David Freeze: Locals say animal sightings are coming soon

Published 6:26 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2019

It was hard to get out of bed Friday morning at the Airport Inn in Quesnel, Canada.

This was an older motel, with every amenity and a big, comfortable couch. I liked the couch so much that I kept falling asleep while composing my recap. Then the bed and the pillows were perfect.

Come to think of it, I have not met a bed and pillows that I don’t like on this trip.

Right away Friday morning, the breeze was picking up again from the North. It looked like another day of headwinds. My progress was very slow for most of the morning, and I was already dreading more gusts in the afternoon.

I passed through the community of Cinema — only a store and a house. I got a snack to change my mood and met locals who were discussing going to get some pie.

The locals gave me some insight on the most concerning part of the ride — the time that I will spend on Cassiar Highway. It is the most remote portion but also has some of the most spectacular scenery. One of the women told me that there would definitely be animals.

I also passed a field that must have been 100 acres of less than knee-high corn. Corn has such a short season in this area, and I don’t remember seeing any before this.

My next stop was in Hixon, a small town where gold was discovered in 1866. Hixon had two convenience stores. One of them doubles as the liquor store — of course, the one I stopped at. I bought two homemade scones. One was very good, and the other was probably for breakfast Saturday morning.

The climb out of Hixon was horrendous. By early afternoon, I noticed the wind less. The climbing slowly became less challenging.

My 76 miles for the day was the best alternative for finishing on the north side of Prince George, the largest city in northern British Columbia at about 100,000 population. I have already said goodbye to B.C. 97 and made my turn onto Canada 16 West, my route for the next several days.

My motel Friday night was the Bon Voyage Inn, complete with its own restaurant and convenience store. I planned to be out early Saturday heading for parts west, hoping the terrain is less severe. There have still been no animal sightings although there are signs everywhere.

Amanda Lewis, a friend with skills on connectivity, and Andy Mooney, of the Post, have been making suggestions on how to improve things. Amanda did some changing and my update will be going in by Gmail for the first time. Pictures too. Windstream has not been helpful.

As I get farther north, there is almost no ice. And the cost of snacks has risen so high that it’s just about double the cost back home.

The motel tax is 18%, and gas is close to $6 per liter. I have been picky about things but have to eat a lot. It was a real bargain Friday night to find two ice cream sandwiches for $4 and some change.

A couple of times over the past few days, I have been reduced to my emergency Pop Tarts. Those things come in handy. I will keep at least a box with me as I head farther north.

I forgot to mention that Barry Johnson, the postmaster at McLeese Lake, said that cold temperatures reach 40 to 45 degrees below on occasion, and I think he meant Fahrenheit.

Friday was the warmest of the last three days. I am hoping for nice day Saturday, even though rain is in the forecast.

David Freeze is a Salisbury Post contributor who is biking from Nevada to Alaska. He can be reached at David.freeze@ctc.net while on his journey.