I am posting this today, on the 18th of April 2013, as it marks our eighth year since immigrating to Canada. We have had the greatest of times. Our new life began during the economic boom in Alberta, where we quickly found work, built a new life and career, and made new friends.
We explored the mountains, the prairies and the badlands, loved the vastness of the country and its spectacular scenery. We got back in touch with nature, and learned more about vegetation and wildlife, than we ever learned in school. And best of all, we got our work-life-balance back. Yes, we worked hard but there was still enough time in the day for motorcycling, hiking, boating and enjoying life. Gotta love this country.
Three years ago after a traumatizing work assignment in Winnipeg (dark, cold and dull, but mostly cold) we packed up and moved to the We(s)t Coast. Instead of snow we got rain, and lots of it. But wow, when the sun comes out, it's the best place on Earth! With mountains and the ocean in sight and close reach we became even more outdoorsy. We had arrived, or so we thought.
But isn't life what happens to you while you're busy making other plans? Because now time has come to say good-bye, not to the blogger community but to the country we called home for the past years.
We have the desire to be closer to our families, especially with parents getting too old for intercontinental traveling. We had pondered over moving back to Europe for quite some time now, and are sure that this is the right thing to do at this time.
It all comes down to family and friends, doesn't it? And at home we will be welcomed with open arms. We received overwhelming positive feedback on sharing our plans, and were literally buried with offers to help settling in. We have plenty of places to sleep, and people in our professional network have offered their support in finding new jobs.
Of course having embraced the Canadian lifestyle and having been deeply spoiled by it we are curious and a bit anxious too, if we can still fit in and comply with the German way of life. We shall see. For starters I can bring my Sportster along, I take this as a good sign.
This change might put a stopper to this blog since there won't be much motorcycle content while preparing the move and starting up our new lives in Europe but I hope that you will meanwhile continue to follow us on our new blog (it's in English!) as hubby and I rediscover Europe two-wheeled, two-legged or by other means of transport, and make an effort to reconnect with the European culture and the somewhat peculiar lifestyle of the locals. I am going to miss the ocean and I am going to miss our friends on this side of the world!
With my motorcycle still in storage the next best thing is shamelessly soliciting a ride from the famous URAL handler Dom whom we had the privilege to host before he would leave civilization for the cold wild tundra.
The handsome orange motorcycle/sidecar combination named Valencia offers a whole new perspective on riding, and it almost feels like riding in a convertible sports car, if it wasn't for the motorcycle gear.
I want (need?) to get in as much riding time as I can, so I show him the way to Alouette Lake (50 km one way) in the Golden Ears Provincial Park through effective punch and point. This specific means of communications works perfectly, and an hour later we stop to enjoy the lake and mountain vistas (No, I still can't name them, so let's stick to Mount Bob, Roland Peak and Martha Heights).
With me out of the sidecar the next thing I watch is Dom rolling down the boat launch to find out if his hack is amphibian.
Just kidding! In fact he is looking for the perfect position to pose with Valencia, while I am waiting for the Kodak moment in which the brakes of his URAL would give way...
All goes well though, the brakes are holding, and I force Dom at gunpoint to pose for a picture, hence the face...
To test out the sidecar's capabilities I guide him and Valencia further into the forest to the "Rambo-Bridge", and with impeccable precision Dom managed to hit every single pothole on that short stretch of gravel road.
His attempts to shake me up left me completely unimpressed, though. The sidecar seat is not only safe and comfy but special shock absorbers help preventing any spinal damage. For all I know it is a perfectly smooth ride.
Dom in action... no wait a minute, does he ride with his eyes closed? Maybe Valencia knows the way...
Three hours later... and we are still riding. The light is fading and it is rapidly getting cold. Not for me on "my" monkey seat, though. I just hide under the cover and all is well.
A ride in the sidecar, especially with an experienced rider like Dom is FUN, capital letters! I enjoyed every minute of the 3 1/2 hours, and could have gone much longer.
If you like motorcycle riding but don't ride your own, forget about going pillion, get somebody with a hack! It is the next best thing to riding your own, honour bright!
Thank you, Dom for this unforgettable experience, and thanks to your wife Martha, who had sent you on this trip of a lifetime. Drive safely, and don't get hit by moose or bears. By the way I hope you will find your way to Alaska without the map you forgot on our dinner table...
Roland and I genuinely enjoyed having you over and sharing our views on world, life and (yes, it is indeed a hobby of those bloody Krauts...) politics. Please know that you and your family will always be welcome whenever, wherever...
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'!
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.