Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hertta – you are always with us!

Tragedy had come to our life, and joy and happiness were replaced with sadness and emptiness. Hertta died on November 21st 2014.

It was love at first sight when Skippy rescued Hertta in August 2011. Hertta had had a rough life before she came to us. She lived her first years on the streets of Estonia before she came to Finland where she was passed around. The doctors estimated her to be about 11 years old and only gave her 6 months to live because of her mammal tumors (and that was in late 2011)! Skippy changed her to a clean vegan diet and a healthy life style with plenty of love and exercise in fresh countryside air.

She really loved to be in the sidecar. Hertta was our guardian, the protector of our family. She watched over us and everything what she regarded suspicious was barked at. She was able to make people jump when they approached the sidecar without permission. Ever since we started our journey Hertta was almost 24/7 with mommy - and she was happy! Hertta saw the world and she loved sniffing around those millions of different smells. 

We miss her badly and feel very lost without her!

Her final resting place we found from a very beautiful temperate rainforest, with lovely waterfalls and rainbows nearby. Next day when we continued our journey it was very grey and rainy weather. A moment after we passed by her place the rain stopped and sun came out! Soon after that we saw the most beautiful rainbow over the sea! It was like Hertta was smiling at us and trying to cheer us up :)
Wolfi was too slow with the camera to capture this full and bright rainbow.

In case you cannot see the video in youtube, click here for an alternative source.

Hertta, you'll always be our sunshine!

- Wolfi, Skippy, Lyra & Ulpu

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back to the USA

The next step was to get back into the US. Ryan from Courtenay told us earlier that when taking the ferry Victoria - Port Angeles, all customs formalities are handled on the Victoria side and the crossing would be more relaxed compared to the one at the Interstate.

We checked-in and waited for the immigration officer to come. He instructed us to go to the booth for checking and getting a new stamp (permission to stay in the US). After answering a few questions we got another stamp into our passports allowing us to stay another 6 months in the US. No problem – USA here we come again :)

The ferry took only 1.5h and this time we were allowed to take our girls up into the lounge area. A few people passed by, recognized us from the local TV news and came to chat a little. That was spooky once more. I think we are not “celebrity-material”. Lyra waved her tail at everybody and anybody walking by.
Mommy's baby :)
and the little monsters to me :-o
Ready to debark.
I was really happy and felt somehow relieved once we were on the road again. We fueled up in Port Angeles (petrol was a lot cheaper there compared to Victoria) and then headed towards Kingston for another ferry crossing. We had booked two nights in a motel in Kirkland and the following day
I took the two little girls for teeth cleaning – this time we tried it anesthesia-free. After a quick check both got their treatment and they both looked ok. That was a much better approach compared to going to a vet, putting them to sleep and then do the treatment!
Artistic farmer(?) leaves irrigation system on in freezing weather ... entire fields covered in ice.
Cute little visitor.
Nice view from the ferry.

Hertta was not doing well. She was in heat and on top of that she was occasionally shivering and refused to eat properly. Skippy used her skills to gave her a little food, goodies and vitamins.
Due to the cold and Hertta's condition we would not ride very long the next day. Our path led us to Centralia (what a strange name for a city, sounds to me like from some B-class Sci-Fi movie).

Since we took it easy I organized a new rear tire for my GS at Fred's discount tire. The mounting was very easy and the owner of the shop was very friendly. Since he did not have the tool to balance the tire, he offered to drive to the motorcycle dealer to balance the tire there. We did that and it took quite a while that the guy came back, obviously it was no easy job but anyway he did it. Obviously ashamed of the fact that it took so long, he did not charge for the balancing job. We went back to the tire shop and mounted the tire on the bike and I left.

Instantly I heard some really strange noise. I stopped and tried to locate the sound – it came clearly from the rear wheel. I drove to an empty parking lot, took my jack out and lifted the rear. Yep – there it was. On a specific spot it made klong-klong-klong when moving back or forth. I tend to think worst-case scenario: Broken rear bearing!

