Day Seven

"Loonies and Toonies"

Wednesday May 31, 2000

Revelstoke B.C. - Panorama B.C.

4:09 driving time - 252 miles

by Gizmo

So we were talking at dinner the other night about why the Canadian dollar is valued so low against the American dollar, and various international experts from our tour weighed in on the matter.  So far, I have managed to avoid actually using any Canadian currency, since most places take Visa (love those air miles!) and Mark had the foresight to get some Canadian "money" from a cash machine.  During the discussion, Mark pulls out some of his 'loonies' (a one-dollar coin) and 'toonies' (a two-dollar coin) and some of the colorful Monopoly money that passes for currency up here north of the border.  I had been quiet during the discussion of international economic factors, but finally I had to add my two cents worth (American of course) ... how can anyone take Canadian money seriously when the people who use it call it 'loonies' and 'toonies'?  Really folks, get a clue.

And while we're on the subject of exchange rates, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Canadian government for apparently normalizing the exchange rate for both money and speed - the conversion factor is close enough that it seems that my theory just might be the right one.  It could possibly work for temperatures too, but I haven't confirmed that theory yet.

Wintergreen B&B - Revelstoke

Yesterday we took a route almost twice as long as the other riders, and once again arrived first at the destination.  And in regard to Mark's assertion of the 50km stretch that we made in 20 minutes ... I can neither confirm nor deny.  However, I didn't miss the ferry, so you may come to your own conclusion.  We arrived in Revelstoke and found the Wintergreen Inn, a B&B operated by Syd.

Normally we prefer to stay in hotels that offer continental breakfast service, have coffee makers in the room, and cable TV with the Weather Channel. However, once we hitched up with the RATs, Mike of Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Holidays has been in charge of all the hotel reservations.  The Wintergreen is the first place that we've stayed that wasn't a regular hotel.  And of course, upon entering the room, I discover ... no phone. No phone = no data = no web posting. Yikes! I trot back down to the desk and ask Syd about getting online.  After all, it's you out there, eagerly waiting to read this stuff, right?  Syd says the only phone jack available is his office telephone, but he's more than willing to let us use it since our tour has his place filled for the evening - he's not expecting any more business tonight.

 There was a sign on the back of the room door that I've never seen in any hotel, motel, or B&B.

Syd (R) and the B&B crew

Syd tells me that he came to Revelstoke about 6 years ago specifically to open a B&B, because Revelstoke is a throwback "to the way Canada used to be; people don't lock their doors during the day." He explained that the railroad was the major employer, but during the '90s they dropped from 600 local employees to less than 100. Other than pulp mills and forestry products, it's pretty much a tourist destination for outdoor sports. Including motorcycle tours.

Equipment Review:  Aerostich Hi-Viz Yellow Roadcrafter Riding Suit

Rating:  ***** out of *****

by Whizmo

As some of you have noted, I'm wearing an Aerostich yellow riding suit during this trip. It is a real attention-getter - it is virtually impossible to walk into a hotel, restaurant, or shop in BC without several people making one comment or other. And they've all been positive.

The color is called "Hi-Viz Lime Yellow" and is similar to the color used for emergency vehicles. I remember reading a while back that they did several scientific studies and found this color to be the best from a conspicuity standpoint.  Many motorcycle accidents are due to car drivers not seeing motorcycles, so being conspicuous is good.

Last fall, I debated long and hard before selling my previous (and tasteful) blue/gray suit and buying the Hi-Viz model. But I'm very glad I did. A couple times on this trip, I've come up behind a vehicle to get into passing position and watched, quite literally, as the driver is startled to see this bright yellow "thing" in his mirrors. Usually, they move over to give me a better view of oncoming traffic.

Gizmo also wears an Aerostich but his is an older-model, grey/black in color.  I was going to comment that he is too style-conscious to wear yellow, but I just asked him what he'd get if he was buying a new suit today and he replied, "I'd probably get the yellow - you just can't beat how the thing stands out." So there you have it - it's unanimous.

Aerostich suits are made of a Cordura and Gore-Tex combo which makes them perfect for the variable weather we encounter. If we were wearing leathers, we'd need to be constantly stopping to take rain gear on and off.

Don't get me wrong - I have a set of leathers and they definitely provide more protection and they look cool. But for touring, the flexibility of the Aerostich is tough to beat. And I've never seen Hi-Viz Yellow leathers. Not sure I want to either. Neon yellow is Ok in a high-tech synthetic suit, but would be hideous in leathers. Maybe because cows don't come in yellow.

