Members of Helicopter Charlie from left, Alec Raiche on guitar, Jacob Desrosiers on vocals and drums, JP Gauvin on drums, guitar, bass and piano, and Lou Bonenfant on bass pose by their RV on Sept. 6. The friends were on their way to Vancouver from Quebec when their vehicle broke down near Salmon Arm. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm)

Members of Helicopter Charlie from left, Alec Raiche on guitar, Jacob Desrosiers on vocals and drums, JP Gauvin on drums, guitar, bass and piano, and Lou Bonenfant on bass pose by their RV on Sept. 6. The friends were on their way to Vancouver from Quebec when their vehicle broke down near Salmon Arm. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm)

Adventurers from Quebec make the best of interval in Salmon Arm

Musicians set up in parking lot as reaching their goal delayed

Recent visitors to Salmon Arm had encountered smooth sailing on their road trip from Quebec when, suddenly, flames emerged from the brakes on their motorhome.

Their unusual and brightly decorated RV, reminiscent of vans and buses in the ’60s and ’70s, caught fire but was quickly put out with help from a passerby with a fire extinguisher.

The destination of the four young men from Sherbrooke, all musicians, all members of a relatively new band, Helicopter Charlie, was ultimately Vancouver.

On the evening of Labour Day, Sept 6, their adventure had instead led them to the parking lot of Fountain Tire in Salmon Arm, where they were jamming as they awaited repairs. The sun was warm and the music was loud.

Alec Raiche with his guitar, Jacob Desrosiers on vocals, JP Gauvin playing drums and Lou Bonenfant on bass, all said that other than being broke and needing to pay for their RV repair, they were still enjoying themselves.

“We don’t have a lot, but we’re figuring out,” they said.

People have been kind and welcoming to them. A friend who speaks French got them a job harvesting apples in Salmon Arm the next day, so they were looking forward to the prospect of earning money.

Asked how Helicopter Charlie, the band name emblazoned on the side of the vehicle, came to be, one of the group said, to laughter, “It came from my head, that’s all we know so far.”

“We liked it,” said another. “It’s kind of fun, it’s kind of catchy, it has no meaning at all, it’s friendly.”

At that point, a passersby yelled, “I love your RV.”

“That’s what we get,” said Desrosiers, smiling and nodding towards the man.

The four young men left Quebec two weeks earlier with the plan to play music along the way; they said they remain undeterred and are still setting their sights on Vancouver.

Read more: Strange blue visitors make a Splash in Salmon Arm Bay

Read more: PHOTOS: Humpbacks put on a show for visitors to Vancouver Island


martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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From left, JP Gauvin, Alec Raiche, Jacob Desrosiers and Lou Bonenfant of Helicopter Charlie jam on Sept. 6 by the Fountain Tire parking lot in Salmon Arm next to their motorhome that broke down on their trip from Quebec to Vancouver. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

From left, JP Gauvin, Alec Raiche, Jacob Desrosiers and Lou Bonenfant of Helicopter Charlie jam on Sept. 6 by the Fountain Tire parking lot in Salmon Arm next to their motorhome that broke down on their trip from Quebec to Vancouver. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)