It started sizzling and I went back to the tire shop. We lifted the bike up, took the tire off and saw that the balancing weights were mounted on the inner side of the rim and touched a bolt of the swinging-arm. I did not think that the construction is that tight. Well, the owner suggested to put flatter weights on the rim and after we did that and installed the tire we realized that it was still too thick. This weight also got stuck on the swinging-arm. What-the-heck, we took the weight off and I left. Thanks Fred for your help and patience! Safe travels!

Have to remember this: no weights on the inner rim.
Our track
Skippy made another travelogue - welcome to our road life reality show.

Then something happened which changed this trip forever ...

~ Wolfi

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Karate, TV-news, BMW ... more from Victoria (08. - 16.11.2014)

The days went by and we took it easy in Victoria. The grocery shop was in walking distance and had a good selection of organic produce as well as many vegan food options in the deli. Skippy had some more Karate, girls enjoyed playing in the park and the restaurant and motel guests admired our trip and bikes. Our new mixer Magic Bullet was already broken after two weeks of daily usage. Lucky us we got our money back from Walmart (good policies!) and ordered from internet a Tribest mixer – the same we used before during Europe and West-Africa.
Thank you Sensei Danny McKee and Sensei Oliver Fitzpatrick from Shintani Wadokai for great trainings! I had great fun and learned many new things! :)
My call for help to the local biker community was answered by a few (thanks folks!) and the most convenient was the one from Rod and Nora. Rod had a dry garage (very important at that time of the year) where I could do a big yet regular maintenance of my GS. The maintenance went well, and as I was screwing around a few deer came by to say hello. My improvised fix of the hole which covers the wheel to adjust the OT-point did simple fall off when I tried to tight the screw. My new improvised fix consisted of a piece of duck-tape.

It got pretty late, early dark and it seemed to start freeze as well. Rod and Nora offered already earlier that I could stay there over night and so I did. Nora made some vegan food for me – Thank you very much! We had a few excellent beer and talked about all sorts of things. I have not been drinking any beer for quite a while and then instantly four .... or even five? I was pretty much done :)
Nora & Rod
Beautiful sunshine brightened my day on the next morning and after a quick breakfast I hit the road. It was a lovely yet chilly ride back to my girls.

We met some other people in the city (special “hi” to Quinn and Lavender), found a vegan chocolate shop (the goodies from the Portland one tasted better though) and tested some of the vegan restaurants in downtown. The days were typically dry and sunny with temperatures around +10C whereas the nights brought already frost.
Pure Loving Chocolate - all vegan!!!
Raw-vegan Cafe Bliss (well almost vegan, they do use some honey!)
Really delicious raw vegan pizza slize and mushroom burger!
Single-use coffee mugs create plenty of trash. Get a re-usable travel mug and be at least a bit more environmental friendlier!
Victoria harbor.
Good advice at Green Cuisine's female washroom :D
Chinatown in Victoria, BC is the oldest Chinatown in Canada and second oldest in North America.
Chinatown ... must have a dragon somewhere.
We had our big day on the November 15th when we had a “meet and greet” event at Island BMW motorcycle dealer in Victoria. Bill was absolutely fantastic in organizing everything from the BBQ to the local TV news channel. Yep – BBQ! When I went the first time to Island BMW to meet Bill and in order to prepare the event, he noted instantly that oops you are vegan, so killing some animals to promote your journey will not do. He organized some vegan sausages, sauerkraut and vegetarian burgers!

Well done and thank you very much for organizing this event!

The weather was inviting, sunny and even warm in the sun (I guess many bikers regret that they canceled their insurance already). We had a great time, met about 30 other bikers, some who came just to see us and others by chance. We got interviewed by Chek News and made it to the evening news on the local TV. I made an updated video which ran in the background and our donation jars got some content. Thank you all very very much for your generous contributions – we appreciate it and will take it to a good cause.
Getting ready for the event...
The official Island BMW "guardian".
Hertta stayed in her favorite spot - the sidecar.
Dylan from Chek News recording...
and me telling our stories :)
Thanks for all the donations as well as the food :D
Vegan sausages and vegetarian burgers (Photo by Bill, Island BMW)
... and when can I ride in such a cool sidecar???? (Photo by Bill, Island BMW)
Group-photo (Photo by Island BMW)
This time two travelogues by Skippy:

