Monday, September 28, 2009

In search of the elusive Canadian Pink Croc

Recently my colleage Michael of Key West Diary (<-- click link) issued me a challenge. It was by way of a censored comment attached to his post of September 23, 2009 . Censored as in Canadians don't use the "F" word, or perhaps he brought it with him when he emmigrated from Italy. Nevertheless, here is his rebuttal directed to moi.

Quoted by Mr Conchscooter:

"Fuck you both. Neither of you is man enough to wear pink crocs in public. Guess what? I went to Bahia Honda today on the Vespa and I walked onto the public beach in my pink crocs and two european women invited me back to their tent and ravaged me, forbidding me from removing my crocs. So there, ten pounds of shit in a two pound bag."

Hmm, I am not usually a consumer, especially since I took the day off. I could have turned my vacation day into an epic ride to somewhere exotic but instead, I had a late start to my day to wait for the stores to open. I am wondering where would I find these rare crocs.


I make myself a sandwich, have a hot beverage and roll my bike out of the carport. I head down to a trendy part of town, Kitsilano on 4th avenue. Surely I would be able to find crocs here. I was down there recently during the summer of love festival so I parked the bike and walked. I found a flip-flop store


Nope, not here. Perhaps I should head downtown. There must be a place on Robson Street. There are many upscale stores along this stretch, sort of like 5th Avenue, NY or our equivalent of Rodeo Drive, LA, CA , and as I was cruising down the street I noticed this store

(Crocs, Robson Street, Vancouver, BC)

It was still early and the stores were just starting to open for the public. I managed to stag a spot right in front


I don't usually travel down here on a weekday, esp on a Monday morning. On the weekends it is usually very busy and you would be very lucky to get a parking spot. Our parking meters are very expensive, as you will notice. I put in a quarter, only good for 5 minutes


I went inside and on my left I noticed a whole wall full of these

(Crocs of every discription and colo(u)r)

These ones must be of the Key West Variety. It is cooler up here in Canada, so we also get the insulated ones


I am sure that my meter has expired. I have been in here for over 5 minutes, but I can look out and see my bike, and no parking enforcer ticket writer has come by yet


I wonder if they have high-heel pink crocs ? I think I'll wait for Mr Conchscooter to purchase a pair first (if he has the guts to post a picture wearing them). I hop on my bike and ride out of town over to West Vancouver and up to the Cypress Mountain viewpoint which overlooks Vancouver to see what I have just purchased


It is here that I get a chance to unwrap them and see what I have purchased

(Canadian Pink Crocs)

I have gotten in the habit of always wearing a riding jacket, and will also wear riding pants while on the highway. I also wear leather boots. I quickly change into my new pink crocs and a lady tourist comes over to speak to me. They are from Guatemala. She looks while I am setting up my camera for a self portrait and we talk for a while. I notice that she keeps looking at my stylish pink crocs. A couple of other male tourists from eastern canada also made a remark about my V-strom as they also ride. One has a 1300cc Venture, and the other has an 1100 Venture. They don't make any comments about my pink shoes but I do notice them glancing from time to time as we talk about some good motorcycle roads in the area. I tell them to bring their bikes next time.

(Wee, Cypress Viewpoint, West Vancouver, BC)

Actually these crocs seem to be very comfortable and after a while you forget what colo(u)r they are. As I am already over in West Vancouver I decide to go to my favour place. I find solitude here and you can either sit on the rocks or on some of the benches supplied for the purpose of just contemplating life and watch the water pass by.

(Pilot Cove, West Vancouver, BC)

Several times during the summer I like to sit in the sun and breath in the ocean air. You can see the city of Vancouver in the background.

(A peaceful place to ponder . . . and clear your mind)

(I also like to sit on the rocks and look at the scenery)

The pink crocs seem to give me power. I am revitalized with new energy. On a summer's day these rocks are busy with people having a picnic or just doing nothing.

(Pink Crocs have excellent rock gripping abilities)

After a while, I prepare to leave and change back into my riding boots


I like to wear more comfortable shoes/sandals after I reach my destination, now I have another alternative. These Pink Crocs are very light and take little room in my side case.

(Pink Crocs: pack easily and are very light)

If you have the guts, purchase a pair of Pink Crocs. They actually enhance your masculine side. Soon you too will be beating the females away.

(Rare Canadian Pink Crocs enjoying the sun, Pilot Cove, West Vancouver, BC)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Triumph Saturday in La Conner, WA

I got an early start, left home before 8am and headed South on Hwy 99. It took around 40 minutes and I evenutally arrived at the US Border crossing at Blaine and waited patiently in the line-up

(Peach Arch border crossing: Blaine, WA)

The Nexus line was much longer than usual. I have never seen it so busy.


