Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 28-30 - Keremeos to Kelowna, BC

Up through dry land
sage brush surviving in between the cracks
sun burning up beads of sweat

We get to Penticton
cancel the show
change of ownership means nobody knows

On to Kelowna
up some long hills
mellowed only by a carload of beautiful girls:

Asta K et al
home from a festival holiday
spotted us and stopped on the side of the road

O to socialize!
O the estrogen!
Oh yeah... we needed that...

to get up one last long hill
before another hero, (saviour Jeremy's cousin)
Deren Sentesy, welcomes us into his home

He is kind and collected
He is down to earth
He knows what he wants

Kelowna is hot, gorgeous
yet not home
like a one-night stand

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Keremeos gigs...

Today was a double header for us, first Cawstons Hall and then Uncle Johnny's. Both gigs were good fun, the first was a cool mix of different people playing piano. I managed to get through a few songs with out coughing up a storm as this is the first time I have sang in a week. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the tunes I played and to top it off we walked away with a big bag of leftover deserts! always handy while cycling all the time.

(The view back into Keremeos today)

After that we were at Uncle Johnny's for another show. I have to say that the hardest riding I have done came with that stretch of road back into Keremeos with a wind from hell in my face... I hope the prairies don't have anything like this in store for us. The gig there was nice, it was a little on the tough side for me having to sing with a Halls mint in my mouth to stop the coughing. I had to give up singing for a while and go back to instrumentals. I think all should be good for Tuesday night at this point as it is getting much better.
(Johnny at Uncle Johnny's)

Time for bed now folks its late and windy here. I promise I will remember to take more pictures at the gigs as well not just all the biking. Its easier to ride a bike and take pictures than play guitar and take pictures. I think Johnny is happy to have a few days to relax after a few longer ones, I can't wait to get back out there!!!

May 26 - Keremeos, BC - after a hard day

We did 120kms today.
We climbed another mountain.
We saw some incredible landscapes.
We encountered more kindness from strangers.

And yet....

My memories from today mostly involve wildlife:

Big raven staring at me
unafriad from the side of the road;
small birds keeping flight-pace with my ride;
chipmunks wide-eyed,
fearful of the large racers whizzing by;
groundhogs with guts spilled on the roadside,
fodder for the hungry crow;

and most shocking,
most painful -
the white-tailed deer that flipped I don't know
how many times
through the air, scant feet before my eyes,
smashing into barbed-wire,
both legs broken,
so stunned it tried to run before it would die.

I saw its pain and its panic
as I tried to soothe it with my voice
before the couple that hit it,
dumb-smiling and ignorant
(and possibly the terrified animal's last healthy sight)
came, after checking their car for damages,
to see how the mangled thing was.

And when they asked what to do
I said, "Shoot it, if you have a gun.
If not, call the police and tell them what you've done."

It is not their fault, individually.
A car moves too fast for a human to see a deer coming.
A car moves too fast for a human to see a deer coming....

Once upon a time, we were dependant on our Mother Earth for everything.
Once upon a time, we looked to Our Father to guide us to be conscience-beings.

Now we still need, but have stopped looking.
Our belief is in a false independance.
Our behaviour is like a teen.

We need to take responsibility, grow-up, become adults.
This means we either return to a healthy competition with nature as our equal
or we treat it as a parent who deserves our respect and care in return for our upbringing.

The death of the deer disturbed me deeply
because the extension of that event
is a vision of a beautiful world
bashed into a crippled state
by our carelessness and our machines.

May 25 - Manning Park - Mule Deer Campsite

The mountain pass that scared me
that had me worrying
that I'd be weak
turned out to be hard
yet feel easy

We reached Allison Pass
all of a sudden
I was shocked and elated

Two long climbs -
Hope Slide and Allison Pass -
chopped up into managable increments
and one last push
to the rhythm of "I's the Bay that Builds the Boat"
brought me to Derek pointing at the sign:
Allison Pass - 1341m

So I can climb a mountain on a bike.

Earlier this year, I climbed a mountain on snow shoes.
I am doing things I haven't before
and it satisfies.

On top of the mountain climbing
we made good time
despite my chain getting stuck twice
my gear changer getting bent and stripped
so that the second climb
was spent in my second-best gear
testing my strength

I now know what Derek and others have said
why almost anyone could do this.

We are less crazy than we are driven,
tired of what's lazy, and looking to be proven.

