2014 – A Year to Forget but I am still THANKFUL…

Vancouver from the air

Feel free to click the pics for larger Hi-rez versions

2014 has been one hell of a year for me and still is on some levels.  Separation, leading to divorce, death of my beloved 10-year-old Beagle, Cruizer…work issues, deciding to leave Canada after almost 18 years and start over?  So, what to do?  Do I dwell on all the misfortunes I have experienced or do I try to hold on to the things I am and should be grateful for?  Seems like such an easy question to answer doesn’t it?  I should instinctively say I am THANKFUL for being alive, my family, my friends, my passion for organ donation, my dogs, my bike, my many many trips I am able to take, yet I am not completely convinced I feel this thanks deeply in my heart.

I think after I write this post and I’m reminded how fortunate I am, I hope to end with a truly genuine thanks. Let’s see how I feel as I write and post some of my favorite pictures from the Fall of 2014.  I don’t BS, been told I offer too much information, TMI, but again this is me and what I like to do is actually write how I am felling in the moment and I just happen to share it with well?  A few people around the world. 😉

Fraser Canyon Ride – Sept 28th

My riding exploits for this Fall started really at the end of September when I decided to take on a 700 KM day trip around BC.  Power trips, not ego trips help me compose myself and also are a way to challenge my endurance on my bike.  This was a beautiful ride up the Fraser Canyon of BC and I wrapped around the back country through Whistler, BC and ended up home.  This I was grateful for, a nice day to ride alone and see places I have gone before but through just my eyes.

Fraser Canyon – Sept 28 2014
Fraser Canyon – Sept 28 2014

Oct 3-5 2014 I again decided last-minute to ride to Tofino, BC.  Located on the west side of Vancouver Island.  The real Pacific Ocean side.  Haven’t been here in years and thought I need to ride here.  Last time I was in a 40 ft motor home, riding made this road to the coast feel as though I have never been in this area before, I LOVE that about riding.  Every road becomes a new experience depending on the season.

Tofino Oct 3-5 2014

Another SOLO ride…all my trips will be solo from now I would imagine.  Even if I end up with a beautiful woman will she ride?  This mysterious future partner of mine, one I keep hearing will come out of nowhere when I least expect it will have to accept me as I am.  I am a soloist rider and I LOVE that too.  Willing to have a pillion though.  😉

Tofino – Oct 3-5 2014

I am thankful for all the ferries I end of taking to get where I am going whether I plan the ferry trip or not.  I am thankful for learning my GPS but at the same time allowing my avoidance set up to blindly led me the way.  I have found not only can I confuse myself as to the direction I should be heading but I do a good job confusing my Montana at times.  All part of the adventures I have been able to take on my F800.

Tofino – Oct 3-5 2014

The weather in Tofino can go from beautiful to stormy.  Either way you can’t lose.  It’s beautiful no matter what.

Tofino storm moving in

I really enjoyed riding around Tofino in the pouring rain.  I was the only 2 wheels out there and as always the looks I get when riding in what “normal” people think is bad weather is priceless to me.  I rarely believe there is bad weather…just bad gear and bad attitudes.

Tofino in the rain tour

I am also really thankful for the virtual world friends that I have been meeting on almost every trip along the way.  The riding community I find to be amazing people.  So many stories, reason for riding, trips that have been taken, dream rides. the thousands of miles or KM’s traveled…we are a breed of people who get one another in way others don’t.  That’s why I like to meet like-minded folks.  At least don’t sound like an obsessed freak about loving my bike so much.  😉

Her name is “Beauty”

I sort have been boosting about my solo riding but I do ride in groups at times.  Every year I try to make the Dual Sport BC annual rides.  Spring and Fall.  This year I made the Fall run, and proved to be another dirty, back country ride around Chilliwack BC and Vedder Mountain.  I usually dumped my bike but this year no dumps just a lot of water, pot holes and good dirty fun.

Oct 19 2014 BC Dual Sport Fall Ride

My bike does like to get muddy once in awhile…I swear she would thank me if she could lol

Beauty in the dirt

Rain and the cold follows me this time of year.  Seems to be that way and I have learned to cope.  I just surrender to the climate and ride.  Rain does not phase me…never really has but when my shield gets soaked inside and outside of my helmet you know it’s raining really hard.  This is from my Washington Trip Oct 30 Nov 1 2014


Once again met up with a virtual friend and had a great breakfast on this trip. Always stop in La Conner, WA.  My favorite off-season little town to visit.  I always go places when others, meaning tourists don’t because of the weather.  My little secret to have “alone” time.

ah another wet bridge

Some describe me as an extrovert but I am not.  I am an introvert by definition.  I refuel myself within small groups of people.  Like one or 2, fireside chats.  I like large groups and parties but in the end since being separated I have come to learn one HUGE lesson about myself.  I am about small gatherings rather than large.  I guess I all ready knew that but has become way more apparent now.


