Tuesday, July 31, 2007


So yesterday I busted out a nice long day, 170km to get to Toronto to surprise my friend Shane. Nothing like just ringing someones doorbell and saying hello! But let me backup a little first, back to Sudbury... It was fun and, well, kind of a dive all at the same time. I got to do a good interview for CBC North so that was cool. I just walked into the lobby and told them what I was up to and low and behold I got to speak with Greg and do an interview.

The night of the gigs Kristin ended up walking back to the hotel as a guy at the show was being a complete pain in the butt. Then to top it all off she got cat called like crazy and other rude gestures on the way back. On the flip side I got to play the Townhouse tavern and Paul who booked us was really nice about the whole gig and listened very intently which was great.

Next was North Bay, where we played at the 100 Georges, a really nice place to play. Kristin and I had our nice fare the well dinner there; the food was excellent and we lived like royalty for the night. The next morning we said goodbye as she drove away on the bus...what followed was the hardest day of riding. My heart feeling heavier than all my gear ever had.

Next was the Zen Waffle Inn which was a cool gig right on the water. That afternoon I played a solid set and really had a good time after with Peter and Vki jamming away.

So here I am in Toronto, there was a gig in Aliston that Johnny is going to do on his own. Since he isn't biking he was heading to Hamilton to visit Asta and then heading back up to Aliston for the gig while I would be up there with no where to stay for 3 nights, so I decided to make a break for Toronto to visit with friends since I won't be back to this city for a long time since my future looks very Northern....


Pics 4

Into Toronto!!! I put in a 170km that day...

This is where we stayed in South River, the coolest Motel I have ever seen!

Can you say tan lines!

Welcome to Sudbury! The nickel mine has over 5000km worth of underground

tunnels, that's how far I have ridden by now.

This was the note Kristin and I found that led us to Bathtub

I nice spot on the way to Pancake Bay.

Kristin hot on my tail arriving in Pancake Bay, 153km that day!
Sometimes staying in a hotel is more trouble than its worth.

So much resolution needed...

Mr. Fox passed this way, courage indeed, thanks Terry you have been in my thoughts more than once.

Lake Superior indeed

Its a long way to the top if you want to Rock n Roll

White River, home of the REAL live Winnie. That night the town was running around trying
to shoot a bear that was in town, that would be irony would it not.

Naturally Superior Adventures Lodge concert

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jul 27 - South River, ON

surprise at the time passed by -
summer flashing and age reminded
as i go along - times before, times to come -
some grand perspective on it all
recognition of transition
coming of a new age
new ideas

the me i knew not long ago
is gone to character
a strange third person i used to know
oh so vaguely

this traveling has taught me much
and now i understand why travel has been for so long
an activity of broadening horizons
sowing one's oats and all that

but that recognition of a new phase
it is odd
it comes suddenly
though the phase may no longer be young
it can take a long time
to recognize it
settle in

Jul 26 - North Bay, ON

so... days spent getting to know the good side of Sudbury - such an interesting place. after the first night spent grungy and nasty in Canada's scuzziest band room, i ran into Phil & Libby (from the show at NSA in Wawa) and they bought me lunch and connected me with a place to stay at the home of their friend Heather Topp, a wonderful and strong-minded eccentric artist who kept me up happily late debating a world of things over red wine. she is vibrant and lively - full of that creative energy that some artists posess in their personality, making them larger than life.

i picked up a show on tuesday at the laughing buddha, and while i had limited fun playing, i had a wonderful night partying with the staff, getting to know them, and unwinding in a way that is sorely missed on the road - as part of a group.

