Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A minute lost is a minute lost forever

We were once young, we never thought we would age and even though our mind believes that we are younger than we are,  we aren't

    Recently spotted in a public park

I've always been healthy.  I'm one of those who never takes a day off due to sickness, except now.  Lately I've been thinking more about mortality.  I equate our lives to a gas gauge.  We all start off with a full tank and as time passes, the level goes down, except that there is no way to top off the tank with more fuel

I admire performance machines but I no longer have the reflexes of someone a third of my age.  Bikes like these are not built for old people

and as I look at this BMW GS  I think of exotic places to ride, like Mexico or South America but I know that it is not within the realm of possibility.    I am not self sufficient, I do not know Spanish nor can I possibly endure the hardships of solo travel in a strange land when I am used to the comforts of home.  If I were 30 years younger I could make a plan to learn more about motorcycle mechanics and take a few language lessons but I wasn't interested in touring that many years ago, and I fear that I am too late so for now my plan is to tour the North American continent where I have no language issues and where things are not much different than here in Canada

I am on the verge of retiring but I am one of a zillion baby boomers caught in the  economic collapse of the civilized world and the thought of having enough funds to live a comfortable life consume my thoughts.  For now, even though I am past the traditionally accepted retirement age,  I continue to work

Back in 2007,  I needed a new(er) car and decided to buy a Honda Civic as my commuter.  Nothing fancy, just something with good gas mileage as I have a long commute.  I like manual transmissions so I chose a 5 speed.   Little did I know that my foot would be randomly acting up and would be a recurring problem.  My plan was to buy a new vehicle when I retired so that I would have something reliable and not needing repairs.  Now I have decided that I won't really need a vehicle since if I stop working I won't need to commute but with my foot problem I should have gotten an automatic.  If I had known that the Civic would be my last car then I should have bought a higher model, like the Accord instead

While my foot is not really back to normal I have been commuting to work on my bike but my foot is still a little bit swollen and my heel is rubbing on my boot and it is causing discomfort so at work I have been wearing slip ons which are less confining and I try to change out of my shoes at the first opportunity.  Last week we had casual Friday so I was lucky to be able to wear my comfortable shoes which helped a lot

I actually planned to wear my shorts but at the last moment I changed into my tattered jeans

Last Friday I had dinner with my Uncle who lives out of town.   I generally refer to him as Uncle "R" but he is also a practicing Doctor so I cornered him and said I needed to speak to Dr "R" for a few moments and he confirmed what I had thought.   I described where it was swelling and all of my symptons so I am now fairly certain that I know what is causing my swelling and  NO, it is not Gout.

I have still not seen any Doctor since my foot started acting up nearly 4 weeks ago and while I am not yet back to normal I am thinking that I should be better soon.   I won't bore you with the details but there are some foot exercises I should be doing to strengthen some muscles but it is something that will never heal and I have to be careful not to stress my foot from now on or the problem will return.  It's just a reminder that I am older than I think and I can't do things like I used to do when I was much younger.

I spotted this bike and when I got closer I noticed this BMW GS was from the Yukon.  I thought to myself,  "I can do that", and perhaps I will but not this year.   This is going to be a short riding season for me.  I have no plans to ride anywhere except perhaps for a few days but I am running out of vacation spots as others at work have already entered their requests and looking at my calendar there are not many days left for me to choose as I have to be at work when certain others are away.


  1. I feel you, Bob.
    I know that i am younger than you. But my time years ago in the military has taken its tole on me. I am aware most days of how my "get up and go", seems to have gotten up and went. Challenging physical issues make it increasingly difficult to do more than "dream" about what i would like to do.

    I know you will be able to strike a compromise between how you feel and what you can realisticly do. I need to do the same.

    1. Pat:

      I do feel young but then I was so helpless with this recurring foot problem which made it hard to drive and also not be able to ride. Even going up stairs I find lack of power. Having to adapt and take things easier was never something I had to do before. We all get trapped into our own routines and the years pass, before we know it . . . we are seniors and wonder how we got here so fast

  2. Bob: I wonder if this might be an example of ' great minds think alike '. I've started writing a Blog: "Happytime". I've been spending time with a friend in the hospital who has ALS and is dying. He's led a very full life, amazing really; very physically active and in peak condition even in his 70's. Now this terrible wasting disease which leaves one's mind intact.