May 23 & 24 - Hope, BC - close to home

I met a family
full in a house

they took outsiders in
with acceptance and love

Pat and Peggy
made me feel welcome

as though I had been away
and was glad to be home



May 22 - Mission, BC

He was the last face I expected to see
when he opened the door to greet me:

an Indian man
who has lived twenty-five years on a farm
outside Mission
right across from the fire hall

He gave us water
and wished us well

May 21 - Vancouver, BC - thoughts of love

Laurelle, if you are reading
know I fell for you
more than anyone before

and my heart still pangs
at the loss that never was
because I never won

Rae, if you are reading
thank you for reminding me
to aspire to love.

May 20-23 - Victoria to Hope, BC

distant now is the race in the rain
fast to keep warm
giddiness our shield

distant is lost and separated
lack of trust, intuition
will to ask the stranger for direction
love for the helpfulness
(and wonder - is it really Canadian
this big city friendliness?)

distant is the rush
to get there, to get ready
to get on stage, to get out quickly
the whirl
yet time to absorb
Sara's kin to my creativity - her soul-love strong in her singing
Kyle's heart poured out, never with enough attention
Derek's skill, dexterity, and the way people stare at it
time to observe and perform
and feel joy at so many old and new friends
well met again
so little time for them

even my "day off" was busy
until the wind at our backs
blew us out of Vancouver
a mere four hours to Mission
another four to Hope
(good luck, that)

present is my body tired and sore
and the taunt of these mountains
up at every angle

May 19 - Victoria, BC

on a roof of kindness
we brewed our acceptance
into a life humourous
because we weren't offended

myself, Shayne and Meg
giggling at life's seriousness

Mangy BC Hills...

The last few days of riding have been glorious, snow topped mountains with views that make me silent, which is hard to do. Coming into Hope I had my bike weighed at a weigh station, Hope is just before the mountains begin, just the bike and gear weighs about 175 pounds!!! That is just nuts! I've been doing well, with vistas like this how can I not be drawn away from my little bits of pain into the beauty. The hardest part has been that I got sick and have been on antibiotics for the last few days, climbing up a mountain while coughing is a little bit much sometimes but with the views I soon forget.

The big shock for me was getting into some of the areas that have been infested with mountain pine beetles, huge swaths of land just decimated, but its not our fault in any way is it...

That's all for now, we are playing the Music Under the K festival today, nothing like being surrounded by valleys and mountains while playing a show!!!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May 18 - Galiano Island - Jeff & Dayna

I met them last year
was impressed
by their good hearts

by their approach
to money -
they have it, they spread it
to good people

they are unassuming
without pretense

if I had money
I would try to do what they have done
I would try for comfort, not impact
spend for substance, not style
not hold myself a cut above, but one of
recognizing the innate joy
of generosity

May 17 - Salt Spring Island - A Poetic Manifesto on Poor Art

there is an ease
breathing room
with a full show


the poor artist is honestly poor
not willing
not a stereotype
not wanting to starve for it, really
there is no romance in that

every time we are shown
that we are not valued
we don't just turn the anguish
into more art

(we'd make it regardless)

we don't eat
don't sleep

it is hardly a living

those who believe there is joy
in doing what is loved for nothing
are misinformed

yes, there is joy in the giving
in the making
in performing

but there is less in the work
less in the hours preparing, traveling
less in the straining of valued relationships

and there is none
no joy
in starving, freezing, or knowing
you just spent your time
pouring your heart out
for no one
or worse
a crowd that doesn't care
you aren't living

living the dream?
a quote from Willie P. Bennett to ponder:

"When I started out in this business I set for myself reasonable goals ... and I have a house full of beer."

That dream is still far ahead.

Support the artists you love.

Photos - Gabriola Is - Hummingbird B&B

Derek Olive is now the proud father of a classically trained Sponge Bob Square Pants, valiantly rescued from the depths of a geocache on Gabriola Island. He feeds his "little genius" bagels with liver pate.

Derek Olive was shocked when bitten on the touche by a piranha while in the hot tub. He now sports a bite mark and is suing the hot tub owners for psychological damages.

Jeremy Walker is currently revolutionizing his life, becoming engaged and flirting with the idea of living in a van down by the river. Careful, Jeremy - you might not "have sex" - you might cease to know "what that is". ;)

Johnny Eden died mysteriously on top of water. Comparisons to Jesus are quite confusing, since Johnny never walked on said water, and has not yet experienced a resurrection. Experts theorize that Johnny's soul was so very heavy with teenage angst, regrets and sorrow, that when it left his body the minimal floatage provided by the hot tub water was enough to keep him from sinking.

