Sunday, 10 November 2019

Burning rubber in Canada Part -9 Stewart and Dease Lake

Hi there

    After relaxed night we were up and ready to go for our next adventure.Today it is going to be more of a long drive since the destination of today was Stewart,  and we can say that we are actually moving North to Alaska.
   Just a short drive from Houston we stopped for quick bite at Smithers . Smithers is a small town but has all the amenities like a large town .Our earlier plan was to halt at Smithers , but Houston happened randomly and it was a very good decision to halt at Houston.
 

     As we were driving we came across a small place Moricetown , were stock assessment project was going on ,basically they catch Steelhead fish  and tag them ,this way they come to know how many have returned,what is the likely stock level in the river , one would go down and see all the activities . An enterprising local had put a kiosk selling coffee !




Actual place were Steelhead fish are caught

   Finally we came to a Petro Canada fuel stop from were one takes a sharp right turn for Stewart,off course we stopped at the iconic sign of North to Alaska . The fuel stop is run by a young local who had been in India and spend quite some time . Even though it was a busy station with tourist , bikers and locals all swarming the place, as it was one of the last large fuel station,the owner greeted us with Namaste !!!! it was such a pleasant surprise , after exchange of pleasantries and getting tips about road condition ahead it was time to move to Stewart.




Iconic North to Alaska sign. 




Road to Stewart


Bear Glacier 


Strohn Lake 




Main street Stewart


    It got late by the time we reached Stewart ,we decided to first have our dinner in the famous Silverado cafe ,  it was pizza . After dinner we straight away moved to Stewart mountain lodge which was at walking distance from the main street.




        Stewart mountain lodge is a beautiful small B&B run by a  Austrian -Canadian Mr Martin , it's the best place to stay in Stewart . Rooms are excellent and it has a very good common kitchen . One of the unique thing I noticed was, after booking the room online , as  one reaches the lodge your room key is kept with a welcome card there is no reception , one just checks in ,  than you can call         
 Mr Martin he will come and get the balance payment as well as explain you about the lodge,extremely pleasant person. Both Martin and his wife are always there to help travelers , that's why it is generally full  .  If you don't take the breakfast one can do self cooking in the  excellent kitchen in common area .





Main Entrance of Stewart Mountain lodge


Martin

    In the morning  I went for my Iconic long walk as today I wont be going to Hyder Alaska, since my USA visa had expired . The town itself was engulfed in mist and one felt as if one is walking in clouds in crisp weather .There was beautiful boardwalk path in the creek  park next to the Visitors center .The boardwalk was very well maintained  . Apart from the creek park there is nothing much too see in the town , the main street just 600 meters .


Polyclinic in the town




Central street 


Bear River Trail




Boardwalk park 




The Boardwalk




    After coming back from the walk the kitchen was already active with familiar smell of Indian spices . Today Deepak had taken the responsibility of preparing the breakfast , however Netrali was strictly supervising him with keen eyes of a drill sergeant and ready to rap him for a mistake. But Deepak passed the test however he told me after sometime that he wont attempt to do it again as he does not want to get reprimanded like a recruit!!!!



Common kitchen

   Since my USA visa had expired it was decided that I along with Malhar will remain in the lodge while the rest of the gang will go to Hyder,Alaska . Moment everyone left we both went to sleep.

   The main aim of going to Hyder ,Alaska was to see the bear feeding on the fish at fish creek observation site , however since it was very early in season there was no fish so no bear . In spite of this  the gang had great time in Hyder  they also met the famous bear man Keith Scott and Netrali took pity to him after hearing his story and brought all the books and DVDs . However Netrali was very disheartened as not a single bear had come to fish creek as she was looking forward to see the giant bears. 



Fish creek observation site 




Shaunak 


Keith Scott poster


     As we were driving back , I think god heard Netrali's prayers we came across a midsize bear and he was  very near to our car , this guy was not at all  bothered about us he was busy chomping the tender grass and berries . Netrali was very happy and got out of the car to almost touch the bear , however shrill shouts from all of us got her to her senses , she realized her mistake and was back in the car . However for few seconds our hearts were beating at such a speed that few local thought the sound is of  landslide rumbling down the mountain which is going to hit the road . They raced passed us waving at us to get out of the area!!!!.










