One Man's Alaska

Day 8: Stewart, British Columbia

March 15, 2010

I landed in Stewart tonight, a drive of 699 km (about 440 miles) from Prince George. The apple and blueberry fritters were so good at Tim Horton's that I stopped at two different locations today, about 30 minutes apart, lol. Nobody should eat that much sugar in a day, but wow, were they good!

A bummer about today is that the roads are all paved, wider, and have guardrails in many places. I understand these improvements are probably terrific for the people that live here, but they take away from the scenery and the "being out there" feeling quite a bit. If you've ever driven a motorcycle, you know that you feel much more in tune with the road and the environment when you're on a motorcycle than in a car, and I get the same feeling here now with all the roads being paved. I consider myself lucky to have driven on these roads before they were all paved.

I didn't see any bears today, but I didn't really expect to. I don't think they'll be out on the roads for at least another month. I did see one wolf today, and that was cool. If the picture turned out, I'll post it here later.

The other thing I've remembered is that the birds on these lightly traveled roads seem very slow and/or dumb. They congregate in the middle of the road for some reason, and apparently don't know what a car is, and how fast you're traveling, so they get out of your way. Unfortunately I hit quite a few today, even after I started honking my horn and slowing down as I approach them.

The King Edward Hotel, and the Ripley Creek Inn

I've been in Stewart twice before. The first time I was a little lost and running out of gas in May, 2007, and the second time was in October, 2007, when I moved back from Talkeetna, Alaska to Louisville, Kentucky, and realized how gorgeous the Stewart scenery was.

I've always stayed at the King Edward Hotel (and Liquor Store), and that's where I checked in tonight. There are really only two choices, the "King Eddy" (as the locals refer to it), and the Ripley Creek Inn. Ripley Creek is a little more expensive (King Eddy rooms are either $59 in the hotel, or $79 in the motel across the street, and the Ripley Creek is $89), but I promise to stay at it if I ever come back here again. The Ripley Creek Inn units look more like small homes or cabins, and there may be a nice view of the estuary from their units, so it's worth a try.

A very drunken man

I was hungry tonight, so immediately after checking in at around 6:30 p.m. (I decided to stay two nights in a larger motel room across the street), I crossed the street back to the King Eddy restaurant to have dinner.

A nice waitress remembered me from 2007, and I remembered her as well. Before I could even order, a Russian man came to my table from another table, and tried to strike up a conversation. Although he was speaking English, at first I couldn't understand a word he said, and had to ask him five times to repeat his first sentence.

I quickly learned that he was very, very drunk, but as long as he wasn't going to puke on the table, I didn't care, it had become interesting. The waitress asked me if it was a problem, and I told her no, it was okay.

I could write an awful lot about the next few hours, but I'll keep it short today, and just say that between the waitress and I, we got part of a burger and fries into this man, talked to him for a long time, and also got him into his own bed.

To be clear, this man isn't a local; he's in town for some temporary work, and should be gone within a week.

I will say that I've never seen anyone that drunk in my life, and I hope to never see it again. He seems to be killing himself by drinking, like the Nicholas Cage character in the movie Leaving Las Vegas, and it was very sad to see.

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