Osoyoos offer

June 27, 2011

After I finished the last blog post I walked to the bike. I took photos of the street just so to remember. I haven’t been too good with photos today.

Osoyoos downtown on a bright sunny day.

Beowulf all packed up

the gentleman you see walking in the photo above offered :

“You want me to take a picture of you with your bike?”

“Sure! I don’t have too many of those as I always take them!” I said.

He took one, looked at it,

“Nice.” he said putting some calculated emphasis the “i” of nice.

“Let me take another one.” Why not. He came back to me handing me the camera.

the two of us

“So where are you coming from and where are you going?”

“I’m coming from Vancouver and I’m going to Montreal.”

“When do you have to be there?”

“Well I don’t really have a time frame. It will be what it is.” I answered thinking about the money and time and all those things.

“I have a place by the lake, I have two of jet skis, kind of like this machine, he said pointing at the bike, but for water, I have a house with 4 rooms, you could come over.”

Hmmm… lake, sun, jet skis, well,well… that could be tempting I thought. The day is unbelievably beautiful, and near the lake here it’s very hot, It could be fun… Or it could be funny. I’m looking at this guy and I’m thinking I’ve seen him somewhere… can’t place him…

“I’ll let you think about it while I go get something at the store.”

“I can’t really think too long” I said ” this outfit is kind of hot standing still in the sun.” I was wearing my leathers, jacket and helmet at that point.

He walked back towards me. I’m trying to sense what he is all about. I am wavering between the sense of adventure and the tiny weird feeling I get.

“Nah, I should keep going” I decided. “Thanks for the offer, it’s tempting though, very tempting.” I said. I got back on the bike and rode off, he waved at me and I waved back. I was climbing the road out of town wondering. Where have I seen this guy? I think it’s music related, or radio…

I guess I’ll never know. It’s all right.

The choices we make, directions. Who knows where that could have led. Paths crossed, fates changed by those decisions.

I landed in Creston it was getting dark. I rode 500 miles, not bad for a first day. The BMW is amazing on the long distances. Truly amazing. You just don’t wear out the way I did on the Suzuki. It’s so stable, steady.

I found this funny little camp ground, with RVs, WiFi, showers and toilets. It’s super clean, and the basic rate of $22 includes the free shower with endless hot water. some places are cheaper but then you have to pay for a 2 minutes shower. So this was good. And if I wanted I could have been emailing from the camp site but I didn’t, it’s not really camping anymore.

My tenting neighbor was a young man from Quebec who came down to work on fruit farms in the Okanagan.

time to set up camp

I took out the guitar and played in the dark for a while. Then went to sleep.

I now am in Cranbrook, found a cafe called : good coffee and it’s true.

we continue on.

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Back on the road

June 26, 2011

Well, I got delayed one day. The plan was to leave Saturday but as usual, when I make a plan, it gets foiled. I woke up and it was pouring rain out there and I had quite a few more things to do before leaving, one of them being shipping a package to my mom in Quebec. So, I decided to delay.

It took a couple of hours and everything was packed, wrapped, picked up and stashed. I was ready to head out.

Patricia, with whom I had been staying for the last 3 weeks, blessed me with a prayer that brought me to tears. It has been amazing to get to know her. She opened her home and heart to me and I am very, very grateful for this new friendship.

I sort of packed the bike, not very well, I had a pyramid behind me… but I knew I needed to get things, get rid of others and did not put on the leathers… (those things are bulky) I

I am looking at my surroundings as I ride to Steveston with the knowledge that I am going to head out of town for a good while. It always changes the looks of things, and People.

I made it to Steveston in time to meet Erika. We hung out for the day, with her sons, we went to Garry Point, had frozen yogurt and enjoyed the sun playing frisbee… I am PATHETIC at frisbee… truly, truly pathetic! So it made the kids laugh.

I bought some travel food, oatmeal, sardines, flat bread and a smoothie mix that I can make if I am caught somewhere with no food. (it has happened) I also have almonds and dried fruit, I’m all set.

I went to bed early. I was feeling the last few days’ hectic pace and late nights and wanted to be fresh for Sunday morning.

This morning I made Erika some poached eggs and toast, we went for espresso, then bought a bottle of water for my camel back, hadn’t done that in a while! and out I was.

