I took the bike out today. Its kind of shitty weather. It’s been raining in Saskatoon. Not raining men, not raining cats and dogs, just kind of patchy showers and grey skies. The breeze is cool and fresh. Fresh enough in fact to need a long sleeve hoodie and long pants. Thankfully there was a break in the showers long enough for me to get out with the bike and the camera and get some pictures on a nice ride.
The tree lined avenues in this city are simply beautiful. Near the river, on the south side of the city the real estate is old, and pricey. Its in the area that I call the ‘golden triangle,’ which effectively takes in the Broadway entertainment district, the university campus and the city centre. I really would have liked to have bought a house in this area, but you need a really fat bank account to find yourself in this neighbourhood – unless you bought back in the early 2000’s or whatever.
It’s the kind of neighbourhood you might find yourself in if you are a lawyer, or a doctor, or a well heeled academic. You might stroll down to the local café on a Saturday morning. Everything is within strolling distance, naturally.
Kids ride bikes and young moms push prams on the sidewalk. Birds chirp in the leafy green trees, that are so well spaced that they intermingle branches above the road and provide that quintessential avenue experience.
I pulled up to the café. I locked my bike and took a couple of pictures before moving inside. Normally, the outside of the café would be buzzing with activity with chairs and tables set out on the sidewalk. Today those chairs are bunched up. Inside there is an eclectic mix of university types, the obligatory dreadlock haired hippy types, young families, and a multitude of millennial hipster types. The young lady working at the counter makes coffees and re-stocks the in store made cookies and slices in the display window.
While I sat at the café looking out the window I felt a sense of contentment. Any immediate worries that were on my mind melted away. I was free to enjoy the moment, for what it was. I nice bike ride and a sit in a café. I ordered a cappuccino. That’s what I normally get.
People rode and walked by. A lady and her daughter entered the café and sat at the chairs nearby me and chatted over a slice of pie or whatever. A young family came in and ordered some drinks. The place was quite full.
Here are some pictures of my weekend trip to Iowa. The covered bridges of Madison county date back to the 1800’s. They are a real landmark. To be honest, I don’t know why they got into building covered bridges. I was interested to see that on one of the buildings in Winterset they featured some interesting pictures of the bridges in actual construction. Young men climbing up and over and around on narrow beams and posing for the photograph.
I was surprised to see a picture of one being hauled out using a steam powered tractor. I somehow believed that they would have been constructed piece by piece in situ but this was not the case. There were some photos of them being propped up from the bank of the river and sort of swung into place.
In recent times, they have been prone to arsonists lighting them on fire. I think its deplorable. What would motivate someone to burn a piece of history such as this? I hope you enjoy the photos…
So this weekend I was lucky enough to get to see the birthplace of none other than John Wayne. This guy: you might recognise him.
So I used to live in north east British Columbia. We had a wood stove. Lots of times, often on weekends, we would collect firewood from the bush. I had a chainsaw, and we’d jump in the work truck with the kids and dog and head out in search of a decent log to cut up. Often I would split it right there too. Its hard work but enjoyable at the same time.
On this day it was very cold. So quiet too. Well away from any hustle and bustle. You can hear yourself think. Apart from the chainsaw noise, that is. I like the bush in BC. Its wild and remote, and has a lot of wildlife. Its a place where you can still find adventure and solitude. There are many walking trails and its one of those really un-trodden places in the world. All the tourists are hitting Jasper and Banff, and right here in the northern rockies foothills we have a thriving natural playground to explore.
We lived up here for more than five years. It was a nice time in our lives.
I had the opportunity to travel to Gibsons, BC. Now if you’ve never heard of Gibsons, you might have seen it. If you ever saw the CBC long running drama called Beachcombers then you would have seen Gibsons, because it was the setting for all the adventures of a little BC coastal town where everyone drives a boat and the big industry is timber.
If you’re not familiar, but are vaguely interested, or want to have a look because you remember this show on TV, here’s a link:
So I went to Molly’s Reach, the diner in the TV show. I can remember, as a kid, growing up in Australia, this show would come on in the afternoon. Now it felt a WHOLE WORLD away from my place as a kid, so you could imagine the sense of surrealism as I munched on fish and chips at the original Molly’s Reach. It hasn’t changed much at all.
You can also see the Phersephone – the boat that was featured in the show. It’s on the main street as a kind of memorial or whatever.
Its a cute little town, artsy, and really picturesque. I hope you enjoy the photos…
Today, we went to get our Canadian passports. I am travelling to the states Monday, and I didn’t know this, but they have a 24 hour service. It costs an extra $100 but they can rush it through. I cant believe it, if things work out, I might be picking up my own Canadian passport on Monday at 11.30!
