Archive | December 2011

Each Mile – Episode Two – Into the Heart of Darkness…Washington

Where were we? Ah yes…on a trans-canal trip to Port Townsend, once named the “City of Dreams”. How like real dreams, did everyone wake up and realize a less vivid or prosperous reality. The masses of boats and people never came, and the city that waited to be a city was left as an immaculately built Victorian village.

The bull alone makes me want to smoke

It was night when I arrived. The city was asleep. Lucky for me, my Couch Surfing contact, had seen my ship from the shore and presumed, being that it was the last boat over, that I had to be on it. He picked me and Klalita up in his pick up and we whizzed off into the dark curvatures of the ghost dark tree highway to have dinner with his family. Bread and wine, a perfect lullaby. Waking at a good time in the morning to the sound of barking dogs at my door at Andrew’s dog and llama farm was the perfect alarm. Andrew built all that I saw on his land from the ground up. He was an actor too, a worldly, interesting, caring, family man of many different hats and he wore them all quite comfortably. I set off on my naked Klalita into town, passed the natural rock cliff that the main street buildings seamed to lazily rest on. Cute shops, cafes and even an ol’ movie theatre gave me a very Bohemian sense of the place. The coffee shop was what you’d expect when you see Tibetan flags at the window, full of coffees from foreign fair trade lands and loooooot of cookies that had ingredients that make baked goods for old people instead of the intended younger audiences. Oh…and there was no music store, only a record store with the owner’s fixie sitting at the front.

Veggie Truck, circa a long time ago

I started at the museum, where the curator gave me the town’s history. Nice gentleman who yearned for an audience, so I lent him my ear for close to half an hour. Well worth it, he knew it all and could answer all my questions. He also talked about the city’s prostitution history as if it were a major focal point, which was alright by me. The best displays were the odd things. An old funeral cart, a section on comic books and my personal favourite, a list of alternative names for a house of ill intent. After the museum, I walked in no direction in particular to look at some of the wonderful Victorian architecture the city has. I returned to Andrew’s just as the sun was dipping behind the trees. I played games with his kids on the jungle gym and pet the llamas, carefully.

One of many Victorian dreams in Port Townsend

Andrew had a wonderfully interesting life that you’ll just have to surf with him to fully appreciate it. A man of the land, the type of man I saw as a child played by John Wayne, but less racist and more emotionally connected to things and people he loved. The next day, I waved goodbye, drank some fresh squeezed orange (compliments of his son’s amazing juicing skills), squeezed past the heavy tubing welded dirt white gate and off down the road to Sequim.

The view to Sequim

Suddenly bam. I needed a bathroom. 5 or so k later I found one. I never made that mistake…..on this continent again.

Sequim, I arrived during a day shy of the Irrigation Festival, which apparently involved a produce throwing competition. Damnit, something I’ve always regretted missing. My couch surfer that night was a wonderful mother, who packed my panniers full of chocolate bars and energy bars. Her dog, Savvy, watched with curiosity as I ate food and glugged down a tall, red plastic glass of milk. TV, it’s glow I hadn’t seen in a while. Meh, it didn’t interest me and I soon was under the “In God We Trust” covers and fast asleep.

A water tower at the end of the road

The hardest ride was just ahead…and…well….I don’t want to spoil your appetites. Enjoy!:

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PHOTO OF THE DAY – A Paradise Cruise Lost

Early in the morning. The sun didn’t wake the travellers on the eight hour night ferry from Greece to Italy. The lack of heat and comfortable places to rest is the real guilty party. But this ferry seems to be almost tradition, something you don’t question. So people try their best dog impersonations, spin around multiple times, scratch, yawn in annoyance and collapse in a huff. For me, being on vacation, I didn’t mind it all. I could only vaguely imagine what this would be like as a regular commute.

The very best ferry from Greece to Italy

Last Supper – Originally Posted 04/15/2010

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”

-Twyla Tharp

I’d add though, as a method of running away, art cannot suffice a soul in its entirety.

Today I stand upon a precipice looking over at a deep blue sea of unknown and the height alone freaks the shit out of me. Wow…that is one fuckin’ long drop, but bottoms up, here we go. Over the past few days (and nights, my body really won’t let me sleep through all this excitement) I have sat down with pictures, notes, postcards and a plethora of other self memorabilia and in silence and have been in utter awe of what a remarkably awesome life I have had so far.

