Thursday, October 16, 2014

2014 Alaska Done - Part 3 of 10

Alaska Done

Part 3 of 10

Boarding for the The Inside Passage
Is this the Planet Earth?
Highway of Tears

Boarding for the Inside Passage

To me, this was no Ferry. It was a luxury cruise liner. The thrill of fifty bikes all starting their engines ready to board surpassed that of hearing the starter pistol at the Oulton Park race track in Cheshire England. Once aboard, we were instructed by crew members to shut-off-our engines; engage first gear; and secure them from falling using heavy straps attached to metal rings in the floor of the deck. We departed on time for our fifteen hour journey to Prince Rupert. The scenery that we encountered was enough to take your breath away. There were countless miles of virgin shorelines; we saw tree-filled mountains reaching for the sky; we saw humpback whales dancing in the ocean on more than one occasion; and every now and then we could see the countless settlements of our first nation peoples. It almost made me envious. What absolute tranquillity and solitude. A life of hunting and fishing and no five o' clock traffic jams every day. On the other extreme, we were resting in luxurious armchairs. We drank and ate like royalty and some of us missed quite a bit of the scenery by dozing-off in the afternoon, including me. How shameful!

Is this the Planet Earth?

The further north we got, the more things began to change. As the sun slowly began to go down in the western sky, we were treated to a panorama of brilliant heavenly colours from yellow to orange to crimson red. The effect of this was intriguing. Mountains that had begun to sprout out of the sea itself were cast in shadows of different shades of grey under an orange sky and the circle of heavy mist surrounding them gave the illusion of halos. I haven't seen this effect anywhere else - certainly nowhere down south. I would have to give it the description of looking somewhat “Ominous”.

Highway of Tears

After a restful night at the Moby Dick Inn in Prince Rupert I was in the mood the next morning to cover some serious distance on the first major leg of our journey. I filled the Harley with as much premium gasoline as I could possibly get in there without going into overflow including the two extra fuel containers I carried in the back. We began on highway 16 towards the junction of highway 37 which eventually meets the Alaska highway days later. The riding was good with good road conditions but it was easy to see the nature of the landscape begin to change as we headed north east. I jumped out of my skin when I was suddenly overtaken by several motorcycles going at high speed. Most were being driven by younger guys with a female passenger on the pillion hanging on for dear life. During a rest stop later in the day I noticed several of these same motorcycles parked in a rest area. As I suspected, these bikes were generally older and not in the best of shape. Moreover, their back tires showed very little thread. They were just about bald and very unsafe to drive. It occurred to me that this highway had seen more cases of young women's deaths over recent years that I care to count. It was known especially for the disappearance or murder of countless young aboriginal girl hitch-hikers and had earned the name – Highway of Tears. ...How sad indeed.

Word Count 590

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