Friday, November 23, 2007

Riding the Cassiar

We got an early start the next morning. For the first time since we started riding we had cloudy skies. I worried about not having a rain liner for my riding pants, but it was too late to do anything about it. It began to rain just as we left Stewart, British Columbia. The rain was cold enough that I stopped and put the thermal liner in my jacket. I also really enjoyed my heated handgrips. Who needs winter gloves when your hands are this toasty? The water on the road didn’t seem to effect handling at all at the speeds we were driving, and the rain only lasted for a short time. We were dry by the time we reached Meziadin Junction.
I drove the Cassiar highway back in the 80’s with my mom and my brother. I remember an intimidating, very remote road. Either my memory is mistaken, or the Cassiar has changed a lot in the past 20 years. The two thirds of the route was paved and in perfect condition with lots of twists and turns to keep things interesting. The scenery was unbelievable. I love this stretch of road. The last third or so is undergoing construction. Although the waits were minimal, we did have many miles of gravel or hard pack dirt. There were a few places we had to drive on loose gravel or on mud, but overall, the conditions were pretty good.
Then some idiot in an RV stopped in the middle of the road and flagged us down. I didn’t have time to prepare for a stop, the road was sloped, and loose gravel. I slid off the seat and held the bike, but my foot slipped and I could feel the bike dropping. I held it for a while, but the angle was too much. The jerk in the RV just stood in my face and watched me drop the bike in slow motion. Then he looked over my shoulder and asked my husband whether there were any services on that road. Of all the nerve! Finally he helped me get the bike upright and I left my husband to talk with him.
That fall was not my fault. I knew it, but it still frustrated me. I had also hurt my arm again. We finished out the Cassiar highway then drove the 20 or so miles back down the Alcan to Watson Lake for the night. My arm was hurting badly enough that I was having trouble keeping it on the handlebars. By the time we finally stopped, I was crying and exhausted. Neither dinner nor the motel we stayed at was very nice, but I was thankful for the rest, and honestly didn’t care.

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