Archive for June, 2011

30 Jun

Fuel management and the company of friends

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 30, 2011 / 0 Comments

I heard my fathers angry voice. The problem was it was coming out my mouth. Involuntary fits of self deprecating shouting sounded just like my dads occasional outbursts. I guess we share the same glottis shapes and facial cavities. Anyway I can do a pretty good impression of him as it turns out.
The problem was this… I had stopped to get more fuel for the bike and grab a snack. Coffee and donut consumed I just jumped back on and pushed off, forgetting to fuel up.
Mountain rain looks so beautiful from a distance. It adds depth and motion to the landscape. Once you are underneath the clouds though the rain itself is very cold and less picturesque. Colder than summer prairie rain that’s for sure. Yet I pull over and put on only one layer of rain gear under may jacket, thinking that would be enough. When the fuel light came on I was already quite a ways into the park and in my typical over optimistic confusion I thought I would have enough to reach the next town. Well, Kootenay Provincial Park is absolutely huge. I didn’t know it then but I would be riding 130km before the park ended. Plus the rain is now absolutely pouring.
Ok, it would not be a big deal but the fatigue of the previous 4000km/7days had built up and I did not realize just how exhausted I really was. The cold built up in my bones and I thought it only a little further to go so I did not pull over and put on more layers. Plus now the fuel gauge is lower than it has ever been since I owned the bike. I hit the top of a pass and could see that the landscape sprawled out in front of me with no sight of any town. Then the rains really hit hard.

Tired, feeling stupid because it was so avoidable and very very cold suddenly a wave of anger exploded in my helmet. It really announced itself without much conscious involvement on my part. Real screaming stuff.
I thought about the Zen of rolling with life’s problems but it didn’t help much.
There was a sign that said 8% downhill grade (a steep hill) was coming up. I then had to pull in the clutch and coast downhill soapbox derby style. With the occasional blast of power to keep the engine from shock cooling.
The needle now settled on the bottom of the gauge and I was still rolling down the hill.
Ok… I made the gas station that awaited all at the bottom of the last hill.
So no big deal right?
Well, I put myself in an absolutely foul mood. The release of tension manifested as a very black attitude. As I rolled into Banff I dragged my sorry ass into a Starbucks and shivered a tea into my body.
I needed to shake this feeling because I was about to visit my friends Erin and John. They are lovely people who deserve a much friendlier version of me to show up at their door. So I warmed my jets and cheered up.

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30 Jun

Must sleep blog tomorrow.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 30, 2011 / 0 Comments

29 Jun

Banff bound

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 29, 2011 / 0 Comments

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29 Jun

Back in Canada

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 29, 2011 / 0 Comments

I have slipped back into Canada to visit with some friends.

I am re reading some of my older posts and I realize that I am offering a lot advice to girls I meet on this trip. Hmm. Perhaps I have some insights?
Or just old habits.

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29 Jun

For K…

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 29, 2011 / 0 Comments

The last of the Great Plains have slipped away behind me and I have been swallowed up by the massifs. Rocky Mountains they are indeed.
Not just tectonic abduction but the triumphant return of trees. Pine scented glorious trees. It is only with their return did I really notice how there were virtually no trees for hundreds of plains miles behind me.
The Plains were breathtaking at times. The slow passing of the Tetons and finally just the enormous tracts of open land. Dotted with cattle. Sometimes I would crest a small drumlin and could see hundreds of miles in all directions.
Very hot, very bright and extremely windy.
Speaking of winds. The side wind was blowing strong from the south, my left side. Between my forward velocity ( average 120 km/h ) and the side winds the bike was leaning over a lot just to drive straight. My tank bag kept loping over. I have developed a knot in my left shoulder blade for my troubles. BTW there is a great sandwich shop in Chester, Montana. Get the tuna.

