Day Six - Monday August 20, 2001

Laying Low

Prince Rupert BC

0:00 driving time - 0 miles

by Whizmo

The nastiest weather is headed our way, and the
local weather-dude seems genuinely concerned.

Today was a layover day.  We catch the all-day (and all-evening) ferry tomorrow to Port Hardy which sits at  the northern end of Vancouver Island.  The forecast is for a major rain system to arrive this afternoon and hang around for a few days, so we're thinking we may be in for a wet, cloudy, and windy ferry ride tomorrow.  We're hopeful that the system will move south before we start riding again on Wednesday morning, but I would assume that long rainy spells, even in August, are not uncommon in these here parts.

Maritime Memorial Park Statue in Park - Plaque Below
Old Buoy - Red, Right, Returning Plaque on Statue


Downtown Prince Rupert - No, we're not in jail

We were going to spend the day touring town, but it started raining pretty hard around noon so we just did a town walking tour and visited the Museum of Northern BC with its adjacent Maritime Memorial Park.  Perched on a bluff above the Prince Rupert harbor, the museum  collection is housed in a handsome post-and-beam building designed to resemble the long houses that were the central living unit of the Coastal Tsimshian Indians who have lived here for thousands of years.

As I viewed the excellent exhibits, I was struck by the rich history of the area and how intricate the social structures were, both in the Tsimshian culture and in the hardy first European settlers who started Prince Rupert at the turn of the century.  Prince Rupert was built as the Pacific terminus for the Grand Trunk Railway around the turn of the century, but Kaien Island where PR was platted wasn't even logged until around 1910.  Even then, Prince Rupert was basically a tent city in a sea of mud and stumps, yet the residents had a performing arts center, a yacht club, schools, a powerplant, and numerous churches.  The railway, started in 1902 and built eastward from Prince Rupert, was completed in 1914.  (This reminds me:  Book recommendation --  "Nothing Like It in the World", the story of the building of the US transcontinental railroad, by Stephen Ambrose, author of "Undaunted Courage" which details the Lewis and Clark explorations.)

Charles M. Hays, railroad magnate
and founder of Prince Rupert.  He
died on the Titanic in 1912 before he
 saw the railway completed.

Given the intricate details of the exhibits, I often found myself saying, "Now how in the hell do they know THAT happened?  Just who was writing this stuff down?"  It makes me wonder what historians and archeologists might say in 300 years about folks like us.  Could an exhibit in 2301 go something like this?

The Beginnings of the BC RUB-Motorcycle Routes

At the beginning of the 21st century, northern BC became the center of interest in what was called the RUB-Motorcycle Routes:   high-speed motorcycle touring routes designed for the hoards of RUBs (Rich Urban Bikers) who migrated from software centers in the Western United States.  With the development of the RUB-Net (a high-speed wireless network that allowed RUBs to stay in constant touch with one another and to other interested parties) and the HondaKia RUB-Tub (a large, high-speed touring motorcycle equipped with every possible electronic gizmo of the time including radar, video-conferencing, satellite-based wireless internet connectivity, and voice-actuated mood enhancers), the Hyper-Cycle Routes became extremely popular during the later half of the 21st century.  In fact, an entire industry sprung up to service the bikers on these routes; over 658 Starbucks were located on the Yellowhead Highway alone by the year 2200.

Eventually the police could no longer maintain control of the caffieinated bikers, so, after watching one-too-many Mel Gibson movies, they created the RUB-Zone where motorcycles were allowed to proceed at any pace provided they had the appropriate bear-bell wildlife warning devices, and showed a major credit card at the entrance to the routes.

No one is sure who started the ball rolling, but recently unearthed from landfills have been hard drive memories (formatted in an ancient computer operating system called Windows) that detail several trips around the year 2000 of a pair of RUBs who went by the unlikely name Whizmo and Gizmo...

Hey dude, it COULD happen.

Gizmo's turn

Just when you thought we were done with the damn bears ...

