“This is my loader,” he waved his cell phone in front of me, happy to show me pictures of his truck, his loader and the El Camino he was restoring.
I returned the infamous Starbucks where I traded words, philosophy and frustration with the Brazilian girl weeks earlier. This time I shared coffee with Dag.
“You don’t want to go to Jaspar today,” he cautioned motioning to the dark and looming clouds outside. “This is not good motorcycling weather.
In his 60’s, tall, muscular and with a set of kind eyes and a slow drawl of a voice that dragged just enough you had to lock in his gaze to follow the conversation.
“Everyone has a broken back in Prince George,” Dag asserts referring to the primary industry and the toll it takes on the labor force: logging. “Go to the doctor’s office and you’ll see,” he assures me, “we work hard here. BC is a hard life. We work hard so you American’s can by good wood cheap to build your houses.” His talk is confident, yet slow.
“NAFTA. There’s nothing free about it.” He goes on to tell me about an injury he sustained during a logging operation in his early twenties. He fell and got caught on a crane the force ripped his muscles beyond repair and bruised or injured his brain stem. “In my bosses report he wrote I tripped and fell.”
In the US you pay for your medical care. And you get what you pay for. Here it’s free you don’t get anything except a couple aspirin and pass to go home.”
“Sometimes the pain was so bad, I’d get tears in my eyes. But I had to work. What else could I do.” Nearly 40 years letter he is still appealing his workers comp claim trying to get better medical care.
“Since I had neurosurgery I can’t ride a motorcycle. Used to love to ride. Now it’s bicycling.” Sitting on the table next to his cell phone full of pictures was a bicycle helmet. Dressed in bike gear he tells me, “I saw you last time, I remember.” Must be his regular stomping grounds. While trying to impress upon the Brazilian with her puppy that money isn’t the root of her particular whims or lack thereof, Dag was simply sipping coffee and taking in the show.
He offered his house and his garage for my motorcycle for the evening, suggesting I stick the weather out and continue our conversation. Good idea, but now my next move was just to find someone who could look at my motorcycle and get it running right. With Glacier National Park high on my list, I made a goal of the BMW dealer in Missoula Montana — still more than 1,000 miles away.
For the next two hours I braved the cold and the rain and pressed on. Construction at one part of the road awarded me with about 50km of stripped grooved pavement. This stuff always throws me and gives an uncertain and uncomfortable feeling as I ride through it.
Later sitting in Becker’s Gourmet Restaurant looking out at the Canadian Rockies and the Continental Divide, I had hoped to stay here at Becker’s but they were sold out for the night. I resolved to stay at some dump in Jaspar but took in the great river front view and food of Becker’s.
I’m feverishly trying to get caught up with my writing as I’m still behind from my nearly two week separation from my Mac. My biggest task is self-inflicted as I try to write more than just a laundry list of my day. Rather to bring in appropriate photos, create character studies and weave a story that is fun, engaging and interesting. How am I doing?
The wind is blowing as I write this and clouds moving in rapidly. My guess is the storm I rode through a few hours ago. Staring at the trees as the waitress sets my salad on the table. Looks like a 7 mile ride back to my motel will be in the rain. Ahhh. This is living.
Prince George, BC to Jaspar, AB 8-21-05
Moving Average: 61.0 mph
Maximum Speed: 87.6 mph
Moving Time: 3:58:47
Total Miles: 242.6