February 19, 2007 GMT
The Route; Part 1; Stage 2; Trans-Canada.
Quebec Province contd…
From Baie Comeau I follow the coast down to the River Saguenay (a) and head across Quebec, Camping at Lac Opemisca nr Chapais (b); Lac Quevillion (c) ; passing through Val d’Or to Rouyn (d).
Along straight East West roads crossing into Ontario Province and camping near Timmings (e); Klotz Lake (f); Nipigon (g) and Thunder Lake Dam.(h) close to the city of Thunder Bay on Lake Superior. I will probably need some supplies and R&R here before continuing on across the Canadian prairie with its even longer straight roads and long distances between towns.
Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia,
NW then, picking up the Trans-Canadian Highway to skirt Winnipeg, (i) camping at Grand Rapids, (j) on Lake Winnipeg, on to The Pas and camping in the Pasquia Hills. (k) just over the boundary, in the Province of Saskatchewan. Along Highway 55 to Prince Albert (l) then over into Alberta to camp at Cold Lake (m) North now on Hwy88 past Slave Lake to Red Earth,(n) then west to Peace River.(o) You have to be careful about Highway numbering in North America, because they change numbers every time they cross from one Province or State into another. Some of these will be long rides compared to what I have been doing and the only thing that will interfere is the speed limits. I’m told that you can see a long road stretching out into the far distance, nothing else on it, beautiful clear weather, and a cop with a radar gun hiding behind a billboard about 2 miles in!! (Radar warning devices are illegal in Canada and can be confiscated on the spot). Westward ho for British Columbia and Fort St John, to camp at Charlie Lake. (p) Next Fort Nelson (q). and Yukon territory for Watson Lake, (r), Faro, (s),Stewart Crossing (t) and finally the gold rush town of Dawson City.(u)
Dawson City then....
Dawson City now!
Here I change to off road tyres again and head north on the Dempster Highway, for the town of Inuvik (w), camping at Peel River, Fort McPherson or Artic Red River (u), whatever takes my fancy at the time. (Wow – nearly ran out of letters so I guess that’s 20+ campsites + 10 days R&R)
Most riders who travel the road from far north to far south start at Prudow Bay, (x) but although it is the furthermost north you can go on a road, it is not the most northern town. A post office and a collection of huts is not a town in my humble opinion, sorry Deadhorse, although America gets somewhat confused as to what is the real definition of hamlet, village, town and city. Just calling Dawson a city, does not make it one. Likewise Deadhorse as a town. A place has to have certain characteristics before becoming a town or city. Inuvik on the other hand has a church, library, post office, council and schools, a proper town, and anyway who wants to follow the crowd?
So this is the end of Part 1; Stage 2 and I need to look south before the sleet and snow comes for the comparative warmth of The Rocky Mountains.
Next blog. The Route; Part 1; Stage 3; South to the USA.
Posted by Derek Fairless at 02:02 AM
February 14, 2007 GMT
First Aid and Survival
First Aid Kit
Another essential, there is only so much you can do to treat yourself, but remember you may be in a situation where the skill is available, but they do not have the equipment. Having said that, a motorcycle paramedic I ain’t, nor do I wish to become one.
Sticking Plasters. For all those little nicks and cuts, may be used as butterfly stitches as well. I have 100 on board.
Bandages For bigger cuts, blisters boils and other such minor wounds. (Minor!!! Look I need all the blood I have inside of me at all times. OK. No exceptions. This is for the other guy. Ooh I feel faint, just going for a lie down.)
Sterile Dressings,Various. Just use your imagination, not mine, I’m already way past my pain threshold just thinking about it.
Micropore Tape. Another brilliant invention, developed originally for burns so I believe, but good for holding dressings in place as well, or use straight on a small burn or scald.. It allows air to a wound while protecting it from the environment. If used on its own, on a cut or small burn, you can put it on and forget about it, unless things start looking ugly that is, otherwise it will just wear away in its own good time.
Tweezers For removing splinters, the arse end of flying, stinging insects, ticks and South American Trucks from your skin. Preferably the only use they will ever receive is for reassembling small intricate motorcycle parts, or even more preferable, just along for the ride.