i've been gluttonous lately, feeling a need to enjoy as many things as i can. living stringent is no longer suiting me. i find myself looking forward to points ahead, when i will rediscover love with friends and family. and, i find myself looking forward to getting on the bicycle again. i will have to get re-acquainted with it before riding out the last three weeks.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Jul 22 - Sudbury, ON

come, mr. sketchy man, pick me up. bring me into sudbury with those burns on your arms, barely say a word but for mine language - you here for your whole life knowing nothing more. sketchy bill, save me from bigot mike, who speaks ill of his doctor wife and immigrants, and natives who "rob him of his culture". save me from his ignorant bull-shit. save me from him who left me without a blink on the side of the highway, fifteen km outside of sudbury's city limits, the ten minutes being too much of his valuable time to waste (value in this case meaning time spent idling or wasting money on his toy material things, his motorcycles never ridden). that ride meant a lot to me, but not the one who gave it. i'd be happy to never think on today's rides again. on thursday i will take the bus to north bay. i will hitch as little as possible on this next stretch. i will take the hit, get back on the greyhound, hate it, hate much of this, but revel all i can in seeing old friends.

and they are just around the corner, i know it. and i wait for them, more patient than i ever want to be. and that is the point, i think, when you know you are not living up to your own conditions, when you are over-patient. you cannot feel proud of such patience - you can only feel a victim of it.

i complain, and yet things have worked out better than they might have. i made it in to town, i have a place to sleep (though it be below a bar, in the smell). sometimes i want people to see me now - those who want to say "i knew him when" - i want them to see how irrelevant i am, how the talent they estimate to be so extraordinary creates so little effect. am i cursed or am i blessed? i want my life to be stabler than it is. i want to make a living, but i may need to be much better than i am to do that. (last night I heard Colin James on the radio, talking about his latest album, full of common names and legends, and i think i cannot play guitar like that, or sing like that, so who, really, do i rank with, and is that rank too low to dare call myself a singer or a song-writer, or anything having to do with music?) i am faced with a measurement of my talent, and i find myself doubting, despite what various people have said. i find myself cautious, making back-up plans.

Jul 21 - Blind River, ON - 3rd Sand Beach

here we go whimpering one whimp more into depression: i can't seem to lift myself from it. i have come to wonder if it is the music that brings me joy, or just the good times with friends that sometimes come with it. or perhaps i am the stereotypical artist - only happy when feeling appreciated, or in the middle of creation. here i am on the beach again, yet tonight's show was cancelled. why can't i get past that? why can't i absorb all the joys of this moment? it's like something has gone off in me, but it can't be thrown out - it needs to be composted.


morning on the beach, dew inside my tent, swim in the Huron - I am up again. last night saw stars shining, shooting across the sky, the moon bright and strong reflected. listened to some blues on the cbc, and a little bit of "twang" from D Trevlon - good to hear him on there, to hear an up-and-comer get some attention.

no rush to get to sudbury now. the show is days away yet. i have no idea where i am going to sleep when i get there - ha ha ha!

What are you up to?

Now for a rant:
So I am cycling across Canada to promote doing things differently, to challenge people to think about the way they live their lives, this is a tall order. All along the trip I have been asked "Are you doing it for Cancer, Heart and Stroke..." no I am not. My Mom died from cancer so I could have done it for that cause but I don't like the idea of people giving up their money to this big huge void that is cancer, it is too removed to me, no real impact just giving a little money. What I was hoping for was some thought, for people to possibly DARE to care. Feel the fear of KNOWING we have done harm to this nice place we call home, and, KNOW that we are the ones who will suffer in the end, then step into the COURAGE and ACTION phase. I have heard so many "reasons" that people can't bike to work, the store, whatever... So I ask people out in Blog land to tell me what you are up to to change something in your life because I could use a little inspiration myself.


I'm here I'm here...

My time in front of computers has been pretty slim these days but with a little time here in Sudbury I will update the world from my side a little. First off I think that lake Superior is a hidden treasure of this country! The largest lake in the world, an inland ocean with views that inspire me to want to paint (which I don't) leaving me thinking that people up here are trying to keep this place a secret. The two days we spent at Naturally Superior Adventures in Wawa were wonderful! The view left nothing to be desired as Kristin and I enjoyed this place where the lines of water and sky mix creating a magical little world. The show that night was a fun one as well with a packed room and a view that looked out across Lake Superior while the sun was setting. Before playing one of my instrumental tunes I told the audience to just stair out the window and together the sound and view would mesh into one. At that gig we meet a nice family who we would later cross paths with...