    I'm not into taking pictures so I write about my riding and my thoughts. Today's title was 'Revelation'; basically " enjoy yourself it's later than you think." I'm really doing it because I enjoy spending time writing but if some others find it interesting that would be cool.

    1. David:

      I tried your link but it didn't work. Sometimes you can't plan your life as things get in the way, and then there's the health issue. You see friends get sick and just wonder if you shouldn't just do what you want to do before you can't

      For me photos trigger memories of generally happy times. I find it easier to read the words when there are images to go along with them and even without words the images convey the story.

    2. That's cos' I can't spel. It should have been As far as getting going before it's too late; that's it process. The V-Strom 1000 is in Modern for new clutch line and fluid, braided brake lines, fresh fluids and a spare stator. I like pictures too, but digital photography is mostly a mystery to me. The thought just came to me that I probably should take a course in it. That would be the smart thing to do.

    3. David:

      I bought my bike new from Modern, Murray the Dad. I get along with him, sometimes. But Aaron has given me deals before. I just haven't been to their store for at least a couple of years. Which DL1000 do you have ? the new 2014, or prev model. I was thinking of the new one and trade mine in. Otherwise I would do the GSXR brake upgrade. My Strom feels like it has NO brakes as compared to my Beemer

      Digital is not the same as film. Jpegs SOC are not always pleasing. I used to think it was editing magic and shunned it for years until I realized that you have to edit to negate the effects of the AA filter and the way the images are captured by the sensor. Most don't realize that your jpegs are "developed" by your camera. All photos captured are in RAW but the camera applies settings to develop the jpeg. You just not like the way your images are developed the way the manufacturer (nikon, canon, lumix, etc) are doing it.

      You don't need a course. You may just need someone to show you

    4. Mine is an original from 2002 that I bought from Murray. I hadn't ridden mine for several years and I put it back on the road the other day with the intention of trading it in on a 650 if I could get a good deal on a non-current. The 650 is fast enough and its 50 lbs lighter and more nimble. I avoid Vancouver traffic now, but the 650 would be better for that; as well as more fun on the Duffey Lake Road which is my favourite kind of riding.

      My early 1000 runs well unlike many. The guys at Modern did a great job of tweaking what had been a poorly running bike. Riding the bike after so long, I had a sudden epiphany. It's not a sport bike, it's not even a sporty bike; what the old 1000 is, is a really really fine cruiser. Now I've had my share of big cruisers, I like them, the big torque makes them feel powerful. I had several 1400 Intruders that had strong midrange and were fun bikes. My 1000 Strom has midrange stomp starting at 4000 that crushes the 1400. I was never totally happy with the bike because it wasn't sporty or nimble enough in the twisties and it didn't have the low rpm grunt that I expected form a litre class bike, My brothers 800 Triumph triple is way more responsive and better handling.

      However compared to the Cruisers I rode my Strom has better brakes, vastly better steering and handling, more ground clearance, much more comfortable suspension, yet unlike Rod's new Triumph it's still easy and fun to cruise around on. My Strom will really move when I want it to; just hit the magic 4000 mark, but otherwise it will easily hold whatever speed I want to cruise at. On mine the O/D sixth is really nice. the bike just lopes along very relaxed. On the Triumph every time I looked down the bike was gong faster than I wanted. It was tricky to hold a steady speed. On mine I can enjoy the feeling of power yet still easily stay legal. I find like the bike much better than I did before. I think I've finally grown up. It only took 61 years. I could go on; but we should get together for coffee and talk bikes or photography. I'd like that.

  3. Hi Bob,

    Feeling for you, I know where you are coming from, as I get older the things that didn't bother me just make me want to stay in bed some days. You will do what you want to do, if it's a take it easy type of year then that's the best thing to do, if the urge grabs you to take off for a months long journey somewhere exotic, then I'm sure you'll do that too. Knowing you it will all be well prepared and go without a hitch, but if you dont feel you can, then doing what you feel like is not a compromise, it is what was meant to be.

    1. Brenda;

      This is not a take it easy year. Lots of planning, just not on the bike. Last year I had a loose plan, not etched in stone like previously where I had every day mapped out as to where to stay, with places booked each night. With a tent, I could zig and zag a bit and ride long or stop short as I only had myself to worry about.

