Prince George to Fort St. John – British Columbia, Canada
Last night while unpacking my motorcycle I found had lost something. Don’t you like that? Find something lost? Humor me, I’m trying to share this story.
Keys. I lost keys to my Jesse Bags, Touratech GPS mount and my Adventure Pipe secret “stash” pipe. I had clipped these keys to my primary key chain for my bike but they were on a separate smaller gauge key ring. This ring was threaded onto the bigger BMW key ring. Seems like the 500 mile day and rough roads of Southern British Columbia caused the poor “children” to vibrate off the key chain. Of course I had copies, but it worried me that so early in the journey I was already resorting to using my back up keys, so waking up this morning I decided it’d be best to get copies made before heading up the Alaskan Highway deep into the Yukon and Alaska.
I spotted a Strabucks last night while trolling for motels so thats where I started my locksmith search over perhaps my last cup of “good” coffee for sometime. As usual conversation and curiosity peaked about my journey with two young kids from Vancouver who were on their way to Tombstone Reserve and then Denali to do what they called “light mountaineering”. Also joining the conversation was a young Brazilian Girl. With backpack on and carrying a small puppy she admitted she’d like to do what I’m doing.
“But it takes time and money,” she agreed, “it all comes down to time and money, doesn’t it?”
I pondered perhaps one of my favorite subjects and philosophical explorations and said, “yeah, but at the end of the day all the money in the world can’t buy you time,” I explained, “so I’ll take time.”
She frowned and squished up her face and poked at me, “you couldn’t do this without money…travel the world. You must eat, buy gas…live.” Her thick accent coupled with the puppy made her appear so cute. But she didn’t get my point. She was too focused and insisted on the need for money. And while my answer may have appeared to her as a utopian view and a bit lofty, she didn’t get the concept that too many of us will complain we don’t have the time to do something that we want to do. I insist that you’ll never have the time so it’s up to you to make the time. And while we could work, work and work thinking we needed just a little bit more before we “find” the time to do something, the worse disease is to wake up finding you never found the time because you didn’t make the time.
I looked at the time and realized it was time to go get some keys cut.
Spending a couple hours at Prince George Lock & Key, I quickly learned that when you’re in Prince George and you’re local, it’s simply “George.” With a few new keys (including a key that needed to be hand cut skillfully by Anne , one of the owners of PG Lock & Key for the wacky key needed for my German made Touratech locking GPS mount) I was on my way and coming to the peace of mind that I’d probably never make it to Fort Nelson before dark, so I set my sights on Fort St. John just north of Dawson Creek.
As a twisted my throttle and headed up the John Hart Highway (97) out of George through low rolling hills past lakes and up through the Nechako Plateau and then down along the Crooked River to Williston Lake, British Columbia’s largest. Perhaps my first day without the heat of the beating sun, I zipped tight and crouched low as I wound through the rolling hills. Dark gray and steely blue clouds hung so low while the narrow two-lane highway climbed to meet the clouds I felt them race above me accentuating the spped of my motorcycle. For a moment I felt I was in a video computer game where trees, lakes and telephone poles flew by in my periphery while the clouds moved lower and lower.
Raising my hand above my head I felt I could rub my palm under the belly of these low lying orbs. Leaning into curve after curve the drama of the scenery, the purr of my engine and vastness of the scenery made me feel calm — forgetting about my foot, my computer and the disillusioned Brazilian girl lost at a Starbucks in George.
Soon I descended into the small town of Chetwynd. Here I made the decision to blow off seeing Mile Marker Zero (0) marking the start of the Alaskan Highway (Alcan) for the more scenic ride along the Peace River and by the Bennett and Peace Canyon Dams and through the old fur-trading post of Hudson’s Hope.