A Report From Mile 300 On The Alaskan Highway
Winding in and winding out
leaves my mind in serious doubt,
as to whether the lout that built this route,
was going to hell or coming out!
– Sergeant Troy Hise
If you think that cycling the North American Epic is all just fun and games, you are wrong. If you are following the tour, reading the different blogs or from the cyclists you are in touch with, you already know that every day, we are facing hordes of relentless mosquitos. Some of us try to protect ourselves with the various chemicals that the modern world has created to protect against them. Some of us use a variety of nets to cover ourselves. But we also have another option – we can participate in a scientific project simply called the ‘Mosquito Project’.
If you do choose to become a participant in this University of British Colombia Zoology Project, here is what you must do. When the hordes attack you, you must go on full alert and choose one particular mosquito, preferably the leader of the pack. Then when you are ready, your adrenalin flowing, your reflexes at full attention, you “Slap It & Send It”. Once you have done that, you can go peacefully to sleep knowing that you have done your part to contribute to scientific knowledge.
I do, however, want to point that we at TDA do not want to be accused of being biased and not presenting alternative point of views and thus I present another perspective here to you brought by a participant Mateo Burch on TDA’s West Africa en Vélo Tour in 2018.
Of course, if you are already cycling on the Alaska Highway, you can also keep your eyes open and see if you can catch sight of the ‘Alaskan Highway Street Gang’ and report them to the proper authorities who will be forever grateful for the information.
Talking about appropriate authorities, if you happen to see this character, please also report it to the authorities. I have it from reliable sources that their job is particularly difficult as there apparently are many suspects who have been reported for same reasons. Any resemblance to the author is purely coincidental.
And check out the vehicle the local authorities are using. For those of you who are not from Canada, RCMP stands for Royal Canadian Mounted Police. However, now due to unexpected shortages of horses, they are forced to use these vehicles. Though I do want to point out that during the gold rush fever that happened in this part of the world over a century ago, the RCMP did a hell of a job, keeping the crazy masses from going completely mad.
Of course, it wasn’t always like that around here. When the US government decided in 1942 to build the Alaska Highway, they needed to recruit the appropriate manpower. And here is how they did it:
THIS IS NOT PICNIC.
Working and living conditions on this job are as difficult as these encountered on any job ever done in the United States or foreign territory. Men hired for this job will be required to live and work under the most extreme conditions imaginable. Temperatures will range from 90 above to 70 below (for those more familiar with Celsius, 32C to -minus 56C).
Men will have to face swamps, rivers, ice and cold. Mosquitos, flies and gnats will not only be annoying but will cause bodily harm. If you are not prepared to work under these conditions, do not apply.
I suppose, with some small modifications and, of course, with permission of the US government, we could use this as an advertisement for future North American Epic tours.
To end this meandering report from Historic Mile 300, which happens to be in Fort Nelson where our riders are enjoying a rest day, we are all well. Even though the riding against the wind with all the elevation gains and the daily rain has been tough, we are looking forward to more sightings of moose, bisons, elk, bears, caribous, eagles, mountain goats and the incredible scenery that has been rightfully called a Global Treasure.
North American Epic
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