert via the ferry from Haines, from where to consider the ongoing options, of which I now have three. The weather may well have some say in my final decision, as the forecast happily predicts continued precipitation for the next half week or so.
In the meantime, not being a purist and a masochist and having been cycling on some pretty gruesome road surfaces, thinking, 'well, if anyone was to offer me a lift, would I say yes?', when, lo and behold , such a thought was almost instantly tested, cos, at the next rest/beauty spot, yes, indeedy-do, I was offered a lift by a couple in a camper! Well, now, as I am also on this trip to meet new people and to experience new experiences, I accepted politely, gratefully and without hesitation. I travelled with Ron and Mary Kay (who are from San Diego, as seem to be half the travellers I meet) that afternoon and the following morning, covering a distance which would have taken 6 or 7 cycling days. And I'm glad I said yes, cos the road was even worse in places. They fed me and beered me and were warmly welcoming to this lonely soul. God has excellent timing in these things. Thank you.
I've been meeting more interesting people: Karen working in Kabul for a year on redevelopment projects; Lyn travelling for 7 months in her Winnebago (hitch-up camper); Yolande and her two delightful daughters with whom I saw my first grizzly, who was fishing and caught a salmon whilst we watched! The only other wildlife of significance (in other words, those that might be considered a little scary) was a wolf that crossed the road ahead of me, silently considering me from the shrubbery as I cycled by.
The last couple of days to Haines went through what was obviously spectacular and beautiful scenery, but sadly obscured by the smoke from hundreds of forest fires spontaneously igniting in the last few days after some lightning storms (although I have mentioned rain a great deal, there have been prolonged spells of drought inland and the fire risk has been showing as extreme on the warning scale).
I now know why my mobile did not work in Japan or is not working here in North America, cos it is only a dual band phone. So, a big boooo to the boo-boo of a shop in my local Mall who sold it to me on the grounds of it being a tri-band. Now I have to buy another one. Bummer.
BTW, can I go for the sympathy vote? I've been feeling veeery homesick for a little while; missing my children just a bit.
Currently, it is raining heavily, but I am sitting in a motor home/RV (recreational vehicle) in the grounds of my previous benefactor, comfortable and dry, with internet access, considering my 3 options and watching a small, pale brown deer wander about the grounds, looking as though he might be considering what to have for lunch. Oh, look, there are now 2 of them grazing the grass.
20 August - 100 Mile House
From Prince Rupert I took a ferry to Queen Charlotte Islands for a couple of days. The islands are renowned for their beauty and certainly I enjoyed cycling along the coast. I camped by Pure Lake; really calm and serene and quiet. I met a young medic, Tamara, cycling for the first time and really enjoying herself; as well as another couple of girls having a great time. They had also been to the Edge of the World music festival the previous weekend. Sounds fun; shame I missed it.
Back in Prince Rupert and I accepted the offer of a lift to Prince George, mainly because this would mean I would not be cycling a stretch of road that has become a hotspot for young women disappearing without trace, and now named the Highway of Tears, but also to keep me on track with my schedule. Amazing, in one (long) day we covered what would have taken me two weeks. Call it cheating if you like, but it's my trip and it has not happened that often. :-)
Now I am slowly making my way down south through Canada. The weather has stopped raining and become incredibly hot. I am currently cycling through an area with loads of lakes; so, extremely scenic. Still meeting heaps of lovely friendly people, including Sylivia and Laura, the staff of the Visitor Centre here in 100 Mile House and Vern, the host of the provincial campsite where I am staying for a couple of days. He lives in a tent from May to October, makes moccasins from moose, buffalo, elk hides and knits scarves and blankets from buffalo wool. Provincial campsites are basic: just a pit loo; sometimes a pump or tap for water; sometimes drinkable, sometimes advised to boil. This one has delicious water filtered from the creek nearby. And who needs a shower block when you can pop into the creek to dowse down and rinse through my clothes?
Spotted wildlife still tends to be sparse - for me. People cannot believe how little I have seen. Recently, I have seen chipmunks, squirrels, deer, cows. STILL NO MOOSE!
Life is good for me. I hope it is for you.