Itchy Boots Visits Haida Gwaii

During my military career, I had a tour in Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, from 1977 to 1981. On June 3, 2010, the group of nearly 400 islands was renamed Haida Gwaii by the Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act as part of the Kunst’aa guu – Kunst’aaa Reconciliation Protocol between British Columbia and the Haida people.

I very much enjoyed my time in “the Charlottes”, as we knew it then, and as well, son Colin was born there.

Unfortunately, I have not had an opportunity to return since, although it is on my hope to do list.

As I develop my “Wee Internet Empire” I try to follow quite a few different people as they do different things on social media.

One of those people is a lady named Noraly, from the Netherlands, who goes by the online handle of Itchy Boots. She is a real adventurer and travels around the globe, solo on her motorcycle, documenting her journey on her website, blog and YouTube channel.

Recently her travels had her traveling through Canada, and this took her to Haida Gwaii, making me even more interested in her adventures.

I really liked the four videos which make up this section of her journey. They brought back many memories and, as well, provided information that I was not aware of. In my opinion they can provide people with a really good idea of what Haida Gwaii is like.

Here, in order, are the links to the four videos.

I thought these videos were very interesting, in addition to being well done. I hope you found them to be as well.

Itchy Boots is just one of many folks I follow online. Here I will provide for you her website, and YouTube channel should you like to know more about her.

As well, I invite you to have a look at my “Wee Internet Empire” and check out the different platforms like my blog, podcast, videos and photos. You can also subscribe to my newsletter to be kept up to date on what is being posted and where.

Thanks much for reading. If you like what I do, please share it.

I always appreciate any feedback. Should you have comments, like something, don’t like something, please do let me know.

Motley Mixture of Matters

Recently I’ve had a real mixture of thoughts bouncing around in my aging brain.

Now, this has both positive and negative aspects to it.

The positive aspect is that I actually have thoughts (note that is plural) in my brain. This indicates to me that to some degree it’s still working. The fact that I can remember at least some of the thoughts is quite positive as well.

A negative aspect is that I have thoughts (still plural) but have not completed the process needed to develop any of them properly.

Hence today’s blog post. Today you will get a smattering of a few thoughts, a motley mixture of matters.

Lately in the news, even on CTV, has been the separation of Lisa LaFlamme and CTV (Bell Media). I say separation as there seems to be much discussion as to what it really was. Perhaps she was terminated for being popular and having high ratings, maybe because CTV (Bell) was downsizing, or she was let go because she was a woman with grey hair. Regardless of why, the process used can be described by the letter “D”. It was a despicable, deplorable, demeaning dismissal. Not the way to part company with an individual who was an extremely well known, respected, public face of your organization.

Another recent, highly publicized, event was the verbal abuse directed towards the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. As heinous as this act was, it is yet another example of the growing verbal assaults or abuse, and at times physical threats, directed towards politicians and journalists, mainly women or persons of colour. In my last blog post I spoke about Finger Pointers, those who declare that a situation is always somebody else’s fault. To me, this seems to often be the type of attitude or behaviour which grows from that, growing more extreme. If that is the case, it’s a sad commentary on what we’re becoming.

On a more positive note, one month ago I rode with Michael Terry, on part of his solo Dispatches Adventure Ride, which goes from coast to coast to coast, across Canada and return. Then two weeks ago Kim and I rode with The Rolling Barrage, which is a Canada coast to coast group ride. Both of these rides are in support of, and to raise awareness for, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a military veteran I know how much an issue PTSD is to some of my comrades, as well as first responders, so it is important to me to support these annual rides every year. Some videos from this year and previous years is available on my YouTube channel. In the future there will be at least one podcast and more blog posts dealing with this issue and these events.

My last item today is about respect. The respect that I have for health care workers. Over the last few months I have been under the care or treatment of a number of nurses, doctors and other medical people for a variety of reasons. In my dealings with them I have been treated with compassion and dignity. Knowing much of the crap (yes crap) that they have gone through over the past couple of years, I have great respect for their attitude and professionalism. Thank you very much.

Well, that’s it for this blog post, something a little different. I decided early in the process not to have specific directions or timing for my blog, and podcast, but rather just talk about whatever strikes me at the time. This blog post actually came together over a few days.

I would really like to hear from you. Like what I post? Look at other parts of my Wee Internet Empire? Want to do a podcast with me? Like to be involved in a live YouTube event? Have something you think I should perhaps address? Let me know.