      It has taken me a long time to realize that being away from work, the sky won't fall and the work will get done, somehow. Last year I decided to take time off without pay and this year I am doing the same. As it stands now I will be gone for over a month

  4. Hi Bob, I took up riding just over 4 years ago at the age of 65. Next month I turn 70 and given that riding has become an important part of my life I find myself wishing I had done it earlier. But, you can't go back - time just marches on. My own approach is to ignore the aches and pains, not think too much about the past or the future, but try to get the most out of each day. I am retired and basically if it is riding weather, I ride. As well as day rides I am planning at least 4 medium duration trips (3 - 4 days) and one major trip (2 - 3 weeks) a year. I find that just thinking and talking about them and planning for them gets the juices flowing. The funny thing is that like everyone of a certain age, the aches and pains are always there, but when my butt hits the motorcycle seat they're all gone. Must be the endorphins.

    1. Theo:

      I am glad that you discovered "riding" but now you can make up for lost time. I am not much behind you. I will soon be 68, except that I started riding back in the mid 1960's and then stopped for about 18 years and restarted around 2003. I never got into touring until 2007 when I rode to Oregon by myself. There is nothing like motorcycle touring and I wished that I discovered it before. You're right about the planning. Gives you something to look forward to. I am already planning my next summer 2015 tour.

      My worry is that something will happen to my foot when I am thousands of miles away from home, and alone and not able to ride. I'm not quite where you are as I am still working, but I am planning to stop soon

  5. Bob

    I think it helps to simplify ones's life. This I have failed to do yet, but with the thought of poverty in retirement one has to! You have plenty of hobbies and interests so do not fear retirement.

    N from Knutsford

    1. Nikos:

      I already started downsizing. I had too many cars and now I'm down to two and I sold my 3 scooters and I only have two bikes soon to be one by next year. I already stopped buying electronic gizmos and trained myself to stay away from those stores. Whilst I am still working, I have already replaced my computer and camera. The problem as you say, is being in poverty when your wages stop and having to rely on savings to supplement the rest of your life. What if your funds run out before your time. Of course in the early years of retirement when your health is still okay you may tend to spend more doing things and going places. Later you will spend less because you find yourself just sitting looking out the window and waiting for the inevitable . . .

      I can't wait for my days of being free but then I also worry where my next meal is coming from

  6. I can relate somewhat. The future can look scarey at times.

    All I can say is that we can only live each day, one day at a time.

    Find your passions, hold on to them, simplify your needs, and enjoy each moment as it comes.

    Be grateful for your health, your family and friends, and the little blessings of each day.

    And ride! Always ride! Find SOMETHING to ride, even if it's a little scoot. Get out and about and immerse yourself in nature when you can.

    Also, one of my little philosophies is to "live like a dog". Dogs live in the moment, find joy in the simplest pleasures, are loving and loyal, and know when to enjoy a good nap!

    End of sermon! Hoping to meet you in August! Keep me posted on your plans....

    From one old coot to another!

    1. Deb:

      I keep thinking that I've got to stop working soon so I can enjoy life but then I worry that I won't have the funds to do what I wish to do. Living to exist doesn't seem like a good option but living to do the things you want is the preferred option. I have already slowed down and sometimes just stop to enjoy the day whilst sitting in the sun. There are not many options here in the city to do things without costing money. Even going to the park requires paying for parking.

      I used the dog analogy all the time when it comes to food. Dogs eat the same thing, every day for all of their lives. Whether it be dog food in bags, or cans it is the same meal and every day when you put it out, they are wagging their tails and looking forward to it. Food is just food. some tastes the same and some taste different but they all do the same thing to feed the nourishment you need to survive. Humans need variety but in practice it doesn't matter so we now have simple meals and often it is the same thing as dog food. Having the same thing every day doesn't bother me as long as it does what it is supposed to do, keep us alive and breathing

      Oh, for sure I will send you the info. We are already booked into the Belterra for two days but I have to get our itinerary so I know when I can be free for dinner or lunch

    2. I've found a compromise of sorts for myself. It is not ideal, and we squeeze the nickel a lot of the time, but I have TIME for myself.

