Since 2004 I've been retired, off and on, but I think now I'm really there. I spend my time with my photography and writing, fraternising with friends, and trying to keep up with my grand children when I see them.
One of my largest travel blogs is about a cross country motorcycle trip I did in 2006. It was one of the highlights of my days on the motorcycle. I sold my motorcycle in 2009. I found that I wanted to spend time doing other things. I miss it from time to time, but I guess I was ready to retire from that interest as I quickly move off the thoughts of missing the bike and onto other, more recent interests.
I still love road cycling; however, the summer of 2011 was mostly lost to a move from our home of 33 plus years to a new home in Cochrane, Alberta. The good news is that I'm now right beside the roads I like to cycle on.
I hope I can make the time to post more travel stuff on this site. My travel is less adventurous these days, but it may have interest for some.
September 16th 2011
We allowed ourselves a couple of days to drive back to Cochrane from Portland. We thought we could make it from Portland to Kimberley in one day. That was all fine and good at 10am when our GPS displayed an arrival time in Kimberley of 4:30pm. What transpired was a bit different. The time shift or, as I started thinking of it, a time warp, started with a coffee break at a unique coffee shop just outside of Portland. It was a quaint place on a side road with a talkative, older woman (all right - our age then), who gave us the complete background of her business, her husband’s health, and her positive philosophy on life. All this was fine, but she didn’t seem to be able to make our drinks and talk at the ... read more
September 13th 2011
Our visit to the coast was brief. We started at Lincoln and drove up on the old road on the ‘Three Capes Loop’. We didn’t get to Cape Meares because there was a washout on the road, but we did see Cape Kiwanda at Pacific City and Cape Lookout. The most spectacular was Cape Lookout, as you can see from the picture I’ve included. We tested the water out, but only up to our ankles. We both understand why all the surfers are in wet suits in this area. That Pacific water is very cold. Nevertheless, we had to say that we got wet in the Pacific Ocean. If we were going to come to this region for a stay on the coast we would definitely consider the hotel at Cape Kiwanda. It is expensive, but ... read more
September 12th 2011
Southwest of Portland is the Yamhill Valley where there are vineyards and wineries that specialise in producing Pinot Noir wines. There are also some nice Rieslings and Chardonnays produced in the region. The town of McMinnville is one of the main centres. We think it is a gem of a little town and will go back if we are ever down this way again. Driving through the countryside on a wine tasting exploration, we were overcome by the similarity between the views there and the countryside in Tuscany, Italy. One could superimpose one upon the other; however, seeing castles on the hilltops and nibbling on gelato in every village was not possible, so it wasn’t a perfect match. In McMinnville is the Hotel Oregon. It is an old hotel that has been restored, but done so ... read more
September 11th 2011
We left Portland on Saturday, after three and a bit good days of wandering about, drinking coffee and espressos (actually macchiatos), testing the local beer, shopping, visiting galleries and, of course, eating. The people of Portland are, for the most part, incredibly friendly and helpful. In my experience, not the norm for such a big city. Oh there are also the slightly ‘different’ folk who spend a lot of time talking to themselves and chat up others for no particular purpose other than to hear themselves talk, but those folk make up the total ambience of a big city. Somehow they seem to fit and are accepted. Many times, when we got on a train or streetcar, or were standing and waiting for the same, someone would start in with one of us. Les seemed to ... read more
September 7th 2011
The forecast for Walla Walla on Tuesday was 99 deg-F. The good news was that it didn’t peak until mid-afternoon. We found another local eatery for breakfast that was great (Clarett’s). It was full of characters and the stories we could overhear would have made a good essay. Most people here seem pretty comfortable in their skin. Normally we end up talking to locals who have been living in Walla Walla for a long time and know about the area. Mind you, we tend to talk to older folk so maybe that awareness of the place shouldn’t be a surprise. Les and I felt quite at home in this city. The first part of the day was on straight, smooth freeways through dry farmland. It was all incredibly boring. However, once we reached The City of ... read more
September 5th 2011
We were up early and off from Kimberley for a planned stay at Moscow on Sunday night. As usual, the stay at Chateau Kimberley was wonderful. It is a boutique hotel combined with an art gallery, so there is lots to muse on while there. The real tourist part of the trip started at Sandpoint with our morning coffee stop at Mad Mike’s Coffee House. Thankfully, they had run out of their great cinnamon buns, so we avoided several hundred calories right off the bat. While standing by the car waiting for Les to do her required inspection of Cold Water Creek clothing store, I witnessed a strange conflict between a ‘rules based’ guy in a car and a ‘free based’ guy who was walking. It all came about when the rules-based guy stopped his left ... read more
September 3rd 2011
Here we go on a long awaited trip to Portland, Oregon. Saturday, we had a leisurely jaunt from Cochrane to Kimberley through familiar country. The sky was blue all the way. We had breakfast in one of our favourite places, the Juniper in Banff and then held off eating too much until we had a great meal in a German restaurant in Kimberley. We were disappointed that the General Manager that we knew at the Juniper (James) was not there any more. We old folk don't take change very well, but I suppose James found something better to do and so off he went. I hope our paths cross again in the future. Our plan is to be up early on Sunday and make our way through the Palouse to Moscow, in Idaho, not the other ... read more
August 24th 2006
I have taken time to reflect on what I have done and where I have been this summer. Some memories seem to be embedded and reappear regularly, while others return involuntarily, in short flashes. It is all part of my story and I want to put it down before I forget too much. Recently, I was asked to try to sum up, in one or two words, my feelings on the trip as a whole. That stymied me for a minute, but then I realized what it is - accomplished. I accomplished my goal of travelling by motorcycle across the country and back, but I also accomplished six weeks of learning about our country and our neighbours. I saw the beauty as well some of the ugliness of this continent, but have come away with the ... read more
August 11th 2006
Odometer: 43215 km The day started with a promise of reaching Calgary today, but also the promise of some rain on the way. I left Regina by 7am and had breakfast in Moose Jaw. The weather at this point was perfect for riding, but the sky in the west was threatening so I put on my rain gear in anticipation. I wasn’t disappointed. I hoped I could ride through the wet, but the lightning started and when a strike on a hill across the valley beside me resulted in an instant crash of thunder, I sought refuge in a little restaurant at Chaplin. Some of the community was in for their morning break and I invited myself to join a farmer that was sitting on his own. He wasn’t critical of my dripping clothes. I never ... read more
August 10th 2006
Odometer: 42920 km The travel is all familiar, old ground, from here to home in Calgary. The temptation will be to ride through it with out taking notice of anything, thinking that I know everything there is to know about the country here. I’ll have to overcome that numbness and try to keep my senses as alert as they have been for the rest of the trip. My plan is to travel on the TransCanada to Indian Head; slip over to the Qu’Appelle Valley and past Katepwa, the location of our cottage back in the forties; through Labret; breakfast in Fort Qu’Appelle and hopefully a chance to meet Donna Caruso, a videographer I admire; and, finally, slip into Regina by early afternoon. This morning my sleep came to an abrupt end with a loud banging that ... read more