~ Wolfi

Friday, November 14, 2014

Victoria - Vancouver Island 31.10. - 07.11.2014

Skippy enjoying her Datorate.
Finally we arrived in Victoria, Vancouver Island in the hope that Skippy can again train her beloved Karate ;) and besides Karate she had some fun in a photo-shoot!
Plenty of delicious vegan options in the grocery store, so no need to tease the poor cows!
Really - hippie food?
Some parts of the neighborhood were a bit spooky.
Girls needed a shower and Ulpu tried to hide under Hertta :D
I needed to find a place to do some regular maintenance on my bike and I tried first the local BMW club - BMW riders Vancouver Island. So happened they had one of their regular meetings and I was able to meet Klaus - a German who lived here for many years and he also rode a sidecar. Anyway the word went around and I had a few options to choose from depending on how our travel across the island went - that was a promising start.

Klaus was really eager in helping us and spread the message that some world travelers were in Victoria right now. The local BMW dealer got very interested to meet us and Bill - the manager - offered to organize a "meet & greet" event. Based on the experiences from our first event in Portland, I did some changes to our background video. Let's see how it will work out this time...
That's the location for our "meet & greet" event 15Nov 11-15.
We had a few sunny days in Victoria and we used one of them to explore the south island a bit. We made a loop from Victoria via Sooke, HWY 14, Port Renfrew, Mesachie Lake, HWY18, Duncan and back to Victoria - all on asphalt. It was a nice ride and the part between Sooke and Mesachie Lake was really beautiful. We had to watch out for slippery road condition due to all the needles and leaves on the road - otherwise real fun.
The stones made strange noises in the waves.
Beautiful scenery (nearby Port Renfrew).
Besides all that fun stuff there were a few things to be organized and so I posted in some internet forums to ask for support, help and advice. I must say that we accumulated a bunch of negative comments for asking those questions and additionally negative comments on our blog - I guess I hit an area where "besserwissers" felt obliged to answer. That was really putting me off and I was very happy to read that some of our fans stepped in and put some things straight. Thanks a lot for your mental support!

We have now been 19 months on the road and road-life ain't easy. Having to deal with such garbage talk in addition is NOT fun at all. In hindsight it might belong to the chapter "lessons learned on asking questions in internet".
Our bikes were parked strategically well for collecting some support. Thank you all who chipped in a few dollars!
Going crazy over great karate clubs! :D
Our track after arrival on Vancouver Island - 620km
Skippy made another travelogue. Enjoy!

~ Wolfi

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Our first ever vegan potluck ... ever!

The main reason we came to Vancouver Island was that Tarah (from 40BelowFruity) had invited to a raw vegan potluck with extra fun. It was our first ever vegan potluck and the food was delicious and there was plenty of it :) The original idea was to party outside but it was raining a lot and instead we played "cards against humanity" besides the warming fireplace. We all had a great time and laughed until many had tears in their eyes. Thank you very much Tarah - it was great!
Ryan and Tarah
Next morning: Blue sky and warm ... BEAUTIFUL.
Pepsi jumped with joy into the sidecar:D
The next day we rode the enormous distance of 15km to Courtenay where we stayed in a hotel for few days. I was still feeling a bit sick and since we got a room with kitchenette there was a chance to get some goodies made by Skippy. During the evening walk on our first night with girls along the river we saw a bunch of seals sneaking their head out of the water – cute fellows.
Courtenay bay.
Skippy in action.
Happy me - Skippy made me a vegan "Snickers cake"
For the following days it was mostly raining and once the sun came out we took that opportunity to have a walk in the nearby Seal Bay Park. There was a lovely forest and when we were at the beach we even saw a seal lying on a stone :)
Stunning forest
with heavy dark-green fern.

Cute little mushroom - no idea whether eatable or poisonous?

Skippy - the veggie lover ;)
Magnificent tree.

Once more enjoy the reality show of our family life :D

~ Wolfi