On the way to Sault Saint Marie while riding Kristin and I happened to see a note written on the back of someones mini van window that said "Bikes follow this path... Derek we met you at the concert." so when you see something like that you have to follow!!! So we walked down this path and it was as if we had landed in the tropics, a most superior lake indeed. The nice folks we had met at the show in Wawa were hanging on the beach of a place called Bathtub Island. It was something I had never imagined in Ontario, clear water, white sand, and that little island was like a bathtub as it had a little pool in the centre that was nice and toasty! After visiting for a while we continued pedaling towards the Soo.

Soo Saint Marie was a really fun gig for me. I don't know what it was but I had a great. Some nice people came out with encouraging words about the tour and also our friends from Bathtub showed up again!!!!

Then there were a few snags lets say, the gig in Thessalon left, well and audience to be desired. The same night there was a stag and doe for a couple getting married this summer so the whole town was there... So Kristin and I did what any normal people would do, we went to the local Tavern and drank bad beer.

Now the next fun gig story was in Blind River. Imagine if you will kristin and I roll into town and find Johnny all ready at the place we are going to be playing, nothing weird there... Then we find out that the person who had booked us was actually just the cleaning lady and sometimes bar maid so there was no gig. Imagine it Johnny phones "Hey we are doing a tour..." I had to laugh, how often do you get secretly booked by the cleaning lady!

So whats there to say, the riding from Thunderbay to the Sault was something I will not soon forget, it felt like my first real moment of shock on this tour seeing a part of this country I never knew was there.


More pics will come as soon as I am at a computer that I can uplaod them to, not in the nice town library...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Jul 20 - Thessalon, ON - Lakeside Park

feeling weary again - long nights and early mornings, a little too much beer drowned-in. i long to get off the road, and i don't want to end up writing songs about this. how is it one can be sitting on a beach discontented? this is not the first time i've asked myself this question, and yet i haven't answered it yet.

i have been seeking home and love for years now, hoping i would stumble into them. i may need to just make it happen. out there to the west, right now, there is a woman. she is my potential, she is my excitement. and while i move along and sometimes struggle to find my joy in playing, it can be hard to live with that - to feel alone despite knowing there is someone who is like magic....

yet bull shit - here i am, outdoors, light clouds lining up to pass the horizon, the sun slowly following them, the perfect heat on my skin. quit complaining, you idiot! you've got this, and she is waiting. stop being a business, start being a working vacation. this is joy you are living, you inconsistant twit!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jul 18 - Wawa, ON - Naturally Superior Adventures' Rock Island Lodge

the room here smells like my grandparents', back in time in nova scotia - their house on shaw island. i am immersed in nostalgia, eager to get there, to go back, see it. my love is on shores. this place reminds me of the fact. the water is easing me. i climb the jagged banks of these shores - bushwakking, trail-blazing, loving it. i swim though i want it to be ocean, want salt in my hair, in my nose, on my skin. the smells - i am so attached to them. today i caught a grass snake and loved that reptilian smell on my hand - memories of catching frogs as a kid. after i held it for thirty seconds it was so calm....

people here are kind but private, independant, or on special vacations. anyway they mostly keep to themselves. a couple from Sudbury have provided some good conversation, though, and David, the owner, has a voracious wit reminding me of my uncle David.

tomorrow is my last day here, though i am not sad to leave it. sitting mostly idle with few distractions stirs up my wandering spirit, and i feel it is time to move on again. tomorrow is go to sault, and new challenges....

....and now one of the wicked storms of Superior approaches. it is difficult to sleep. my mind is on Derek and Kristin up ahead - are they safe? they have each other - i can ease a little knowing that. but the thunder, even off in the distance, is lound and ferocious. the lions are awake in the sky tonight. this wind is violent, whipping the tarps above my head. i love the lights, though i worry about everyone on this beach tonight - needlessly, no doubt. if trouble truly hits, what can i do to help them? weather renders us helpless. we'd all huddle into one of the buildings, i suspect.