Midsize bear




 Road to Dease lake 


    As we  were racing towards our night destination the rain caught  us and accompanied till we reached our hotel called Northway motor inn in a small non descript place called Dease Lake  . In spite of remote location it was very well managed , had excellent rooms  and run by all women crew!!! there was on site pizza restaurant which served fresh pizza of pretty big size .

   Hats off  to the the women crew the motor inn is an excellent place to spend night , the whole staff is always smiling and ready to help , they gave us lot of tips for our next destination . In the morning as the motor inn does not serve the breakfast we had to cater for ourselves,since we had  ready to eat stuff breakfast  was no  problem coupled with nice tea brewed by Netrali .





Restaurant in Northway inn




Day Manager 

    In the morning in hotel lobby I met a group of bikers going to Alaska and an American couple coming down from Alaska , it was fun to catch up with them they updated us on the latest road conditions and also what all attractions to visit along the roads .


One of the biker and me


    Refreshed with good night sleep and sumptuous breakfast we were back on the road.

                                
Ride Safe Firm Saddle 


Sunday, 3 November 2019

Burning rubber in Canada - Part 8 , Prince George-Houston

Hi there

    On our way to Prince George , the highway  as usual was fantastic it was time for some family photo it was a relaxed drive , we were basically pretty happy since as per original  plan what we achieved was much more and we were running one day early.


Self,Shaunak,Netrali and Deepak


Magnificient natural beauty



Our mount such a beautiful Vehicle



    One of the  Canadian highway feature is  of rest stops , I had seen rest stops earlier on Route 66 , but the rest stop in USA were large and fully commercial . However in Canada the rest stops are comparatively smaller but maintenance standard is world class.We never saw any soiled seat or graffiti on any any wall . And mind you most of these are  in remote areas!! one such rest stop was in Dome . I would rate it 5 Star rest stop , can you believe it , it had free watering for RV and free Wi Fi and  located in one of the most scenic spot.


Entrance to rest stop at Dome



   It would double up as a picnic spot too  ,it was absolutely vacant when we reached ,we spend a good about one hour and than marched ahead for our destination of the night.


Washrooms


Free WiFi


Live specimen of temperate forest





Unique garbage bin





Play station 






Picnic tables

   After morning breakfast which was much below par in the hotel it was time to move on ,before that we decided to visit the railway museum . This museum not just had a huge collection of locomotives,wagons,equipment but all restored and kept  in almost working condition . Many things which are old now , are still being used in many railways across the world . The  small museum entry fee  is worth paying for .



Early morning Prince George 
















Snow cutter








Crew Kitchen


Black beauty


Beehive burner














Crew resting car



Crew dinning car



Royal Carriage




     By evening we reached Houston and stayed in Pleasant valley motel run by Mr Grewal called Garry he owns this motel .A very positive owner of a very well maintained motel .On inquiry about dinner options he directed us to nearby Indian restaurant for nice dinner .
  




Pleasant valley motel of Garry




   Before we went for our dinner we decided to explore the nearby park . And we were awestruck the small park was impeccably maintained ,beautifully designed and with all modern facilities and surprisingly it was empty we were the only ones in the park .

   The park showcases Canadian quality of life yes Canada charges more taxes than USA but the service provided by the govt is superb, if you see Houston is very small town , but the public park maintenance is world class . After spending quality time in the park it was time to go for the dinner .

   























    We reached Curry House just a short  walk from the motel . The restaurant is run by a family from Chandigarh .This is another success story were in with grit , determination and shear hard work made a person from employee to owner . The family initially worked as employees in the restaurants for almost 3 years and saved money when the previous owners left the restaurant they offered to takeover the restaurant .They not only changed the menu but changed total outlook towards customers , today they have more Canadian customers than Indian origin customers .

     Again the food was fantastic, portions were huge and excellent tea they serve, if you are in Houston or pass Houston stop by the place to have your meals .




Curry House 


Owner of Restaurant


   Since we were the last customers the owners came by and sat with us , it was such a motivating story to listen to their success story . They were amazed that we were doing a road trip till Yukon and wished us good luck .

   By the time we reached back our room, it was dark and time to say good night.


Ride Safe Firm Saddle