Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

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Author and Kawasaki KLR650

 

It was in the summer of 2010 that I was walking along Quebec Street in Vancouver with my wife Laura when I spotted a red Kawasaki KLR650 with aluminum panniers parked at the curb. We stopped and I commented to her that the motorcycle, as it was modified, represented a kind of adventure motorcycle look that was popular among the ADV crowd.

In short, I wanted one.

A few months later I would be scouring the Craigslist posts, thinking that searching at the end of the riding season would create a buyer’s advantage for me. I thought that riders thinking of parting with their rides would likely be keen to do so before the gloom of winter set in. In October I got lucky, buying a well-kept blue 1999 KLR, with few modifications made, from a musician moving from a tiny ground floor suite off Commercial Drive in Vancouver, to a massive farmhouse in Manitoba. He was eager to sell, pricing his dual sport bike at $2000.

I would insure the bike for the day and ride it to Burnaby Kawasaki, where it would hole up for the rainy season as part of their winter storage program.

At the first sign of warm weather I started in with a vengeance. I ordered an aluminum pannier kit from Happy Trails in Boise, Idaho, and started working on it with a friend, modifying it to the adventure machine I wanted for an upcoming journey.

In a few months I would be riding with my friend Mike Whitfield along the Duffey Lake loop, taking the KLR from the cool coniferous air of Whistler, into the heat of Lillooet, one of the hottest places in Canada, before riding in the setting sun to Vancouver, clocking 660 kilometres that day.

By August, I was ready. I was nervous, but up for the challenge. Setting out with Mike, we would ride to Cache Creek, then next day on to Prince George. Mike had to get back to Vancouver, so I continued north while he returned back along the Cariboo Road.

The next ten days would introduce me to a part of British Columbia I had never seen before. I rode past the massive lumber mills of the Nechako, whistled along the waters of the Bulkley, leaned on my motorcycle while staring in awe at the Bear Glacier and sorted out camp gear on its flanks at Kinaskan Lake southeast of the stratovolcano of Mount Edziza. I would ride solo along the broken pavement and gravel of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway before turning around at the powerful and pristine waters of the Stikine River. That KLR gave me a sense of connection to my home province that I hadn’t had before, but had secretly craved since I was little, and learning about the history of my home province in the safety of the exhibitions of the provincial museum in my home of Victoria.

Connection. That’s what that motorcycle gave me.

I’m emphasizing it because, until then, British Columbia history was something static, that I took in from an armchair. The KLR pushed me out of my comfort zone and had me meeting people and really taking in the sights, smells and climate of the places I rode through.

The KLR and I would have many more adventures after that. We would bounce along the dusty rugged forest service roads leading from Cowichan Lake to the natural sanctuary of Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park and the peaceful fishing village of Bamfield. I would ride with Mike again, visiting our American neighbours to the south, to the edge of the site of the nearest natural disaster of my youth; Mount Saint Helens, which erupted in May 1980. I would explore the silver towns of the Kootenays with Wes Taylor, a friend I made while traveling the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. Mike Whitfield and I would ride together one more time, attempting to get as far north as we could by road on Vancouver Island along bumpy forest service roads, stopping at the logging town of Holberg near Cape Scott.

This winter I learned that Mike, who was in his early seventies, would be retiring from motorcycling. He offered his riding buddy first dibs on his motorcycle, one I’d always admired, a 2010 BMW F650GS. This spring I bought it from him. Although I will think of the F650GS as Mike’s bike for years to come I’m sure, it really is a pleasant motorcycle to ride.

I had to be honest with myself. I couldn’t maintain and insure two motorcycles. So the practical solution was simple, if not a little difficult to face: I had to sell the KLR.

Parting with my old friend wasn’t easy. But when I realized that I was getting further into middle age, a more comfortable bike with a lower seat height (such as the F650GS) made a lot of sense. There were many other practical advantages to the F650GS, but it didn’t help my sensitive side, which believed I was planning to sell off an old friend.

