Day Three - Friday August 17, 2001

If a bear poops in the woods, can it hear my booty bells?

Jasper AB - Prince George BC

3:45 driving time - 236 miles

Remain IN my vehicle?  Huh?

by Gizmo

"So, I'm guessing you lost a bet, eh?"

I looked up at the waitress, who was looking down at my jingle-boots.  

"No, as a matter of fact, I have it on good authority that these bells will keep me safe from the bears."

"Is that so?" She smiled and shook her head.  I though I heard her muttering "tourist" under her breath as she walked away.  

After a good night's sleep in Jasper, we awoke this morning to the luxury of a short day, only 236 miles to Prince George.  We drove through the central area of Jasper, fueling up and checking air pressure before backtracking west on Highway 16 towards our destination.  It was a quiet, misty morning.  The temperature was 50 degrees, so we added an extra layer under the riding suits to prepare for the chilly morning.

Morning mist

We were able to get back through the construction zones more quickly than yesterday, as there wasn't much traffic at this time of day.  The extra humidity in the air made it feel like we might be riding toward rain, but at this point, there was little to complain about - good temperature, light traffic, good company.

When we're out here disconnected from 'the real world', it's easy to let go of the national and global news of the day.  Instead, you tend to focus on the news that's in front of you.  I always enjoy picking up the local papers and seeing what other people consider important news.  The Valley Sentinel (News for the Robson Valley) headlines with DOG RETURNS.  Reporter Brian Coombs leads with "After four days of wandering the countryside, a dog has been reunited with her family.  'Lady', an eight-and-a-half-old Golden Retriever, went missing in Valemount from the fifth-wheel holiday trailer of Betty and Ernie VonTobel on Aug. 4, which started a community-wide search."  It goes on to basically say that Lady was reunited with her family, much to the relief of all involved.  [Whizmo Note:  Lady got tired of going so slow.]

And this from the Calgary Sun:  NAKED WALKER WARNED BY RCMP IN B.C. Vancouver.  Police in British Columbia gave a stern warning about keeping his clothes on to an unidentified man after he was detained this week in two southeastern British Columbia communities for walking naked along the highway.  The man, who spoke only Greek, told authorities he was walking to Vancouver and had removed his clothes because he was hot.  Maybe they remove their clothes whenever it gets hot in Greece.

Sunrise in the mirrors

The economy in the areas we're riding through is predominantly related to logging and wood products.  We frequently see logging trucks and lumber mills.  There are distinct smells to the different kinds of wood.  We passed a mill that processed cedar, and I smelled a smell that strongly reminded me of summers on Long Island at Wading River.  That was easily 35 years ago, but that smell brought me right back to those lovely summers.

Day 3: Jasper to Prince George

We stopped for breakfast in McBride at the Sandman Inn.  Whizmo asked our waitress what it was like in winters around these here parts.  She replied that it could get as cold as 35 below, for 5-6 weeks at a time.  "They have to stop logging when it gets that cold."  Sheesh, I hope so.  I guess everyone hangs out at the Sandman Inn when it gets that cold.

Whizmo checks Edna's papers

Edna did seem to be a reasonably knowledgeable local authority on wildlife vs. vehicle collisions.  "Most of the accidents are with moose.  There used to be a lot more of 'em around here, but maybe they're getting thinned out now.  Not so many bear accidents these days.  You guys should be OK on your big bikes - you're more maneuverable."

We did end up with a few construction stops this morning, and were amazed at the sudden swarms of insects as soon as we stopped.  I had to keep my face shield down to avoid being bitten.  I presume the folks working on the road must use some form of repellent.

sigh ... again?

grind shred chip spew 


It only seems like I'm always behind Whizmo I finally caught up with him!

We pulled into Prince George at about 12:30 and quickly found the Best Western.  It's good to have a shorter day after two long days.

As I jingled my way to the room, I'm wondering whether the bells are really going to keep me safe from the bears.  It's becoming a matter of pride to leave them attached to my boots.  According to several of our readers,  the way you know where the bears are is to look for the poop with the bells in it.  Hmmm.  The most useful advice of the day comes from the Brady Family of Wading River, who say that the best defense for a motorcyclist against bears is to ride with someone with a SLOWER bike.   I guess I need to look for someone to join our entourage.


OK, thanks for reading this far.  Yesterday, we asked you to provide plausible explanations of the term 'Marked Regular' for Contest #3..  You did very well with this assignment.    

After wading through all of the entries, they fell into a couple of categories.  Most explored the theme of Whizmo's digestive regularity.  

The most amusing plausible (but bogus) explanation was from Pierre de Vries:

The name of the gas station is "Marked" (note the Marked just below the $/gallon display).  It is called this because it was started by two friends, Mark and Eddy.

This is quite a common practice.    Some other joint ventures

(Turns out some people form multiple partnerships.)

However, Tim Mott was the first to reply correctly (132 minutes latency!), citing the actual provincial code describing the legal uses of marked (dyed) fuel.  I won't include the statute, but I'll let Jamie Engen (certified Canadian) provide the color commentary:

I could literally go on for hours about Marked Gasoline, with personal stories. How many of your other readers have been pulled over to be checked for Marked Gasoline? In answer to your question Marked or Dyed Gasoline is simply fuel (Diesel in most cases) which has had a dye added to it and is taxed at a substantially lower rate than other fuel products. The dye is added so that the Authorities can easily identify the fuel and ensure that this low tax product is not being used for the wrong purposes. Approved purposes are farm equipment being used on the farm as well as logging and mining equipment. I think ships can also use it. In reference to your watching vehicles, you have probably noticed numerous pick up trucks which have 45 gallon drums in the back. These drums are usually full of dyed fuel for the farm vehicles. There is a huge incentive to use some of this fuel for your non-farm vehicle as it is a fraction of the price, hence the authorities pulling you over and checking the fuel in your vehicle, which is why it has to be marked.

OK, another Canadian mystery solved!  Thanks to John Chen, Joe Eiffert, Greg Galloway, Glenn Lorbiecki, Glen Kruse, Pierre de Vries, RJ Mical, Stephen Ellis, Colin Mackintosh, The Brady Family from Wading River, John Helms, Patty Smith, Stephen Grove, Jim Shunk, Robert Eiffert, Gerry Elam, and Stephen Parris for playing Contest #3.

Contest #4, Best Silly Name for an RV is still going strong, so we'll keep this one going until tomorrow.

And here's Contest #5:

'Fish' can be spelled 'Ghoti' by the following rules: 
'f' comes from 'gh', as in 'enough'; 
'i' comes from 'o', as in 'women';
'sh' comes from 'ti', as in 'nation'.

Who said it?  Be the first to click here with the right answer, and fame is yours.  Crank up that Internet search engine!

And a final legal footnote ...

Loyal virtual vacationist Stephen Ellis is the unofficial legal counsel for Whizmo & Gizmo.  He advises us that we need to include some disclaimer language along with the site:

As a friend and sometime advisor, it has occurred to me, after a careful, exhausted exhausting review of your trip website, that there is no legal language protecting you from the possibility of litigation or other sordid results from exposure to its contents. Hence, I offer the following for your use (no charge, really):

Legal Disclaimer: Participants are void where inhibited.

Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that participation in contests conducted under the auspices of this website may be injurious to reputation and/or perspicacity.  [Whizmo note:  'Perspicacity'????  This sounds like a lawyer-invented word to me.]

Till tomorrow ...