 

A pre-bike meal at 3 AM. Mcdix and Sushi are necessary.

 

There are so many little details about living in Vancouver for 26 years that as science would dictate, if even a minutia of an inch or second was incorrect, would not occur. So many gorgeous souls I have had the pleasure of talking to, of loving, of drinking until our eyes are useless and we tumble into piles of laughter and of dancing when no music is playing.

That’s all the cheese I have…but you know it’s true and you know who you are and you should know how you have shaped me, for better or worse, into this gulumfing jabberwocky of a man.  Stress is picking up at a rapid pace, I have about 1 million things I need to do today that I should have done several decades ago. But days should reflect good pies, over stuffed with good flavour and by flavour I mean in this instance a multitude of various chores. Lets say I just have a lot of flavours to taste today. That sounds nice.

 

Just in case you couldn't tell, it's a BIG MAC.

 

I won’t get into the bitter details, but some cool things are going to happen on my trip and I won’t break wind until they actually happen. Break wind is not an especially good term to describe my surprises, but meh. The highlight of my day will be going into the bike shop where it takes me hours simply to place the bike on a stand to work on it. I am no mechanic and am as about dexterous a horse’s hoof, but something about going into the “shop” to work on my “bike” makes me at least have the aura of coolness.

Welp, I probs should go rather than dialoguing with myself on wordpress. Do read people, it will be my link to you, as my computer is going on the road with me. Pictures will be uploaded as well and if possible, video clips of my journeys.

The next message will be sent from Bellingham, fingers crossed.

WHAT AM I DOING? THIS IS INSANE!

Just had to get that out.

Payce I

Photo of the Day – Love on the Wooden Pier

Sun and summer are synonymous. It’s not really summer without sun, and sun is just a giant light source when it’s not summer. In San Clemente and much of Southern California, this is not the case. After some miserable bike issues the day before (nothing like female issues, but still they seem to always happen at the “not right now” times in life), I spent my first day with my now really good friend Claire. San Clemente is a beach culture, so that’s where we headed. I have lived next to it my whole life, but I always feel the ocean is a stranger that I have to reintroduce myself to and listen to it for hours on end to get to know it again. It’s so eloquent and has endless stories that like the breeze and waves, have no start or end.

Claire was a hooper, so she hooped, one, two, three hoolas and I filmed. It would be the last bit of footage I would film on my way down the coast. My camera jammed with sand, grit and adventure took a much deserved break. We walked the white wooden pier. Seagulls yelled at from the skies above at the diners at the pier’s high falooten food establishment with the constant sun etching expressions of contentment on their faces. A random cute couple, arm in arm, stared out towards the twinkling dusk coastline. I asked to take their picture, I didn’t know them, but I think those are the best pictures anyways. People being themselves, happy in a moment on a pier, regardless of the scraggly bearded traveller snapping their evening bliss on digital memory sticks.

A Couple's Bliss on a Pier in San Clemente

Photo of the Day – Guacamole Burger

Out of rock face canyons and sledable dunes, appears suddenly the over abundant houses and prim and proper gardens of Malibu. Gated communities “greet” me, where I peak over barbed wire to catch a glimpse of olympic sized pools lined with geometrically finite stone masonry the ancient Egyptians would be proud of. Painted ceramic tiles, a multicolored brick road leading me passed houses of so called geniuses, heavily sagging foolishly on stilts above the unpredicting foaming surface of sea below.  A university with a funny name like Pepperdew or Perriwinkle with old school razor blade cut lawns lead me down a deep hill to something I had become accustomed to in California, a pier. But this pier was different. Rather than tipped with a mooring station for boats, or a fine dining establishment, I rode my bicycle to it’s edge only to interupt a school of fishermen, dressed in faded blues and yellows and fishy smells and baseball hats. To my immediate right, a big, bright, red door.

Guacamole Burger at Ruby's Diner

 

Ruby’s Diner, with it’s one metal legged laminated tables, topped by old school color coded condiment squeeze bottles, with walls covered in posters of well proportioned 50s vixens modelling burgers and malts that they had obviously never tasted, was a much needed sit down in a time where daddyo meant cool, not your pimp. As always, I was hungry and as always I looked for the most filling thing on the menu. Looking out the window I caught a glimpse of one fisherman’s hat, it’s brim, a few shreds of orange cotton and revealed cardboard. I felt me and that hat hard a lot in common at that moment. Indecisive as ever, close my eyes, point and the Gauc Burger and shake were placed in front of me, much to my surprise and my abyss of a stomach’s delight.

