March 28, 2013

19 °C and Sunny!

All work and no play made me a dull gal, and I haven't been out having fun on two wheels lately.
I couldn't believe what the weather guessers have in store for us over the next few days:
Inspired I snapped some random moto pics along the route. Here it is the Westcoast Express going by, a weekday commuter train bringing in commuters from as far as Mission into downtown Vancouver, a pretty reliable, clean and fast alternative to driving a car. I used to commute a lot by rail back in Europe.
Just for fun I did the Belcarra loop today after work. I wasn't the only one with that idea.
For those who celebrate the upcoming holidays: Happy Easter and good (egg) hunting! For the rest: Enjoy your long weekend, and I hope you'll get in some ridin'!

A Day Full of Goodbyes

Roland: Today was a tough day... Not only did I have my last day at Westech after seven and a half wonderful years, but I also had to say my Goodbyes to many colleagues and friends, and to my 'Landlord of two years' Bruce and his family.

More than once I had very unmanly tears in my eyes, and more than once I questioned myself if leaving is really the right thing to do. But life is full of changes, Goodbyes and Hellos, and I am sure that I will meet many of my friends at Westech again!

March 26, 2013

Last Dinner!

One last dinner with friends and (ex-)colleagues at Pulcinella in Kensington. This is a fantastic example why Canada is such a great country: Diversity! Each of us was born somewhere else, (from left to right) in Cambodia, Germany, Bangladesh, Belarus, Canada and the Philippines, and yet we are a group with much more commonalities than differences.

This was a great evening, and I am surely going to miss our regular get-togethers! Guys, please let me know whenever you are in Europe, and we will meet again!

March 25, 2013

Where are we going?

There! Or close to there!

The theoretical air distance from British Columbia, Canada to Germany is 8,073 kilometers or 5,016 miles.

Our first stop will be Germany, where we have family and a network of friends and ex co-workers. But Europe is full of opportunities and choices. We will go where our jobs will take us. Germany, Austria, Switzerland? The Netherlands or Scandinavia? Ireland? We will know it when we get there, but each of these countries will definitely bring us closer to our families, which we had missed dearly during our Canadian sojourn.

March 18, 2013

All in a Day's Work (West Vancouver)

 Drive up Cypress Mountain for a nice view
 on downtown Vancouver.
 Then head back down to sea level and grab a coffee in Horseshoe Bay.
 Sit in the sun in Whytecliff Park
 and enjoy the view.
 Go to the pier in Dundarave Village
 for a walk and some beach combing.
 Grab a bite to eat at the Beachhouse.
Admire the German Friendship Globe, as it floats on water, 2.5 tons and all.
The world is my oyster today.

March 10, 2013

A Short Trip across the Border

Once again we drove down to Seattle, where towers are spacey, and cafe's are plentiful.
We were excited to be able to see our friends Guido and Andrea again, who came up from sunny California and brought some nice weather along.
We stayed at The Maxwell, a very nice contemporary hotel, just a block away from a certain popular Thai restaurant, where we met the two for dinner to eat and to make plans for the next day.
Friday was meant to be spent outside and involved a lot of walking. It was a bit nippy in the morning but nothing a good cuppa couldn't fix.
This plantlike installation is part of the Chihuly Garden and Glas Exhibition, a beautiful piece of art.
A metal forest at the EMP museum.
Our walk around town lead us down to the ocean and along the shoreline walkways. The water was calm and blue.
We noticed lots of newer buildings at the waterfront, alas train tracks would hint at living not being as peaceful and quiet as it looked.
We took a desperately needed break from walking at Starbucks' first Cafe, before we continued our tour. 

Guido wanted to shop for some new gear after his got damaged in a recent encounter of the deer kind, and we ended up at Touratech, the leading brand in motorcycle equipment. Touratech is German, need I say more? The shop had a world traveler's bike on display. It's owner, Mason Huffine rode 90,000 miles in three years on his BMW F650. Good for him!
 I like orange!
Our day came to its spectacular end at the probably best Italian restaurant at the Pacific Westcoast, the Serafina. We were too busy chatting and too hungry taking pictures, but believe me it when I say that the food was molto delizioso authentic Mediterranean cuisine.