Jul 17 - Wawa, ON - Naturally Superior Adventures' Rock Island Lodge

water in morning. cool water on my skin, shallow and refreshing. cleaning my clothes like a medieval person - "plunge and scrub" in the lake, on the sand.

a day spent relaxing, climbing on the jagged rocks, ancient magma exposed, thick with burgundy iron, small pools in their recesses. i get naked in one, resting, bathing, time a beautifully meaningless thing - no rush, no schedule - me and the rock and the water and far off, the blue sky and the sand. thrashing through the bush, around the gorgy inlets too steep or wide to climb or jump.

a delicious pasta dinner.

a chance that asta comes to toronto - an exciting chance.

a ride comes through to the sault. ease. beautiful ease. i could get used to this time, this extra. will i want to get on the bike again? it will be harder the more i enjoy this, yet i count on no joy around the bend. expectations can breed disappointment, unless one prepares for the worst - but there is stress in that.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jul 13 - Rossport, ON

I find it appropriate that I am writing this on a solar powered computer on an island across from the town of Rossport. I arrived here yesterday after catching a lift with Bart (a friend of Asta's). Yes, I did say ride. I sent the bicycle to Ottawa when I was in Thunder Bay because it became clear to me during the last week I spent cycling that my compressed nerve was getting worse, causing shooting pains up my wrist to my elbow, and my fingers were number than ever.

On the bright side, my reunion with Asta K (from Vernon) was pleasurable indeed. Nothing like romance to put a smile on a guy's face. I relaxed for 4 days with Asta and Kristin at Kristin's family's place, watching some good movies, drinking chocotinis, and dipping into Thunder Bay proper to check out the Finnish district (since Asta comes from an immigrant Finnish family). We ate at the famous Hoito underneath the Finnish Club, enjoying salt-fish and pancakes. Yum!

The shows in T-Bay were not stupendously attended, but were more enjoyable as they went along, ending up at Jen Metcalfe's beautiful home. We played in her living room to the little group there, imbibed in some fine El Jimador, and ate pizza. Life was good. At the end of the night, I took Asta to McVicar Manor B&B (a stunning Victorian manor right downtown) and romanced her some more. Life continued to be good until morning when we had a fabulous breakfast and some good chats with good people before I had to be off on my car-pool with Bart, leaving myself and Asta sad at the departure.

It's going to be a tough two months without her, and an interesting month coming without a bicycle. This is truly an adventure - so many twists and turns and unexpected happenings.

C'est la vie. Carpe dium.

Today I went out on a boat-ride and hike about Lake Superior and its many interesting islands with Lisa Poushinsky and her father Jim. My hips have been reacting badly to the lack of constant rotation, so it's probably good that I got a solid hike up a steep hill in. Northern Ontario seems to be all about the boat rides (what with the fishing trip in Wabigoon). I don't mind it a bit....

Jul 6 - Wabigoon, ON

I feel disgusting -
grimy, bitten

This is no way
to come to a woman

I need to get cleaned up
need to be scrubbed down

Jul 5 - Oxdrift, ON

I don't want to be the quitter, the one who gave up in the middle. But what can I do - keep going, risking my hand, wrist and elbow getting worse and worse until I can't play guitar? Is there a good time for one to cut one's losses? Financially, my entire savings was banked on this trip going well. Yet, does it matter if I lose it? Maybe I am meant to start fresh. Life surely has its purpose....

Jul 4 - Kenora, ON - Merry Independence Day, America

Merry Independence Day, America
Give account of what your independence includes, please.

Peace? Nope - can't say that -
the fat cats
you chose
or who stole
or both
(with money and method that won't be disclosed)
have declared that your lives will be lived in fear
as long as they have dollars pouring in
'cause that's the one thing America's got, isn't it -
cold hard cash
for cold hard people
to buy cold hard weapons
to be pried from the cold hard hands
of cold dead sons and daughters

Keep marching on Iraq, children
Go defend that dollar -
it's all America has left, isn't it,
since the reaper so long ago claimed "Liberty and Justice for all" for his own
wearing his mask like yer man on his democratic throne

Merry Independence Day, America
O say can you see where your freedom has gone -
to racial profiling
walls to keep Mexicans out
patients dying on unsubsidized tables
war gone wrong
a vote that can't be trusted
and government contracts awarded to the already filthy disgusting rich

Your freedom is tied in the back yard, America
reduced to a dog crying to get in
unable to break the chain and bust out

Merry Independence Day, America
Will you ever know freedom again?