 

 

Photo of the Day – Flowers Near Pescadero

The morning started off with no coffee and a light drizzle of ocean spray and rain. The road, a cracked skin old person with many stories to tell if you just ride along at a good pace and listen. Farms with half deconstructed, salt washed fences, greet me every twenty kilometres or so. The beautiful flowers of yellow and deep purple grow naturally beside the flat highway that extends down the coast for hours and days. I don’t remember their smell, but I do remember how even in fog, they acted as the only obvious difference and border, between sea, sand and concrete. I also remember, that while at home, I never thought twice about stepping on living grass or dandelions, that I was cautious around this flora. I guess it was the unique drama they presented, the flamboyant contrast, the centre stage diva florified.

Flowers along the sea near Pescadero

PHOTO OF THE DAY – A Church In Romania

Here is my first foray into Photoshop Elements and messing around with pictures I take on my 4 year old point and click camera. While most cellphones now a days have more megapixels than my old, full bodied picture taker, like any medium, you can have the best device to capture the world in, but if you have unlimited space, are blind to beauty and can’t listen to stories, your just holding images prisoner, some random composition that in 15 minutes you can’t remember where and when and who you were with when you took them. I’m guilty of it too. I am not trying to seem like a photograph elitist.  The Eiffel Tower or a farm in the country side has been photographed one billion times from every angle, at all times of the day, with every lens possible. Magazines show dolled of versions of places and products, with a high definition gloss and a professional’s studio nip and tuck. I try to photograph moments. It’s not a checklist for me to click click, smile, alright done. While the circumstances, the planning, the plane ticket, were made, the memories, the actually unexpected/unprecedented feeling and the awe are not. Made memories aren’t the ones I like. It’s the pyramids arising like mythical giants on the horizon ones that I am interested in.

Travellers seem to let this excitement, this catharsis, the journey’s adventure, go unnoticed. They look at their guidebooks, their outlines of all that is good in a city and believe nothing else worthy exists. They are too busy reading up on the facts, when the biggest fact about a lot of what man has made or what has naturally occurred on earth is the form and the experience. For every new place I go to it’s pretty much the same, but very unique deal. A church, let’s say. I’ll enter it, search for the English pamphlet, that they place at the front entrance on a wooden stand. Welcome to Blank Church, it usually says in bold black letters. I sit in a pew and read. When it indicates for me to look at something I will look. If it’s something that strikes my interested, my mind will wander and I will let it. Once I am finished reading, I will sit, I will smell, the airs flowing up from an ancient crypt below, the hollow grounds makes the floor an echo chamber for hard soled shoes that scuttle up and down the aisles. I look at everything, I learn every story, I feel every surface, because who knows if this will be my first and last time. My imagination melts my body into basic one tone colours and I walk in profile inside the frescos. No brush stroke is ever the same even in two paintings of the exact same thing done by the exact same painter and those minor reasons for subtly interest me as much as comparing decades. Okay, well, that kind of overdoes it, but you get where I am coming for? Anyways, then I will snap a few photos here and there. What are the photos for? So  I can cue my mind, close my eyes, relive those echos, smell the must of rotting holy relics, imagine me among the saints and sit in the moment once again.

My first Photo of the Day Photo. I was biking with Global Agents for Change for a charity bike ride to raise funds/awareness for micro-credit. In Romania, the rolling hills hid small towns, where kind people of the earth, tilled and worked their lands. Horse and buggy are the main form of transportation. Even bicycles seem somewhat of anomaly, but especially futuristic looking ones with GPS and waterproof panniers attached to them. People wave to you with the lines in their hand etched ever more deeper from the handle of a plough or scythe. Everyone, language barrier or not is willing to put down whatever they are doing to point you in the right direction or debate with others in their village as to what the right direction really was. I tried to listen to this random farmer who tried to help us on the side of a dirt path intersection, but the screams of his tied up goat from his cart, drowned him out completely. Didn’t really matter, because the only thing that would clue me into what he meant was his hands. Every town, no matter the size, no matter the set up, no matter the apparent wealth, had a beautiful church that seemed to be the focal point of the community.