What a PERFECT day! We woke up and said good bye to Dewey and had nice weather from the start. It was still pretty cold out so I was happy to have my heated gear. We hit the road and had great riding conditions and weather most of the way. As we rode today we headed into the Northern Rockies. It was probably some of the most scenic riding of the whole trip. The group riding with Barry and I grew by a couple more riders, Tony and Ken who have been riding a few minutes ahead or behind until yesterday late afternoon. We had about 10 bikes and a great group riding today. We had the perfect space and were able to give each other enough room to enjoy all the curves.
As we were riding, I was pondering how we had not seen any wildlife yet! Then we found one then two then a whole heard of buffalo. I pulled over at the first two since we had Taren with us, and she hadn’t seen any yet. After that photo op, we didn’t see any for some time.
We finally came across a larger heard and were able to get a bunch of pictures with them. They were pretty calm, although there were two different males with their heads down giving us a glare that made me feel they could charge any time. These animals are HUGE and you don’t realize just how big they are until they walk right by you.
On our ride today, we stopped in Laird Hot Springs for some gas and to stretch our legs. It was too early for lunch since some of us had eaten a hearty breakfast at Kathy’s in Watson Lake.
We decided to stop in Toad River for lunch so we continued on our way to there. When we arrived we all shared stories as we took off layers and took some photos. The wind was strong but the sun was out and made us all confident of the rest of our ride. We ate some lunch at the Toad River motel/RV park with a restaurant.
I was still full from breakfast, so I didn’t try anything, but the group seemed satisfied. We hit the road and I had decided to take off my heated gear…slight mistake. We went right into some real curvy roads in the norther rockies with lots of cold air.
The ride was beautiful but a bit challenging, we had a lot of gravel patches, lots of gravel on the road from big trucks dumping it, and lots of turns. Overall we all did ok. We had some construction that we had to stop for with a pilot car at one point which lead us over some soft dirt/gravel and rough spots. Overall it was more difficult because it was all so dry and the dust was so bad you couldn’t see where you were going. Despite the terrible conditions of the road between the boarder and Beaver Creek, I would say this was pretty comparable in level of difficulty because of all the turns in gravel that had to be navigated. I have been impressed by all the riders and their capability. I did have a heart in the throat moment when I went around a corner and had my back end of the bike break loose on some gravel and fish tail. I thought I might lose it on that corner with a cliff on the side of the road! Despite that it was a spectacular view of a mountain canyon. Eventually we made it to some smoother ground and into our destination of Fort Nelson. Most of us are staying at the Woodlands Hotel, which we were all happy to see a beautiful hotel with a nice paved lot (especially after the AlCan motels with dirt lots and kinda shabby accommodations). The folks here were exceptional and gave us a big bag of clean rags, a hose and a couple buckets to clean our bikes with. Normally I wouldn’t bother at this point, because they are so dirty it is like putting lipstick on a pig. However, the dust was so bad that you couldn’t open a saddle bag without getting coated, so several of us washed them down real quick.
I am hoping I can pay for a good detail when I get into the states. We have several dealers who are going to throw us a party when we roll through so hopefully I can buy a detail!
Tomorrow we will be getting our traditional picture at the beginning of the AlCan Highway at Dawson Creek. We will be heading all the way to Grand Prairie, Alberta about 370 miles total for the day.