Thursday, September 9, 2021

The joy of riding off in all directions at once

Google will tell you the drive from Port Hardy on the northernmost tip of of Vancouver Island south to the city of  Nanaimo should take about four hours. On Wednesday, Aug. 11, my daughter Ewa and I -- on motorcycles -- made the trip in eight. 

I just realized now -- after starting this sentence in fact-- that after several motorbike trips together, Ewa and I have practised, perfected and honed to a point where we believe it could be at least a demonstration sport in the next summer Olympics -- serendipity. 

We could teach a George Brown College Course on how to travel with no destination. Starting with "why a run that most people in cars complete in four hours takes us eight."  

The Port-Hardy-to-Nanaimo trip was the final leg of a weeklong tour that led us northeast from Vancouver to Whistler, across to Pemberton and Cache Creek, up to Prince George then west to Prince Rupert, followed by a 16-hour voyage aboard the luxurious Northern Expedition ferry boat to Port Hardy. 

Four days to get to Prince Rupert. En route, in the town of Cache Creek, we coincidentally met up with friend of Ewa's on his motorcycle biking the same distance in one. 

Some people might say that by stopping every which place to have a look around, Ewa and I lost a lot of time. But the opposite happened. 

On a journey such as ours, you actually create times: hundreds of moments you'll never regret or forget. To prove it, I started this blog intending to tell you about all those little mini-adventures, but I just now decided I don't feel like writing so instead I'll just show you pictures. 

ACME ANVIL PLACE: I forget where this antique
dealer is. I just liked the picture. Antique store visits are miracle cures to
the too-much-Internet blues.
That's what it says on her
sweater. So how could I
not start yet another
unplanned conversation?
We met Janet and Laird
 at breakfast in Smithers, B.C.
They met at University
in Minnesota where he
was frat mates with one
Robert Zimmerman; in 
'68 she worked a vote
registration desk at the
famous Democratic 
conference featured in 
the film Chicago 7.  
Her shirt wasn't lyin'. 

Ewa, in yet another delightful diversion,
the little red school house museum at 150
MileHouse, B.C. Do yourself a favour
.but not until you're done my blog. Google
"The Dunce Hat Wasn't Aways So Stupid"
Turns out it's named after a philosopher
named Duns. Such are the treasures
you'll glean, travelling with your kid.

OLD HOME WEEK: Pictured with Ewa is Michelle, who we met in the parking lot of the Oceanside RCMP station near Nanaimo. Conversation went along these lines:
Michelle: "Where you from?"
Me: "Toronto."
Her: "What part?"
Me: "High Park." 
Her: "Be specific. Where in High Park?"
Me: "You know Roncesvalles?"
Her: "My dad was the mayor of Roncesvalles." (Roncesvalles is not a place you can be mayor of really, it's just a neighbourhood but still.)
Me: "What's his name?"
Her: "Gerry."
Me: "You're Gerry's daughter?? (I was so surprised you could almost hear the double question marks in my voice.) And I hugged the now-teary-eyed Michelle, who I'd never met before. But I did know and like her dad who died in January. The coincidence of us meeting like that bordered on the mystical. And it reminded me of a few lessons that Ewa's and my little trip retaught:
A) It's never too late to offer condolences to a grieving family member;
B) You never know what turn in the road the best part of an adventure's going to be around;
 C) This wonderful country of ours? Despite being so freaking big, in some ways, it's very small indeed; 
D) When my flight was heading out from Toronto to Vancouver, I found myself all happy and taking pictures out the window, as excited as I was the first time I rode a DC-7 prop plane from Sudbuy to Toronto at age 11. Everybody on board seemed to share the vibe. The WestJet flight attendant, when he saw that the only thing I had in my carry-on was my motorcycle helmet, said "Sir you won't need the helmet. We have seatbelts." The fun and spontaneity lasted the whole trip. Post pandemic, we'll all be appreciating the little things in life way more than before. Just you watch. 



No comments:

Post a Comment