Since the line was not moving very fast, I wanted to conserve my fuel and turned the engine off. The first part of the lineup was down hill and I was able to coast my way down but when it levelled off I had to push the bike. It's not easy to push a machine weighing over 550 lbs, but more like 600 lbs loaded up.


The wait seemed to take longer than it seemed but gave me some time to take a few pictures. After I made my way through, I continued on I-5 south to Fairhaven in Bellingham and headed to the Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminus to have a short coffee break at Sorellos with some local scooterists from the SOB's: Scooters Of Bellingham. Today they were having one of their Saturday morning meetings. We talked and gabbed for nearly an hour before I continued on my way south on the famed Chuckanut Drive down to Bow Hill Road

(Samish River, near Edison, WA)

and entered Edison

(Edison, WA)

(Samish River, south view)

Edison is a very small community with a saloon, a couple of eateries and is about 3 blocks long. It is a place which has escaped development

(Longhorn Saloon, Edison, WA)

Today I have the place all to myself. Tomorrow is the mini-Sturgis Bike rally in Anacortes. There are a lot of bikes cruising the backroads being mainly of the cruiser variety. Travelling solo is a new experience for me. While I miss having a riding companion for safety and security it is very nice to be able to stop where you want to take pictures and have no planned agenda except today I had to be in La Conner by 11:30 am

Today I was going to finally meet Lance, The View from over the Handlebars (<-- click link)

(Lance on his Triumph America, La Conner, WA)

Lucky I was a few minutes early and in front of our meeting spot. I noticed this loud cruiser heading my way and motioned for Lance to turn around and take this parking spot. This was my first glimpse of him.

(Lance, nice to meet you)

Our plan today was to meet in La Conner for lunch at a place overlooking the water. We found a table outside in the warm sunshine and watched the boats go by while we ate, conversed and got to know each other

We have nearly the same culinary tastes and here we are with two identical bowls of seafood gumbo

(Seafood Gumbo, it was very yummy)

The soup was very good, we should have ordered a bowl each instead of two "cups"

(Oyster Burger --> Lance)

(Salmon Burger --> Bob)

We decided to share a dessert to bond our friendship

(Decadent Chocolate cake with whipping cream)

After lunch we decided to take a few photos of our bikes

(Lance, in action)

We also spotted a conch type bicycle rickshaw which would be perfect for a local tourguide but I don't think you would be able to make a livelihood in this business if you give your rides away for free

(Bicycle Rickshaw available for FREE rides)

We took a few group shots by the water

(Lance is on the left)

(This time Lance is on the right, Rainbow Bridge is in the background)

Soon we had to be on our way. We took a few backroads northward and ended up at Edison again for a photo opp by this Hack

(Edison, WA)

We wanted to get a couple of pictures of our bikes beside each other but Lance parked his Triumph America a little too far away, but they are, more or less beside each other

(Triumph America beside Suzuki V-strom)

I guided Lance to the nearest entrance to the I-5 so he could make tracks for home in North Bend, WA.

(Lance waving farewell)

Lance, it was very nice to finally meet you and have a safe ride home .


Thursday, September 24, 2009

All about Chuck: (Pefley)

Sort of an open letter to my new found riding buddy, Chuck Pefley One a day - mostly Seattle ( <-- click link) . I know how it is. Always on the taking end of the camera, but seldom in front. Boxes full of photos with pictures of every one else.
Recently we had a chance to get acquainted with each other on a ride to Vancouver Island.

(Chuck on his MP3-400, Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, Tsawwassen, BC)

I have been taking photos all of my life but as an advanced amateur. Chuck has been a professional for over 30 years. He makes his living taking photos. I, on the other hand view photography as a large bucket to which you throw in money to keep it afloat. Of course, being in close quarters for a couple of days you learn a lot about the other person and their philosophies towards life and attitudes.

I learned that Chuck has a lucky Duck

(Good luck charm affixed to the front wheel of his Piaggio MP3-400)

(approaching dock, Swartz Bay, Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island)

I had been looking forward to my time with Chuck. We met a few years ago, I think at one of the Hamster Scooter Rallies down in Bellingham when he rode his Vespa GTS. I have seen his work at the Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA and if you have never viewed his work, I must tell you that they are stunning.

(Totem Pole, Patricia Bay, Saanich Peninsula, Saanich, BC)

Take a look at his photoBLOG (link above), his photos have lots of life and colour. I am sure he works some sort of magic on them and I was interested in his technique and equipment. I told Chuck that I intended to follow his every move, put my shoes in his footprints, put my tripod in the same spots and aim my camera in the same general direction.

