Day 51

20. June 2000, Smithers to Prince George

Another day on gravel but the scenery is still beautiful. In the afternoon we have a bit of rain, which is very welcome as it binds the dust. The routes we are taking are often FSR (forest service roads) with small roads and short highway bits inbetween. The worst bit today was a road mainly used by lumber industry, where a big truck would pass us by every other minute clouding the whole area in dust and making it almost impossible to drive and breathe (it was worse than the Gobi).
The nature is not changing much but the areas we drive through are getting more populated. We still managed to see another bear today, though: He ran off and hid behind a tree, embracing it and standing upright.
From the competition side, we had more tests today but the times were acceptable, so we stayed with zero penalty and therefore remain in the fourth overall position, first in our class.

TC 162: Smithers OUT
TC 163: Telkwa IN
24 19.63 km
Telkwa OUT
25 44.9 km
TC 164: McForest
57 44.9 km
TC 167: Telegraph Road IN
11 220.63 km
TC 168: Telegraph Road OUT
TC 169: Punchaw

180.83 km

TC 171: Prince George IN
42 63.80 km

Overall 1 hour 11 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Common obstacles in North America: Very long cargo trains taking more than ten minutes to pass. And school-busses which, when blinking, must not be overtaken.

short rest by the lake

School-kids greeting us on the way - and unlike Asian schoolchildren they are wisely kept at a distance from the street by the teachers.

Urban life at last: Prince George, a city with 80,000 inhabitants, has, among many other things, a multiplex with six screens, so we go and see "the Gladiator" - a good way to keep our minds of the rally for once (no car chase scenes).

Haven't seen this in a while - sunset


For some kilometres we had to drive on this gravel road where huge lumber trucks would pass us by every few minutes, clouding the whole street in dust. They drive at recklessly high speeds and ironically, when one of the truck drivers saw our rally numbers on the car, he waved us down and told us to drive careful - thanks for the advice! We will try our best when we see the road again!

Test-roads on gravel - we have seen so many until now that I have problems telling them apart. But recently there have been a whole lot of changes to our route, making the tests slower and shorter (and therefore better) and changing the location of time-checks. The recent changes indicate willingness by the rally office to make the rally a bit less competitive and more enjoyable which almost all of the competitors have asked for in recent days.

Our "sweep" car has broken down. The "sweep" sweeps up all the cars who break down on the route and tries to repair them. The sweep car is a bit of a classic itself: A Diesel Land Rover. They never sold Diesel Land Rovers in Canada, so without spare parts, the sweep has to be transported on a truck from town to town until the spare part has been flown in. Still the "guys from the sweep" are able to help broken-down Austin-Healeys like the one in the picture, but they need to get their tools from the Rover.

After a long, dusty road Karl is having a refreshment. The bicycle glove is because of an inflammation he got on his hand.

One of our screen-wipers has fallen off, so Sami and Karl exchange the driver's broken wiper with the navigator's working wiper. We will fix the problem when there is more time.