I reluctantly got the word out that the motorcycle was for sale. A carefully worded post was composed for Craigslist. The right buyer, in all of my worrying to find him or her, responded right away. Cesar was finishing up his time in Vancouver after working construction sites for several months. In his mid-twenties and with few attachments, he was planning a cross-continent motorcycle journey, and needed the right adventure machine, for a good price.

Six years earlier, I had been much like him, although a bit longer in the tooth, yearning for adventure, with a certain expectation as to how it would look.

Knowing that the KLR would still be presenting someone with opportunities for exploration and adventure to come, I agreed to the sale. There is now one motorcycle in the garage, waiting to go on new adventures.

Although this year has presented a few obstacles provided by Mother Nature (heavy rain and cold leading in to summer, a record-setting wildfire season in the Cariboo), there are some adventures awaiting me this riding season I hope. And although the KLR is no longer with me, I will always have the connection with British Columbia it allowed me to have, as we whistled past the glorious rivers, mountains and historical sites of this wonderful part of the world.

 

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I’m selling my bike

9 Trevor's KLR650 in front of the restored CPR caboose at Midway-Mile Zero of the Kettle Valley Railway
The KLR650 rests beside a Canadian Pacific Railway caboose at the Kettle River Museum in Midway

 

 

I know this isn’t Craiglist. Nor is it a place to moan about the old days. But I’ve got some sad, perhaps surprising, news.

The motorcycle I’ve been riding for the past six years is for sale.

Yes, you read it right. The Kawasaki KLR650 that I’ve ridden all over British Columbia (into Alberta and Washington State a bit too, but who’s counting destinations?) searching for historic places while bouncing up and down on gravel roads and holding onto for dear life while taking switchbacks on FSRs to former gold towns is up for grabs.

It’s for sale. What am I doing? I’ve been sneaking into the garage not saying anything (I usually do say hello to my motorcycle…What? Don’t you?) to my KLR for days.

I’ve written notes on its solid, unforgiving factory seat that would become paragraphs in my two books. It has appeared, dusty and proud, in my  articles in Motorcycle Mojo, Inside Motorcycles, RidersWest, Canadian Biker, Rider Magazine… just to name a few.

The motorcycle has brought me to faded silver towns like Sandon in the Kootenays, to the back door route up forest service roads to park next to Mount St. Helens, to the northern extremes of Vancouver Island along unforgiving gravel, to the peaceful and rainy park at Waterton, Alberta, and led me up the Stewart-Cassiar Highway into the north of British Columbia.

Needless to say, I’m reluctant to part with this particular motorcycle.

But as I’ve recently purchased my friend Mike’s BMW F650GS (see Mike’s Bike), it’s time.

It’s time to part with an old friend who, I hope, will find a good home.

The motorcycle has been winter-stored at Burnaby Kawasaki for the six years I’ve owned it. It was bought in October 2011 from a musician leaving for Manitoba in a real hurry. I’m the third owner. It was a basic, non-modified factory model when I bought it. I added Happy Trails Teton 33-litre aluminum panniers, Happy Trails bash plate, Moose pegs, hand guards and a 16” Clearview windshield. The doohickey’s done. Also I’m including a Wolfman Explorer Lite tank bag and Wolfman Expedition Dry duffel bag as well as all the Rok Straps you’ll need to secure it. There are two Michelin T63 knobbies on, front and back, with lots of tread on (as well as an Avon rear and Bridgstone front as a spare pair of shoes).

Regularly maintained at Burnaby Kawasaki (I kept records and receipts), it was also valued by the good folks at BK at $3000. So that’s how I’ll price it.

So if you are in the market for a well-loved dual-sport motorcycle that has had its share of media exposure and still has many adventures left in it, I’d like to hear from you.