Antiseptic Cream. See all above
Pain Killers I truly hope that the Paracetamol and codeine tablets will more than cover any amount of pain that I will meet, but I’m told that stronger stuff is available over the counter in many countries if required. Make sure they don’t make you drowsy though, otherwise more pain may be heading your way.
Re-hydration Salts. You loose more than water when you sweat, and if you (You? – most likely should be I but the more I distance myself the easier it is to type.), as I was saying, these get you back off your back and into the saddle more quickly if you’ve got them.
Multivitamins. Now I’m sure vitamin BigMac#1 has everything you need to support life as we know it, but a few more won’t do any harm. Besides Ronald may not have made it yet to Adobe Huts, High Andes, S.America. Luckily citrus and other tasty fruits are really cheap.
Insect Repellent DEET is the preferred substance so I have read, but surprisingly this may be more necessary in the temperate zones than the hot ones. Just have to see.
Anti-Histamine Tablets. Allergic reactions can come from anything ranging from detergent to tree bark, insect stings to paint. These will help with the sneezing, swelling or that unsightly rash, no not that one, but most of the others, you need amoxalin for that!!!
Rubber Gloves. A multitude of uses, from keeping a barrier between you and the nasty stuff that you could be exposed to, or cutting the fingers off to keep your fags and matches dry in a monsoon. Remember if you are being treated, you may like to give several pairs to your carer and not rely on the traditional methods, like spitting on their hands and wiping them on once blue Levis. Also good when you do oil changes or mess around with your chain and stuff.
Alcohol Gel. Suggested by Sarah, and as a budding Paramedic, she should know. (I've asked her how you get the gin to mix with the jelly, and does the tonic go in first or last, but no reply yet)
Syringes. Not every medical facility can afford disposable syringes, and in some countries there are endemic diseases like AIDs or hepatitis, Sad but true, I wish it weren’t. Taking a few disposables may save you the risk of being infected by dirty needles. On the other hand will border guards think you are a junky. I have not heard of such incidents, but that doesn’t mean they won’t happen. With all the inoculations required you may have enough pinholes in you to raise suspicion, but I’d rather talk my way through that than be without them. Perhaps it’s the paranoia of unknown places creeping in.
Bear Repellant Spray. First Aid? Well I think prevention is better than cure, I am getting paranoid about bears, so please folks, no more emails with graphic photos of bear attacks, just sit quietly and enjoy them by yourself!!!
Well that’s about it with the possible exception of incontinence pads required due to the standard of driving in many of the countries I shall visit, but I’ll just sit tight on that one ;o) Oh and I must make sure that this kit is handy, not buried under mounds of stuff in the bottom of the pannier I can’t get at because I can’t lift the bike up.
I am not a doctor, SEAL or SAS expert. This stuff is what I will take and I give you the reasons why I am taking it. If you want to copy me, that’s your lookout.
Sounds dramatic, but a few bits and pieces in an old tin may save my life one day, I hope that once the lid is on this tin, I never have to take it off again.
Fishing Line and Hooks. Gotta eat and fish is good for you, especially if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. They don’t work so good in the desert I’m told, but I wonder if you can bait up and hook a lizard or snake?
Waterproof Matches. Make your own, just smear some lard over some Swan Vesta matches (the sort that will strike on a stone) and place in a plastic bag, the resealable type.
Flint and Striker. Now you can buy spark strikers from camp shops, they will ignite petrol or gas stoves just as well as they ignite dried tinder, but there is a knack for using them. I prefer a storm lighter myself. (Tip: Thistle down or elder pith make excellent tinder, but you need something a bit more substantial, like dried grass, to keep the flame long enough for it to be of any use. While on fires, dead twigs still on the branch, or caught up, are usually drier than those on the floor.)
Iodine. For purifying water or using on cuts and scrapes. Water tastes foul, but at least it won’t infect you. Iodine will not purify water, it just kills the microscopic wildlife swimming about in it. If the water is dosed with let’s say arsenic from mine spoilage, and you drink it, then you will die, iodine or no iodine. Just be aware that not all water is good for you.
Camp Knife As discussed earlier a good knife can help get you food, make you a dwelling, even start a fire if you can find some flinty rock.
Wire Saw. Possibly over the top, but can cut through metal or wood in an emergency situation, and will roll up quite small.
Survival Space Blanket Not just for the London Marathon, these silver things save people from hyperthermia and can be used to signal S&R teams from a long way off.
