Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Positive Attitude = Positive Experiences

Location: Smithers, BC, Canada
Ok so I'm going to spare you some whining by pretty much glossing over the days of riding between Prince George and Houston. It was 3 days of riding, it rained every day, we camped in Vanderhoof and at a rec site off the highway, our tent was wet (though when we're inside it we were kept dry) and all our riding gear was soggy. We didn't enjoy these days, the rain makes things hard and the scenery was either shrouded or pretty dull. We were particularly downhearted in Vanderhoof, but strangely I woke up at the rec site and despite the rain, difficulties and dampness I felt like it was going to be a good day and felt positive for the first time in 2 days. And I was right. So I'm going to tell you about all the good stuff that happened between Prince George and Houston as its way more interesting than me moaning about bad weather.

The first cool thing was before we even got to Vanderhoof. We met our first round the world cyclists! Patricia and Christian are French and have ridden across Russia, through Japan and down from Alaska. Wow! Awesome! And they're headed through North America then South through Central and South America like us. So we chatted for a bit and exchanged contact details, hopefully we can meet up along the way.

Next while riding on the highway a truck had pulled over coming towards us and the driver got out to talk to us. My initial thought was that he was going to warn us about bears along the way, but he crossed the road and said "I don't suppose you're Tom? And you're Sophie?" Turns out he's, Mike, a friend of Randy's (Marilyn & Zolt's son) who'd been told to keep a look out for us. So that was cool.

The third good thing was that the rec site we camped at was 2km off the highway up a rough gravel road and while I struggled to ride up much of it, the next morning I rode all the way down to the highway. This was a positive achievement for me and I was pretty proud of myself.

We'd decided that on leaving the rec site we would stop at Burns Lake, the first town we'd come to, for coffee and a general warm up/dry off. When we arrived at Burns Lake we were told about the National Aboriginal Day celebrations going on in town and invited to come along. There's free food. So positive thing number 4 is we roll down to the park where the event is on, the rain has stopped and we spend an hour and a half or so wandering about, talking to lots of folks, watching some awesome drumming and singing, and eating delicious free food. The atmosphere was really friendly and inclusive and we were made to feel really welcome. We ate traditional salmon and moose, both were seriously yummy, then a moose burger in traditional bannock bread, also very tasty and were given free water and a tshirt. A very worthwhile stop and overall great experience.

I got a puncture, the eleventh of the trip we think, near the top of Six Mile Summit, not so positive, but we then managed to cover 32km in about an hour and a half, which was quick and felt good! We arrive into Houston, the rain is picking up and when we ring our hosts to let them know how we're getting on they offer us a lift up Hungry Hill to their house which we accept. Which was smart as the rain then really started and I think it would have been really dodgy to ride up as we could barely see out the truck windscreen with the wipers full whack so aside from the risk of drowning we'd have been pretty much invisible to the traffic which is not a safe situation at all. Dee and Doug's place was beautiful, we got clean, warm and dry, did laundry to dry our gear, put up our tent in their car port to dry out and got fed a scrumptious dinner. It was perfect and just what we needed. We then slept in the world's comfiest bed. In the morning Dee came down and said it was still raining but was meant to clear up so if we wanted to have a lazy start we could take advantage of the bed for a couple more hours, I was asleep again before you could say "bliss".

The ride to Smithers was uneventful aside from our stop at the bakery in Telkwa. If you pass this place you have to stop. We got a ham and cheese croissant, a bear claw Danish and a cranberry and custard bun. All of them were beautiful but the cranberry and custard bun was mind-blowingly good. They make everything from scratch on site. It's just incredible. See it's all just getting better and better.

We got to Smithers and they had a little fete going on along Main Street with stalls and music and people doing mountain bike tricks off a dirt ramp. We had our loaded bikes with us and spoke to a lot of people. We were trying to figure out where to stay as the campsite turned out to be pretty pricey but lucky for us Bryan and Theresa came over to talk to us and offered us to stay at their place. Fantastic! We thought we'd be camping up there but they had a spare room, with a bed. We wandered around their home slack-jawed - they'd built it themselves, it was super eco friendly, really practically designed to make it as comfy and livable as possible, had a load of land, producing garden and a stunning view of Hudson Bay Mountain. It was like mine and Tom's dream home in many, many ways.

Over a beautiful dinner we talked loads about touring, travelling, the house and a bunch of other stuff and then helped relocate a bevy of chickens from Theresa's brother's place over the road. We'd already asked if we could stay an extra night for a rest day so after scrummy pancakes for breakfast we spent the next day pootling into town where we chatted to a couple of lovely RVers for maybe an hour who'd toured up through the States from Arizona, a similar route to us, and had been up to the Arctic Circle. Tom was feeling pretty tired when we got back and while I cooked dinner he slept. Long story short, Tom woke up the next day feeling crappy so we spent a third night there. While Tom slept Theresa took me on a hike up to Crater Lake, which was wonderful. I felt bad Tom missed out, but it was great to get out on a long walk and see something we'd not see on the bikes.

We were lucky enough that Theresa and Bryan rode out with us the next day to Moricetown. The scenery was lovely and it was great riding with company. We stopped for lunch by the Moricetown Canyon then said our goodbyes and headed on towards Seeley Lake Provincial Park our destination for the night. 

So to sum up, once we started feeling more positive things got better and one good thing after another happened to us (again). Our 'luck' seemingly improved (again), but really what I think happened was we stopped putting moany, negative energy out into the world and started to see all the wonderful stuff around us (again) and it's like a snowball of positivity. Same goes the other way too; if we'd kept being on a downer I think we'd have missed out on all this good stuff and got even more depressed and so forth. The other lesson is, and we've commented on it before, we think the world will always help you with what you need, but not what you want - we wanted a dry place to stay in Vanderhoof, but we didn't need it so we slept in the tent in the rain and though I really didn't want to go up the dirt road to the rec site, I think I did need the confidence boost of riding back down it. However when Tom got sick and we needed a place for him to rest all day, voila! Awesome people to the rescue. So in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need".


  1. Great to hear from you with more great stories..Mr P

    1. Thanks Mr P! Hope you like the photos we've now added too!