Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Uraling to Alaska - Day 11: Clinton to Houston, B.C.

Full day of riding today, covered 705 kilometers or 438 miles, for those of you who are metrically challenged, according to googlemaps.  It was perhaps 10 hours on the road, no stops but for gas and half-hearted attempts to stop for the night.

Left the Village of Clinton around 8:25 AM, and from there it was pretty much dull highway riding British Columbia's Highway 97 towards Prince George.  Smooth sailing for the most part except early on in the ride when this moron in a truck decided he needed to tailgate me as I rode along at 100 km/h.  This was the posted limit but I guess he really was in a hurry.

I ended up pulling over onto the shoulder of the road and he rushed past me....probably rushing back to sleep with his mother, or perhaps he was late for his new job as standard bearer for professional driving habits.

That idiot gone, the rest of the day was straight up riding.  I arrived in Prince George and turned westward on Canada Highway 16 towards Vanderhoof.  I saw a sign there saying the geographical center of B.C. was nearby but kept right on riding.

Somewhere between Vanderhoof and Fraser Lake, I spotted my first moose of the trip.  I think it was a cow as it lacked a rack so to speak.  It was moving towards the road in front of me (maybe 100 meters) when I saw it and it saw me.  It stopped short and quickly turned away from the road.  In the meantime I had been rapidly slowing the rig while keeping an eye on the moose and the other eye on the truck behind me....luckily he'd seen the moose and my brake lights and had also slowed down.  Big moose too, looked taller than the rig!

Next up was Burns Lake where I thought I would stop but then I pulled a "wimpy adventurer" move.

You see, the internet at the visitor center wasn't working and the office was closed.  I texted Martha and asked her for assistance but she was tied up helping the boys with homework.  The "camp site" run by the city of Burns Lake was a muddy, unattended mess so it wasn't an option to me.

Girding my loins, and after apologizing to my wife for being such a wimp, I headed west once again towards Topley which proved a dump and so I continued onwards to Houston, B.C.  The RV Park east of Houston was shut down for the season (yep, there's an emerging pattern here) and the first hotel I tried wanted too much.  I tried the hotel further west but still in town and the price proved bearable.

Houston is home of the world's biggest fishing rod apparently, I saw it as I moved through town but didn't find it very photogenic; maybe I was just hungry and tired.  I'll try and remember to go to it tomorrow morning before hitting the trail again.

Martha later advised that apparently campgrounds don't open around here till first of May.  Sigh.  I'd seen some campsites further south which were open but I guess as I move north, they are still not open yet.

Still, although no pictures, made good progress.  I am within striking distance of the start of the Steward--Cassiar Highway.  This is B.C. Highway 37 and it looks like Kitwanga, B.C. is at its southern end.

How shall I sum up what I saw today?  Pine forests on both sides of the two lane highway, with rolling hills and not much in terms of scenery.  Snow was evident (sometimes a lot) on the fields on the side of the road once I started heading westward on Canada 16.  Not much else to report, scenery-wise I found it unremarkable.  I hope things get better tomorrow in terms of scenery.


Unknown said...


Wow, that was a long day. It is mostly uneventful all the way to Kitwanga. There is a Petro Canada station right at the junction before you head north. I mentioned that there is a row of totem poles at Kispiox and a run down First Nations town. It is photogenic in a run down way with dirt roads and shacks. I wanted to snap more photos but I got there too late and it was too dark.

I think you could be some nice photos posing Valencia there, if you have the time.

I think from Kitwanga it is only about 230 kms to Stewart/Bear Glacier

Oh, there is a restaurant inside the Petro station

Riding the Wet Coast

redlegsrides said...

Thanks for the info Bob, we'll see how tomorrow goes.

RichardM said...

Last year I don't think I took a single picture from Kitwanga to Williams Lake. Just rode on and on that day stopping only for gas. The Cassiar is pretty nice and I saw more bear on that road than anywhere else. ChrisL saw even more on the road to Hyder.

Finding open campgrounds from here on may be difficult but you could always dry camp in turnouts or gravel pits. I've done that in the past in B.C., the Yukon and Alaska. I never felt very safe doing that further south.

BeemerGirl said...

Hi Dom, it sounds like a long and slightly trying day? Tailgaiting vehicles really annoy me, too. I always wonder why they just can't back off and pass when available. I hope he is a rare encounter for you. Do you have snacks available in the hack?

Andy & Laura said...


We're enjoying the opportunity to share in this adventure with you. Your blog is terrific, you can make even the dullest of rides sound intriguing.

Ride safe and know that we are praying for you.

Laura, Andy, & Greg

Andy & Laura said...


We're enjoying the opportunity to share in your adventures with you. Your blog is terrific. You can make even the dullest of rides sound intriguing.

Ride safe and know that we are praying for you.

Laura, Andy & Greg

Learning to Golf said...

I think I may have camped behind that Petro station on my way home from Alaska. For 300, or so, miles north off there it was bear country. When stopping be sure to look up in the trees. It may prevent a surprise.

Unknown said...

Don't be bothered with the campgrounds Dom, they always want too much money just to pitch a tent. I never went to a campground when I rode BC up to Hyder, just pull off and set up tent in a secluded spot.
Look for rest areas, they're Crown land, technically you can't camp as in pitch a tent, but RV's use them all the time for overnighting.

PS, thanks for donation, stickers on the way to Centennial, alert the boss and tell her to keep her paws off 'em, they're for you.......

Very happy for you that you're doing this, long overdue for you.


redlegsrides said...

RichardM, you're the first of two riders who've mentioned using the turnouts to camp in...and I have seen RVs sitting there...hmmmm

Beemergirl, I do have snacks of sorts...all in one bag which I call the Bear Bag. It will, in Bear country, get stored away from my tent.

Andy and Laura, thanks for commenting and your prayers...alls well so far, now getting into the more "rustic" portions.

AZHDDude: thanks for the info, had not read to look up into the trees!

Murph: I will explore the concept of the turnouts, the campgrounds not being open anyways. thanks!

VStar Lady said...

Welcome to Canada, where everything pretty much shuts down for the winter. Not much opens up before the May two four weekend – Yeah, for Queen Victoria whose birthday officially kicks off summer.
I think it would be exciting (aka a bit nerve racking to see a moose on the road – I wouldn’t trust that they will always turn and go the other way.) Glad you’ve got your snacks in a bear bag, put your toothpaste and anything else that has a yummy smell in the bag and hang it far from your tent especially if you’re planning on spending time in the gravel pits (or so I’ve heard - I've a little bit of a bear phobia myself!)

redlegsrides said...

VStar Lady....it was a bit of a PITA to hang the bear bag...I think I'm going to look for a small bearproof container instead.

Yeah, am a bit early. The folks at Hyder tell me I was the first rider to show up for this year!