Saturday, January 5, 2019

A Norte , A La Familia..

January 04, 2018

I have decided, for the time being, to limit access to Redhed's Rambles, to a small  number of friends and family members.  In my mind, my blogging over the past few years is   an attempt by me to make sense of this world, and my place in it. As I age, I realize that there are so many questions that I should have asked of my Family members who have gone. In a small sense, I imagine that this blog is  an attempt to document small snippets of life as seen through my eyes.  History has branded me as "Baby Boomer", a product of the post-war economy and optimism that peace brought.  As we know, that peace was short-lived, and I don't know where that thread will go. 

 My upbringing, largely as a result of the influence of my paternal Grandmother and Aunt Margie, was focused on the importance and value of sustaining Family ties.  I think too, that being raised in post war Vernon had a significant and long lasting impact on my sense of place in the world. Without realizing the importance and significance of being fourth generation Vernon born, my interests and values were framed by my early years there, and particularly by the interactions of my  Family.  As a grandfather for over 23 years now, I have often thought how wonderful it would have been to have had conversations, real meaningful conversations, with my Grandfathers, and Great Grandfathers.  

Yes, I come from a family of colonizers, of immigrants from Scotland, Ireland, and England. Yes, those Anglos are viewed as purveyors of all that is wrong with the history of the treatment of indigenous people here in Canada and abroad.  Perhaps that labelling has somehow framed my interest and advocacy for indigenous folks as I travel and wonder how this world is put together. 

The world has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. Families are no longer linked by neighbourhoods and party telephone lines.  Family structures have taken on a whole new meaning and marriages and life-long relationships are undergoing incredible stresses and strains as our society faces economic and social stressors unknown to my upbringing.  Social media and technology have created a society, which to me, is often beyond comprehension.  I do not, for a minute, pretend to understand where we are going and the full implications of a  world where one of my grandsons is an Apple "genius", another is comfortable with tablets, smart phones and e-learning, and a third, at less than a year old, has figured out the significance and importance of cameras and television. 

 Not to belabour the point, this blog is simply an old-school attempt to have an ongoing conversation (at this point, one-sided) with those grandsons who are preparing to deal with this New World. 

Because I have decided to limit the access to Redhed's Rambles, it is my hope and desire that more or my friends and family will feel comfortable with commenting, and yes, even contributing to this journal. A number of years ago, my Son Ian contributed an excellent and well-written piece about our travels. Without bragging too much, my daughter is an excellent wordsmith and I would encourage her to add her views to this ever-expanding

Here I am, almost a year after my last posting, working on a few projects, reminiscing about my travels, and planning for more. As I toured  Mexico and Guatemala, the upcoming birth of my grandson was always on my mind. I had lots of "head time" as I rode, and I prayed for a successful birth for my daughter-in-law. It seems that this "head time", where I am focused on keeping the bike upright, making the right turns, and getting to my destination is also a time to plan and fantasize about my goals and aspirations for the next leg of my life.

I had left my IPAD in a gas station south of Oaxaca, and the attempts to retrieve it by my son Ian and friends in La Manzanilla did not work. I had travelled back to La Manzanilla to get some help with that goal, as friends there spoke better Spanish than I.  When it became clear that the IPAD was lost, and Ian had helped me to lock it down, I headed north to Baja, in order meet up with my friend Guy, who was slated to race in Baja again.

I spent a couple of weeks in northern Baja, after again crossing with the ferry  at Mazatlan to La Paz. Guy and I did not make our rendezvous, and I headed north.  We did meet on the highway, north of  Baja de Los Angeles. He was very concerned about his friend Al, and was heading directly south because his pal had been in a serious bike accident, with one of his friends losing his life.  Guy and I agreed to keep in touch, and I headed north, landing back at Kiki's for a few days.  I met a couple of Australian guys heading south, gave them my maps, and provided some advice on their travels south on some ancient bikes.

In the next few weeks, I travelled north through the United States. I wandered through Arizona and Nevada, crossing into Northern California on one of the few passes that was open.  The trip back to Chilliwack was accomplished without any issues with the bike.  I had to pay attention to the weather when I could, as this was still winter, as Ian reminded me.

