About Us

My photo
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Brian & Deya met in Vancouver Canada. After a few years together we were married and made choices. One was not to have children the other was not to take life for granted. The rest is yet to come.

August 26, 2010

Ontario is big!

Passing the border from Manitoba to Ontario changes everything; the drivers get more dangerous, the cost of fuel and camping jumps dramatically, the distances are greater and the mosquitoes are cruel. The really good thing is the scenery and the brick and stone buildings are beautiful. We traveled through Lake Superior National Park and I commented to Deya that we haven’t seen that kind of beauty since the Rocky Mountain range.
On our way through Thunder Bay we stopped at the Terry Fox Memorial. This is worth seeing and is the place where Terry made it to before he was finally stopped by his cancer. It’s easy to feel pride for this guy, as a Canadian, as a champion for an important cause. I often hoped that one day I’d be able to champion an important cause as I think many people do and it’s people like Terry that light the way for others on their journey.

It was nice to be on the road again though the constant search for a spot to camp can be draining. Since the campgrounds are all equivalent to 4-5 days of camping budget for us we have to look for other places to stay. I’m not sure how pitching a tent on an unsheltered piece of ground can be worth 36 bucks but I guess it’s whatever the market will handle.

We decided to take the ferry on Manitoulin Island South of Espanola. Once we got there we found that instead of being able to camp on the island and take the ferry in the morning we would have to take the 10pm ferry and find camping at about midnight on the other side. Turns out that the ferry was fully booked the next day and the only spot was that evening. We headed there intending to find a spot to make some dinner but first had to stop for a photo at Espanola. This is where we met David and Cristina, with a couple of new bikes. David is a Veteran from the first Gulf War unlike me who was just injured badly during the first Gulf War. They invited us for dinner and if we didn’t have to catch the ferry, for accommodations. We had a really great visit and like many of the folks that we have met along our travels hope to see them again. The island itself was very nice, had a relaxed feel and would be worth spending more time. While on the island it’s worth stopping by Buddy’s Fries near the Market on highway 6, everything is awesome and fried pickles rock!

At the ferry we met a fellow named Glen who was an avid Kite Surfer and apparently a hard core long distance mini van driver. Glen made it from the Toronto area to the Oregon Coast in two and half days, wow. We shared some stories and Glen was full of good information. That evening we went to the first campsite we could find because it was late, this being the problem with looking for lodging at night, and set up camp. Unfortunately this meant 4 nights of budget blown in 6 hours.

The next day we headed South towards London, stopping in a place called Walkerton for a glass of water and a coffee. Some might laugh at this, most people won’t know the irony but the water was refreshing and the people we met were too. After a short chat with some locals we went looking for some local attractions but realized that we were running out of time so had to carry on South. We found out later that Christine, the lady we met came to look for us to offer us some dinner and a place to stay. This kind of courtesy amongst people really helps to negate that feeling that we often have about humanity and the world once the 6 o’clock news is finished. I know both Deya and I really appreciate this kind of people.

Finally we reached London and found our friends in good order. We were able to enjoy some time with them, do some important maintenance, tyre changes and visit the city. London so far is one the nicest cities for me in Ontario. That might demonstrate how little of Ontario I’ve really seen but doesn’t change the appeal of the city. London is where the Budgie story comes from and our hosts are a barrel of laughs. Thanks guys for being there for us. Sally and Ash, good luck with your journey, our thoughts are with you!

We took the long road to Toronto, the highway is a disaster and the drivers here really are ridiculous. As much as I’m annoyed by traffic cops, I wish there were more. Tailgating really bothers me, being on a bike, when someone follows too close it’s like waving a 4000 pound sword at your back, the consequences are staggering. Just in case people don’t know I’ll rant about this for a minute. Average human reaction time is about 1 second, mechanically your vehicle takes about another second to come into effect, that means that under ideal conditions, not rain or dirty roads, or high speeds, that if you are within 2 seconds from the person in front of you than you are operating on luck alone and risking the other person’s life. To me I see this as an assault and endangerment of my life or Deya’s life and if I could I would use equivalent force to stop the action from continuing. Unfortunately the police barely even go after people speeding and I’ve never even heard of people getting pulled over for following too close. Ultimately, the bears and the bandidos are not the real threat to our safety on this adventure but the drivers who think that driving is a right and not a privilege. Rant done.

August 15, 2010

The Budgie

The funniest things come from real life, sometimes the root of the entertainment is tragic. I know the loss of a friend (pet) can be sad and very often, for those who care about them, a little guilty feeling. We are responsible for these simple animals, their safety, comfort and social companionship. So when we were sitting around with our good friends in London Ontario, liquor present, and telling stories, we heard about the university years and the Budgie.

