Toronto

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This is a self portrait of me in Toronto. can’t you tell? I’ll be working here for the next couple of weeks. Here’s a few snappies from my phone, which I am discovering doesn’t do well in dim light conditions. I can forgive it that, I suppose. My camera gets crappy cel reception pretty much everywhere I go.

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I am staying downtown on Queen st.

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It’s happening here. Bright lights, big city!

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I am working in the home office of my client, who lives in this awesome little house very close to downtown.

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We ate at this little Italian restaurant the other day. I had a smoked salmon pizza. it was divine.

Campervan!

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Out with the old, in with the older. The same day I sold the motorcycle (the same transaction, in fact), I became the proud new owner of a dilapitated but solid 1977 Chevrolet camper van. It has an extended roof, and I can walk it’s length inside without touching my head.

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It was a straight trade for the bike, Or rather, officially, I bought the van for the same sum of money the previous owner bought my motorcycle for. I don’t know what he was thinking. This van has twice as many wheels, and certainly will be worth more in the scrap metal market.

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It is a little rough around the edges, and after I took these photos I spent half a day scrubbing it (and left it with plenty more to do) but it was funner than fun. I also replaced the pasenger side triangle window – which, two owners ago, had been broken and patched up with duct tape. I had some harrowing moments – the entire window rolling mechanism came apart within the door and had to be rebuilt by my big awkward hands twisting in funny angles while I peered down the slit the window usually disappears into, but I reigned supreme in the end.

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I love that kind of stuff (at least, the times I don’t break something worse than when I started). The last time I felt this kind of high was when I replaced the clutch on the motorcycle (sigh).

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The propane regulator has to be replaced. I don’t think it’ll be any problem firing up the stove once that’s done, but I worry a little about the furnace and the fridge. I almost hope they don’t work – then I get to fix’em!

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When we moved here, we decided we wanted to take advantage of the fact we’re now on Vancouver Island.

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There are a lot of cool places to go in a van like this, all within the confines of our fair isle. The day after I acquired the van, we drove it to French Beach. It was beautiful.

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Julie found a giant mushroom – at least a foot across.

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The driftwood the surf had pushed up a little creek was steaming in the waning daylight.

So, nomorcycle, but come next summer, we’ll be in camping heaven!

Nomorcycle

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I turned 30, got married, and learned to ride a motorcycle all in the same year. Coincidence? Probably not. Julie is a big believer in the astrological phenomenon known as the Saturn return – Maybe that had something to do with it. For me, the year I turned 30 meant self directed change and a very good year.

Last week, I sold the motorcycle. It’s the end of an era. One that might come back one day, but is gone for now.

The feeling I got looking out the window at my motorcycle parked out front never really went away over the course of the years I owned it. I’d think “I can’t believe I am the cool kid who gets around on that” or “I can’t wait until I have to go somewhere” or “maybe when the weather gets better I’ll take it out on the highway for a couple hours/days/weeks”.

All that said, it feels good to have my motorcycling days behind me. It feels like victory, actually. I owned and operated my bike for 4 years, and have come through unscathed.

I’m not a guy who worries much about being hip, and I’m not a guy who comes from a long line of motorcycle riders, or who has a bunch of friends with bikes. Instead, it was something I decided I wanted to do on my own. It was an identity I forged for myself, and a skill I learned. It isn’t easy to decide to ride a motorcycle. You have figure out what the motivation is to take the risks involved – it’s no secret that motorcycling is nowhere near as safe an activity as driving.

It meant negotiating with my spouse. She (understandably) wasn’t thrilled about the idea of me tearing around on a motorbike. I didn’t like the idea of causing her stress, and she didn’t like the idea of telling me not to do something I wanted to do. Figuring out a middle ground was an stretch for both of us that we handled well, and in my opinion, grew our relationship a little stronger.

And for me, it meant knowing that I could define myself how I wanted. I’d always wanted a motorcycle since I was a little kid. Now I’ve had one. Knowing I could get that all together makes me realize that while not all my dreams will come true, I can prioritize the ones I want, and make them happen.

In the 4 years I owned it, I rode it well over 20,000 kilometers. I rode it down the the coast of Oregon and California to Los Angeles and Palm Springs in 2003. When my brother turned 30, I rode it over the Rockies to Calgary. I hardly ever paid for parking when I worked downtown in Gastown. I loved that bike.

But it wasn’t as fun the last year I rode it as it was the first, and staring down the barrel of another winter, I just couldn’t bear the thought of riding it the rain. This, and for the last couple of years, the risk has been more at the forefront of my thinking on it. I was always aware that I was taking a chance every time I got on it, but I felt just a little less like that was an okay decision as time went on.

So now it’s over (for now. I might rent one for a day next summer, or maybe get another at a later date). I miss it, but I feel proud of my experience with the bike I loved so much, and I feel a sense of accomplishment at having made the motorcycle worthy of a chapter of my existence on this planet, or at the very least, an entry in this blog.

Weekend in Vancouver

I was in Vancouver over the last weekend. It has been a while. More than a month since the last time I made the trip

It was a whirlwind tour, seeing as many friends and business contacts as I could, and also attending some meetings at Langara. Visiting Vancouver is rewarding, but exhausting work and pleasure for me. I didn’t get to call or see everyone I wanted to – Months after our moving date, the move is still hard.

It’s hard to believe I don’t live there anymore. Seeing the fall leaves blowing around downtown and feeling the wind a little chillier is a familiar experience for me in Vancouver. It felt like late September should. It was nice to feel so at home, even in this place that really isn’t home anymore.

It’s easier to feel at home in Vancouver than it was a few weeks ago. This is because Victoria also feels like home now, even if the seasons are just different enough to be a little mysterious. the last time I came to Vancouver, it was tragic to have to leave it behind for Victoria. Now I look forward to the uninterrupted 1 hour and 35 minute period I have with my computer in the workstation on the ferry, and the motorcycle ride home on number 17 highway that leads me to Bay St, and our bed in the living room.

As time goes on, it feels less like I left the home we made in Vancouver for Victoria, and more like we’re just making our home territory bigger. To say that taking the ferry over is easy is untrue – it isn’t. It’s over $100 for the return trip with a car, and it takes 6 hours out of your life there and back. That said, it feels close, and making the trip is definitely worth it. I look forward to my next one.