Here’s my email address: contact@trevormarchughes.ca

Don’t try to talk me out of it! Oh my my my…

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I am an Everyman

I’ve got to point something out.

I’m a stay-at-home dad. I’m a loving husband to my wife, Laura. I look after my wonderful thirteen-year-old son Michael who was diagnosed with autism when he was six. I also look after my precocious six-year-old son Marc who is actively involved in tee ball, musical theatre and loves riding his bike. I coach his tee ball team on Tuesday evenings. I’ve struggled with anxiety, sometimes depression, throughout my life. I’m an introvert. I stand at five foot eight. Sometimes getting back on a motorcycle after a time not riding scares me.

Needless to say, I’m not the stereotypical image of a heroic adventurer.

I am an Everyman.

Actually, it wasn’t me who first described me that way. It was John Campbell, the editor of Canadian Biker Magazine, when he was writing an endorsement for my second book Zero Avenue to Peace Park

His writing is framed by the iron of tireless research and underscored by the musical notes of a relentless motorcycle as Zero Avenue to Peace Park, the Journey of an Everyman, brings new life to the dusty streets and forgotten people of long ago.

I’m grateful for John’s words, which are now on the cover and early pages of my second book. He gave me an objective look at myself. Sometimes when riding into the unknown I feel pumped up, almost believing my own publicity as it were. I need to remember who I am.

I’m that kid who looked out from the back seat of his parent’s Ford LTD while travelling to another campground, an old and weathered tent trailer being towed behind. The Okanagan, mid-Vancouver Island, the Kootenays. That kid looked out from that back seat, observing, wondering all sorts of things. What lay at the end of that secondary road? What was the story behind that collapsing farmhouse being reclaimed by nature? Why was a totem pole raised on that spot?

I’ve been underestimated at times. Not so long ago I asked a particular company if I could use their topographical maps in my second book. Interest turned to indifference after one look at me and my beat up KLR650. Granted I may not be the most shiny and buff of adventurers.

But what I’ve done on that KLR650 may surprise you. It may have surprised that map company too if they’d not judged a book by its cover.

I’ve ridden down deep gravel roads to forestry towns, taken muddy single tracks to former gold mining communities, pushed myself to the extremities of the province’s rugged north, as my motorcycle shook and squeaked under the punishment, me at times scared, exhausted and feeling out of my league.

But underlying it all, was the desire of that kid, looking out from the back seat of that Ford LTD, to explore beyond what he knew, to get to know his home province of British Columbia better. That’s what I do. That desire still drives me.

Recently I watch the film Eddie The Eagle. I haven’t been that taken with a film in a long time. It was the story of an underdog that may not have come in first, but wanted to prove himself, have his moment, prove deniers wrong. I’ve come to think of myself as an underdog. Eddie certainly had his moment, overcoming his fears.

When I get on a motorcycle, I sometimes get anxious. Once I’m riding I feel great. Usually I feel better when riding further out of town when I can ride along with as little traffic as possible.

John Campbell published my first magazine article in Canadian Biker about my two-week two-wheeled journey into northern British Columbia along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. He suggested that a trip like that would create memories that would last a lifetime and would be the envy of many who ride motorcycles. That was in 2012. I’m still going.

Grant Johnson, who, along with his wife Susan Johnson, created the overland adventurer forum Horizons Unlimited, once encouraged me to present my talk Riding Across Historic British Columbia. I was having my doubts about presenting with a group of cross-continent overland motorcyclists at their travellers meeting in Nakusp, British Columbia. Grant told me that many motorcycle adventurers were people like me, with a desire to explore their region. He wrote Horizons Unlimited needed people like me, the Everyman, to tell their stories and inspire others to explore.

Are you an adventuring Everyman… or Everywoman?

Then you have a story to tell too.