Jul 3 - Falcon Lake, MB

Here in the rain it is cold and I am struggling - struggling to get through these cycling days while my brain conjures severance plans, ways I could still do this that wouldn't be so frustrating. Update: my fingers are numb, my knees are killing, there is a shooting pain to my elbow. Remember - it is raining. Ugh.

Could I hitch-hike, bus? All travel methods come with their miseries, but as I pop more pills than I have in my life to deal with my aches and pains, I wonder - is this beginning to do more bad than good for me? I seem to have passed a threshold of being in great shape.

I weigh 170lbs now. That's the same weight, I think, as Derek discovered the bike's weighed back in BC. I hope I haven't been pulling my own weight. That is insane. I am not an ant. I am a human being, dammit!

So today of all days is the day I most consider abandoning the bicycle. I have a hard time deciding whether I am a wuss or being practical. How do I reconcile? My fingers have been going numb for almost three weeks now, and they're getting worse....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wabigoon! John who runs Green Achers, the place we played took us fishing, what a great day.

John and Johnny

Somewhere between Wabigoon and Thunder Bay I was hanging out with the bugs watching the sunset while losing blood.

One more province!

This is coming into Winnieg, look close and you see the city through the mustard field

I happened to stop under this overpass leaving Winnipeg because it was the only shade I could find when I saw this! Makes me a little homesick for Quebec!

More Trees to discover... holly crow!

The lakes and trees of the Canadian Shield

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Kenora and Trees....

Well here I am in Ontario, great big, massive, large, spacious, tree filled, lake covered, Ontario. This is where things will get interesting from a sanity point, as in how much of it can I keep seeing trees...trees...trees...lake...rock....trees... you get the idea. I have said since day one that this would be the toughest part. Now to top it all off my knee hurts like never in my life. I have cycled through numerous countries and never had an issue with my knee before. At least it only hurts when I go up hill, since this part of Ontario is supposed to be worse than the Rockies! Crap.

Kenora has been a nice place to be, with some sun to top it all off! Everywhere we go "We haven't had this much rain in years." just what I love to hear.

Johnny and I are getting along a little better now as things have been on the rough end for a little while. Other than the fact that we both play guitar and sing we really are complete opposites. Basically we spend less time cycling together and this seems to ease some tension.

Now all I am doing is counting the days until Thunder Bay... why... because my partner Kristin is meeting me there and will spend two weeks on the road with me!!!!

That's all for now... did any of you catch the CBC interview, I can't believe we sang that tune of Johnny's... never in my life would I have thought that I would do something like that.


Sunday, July 1, 2007

July 1 - Winnipeg, MB

Well, Winnipeg has been eventful. The show at Candor was well attended, considering the circumstances being Canada Day weekend. Then, the show at Park Theatre - well, no so well attended. BUT, for me, it was worth it because Karla ("Lily" from Jacob & Lily) said some things that reminded me why I should be doing this, why I AM doing this: for the love of it. Why? No, not because of some cushy romantic idealism, but for the pragmatic reason that there is no other reason to tour folk music. There is barely enough money. The audience numbers are unreliable, and the listeners are sometimes few. One cannot do it for money. One cannot depend on the energy of an audience. One can only find joy in what one is doing, in the music. If one cannot find that, one might as well quit.

This is one of the issues that has been confronting myself and Derek, and I, at least, have come out the other side with a healthier approach and perspective.

On the personal front, Derek and I have been having some problems, but I think the worst has passed. It was bound to happen on this trip. We are too different to not get under each other's skin every now and then. It's like an arranged marriage - very difficult to manage, but I think we'll get through to the end without any serious damage. There are things for us to talk about, but once we do, I'm sure it will be water under the bridge.

I can't wait to get on the road again, taking 2.5 relatively stress-free days to get to Kenora, and a couple more tame ones to Wabigoon where we meet up with Asta and Kristin (our hostesses way back in Vernon), which will be joyous for me because there's some romance attached.

Thanks for reading!