Jan and I pull out of town by 8:45, and agree to meet Eric and Julia for lunch at 150 Mile House, a wide spot in the road 125 miles north. We are generally traveling between 55 and 65 mph, and they often ride at much higher speeds, so rather than frustrate each other trying to stay together, we just agree to meet down the road. We hope that will be a workable solution throughout the trip with all five of us.
After 15 minutes we pull over at a rest area to check the fluid levels on both bikes. We need to run the bikes for a few miles to warm the various fluids up to get accurate readings, so this has become a daily morning ritual. The Cavalcade will not need oil until I change it in Anchorage, but the BMW needs constant attention. This morning I add a half quart of engine oil, and add a few more ounces of gear fluid to the drive shaft. I've tried to tighten the boot, but just can't stop the leak. Anyway, it's an irritation factor, not a safety factor, so I can live with the problem until we get home if it doesn't get worse.
This is motorcycle heaven. For a hundred miles we run through country straight out of A River Runs Through It. The highway winds through a fairly narrow valley, maybe a couple of miles wide at the most. Spruce-covered mountains rise up to 2,000 or 3,000 feet on each side of the road. At a distance, the valley appears matted with dull green crushed velvet, as the native grass waves slowly in the light wind. We follow the Bonaparte River, clear as crystal, as it sparkle's in the sunlight and bounces over stones on its way to join the Fraser. Well kept ranches dot the landscape and the scent of freshly mown hay fills our senses. I half expect Tom Skerritt and Brad Pitt, fly fishing gear in hand, around each bend of the river, but in the end I'm disappointed. But not with the road, it is spectacular.
By lunch I'm down to a t-shirt, as the temperatures reach the mid-80s under cloudless skies. The weather and scenery are so beautiful it's difficult to focus on the road. But the blazing sun is a certain way to get fried, so after a couple of hours I don a long-sleeve shirt for the rest of the trip to Prince George.
We arrive about 5 pm, having done less than 300 miles in eight hours, to find Randy waiting for us. He's had a safe trip through all kinds of weather, fair and foul, as he's made his way the 1,500 miles north from Denver. The five of us have dinner together and call it a day. Tomorrow it's north to Dawson Creek and the beginning of the Alaska Highway.
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