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Riding Highway 28 to Gold River

I found one of the best motorcycling roads on Vancouver Island in September 2016. But I hadn’t intended to…

You see, my friend Wes Taylor, who I’d met motorcycling in northern British Columbia in 2012, had invited me to ride in his home state of Colorado. A day before I was to fly to Colorado Springs, I received a baffling email. Wes was hurriedly typing on his smart phone, urging me to cancel my flight, if there was enough time to do so. He was in hospital. He had just been in a car accident.

Wes was lucky to be alive, but he would need some recovery time. I was glad my friend was relatively all right and concerned about him. But I was disappointed I couldn’t visit and ride with him along some of the best motorcycling roads in the United States of America.

I had more than a week freed up. What to do? Well, I hurriedly decided to travel a road on Vancouver Island that I knew was long overdue to ride. It also promised a great deal of historical incentive to get me going: Highway 28 west from Campbell River to Gold River.

Gold River is at the end of fifty-five kilometre Muchalat Inlet. It used to be a community known for its chief employer: the pulp and paper mill. I had prepared several stories on Gold River when I was at CBC Radio Vancouver, one of which was on the subject of Luna, the orca calf that had lost its mother and wandered in to Muchalat Inlet to befriend the people of Gold River. I was never comfortable filing stories about places I’d never been to. Visiting Gold River was long overdue.

The road west from Campbell River soon developed the curves I’d heard about from friends and other sources. It winded along, having me flick the bike back and forth in the sun of an early Fall day, the smell of burning leaves filling my nostrils while I anticipated the next series of turns leading to the Campbell Lakes.

There were no communities along the route to Gold River. The only structures seen were lodgings within Strathcona Provincial Park. Crossing a bridge at Buttle Narrows, I climbed, then descended, while stealing glances at formidable Kings Peak before encountering the boot: the Gold River Boot carving that is. It marked the entrance to the community.

I would ride another thirteen kilometres to Muchalat Marina before being treated to a view of Muchalat Inlet in the sun. The MV Uchuck III was in dock, men painting the historic vessel after a busy summer taking travellers to nearby Nootka Sound, Yuquot and beyond.

Yuquot village is a National Historic Site of Canada. It’s the ancestral home of the Mowachaht, and a place where traditional whaling was practiced. It had been a community for four thousand years by the time Captain James Cook encountered Chief Maquinna there. Europeans would call it Friendly Cove after their congenial visit in March of 1778. The MV Uchuck III, a former US Second World War minesweeper, makes daily runs to Yuquot in summer months. Uchuck means “healing waters” in the Nuu-chah-nulth language.

I looked out over the smooth lines afforded by the mountains rolling into the distance across from the inlet, listened to the calm water lapping against the dock supports and was warmed by the midday sun.

I said hello to the husky dog lazily guarding the office door of Get West Adventure Cruises, the business that runs the Uchuck III. Off to the right there was a log sorting station where heavy machinery was separating logs into piles according to type of wood in advance of them being hauled by truck into Campbell River. Some logs were dumped back into the inlet. This was all that was left of the pulp and paper mill that shut down in 1998.

A few men walked along the wooden planks of the small marina, where two tall modern sloops were in contrast to the stocky silver water taxis. The tug Malaspina Straits bobbed up and down next to its neighbour, Nanaimo Flyer. As I walked back to my motorcycle, I took note of the Air Nootka floatplane at a small dock. The Gold River-based business flies north regularly to Kyuquot as well as charters for those seeking an adventure beyond travel to Gold River.
My instinct was to try to get on a boat, or a plane and explore further, as this was the end of the asphalt. But it was time I got to my bed for the night in Qualicum Beach, a two hundred kilometre ride east.

Wait a minute! That meant I would get to ride the twists and turn of Highway 28 all over again!

With plans for future adventures on the MV Uchuck III or a seaplane filling my head, I got back on my Kawasaki KLR650 and rode east towards Campbell River. I had to call Wes Taylor and tell him about the joys of Highway 28. I knew it would make him feel better.

