June 30, 2017
If yesterday From Ft Nelson to Grande Prairie was a massive yawner, today anything would have been an improvement. Highway 40, proved a pleasant surprise.
Highway 40 has sweeping turns, the pavement is better than passable and the ride happens at an average elevation of 3,000 feet rising to 5,000 feet. And you discover the elevation mainly from the temperature drop. I do not know what it was at the start, but I was – almost – ready to layer-up. Soon however we started dropping.
The length of the road has signs “pad 16-5” (different numbers, but the same concept). We never did stop to find out what the PAD was about, but I’ll hazard a guess: Oil or Gas.
While this road is not a commercial road, over eighty percent of the traffic is mainly trucks. Tanker trucks, asphalt trucks, gravel trucks, timber, and other Oil/Gas related trucks, and must not forget the ubiquitous pickup truck. For the most-part the truck drivers are a polite bunch. They do not crowd you in, nor push you. The trucks do drive fast, as fast as a motorcycle. The need to pass a truck, while present, was not really a desperate action… we just wanted to be up front.
The road suddenly becomes the bottom end of a canyon and you feel a part of nature just being there. Suddenly a COAL mine opens up in the middle of nowhere. It is enormous and they do the coal mining just by scraping the upper layer of the mountain. No digging under, as they do in Kentucky.
Soon, lakes, rivers and open valleys become an indication that we are nearing the end of the canyon, climbing again to a plateau and a minor city, a welcome sight as my butt requires a break. A&W serves a spicy chicken sandwich, not bad. Servers in Canada once you have ordered ask… “to stay?” huh? First time it sounded strange. What they mean is “for here?” or “to go?” Quickly you adjust to the local lingo.
After lunch all we have to go is an additional sixty miles and as we advance the Plateau descends and the air gets warmer. The valley opens up. Lakes and rivers show up a bit more often. All breath taking. Soon, in the distance the Town of Hinton is in front of us.
Registered at the Holiday Inn. Took a hot, very hot shower and started feeling again like a human. Diner and…
Thank you for reading
From Grande Prairie to Hinton on Highway 40 – 208 miles