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.

September 30, 2010

O Canada

O Canada!

Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.


About 23000 km in 120 days
It's rough but it's our route!


From whence we came thus we shall leave and thus return




Our ride from Nova Scotia back to New Brunswick was good enough; weather was fair, traffic moderate. We arrived to our new friends place late, as the semantics go we were expected to arrive in time for dinner but instead we arrived in time for supper. What’s the difference you ask? Well out here dinner is lunch and supper is dinner, go figure. Either way we were happy to arrive and meet the family.

We had a great time and got to visit almost everyone of the ATV crew and their families.

For us, this was a good experience and the luxury of knowing people and the lifestyles and cultures of different areas is both refreshing and expanding. We were fortunate to stay in a house with an amazing cook and friendly people.  Like any place that we stay if the opportunity to help with something, a chore or labour, is possible we’ll take it. The concept of contribution is important to me and any meaningful assistance we can offer gives us a sense of wealth. I was happy to be able to leave our friends with an operational technique that I hope they find laughably simple and exceptionally useful.








There was no shortage of good people around us and I wondered about the effect that has. It was a stimulating experience that I postulated might dull or be taken as normal with time, as is with most human experience of exposure. Fortunately and for those reading I have to say it was not lost to me and we enjoyed the time we spent with the folks in the Maritimes.



Before we left Moncton we checked out Magnetic Hill and while there is something to the illusion once you ride the hill on the motorcycle it’s clearly an optical illusion. Entertaining enough to build a little park around but that’s about it. While there, we met some folks that lived near my parents home town, they took a picture of us and said they would drop it off at my folks place. It will be fun to find out if they do or not but it’s a constant reminder of how small the world is and how closely connected we all are.



Once we left Moncton we headed South towards Saint John, our destination was the sister of the folks we first met when we entered New Brunswick. They were visiting and asked us to stop by on our way through. We had another experience as we keep having and that is to say it seemed like a sign of good things to come. We had passed the turn off, my error, and I wanted to get some fuel since we didn’t know the exact address and were getting low. As luck would have it as we returned in the opposite direction and came off the road we came to a stop at a crossroad. We sat there for a few seconds then put our signal lights to turn left, suddenly we heard a yell and up the hill to our right were our friends waving their arms. We had arrived and didn’t even know it, and coincidentally they had been taking a walk in the yard and just happen to be standing there as they saw us approach. Good luck I would say.





We enjoyed more days and meals with them and some entertaining stories too. It turns out that my cousin near Halifax works with our host’s son. Just another one of those closely connected things that seem to permeate this trip.



Our time and energy was happily spent in the Maritimes and we knew by the weather that it was time to go. Five degrees that morning told us to chase the better weather South but we knew that what we were leaving for the next several years was not just the East coast but the country that we love, a land that loves us, that protects us, values us and gives us the chance to contribute and have value. It was a silent ride to the border, contemplating, appreciating and hopeful for the future. I love my country and I don’t leave her, I am simply waiting to return to her.


On the way out of Canada Tim's treated us to a free breakfast, outstanding!


September 29, 2010

Nova Scotia The Land of plenty








Now I don’t know if it’s really the land of plenty but there are plenty of good roads, plenty of good food, plenty of weather and picturesque views and plenty of great people.



We headed back to hang out with Bill and Eunice who kindly escorted us around town, covering our rear when the bike ran out of gas on a busy street and navigating us out of the combat zone I accidentally GPS’d our way into. We stopped to visit with my cousin Doug who I haven’t seen for decades and his lovely wife. It was short but sweet and I hope we get to see them again in the future; it’s always kind of sad to have family that you don’t really know, but I think it’s common.





We headed out the next day to Archie’s shop and the whirl wind of awesome started. We did a tour of the facility then motored back to his pad and parked the bikes. After a quick tour of his place Elmer stopped by with his wife and a couple of friends. We had a nice visit and then headed out to a hill top bungalow for dinner and a cool swim on a full stomach. Once there we decided to spend the night and everyone but Joanne, Arch and us left.



