(June 23 – written by Dave)
That’s it, we are out of road on mainland Canada. We either get on the ferry here in Prince Rupert, or we turn around and go back the way we came – going backwards is not in our DNA – so a ferry it is! But that’s not until Monday. We have the weekend here in Prince Rupert to relax, eat, unwind and celebrate our 2,400k ride from Fairbanks! Woohoo!
But before I get to that, we need to talk about today. Because today, well, it was a blue ribbon day of riding. We had great weather – sunshine and tailwinds – plus an amazing ride through the Skeena River Gorge. We’d read a few blogs of folks who’ve cycled through the gorge and almost all of them reported rain, clouds and limited visibility. We had everything but that – what a great ride.
We started early with a swing through the lodge to get water. June was up baking already and it smelled great inside her restaurant. She doesn’t technically open until 10AM but she let us in for water and to buy a couple luscious rhubarb crumble muffins. I even sweet talked her into a picture with Nancy. She protested because she was not yet in her uniform. It was really great staying with June – she made us feel welcome. I’m not so sure about the overall business model for Kasiks itself but as long as they have June running the place, they’ll be just fine. For the record, Kasiks is also a highway work area and is in part open to support avalanche recovery in the dangerous Skeena River Gorge – it’s possible that the resort part it just a way to give it a double purpose. The resort only appears to be open on Thurs – Sun, so our timing was good.
Back out on Highway 16, we were greeted with a few high clouds, tailwinds and wonderful sunshine coming from behind us – making the light fantastic. I know that I took way too many photo breaks but my senior editor did not complain as it was just a great day to be out on the bikes.
We had a few rest stops along the way. The first one was at Telegraph Point, where we watched eagles fish (and catch one) and read about all the different sea life that the river and estuary here supports. As we rode away we watched keenly to our left, looking for some of the sea lions and/or seals that the signs mentioned. We were so intent on looking left, that we almost forgot to look right. A black bear walking the train tracks soon got us a back into a more balanced outlook. For the record, that makes it 17 black bears and 2 brown bears on the mainland. We’ve just also read that Vancouver Island – where we head next – has the highest density of cougars and black bears anywhere – yeah!
Lunch was taken the Skeena River overlook, where there was information about Port Edward – an old fish cannery area up near Prince Rupert. It sounds interesting – we may visit there tomorrow or Sunday.
From the overlook it was about 35k to Prince Rupert. We passed a couple nice looking lakes and more photo opportunities but we didn’t really stop again. We were both kind of had the smell of the finish line and were excited to get here. It was difficult but I managed to convince Nancy that it was worth stopping at the “welcome to PR” sign, and even to set-up the tripod for a shot of the two of us. The photo turned out good so the stop, and all the running I had to do to get into the shot, was probably worth it.
Somehow I managed to ride right to our hostel. I probably shouldn’t admit that there was any luck involved but it kind of jumped out at me when I looked down a side street that I wasn’t originally going to turn at. I had studied the map and the hostel photos the night before – making my own luck. I know that my senior editor was happy with the ease of navigation but still not quite sure why I had not gotten the Prince Rupert town map out the night before to avoid any potential confusion.
Anyway…. We made it. We were both real excited to be here. We celebrated with lunch in town and then it was back to the hostel for showers, tent drying and laundry. Later for dinner we had a proper celebration with a local ale and some super fresh sushi. I got the mixed King and Coho combination platter and it was very tasty. Much better that the endless run of roadhouse burgers that we’ve been surviving for the last month.
After dinner we walked the harbour a bit and enjoyed the views. They get a lot of rain here but today at least it was perfect weather. The harbour is a real working harbour with many fishing boats going to and fro. Bald eagles were also cruising up and down the harbour – one landing on a sailboat mast right in front of our restaurant.
We’ll get more of the Prince Rupert story tomorrow and Sunday as we wait for our Monday sail down the Inside Passage. We don’t have too many chores to do so it should be nice to relax. We are both feeling good, even though we just ridden 2,400k in a month and a day – not bad for a couple old geezers!