Whizmo was really insistent about wanting to get close to a bear to get a good shot.  He was somewhat disappointed with me when I missed the shot of the bear just after taking the bells off.  So we took a minor detour to a known local grizzly feeding area where I was able to capture this footage (Caution:  long download on a slow line, MPEG format, 1.5MB but worth every second) of Whizmo interacting with the local wildlife.  Man, those bears are vicious, but Whizmo had some good moves and ultimately prevailed.

Another Prince Rupert shot:  There was a monument wall near the docks memorializing folks who "lived by and loved the sea".  Each red brick had an inscription with a name and date.  It appeared that many/most of the bricks were for folks who died at sea.

"Those who lived by and loved the sea"



Well, it's time to wrap up Contest #6, in which we challenged you to explain 'being Hyderized'.  Let's dispense with the "Close, But Not Quite" entries before sorting out the winners:

The Brady Family from Wading River writes:

Judging from the pictures getting "Hyderized" means getting two tourista bohunks from south of the border to pay a substantial-sized bill with their name and origin on it for a cheesy little card that certifies you were Hyderized.  "Hyderized" appears to be a word originating in an obscure Canadian dialect that translates as "screwed an American again".

You're on the right track.

Steve Wadsworth explores the "Bear Whiz Beer" theory:

By the look on Whizmo's face, I can only suspect that Hyderization involves, at the very least, having to guzzle one gallon of "Bear Whiz" beer in 48 seconds or less.

Joe Eiffert weighs in with a similar concept:

By the looks on your faces, beer is obviously involved. At least a pitcher each, I'd say. Then, I would venture a guess, lack of inhibition and a bit of Hyder-egging-on led you to do some "team exhibition riding" for the amusement-starved townfolk. This apparently resulted in a photo op at the hoosegow. Instead of the fancy name boards used at most police stations, however, they required you to post bail and identify yourself in one fell swoop.

Clever, and yes we did some team exhibition riding for the amusement-starved townfolk.  And we did have to post bail.  But being Hyderized has nothing to do with beer.

Willy Schuurman shares his guess:

I've not had the authentic Hyderized experience but a couple of my friends were up there years back and told me about it. To be Hyderized means to drink a nasty drink called "Everclear" that is about 95 proof - almost pure alcohol - it evaporates as it leaves the lips. I have tasted it since these friends brought a bottle of Everclear back. But even thought this "Northern Comfort" has touched my lips - officially I'm not Hyderized. To be truly Hyderized, you need to drink a portion that has had loggers' severed fingers floating about in it - yuk.

Willy seems to have his finger on it, but there's more to it than that.

John Helms had the earliest *mostly* correct response, posted one hour and nine minutes after Day 4 was posted:

Here's what happens. First he pours you a glass of water and tells you with a wink "You'll need this".  Then he sets out shot glasses and pauses dramatically. "You won't smell it, you won't taste it, just drink it right down in one gulp" he says, then fills the glasses with a clear liquid poured from a bottle hidden in a paper bag.  When you have downed your shot he tips the glasses over on the bar and lights the dregs, which burn with a blue flame. It is pure grain alcohol.  You have now been Hyderized, and will be given a certificate to prove it. 

You have now been Hyderized, and will be given a certificate to prove it.  You are also entitled to write your name and home town on a dollar bill and staple it to the wall. There are said to be over 60,000 of them up there (mostly Canadian, lots of American, quite a few Deutsche marks).

Amazingly, Jamie Engen had the exact same, word for word description.  How did that happen?  I think they both use the same Internet search engine.  That's what I think.  Jamie, however, claims to have been Hyderized himself, although he did not provide any certificate to prove it.  But I bet he will.

David Cornfield added a crucial missing detail:

Becoming "Hyderized" is a process where the bartender pours you a shot of 180 proof Everclear. The game rules are -- you down it and keep it down, and the bartender turns the emptied shot glass over, where the resulting lit alcohol fumes flame, must be less then 6 inches. If you succeed in doing this, then the drink is on the house (Ed:  we succeeded, but the drink was not on house.) and you get a little certificate, proving you did such a silly thing. If you fail, then not only do you buy your own drink, but you also buy a round for the house.