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Mike’s Bike

 

Buying a motorcycle. It sounds great doesn’t it? I have mixed feelings about it lately.

This past weekend I bought a 2010 BMW F650GS. I’d admired this de-tuned 798cc motorcycle for a while. I had seen it close up on several occasions, as it belonged to my friend and travel companion Mike Whitfield. Mike decided recently to retire from motorcycling.

For anyone who has read Nearly 40 on the 37 or Zero Avenue to Peace Park you know how influential Mike has been to me. He was the one that convinced me to continue on my Stewart-Cassiar Highway adventure years ago. He was the one who kept reminding me about the nature of adventure. Without him I may have turned around at Prince George…but I didn’t. After that trip there were Mount St. Helens and the Holberg Road on north Vancouver Island, two adventures I’ll never forget.

So, seeing his orange GS in my garage is a bit disconcerting. It’s with pride that I’ll ride it this weekend, but…it’s Mike’s bike!

I’ve received pleasant messages of support from friends reminding me that Mike would be glad to see the BMW in good hands, in the possession of someone who will take good care of it and ride it on other adventures.

Last weekend, Mike showed me the various features of the GS in his underground parking garage. There were features that blew my mind…like a fuel gauge! When ready I took it for several spins around the garage. Some clutch-throttle control exercises. Some sudden braking. Then it was time to exit into the world on Mike’s Bike.

It was raining. Pouring. I have to admit it affected my mood.

I’m planning a Saturday ride out to Iona Beach. I keep checking the weather forecast.

It’ll take a while to get used to riding Mike’s Bike. It’s a bike packed with memories of riding alongside my riding buddy…certainly for Mike who has ridden the GS all over the world.

It’s time to create some new memories.

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Pulling into Coalmont, British Columbia

I had spent the morning wondering if I would be riding on pavement or gravel.

My map showed a yellow line for the Coalmont Road. Yellow indicates a secondary road. Sometimes that’s the asphalt less travelled and sometimes it’s offroad. I was about to find out as I visited one of British Columbia’s most interesting not-quite-a-ghost-town towns.

Coalmont is nineteen kilometres north west of Princeton. British Columbia. It’s by the Tulameen River, traditionally a placer mining hotspot. There aren’t many rich deposits left though. A hundred years ago or more you’d find prospectors pulling their packhorses or donkeys across wooden bridges spanning the river. Many would be spending their days panning for gold. Coalmont was also near a significant resting place for coal. And as a result, when the railway came through town starting in 1911, it became the equivalent of a fuel stop.

As I snaked my way along the Tulameen on the Coalmont Road, ponderosa pine and modest homes made way for open scrub as I descended the curves into the Tulameen Valley on cracked pavement. My introduction to Coalmont was via two aging and eccentric signs warning against undesirables coming into town, especially magazine and encyclopedia salesmen.

I met a man with shock white hair, full white beard and sporting sunglasses who was minding two Chihuahuas and holding a kitten. He welcomed me to Coalmont, full-time population of twenty souls. This is where the Kettle Valley Railway, otherwise called the Coast to Kootenay Railway, rumbled through on its way to Hope or Midway.

Further down the dusty road I came to the intersection of Coalmont & Parrish, where I found, almost looking like it did on opening day, the CPR-red Coalmont Hotel. It opened in 1912 with the expectation it would service rail travellers for decades to come. The hotel was closed on my visit. It is now sporadically operated it would seem.

I heard a familiar engine’s rumble. I was soon shaking hands with the driver of an all-terrain vehicle, Ralph. He was enjoying camping at the Granite Creek Recreation Site with family. It would seem many come from the Metro Vancouver area to camp along the Tulameen or a kilometre north of Coalmont at Otter Lake Provincial Park.

It would seem Coalmont’s locomotive travellers have been replaced with the outdoor adventure kind. The local Mozey-On-Inn boasts panning trips along the Tulameen and campers can find canoeing opportunities and rainbow trout fishing at Otter Lake.