I had a scare when I thought I was going to run out of gas, I had decided to wait to get to Chiliwack before filling up as the gas is easily 10 cents cheaper than in Vancouver, lately the low gas warning light would come on at about 140 miles on the odometer… I was at 166 and it still did not come on… I started to think that it was broken… and if so… that could mean that I was about to be out of gas… next station : 30 km… I’m sweating it. I get to the station and it finally comes on at 166 miles… that’s how much better Beowulf gas consumption is on the highway. Phew!

It’s now 4:37 I am in Osoyoos, had coffee a sandwich and I am aiming for the Creston area.

When I woke up this morning I could see myself as a tiny little microscopic speck on a ginormous map of Canada, standing at the very far left corner. Many miles to come. I am not sure what pace I should be taking… I usually don’t really have a destination, so I just go wherever, but this time I do… Montreal is the landing point. Mom. Going to see Mom and I am very excited about that. So how fast do I go?

I’ll have to tune in to my nose again… Well, it’s time to go… talk to you soon.

The main reason I had decided to stay in Vancouver until the end of June was an invitation to be a guest on a TV show produced by Radio-Canada. It’s a summer show will all sorts of guests and events and it will be broadcast in Western Canada.

This last Tuesday and Friday we shot scenes on the bike, an interview and I played a song. We were lucky to have the weather cooperate and had two gorgeous days of brilliant sunshine.

Tuesday we shot the motorcycle scenes. There was a small camera that was set up on the rearview mirror post for some scenes, then on the engine guard to get the wheel and the road. A cameraman was in a mini van for side shots, with the door open, then sitting in the back as I followed. We did scenes with the host as my passenger and solo scenes. here is what that day looked like :

The Tuesday crew, Lyne is the host of the show and yes she will ride with the skirt!

a sign to identify who we are

Lyne is very pretty so Leo made sure to introduce himself...

setting up the camera on the bike

we did many different shots of putting on gloves, helmet and such things...

...starting up the bike, pushing buttons, turning the key...

I don’t have photos of us going around Stanley Park as I was the pilot but in was a nice fun day. Lyne was a great passenger. We had some funny moments,like trying to make us look like going fast (in first gear..) and a roller blader passed us on the sidewalk!

We spent maybe 3 hours, going around the park. I was reminded how amazing this place is, the views, the air, the trees and the beauty of the Park. It is a jewel. We wrapped up and I headed home. It had been a fabulous day.

We were back on to shoot the interview, the song and some other shots on Friday. The forecast called for 60% chances of rain and rain it did in the morning but by 2 PM it was gloriously sunny.

I got there early and Beowulf became the make up room

Lyne took this artsy shot

then, Beowulf became the office desk so I could sign the contract.

it was a bigger crew with 3 cameras, sound person, producer and host.

singing Aventuriere Accidentelle in the park

the set up with the crew to record and film the singing

Shooting the bit after the song

then we shoot the bit where we "go for a ride" which will tie with what we did on Wednesday

getting our last instructions

onlookers in a tourist bus filming us filming...

Stanley Park just blooming... it was glorious, at least all that rain keep these plants happy!

the float planes just taking off from the harbor not far away

from another viewpoint

Patricia and me

blurry but I like it!

Everyone was smiling, things went smoothly, it was fun and easygoing. The producer is excited with the shots so far he told me he thought it was going to be gorgeous.

I will have a link soon for this tv show, so you can see it online.

Some days are just perfect.

Countdown to departure

June 24, 2011

The day after the morrow, I leave.

the last few days have been bringing moments of acknowledgement of that imminent departure.

I’m sitting here at Patricia’s house. I’ts quiet, I’m by myself, I’ve crossing off things on the to do list and it’s getting very short. I’ve been slowly gathering the things I will carry and culling what I will leave behind. The bike has been serviced, looked over and loved and it’s ready. I still need to get oatmeal and a few more food things. I want to be less dependent on restaurants..

Sunday morning I headed out for a ride with Chris, we went up to Squamish on the brand new Sea to Sky highway, the Olympic highway to Whistler. It was my first “ride” since the March run up to Vancouver. I’ve been riding but in a “commuting” sort of way which means going from A to B in the most efficient manner, or the fastest you can while being stopped every 500 meters or so. So being out on an actual highway actually felt good. Beowulf enjoyed too.

