Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tofino on a BMW R-60

Retro Adventures - Going back in time.....

April 17th 2006

"You guy's are nuts!" a gentleman squished in the back seat of a dark blue sedan, loaded up with ski equipment, circled his right pointing finger around his temple as we stopped at a red light in downtown Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. He looked at Rene and I and shook his head. "Crazy!" he mouthed. I couldn’t actually hear him over the engine noise and the fact that my head was shoved into a stinky helmet didn't help matters but I understood the gist of what he meant (reminder to myself: ask Rene, "How the heck did you get your helmet to smell like sweat socks?). Yes! We were crazy. I had exactly the same thought, the day before, as I swung my leg over Rene's BMW Motorcycle back in Maple Ridge. 

Destination - Tofino - Surfer's Paradise.

DEP: BMW R-60 15APR06 Maple Ridge 18:05 Tofino (Who knows?)
RET: BMW R-60 17APR06 Tofino (When ever we get up. I know those Airline Pilots are a little jealous of this departure time) Maple Ridge 19:00

 It was my husbands 40th birthday and I wanted to do something out of the ordinary, something special. About a month ago, he said he wanted to go camping. I tried to arrange a camping 40th birthday party trip, honestly I did, but it was cancelled due to Hurricane Wilma. Tail -end of the hurricane, you know, that cold wet, rainy type weather. Okay, so it wasn't a hurricane! I don't know about you, but I prefer to camp in dry weather that's above the 10 degree's Celsius. Which is hard to find in April and in Vancouver. Being the enlightened human that I am, I said, "Let's not camp in this weather honey, let's drive through it on a Motorcycle". Yup, I’m smart, that’s why I’m an Accounts Receivables Technician.
The drive from Maple Ridge to Horseshoe Bay was amazing and that first night as we left the ferry Terminal in Nanaimo the air was crisp and the road was dry. Traveling is different on a motorcycle, it’s hard to explain but you’re a part of the road and the scenery and the smells (some not so pleasant when combined with eau’ de sweat sock) it’s almost surreal. In a car you’re disconnected from your surroundings. While traveling through rush hour on the Q.E.W in Toronto you might want to be disconnected, but Highway 1 in B.C is special, the crisp mountain air and the salty fresh sea combine to make a heady, breathtaking smell.
By the time we got off the ferry it was almost 11pm, so we stayed in Parksville the first night and rested for our 3 1/2 hour trip across Vancouver Island the next day. We stayed at a little place called The Skylite Motel. 
When we woke up the next morning it was raining and an RCMP patrol car was parked beside the bike.
“They found us out Bonnie!” Rene, doing his best Clyde impression, called from the open window. We made a break for it and hid out at the Tim Horton’s across the street until the heat cleared.

“OH MY GOODNESS! I’m GONNA DIE!” I thought to myself as we passed the huge cedars at Cathedral Grove. The rain seemed to be getting a little thick up there. In fact, I was pretty sure it looked like snow. My life flashed before my eyes and I began to panic. There I was hyperventilating in a stinky helmet watching the snow accumulate along the side of the road while holding my husband extremely tightly. He looked back a few times to give me the thumbs up sign but I couldn’t let go to give him the thumbs down sign. My hands were stuck around his waist.
“I’m gonna die…I’m gonna die….this is it…it’s over.” The snow got deeper and deeper the higher the elevation. “I didn’t realize the mountains on Vancouver Island were so high.” I tried to get my mind off the snow and my eminent death when I out of the corner of my eye I saw my saving grace. A rest stop sign! My few feeble attempts to catch Rene’s attention had failed and I had to resort to whacking hard on his chest before we passed the sign. He got the hint and stopped.

“Wow! This is great!” Rene’s eyes shone, “ amazing how the bike is handling in these road conditions.” His smile was brilliant.
“Yah,” I tried to sound upbeat, “It’s …um…invigorating.” My legs shook as I stumbled towards the ladies restroom. I took a few deep yoga breaths to calm the shakes; then I unpeeled the 20 layers of clothes protecting me from the elements.
The trips that you remember the most are the ones that give you the most challenges. You ever notice that? What I was doing was very adventurous. I should be proud of myself! Push those fears away! This was an awesome experience! I slowly began to feel the excitement my husband felt.
A picture of my grandfather’s face laughing came to me, and I knew the rest of the trip would be okay. Joop Stryder loved B.C; the ocean, the mountains and adventure.
“ He would have loved this trip,” I thought discovering a new found strength. “Opa’s blood flows through me,” I looked at myself in the mirror, “You can do this!”
As I helped Rene push the bike out of almost knee-deep snow and back onto the pavement (it was actually a groove of a tire track where you could almost see the pavement underneath it), a car with a group of surfer dudes drove up with 2 boards attached to the roof racks.
“You came on that?” The driver was astounded as Rene nodded his head. “WOW!” His eyes glimmered with that familiar shine I had just seen moments before in my husband’s eyes. It comes from deep within a man’s soul where his wild heart lives. Then the look changed and the wild heart was suppressed with fear and logic. He walked away as if defeated by an invisible monster.
“Crazyeeeee….. mannnnn.” and he shook his head.
Why do we let fear and logic tame us? What’s wrong with giving in to the wild heart that’s inside each and every one of us? Doesn’t matter if we’re male or female, young or old, rich or poor; you get my drift. Could it be possible that we humans become truly connected only when we give in to our wild heart every once in a while? Something to think about.

Anuschka's Pics(Nina wasn't there)

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