I rode out along the dusty, twisty and broken pavement of Coalmont Road and climbed out of the Tulameen Valley in the bright noonday sun, keen to see the Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon.

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Of Pontiac wagons and tent trailers

One Sunday a month as I was growing up in Victoria, my parents would get my brother and I into our 1974 Pontiac Astre Wagon. Our destination was Crofton, a pulp mill town just east of Duncan, where my grandparents lived. The process for my parents of getting my brother and I into the Pontiac was different for each child. He fought tooth and nail, thinking the hour and change sitting in that back seat to be a fate worse than death. Oh, if only the wagon’s wood grain paneling could talk. I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait, not only to see my grandparents, but for the journey to get underway. I didn’t even need a colouring book.

Goldstream Provincial Park went by. We ascended Malahat Drive to the view over Mill Bay. We passed the colourful shop facades of Whippletree Junction. We descended toward the billowing stacks of Crofton’s mill. I couldn’t wait to see them, and imagine their stories. Why was there a road there? Why was that mill there?

Similarly, when the family later acquired a Coleman tent trailer we cheekily named Herb after the bespectacled character in Burger King commericals (don’t ask, it was the 1980s), I couldn’t wait to hit the road in my parents’ 1985 Ford LTD as we towed Herb behind us. My parents took us all over British Columbia on camping trips. We’d travel up and down Vancouver Island, park lakeside in the Okanagan and explore the Kootenays. I loved it.

I would watch the world go by from the back seat, wondering about the story behind that farmhouse gradually collapsing as it was being reclaimed by nature, or why there was a gravel road there (where did it lead to?) or why there was a collection of eclectic shops away from any town whatsoever. It fascinated me.

When I started giving my “Riding Across Historic British Columbia” presentation last year at Horizons Unlimited CanWest in Nakusp, I tried to remember what had started my interest in B.C.’s history. The above is what I came up with.

I’ve discovered I’m not alone. At my presentation at Vancouver BMW Ducati in November 2016, Dave told me about how he too had travelled with his parents in a tent trailer, developing an appreciation for the South Chilcotin, where his family had roots, and many other places in the B.C. interior. To hear this was fulfilling; I wasn’t the only one who had developed a love of travel and appreciation of exploring the province’s history via camping tent trailer style.

I still see tent trailers at campgrounds when I’m camping solo or with my family, some of the same vintage of our family’s old Coleman. I hope that, in those tent trailers, are a new generation of adventuresome kids that are developing an interest in their home province…its places, people and history.

My question is: What would wood paneling say if it could talk?

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Riding Across Historic British Columbia

It doesn’t seem that long ago I was pitching my tent in the Nakusp Municipal Campground. It was a weekend event that changed how I saw what I was doing.

Horizons Unlimited CanWest 2016 allowed me the opportunity to give a presentation I called “Riding Across Historic British Columbia”. I felt like a small fish in a big pond. Speakers were to talk about motorcycle travels across Russia, journeys to Alaska, riding across continents. I was going to speak about riding my Kawasaki KLR650 to regional places, locations of significant historical events in British Columbia’s history, but that didn’t take months to get to.

It was a standing-room-only event. There were about forty chairs set up in the ice-free hockey arena renamed “The Asia Room” for the event. I since gave the talk at Vancouver BMW Ducati to a full house. Clearly, there is some interest in riding across historic B.C, and learning about routes to get there. After I gave my talks I opened up the floor to ideas shared from the audience as to historic rides in the province. One route I heard about I’ve taken to heart, and have booked accommodation already for the July adventure north.

I’ve taken the interest I saw to heart and plan to add a historic rides section to my website and to make riding to historic locations in British Columbia a focus of my next book. Historic storytelling has been a part of my two books, but not to the extent I’m planning for my next project.

It’s interesting to me how some down time over holidays, to reflect and gain perspective, can help clarify goals and, sometimes, point out the obvious path for the new year.