Other Virtual Vacationeers with passing entries included Keith Pickholz, Dennis Dalrymple, and Brad Fuller (who provided clippings from *6* different search hits.  Brad, get back to work, will ya?)

Whizmo, 31 minutes
after being Hyderized.

So, now you know about being Hyderized.  We scribbled something memorable on the bills you saw in the pictures, and those bills are now posted at the Glacier Inn, where they will be in the event that we ever get back to town and happen to be broke.  We can only hope that two one-dollar bills with illegible scribbling on it will be legal tender.

Remember, Contest #8 is on right now!  Send us your questions!  The best ones win something!

Ask the 'Izmos (Contest #8)

We got some great questions and are pleased to answer all that we have time for.

Q:  Does Whizmo's outfit glow in the dark?  (from Peter Wylie)

Whizmo:  The color is officially called Hi-Viz yellow, but lots of folks think it looks green so it is often called Puke Lime-Green.  It is retro-reflective, so any light that shines on it is supposed to be returned to the sender.  In kind.

Gizmo:  It's hard for me to get to sleep at night because Whizmo insists on bringing the suit into the motel room.  Imagine how hard it is to sleep when it feels like you're on the set of 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'.  So yes, I can tell you, it glows in the dark.

Q:  Where are you going for your next trip? (from Bob Seidensticker)

Whizmo:  Interesting question Bob.  Maybe we'll turn it around.  Where would YOU like us to go?  In fact, we've discussed a trip concept where we have our faithful readers (all three of you!)  vote each day for where you want us to go the next.  What da ya think?

Gizmo:  I think we should go to journalism school. 

Q:  Whizmo, is that a "sport" bike you're riding? Does the riding position ever get uncomfortable on long trips? BMW or Japanese? What do you like about it?  (from Stephen Grove)

Whizmo:  I ride a BMW R1100S which is BMW's sportiest bike, but a far cry from the rolling torture racks disguised as bleeding-edge sport bikes produced by Ducati and the Japanese manufacturers.  Its seating position is about halfway between full sport bikes and touring bikes.  I don't have much trouble with the seating position, but it is something you have to work up to and we try to keep our trip legs under an hour or so.  (It also helps to have one of those  rolling torture racks in your garage to remind you that it could be a lot worse.)  The BMW works much better on twisty two-lanes than it does around town or on the superslab.  It is a quirky bike - it uses some oil, vibrates a bit, and has a relatively clunky transmission - but I like to think of the quirks as adding character.  And I do believe it has the best front suspension (the Telelever) ever produced for a sport-touring bike as well as nifty features that are hard to find on other sport-touring bikes:  anti-lock brakes, heated grips, shaft drive, and the best hard bags in the business.

Gizmo:  What I like about it is that Whizmo usually rides in front, which means he's the first one through the radar gun.

Whizmo:  Giz, you should have kept your mouth shut.  Time to negotiate a split of traffic fines.  Yesterday, I got snapped coming over a hill at what I thought was a very sane speed (123 km/h) but there was a ridiculously low limit of 90 so the cop pulled me over.  He seemed almost apologetic and before I could even get off the bike, he said, "My friend, I'd like you to keep it around 100 if you can, have a nice trip."  The whole incident took maybe 60-seconds.  Gotta love 'em.

Q:  What do you THINK your wives are doing while you are away -- and what are they ACTUALLY doing? (from Jane Sallis)

Gizmo:  Excuse me, I have to make a phone call.

Whizmo:  I know she's mostly taking care of the kids.  But I hope she's going out with her friends when she can, and enjoying not having to put up with me.