The next day we visited Mount Rainier National Park expecting to see some sights of the gorgeous volcanic mountain itself.
We had to cross a single line bridge that was in very questionable condition, and swayed when cars drove over it.
Nevertheless we bravely stayed long enough for a quick picture.
At Carbon River the riverbed indicated that the stream would swell immensely during springtime.
We followed a logging road uphills and were rewarded with a gorgeous view on Mount Rainier. That was before we got distracted by another attraction: The familiar noise of two dual bikes, the riders waving at us while climbing further uphills. It was a good day for motorcycling.
A mountain called Rainier.
Alas, we could not dwell, as Guido needed to catch a flight home in the afternoon. It was fabulous however, that we were able to spend a few wonderful days with our friends. Life is good.

March 05, 2013

One man. One bike. One direction.

The next best thing a rider will turn to when confined to indoors is to read travel books, travel blogs, watch travel videos and plan road trips while waiting for the weather to improve.

And there it sits, a shiny temptation on my coffee table: France in America
4 1/2 months, 21,000 miles, 27 US states, over 400 pages of bliss. 

I had the recent pleasure to receive an early copy of Gary's book France in America. Since its arrival I would read two chapters each night after work, and had something to look forward to the next evening. This book became my lifeline during the past couple of weeks of rainstorms and dreary weather at the Pacific We(s)t Coast.

This book is a treasure, and well written (he is British after all...). Its glossy pages are bursting with photos, and have valuable maps added to be able to follow his route. When Gary invites the inclined reader to join him on his journey of a lifetime, one feels like riding pillion.

So I hopped on the backseat of his custom painted Harley Davidson "The Leading Ladies" and let it roll. I enjoyed the fair weather, and felt threatened by adverse weather conditions. I worried with him about lost keys or broken gear. I got to meet the people he met, and marveled at the sights that he documented with tons of his own pictures. I felt the loneliness when he mentioned how much he missed his wife during his solo trip and I rejoiced when she could join him for a stretch of the tour.

Gary showed me places I haven't seen before, and refreshed my memory of the places I had previously visited. So, when his book came to its inevitable ending, I felt a void in what had become a routine of my day, and wanted to shout at Gary: Turn around! Take the Southern route and go back East! I simply didn't want it to be over.

Two things stroke a chord with me. Gary said that he wasn't much of a nature lover, and that living in a big city didn't help, but that traveling through the US on a motorcycle - quote:"...made him appreciate our planet for the marvel it truly is." Darn right, Sir!

The other interesting fact were the friendly encounters along his journey, with Americans wishing him well on his journey, pleased with him being able to undertake this trip, and telling him this completely free of envy. Gary worked hard his whole life, and this adventure had been on his bucket list for the longest time. He certainly earned it!

Here is what I have for you, Gary: Respect, admiration and gratefulness. You planted a seed in my mind, and I hope that I will also be able to venture out one fine day to undertake such an epic journey like yours. Thanks for this wonderful book.

Certainly a must read for anyone who loves travels, motorcycles and America!

March 04, 2013

The Mysterious Package

I am not known for my patience, so I grabbed a knife and slashed it open. Hey, I know this face!
I became a follower of Gary's blog a while ago. The blogger was some middle-aged bloke from England, named France fulfilling his dream of riding across America on his Harley Davidson. Lucky for us readers he let us tag along while he documented his trip with pictures and anecdotes as the route unfolded. 

At one point Gary decided to write a BOOK about this epic journey and made the generous promise to honor every single commenter with an early copy. I was one of them. Score! And now I have the privilege to own my very own signed copy of
 Gary, thanks so much!

Review to follow after official launch date.

March 02, 2013

Spam sucks!

Last month I received over forty Anonymous comments written in a way that would suggest that the author seems actually interested in the content of my postings. Often it is written well enough that one can get fooled, and clicks the approval button. But the sole purpose of the installment is to get through the filter and use my private blog to advertise their dubious websites and questionable services.

Motorcycle equipment links is something I can somewhat tolerate although I do not like my blog to be misused as free advertising space to begin with.

But why support the promotion of wart removal, fake fur coats, weight loss, enhancement of certain body parts, or acne cures etc. Really? Blogger starts to freak me out...

So, I apologize for the inconvenience but I had to re-activate the word verification in the comment section. I hope this will keep the annoyance within reasonable numbers.

As much as I like increased traffic on my blog... I want it to be for the right reasons.

Oh, and I got mail:
I wonder...

I bought some cool scooter boots, too. 
(I got bored, and "needed" to shop for moto gear.)
I wanted something safe and comfortable to walk around in.
TCX Womens X/Street Lady Leather Shoes
Stylish, comfy AND road safe