Viper Nation

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RTTTTed On November - 17 - 2010

Viper Jollies In Jasper

by Ted Hlokoff

 

With

With two Vipers parked in my garage I really felt a desire to take one out, somewhere, anywhere. After spending thousands of dollars and more than a hundred hours of labor on my recently purchased 2000 Viper ACR, I had an urge to show it off. Attending the Laker’s Car Show last Sunday brought home the First place trophy. Only thing left before selling it was a test drive.

                     

Trevor Cameron was hosting a Viper Club weekend in Jasper, Alberta on June 4 – 6th. Deana and I had been invited to attend her sister’s award banquet for Edmonton’s YWCA’s ‘Women of Distinction’ on June 3rd. Rae-ann Wood-Schatz is President of Personal Best Seminars, donated a kidney to a stranger and started several Abused Women groups as a few of her accomplishments. Timing was perfect for testing, visiting family and Viper buddies on the same holiday.

Tuesday we aimed the silver stripes of my Paxton supercharged ACR to the east on Hwy 20 (“Highway of Death”) starting our 1150 mile trek to

Edmonton, Alberta. Near Blue River we saw a couple Vultures on the highway cleaning up some road kill. I saw a big plastic Moose (Deana’s favoriteanimal) and stopped, suggesting Deana pose with it. She refused so I took a couple pics of 4 Deer trekking through the bush instead. During a gas stop in Jasper a man walked over and said, “If I give you $5 will you let me wash your car?” I replied, “$20 and make it fast.” Leaving town we had to wait for several Elk to move so we could drive the highway. Arriving in Edson I stopped at a car wash and removed the squished bugs from my car. While washing the ACR a stranger, Robert, wandered over to explain that he loved my ACR, used to own a ‘99 and he’d just bought a ’09 Viper coupe. That first day on the road we stopped at Hinton for the night. In the morning we drove the last few hours to Millwoods in Edmonton and visited with several of my cousins. We spent the night with Russell and Noel Hlokoff. In the morning we programmed the Navigation system with Rae-ann’s address, and then drove the White Mud Freeway east.

Deana’s parents had also travelled to Rae-ann’s to attend the Banquet so we had a Wood family re-union. After the Banquet we spent the night at Rae-ann’s. Neither of us being breakfast people, morning was simple, we loaded up the ACR and drove through Edmonton, then 20 minutes south on Hwy 2 to Leduc. We met Trevor Cameron & Terri Richardson with Marcel & Donna Camenzind at Ricki’s Grille. Trevor’s Viper was a 2004 SRT10 and Marcel owned a Red with white stripes 2002 Final Edition. Once we sat down, Ron and Bobbie Nichols arrived with Steve Nickoriuk in tow. Ron was driving HRSSSSS (2001 GTS) because HSSSSSS was in the paint shop. Steve’s R/T 10 looked really sharp with the freshly installed Lemans nose and scooped hardtop. These ‘Diehard’ Viper fanatics couldn’t attend the weekend, but they drove over an hour from Red Deer to visit before we left.

 

Several Viper Club members couldn’t make this weekend because it was their kids Prom weekend. Some wives couldn’t get the time off and most members couldn’t get a long weekend. June is a busy time for the oilfields of Alberta, so although we were 5 Vipers in the parking lot (4 red and 1 yellow) … we left Leduc as a Red threesome.

 

We drove to Tim Hortons in Edson where Trevor used the number given to me at the car wash to call Robert, who drove his 09 Orange Viper coupe to meet us. He explained that he’d like to spend the weekend with us (and join the VCA) in Jasper but had to work. We visited a little, said “goodbye” then drove the last 100 miles to Jasper. We parked beside the large Steam Locomotive on display and walked across the street to the Jasper Brewing Company, where we had a great meal and enjoyed a couple bottles of Merlot. While leaving the restaurant the girls were impressed with the oversized plastic Mountain Sheep on the sidewalk. Deana gave Terri a boost up onto “Spike” and Donna climbed up behind them. I never realized that a Mountain Sheep had room on its back to carry 3 grown women. Wonder why we didn’t ride them in the old days?

                           

Trevor and Marcel had booked the Jasper Lodge while I had reserved the Pyramid Coast Resort (which had its own private Lake) so we split up and went to our respective Hotels for the evening.

We met at the Esso at 10am. Today’s plan was to cruise Hwy 16, then Hwy 5 through the Rockies. We planned to stop at rest areas to enjoy the mountain views and take pics. The scenery is difficult to describe, it is breathtaking. All the Mountains were snow covered but down at road level there was little snow. Some of the Mountains we drove past looked like they were carved by Paul Bunyan with his massive Axe. Every stop we made caused Tourists to pull over and take pics of our Vipers.

 

Arriving at the Columbia Ice Fields, I wished that David Suzuki and Al Gore were with us. The Monster Buses didn’t venture very far onto the ice fields, but they did go far enough that the ice was thicker than the height of the Eiffel Tower! Two of the eight Glaciers are visible from the highway.