      Here's what it is: I work part-time and pick up some odd contract jobs (flowers, pet sitting) here and there. I've got my scooters, all the clothes/things I need, my dogs and my partner. I don't eat out lavishly everyday, but I get enough treats to be satisfied.

      Yes, I have less money and little security, but really, what is "secure" anymore?

      What I do have is my mornings to enjoy, then go to work for 4-5 hours, get home early and enjoy my afternoon doing what I wish, and can stay up late if I so choose. My weekends are mine to do whatever.

      I have learned to live frugally and be satisfied with less and I have gain time, which is fleeting and something I can never get back as I approach the big six oh.

      I will never have the choices and freedom that those who have money and work full time do, but I have a quality life for me while they are exhausted most of the time and try to cram in a life on Sat and Sun! No thanks!

      I call myself "semi retired" and in 6 years when I do retire and drawn my money my income will double! Ha!

      Then I might travel a bit more or buy a little cottage in the woods somewhere. We'll see!

    3. Deb:

      I would love to be "semi-retired" but my job function won't allow for it. It is full time or nothing. My friend has already downsized to a 4 day week, and it will be a 3 day week for him next year. You are lucky to be below the big SIX O, at least you will have more funds when you reach that magic age. When I stop work the pay checks/cheques will also stop, this is my concern. I'm not so sure about working part time as I am tired of working. I've had a job ever since high school and have always worked. I have not had a free summer since high school, except for last year when I took a few weeks of unpaid leave and it felt so good

      I've often thought about a cottage in the woods but then the bears and cougars worry me and then lack of health care facilities near by

  7. Worrying over the future only robs you of the enjoyment of today.

    Growing old is a privilege Bob, aches,pains, and all. Not everyone is lucky enough to do so.

    1. Trobairtz:

      I am only worried as far as having enough funds to last. Who knows how long we have. Better to know you have 10 years then you could plan accordingly. But after 9 years, 11 months and 30 days I would be getting mighty anxious . . .

      I have never had aches and pains, except for my foot issue which I found out will never go away and it will happen again, sometime when you least expect. I guess we should all be so lucky to get old. Most people I meet presume that I am much younger than I look and many that are much younger, are looking much older. Perhaps they had a hard life, hard to say. For now I count myself lucky that I am where I am and can look forward to meeting more people along the way

  8. I can relate to the getting older part. I have minor aches and pains, but, thankfully, nothing major. Retirement for me was easy to do because I was done with work. I found not working saved a ton of money and being retired was almost even money. As we take our last breath nobody ever said they wished they had worked longer. Money is nice, freedom is priceless. I am looking to downsize further to a 1 bedroom condo in a retirement community with a garage for Petunia. Cheap, easy to keep up, and can just ride away when I want and not worry about it. That is the retirement life for me!

    For the most part I have lived a charmed life and motorcycle exploring has been a large part of my entire adult life. I find I wonder how much longer I will be able to ride a full dress bagger, but I recently met a 74 year old guy who just bought a 2014 Electra Glide for his birthday and claims it is the easiest to ride bike he has ever been on. Yea, I can't work as hard as I used to, but then again I don't want to either!

    1. Paul:

      I'm done with work too but right now I am saving for my two epic trips. One this year and my big one next year. I know what you mean about freedom, I can only dream of it until the day I can experience it for myself. I am on my one year (or less) count down. Unfortunately my income will drop significantly when my wages stop and I will have to rely on savings to get me through. It is hard for me to downsize in a city as expensive as Vancouver being one of the most expensive places to live in North America.

      I only started touring in 2007 so even though I have been riding for nearly 50 years, it has mostly been urban riding. Of course last year I rode my bike all the way to the Atlantic ocean and up into PEI: Prince Edward Island. I may be passing through your area this coming September on my way back from KY and TN (but on 4 wheels)

  9. Boy can I relate your foot with my back. Its one day feeling good, then the next is terrible. Keep moving until you can longer though. Even though I am not ready to give up riding, I find myself less and less on my bikes, but I am finding new ventures to keep moving around. You said it well here though. Mortality hits the thoughts as aging occurs. ughghghg...

    1. Kathy:

      with your back and my foot we would make a great team. You shift the gears and I'll be your cushion. Your back may be more tempermental. My foot problem comes and goes and I hope it will be normal soon. The problem comes when I stress it but I am being more careful now. At least you have your Trike.

