Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 33 - July 16th, 2010 Houston, BC to Quesnel, BC

Our original plan was to reach the State of Washington near the Cascade mountains and then head south thru Washington, Oregon, and part of California.  Wanted to see Crater Lake, Mt Rainier, Mt Saint Helens, wine country, and cut across Nevada and Utah, thru Colorado, and then home.  But we made the decision to head towards home now.  This trip will be six weeks long by the time we get home.  To add more mileage at this point would be just for the mileage and not that enjoyable.  So we'll save those sights along the coast for another trip.  Plus there's Lake Okoboji to enjoy yet with our shortened summer.  And new dirt bikes to prep.

The views along Hwy 16 were great and you could see a good mixture of productive farmland in the valleys.  The economy was certainly healthy thru this area with each town and farmstead very clean.  Much pride was taken in how property was maintained.  Good to see.
We passed a very large open pit copper mine that was very impressive.  Went on for miles with countless large trucks carrying product back and forth like toys in a sandbox.  Mine's display really emphasized the measures being taken to keep the area environmentally clean.  Picture is of the mine's settling lake; all water from the lake was continually pumped back thru the process rather than released down a stream.

We were making good time especially concerning we were going into the weekend and traffic was heavy as people scurried to their weekend outing location.  We were about 40 miles south of Prince George when traffic came to a stop.  Turned out a Dodge truck pulling a fifth wheel had started on fire and had the road closed.  Long story short, we set for over two hours waiting for the traffic flow to resume.  They even brought in helicopters to fight the adjacent grass fires.  Traffic was backed up for two to three miles each direction.  Wish we could have gotten a picture of the pickup and 5th wheel.  Each was just steel wheels on the pavement with steel frames between the wheels.  We heard LP tanks and gas tanks exploding, saw plumes of black smoke, and became frustrated like nearly everyone else.

By this time it was nearly 8:30 PM so we stopped at the first campground we saw.  Neat campground on a lake and filled with weekend campers.  Always room for an additional tent though. 

We camped next to a teacher from San Francisco that was also stopped by the burning truck/rv.  However, he was on a bicycle and was spending the summer riding from Fairbanks to SF.  We ate dinner with him at an adjacent restaurant and found him very interesting.  He had bicycled each summer for years and had ridden in Europe, South America, Central America, up and down our east coast, and across the US.  Was averaging about 90 miles per day.   He'd broken his good bicycle's rear shifting mechanism on the Alaska Highway, couldn't get it repaired so shipped the bike home, and bought a used Schwin 8 speed and was still making great time.  He carried less than a small duffle bag of gear.  Too hard core for me.

Good day of riding despite the long delay.

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