Photos - en route to Gabriola Island

Monday, May 21, 2007


Day 1 with all our gear

Road Rash for Johnny!

I'm at my friend Cat's in Vancouver on our day off, good to be back in this town. I lived here for two years so it feels a little like home. Yesterday was a little on the long side, from Victoria to Vancouver in the rain... then I biked to Cat's place, couldn't find the right place, didn't have the cell on me, didn't have Cat's number, only had some cash to buy a phone card to track him down, this was all after having riden about 95km in the rain, oh yeah and played a show to top it all off... I was not a happy man by the time I got to bed.
The show however was great. Sarah Metzner and Kyle Cameron joined us and we did a song circle style show. Sarah was wonderful, such a beautiful voice, and Kyle was a real treat, good tunes, great voice, glad they were there to join the fun.
To backup a little since last I typed Gabriola Island was a really good show, it was my first house concert and it was right up my alley. It is always amazing to have an audience that is listening and you can play songs that people pick up on all the little twists in the lyrics. Thanks again to Dinna, what a wonderful place.

Next was Saltspring Island, which we passed through pretty quickly. It was a nice place to play, in a gallery filled with art of all types, some beautiful sculptures. A little thin in the audience but I had a nice time talking to the gallery owner Chris, we are very much on the same page about music and art.

On the road to Saltspring

To get to Galieano Island on time we had to get up at 5am after our Saltspring gig to catch the ferry, which is a little on the early side for me... The sun was still comming up over the mountains as we pulled out of the dock, a very picturesque morning. I was tired but stode out on the deck for a long time, it was moment that was not be taken for granted. Getting up this early however meant that we had no riding to do on Galieano since the Grand Central was right by the ferry. I ended up going for a ride anyway, the bike becomes an addiction after a while, your body craves the fresh air and endorphines you get from the excersize. I spent the tour pedaling and sitting by the ocean finishing a few songs I have been working on. The gig that night was a blast, people were out top have a good time on the long weekend and we gave it to them. I played a few tunes from my days playing in a Blues band that I haven't played in years which was a blast. Johnny got up and played like a lunitic that night, he has some pretty funny tunes that he pulled out that night. I also got to meet Tim Harvey who has done one hell of a trip around the world all under human power, check it out here:

It was great to talk to someone who has done something that intense, what a great trip!

Tim and I

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

May 15 - Gabriola Is - Dinah D's Home

this night lonely
and beautiful

surrounded by noises of social birds
periodic crickets
calm waters

somehow breaks into nostalgia
love lost
and failed to let go of

this night
i want her skin
blanket warm beside me
the memory smell of her
a kiss in the morning

i want to be four years ago
making love in a tent in north ontario

May 15 - Gabriola Is - Hummingbird B&B

Write this down:
Hummingbird B&B. Gabriola Island.
Somewhere you won't forget.

Just after lunch
a big hill
chain falls off
knee cries: Stop!
I walk up.

Day continues this way
getting worse
every hill.

Saviour Jeremy takes my trailer.
One leg does most of my work
struggles to get me on
and on
too many times.

Saviour Jeremy treats us
hot tub -
I am so thankful.

There is a nurse here.
She gives me advice
to ice.
I do.
It helps.
So does Advil.

Through this all
Derek is a rock
concerned, helpful, supportive.

I am so often reminded
how lucky I am in my friends.

When you cultivate care with good people
the crop is always good.

May 13 - Qualicum Beach - Jeremy's uncle Jeff's house

I felt my will crumble
unable to convince my legs
at the end of the day

The rest had been strong
and surprising

beautiful bays
bald eagle tree-bending
climbs carried through

I am exhausted

May 12 - just south of Comox

We are camped in an old woman's yard

I wiped out going downhill at 30km/h
my knuckles bleed
my side stings with road rash

spinach for iron tonight
fighting the tired blood
(can men be anaemic? - I want to know)

I am near exhausted
crashed down from adrenaline kick

Derek kind made dinner
I needed that
and I am happy
to be outside
in a tent

Gabriola Island

I am now on sunny Gabriola Island which has been great! We arrived on Monday night with Johnny's friend Jeremy joined us for a few days pf riding Which was a nice treat. He ended up being a big help as Johnny's knee has been a giving him a little trouble and Jeremy ended up taking the trailer for the day. Johnny seems to be doing better and has lightened his load until we get to Vancouver. Jeremy treated us to a lovely B&B called the Hummingbird, it was a little piece of paradise. Tonight is the house concert which promises to be really good, I will be looking out onto the ocean while performing. We are now heading into our first stint of solid biking and gigging, should be intense.

