8-04-04  Orbiting Hudson's Hope, British Columbia

          Hudson's Hope is one of those small towns where you stop, look around, and say, "Yeah.  I could live here."  I decided to give myself a day off and just screw around.  The town has been in existence in some form or another since 1793, established about the time Alexander MacKenzie floated by on the Peace River on his way to the Pacific.

          I booked an appointment for the bike in a shop in Ft. St. John (Fast Trax Motor Sports, LTD) for scheduled maintenance.  After throwing on my riding gear (except for the soaked boots), I backtracked on the 29 without baggage on a light bike.  A deer jumped into my path, and then I encountered a herd of 10 by the side of the road.  A short distance later, another deer bolted across.

          My progress was momentarily halted by construction.  Once past the construction and a slow RV, I hit the gas and hit the curves.  Near the end of the 29, there was a 1-lane bridge over Cache Creek:  it was the unrecognized structure I had passed over during the storm.  The visibility in the storm was so bad that at the time, I neither recognized the structure as a bridge nor realized that the road had squeezed into a single lane.  I was glad I hadn't met any traffic during the crossing of the bridge.   

They were ready for the bike.  I asked for an oil change, cleaned air filter, and a checked and tightened chain.  I watched over the shoulder of the technician, asking questions and trading stories.  The bike was wrapped up in 1.5 hours.

            I bought a can of recommended spray chain lube.  I was using WD-40 exclusively, which seemed to work, but I thought I'd add a little chain wax to the mix.

            The owner noted my full gear with tennis shoes, and told me that one stone would ruin my day. 

            I was finished with Fort St. John, so I headed back on the 29 south/southwest.  A grizzly bear ran in front of me, head down and butt up.  There was no hesitation like the black bear of the previous afternoon – it was in a hurry.  Up out of ditch on one side, across the road, and into the ditch on other side at full speed.

Again, I was stopped at construction.  Again, there was one van that insisted on traveling slowly after the construction zone, holding everyone up.  At an open section, I tested high speed performance of bike.  It was about as good as a KLR can get.  I slowed back down and stayed with the other vehicles to mitigate the deer problem.   There were two herds of deer, each containing about 50 animals, along each side of the road at the outskirts of Hudson's Hope.

            I ate lunch in the sunshine on the outdoor deck of a sandwich shop, then wandered through the local park.  After an hour or so, I went back to my room and put my riding gear on.  The boots were still sodden, but I felt too exposed without them.  I would let them air dry.

           At the suggestion of the hotel owners, I rode out to a big, very big dam, the W.A.C. Bennett, one of the largest earthen dams in the world.  On a hill overlooking the dam was a nice viewing site with a cafeteria.  It was a hot sun, so I took off my jacket.  I bought cup of coffee at the café, went to an outside picnic table overlooking the dam, took off my damp boots, sipped coffee, studied clouds, and relaxed.

Big dam

          After coffee, I drove across the dam.  The barricades on the side didn't look tall enough to stop a rider falling off a bike.  There was a steep drop into the canyon at the base of the dam on the left and steep slant to the lake on the right.

          The viewpoint on the other side of the dam overlooked the canyon, with the Peace River curling away into the distance.  I walked around, took pictures, and hung over the railings, enjoying the view.  


            After leaving the viewing area and returning to the road, I tried a gravel side road that followed the lake's shoreline and looked to lead to a promising view, but after about 3 miles of skidding and sliding and nothing in sight, I turned around.

          The road from the dam back to Hudson's Hope led to a good overlook of the town, and below me, I saw a building that appeared to be a library.  It was a bank, so I took out money instead.  I cruised around town until I found the library.  The library had high-speed Internet access, so I cleared my email and checked the weather.  The friendly folks at the library asked me about my ride:  where I was from, where I had been, and where I was going.

          The forecast for tomorrow:  
slightly unsettled but improving. 

          This was the first day of riding
in a long, long time that I did not get wet.