Chris rode his Ducati 999, a gorgeous machine that draws both admiration and scorn depending on where you are. I heard both.

Ducati 999

That bike made Beowulf look heavy and slow. This is a dream machine that I know is not in the cards for me right now. I have a very weak spot for sport bikes. They are beautiful… so beautiful. Then I felt guilty of such envy. My bike was given to me by the Gods. I can only love it and be grateful for it’s lion’s heart and all it allows me to do. All it allows me to be and become.

My brave Beowulf and Chris' Ducati in Squamish

Chris is probably the oldest friendship I’ve had on the West Coast. He is a golden soul. We spent a half day then we had to go our own separate awys and I found myself shedding tears on the way back to Richmond. A twinge of loneliness. A twinge of knowingness that I’ll be leaving these friends soon for the road.

Chris in full gear

Today I saw Mary, I stopped by the restaurant where she works to give her a last hug before leaving. Another golden soul… I just find such beauty in her…

This morning I did a radio interview for Radio Canada Winnipeg and it was a nice long meandering through my trip-adventures, my process as an artist, all sorts of things about creating, traveling and not owning anything. Then she asked me what part of the continent I liked the most… It is interesting to respond to questions and see what your heart will come up with. I thought of Wyoming.

Wyoming

I said :
“Oh, Wyoming, the colors, I would…” and I choked not able to finish, taken by the emotion of the memory of that land. The colors, the immense skies, the grasses dancing in the wind and the scenery so big no camera can quite capture it. As if it’s size matched my solitude, the vastness of what I feel my soul to be, allowing for endless roaming. Then I finished,

Booth 14, the studio at CBC

“I would stop every so often taken, speechless by what was around me, promising myself to put it on a canvas one day.”

Sometime in the future, with white horses running…

Tonight I am about to go out and play my last Vancouver show for a while. It’s nothing glamorous, a pub. Hopefully some friends will show up and we can share the moment before I head out on the road, alone, towards the fate that has been assigned to me.

another friendship, the marks for the master left for us to ponder

“La fete de la musique” or “make music Vancouver” is an event that started years ago in France and then found its way across Europe and has now landed on the west coast of the North American continent in Vancouver for the first time.

I was to play at spot 14, situated at 142 Water Street in Gastown. Gastown is pretty much the oldest most colorful neighborhood in Vancouver in terms of architecture, location and characters. The very rich and the destitute glide but never collide or cross that invisible border so can be among the well suited business folk and 2 blocks further you are at “Pigeon Park where you can find junkies shooting “en plein air”. Wild stuff. They tried to “clean” the neighborhood during the Olympics. This is what they call the Downtown East side, Gastown is right on that border.

But the event was mostly in the “civilized” part of Gastown. They had musicians at every 500 feet or so. At times it created chaotic results like the drum circle nullifying everything else around them, or the rockabilly band playing so loud, the next amplified group would disappear in the volume.

I played at 5PM so it was early in the game, hence not too loud yet. I was completely unplugged with the Go guitar, so yeah, we were quiet. Elliot showed up a few minutes late with his Cajon, a wooden box that can imitate a kit and that also has a really cool vibe, if I get that right, it comes from the Brazilian dock workers using wood crates to make sounds and music. So we played our set, were joined for a brief moment with Kevin who sang “ooooh gotta lose my fear” along with us.

But here is the day in images :

Elliot and I at spot 14

there were signs like this all over Gastown

early on, not too much foot traffic around Gastown

follow the signs and...

find music of all types and colors

there are still remnants of Canucks fever..

the typical Vancouver alley, the old triangular buildings and the new all side by side

Could not help but notice the diversity in the motorcycle fauna around Gastown

but we're here for the music...

and we found this...

and this...

and this... she was so beautiful... she played the classical repertoire...

Gastown was resplendent wearing sunshine like a wedding gown

this man carried everything on a bicycle... notice his trailer and riding shorts

well there will always be those who disagree..

and there are things that endure... can anyone tell how old this bike is?

amazing to see this machine here

this artist was sketching for spare change...

I made my way back to the bike and this caught my eye.

It was a great experience. someone said : Gastown should be like this all the time, yeah, music is good. Good for us all.

