September 5 – September 10, 2011

Before arriving in Vancouver, the traffic was congested. But, with the date being September 5th, a holiday long weekend, it was expected. Rocky’s friend, Vincent, has an apartment in the heart of the city and we were invited to live there for a few days. Being on the 25th floor, we were spoiled with an amazing view.

Vancouver is pretty, but a typical city. It smelled like exhaust, urine, all types of food and perfumes. Lots of people, traffic stops, many tall buildings and a main road of homeless drug addicts shooting up in public. I’m not a fan of big cities but the sandy shores of the ocean, the surrounding mountains, the mainly clean streets, large parks and friendly people, creates an atmosphere anyone can appreciate.  

Stanley Park was a few blocks from the apartment and we enjoyed a few walks through it. While taking a few pictures there one night, we walked towards the sound of music and stumbled upon an outdoor Blue Rodeo concert. It was fenced in but we could still watch and hear them perform. Many others had also found their way there and sat on the grass with blankets or lawn chairs while others stood. And, of course, the sweet smell of BC pot occasionally blew past.

It felt great to relax for a few days and I am sure that the motorcycle appreciated us having the chance to change her oil and clean her chain. We were excited to unpack her and ride her bare but the city streets weren’t fun with the constant red lights. So, we rode through the highway named Sea to Sky, recommended by my friend Ryan. The scenery was beautiful and the name of the road was well suited.

After being in one place for so many days, we were eager to get back to our adventure. I’m excited for what’s next, but, I’m also going to miss the comfort of my country. Canada is amazing, more so than I already knew. I’m happy to have discovered it on such an intimate level and very proud to be Canadian. Eh!

It was good to see my old friend again. It had been almost two years since the last time we had met. Vincent is originally from Taipei, Taiwan, and had moved to Vancouver shortly after the last time we saw each other to try to get his Canadian citizenship.

Paula and I spent much of our time in Vancouver relaxing and exploring the downtown area. It was a time for a much-needed rest and to do some work on the bike. Almeida was ready to have her oil changed, chain cleaned and clutch fluid replaced. A good part of an afternoon was spent in the parking garage of Vincent’s apartment working on the bike.

Downtown Vancouver has many restaurants of almost every type of cuisine. We visited the all-you-can-eat Mongolian grill and some Lebanese Shawarma places a number of times.

Vincent wasn’t working when we arrived on Vancouver. He spent a lot of time at his PC playing the Taiwanese stock market. As a result, Paula and I didn’t get to spend as much time with him as we would have liked to. Vincent’s limited work experience and broken English make it hard for him to find work, but, by the end of our week there, he was able to find a job working in a restaurant kitchen.

On our last full day in Vancouver, Paula and I road up and down the coast and, on our way back, stopped in Vancouver harbour at dusk to take some photos of the downtown skyline. We were ready to pack up and go when we heard, what sounded like, a very good live cover of the band Blue Rodeo. The music was coming from close by, so we followed it and were lead to an outdoor concert venue. There were many people sitting on the grass around its perimeter enjoying the sound of the music and, judging by the sweet smell of the air, the B.C. bud. Paula and I found a spot atop a small hill that allowed us to peer over the fence that surrounded the venue. Looking over, we were able to get a full view of the stage. It wasn’t a cover band, it was the real Blue Rodeo. We listened for a while and then headed back to Vincent’s apartment.

After a good five-day rest, I was feeling a little restless, and was beginning to miss the open road and the feeling of moving from place to place. Paula and I decided that we’d head out the next day and make our way across the border and into the United States.

We woke up the next day, had lunch, packed up and set off from Vancouver after a short stop at the CAA to get my international driver’s licence.

Several weeks earlier, I had contacted an old university friend whom I hadn’t seen since graduation. Paul is his name, and he was living and working in Surrey, British Columbia. On our way towards the U.S. border, we met up with Paul at, what would be, our last stop at a Tim Horton’s. Paul is now married to his long-time girlfriend, and they have two children together. After a short visit over a cup of coffee, we parted and headed for the border.

Sunset Beach

Paula at Sunset Park

We walked around downtown Vancouver. Paula wanted Dairy Queen ice cream. I opted for Tim Horton's.

Vancouver Harbour

Somewhere along Minaty Bay

More of Vancouver Harbour

We found a spot where we could see over the fence and watch the Blue Rodeo concert.

About Rocky