Both Gizmo and I HIGHLY recommend Aerostich riding suits.

In just a moment I'll move onto to the rest of the day's news, but I can't let this item escape your attention.  An item in the Revelstoke Times Review dated May 24, (Vol. 87, No. 21, page 3) titled "Wrestling Commissioner Speaks Up About Incident" caught my attention this morning.  According to Dave Republic, commissioner of 'Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling', was quoted as saying that reports of the referee attacking a member of the audience were "a bit one-sided. It didn't mention that Ken (the referee) apologized. I think Ken realized that it was wrong to go into the crowd and discipline one of our fans that way, but at the same time he tried to make amends."  So if you attend a professional wrestling show in Revelstoke, you've been warned.

Chris Ellis

OK, on with today's commentary.  We have been getting to know the folks on the tour with us, in spite of the fact that we don't see them all that much except at dinner.  I'll introduce you to a few of our riding compadres today.  To my immediate left is Chris Ellis, General Manager of Triumph Canada.  He's actually working on this trip (or so he says), which means that he gets paid for riding motorcycles.  As I have said many times in the past, this is a job I would like.  He used to be a BMW dealer, so he has been reasonably nice to me and Mark about our non-British bikes, in spite of the fact that his job is to make sure everyone in Canada (including foreign visitors) rides Triumphs.  He seems to know an awful lot about motorcycles, but perhaps the most impressive thing about Chris is that he and his fiance Kristine have a motocross track on their property outside Toronto.  Cooooool.



We have a pair of Brits on the tour with us, Alan Taylor and Jason Steer from Lincolnshire, England.  They seem to be pretty serious riders.  They definitely have nice leathers, don't you agree?  Putting on a riding suit, especially leathers, requires Houdini-like contortions.







Robert and Aaron, The Good Guides


Our guides for the tour are Robert Smith and Aaron Clements.  These guys are true outdoor types - they ski, snowmobile, parachute, fight forest fires, just the usual stuff.  They put up with a wide variety of challenges throughout each tour, and manage to smile throughout all of it.  In addition to herding the group along, they also load and unload the truck each day.


Travis Milner works for Triumph USA, but he claims he really is on a vacation, although I imagine that he could have finagled a junket to come do "research" about how Triumphs perform in Canada.  You know, there's a lot of issues with speedometers that read in both "klicks" (km/h) and "oomphs" (mph).  I'm sure that there are many other issues regarding international performance that need serious research by Triumph, BMW, and every other major manufacturer of motorcycles.  

Today we had no rain. I repeat, NO RAIN.  WHEE!  Temperatures were in the 50s and 60s.  As we headed out of Revelstoke, we went through Rogers Pass, which is the reason Revelstoke exists - it was a town that came into existence to service the completion of the east-west connection of the Canadian railway.  Rogers Pass is where they met.  There was a sense of being closer to the mountains today, more so than any other day.

Mmmm, mmmm, good riding!

The Land of Sky Blue Waters

I remember years ago a beer jingle for Hamm's Beer that included the line "... from the land of sky-blue waters ..."  That image didn't have a visual connection for me until today.  The creeks and rivers throughout this area have the most iridescent blue color, almost like the Caribbean.  I don't think this picture does it justice, but I had to include it.

French Lessons?  Oui oui!

One really great thing about Canada is the bilingual element of both French and English.  If I had grown up in Canada, there's no doubt that my French would be much better than it is today, since everywhere you look there are signs in both (Canadian) English and (Canadian) French. 

Lake Louise

We stopped for lunch at Lake Louise, which was filled with tour buses (not the actual lake, the parking lot near the lake).  The lake is still mostly frozen, and shares that same deep iridescent blue color.  The mountains that rise up out of the water create a breathtaking spectacle.

-Gizmo, over and out

Contest Info Correction

In yesterdays "log truck" contest, I (Whizmo) said that the log load on the truck was 32K metric tons.  My mistake, what I meant to say was that the load was 32 metric tons.  Thanks to several astute readers for pointing out my error.  By the way, a metric ton is, according to David Cornfield, about 2204 good old English-unit pounds.  If you want to resubmit your answer now that you know that the load is not 70-odd million pounds, be our guest.  But only one entry per customer please.

We may close the contest tomorrow, so get your answer in.  These T-Shirts will someday be sold at Sothebys for billions of dollars, so this is a chance of a lifetime.

Also, there are no "tricks" in this contest, so you don't need to tell us that the truck has no logs since they are in the trailer.  I think our first two contests got some of you in a very cynical mood.