7 days to departure.

whooo... Beowulf getting stripped.

Yesterday Beowulf got the equivalent of a spa treatment. I went back to EMS (Essential Motorcycle Services) 942 SW Marine Drive in Vancouver as I still had issues with my steering head bearing. But I had more things I wanted to address. So the guys went to work right away. It’s one thing about this shop, you show up and usually they can help you right away. No “we have an opening on the third Thursday in July…” sort of thing.

you can see California dust on there... sigh...

This is what was done :
Flush and replenish brake fluid front and back. The stuff was brown and it’s supposed to be either clear or light yellow. I watched them work closely because I really need to learn more about my bike.

Flush and replace cooling system fluid. I had no idea when that was last done so we went ahead. They had to take the gas tank off to get access to the cap. So I now know how to do that.

Vinny and Dakota (I believe that is how they called him...)

Re-adjusted the steering head bearing. I sure hope that is going to be all right.

I asked Ted a million questions… I thought he’s going to get tired of me in a hurry… How about this? Can I do that? Where’s the …?

Then I remembered the back-firing. I read and was told that the K bikes backfire a lot and it’s just a fact of life but lately I had been experiencing some major explosions anytime I let go of the throttle… at times I`d get this massively loud “POW” that would just embarrass me to no end. I like to be a bit more stealth than that… What used to be a kind of a rumble before was now like shell fire as I rolled down the street. Ted looked at the bike and got this mercury gizmo that had tubes that hooked onto the cylinders and he adjusted the carbs. He also fabricated replacement plugs that go on two air intake little tubes..(sorry for the non-scientific nomenclature here) the original ones were all cracked which meant too much air would go in and make the engine to run too rich and cause all this racket.

Ted gets involved with `help`from Vinny

The guys also checked the spark plugs, the cables, clutch play as I kept asking more questions.

A couple of hours after getting there I was hitting the road.

Wow.

Beowulf is grinning, mirror to mirror. Now it feels so right.

There is still a small wobbly thing that I feel in the front that wasn`t there, I`ll see how it behaves after a hundred miles or so.

It`s a wonderful feeling to have the bike perform so much better. There will be a whole lot of miles ahead of us in the next few months and this is a good way to start.

Thank you EMS for caring and for taking such good care of Beowulf and for answering my endless questions. What I really like about this shop is the fact that they are changing the world of motorcycle shops. They are creating a new concept, making it a down to earth, accessible, all inclusive place where your bike gets love and where you feel community and fairness. and… no bull!!! THANKS!!

the tool for engine Zen

I was feeling this pull… “maybe it’s time to go…” wishful thinking would make me hope that the Canucks could rise and score 4 goals in 20 minutes and win the cup. But logic said they couldn’t score a single one.

When I had arrived downtown there was an electricity in the air, people everywhere, the hope was high. I rode into the Vancouver Public Library underground parking lot, didn’t want to leave the bike on the streets and there they give you a half-price rate for a bike.

The man tending the booth there was all aflutter… I had my helmet on and could not hear everything he said properly but caught this :

“We’re sitting ducks here. They will riot. Win or lose they will riot. When it starts I’m running… We’re sitting ducks!”

“They’re not going to riot” I answered back. You know, the Olympic legacy. It’s been a few weeks of 100 thousand plus people gathering in the streets and it’s all been good. Ah I am so naive, still and always so naive…

I went to park the bike and this security guy came by. He was East Indian, wore a turban, was at least in his sixties.

“what luggage do you have on your bike?” he asked me

“Just this” I said showing the helmet and the bag on the back seat.

“I will keep an eye on it” he promised. It made me wonder if I should worry a bit more… but on I went to see the streets to experience this energy once more. But I landed on the sidewalk out of the parking garage and it wasn’t really “love” that I felt. There was an edge to the vibe that had been glowing so bright just two days ago.

I approached the gate in front of the CBC and it was closed. Full. Capacity. I walked around the block to get to the Georgia street screen. It was definitely different. I could feel the edges. It was just like a breeze, turning heads and emotions, subtly but surely. When I arrived at Georgia Street, there was a throng there. I proceeded a little further, I was pushed around, just a bit, but enough to stop me.

