10 July, 2012

Day 6, 759km: The swarm

Today, lousy pictures. Idiot me forgot to charge his camera and was greeted by a "replace battery pack" at the first picture occasion. So pictures will be from my phone.

So, the objective of the day was to enter the iron butt contest and drive from Jasper (Alberta) to Smithers (British Columbia), 746km says Google.
Mission complete! So how was it?

Leaving Jasper for the countryside
The highlight of the day was the crossing of M. Robson Provincial Park, with a "next gas station 202km" (highest I've seen yet).
I was there in the early morning and was seeing a car every 5 minutes of so at the beginning, in the middle of this gigantic forest.

202km of forest as far as the eye can see
Since I didn't have breakfast at the bed and breakfast (which didn't serve breakfast - lodging in Canada sucks) I decided to stop for coffee and pastry next to an impetuous river.

Looks nice? It was a trap ...
Little did I know the trouble I was getting myself into. Now you remember that I have seen a bear before alongside the road. Well today I faced even worse than that.
A swarm. Of mosquitoes. A swarm of heinous little fuckers out there for my blood.
While making myself a coffee I noticed a couple mosquitoes and was thinking that I could spare some blood with mother nature for all the wonders she let me see in the past few days. Little did I know that they would call their friends. Soon enough I was literally assaulted by mosquitoes. I'm not exaggerating, there was at some point 5 on each of my hand and I could feel them on my face and ears. At that point I put my gloves back and tried to bury my head into the jacket's collar.

My coffee was not ready yet though.

Therefore I devised a clever plan so that I would enjoy my breakfast despite the swarm.
The plan was to run for my life around the rest area while eating the pastry, then grab the coffee on my way back and drink it during the final lap. The disadvantage was I wouldn't be able to dip the pastry in my coffee. The advantage was I would have a breakfast.
So there I was, doing a relay race with myself, chased by mosquitoes. In boots, on a rest area in the middle of nowhere. If someone saw me they probably thought I was crazy.

The first lap went fine, I clearly outpaced the mosquitoes and enjoyed my pastry. I flipped them the finger after finishing it. Entering the next lap, I caught the coffee from the stove and realized it was too hot for me to drink. So I did what any sane man would have done in this situation. 

I put my helmet back on and waited patiently for the coffee to cool. Not a single inch of my skin was exposed to the swarm of flying vampires. I cursed them profusely while the coffee cooled, then resumed my race, regularly lifting the helmet just enough to sip some coffee.
Once the breakfast was over I packed in triple speed and left the place for fear that the angry mosquitoes, having been shamefully defeated, would call their friend Mr. Bear to kick my ass.

Beautiful road. Just do not stop.
Being on the road again was great, I deeply enjoyed every single mosquito smashing himself on my helmet's visor. I was seeing the world through the blood of my enemies, crushing them as I moved across their territory on a roaring machine, propelled by the raw power of fuel explosions. That was a glorious moment.

The next stop was carefully chosen. A more open area with other travelers and an easy escape route. I was all set. Parking as close as possible to other people's car, I thought I would be safe. However slowly but steadily they came back to chase me.
Come on guys, why not bite the guy next to me instead? He's wearing short pants and a t-shirt for fuck's sake!

Then it hit me, and I did a small experiment. I washed one of my gloves with water and with the other one scrapped the mosquito paste off of my bike's windshield. Put both gloves on either side of a table and waited.
Surely enough, they were flying around the dirty glove.

Lesson learned. When in mosquito country, clean your gear for fear of summoning them. 

Arriving in Prince George
When the crossing of the park was over, I shortly arrived in Prince George, half-way of today's trip.

New landscape, British Columbia
The landscape changed radically and it felt as if I was riding through the English countryside. I was expecting a Jeremy Clarckson to pass me at any minute, testing the latest Ariel. Now what surprised me is that this part of the country is actually relatively densely populated. There's a town every 40km or so, not what I expected 1000km north of Vancouver!

Doi Chaang here! "Grown in Thailand, freshly roasted in Canada"
Since the next few days will be in a more remote part of the country, I wanted to investigate my gas mileage. So my conclusion is very simple, the instant mileage of the on-board computer is very accurate. I ran 320km of a full tank (with the last 40km done on the reserve), averaging 90kmph, with the computer tell me 5L/100km. With a 4 gallon tank, you do the math, it checks out. 
So I should be fine heading into Yukon since the longest between two stations will be 250km.

Ok this is the last one before 10,000KM
Right before entering Smithers where I'm sleeping today I hit 3000KM. I have been doing mostly highway now (with a short excursion on a dirt road today where I had the pleasure to drop the bike for the first time - although too slowly to do any damage!) so I have to say that the stock seat sucks for that.

Seeing the world through a wall of my enemies' blood
Tomorrow, headed to Stewart, right next to the border with Alaska. Objective: set foot in Alaska!

Off to bed now see you all.


  1. Careful Guillaume... Various studies show that once start experiencing various mental disorders after just 15 days with no decent social activities, your various experiments with mosquitoes and God knows what else, followed by this bloodthirsty episode, are showing you are now getting closer to the borderline… -;)

  2. I like the first photo....:) so green... ;)

  3. L'Alaska, c'est drooooooiiiiiit devant!

  4. you are getting hit with the swarms that we missed last summer. Our weather was cold and wet...no swarms but we were prepared with head nets and tons of bug spray etc...good luck as you get further north. The swarms are bad in Alaska. ;-)