Q:  Are you trying to provide some Public Service with these reports, or is it just a big Ego Trip? (from Steve Wadsworth)

Whizmo:  Egos?  Us?  You think we enjoy pontificating to undeserving people like you on the true meaning of life?  No way.  It is strictly public service as I'm sure you can tell from our reports and the tone of this response.  But perhaps there is more we can do to be even more ego-less - to get into "negative ego territory" if you will.  I'll think about this next week when I fly my Learjet to Nova Scotia to see a total eclipse of the sun.

Gizmo: That's telling him, Whiz.  Sheesh, how ungrateful.  When we switch to subscription, he's getting the first bill.

Whizmo:  Shhhhh.  We haven't got 'em hooked enough yet to spring the subscription yet.

Q:  So, Mr. Gizmo, why no gizmos? The closest we've come to gizmo news has been the failure of the BearBaitingBootBells. An interesting case study, no doubt, but rather old technology. You're clearly using all the old toys (digital camera, GPS, laptop...) but nothing new there... Could it be, shock horror, that gizmos don't have much to contribute when competing with friendship, stunning views and sarcastic lumberjacks? (from Pierre de Vries)

Gizmo:  You have correctly inferred that the Gizmo's Gizmo collection is static since the previous outing.  It's a nice feeling to stabilize a configuration.  I guess that I've finally figured out the optimum combination of gizmos that enhance, yet don't compete with the experience.  And yes, I'd have to agree that technology doesn't compete with real life.  But I am thinking seriously about installing a camera on my helmet and securing a high-bandwidth wireless full-time connection ... a guy can dream, right?

Whizmo:  Gizmo dreams in 32-bit high color.

Q:  So how come you never talk about how to avoid saddlesores in these missives? (from Glenda Revelle)

Whizmo:  Nobody likes a whiner.

Gizmo:  We actually stop every 30 miles to do aerobics.

Whizmo:  Seriously, we both wear lycra bicycling shorts (I'm partial to Pearl Izumi's) and I use baby powder liberally in the morning.  We stop every hour or so.  We avoid roads that have you sitting passively in one position for a long period.  We stretch on the bikes as Gizmo caught a picture of yesterday.  Finally, everything is relative - I bicycle tour and motorcycle seats are LazyBoys in comparison.

Q: Why is Whizmo spelled with an 'h', but Gizmo is just a 'G'?  (from George Shaw)

Gizmo:  Well, Mr. Shaw, if I spelled it 'Ghizmo' then you'd pronounce it 'Fizzmo', wouldn't you?

Q:  What kind of bugs have you been killing?  What is the grossest roadkill you've seen?  How high have you gotten? I mean in feet, not mentally. Well, meters would be OK.  Have you seen any penguins? (Hint: trick question)  Have you seen any Eskimos?  Who goosed the moose?  What chord does Jimmy Page hit at the beginning of the guitar solo in Stairway To Heaven?   Bonus points if you know whether he was playing his Gibson or Telecaster.  What are the answers to Chicago's Questions #67 & 68?  Do you find that the relationship of oil viscosity vs latitude is inversely linear? If not, can you suggest an algorithm that correctly expresses this relationship? Address both synthetic and non-synthetic oils in your answer. Break into small groups and discuss.  Is the North Pole really striped?  Do you find the concept of an ever-expanding universe troubling? What about an expanding economy? What about an expanding waistline? Is there a paradox here? Reform small groups back into a large group and mutter to yourselves.  How come there aren't any cool knee-draggin', tire-burnin', wheel-standin', biker action pictures? (Mark's stretching exercise doesn't count)  Can you put marked gas in an unmarked car?  Can you put unmarked gas in Mark's bike?  Where's my T-shirt?  (from Joe Eiffert)