In reality, I made the dumbest decision of this ride when I decided to ride to Vernon from Chilliwack, after I had crossed the border at Sumas.  While the day was fairly mild in Chilliwack, and the roads were bare, it was still winter.  When I travelled up the Hope-Princeton, I am sure that my Guardian Angels were working overtime.  Thankfully, I missed any large patches of ice, and I managed to arrive in Vernon without any serious mishap.

After an all too brief visit with Ian and Stephanie, I was ready to head for the Island. I did manage a short visit with  Heather and her family in Armstrong before loading the bike on the truck, which Ian had been looking after, and leaving for Vancouver Island.

Tahsis, British Columbia, Canada   March 2018

I soon became a regular at Sally's Grill, getting back into a routine of coffee and visiting at the local coffee shop.

The sun was beginning its slow journey north. I have lived in Tahsis long enough to be able to know the season by the position of the early day sun on the distant mountains.  It won't be until Spring Solstice that the Sun's rays break directly through to my kitchen table.

An opportunity for some teaching in Kyuquot arose.  I was eager to see the village again, and looked forward to the opportunity to fly from Tahsis to Kyuquot.  I have flown with Air Nootka a number of times over the years, and I always enjoy seeing the area from the air

After lift off from Tahsis, the Air Nootka flight headed south, down the Tahsis Inlet.  I had an opportunity to see "the Cut" from the aircraft.

Soon we were over Blowhole Bay, looking westward...

The pilot realized that Blowhole was aptly named, as it was windy on the outside of Nootka Island, and he backtracked a bit, deciding to fly out to Kyuquot via the Cut and Zeballos inlet.

The cabin at Daffodil Bay, in the Cut.

Steamer Point Lodge was sleeping through the winter...

I remember, vaguely, being at CeePeeCee during a Tsunami warning back in the early 80's.

Esperanza looked different from the air.  I have fuelled my boats there for years, and I have known many good people who have served at Esperanza.

One of the fish farms near Esperanza looks a bit different as it lays fallow for the season.

We flew past Bear Creek.  In the early 80's, I had driven there from Tahsis in my truck. Somewhere in  the clouds below was a run of the river operation, administered by the Ehattis First Nation. 

I recognized the Little Zeballos River area.  The tentative plans for the Tahsis Unity Trail, which will hopefully join the villages of Tahsis and Zeballos, is to follow the lowlands below.

The plane climbed north, and I was able to get a short glimpse of Zeballos in the fog below.

In a few short minutes, the Air Nootka flight had crossed from Zeballos and was preparing for a landing at Kyuquot.  The mountains on the west coast held some snow, and reminded me that I was back in Canada.

I enjoyed my short teaching visit to Kyuquot Elementary Secondary School.  Again, I had an opportunity to fly back to Tahsis with Air Nootka, and the flight overland demonstrated to me how much of the Island has been logged, and how the roads intertwine throughout the North Island.

As we passed over Zeballos, I could see a large boom of logs, ready to be towed south.

The Little Zeballos River area seemed to have less snow.  I was hopeful that the planning and development of the Tahsis Unity Trail was underway.

Bear Creek was out of the clouds, and I could see the old trails and logging roads that I had travelled 20 years before.

CeePeeCee was still there, waiting for Spring.

Steamer Point Lodge was enjoying a low tide.

It was good to be back on the West Coast, and the clearing days made the transition from Baja all the easier for me.   The lakes were beginning to lose the small amount of ice that had accumulated last winter.

Trumpeter Swans have visited our area for many years, and  these birds  always a welcome site.


As if by magic, a wonderful rainbow broke out across the inlet from my house.  The "pot of gold" was landing square on the Mowachat-Muchalat reserve.  When I first arrived in Tahsis, folks lived on the reserve, and it was always a good sign to see activity and life on that beautiful piece of the inlet. 

I have often wondered if Chief Maquinna and his people would spend their winters on that site, celebrating their winter season, long before the Europeans arrived at Yuquot, their summer home.