The next day Archie toured us around to different areas including the Bay of Fundy where Deya got a picture of a guy who just caught a 31 inch Striped Bass. A bit more sight seeing and we headed back to Archie’s place but not before heading to another guys home to pick up some lobsters for dinner. I’ve never seen so many lobsters! The whirl wind continued as we headed over to Tom’s place, Tom had supper with us last night, so we could go pick some apples. The apples are used mostly for hunting bait; Tom and Archie are stealthy bow hunters which makes me look bad because now Deya wants to leave me here to learn how to be a man!



That evening we headed out for Tom and Jeanne’s cabin on the coast. We ate lobster with the trimmings and enjoyed some good company. We literally had to waddle down to the beach for a walk which was good fun. On the way back we threw some sticks together and had an awesome beach fire before heading back to Archie’s place to rack out. We would plan to leave the next day for New Brunswick and our buddy Wade’s house.

September 25, 2010

Some one once asked us...

I didn’t leave all the comforts of home and the security of a job and familiar places for this. I thought for sure we would be wild eyed, banging around corners, half starved and fist fighting drunk campers in the bushes. Instead we’re having a grand experience, a good time and gaining a rather unsuspecting prize.

Some one once asked us, “What has been the best part of your trip so far?” and without even discussing it Deya and I both answered, “Spending time with people”. There are so many good people to spend time with, yet so little time to spend. It’s ironic really but not sad because what I’ve found was unexpected and what’s unexpected and good seems a lot like a prize. I can say that I wished I could spend a lot more time with old friends and new but the reality doesn’t mesh up and I think I get that.

At the end of the day the people we met (and you know who you are) leave a lasting impression. The best that I can do, really, is hope for every ones health and success and try my hardest to be available when they need someone. Apart of that is to succeed in what I’m doing now and what I plan to do in the future and if I’m sharp enough I’ll have the mind to share it. I never started this journey looking for something much more than a big ride but I feel like I’m finding something a little bigger than expected.

“The journey is long but the friends are great!” I’ll sometimes sign. And when the wind is light, the sun in full shine and the bike on a medium angle at pace the world is right. And if the world is right then no foul can come over it. For the rider is right and the adventure awaits. And then we were gone.

September 16, 2010

The Maritimes! It’s got Character.

I love this place, the people, the riding, the scenery, the laid back pace and the food. When we loaded the ferry at North Sydney we met a group on their ATV’s. These guys were on a 1000km adventure down the decommissioned rail tracks through Newfoundland. What a great group of guys, Elmer was the oldest guy at 81 years of age and was said to have kept up to the young guys like a champ, even on the ‘yes ma’ams’. On the 14 hour ferry ride back to Nova Scotia, as luck would have it, the ATV group was there, minus Glen who had a mechanical failure. We got the opportunity to get to know these guys better and both Deya and I were really impressed at the quality and character of the group.

We headed West to the Cabot Trail, for me this is the best all around ride in Canada. The trail can be done in 6-8 hours but I think it’s best done in two days. There are plenty of beautiful stops and scenic view with lots of restaurants and places to stay along the way. We stayed just South of Chéticamp (pronounced something like ‘Shit-ty-camp) on the edge of the beach. Earlier we had met a Polish born Canadian lad named Dawid and a young married couple who were riding their KLRs and were just finishing their one year trip throughout Canada and the USA (Will and Amanda), heading back to Toronto. We decided to meet up further down the trail and find some camping together. This was a fun couple to hang out with and we enjoyed a fire on the beach and trying to cook Bisquick on a stick, the result being limited with Will’s turning out the best.

Once we cleared out the next rainy morning we headed for Halifax, the roads were excellent and the coast of Nova Scotia is a pleasure to ride. We were heading to stay with the parents of a friend I used to work with. As it turned out Deya ended up with some extra instruction on her riding skills, it looked like good fun. Bill and Eunice are a real pleasure to spend time with and the stories of their sons antics growing up had me laughing most of the time.