I will add more soon with pictures but the computer I'm on won't let me upload the pictures. I have been practicing this morning in a nice little shack that looks out onto the bay, life is really good.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

So it Begins

I arrived in Powell River on May 8th after a wonderful train ride across the country. I was surprised at some of the landscape as I came across, beauty in places I was not expecting. Northern Ontario goes on forever but I always found myself peering out the window looking for animals and to see the littles traces of history, small towns, all telegraph wires slowly falling over. I met some really kind people on my journey. Keith is the the one playing guitar in the picture and Julia is playing fiddle. The dome cars are a great place to hang out, play tunes, play cards or just gaze out at the view. It will be nice to get together with Keith again on Salt Spring Island.

A hight-light was meeting Dorthea, and 80 something year old woman who had taken the train to Toronto just to see two Operas she had always wanted to see. We had a wonderful conversation over dinner while weaving our way through the mountains. It was inspiring to meet someone older who is so full of life and wanting to keep seeing the world no matter her age, I hope I continue to do the same as I grow old. I hope to see her at our show in Victoria.

Going through the mountains by train was a true joy. I find mountains are too imposing and full of splendor for words, they must be experienced. This is the view pulling into the station in Jasper!

Johnny and I have been getting all the final details together and head out on the road today, trailers and all. We are both feeling a little tense about what lies ahead with all the weight we are carrying and all the hills and mountains coming our way soon.

The show last night was a humble beginning to this monster event, a tiny place that has a great vibe and an audience that was with us the whole time. I get the feeling they will be following us as we cross, wanting to know how our jitters work themselves out.

Ok time to put some kilometers in our legs...


May 12 - Powell River - Kit's Home

And so it begins...

We spent yesterday running around like headless chickens, putting boxes of excess gear in the mail to be sent home, doing radio interviews with Jump Community Radio in Powell River and the CBC in Ottawa, practicing for hours and playing a show.

The show, at Local Loco's Music & Arts Cafe, was a modest beginning to a monstrous tour. We played to about half a dozen kind, supportive, good listeners. The timing was unfortunate because many of the employees of the cafe, and many regular patrons, were at a Fairies and Fools costume rave nearby. I don't really mind, though - both Derek and I needed to get some rust off and ease into touring. Here's a photo of us before the show:

So, last night was playing and today is cycling. If Derek has the challenge of discovering the gruel of playing every second night, then I think I get the short end of the stick discovering the gruel of cycling nearly every day with a heavily laden trailer behind me to power up hills with only my legs. I have not felt like such a weakling in years. My legs are fighting to get up hills as I huff and puff. I am beginning to wish I wasn't so poor while I was in Nelson, as training at the gym would've been a good idea.

We get on the 5:15pm ferry tonight out of Powell River, and will likely cycle an hour or so down the coast of Vancouver Island before looking for a place to camp for the night. Wish us luck! I, at least, I think, will need it!

Monday, May 7, 2007

May 3 - Poems en route from Vancouver, BC to Powell River, BC (3/5/07)

Staring at the Buildings in Downtown Vancouver

I actually feel an ache
at the sight of these buildings

every one
a dilemma

so much destruction
to hold our numbers
make room for our parasitic breeding

I hate them
and they are necessary

knock one down
and thousands die

(I was confused when the twin towers fell -
joy at the collapse of the buildings
grief at the loss of life)

sympathy for
and pride in your species
is hard
when you feel the mess we've made
as an ache
while observing our "progress"

Observing the Mountains, Sea and Sky

I try to imagine
what forged these mounds of rock
jutting out of the ocean

I can't

I can't see the plates
the ancient movements
the dawning fires
meteor crashes
ages upon ages of erosion
growth and death
and growth and death

but I can see their age
the forging time has brought upon them
the reasons we admire them
and desiring to be surrounded by something greater
something beautiful
misguidedly put our mark on them
ride them
climb them
and die on them

we are young
teenagers - perhaps only kids
in time

we want to be grown-up
want to be treated so
but can't be trusted with the responsibility
of not allowing the house we grew up in
to be trashed

we haven't learned the knowledge of the earth yet

Is Honour Really So Rare Today?

I gave the bus driver the dollar I owed him
he said it was the first time
somebody did

This made me feel good, yet bad
is honour so rare today?

Of all the people who have bought
a fifty-one dollar ticket
and received a ten back from him
with a request that they make change on the ferry
and give him a dollar when they reboarded
surely I am on the poorer end of the spectrum

Yet I remembered
I could afford it

Is honour really so rare today?

