Day Five - Sunday August 19, 2001

Bear(s) With Us

Hyder AK - Prince Rupert BC

4:30 driving time - 287 miles

Breakfast at Meziedia Junction

by Gizmo

"So, have you seen any bears today?"

The grizzled logger sitting at the next table looked around at his five companions.  They emphatically shook their heads no, in unison.

"Me neither.  I think his bells must be keepin' them away, eh?"  They all crack up giggling.  &*#^&@^&($#&) lumberjacks.

Arrgh.  I'm instantly branded as a tourist here in Meziedia Junction, this mecca of high cuisine.  I promise Whizmo that as soon as we finish breakfast, the bells are coming off, just like I promised last night.  So as soon as we get outside, I use my nail clippers to remove the bells from my boots.  Sigh.  It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

I guess I'll take it

The combination restaurant/RV wash/gas station at Meziedia Junction does a hopping business, even on Sunday morning.  But there's only one young woman working behind the counter, working as the order-taker, cook and dishwasher.  She's pretty busy, but handling it all well.  We approach the counter to place our orders.  We have two choices for breakfast.  I take it.

Smokers converse with non-smokers

We look around for a place to sit, preferably non-smoking.  I've really held back on commenting about the approach to "non-smoking sections" here in northern BC, but today I have to let loose.

Notice that there is no separation, just an large opening between the sections.  As far as I could tell, air and smoke molecules were moving freely between the sections, and the folks were able to keep up a lively conversation. 

It seemed to be working so well ...

We finish breakfast and I reluctantly apply  the bell-removal tool, my nail clipper.  I carefully snip the tie-wrap, taking care to avoid snipping the shoelaces, and just like that, I'm regular bear-bait again. 

I have to admit, we're just a bit disappointed.  The only hints of wildlife we've seen on this trip so far are piles of what might be frozen moose poop along the side of the road, and the occasional road-kill appetizer.  But nothing big.  I have been practicing my defensive maneuvers every day.  What if I see something in my peripheral vision?  I'm ready.  Cover the clutch and the front brake, feet poised to brake and downshift.  I'm maneuverable.  I'm nimble.  I am Gizmo. I can do this. 

But it seems like I'm not going to get to use my quick-response reflexes on this outing.  I'm resigned to this as we head out south.

So we head down the road, and in less than 1/2 mile we see two bears, a mother and a cub, feeding along the side of the road.  I am so surprised by this that I neglect to do anything that I've been preparing for.  I don't think to take a picture before they run off into the woods.  But I am elated - clearly my anti-bear bells had been working, because as soon as I took them off, the bears showed up!  Take that, you ... LUMBERJACKS!

Not the actual bear we saw,
but a reasonable facsimile

The scenery up here is by far the best we've seen so far.  The canyons, glaciers and vistas are constantly surprising.

Canyon Glacier

So now we're ready for more bears, maybe some moose or elk, or even some Canadian Geese.  I think that Whizmo has been contemplating the irony that my bear bells are history and NOW we're seeing bears, so he starts practicing his anti-bear tactics: 

I am Whizmo, hear me roar!



On highway 16 heading toward Prince Rupert, we are slowly descending back towards sea level, and the flora is changing.  There are very colorful and pretty fields of wildflowers along the side of the road in all different colors. 

Colorful roadside wildflowers

By the afternoon, the weather has turned pretty wet, and we know that we'll be riding through rain for the rest of the day.  In spite of that, the scenery is still awesome.  We're both well-equipped for riding in the rain.

Rain ahead

Rain on head

We arrived in Prince Rupert at about 2:30pm, where we will lay over for a day.  Tuesday morning we catch a 15-hour ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, so that means that we will be off the bikes for two days. 

Day 5, Hyder AK to Prince Rupert BC



Hey, it's that part of the report you've been waiting for!  How about the contests?  That's all you really care about, isn't it?

First, we'll catch up with Whizmo's challenge to come up with a new descriptive name for an RV brand.

The winner of this challenge is Steve Ellis, with Volkstanklastzug, which he claims translates roughly to "people road tanker". 

"Having just returned from Bend, Oregon where they were having a congregation of the really, really big ones (no kidding) and were letting them onto the highways in convoys escorted by the local police (while regular traffic was halted to give them ample time to heap up in front of it) I prefer the term Road Vessel or People Tankers.   It occurred to me upon due reflection that German was a more appropriate language in which to express my sentiments, witness the grand success of Volkswagen. Hence, after significant research, I suggest the name Volkstanklastzug which translates roughly (probably extremely so, since my only German phrase is Guten Tag) as "people road tanker".

Thanks Steve!  We'll look for you and your Volkstanklastzug out here real soon!

Next order of business, Contest #7, the audio clip "North to Alaska".

Well, we thought it would be harder than 'Flowers on the Wall', but we've got some seriously hard-core music lovers out there.  Now remember, it was a three-part contest.  You needed to name the song, the artist, and the most successful song released by the artist.  Some of you provided extensive answers but incomplete answers.

The correct answers are:  "North to Alaska" by Johnny Horton, whose most successful song was 'Battle of New Orleans".  We had a 8-way tie among Chris Banks, Darrel Hoffman, Jamie Engen, Rodd Wagner, David Cornfield, David Grady, Glenda Revelle, and Chuck Israels (with help from Margot). 

The rest of the entries were either incomplete, or simply ... wrong.  Elvis?  Come on!  However, we learned lots more interesting things about Mr. Horton that the judges did not previously know ... for example, he was married to Hank Williams' widow, his nickname was "The Singing Fisherman", and he was killed by a drunk driver on Route 70 in an automobile accident in Milano, Texas following an appearance at the Skyliner in Austin.

The next song contest is going to be REALLY hard, we promise.

We're keeping the Contest #6, "What does it mean to be Hyderized contest" open for one more day to allow the 'away-from-their-computers-because-it's-the-weekend' crowd a chance to weigh in.  One ominous note - two entries received to date have virtually identical wording, suggesting either a) collaboration; or b) Internet plagiarization.  No entry yet received has *completely* described the experience.

Now here's a preview for an upcoming event and our next contest:

Contest #8Please send us questions that you would like answered by Whizmo & Gizmo.  These can be any topic ...why we ride the bikes we do, how we choose our routes, or the best way to remove transmission oil stains from hotel towels.  The Whiz and the Giz will devote an entire column to answering YOUR questions!  If your question is selected for the column, you win the contest!