I keep thinking about the questions we get asked along the way, one of them was from Amanda while we were sitting on the Cabot Trail in front of a salty beach fire. She asked, “What has been the most enjoyable part of your trip so far?” to which both Deya and I answered without rehearsing, spending time with good people. Amanda and Will agreed. I don’t want to call it luck or great fortune but Deya and I certainly keep ending up in the right place at the right time to be able to connect with outstanding people of character. Today we are spending two nights at Archie’s cabin which is close to the famous Peggy’s Cove. It’s beautiful here and both Deya and I agree that his cabin would be the style of place we would like to have as a home, and the Maritime’s would be a great spot to plant it. But it is not just the place that impresses us, it’s the man, Archie has a natural character that is genuine and thoughtful. He comes with an impressive set of friends who speak very highly of him but I doubt he would take any credit if pressed. Either way the only word I can find to describe the opportunity to spend time with the families and friends we’ve met is ‘Lucky’.
Looks newer on the inside!

Once we clear out of this area we will head for Moncton then onto Saint John in New Brunswick. Hopefully we’ll get to hand out with some more of the fine young lads, including Elmer, before heading into the USA for the end of the month. We have to make a stop to get Deya her 20k tune up, but I fear the BMW dealer there is charging more than the ISO standards BMW has set so we might wait to get it done in the USA.

Newfoundland

I’m thankful that Newfoundland is a rugged and beautiful place. The people here, when not driving, are fantastic and friendly. I’m thankful to Hurricane Earl for not killing us, only damaging our tent and knocking trees down all around us. I’m thankful to Mr. Knott for putting us up, feeding us breakfast and showing us the facility he works at.

I am thankful for the good people who invited us to stay even though we couldn’t make it there. I am really grateful that we got to meet, on both ferries, the group of ATV riders that we hope to spend some time with.

Newfoundland was good to us and so I’m mentioning the good stuff about Newfoundland. It is a place worth going and I hope to go back some time. This time however we cut our trip a week short and didn’t visit most of the important points on the Island. I won’t go into why just to say that it wasn’t our time and Newfoundland is as beautiful as they say it is.

September 06, 2010

Quebec City to Newfoundland

Learn while the cost is low, one of our general rules for this trip is to avoid large cities. This is to avoid all the real hazards that come with going to town. Main thing: traffic, then people, then cost. When we pulled into the city it was packed and there where people everywhere. We were in a no-parking zone with no options, had a lot of stuff to take off the bikes and were left very exposed. Just as we were at critical mass several people started to approach us to ask questions. This was unfortunate because we were not ready for that and I would have loved to hang out and chat with these fine folks. Sorry Francisco, I’ll have to catch up to you in Chile, we’ll go riding.

Quebec City is fantastic and worth going, I’d take it over Montreal any day, for a vacation spot anyways. We enjoyed the comforts of a place right in the heart of the city and were able to walk around to all the important stuff, which is not typical of us since riding leaves us limited to boots, flip flops and budget constraints. Thanks to the Brittains for hooking us up, you guys rock and we made the most of it.

A few more days here would have been great but that’s not the first time this has been the case. The adventure awaits so we had to head out, which by the way was not easier than heading in. We took with us a valuable lesson that entering an area surrounded on all sides, equipment and personal items exposed makes us a huge target. This was the low cost lesson from Quebec City and we’ll have to develop techniques to mitigate this problem if we find ourselves in similar circumstances in less favourable places, like Mexico City or New Orleans.

As we exited Quebec and entered the Province of New Brunswick the fist two things you can notice is the fine lawns, front yards and the flowers atop the tombstones. The next thing you notice are the colours and star of the Acadians. This is a friendly and proud group of people out here. The landscape also seemed to improve immensely and the riding improved likewise.
We we’re late into the day and we arrived at a friends parents place, we had to knock on a few doors to find it, the result of riding into the night, but had a warm welcome when we arrived. Our hosts put us up in their spare bed and we had a fabulous sleep. The next day we checked out town, Sainte-Anne De Madawaska, and we’re treated to breakfast at a local diner. Good stuff, later we got some groceries and made dinner for the hosts, I believe they enjoyed it! It also gave us some leftovers for the next day. It’s a simple thing but it’s nice when we have the opportunity to do something for people that put us up, even though they don’t expect anything.

The next day we headed towards the coast and landed near some crown land on the beach at Pointe-Sapin. This is where Deya wiped out and as luck would have it I caught it all on film! Of course her version was vastly different than the actual footage until we viewed it, now we just don’t discuss it. haha.


Just before we had a chance to set up the N.B. welcome party arrived, it was a whirlwind of friendly drunk guys feeding us beer. As quickly as they spun in they left, it was a good time and reassuring that we had made it to the Maritimes. It was actually a pretty good experience and set the tone for our time here.