Take care. Be well.

Weather – Like It Or Not

So… April started out in fine fashion, however has not remained so.

To explain – among other things, I’m a biker.

Hmmm… immediately some of you will get a mental picture – long hair, beard, big belly, tattoos, piercings, leathers, vest with patches, noisy Harley, and so on.

Now lose your mental picture. Bikers are, in reality, a representation of society in general. They come in all sizes, shapes, genders, nationalities and ages, riding a plethora of different machines. They are many different individuals, each their own person.

Now for me, I have a beard, short hair, no tattoos, one piercing, yeah a bit of a belly, wear a leather jacket at times, have a vest with my veteran’s group patch, and ride a Suzuki Boulevard C50 Trike (which is a little noisy).

Anyway, back to April.

As I indicated, it started out well, and I brought my bike out from its designated winter parking spot in the back corner of the garage. It fired up right away, oil levels and tire pressures were checked, and shortly we were out on the road for a wee test drive to make sure all was working well.

Riding was done carefully as Spring roads in Edmonton, or any other place for that matter, can be quite trickly with all the crap that’s left from the winter. And… it seems that many drivers seem to have forgotten what a motorcycle is, and we fail to register in their brain, even when they are looking straight at us.

So, from the beginning of April, I was out riding pretty much every day. The weather was good, with promise of being better, albeit a bit cool, in the 4C to 10C range. Then it got warmer, staying over 10C, and eventually working it’s way up to 22C.

Wowzers, now we’re talking. Let’s go!

Wait just a goldarn minute. What’s this, the temperatures are dropping. No, tell me it’s not so.

Over the next few days we went down to 3C, then down to 0C, then (gasp) -3C, followed by -9C. Dammit!

Ah, but we’re not finished. This morning we were at -12C, and worse, there is a skiff of snow.

Yes, this will pass. Yes, this type of thing happens every year at this time. No, the world is not ending.

However to those of us who are bikers, and due to the climate where we live, we have been unable to ride for, in some cases, many months, this is almost like putting salt on a wound that is just about healed.

It is weather – like it or not.

A Story About PTSD

I have been kind of off the grid the past couple of weeks, to a degree with physical issues, but largely due to a self imposed mental isolation (probably a fancy term for some depression).

Today however, I came across an item that I just had to share.

In 2018 a man by the name of Michael Terry rode his motorcycle alone across Canada and up to the Yukon. Just after retirement from the Canadian Army, Michael was suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Please have a look at this video, The Messenger – A Road-Documentary, about Mike and what he went through, and continues to do so. With the support of The Rolling Barrage, the production of this documentary will resume this summer.

During his stop in Edmonton, July 2018, I, along with Rob and Paul, a couple of fellow veterans, had the pleasure, and honour, to spend some time with Mike. I have great respect for him.

Put Down Your #&%#$ Phone!

The Blinky Thing

Whilst on the World Wide Web today I came across this image. I shared it as a bit of humour on a Canada veterans group to which I belong, applying the remark “This could really work if more drivers got their face out of their phones.”

I had typed that remark because many of my fellow veterans are, like myself, motorcycle riders, and vehicle driver phone use is a sore point with us. Not only us actually, but all bikers. As I posted the photo my mind said, “Hmm, there could be a blog post about this”, and sure enough, here we are.

Like many bikers, I started riding long before cellphones were a thing. In the ’40s and ’50s, what was perhaps the cell phone’s predecessor, existed for many of us in the form of Dick Tracy’s wrist radio.

As a person who rides a motorcycle, there are few things that upset me more than those who use their cellphones in anything other than hands-free mode. They are doing something that seriously takes their attention away from their driving and becomes a major danger to other vehicles on the road, particularly motorcycles as many drivers don’t notice us all that well at the best of times.

Unfortunately, I, like many in the motorcycle community, know fellow riders who have been killed or seriously injured as a result of improper cellphone use. These events cut very close to home, and I have narrowly avoided a very bad situation a couple of times myself.

If a text, or any other cellphone related activity, is so important to risk a person’s life, then bloody well pull off to the side of the road, stop, and stay there until you are done. Otherwise, as the title of this blog says, “Put Down Your #&%#$ Phone!”

Please don’t use your phone. The possible tragedy which can result is something that you will have to live with the rest of your life. Unfortunately we may not.

As always, comments and feedback are always welcome.