Day Two - Thursday August 16, 2001

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go (and RVs that Don't)

Kelowna BC - Jasper AB

6:13 driving time - 383 miles

Mount Robson from Hwy 16 near Jasper

by Whizmo

Since we're traveling in August, we spend a great deal of time waiting around in construction zones or trundling around in lines of traffic.  I like to occupy my time by "vehicle watching" - the motorhead equivalent of "people watching" that many others seem to enjoy.  (Since I'm a confirmed  motorhead, this reminds me of something that my wife Susan told me before leaving on this trip.  She related a statistic she had heard that guys - including motorheads like me - spend 95% of their time thinking about hobbies, careers, vehicles and other similar stuff.  You know, the obviously important stuff.  Woman spend that 95% of their time thinking about family, relationships, people and other similar stuff.  You know, the obviously unimportant stuff.  About half-way through Susan telling me this, I found my mind wandering outside my 5% budget, but I did remember the punchline:  She said that knowing this difference between men and woman helped her understand me much better.  So it all seemed to end on a pretty high note.)

Anyway, because of Susan telling me this, I now feel slightly less shallow telling you that I was truly amazed by the huge variety of vehicles I saw today.  When my kids were little they just loved a book by Richard Scary called "Cars and Trucks and Things that Go" which showed cute mouse-like creatures driving around in cars shaped like toothpaste tubes, bananas, pencils, and other crazy things.  And no, I didn't see a Bananamobile today, but I did see vehicles that I'd be very hard pressed to describe what they do.

I know exactly  what RVs do:  they drive slow.  The Canadians must love 'em because about every third vehicle is an RV and they seem to love to pack hundreds in like sardines in several places we passed today.  Above Lake Okanogan, they even have developments where you buy a parking spot to stick your RV for the summer.  And they like to strap all matters of paraphernalia to their rigs as well.  This guy put his outboard motor on the front bumper.  I sure hope he doesn't tailgate.

The manufacturers have been very clever in naming their RV models and I'm sure that is a big part of their appeal.  They try and conjure up names that evoke a sense of adventure, wanderlust, carefreeness, and idyllic travel to faraway places.  This results in names like Skipper, Wayfarer, Slumber Queen, Jamboree, Rallye, and TravelAire.  They're also big on misspelling the names to make them more catchy such as Trav-L-Mate, Komfort King, and Kustom Kruiser.  Names of exotic places and people work well too.  I don't think the Iroquois Indians were much into RV'ing, but they have a RV named after them.

Gizmo and I have come up with our own RV names which we think would be a big hit.  I think the Geezer Galleon would sell well.  Or how about Land Barge?  Perhaps you have a good suggestion we could pass along to the RV makers?

In addition to the RVs we've also got the tour buses going in August.  When we went down to get the free continental breakfast included with our room, we had trouble squeezing out of the elevator.  Yes, a bus group were all getting their meal at the exact same time.  So we had to skip the free meal.  I even had trouble squeezing my bike out of the parking place with the bus in front.  But they looked like a nice enough group.  I told Gizmo to ask them all to turn around and smile for the picture under the guise of our being part of the tour group, but he declined.  He'll loosen up in a day or two.

Enough tourist and RV bashing.  Today we left Kelowna, headed up the west side of Okanogan Lake (a road  I enjoyed last summer with my motorcycling friends Joe Eiffert and Bruce Scott), and continued on to Kamloops.  Now this is more like it.  Cool temperatures, light traffic, and lots of curves along the lake.

At Kamloops we headed north on the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 5).  Traffic was moderate and we had lots of time to work on our passing techniques.  Normally, on this remote a rode, we'd wick it up, but there were quite a few police on the road, so we generally stayed at about 75-mph, a little, but not too much over the 60-65 limits.  The Yellowhead follows the North Thompson River in a broad and quite scenic river valley.  It continued to get warmer and warmer, but never hit meltdown like yesterday.  Much better.

Eventually, we hit Highway 16 and turned east to Jasper and Alberta (and another construction zone wait in 95-degree heat).  Jasper is in a beautiful spot and we plan on touring the town a bit before we leave in the morning.

I had the camera in my hand and couldn't help but shoot my odometer when it showed all the same five digits - folks this only happens once every 11,111 miles - so I was quite proud of myself for getting this.  I'm sure some of our readers - no doubt those that spend 95% of their time thinking about people and relationships - are rolling their eyes right now.