My thanks to all that attended those two presentations which gave me such clarification. I’ve signed up again as a presenter for Horizons Unlimited CanWest 2017 and I’ll be talking “Riding Across Historic B.C.” in Nakusp again. I hope to see you there…

 

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The Origins of Open Road MC

Gabe Khouth and I have been friends for almost three decades now. We met when we were actors with the same agent in the late 1980s as we both were auditioning for roles in the rapidly growing film and television industry in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I was fortunate enough to get to work with Gabe on the CBC-TV teen series Northwood. We would play friends going to the same high school. I remember with a smile how we got to play some fun comedic scenes together in a camping episode in the final episode of the series, filming in the wilderness of Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver.

Flash forward twenty-three years and we were still goofing around with a camera in the forest, this time at Alice Lake Provincial Park near Squamish, British Columbia while we made our Open Road MC segment about motocamping.

Gabe and I would both discover an interest in riding motorcycles later in our lives. Even though we rode different style bikes (my Kawasaki KLR650 and his Ducati Monster 696) we thought it would be an opportunity missed if we didn’t combine our on-screen abilities and our interest in motorbikes. So we created Open Road MC, a YouTube channel for anyone interested in riding motorbikes…and we make it clear it doesn’t matter what you ride, it’s that you ride in the first place that counts.

Gabe has moved on to be a series regular in the hit ABC-TV series Once Upon A Time and I’ve enjoyed seeing his success as an actor. I moved on from acting in 2005, working away at freelancing at CBC Radio before writing for a variety of magazines mainly about motorcycle travel in British Columbia, then writing my own books. Open Road MC is a chance for Gabe and I to be really creative on camera, explore different roads and avenues of motorcycling. From regional ride ideas, modifications, travel tips, bike reviews and event coverage, Gabe and I have covered quite a lot of ground over the last couple of years. We’re still coming up with ideas, getting together whenever our busy lives relent a bit for us to meet for a production meeting over a cup of coffee. Join us won’t you? And be sure to subscribe…

 

 

 

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A Sense of Place

I’m a stay-at-home dad.  Does that surprise you?

During the winter I’m more likely to be found at the helm of a Subaru Impreza Sport than a Kawasaki KLR650. The odds are I’ll be driving through Vancouver rush hour traffic getting my son Marc to Kindergarten or my eldest Michael to his high school. I’m very proud of my sons and how they’ve both adjusted to new schools this year. I’ll also be the one making meals for them at home and getting them to their after school activities.

I’ll be honest. It can be difficult. Facing traffic day after day can become a stressful routine. After dropping off the boys at school and my wife at work, I have a few hours to get to my work in my home office.

What I find sometimes is that I rush back to that home office and fail to look at where it is that I live. In bounding back to get to work, I usually don’t take any time to appreciate my surroundings. That’s a shame. What’s more of a shame is that, increasingly, I doubt I’m alone. I live in Vancouver, there’s natural beauty all around me.

I think I’m losing my sense of place.

You’d think as a travel writer and author I would do more to reconnect with the very places I claim to connect with. So I did something about it this morning. I stopped.

The above photo was taken at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver. There is snow on the mountains, ice on the sand and the crisp air is electric. I took a walk. It was rejuvenating.

Sure, when I got home I got to work rewriting a press release and promoting my two books, but what I’ve got to remember, and I hope you will too, is to take a moment to reconnect with where you live. You may already do that daily and, if you do, I’m envious. But some of us need a reminder about that.  You don’t need to travel by motorcycle to do it either. Strive to understand where you live, how your community was created, to know the people around you. Don’t get caught in a bubble. I sometimes need to remind myself of that.

With my wife I’m planning to take my sons on more local trips when the weather warms up a bit. I’ve been reading about hikes to be taken on the Gulf Islands.

Now that’s something to look forward to.

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