Juneau to Prince George - Highway 16. - Miles 1700
We awoke at 8a.m. to nice weather onboard the ferry to Prince Rupert. The weather soon deteriorated to misty with some rain for the rest of the trip.
Met Chuck, an American with a Harley Davidson and a 6in thick air mattress (envy both!). When the ferry stopped at Petersburg, Chuck offered to show us the fisherman's memorial about 15 minutes walk away. He assured us that the ferry would be at least one and half hours in port, although the captain had said he would leave as soon as possible.
The memorial was very interesting, with life histories of those who had died. Chuck went into a cafe with a friend from the ferry. We decided to go back to the ferry early. With about 200 yards to the terminal we heard three ships horn blasts and decided to run. We got there, hearts pounding, and the gangplank up. The ferry was ready to go. The passengers were lining the deck cheering as we ran. Fortunately they had time to let us on. As the ferry sailed, we could see Chuck and his friend running to catch it. Too late! David had eyes on the Harley and Joan claimed the 6in thick air mattress.
Unfortunately for us, but good for Chuck, he managed to charter a plane to the next stop, Wrangel, where he boarded. It cost him $90 US. Joan slept on the thermorest that night. At Ketchican, Leo and Nadine re-joined the ferry. It had rained all the time they were there. Arrived at Prince Rupert and it was still raining, but after a cafe breakfast with Leo and Nadine and two Germans, Gabi and Peter, we had also met before, the weather improved for some shopping. Bought a Minolta 38-150mm zoom camera. Slide film is not easy to find and is expensive compared to UK. - $13 (5.50pounds) for Fuji 100x36 (not process paid) (I thought film was around 5.50! - Mark)
We camped just outside Prince Rupert and then continued East. Met Leo and Nadine again and decided to meet up each night to share camp ground costs, although we each make our own way there. Passed many signs saying, "Beware falling rocks", as we cycled through gorges. But a falling moose held up Leo and Nadine. It had fallen off the rocks into the road and was killed. The traffic was stopped for half an hour. Every time we now see a falling rocks sign we say *watch for falling moose*.
At Terrace, a Canadian couple in a RV invited us to have wild raspberries, apple pie and ice-cream. (better than pasta). They had just seen a white bear. These white bears are only found in this area in Canada and are true black bears but are a white (not albino) race. Found our first wild edible berries - huckleberries or saskatoons. They are like small blueberries and make a good addition to our morning porridge. At Smithers the weather improved (i.e. the rain stopped) We met Pat and David Chegwin from Vancouver (originally Sheffield) cycling on a back road to Smithers. They invited us out to a meal in the evening. We were picked up by car from the campsite and had a lovely meal which they insisted on paying for!
Lost all tent pegs! Bought new ones and put in bright orange bag as the others were in a grass - green bag. The road follows the railway most of the time and we passed a stationary Freight Train with 105 carriages and measured it by cyclometer at 0.9 miles long.
Countryside now flattened and farmland. Tail wind and warm to hot sunshine. Joan now complains of the heat! If only the weather was like this all the time. Prince George tomorrow.
Another Bear story - "Talking to the bears."
The advice given when confronted by a bear is to talk to it in a normal voice so that it knows you are human. A local Indian woman said that her ancestors always talked to bears when they met. They would say "Hello bear, I wish you no harm. You have a family to feed - so do I. We can both live here in harmony and enjoy the wilderness". Usually, the bear just wandered away. When asked if she had talked to a bear she said, "Yes." "What happened?" "I was picking blueberries and suddenly realized that a large grizzly was also eating blueberries on the other side of the bush only about 6 feet away." "What did you say?". "I looked it in the eyes and said "OOOOHHH SHIT!".