Whizmo:  Great questions Joe!  I'll let Giz handle the musical ones.  We've got a snapshot of the bugs that have been sacrificing themselves in the name of motorcycling vacation pleasure, but we're not entomologists (nor do we play them on TV) so we'll let the picture stand by itself.  This is also our grossest roadkill, unless you count the dead dual-sport I saw in the ditch near Stewart.  As I'm sure you know, Eskimos are only in the southern. hemisphere, but we did see a Penguin at a Prince Rupert coffee shop.  I believe it was Mario Lemieux.  I think we reached our maximum elevation shortly after being Hyderized.  190 something or other although I don't have a crisp recollection of the event.  We've got tons of tire-burnin', wheel-standin', biker action pictures but Giz and I both think they make us look too fat so we haven't been publishing them.  Your marked and unmarked questions for Mark are on the mark so I've marked them for later markup.  Oh, the North Pole is unmarked.  Finally, I find all your questions about expansion troubling as things just get too...well....BIG, so I'm sure you'll excuse me if I don't go any further with this.  And Joe, first warning:  We're the hosts here and you're the guest.  Don't forget it.

Gizmo:  Are you guys done yet? 

Whizmo:  No.   Is is possible to recall a package sent via USPS?

Q:  Giz, what's the *one* gizmo you're most glad you brought on the trip?  What's the one you wish you could bring yourself to throw away?  (from Keith Rowe)

Gizmo:  The single most useful gizmo is the GPS.  Having a moving map display in front of you while in unfamiliar territory is very, very useful.  I have various fields set to display the estimated time of arrival (so I know how long I have to wait to pee), our altitude (see previous question about how high we get), and my current speed.  BMW bikes are notorious for the optimism on the speedometer - my K1200 typically 10mph fast at cruising speed.  I have the speed displayed in kmh, so I don't have to do the conversion in my head when I see that RCMP officer coming up behind me.  "But officer, I was doing 89.2 kmh!  And I can prove it!"
I would be happy to bring myself to throw away the case of BearBaitingBootBells I bought, thinking that I would be able to sell them to unsuspecting Harley riders.  I suspect that they will come in useful about the time we have start actually awarding prizes.

Whizmo:  Definitely two different opinions on GPS.  I have a GPS that I was planning on bringing but it didn't make the cut.  I much prefer paper maps.  GPS's are great for telling you where you are and how to get somewhere, but I've never been lost on a motorcycle tour yet and I'm able to do all the route planning before leaving on the trip.  However, on an airplane, a GPS is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I'm also going to consider a GPS on my next European motorcycle tour because I'm lost all the time over there.  Which, incidentally, is part of the fun.

Q:  Hey guys, the Seattle Mariners are on a serious roll this year, apparently destined to set some Major League records as one of the winningest teams of all time.  What thoughts do have about why this year, especially after losing A-Rod, The Big Unit and Ken Griffey Jr?  Is there a single, behind-the-scenes factor responsible for this incredible season? (from Roy Thomas)


Whizmo:  Yep, Greg is the difference this year, no doubt about it.

Q: It is a dark and stormy night when three travelers must stop in hotel. They approach the front desk, where the front desk clerk informs them of the rate of $30 for three men in one room. The men each hand over a $10 bill for a total of $30. They are given a key and go to their room. Moments later, the manager is informed of the transaction and reprimands the clerk, reminding him of the 3 men/1 room special of $25 a night. The manager asks the clerk to refund the $5 to the men. Taking five $1 bills from the register, he goes to the men's room and knocks on the door. While he waits for the men to come to the door, he realizes a problem. How can he divide the 5 $1 bills evenly among the men? When they answer the door, he tells them that there was a special that night and that the total bill only came to $27. He gave them each $1 as a refund, and the sneaky clerk made off with $2 for himself. Though it seems everyone came out a winner, a problem occurs. In the beginning, $30 was paid. In the end, however, the men had paid a collective $27, and the clerk had $2. $27 + $2 =$29, not $30. The question is: where is the missing dollar? (from Luke Hoffman)

Gizmo:  Stapled to the wall of the Glacier Inn.

Whizmo:  This can't be right, we left two dollars there.

Don't worry folks, we'll be back on the bikes pretty soon and won't have so much time on our hands.

- the Izmos