Remembering Philosophic Conversations with Jeremy

The joy of the wanderer
is variety
many loves

I am thankful
for fresh loves
found in new faces

I am always thankful
to have not lost too many friends
to have chances to reconnect

I am thankful for generosity
love old and new
when it is definitely needed

The sorrow of the wanderer
is departing
these loves
and moments

Coelho, from The Alchemist

He knew that shepherds, like seamen and like traveling salesmen, always found a town where there was someone who could make them forget the joys of carefree wandering.

On Being a Traveler

We wade through oceans, looking for oysters, finding a few here and there, and ultimately hoping one contains a pearl that we can hold onto.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

"The green way to tour — cycle across Canada" (Ottawa Citizen, 01 May 2007, Page C8)

The green way to tour — cycle across Canada
Winter, spring, summer or fall, you hardly ever see Derek Olive without his bicycle helmet. The 31year- old musician moved to Ottawa from Montreal two years ago, and already has fond memories of biking alongside the Rideau Canal — while others were skating on the ice.

A passionate environmentalist, the singer- songwriter- guitarist commutes by bicycle, year round, to his job as a guitar and banjo instructor at the Ottawa Folklore Centre. Sure enough, his helmet is on the table when we meet for a healthy lunch at the Wild Oat eatery in the Glebe.

Chat with Olive for a few minutes and you’ll hear about his music, as well as his longdistance bicycle adventures in Eastern Europe, Mexico and the Atlantic Provinces. He obviously loves cycling, which he sees as one way to lessen his impact on the planet.

Olive and fellow Ottawa musician Johnny Eden are about to embark on a tour that will put their concern for the environment into action. The pair plans to spend four months cycling between concert dates across the country.

They meet up next week in Powell River, B. C. to start the 6,500- kilometre journey they’re calling Musicycle. Eden is already out west.

What’s driving them? Eden’s website lists a few reasons, including the environment, the Canadian experience, exercise and well- being, and the urge “ for an extraordinary life.” In Olive’s case, a large part of it is environmental guilt.

“ I love playing music and I love the musician’s life,” he says, “ but the environmental aspect is something I’ve been involved in for a long time as well, and really wanted to figure out a way to tour as a musician that I didn’t feel guilty about.

“ That’s really what down to.”

Olive, who records and performs his own acoustic guitarbased jazzy folk music, was contemplating the idea of touring by bicycle when he happened to meet Eden, a singersongwriter- guitarist who roams the country, often by Greyhound bus. He had the same idea; it made sense to join forces.

Olive has plenty of experi-

it came ence in planning bicycle trips, and didn’t mind approaching potential sponsors, while Eden has booked many of his own tours. His wandering spirit has earned him billing as “ the last troubadour.”

Eden did an impressive job assembling the Musicycle itinerary, lining up more than 60 concerts in caf├ęs, pubs, living rooms, art galleries, community halls and other venues across the country. They pedal through 17 stops in B. C., another dozen or so between Black Diamond, Alta., and Winnipeg. A dozen more through Northern Ontario, followed by eight in Eastern Ontario ( and West Quebec). A handful through Quebec, and then a dozen dates in the Maritimes.

The grande finale is scheduled for Petite Riviere, N. S. on Sept. 8.

Olive deserves credit, too, for the sponsors he’s managed to round up. Hull- based bicycle manufacturer Eclipse is supplying the two- wheelers, VIA Rail is comping a train ticket to B. C. ( for Olive, departing Friday), Mountain Equipment CoOp has thrown in some camping gear and John Pearse is supplying guitar strings. Instruments and gear will be transported on Yak trailers towed behind the bikes.

The final details...

So many things to do these days before I set off for Vancouver. I am looking forward to the train ride to relax a little before the first show in Powell River, it is a little daunting seeing the distance I am going to be riding for the next 4 months unfold before me slowly on the train.

The list of good things going on is so long I don't even know where to start, but how about on the musical side. I picked up my new guitar last week which was a great joy! Here is a picture of Richard Paxton and I, the guitar builder, at Sand Dunes Park with my new guitar.

I picked up Johnny's and my bikes last week as well! My old touring bike had so many Km on it that it needed to be retired. The first ride that I got to do on my new bike was to meet Lynne Saxburg of the Ottawa Citizen, to top it off it was in the rain! I hope this isn't a bad sign of weather to come... I'm just on my way to pick up the Citizen to check out the article, more about it later.