Once I entered the mountain pass eventually I stopped at another spot for a late lunch and spoke briefly with an older man who was reminiscing about his old Harley. I young waiter on his first day (how he trashed his first motorbike) and a young woman who also worked there.
Kurt Vonnegut’s name came up and I had to chime in, extolling his virtues. Also the topic of writing and general creativity.
The young woman started to describe what she saw as her blocks and limitations as a writer.
I did my best to playfully suggest that most the the neurotic circular thinking of youth tends to fade away with time.
If only one could truly understand this while still in their youthful bodies then they could gain so much now. (wouldn’t that be fantastic)
It would be so great to be young and skip the step of insecurity and just settle into a more comfortable self.
But time is there as a teacher, no?
One can’t fake experience. Faking it is sort of what youthful posturing is all about anyway.
She also described a creative block in the form of concern over her peers criticisms. I think the only real answer to that problem is a general attitude of,”fuck it”. The sooner one embraces that idea the sooner one becomes actualized. In fact I would think that early acts of “fuck it” would be interpreted as confidence, which in turn would have leadership qualities attached to it and peers would be impressed. Unless they’re bullies then fuck them. I alway liked what Trent Reznor had to say about creativity. He said that to be an artist one must pretend that your parents are dead.

Anyway the only reason I am going on about this is I gave her the URL to this blog and I want her to read my thoughts on the subject. Good luck K. You know you are a writer. Fuck it!

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28 Jun

Day six

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 28, 2011 / 0 Comments

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28 Jun

Middle aged man cliche

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 28, 2011 / 0 Comments

Now I am sure that anyone who puts too much emphasis on expectation is heading for disappointment. Unless of course disappointment is what you are expecting. It seems to me that expectation is a scourge of sorts.
So many people paint the landscape they expect see and hope the actual one lines up perfectly behind it. Yet the registration lines poke through like a badly printed bubble bum cartoon of yesteryear.
As a record producer I have worked with many artists. Some commercially successful, some obscure. Most having to reconcile their burden of ambition.
It is both beautiful and sorry to see the power of ‘want’. It is the necessary engine of motivation, yet there are those damn registration lines again (printers references BTW, look it up).
Anyway back to motorbiking.
Against my better judgement I have certain expectations for this trip. They are not about weather or landscapes. Flora or fauna. People or places. Instead it is about a kind of letting go. A passing through a meniscus from one life assumption into another life without assumptions. I am hoping that this whole business will make the day I walk back into my home in Toronto… different.
Anyway, here’s hoping.

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27 Jun

iPhone face fun

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 27, 2011 / 0 Comments

I figured out how to stuff my phone into my helmut and capture a few images on the sunny days.

I am in Havre, Montana.
I am really tired tonight and don’t have much to add except that I passed through many Indian reservations and was mauled by a billion of these little flies that have sprung up from all the flood waters. I mean swarms. Especially when you are just standing around trying to fiddle with something.
I feel a little bad that I have not interacted with many people in the last day but I was really just into riding and being in my own head. Along with my camera…

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27 Jun

Montana

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 27, 2011 / 0 Comments

The Grand Tetons slowly emerge along the western horizon. Looming like a Japanese watercolour.
I am just pounding the kilometres (miles). 750 km yesterday, 887 km the day before. Even 700 km so far today.
Not quite sure why except that I want to be sure to be able to meet my friend Ford in Grand Forks B.C.
Plus no disrespect toward the midwest but the mountains just call me…
I think that tomorrow will be a rest day or at least a small km day.
Anyway, I am enjoying the absolute vastness of this countryside. Just freaking huge and essentially empty.
Always a bit shocking to us cloistered east city dwellers.

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27 Jun

Last days of Dakota

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / June 27, 2011 / 0 Comments

Watford, North Dakota is a muddy, truck filled, tough town.
I am feeling like Woody Allen on a motorbike typing away at my booth in this restaurant.
Camped last night and up pre dawn. Feeling really great.
Cold though, a chilly strong north west wind is keep me tucked in.
Beautiful badlands all around me.
So ancient looking.

So as it turned out the detour yesterday was because of massive flooding all through the state. This detour was of course a fantastic ‘blessing’. I ended up on amazing lonely stretches of road with pretty much no one around but the cattle. Also I am enjoying the flushing of birds across the road as I ride. I am sure this happens when you are in cars too but somehow I never noticed it. The birds take flight across the road and once they reach about eye level to me they have to bend and sway their flight path to avoid being struck. This endless parade of birds swooping by my head is such a treat. Each maneuver is unique to each bird… like snow flakes.
Camped last night in the village of ZAP. Nice quiet town with an RV park that I squatted in for the night. Big storm blue in but not much came of it.
Saw my first little mountain in the distance today. Exciting.

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