On our way out we changed a few of our routing plans, nothing major but it put us into the Meacher's camp on P.E.I. To get there we had to traverse the Confederation Bridge, this thing is a real piece of work and worth googling if you’re an engineering geek and our buddy, whose folks we were visiting, had a hand in its construction.

We would be intruding into an upcoming event (Happy 50th Anniversary you two!) so we had to get in and get out quickly. The first night was one of the best sleeps I’ve had in a while and their camp was really nice, of course Murphy was there but we didn’t realize it at the time. The next morning when we were just about to have a dramatic departure Deya’s bike wouldn’t start. The battery seemed to be at about 9 volts. Not sure how exactly but there it was, so after some trouble shooting with the multimeter we put it to the jumpstart. That worked and we now were able to have an anticlimactic departure.

We weren’t going too far though, about 40 km if we wanted, and would be staying at the Meacher's home in Charlottetown for one more evening. But instead of a direct route we headed up to the North Cape and the Wind Research Center which added several hundred kilometres. That evening we were riding straight for a bridge that was out, a gentleman in his yard flagged us over to give us some good directions to get around it. I asked if he was aware of any nearby camping and he didn’t hesitate to offer his sail boat for the night! Thanks George for the evening, Paul is a funny guy too and we had a nice night. We locked everything up, cleaned up the cushions and turned off the power. We came by to say thanks (hope you’re reading this) but it was pretty early so we didn’t want to wake you up. Thanks again for your hospitality.

Paul is the night watchman for the Marina, he told us these fairly funny stories about the birds, cranes and gulls mostly, and the super loud “CRAAWWW” that would come out of nowhere. He laughed and said, “You’ll probably stick your head out of the boat in the middle of the night and scare the wits out of yourself from the monster bird screeching right in front of you.” He told the story so well that I didn’t believe it until I just about crapped in my pants when I stuck my head out of the boat at 2am and was blasted by this massive sreaming grey bird, I just laughed.

En route we stopped at the seaside town of Victoria, it’s a lovely little place. We had taken a break and were approached by ‘Bill’ who was a real character. Bill had just finished shooting a film called ‘Dancing with Dad’ (look for it at the film festivals next year) and we had a generally good conversation. It was a fun and rewarding conversation, the way I think most should be. Bill showed up, talked an interesting talk, then left asking for nothing but leaving a nice gift of gab.

We had a nice walk around Charlottetown; it’s a little town in good shape and is nice to hang out in. We did the typical things, chilled by the water, conversed by the Starbucks and watched a heroin deal go down on our walk home.

We were sorting out stuff when the report of Hurricane Earl appeared. It sounded bad and caused us a real dilemma. Do we stay or do we go? What the heck does Earl do to the Maritimes and Newfoundland? Will we be able to make it to the Island from P.E.I in time. Is it worth going? We can’t keep mooching off the Meachers. In the end we stayed another night, headed out and caught the ferry to Nova Scotia, from there it was a long day to North Sydney.

September 01, 2010

Into the grip of Quebec City

The morning was thick with fog and neither of us slept well. It can get cold at night, not too cold but enough to wake you up. This morning we got up early and packed quickly, the tent was still wet. There was no way of knowing what we would find as we travelled through the thick fog and deeper into the depths of Quebec.

We travelled East and South, fog lamp on and keeping within sight of each other, the traffic was light in the early morning and we were thankful for that. It was a while before the fog began to lift and the sun was shining. Just about then we found we were entering the land of the Shawinigan Hand Shake, known for its teeth clenching and tiger claw grip, a greeting made famous by Prime Minister Chrétien. We knew we would have to be careful, these liberal brawlers where not to be trifled with. Fortunately we found a safe haven (Tim Hortons) and quickly found refuge in the corner where everyone could look at us like monkeys in a cage. Deya pulled out the Tim’s Card (compliments of Dad) and you could hear the sigh of relief. Then, when she ordered there was brief chaos as people scrambled to find a translator, shortly after we had two bagel breakfasts and a coffee, no sugar.