      I think certain milestones are imbedded into our minds. First you are 40, then 50 and then the big SIX OH. When you hit Sixty-FIVE you feel like you are over the hill but your mind thinks you are only FORTY. Oh, I wished that I could turn back the clock and ride to more exotic places but then we may not have had the resources back then and when you eventually do, then the age barrier gets in the way.

      I don't feel that old at all and certainly I am looking less older than many whom are much younger but then again we reach that magic number when we think about our age which is only a number but makes you feel old just thinking about it. It's the cycle of life and it is less appealing to be on the wrong side of the cycle.

  10. An interesting post, as you probably know, I'm not really that far behind you. I also read about these world travelers on their adventures and think that's what I want to do. Then I sink back to reality. I had only started riding motorcycles in 2007 but was immediately attracted to touring. I think that this is due to all of those bicycle tours back in the late 35+ years ago. I would still like to bicycle tour but I'll be satisfied with an engine driven bicycle.

    Back in the late 70s, I rode down to Cabo San Lucas with a retired couple on bicycles and we averaged over 100 miles per day. A few years later after moving to Alaska, they rode up to Fairbanks with a couple of others. To me, this has always served as an inspiration on what I wanted to do when I reached their age. The occasional aches and pains are there and due to too many years of not enough exercise and poor diet, I find myself with type 2 diabetes, which does make motorcycle travel a bit more challenging. I also look forward to being able to travel around North America and I wouldn't rule out Mexico as we got by with a bare minimal vocabulary and had a wonderful time.

    I may post another comment later as I'm getting ready for my flight right now...

    1. Richard:

      On I have followed real adventurers (colepatch or sambar1965) and they really tough it out. Places which I will never see in my lifetime and their photography is stunning !

      You would never know that I also rode a lot until my knees started to click, so I stopped. I'm not so interested in bicycles anymore as you have to ride on the side of the road and be constantly looking behind at the traffic and they pass very close to you which isn't really that safe.

      I also have to be careful as diabetes runs in my family and when I am traveling I worry about my sensitive stomach and now my foot as if it flares up I would have a hard time riding my bike. I am working on my Summer 2015 epic ride as like you, I thought that I would just stick to North America. I also think about Mexico but as I read those RR's I read about the crooked cops and the stupid paperwork at the border crossings and going back and forth getting photocopies and waiting hours just to cross the border. And I wouldn't do it alone. They say a couple of people is better than a group and food is cheap down there if your stomach can handle it

      The more touring you do the more you don't want to ride in our urban area. The serious bikers down here don't ride around town. They just use their bikes for road trips and stay away from big cities and I am starting to feel this way too. My commute to work is okay but is not pleasant on the way home, unless you like a lot of stop and go traffic where the cars pull in front of you all the time without looking. Feathering your clutch a few feet at a time for miles is not something I look forward to, plus sweating at the stop lights. Today I opted for the air conditioned car again

    2. I'mm thrilled by Walter Colebatch as well. The stunning landscapes from Tuva in Siberia are my favourite and I was so impressed that I spent the big bucks and bought his book ' The Sibirsky Extreme Project'. I'm like you, North America is plenty exciting for me. In my bike travels; I keep meeting people from all over the world that have spent serious money to see what we have .

    3. David:

      I used to read most of the MX RR's so I have a feel for the Country and I know that I couldn't do it by myself. I would need a small bike, like a Sherpa 250 or KLR650 and be able to change my own flat tires by the side of the road and adj my jets going up and down the mountains. It is beyond my comfort zone. NA seems doable, same language and familiarity

  11. Bob, I'm glad the mystery of your foot is solved and you can do something to keep it relatively ok. As far as retiring, do you have a financial advisor? Ask them about your financial status. They may ask you to do a budget. But, you may find you are going to be just fine.

    I'm doing deck board replacement out back before re-scheduling my trip. A lot of bending over, lifting, tugging, pulling, cutting, etc. Very tiring. Much harder than building the thing 20 years ago. Does not seem that long ago... But, overall, I feel pretty good and am enjoying it. Took a bunch of photos today and am planning a blog about this. Who else but me would use dowels as part of deck building? Won't explain why here - needs photos to explain. ...