Part 9 of 10
Fort Nelson Downpours
Fort Nelson Downpours
As I was riding SE along Hwy 97 I was watching in awe the Cumulonimbus black heavy clouds jockeying for position directly over my head. I braced myself because they were about to open-up at any moment – and they did with fury. The word “wet” took on an entirely new meaning for me at that point. I went from slightly damp to fully water-logged in seconds. The downpour even found a way for the rain to squeeze through the collar of my rain suit resulting in my underwear and boots and socks being soaked instantly. There was no respite. There was simply no shelter of any kind; no trees; no buildings; no bridges; no garages and no nothing and you don't carry an umbrella while riding on a motorcycle. Add to that the miles and miles of intermittent road construction – heavy traffic hold-ups - and more and more mud and it certainly took the edge off what started as an otherwise OK day. There was no end to it. Also, fast moving multi-layers of heavy black clouds effectively blocked-out what residual sunlight there was left that afternoon. It was just about dark. They were not my finest hours in motorcycling.
It took me more than one tormented night's sleep to bounce back from the Fort Nelson downpours. Even then, I found that my energy levels were not as sharp as they should have been. Moreover, continuing down Hwy 97S , frankly, was long and boring with not much to see excepting long lines of huge construction trucks - one right after the other. The skies were still dull and grey with a threatening look about them. I was travelling at about 90 kms per hour listening to the rhythmic throb of my Harley's massive V-twin engine plodding along easily and effortlessly at about 3000 revolutions per minute. The horizon in the far distance never changed. It stayed fixed regardless of how long we rode or how much distance we had travelled. Nevertheless, the comforting and reassuring throbbing of my Harley engine continued relentlessly. What I didn't notice was that the sound of my engine was becoming more distant. It was gradually fading into the background. It got quieter, and quieter and even more quiet ....until I didn't hear it at all. It was the thump of my helmet against my chest that woke me up! My God! I had fallen asleep. I pulled over to the shoulder; threw my sleeping pad and my Spider-man pillow into the grass and I slept like a baby for about half an hour. Thank God I'd had the foresight to bring it with me. Spider-man saved the day. As soon as I opened my eyes again I was fully refreshed and ready to go. Its a good thing there had been no curves in the road or things may have turned out very differently. Up there in no-man's land its not the bears, the wolves, the mooses nor even bisons that will get you. Its fatigue - the silent killer.
Its as if the great northern City of Prince George forms an imaginary line separating northern British Columbia from the mid-lands. Prince George has everything one could wish for – and so does the rest of Hwy 97 heading south. Familiar places like Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, and Cache Creek were just a few hundred kilometres down the road. That's peanuts compared to the distances we had been travelling. What a refreshing difference! The sun was out! ...Feel like a coffee and a breakfast sandwich?....Over to the left there's a Tim Hortons...Would you prefer a burger and fries?....Oh! I see a McDonald's restaurant at the next intersection. What about a giant ice-cream cone or a strawberry milk shake? ...On the right hand side there's a Dairy Queen. I'd like to look for a Chippy or a Waterman's meat and potato pastie.....Oops! Sorry – wrong country. There's a big new gas station over there, I should get gas?....Nope! I'm still over half-full. Freight trains began to re-appear. The huge lines of heavy construction trucks were gone. The stress had lifted. The sun was still shining brightly at noon and traffic was light and moving well. I didn't have a care in the world. I was looking forward to getting home. Coming South was a picnic.
Word Count 746