I’ve never chosen to cease driving because of 20 km/h winds before but three minutes of wobbly bobbin on the Trans-Canada highway in the 1978 Ford truck underneath a massive camper with the words “you suck” scrawled over the horse logo made stopping the only option. We might as well have attached a sail to the top and taken it out on the lake. Every cross-wind gust just about tipped the ol’ girl into the ditch.
Some might think that choosing to drive for 1000′s of km’s in a $500 camper/truck set is a tad foolish. Perhaps, but it’s better than not doing it when it’s an option. What would be better? I’ve already awoken-worked-worked out-hung out-slept-repeat for years while thinking of my next safe-ish vacation. The two-tone brown unit represents a plunge into the unknown.
Aside from a bewildered look from a border guard and a nasty knock in the engine in Montana that was cured by adding oil instead of turning up the music (who knew), the freedom cruiser rolled along like the ocean liner it is. There is a letter that needs to be written to the city of Denver however, stating that the roads through that high city are not brown-boat friendly and need to be flattened. The Bronco just about fell over on a few unsuspecting motorists.
Hopefully this is just the beginning of many more kilometers for the ’78. Not knowing if we are going to make it to the next gas station or town is a test in patience and faith that there may be something else pushing us along. What is there to worry about? Probably nothing.
As a bike commuter who has (gets) to wear collared shirts and sometimes even ties (gasp) at work I constantly struggle with how NOT to get wrinkles during the trip. The clothes are stuffed into my backpack after a good ironing and off I go. When I get to work, guess what? Wrinkles.
I’ve tried putting shirt and pants each into a plastic bag, leaving some clothes at work, and biking a bit slower with the clothes on if for some reason I don’t have to bike as far.
There has got to be a way. I imagine executives downtown show up and give their clothes to their assistants who iron them before they wear them. Maybe they even keep all of their clothes there. Maybe there is a team of elves on executive floors who just breathe hot elf-air on the clothes when they get there and it straightens right out.
What is your strategy? Is there a solution? Are we doomed to wrinkles?
When I looked down at my feet today and saw what salt and melting snow can do to dress shoes it reminded me of what my t-shirt looks like after it has been dipped in the ocean and left to dry in the sun.
That was a fleeting thought. I was jumping puddles and avoiding the splash of a Hummer’s tire as it sped through the slush beside me the rest of afternoon. A Calgary chinook is a blessing albeit a messy one.
The salt stayed on my shoe and the allure of the Hawaiian ocean stayed on my mind: the breeze, the smell, the pace. I can picture it now…
I will step off the plane on the Big Island into an open-air airport and perfectly humid air that makes me feel like I can grow my hair back. The Hawaiians won’t bat an eye when I hitchhike to Kona. The two shirts and two shorts I will pack will suffice for the high of 25C and the low of 24C. I will surf at Pine Trees, I will climb the Mauna Kea, I will kayak to Captain Cook.
Cycling to work in winter is not something I thought was possible 5 years ago. Now, I think of it as a challenge that many others have met in the city of Calgary so why don’t I? It’s easier than it looks and the benefits are multiple.
Here are reasons why I bike to work in winter.
1. Faster than transit.
2. Cheaper than driving.
3. It’s a workout.
4. Don’t have to take time to workout.
5. Instead of flipping the bird to a fellow motorist I wave at the cute girl passing me on a bike.
6. Get to try different types of warm layers.
7. Sense of accomplishment for defeating Old Man Winter at his game of “Stay Inside”.
8. The urban rabbits stop and give an approving nod as I roll by.
9. Skidding, sliding stops make me feel like I’m 8 again.
Some tips are found here:
This, that and the other thing. There are a lot of th’s in that common statement. It’s not even a sentence. I can tell by the jagged green line underneath the words put there by Word to show me how dumb I am.
To Word I say, “I can speak dickhead”.
Not that dickhead is a language. I didn’t put a comma in the last quotation so it looks like it is a tongue that people speak.
Tongue is a funny way of saying language. I like to think I’m tonguing English right now. I feel like the World tongued the English when the Beatles emerged. The Beatles tongued Pop music.
There is a “dickhead” language I believe. It’s unspoken and it smells like New Car. It’s the thing that passes between when a guy tells a girl he just met how much $ he could make and why he chose to drive his BMW. That’s the dickhead language and it tastes like the fur of a freshly licked farm cat.
I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to poop his or her pants. It’s a part of life. If she poops her pants does it smell like a flower? Yeah, it does. A flower that’s been shit on. I’ve seen nice flowers growing out of poop.
All sorts of poop. Dog poop, cow poop, moose poop, coyote poop, deer poop, bear poop and beer poops.
A guy came into the store today and used the staff washroom. He said before going in, “I hope it doesn’t stink in there. Like beer.”
What does that mean? That we were drinking in the morning? That we shat beer, left it in the toilet and didn’t spray the orange smelly-ridder stuff on top?
Idiot. We hide our work beer by the sink in the back. Covered in flowers so it smelled like flowers.
I stole his pants. Pants are dumb.
A white, frigid, desolate state.
Darkness comes too soon. Ambition is curbed.
Pre-dawn stillness broken by the crunch of heel to snow and cough to sleeve.
Breathing is tight. Time is slow. Distance is far.
Light fleeting. Heat revered.
There is a shirt in Bangkok that you can buy that says “Good men go to Heaven. Bad men go to Bangkok.”
That might be true.
Here is a list of Bangkok:
1. Don’t leave your drink unattended. You don’t know what the f someone could put in it.
2. Don’t let someone buy you a bucket. You don’t know what they could put in it.
3. Don’t pass out on the street. The local cops would love to take you in.
4. Don’t breathe. The pollution could kill you.
5. Remember where you’re staying.
6. I asked a guy in 7-11 how he was. He said “It’s Bangkok”. I learned what he meant two days later.
7. There are a lot of suits for sale.
8. Read one of the many “Bangkok Hilton” incarceration books written by the wrongly accused.
9. Don’t insult the guys selling suits. They remember.
10. People want to touch you. You don’t have to touch back.
11. Don’t say yes to anyone.
12. Wrap it up. (this was the only tip a dude who lived there shared with me in Laos.)
13. When you leave, things get better.
There is a lot to ponder in Bangkok but you may have to leave and ponder them later because the city will take you. There is no time for ponderance (new word?)/reflection during your time in Hellkok.
**Just realized I don’t have any photos of the ‘Kok. Just videos. And they need considerable editing. Sorry about that.
The ferry ride from Koh Phi Phi to Phuket, Thailand was a puke fest. Before we set off, one of the workers walked down the aisle offering vomit bags but not very many took them. What would we need them for? It was calm in the harbour.
After meeting another boat after departure to pick up 5 girls who got on the wrong one we set off. 10 minutes in I saw why he was handing out bags. It was rough! After hearing the “Oooh’s” and “Aaah’s” of the passengers the worker came down again; this time people took bags. We crashed and tilted about as though we were being driven too fast on the road from Port Alberni BC to Tofino BC with our eyes closed and no seatbelts on. I thought I was going to be sick.
I cranked my music so I couldn’t hear the heaving and moaning but some folks overrode and sounded like they were trying to sing background vocals to Dave Peters of Throwdown. After a while I felt asleep. Maybe the trick is to just take it like a baby in a cradle?
When we arrived in Phuket after 2 hours and filed off we could see dozens of bags of puke tied up neatly under the seats. I’d estimate there were around 300 people on board and that at least 100 left some of their mornings eggs and noodles behind.
I was hungry when I left the boat.