It is hard to get very far in these dead sea scrolls without discussing apparel.  Let's begin by looking at Gizmo's boots to the left.  I know, it's not a very good picture, but "bear" with me.  See those shiny things at the bottom of the laces.  Those, my friends, are bells - real, honest to God bells like you put on a sleigh at Christmas.  And Gizmo is jingling around on this trip.  He even expects me to wear some!  You ask, "Why is he wearing bells on his feet ?"  Well, Dan Hytry, one of our three faithful readers, has been in these parts before and has informed us that we're headed into bear country - serious bear country.  Now I think I can get away from the bears with my bike, but Gizmo is concerned and apparently, tying bells on one's feet is a great way to let the bears know your coming so they can get out of your way - or lay an appropriate ambush.

Next up we have Gizmo in today's fashion outfit.  What shirt does he have on?  Why, thanks for asking.  Yes, Gizmo is wearing the rarest of t-shirts, the limited-edition, inaugural Whizmo and Gizmo t-shirt.  And four of our lucky contest winners from last year have either received, or will shortly receive, their very own editions.  (It only took me a whole year to get the things made.)  As you can see, they were worth the wait.  I'm sure we'll be awarding more this trip so keep those contest entries coming..

Enough from me, Gizmo has a few parting words.  Tomorrow we have a shorter day to Prince George, Saturday we head to the coast for Hyder Alaska.

Gizmo's Turn & Contest #3:

Today was ever-so-much better than yesterday.  Here's some of the shots that capture the day for me:

Sunrise over Okanogan Lake

West side of Okanogan Lake

View from the cockpit


Jasper scenery More Jasper scenery

Even more Jasper scenery (yawn)

I thought I was done taking pictures for the day until we checked into The Robson Inn at Jasper.  The first thing I do is grab the phone to figure out how to get online, and I see that what I should really be concerned about are the speed dial buttons on the phone:

Does the taxi company deliver liquor?


Wow, we had so many entries for the contests, and so many of you chided us for making it too easy.  OK, we got the message loud and clear.  The contests will be much more challenging from now on.

Contest #1: Identify these lyrics fragments, including the name of the song, the artist, and the year.
"Playing solitaire 'til dawn, with a deck of fifty-one."
"Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo, don't tell me I've nothing to do"

Robert Eiffert of Vancouver Washington replied with "Flowers on the Wall" by the Statler Brothers, 1966.  The contest was posted last night at 10:07 pm; Robert's reply came in 24 minutes later, at 10:31 pm.  There were a total of 22 entries.  It is clear that we have a very capable audience.  We were flooded with the author, links to the author's biography, pictures of the Statler Brothers, the label on which it was first released, other artists that have covered the song, the fact that it was featured in Pulp Fiction, and the complete lyrics.  Obviously, we need to increase the challenge! 

Contest #2Provide a caption for this photo:

We are awarding a tie for First Place to Dan Newell and Steve Ellis, who came up with the same theme:


"Please mommy, just one more quarter!"

Second place goes to Gregg Miller for
"*%&#@# speed traps!

Third Place goes to Keith Rowe for:
"The USAF Pussycat, a joint venture of Boeing and Cirque de Soleil,
demonstrates its abilities on the high beam"

Congratulations to all the winners!

We also enjoyed clever entries from Stewart Bonn, Scott Ferguson,  Tim Mott, Charles Derk, The Bradys from Wading River, John Helms, Michael Rosenberg, Stephen Grove, Nils von Veh, Mark Daniels, Dave Gross, Matt Lutz, Jim Shunk, Dan Griffin, Bill Lee, Dan Hytry, Duane Dier, Phil Smith, and Simon Overbey.  Thanks to everyone for playing along.

And thanks to David Grady, who asked, "Hey, when did you dye your hair white?" Ahem.  That won't win you any points with the judges.

And finally, the real reason you're still reading, the next contest.  People of Canadian extraction (you know who you are) may be a slight advantage with today's contest, but we're going to discount their entries by 40%.  (That's a joke referring the exchange rate.)  I presume that the Internet will once again prove an invaluable resource, but the key to winning this is convincing the judges (that would be us) of the accuracy of your answer. 

CONTEST #3:  Provide a PLAUSIBLE explanation for the phrase "Marked Regular" as seen in the image below. 

What does this mean?

Get those entries in quickly!

- Gizmo