The debate began on the appropriate way to kill the budgie and a challenge ensued, set for the next morning, safety being a factor, and had some not surprising results. As the story goes, our friend was moving apartments during his university years and had the assistance of a buddy of, now questionable, dependability. The friend helped load the car and was in charge of the budgie cage. As they departed down the road at speed the absence of the budgie became known. A quick look in the review found the cage rolling violently down the road, the budgie locked inside.

They rushed to find the budgie, having had a serious motor vehicle accident, critically injured. The budgie’s wind and leg were badly broken, beak sheared off and tongue hanging out; he was coughing up blood and suffering badly.

As any caring person would consider, the budgie must be spared the suffering. But how to kill the poor guy? The task was given to the helper who left him on the roof of the car but it was refused. A decision to drive over the wounded friend was feared to result in failure so that was abandoned but time was of the essence as the bird was still suffering badly. Quickly the saddened and shocked owner carefully took the little bird in his hands with all his might hurdled the bird against a wall. Instant death!

A gasp of horror and the argument about why not just run the poor bastard over raged on. The reason for not running budgie over was prolonging the suffering by: missing or worse, wounding. Of course someone figured they could do it in one go so our friend, defending his position, issued a challenge to run over a non moving object, a cherry. Since everyone was intoxicated it would have to wait for morning to avoid the neighbours being involved.

The test was concluded by 10:20 am and while there were differences of opinion the result was conclusive. While the test driver did hit the object under ideal circumstances and without duress, it was only half, the initial fear being realized and the possible fate of the budgie known.

Too funny.

August 09, 2010

Crossing the Shield

Leaving the parents in Alberta and heading East was bitter sweet, there’s so much more to share and so little time. It reminded us of the thing that set us out on this journey and we realized again that our sphere of influence is limited to our own capacity and the capacity of those willing to be influenced. In the end, I wonder if we even have the right to be concerned or want to help improve the lives of people we care about. Everyone seems to be at the point in life that they need to be at the time, so that leaves us with only our own point in life.

Oddly, I’m sitting here at the dining table of friends in Winnipeg, the ladies are out and the man of the house is asleep (works night shift). I’m okay with that these days, we have become adaptable to the circumstances now and transitioning from place to place is easier and more enjoyable. Sleep still remains a constant struggle, though it’s always been like that for me.

Our friends are wonderful people and good hosts, Ignacio (man of the house) came to Canada about 6-8 years ago from Mexico. Since then he’s married, had two beautiful children, bought a home and serves Canada and his community as a police officer. I’m proud of this guy and his wife, he’s the kind of person that contributes to Canada in so many ways that he might not even understand and the kind of guy that makes Canada a better place, a real Canadian!

On our way here we spent time camping in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba and found the latter to be preferred. The preference was mostly in the landscape; sadly we don’t get to meet too many locals so having an opinion of the general population is limited. Fortunately we do get to meet more travelers and they are always interesting decent people. The recent example is the couple who are retired and have been travelling for over 7 years in their truck and camper and have only recently decided to buy a condo. What’s great about this is that’s all they have owned for the entire time, they would drive around the country staying here and there before heading South for the winter, a different place almost every year. One year they said they only paid 86 dollars for campgrounds in 6 months! Outstanding job and such a small footprint left on the environment the way they’ve done it. Talking to these folks was like looking at a map of North America, they seem to have been everywhere, had a story for every place and new some guy to talk to if we went there. “Watch out for the sharp corner coming into Faderville, it’ll surprise you but look for the green house on the right 400 meters up, talk to Frank, you can camp for free”.

The scenario seems to be the same as we travel: good people, good stories, good food, nice places, bad weather, fatigue, mystery, lessons learned, rules and realities on the road. The important thing to note is the speed at which things change. We are going through cycles, first was learning how to ride with less, camp better and have no home. Next is understanding people, where they are at, what they need and how we fit or don’t fit into that. Soon I hope we’ll start to find our rhythm and be able to slow down a bit more, enjoy the seasons and places, explore better and find a better way to feel productive.

Right now it’s difficult to do anything other than travel so the research we’re doing is lacking. Something has to give and as much as I value the research and networking a lot survival comes first. On the other hand it’s also difficult to contact businesses and get people to make time for you, but this too is an interesting aspect of the research and it will be interesting to see how things change as we move on. Does it get easier as culture and people change, do we get better at our approach, do we modify who we approach or how we ask the questions? I don’t know the answer but the answer is there somewhere and the journey is the key more than the ending, this I know for sure.