Metal Container to house it all in. Something like a tobacco tin is ideal, because you can polish up the inside of the lid and use it as a signal mirror. If I am in a wilderness situation, I will keep this on my person at all times, it is the bare amount of equipment that makes survival possible.
And of course a big bar of chocolate. (Since it is a well known fact that chocolate goes off quickly ;o) it is best, imho, to consume and replace it as often as possible.)
Posted by Derek Fairless at 10:16 AM
The Route Overall
• Canada (no Visa required)
• USA (Visa Waiver Programme)
• Mexico (Tourist Card) 6 months
• Guatemala (no Visa required) 90days
• El Salvador (no Visa required) 90days
• Nicaragua (no Visa required) 90days
• Costa Rica (no Visa required) 90days
• Panama (no Visa required) 90days
• Ecuador (no Visa required)
• Peru (no Visa required) 90days
• Bolivia (no Visa required) 90days
• Chile (no Visa required)
• Argentina (no Visa required)
• New Zealand (no Visa required)
• Australia (Visa required)
• Japan (no Visa required)
• Siberia (Visa Required)
• Mongolia (Visa required)
• Kazakhstan (Visa required)
• Russia (Visa required)
• Ukraine (Visa required)
• Belarus (Visa required)
• Latvia (no visa required)
• Estonia (no visa required)
• Finland (no visa required)
• Sweden (no visa required)
• Norway (no visa required)
• Denmark (no visa required)
• Germany (no visa required)
• Holland (no visa required)
• Belgium (no visa required)
• France (no visa required)
The Mexican Visa looks to be obtainable at point of entry, the others I'll need to get from the Embassy of those countries, either when I come home for a holiday, or while in Australia.
The Route –Part 1; Stage 1
My Proposed route is as above, but there are several factors governing its implementation. If I can leave in late June/early July then this is it, if not then I may have to juggle the times a bit, even starting in the Southern Hemisphere and heading north. This is no problem, just another opportunity, no but, yes but – really is.. Of course the weather is a factor and this will require some ad-hoc adjustments depending on the time it takes to get to the various countries.
See text for annotation
So, providing both my bike and I find ourselves in (a) Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in July, then I head north along the east coast of Nova Scotia to the National Park (NP) on Bretton Island, (c) camping at Boyleston Provincial Park (PP) at Guysborough on the way. (b)
Boyleston Provincial Park, Nova Scotia
Newfoundland and Labrador.
From there via ferry from North Sydney, to the island of Newfoundland. (d) I want to travel up to the north of Newfoundland to see the Viking settlement at L’Ainse aux Meadows (e)
L’Ainse aux Meadows
I then have to retrace my route returning to catch the ferry from St Barbe to Lourdes du Blanc Sablon on mainland Newfoundland and Labrador. Heading north from here to Mary Harbour (f) where the tarmac runs out and I change to off road tyres for my journey to Cartwright. (g) Catch the ferry from Cartwright to Happy Valley/Goose Bay. (h) A quick visit to Sheshatshit, then head SW to Labrador City (i) via Churchill Falls.
Then into the Province of Quebec where the tarmac starts again so I can change back to my road tyres. Passing the Manic Dams (j) I will reach the St Lawrence Seaway at Baie Comeau
This is the end of Stage 1; Stage 2 is Trans-Canada to Inuvik in the Northwest Terrotory.
Next blog: The Route; Part 1; Stage 2; Trans-Canada.
Posted by Derek Fairless at 09:02 AM
February 06, 2007 GMT
Not the sort of injection I'm looking for....
There is a wealth of information regarding diseases and prevention on the HU website but my doctor required me to go to the website www.masta.org for a printout of the recommendations listed for my journey. They charge about £4.00 for a list of 10 countries, so I needed 3 pages to list my journey.
The NHS will provide the following free of charge.
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (1 injection)
The following is considered mandatory and will cost me.
Yellow Fever. A Certificate maybe required in some countries.
The following should be seriously considered and will also cost me.
Tick Typhus (inc. Spotted Fever / African Tick Bite Fever)
So if in the next few weeks I say ‘not tonight I’ve got a headache’, it will probably be true!
Next blog ‘The Route Part 1, Stage 1
Posted by Derek Fairless at 06:09 PM