Hmmmm…. lets get out of this. Because this just ain’t feelin’ right.

I walked down towards Granville, against the current of people rushing towards the Georgia street screen. Onto Granville it was quite a bit more mellow. But the cops did look more tense today. I was starting to think about leaving right away. But decided to see if I could find a place to see the game in peace.

The crowd on Georgia Street around 5 PM

Fans

The bowling alley on Granville had a sign : “Come watch the game here!” and I did. I found a quiet spot and watched the first two periods. It became clear that they were not going to win this. Boston was ruling the ice. Tim Thomas was brilliant, outstanding, a hero. I love what he emanates. I’d love to meet him. He’s made of a different cloth.

the bowling alley

At intermission, before the third period I decided to leave. I leisurely walked back towards the Library strolling down quieter streets. The Orpheum was hosting a graduation party. The people there looked so out of place in the midst of all the jerseyed fans and the wildness in the air. And I smelled it again. The edge, floating in the air. I arrived at the parking lot.

I think he started it all... look at the crazed look in his eyes...

The security guard was there, Beowulf was intact. He started to talk to me…
“You’re a very nice lady” he kept saying. OK, gotta handle this one with finesse. I steered the conversation to the bike. I ended up telling me about the trip. He then exclaimed :
“What can I do to help?!? ”

“Nothing I said, I’m fine.”

“Do you need money? I have two hundred dollars on me.”

“No thank you” I replied laughing. “I’m fine” I said extending my hands above my head “ God takes care of me.”

“Ohhhhh! You are a special woman! Take care!!!”

I rode off. He had walked up the ramp out of the parking lot and gave me a military salute. With gravity and solemnity. I gave him a peace sign back. Got out of the building and the downtown core nicely and easily. I headed out to the venue where I was playing that night on Granville Island. I changed and got ready, warmed up on the guitar and walked back inside the bar to take a seat. That was when I looked up to the TV screen.

The TV screen

Fire. Looters, upended cars, police in riot gear, and tons and tons of idiots laughing, taking photos and filming and documenting this as if this was fun.

Fair Vancouver is on fire.  View from Granville Island

I could not believe my eyes. F@#*.

I was just there. Just there…. My instincts saved me again. But what a disappointment. What can possibly cause someone to act like this?

The show was delayed. None of my friends showed up… The security guy at the Backstage Lounge was getting all ruffled up.

“They’re going to cross the bridge and come down here and destroy the place. I’m closing this place down! This is not going to happen on my watch!!!”

He went outside and sat there watching the bridge like a hawk for a good hour. In the mean time the TV screens on the news channel kept rolling images of hooliganism. Right here, not even two miles away.

The first band got on to play. But we were mostly riveted by the images endlessly pouring out on the TV screen. Then I went on stage to play. I was feeling a bit out of focus. It reminded me of the day Lady Di was killed. I was playing a pub in the boonies somewhere in BC. I was playing, had to play as the images of the car, Lady Di and her beau were succeeding one another on yet another screen in another bar. Too real it’s unreal. I will remember this. Half way through my set, they turned the TVs off. Phew.

When I was done, a sweet girl came to see me.

“Oh thank you so much for the music!!! Thank you for this! Your voice is beautiful! I love your songs! Thank you for turning this day into something good!”

Turns out she was downtown to see the game. Was having a great time with her friends. She is from Holland. Visiting. On a road trip. She was going to celebrate, they had stopped at a pita restaurant to eat some food. She was sitting there peacefully when the windows were smashed and they were tear gassed. She said :
“It was burning, I was rubbing my face, my eyes, oh it burned!”

I felt incredibly ashamed of us, of this mob. These idiots. Those who feel so entitled as to destry everyone sense of security, well being, happiness… that’s without talking about material destruction…

Another girl there was from Toronto. She was visibly shocked.

“I’m from Ontario… I never thought I’d live through this… I hate this place now…”

This morning, good citizens went downtown to clean up, bring garbage bags, try to make amends I guess.

And so life on planet earth goes. A great gigantic Shaekespearean drama unfolding. The good and the bad. The light and the dark. The crazed minds and the enlightened ones.

Glad I had the presence of mind to get the hell out when I did. I’m thankfull for that.

it is indeed a thin veneer covering this culture and society. Very thin.