In the parking lot an Englishman came over, took a few pics and asked about our Vipers. In England he’d never seen one so we chatted for awhile and he took a few more pics. Next was a couple from Switzerland. I did explain that the Viper Club had chapters in their countries. It seemed that our Dodge Vipers were one of Jasper’s new tourist attractions. Trevor walked across the highway to video-tape our cars and Terri took over the driver’s seat. We left and waited for Trev up the highway beside a sign that warned, “Caution, Road Race.” Perfect, I thought … until I saw that the racers were running down the highway in their sneakers! The racers were being followed by support vehicles, many with “bikinibasecamp” signage.

We pulled into a rest area and parked our Vipers in a row for pics. I jumped over a rock wall skirting an 1800’ cliff when a Harley Davidson pulled in behind us and the operator yelled, “Hi Ted.” It was an acquaintance from Williams Lake that had seen us drive by and followed just to say, “Hi”. Small world.

Arriving at our lunch destination we drove through the parking lot and couldn’t find 3 spots together. I was at the rear, watching as a gentleman ran between cars taking our pics. We turned around to try the other parking lot, with the camera toting gent running after us, we went back to the driveway and entered the other parking lot. The Gentleman finally caught up and it turned out that he didn’t speak English, he was from Spain. But, he loved our cars and took a lot more pictures while we went inside for Cheeseburgers. After eating we went back to our Vipers. 4 Oriental ladies were taking turns posing with our cars and picture taking. I watched as 1 of the ladies actually rubbed her butt against my passenger door!

 

I asked Trevor to stop at the rockslide on our return drive to Jasper. Photography conditions were perfect, a sprinkle of rain had stopped and the light was ‘soft’. Stopping alongside the semi-precious Rhodonite boulders I climbed over and under massive rocks to get unique pics of our cars. The drive back to Jasper was equally fun, but we did encounter a few more rain showers. Perfect for softening the bugs squished on my bumper I thought. Back in Jasper we went straight to the car wash. Then back to our rooms and downtown Jasper for dinner reservations. We found parking space in front of Andy’s Bistro. Our table was at the window and that let us watch our Vipers. The food was excellent, as was the wine. The entertainment was provided by our Vipers. People would stop their cars downtown Jasper, the middle of the street, blocking traffic, then wander around taking pictures of our Vipers. One stranger walked across the street and spent a half hour examining our cars. Later he came back and brought a friend. At one time I thought I saw him licking my windshield … but he was merely leaning close to look through the glass. Marcel went outside and spoke with 3 young men from Switzerland that had never seen a Viper before. They sat on the sidewalk and stared at our cars for 2 hours. Tourists used cameras and video equipment to capture our cars while the residents used their phones. We enjoyed ourselves until suddenly realizing that we were alone in the restaurant. They had stayed open an hour past closing.

Sunday morning meet was at the Esso again, and our destinations were Magic and Maligne Lakes south along Hwy 93. Again we were the center of attention, stopping at the rest area of Magic Lake we were followed by 3 cars. They took pics of our cars, then the lake. Magic Lake was considered ‘Big Magic’ by the Natives because it would mysteriously drop its water level 80’ in the fall. We continued down the highway making stops for the Mountain Sheep as they seemed reluctant to yield right of way. Since we were visitors and they were residents, we complied. Deana even ‘shot’ a couple.

Arriving at Maligne Lake we were greeted by the stunning beach view. I remembered that my Rand McNally 2008 road atlas has that scene on the cover. Maligne Lake’s main tourist attraction is the “most photographed island in the world,” … but I missed it. After perusing the gift shop and eating in the cafeteria we walked back to the parking lot. It was being guarded by 4 Bambi style deer eating grass between the cars. They were too far from our cars to pose. I was tempted to ride one of them closer to our cars, but decided that it might not be a good idea … they looked pretty tough. We drove north along hwy 93, always surrounded by mountains.

We pulled into the Magic Lake rest area again. 6 cars followed us into the parking area. We read the info boards about Magic Lake draining every fall through caves and structural flaws underground. I turned and saw another group of Oriental women posing around our cars. Making sure that there was no ‘butt rubbing’ this time, we just watched them have fun. A female photographer came over and asked if it was OK to use our cars for posing and we agreed to let her girlfriend pose with our cars. She offered to “shoot” us, so I handed her my camera, and we posed as a group.

Like all good things, our Jasper weekend must end as it was getting late in the afternoon. We said goodbye and went west, while new and old friends went east down Hwy 16. My ‘new’ 2000 ACR became my wife’s ‘favorite’ Viper because of its softer ride and smoother, quieter running engine. It is the Red ACR that I’m selling however, not my Sapphire GTS. It did pass the road test.

The Scenery through the Rocky Mountains is spectacular, but around Jasper the Glaciers come to the side of the Highway.  The Mountains throughout this area are world famous.  Even the Natives have sacred legends of this area.  Wildlife is abundant throughout the Park and extra caution must be used when driving through these Mountains.

Categories: Dodge Viper Stories

3 Responses so far.

  1. move on says:

    This could be one of the most compelling discussions I’ve read today, I’m speaking about this component of your post seemed that our Dodge Vipers were one of Jasper’s new tourist attractions. it also made me think about the day I ran across my wife.

  2. Trevor Cameron says:

    Hey Ted,
    I think this is an even better version than the one in Viper magazine. Lots of great pics. Terry and I had alot of fun on this run and with such spectacular scenery hopefully a few more come out for this trip next year.

    Trevor

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