18 August 2012 – There were two things we wanted to do today – get another bolt for the VStrom’s front-end, and ride to the Dunvegan Bridge a couple of hours north of Grande Prairie. The third thing we did today was completely unplanned and nearly ended the trip!
Riding light, we first went over to the local Home Depot to get a second bolt for the VStrom’s front-end. I had gone over the night before after dinner, but I bought the wrong size.
I should have taken the remaining original bolt with me, because I wound up going back twice before I got the right bolt. With the right bolt in hand, finally, we started on putting them both back in.
With everything shipshape again, we headed north for the bridge. Along the way, I spotted this teepee in a parking lot in the midst of a bunch of industrial buildings on the edge of town.
The road north was pretty straight and actually looked like it could have been east of Calgary – rolling prairie farm land. Once we got close to the Peace River valley though, the scenery changed.
That’s the Peace River down there in the valley …
and you can just see the top of the bridge on the left side.
I managed to get some pictures of the famous Dunvegan Suspension Bridge while riding up to it and across it.
Having crossed the bridge to the other side, we rolled into the parking lot of the Dunvegan Provincial Park …
We took off the gear, well I took off my suit but Louise left her riding pants on, and wandered around some. There was a trailer in the parking lot that sold pop, hamburgers, hotdogs, ice cream and COLD WATER!!! We got some cold water and it was good. I was talking with the woman running the thing and it was quite an interesting conversation.
It only looks like the trailer was in a little clearing in the woods – it actually was right in the parking lot.
There’s a museum/interpretive centre right at the parking lot and so we decided to take a look inside. Turns out there was a video presentation that was starting right away, followed by a guided tour of the old buildings that were still on site. The preso was kind of interesting – it went through some of the native legends and early history related the to Peace River in general and area around Dunvegan.
The guided tour was pretty interesting too. We went with a few other folks and were led through the grounds and in and out of the various buildings. Considering how old the buildings are, they are in great shape.
This is one of the oldest buildings there, the St. Charles Mission was first built in 1867 …
In fact, it’s in such great shape today that its almost livable!
There’s a few more pictures of the various buildings and interiors on my Flickr site – Dunvegan Prov Park
The bridge itself is quite famous for being the longest suspension bridge in Alberta.
We made a late lunch early dinner picnic in our barefeet, then headed out on the road back to Grande Prairie. Once we got back, we decided to go to the hot tub in the pool area. After a few minutes in the hot tub, Louise jumped into the cold pool for a swim and that’s when the trouble started.
She started getting chest pains that steadily got worse as the evening went on, eventually by 11pm, Louise asked me to take her to the hospital! So we climbed onto the FJR two-up and headed to emergency. We found it easy enough, parked the bike and went in to start the triage process. Normally you go to emergency and wait and wait and wait … unless of course you present with chest pains! Or a bone hanging out. But chest pains get you wheeled right on in and hooked up to machines. So Louise was in and hooked up well before midnight.
Now once the hospital has you in, they are loathe to cut you loose. They ran some tests, then waited around, ran another test, waited for the results from that, then the doctor came by and asked all the same questions the nurse and the technician asked. Now they all wrote the answers down, at least that’s what I assumed they were scribbling. Maybe they were just doodling to make the doctor ask all the questions again.
Anyway, it turned out that Louise had pleurisy which is inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest that leads to chest pain (usually sharp) when you take a breath or cough. Not so serious, but it was certainly painful for Louise.
So we had some choices to make and since we had nothing else to do while waiting, we talked them through. Our original plan was to take another week going through Dawson Creek, Prince George and down to the Okanagan on the way to Nakusp. Than plan was now out the window – there’s no way we could leave in the morning and carry on the trip as planned.
We could arrange to ship the bikes home and fly home ourselves.
We could ship Louise’s bike home and fly her home, while I continued on alone.
We could ride straight home, taking it easy over three days.
We could ride straight on to Nakusp, taking it easy over three days.
Stay tuned for the next instalment …