There was a thundershower the previous evening, but the pavement was dry by the time I woke up. Intense rain several days before had caused massive and destructive flooding in southeastern BC and many parts of Alberta. My original plan was to ride up central BC, cross over the Rockies to Jasper, then follow the eastern slope of the mountains down to Banff and Lake Louise before crossing the border back into the U.S. into northern Idaho or Montana. The flooding wiped out sections of the Trans Canada Highway 1 and caused massive destruction in Calgary and surrounding areas. Because of this I changed my itinerary to backtrack my way back home the way I came.
After breakfast downstairs, I headed north on BC 97 (the Cariboo Highway) to Prince George where I stopped for gas and food, then I headed west on BC 16 (the Yellowhead Highway) to Smithers. Along the way I stopped in Vanderhoof, the geographic center of British Columbia, and had lunch at Twins Cafe. I got chatted up by a local truck driver. It was a somewhat one-sided conversation, unfortunately, because his hearing loss was so severe I had to shout for him to hear my answers to his frequent questions. He was pleasant, however, as was everyone else I met while in British Columbia.
I had sun all the way until I got to Burns Lake where thunder and hail assaulted me for a half hour. The rain was intense. I had to brake for a black bear crossing the highway just as the rain started. I’m sure someone would have considered his random presence to have been an omen for the bad weather. Despite numerous warnings signs of their crossing, I never saw any moose.
By the time I got to the Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers, I was tired and felt as if I’d been riding for a week already. Three long days on the bike will do that. I stayed there based on the recommendation of a friend, and I highly recommend it to others. The accommodations are a good value and the food is outstanding. Ellie, Angela, and the other gals that work in the Fireside Lounge provide friendly service and the menu is incredible. I especially recommend the short ribs ravioli.