Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Uncomfortable to Hixon

20th June: McLeese Lake to Hixon

Odometer: 137 km, Start: 8.30am, Finish: 5.00pm, Avg: 20.1 km/h,
Weather: Sunny and warm, Temp: 15-27°C
Bear count: 4, Mosquito Bites: 28 (attacked taking down tent), Hills walked: 0
Road Conditions: #97, Still mostly good surface and 2m shoulder. Traffic light (a bit heavier around Quesnel). Two road restaurants towards Quesnel. Not much after. Ascent: 850m up/1000m down.

I had a wretched time taking down my tent in the morning. I just had on my cycling kit and the bugs from yesterday were still around. Result: a lot more bites. (They quite liked my thighs and backside, biting through the lycra material, but to be honest, they weren’t fussy where they bit. I have several on the back of my head, for instance). Oh well, lesson learnt. I need to wrap up more when I encounter bugs, as I seem to be a soft target.

After being “run off” the campsite by the mosquitoes, I pedalled hard for  a few kilometres cursing my bad luck / ill-preparedness. There were even a couple of convenient RV parks at what would’ve been the ideal distance for yesterday’s ride! Once I got my legs moving things weren’t so bad and I got on with today’s ride. It was mostly through farming and pasture land with pine forests again dominating at the slightly higher altitudes. 

Nice farm by side of Caribou Highway

I was a little between two places as Quesnel, the last major town before Prince George, was only 70km up the road. Hixon was a small place between the two, but I wasn’t sure if anything was there. (Sometimes places are marked but contain only a house or two and sometimes nothing!).

As I made my way to Quesnel, I asked a few people about services at Hixon and it looked hopeful, people saying there was a couple of motels and a restaurant. I was also pleasantly surprised to find two good road side restaurants on the way to Quesnel in which to have a couple of breakfasts!

Old Fraser River Footbridge, Quesnel

I reached Quesnel by lunch-time but passed straight through after grabbing some more food for the afternoon. (Note the “s” in Quesnel is silent for some reason, it’s pronounced “Quennel”. I asked quite a few people why, but nobody knew. “It’s just was”). There was a climb out of the town, accompanied by a bit of a chemical odour from some industrial works on that side. There was also a little baby deer wandering lost around a wood yard. It was bleating and on it's last legs. Poor guy.

It was hot again in the afternoon and the bites exposed to the sun were hurting, so I just pedalled hard all afternoon to get to Hixon. I saw another black bear just after being warned by roadside police about “two large ones” ahead. The cops even gave me an escort up a steep rise where they’d seen the bears crossing the highway. (The police were in a couple of unmarked cars having fun catching speeding motorists. It was like shooting fish in a barrel on the Caribou Highway. I passed them and their victims several times during the afternoon, getting a nod each time).

On the way, I thought things were getting too much for me when I approached a Yellow Submarine by the side of the highway! It was elegantly positioned at the entrance to somebody’s driveway and was a few metres in length.

I do believe that's a Yellow Submarine!

I finally arrived early evening in Hixon and hit the first motel. It wasn’t the best of accommodation and the pub down the road wasn’t great either. I had a restless night not too happy with things…


Jason Dalton said...

Shaun, I hope the scenery and experience outweighs those bl**dy mosquito bites. If it wasn't for the picture evidence of the yellow submarine… I'd agree that it had all got too much for you! Keep going, Jase

Darrell-----victoria, bc said...

only 28 mossy bites? Not bad then. Following your trip with interest.