So I went to the café with my wife and my daughter. We talked a bit about being respectful and having a good adult dialogue. Very important things, I think. I realise I have not always been respectful, and she admits that she’s been a bit the same way. Anyway, the point was that we agreed to work on respectful dialogue, for the sake of our sanity, for the kids, and, well, because its way nicer if you are kind to eachother. Anyway, that’s not the point of my blog today.
I learned that my kids now have their own cell phones (WTF? I don’t remember having that discussion), but whatever. I texted something like ‘sup kids, you wanna hang with your dad?’ They both replied ‘no.’ Turds. Ok, I’ll just pay for your fucking cell phones and you can diss your dad. The joys of parenting.
So T Bird got herself the new iPhone 7. Another conversation that I don’t remember having but whatever, I guess I’ll just pay that bill too. I must say though, it takes awesome photos. I’m impressed.
There was a guy on the street outside the window. He had a cardboard sign saying ‘thank god for kind people’. I guess if I’m paying for three cell phone bills I’m pretty kind, right? I don’t think he’d appreciate that, though.
So I’ve got the weekend to do whatever I want, and I’m travelling to Iowa on Monday. Something to look forward to, its just a quick trip. I think I’ll work on a few songs on my acoustic guitar, give the vocal chords a bit of a workout. Probably hit the gym a couple of times. Might even get a bit of yoga in.
Who’s down for that?
I was staying at the hostel the night before this night too, so I had hours to spend on selfish indulgence including my long black lycra man tights (ANY excuse will do 😉 ) and exploring the city on my mountain bike. That’s my happy place. Keep it simple. I don’t need crowds, I don’t need bars, I don’t need a dozen friends. I just need to be me, and I need my man tights. I don’t care what society thinks about that.
I will admit though, there were some pangs of a kind of loneliness and boredom. Not that that was a problem, I have enough going on in my life so the downtime is a welcome break from the normal routine. I flicked through the ‘Prairie Dogs’ street press and pondered some options for what I might do in the evening. There was some gay drag show events, a poetry writing workshop, some film options, and some other stuff going on. I briefly considered going to see a film about a black man struggling with his sexuality at various stages of his life.
I settled for a cappuccino and a very large ginger cookie. Some people seated in the café were talking about all sorts of stuff – roman empires, politics, groupies, that kind of thing (?). I sort of listened and didn’t really have a choice as they were kind of noisy. I didn’t mind. The sun shone through the windows and it was clear outside. A nice day – too windy for sure, but for April in Regina, I was really ok with that.
I had had a sleep in the early afternoon after my earlier jog and ride around the lake. I visited the museum too. It was really worth a look. I was quite content. No where to go and no one to answer to. I went to do some sketches, I opened my bag and realised that I had left my sketch book somewhere else, perhaps in my bag at the hostel or in the car. Turns out in my frustrated rush to get out of the house, I had left my sketchbook on the kitchen bench, and I did not pack more than a couple of pairs of underwear (JM man thong, naturally), so I found myself having to wear the same pair for a bit. I know, too much information. Right.
The ginger nut cookie had been frozen I think, and microwaved. This meant that it was warm and soft in the middle, but parts of it were still kind of cold, so that was mildly disappointing. The cappuccino was good though – that’s a photo of the actual café and coffee that I had.
Also, I had broken my nose piece on my glasses when I tried to adjust them and got a little too rough. So my glasses now have one nose piece and that feels a bit odd. I know its a simple thing but that kind of made me not want to engage with people so much because it made me self conscious. Ok, you could totally dissect that with psycho bullshit, but please, spare me.
After the café I rode my bike through the city for a while. I got some more pictures (some of which are on my blog here), and browsed at some nick-nack shops. There was a wedding going on in the park and they were taking pictures of the bride and groom. I had mixed feelings about that. Happy day for them, and I wish them all the best, but I also thought about the struggles and challenges that this young couple were going to go through. They don’t know this of course. There will be issues, as with all human relationships, that’s part of life.
In the end, I didn’t go out that night, I didn’t need to. I went for a walk, and even stuck my head into a couple of bars. It was noisy, they were full of people talking loudly and making conversation. I felt like the odd one out, and wasn’t motivated to even try to talk to people, I don’t really care for it. I went to the hostel, and read some books. Early night, and up this morning to drive back to Saskatoon. Nice way to spend a weekend.
Glacier National Park. Awesome scenery. We had run into a few people that were hiking across the range and they had been out for seven days. We stopped at a creek, there were a lot of black flies and bugs, so getting your kit off for a cooling dip was not without risk of getting bit, but man, it was nice!