The streets were well marked but we left with a crazed look, sweat dripping from our foreheads, jumping over curbs and crashing through intersections like mad foreign troops. Like good soldiers though we never left a trace that we had been there only the mystery in the minds of the people in that place, the curiosity of what made us tick, where we had come from, the strange accents and that unbelievable Tim’s card with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders emblazed on the front. As we rode out of town my rear view mirror betrayed a silent secret, the people along the road, hands raised without waving, solemn looks in their eyes as though they wish we had stayed longer, as though they wish they knew.

We rode like the wind and it was windy too, until we reached the outskirts of Quebec City, QC. The GPS navigation leading us directly into the fray, the city was awesome, similar to Europe, but with a different culture, language and way of life. Winding our way through the narrow streets until we reached our final destination, stopping at the only open spot, surrounded to the front and rear by angry taxi cabs and flanked by happy and confused tourists. As we tried to dismount and move our gear to the hotel, our meagre possessions splayed out like a gutted pig, they moved in for the kill.

Leaving London.

The down time was good and we were able to get some important things done, the primary one being a tyre change. The only problem I had other than my knees and back nearly giving up on me was seating the bead on Deya’s front tyre. I was almost ready to try the WD-40 and a flame trick but instead took the wheel to the BMW shop, I’ll test the flame trick when we are really desperate. The fellows at the BMW in London were very accommodating and had the bead seated in about 30 seconds. At that point I didn’t even feel bad, just happy to be done with it.

After several days house guests become a lot like fish, they start to smell. We headed for Toronto to see more friends and new fish bowls, the common denominator here is that these are all friends that have moved away from where we lived, leaving us alone and friendless. I’m not bitter though, really I’m not.  We even got to visit our friends from Vancouhver in Toronto;-o  Thanks for dinner guys!

We first stopped by to visit a fellow adventurer to catch up on his whereabouts (Diego-blog is linked on the left) and he’s visiting Canada for a while. I hope he can eventually call Canada home, I think he’s the kind of guy that could do well here and contribute while keeping his ties to his home country. Canada was built by immigrants and some of the best and proudest Canadians I have met where not born here.

Later we spent several days with Marcus, Noeline and their two wonderful kids. Deya and I learned a few things; one about being tactical and the other about observation and underestimating. One taught by the parents the other taught by the kids. We’ll keep the details under our hats but certainly these are the things that we miss out on when you don’t get to spend quality time with the folks that are important to you. It was almost three years since we saw the family… many things had happened, it might be another three years before we see them again but I hope not.

Marcus and Noeline saved the day to which I’m eternally grateful, they had arranged a dinner and an outstanding birthday cake for Deya. I am, of course, a useless imbecile when it comes to my wife’s birthday and hope that she doesn’t eventually return me as defective. Thanks guys for the save!

After saying our goodbyes we headed for Canada’s capital, Ottawa. Deya was excited and seemed sure she would get to meet with the Prime Minister. Unfortunately he was busy dancing up in the Arctic or she would probably have secured a meeting. Ottawa is one of my favourite cities, I love the old buildings and the easy living atmosphere. Right across the river is Hull in Quebec and this makes for a nice mix of English and French. If the opportunity arises I would love to live there for some time or at least visit for a while. Deya and I wandered around town and saw some evening festivities at the government buildings before heading back across the bridge to Hull where we were staying.

The next day we headed out towards Mont-Tremblant. The roads in Quebec were harder than any we have been on. As we headed North I was a little surprised at two things: first many of the homes seemed shabby, a bit like a reserve and second it seemed as though every 3rd home was for sale? It seemed that every other thing was up for grabs too, the car, the bike, the scooter, trailers, wood, kids… I just don’t get why it seemed so excessive. I worry about the potential loss of our Quebec culture and uniqueness as a part of our Canadian heritage but I think the unstable issue surrounding the separatists keeps the rest of Canada from really being able to protect this part of our history.

Mont-Tremblant, in contrast to the communities en route was a lovely little resort town. We filled up on gas, Deya lost her prescription sunglasses and it was getting late. We had to still find camping and the search for a place is always stressful. Not because finding something is so difficult but mostly because it’s distracting while you are riding and there is a lot of doubt about things like safety, breaking a bylaw or just pissing off the locals. Deya finally spotted a good place and we set up with time to enjoy dinner.