A few corners later we noticed a rainbow, which is a good luck omen, so we stopped at the next viewpoint to get our cameras out

(Coast Guard dock, Patricia Bay, North Saanich, BC)

I have the photo of Chuck taking the photo which he posted on his BLOG
(<-- click link for Chuck's photo)

Like myself, Chuck always has a camera by his side

(Food truck, Jordan River, BC - West Coast Vancouver Island)

He doesn't miss a shot. There are lots of interesting things to photograph

(Marina: Port Renfrew, BC)

I turned my head for a moment and noticed Chuck taking a photo of something, so naturally after he stepped away I went over to photograph too. I was in covert mode hoping that Chuck was noticing what I was doing

(Chuck: Forest service road between Port Renfrew & Mesachie Lake, BC)

I realize that Chuck goes on a lot of solo rides so there are seldom opportunities to take the time for self portraits. It's not the most pleasing backdrop with all that visible clearcut.

Eventually we arrive in Cowichan Bay, where we decided to spend the night. Of course we had to snap some photos before dinner before we "lost" the light. Again I have an excellent spot looking over Chuck's shoulder

(Public wharf: Cowichan Bay, BC)

I quickly get into COVERT mode again


This time I am close enough to view his LCD Screen and manage to snap a photo for myself

(Boats: Cowichan Bay, BC)

I didn't like the way he framed it so I moved my lens a few degrees to the right and cropped a little closer. That's what photography is all about. It's about what you like and what pleases your personal eye

Finally we decided to pack up our cameras and have dinner at a local pub with a waterfront view. I asked Chuck to give me his best "Mona Lisa" smile

(Chuck Pefley, overlooking Cowichan Bay, BC)

The next morning we had breakfast at a lovely old Log Cabin, the Pioneer Inn, Whippletree Junction just south of Duncan, BC. We thought it was old but were informed by one of the sous chefs that it was recently built, perhaps 20-30 years ago but the bar was over 100 years old

(Pioneer Inn, Whippletree Junction, Duncan, BC)

Always looking for a photo opp, Chuck decided to park his scoot by the ornate chimney

(Chuck in action)

I snapped a quick grab shot and think he would have gotten something like this, perhaps cropped a little on both sides. Mine is unretouched and uncropped.

(MP3-400: Pioneer Inn, Cobble Hill, BC)

Now, I don't know what really happened. Chuck may have slipped on a banana, or he had some alcoholic beverage disguised as coffee, but somehow he had fallen to the ground. Luckily he did not drop his camera as I see it is safely in his hands



He was rolling around on the ground in perceived pain so naturally I had to lend a hand


We took a few more photos and were on our way

(Chuck Pefley, Wippletree Junction, Cobble Hill, BC)

That MP3-400 sure balances easily. We head north towards Chemainus, the city of murals and we find Chuck in action again. This time he has brought out his BIG camera, with the White Lens. This is serious work

(Chemainus, BC: City of Murals)

Aiming my Camera in the same general direction, over Chuck's shoulder method, got me this image


We were heading south on Cowichan Bay road to experience some of the local flavour when we were shadowed by this BMW rider on his new F800ST . He waved us down when we missed the signal light and was frantically waving at Chuck. We all pulled over and met Dave who had the day off and was just goofing off. He told us about this over road to Cherry Point that I had never ridden and said he would lead us all the way to the Mill Bay Ferry. When we got close to our destination he pulled into a local strip mall parking lot. That was when Chuck wanted to go over to the dark side and forget about scooters

(Chuck, astride a BMW F800ST, his dream bike)

Chuck is very serious about his blog and his Tweeting. We had some time before the ferry arrived and Chuck found a free spot on the ground, in the shade, to do his interneting. Lucky I had my internet stick with us

(Mill Bay Ferry Ramp)

We eventually found our way aboard BC Ferries to take us back to Tsawwassen. We are on the upper deck (of 7 levels) to find Chuck at work again. Active Pass is about the mid-point of our ferry journey and it is normal to pass other ferries in this narrow body of water


This particular photo op resulted in T H I S (<-- click link)

I had a great two days with Chuck and wished that we could have continued to explore. I think we have the same riding philosophies and daily regimen. We both take pictures and know when to stop or not stop. And while Chuck looks serious, we had many humorous moments. He's quite the jokester.

I love you Chuck and hope that we can do this again

(Chuck Pefley on his MP3-400: Port Renfrew, BC)