Funny just called myself an introvert yet I constantly post selfies.  Hmmm…I always wondered how some recognize me without my helmet…I think I answered my own question.  This post is making me laugh a bit…I love reflecting on where I went and will go.  So, this is post about my thanks as well as my usual random thoughts.  I read so many bloggers who write so well.  I guess I would describe my writing as stream thinking.

Never can post enough of these types of pics

Nov 14-16 2014 I decided to see if I could make it through the mountain passes leading to eastern BC and eastern Washington.  I heard it was supposed to be dry and beautiful out and cold.  I had no idea nor did the locals that the “Polar Vortex” would show its Frigid face 2 days too early.  I was lucky to have been prepared just enough to survive -18 C plus windchill temps.  -.4 F with just a touch of frost bite on one of my toes.  Crazy to do this?  I don’t think so, I was again the only motorcycle on the road, I took the cold in stride and I don’t believe I was ever in danger.  I think it was fun and full of roads, people and views that I never get to see this time of year in this area.

Chilly in Princeton, BC
the coldest of this trip, minus 18 C at this moment

After I hit the Washington Border it seemed like summer.  Temps went from -18C to a warm -12C.


So peaceful on the road and with some good music puts me in a space that I am also very thankful for…tranquility.  😉

freezing waterfall

This was a great trip for me.  Felt like I conquered the Vortex but also I was pushed mentally to keep my shit together as I was cold.  I had heated gear and it was maxed out.  But in the end well worth the exploring these regions this time of year.

Mount Baker
sometimes I like B&W

November 19 2014 I made a 13.5 hr trip down to Seattle to initially see the fine folks at AltRIDER

Great company that makes practical protection accessories

I thought this would be a quick trip but it was one of those days where I confused myself and the GPS.  Turned out to be another great day to ride.  Cool, not frigid…clear and just me.  I even ended up riding the Chuckanut Drive in the pitch black.  Something I would not have attempted without my aux lights.  The LED low beam I installed also really assisted with the night-time road view.

ChuckaNut Drive

Got loaded up with some goodies while at AltRider

chain guard

Most impressive are the upper crash bars. Makes my bike look “mean”

upper crash bars

Mistakenly ended up on Whidbey Island where I got to meet another female rider from the virtual world just by chance and also without knowing ate lunch at a landmark.  Love following the GPS.

new Island for me

Love eating out on the road.  Used to think eating alone would be lonely. It’s NOT.  Good time to reflect on where I just came from and again where I am heading.  I enjoy not having to converse all the time.


Besides, I end of up talking to strangers because they see me and my bike and 2 things come up.  “WOW” you are a grrl and what kind of BIKE is that? 😉

Toby’s, Whidbey Island

Most recently, as a matter of fact I just got home this morning from an impromptu trip to New York for USA Thanksgiving. November 23 – 29 2014

it was really good too

My home state where I grew up until I moved to Canada 18 years ago.  This trip meant a lot in many ways. I am contemplating moving back to the USA and in this area.  Need to get a job but I am certain now that I went back I need to move back.  My family is all there except my brother and his family.  I have friends there too.

my niece made this. She is 18

Not to say I don’t here but I guess if there was ever a time to make a move back to my home country now would be it.  Need to tie up many things here in Canada but I know I will end up somewhere on the east coast.

Thanksgiving is about family

I have a cute video of my father saying Grace but for my family’s privacy I will keep it for myself.  My family are BLOG shy but that’s OK…so are many friends and people I meet.  I respect that.  So, I am thankful so many of my immediate family could make dinner. My brother and his wife were down in North Carolina where they live.  I really did not give a lot of notice I was coming so I am grateful dinner at my folks was able to be organized with at least my sisters and their kids as well.  Our family is large.  Literally and numbers wise.  I always find my parents house built-in the early 60’s to be shrinking.  Reality is we are all getting bigger. 😉  My folks raised 4 of us in this house.  Making it 6.  I wonder how we all left the nest intact.

new cafe
NY Bagels, nothing like them

I am thankful for NY, boiled bagels.  I have missed these so much living in BC.  I am thankful NY Pizza.  You have to experienced a pizza made hand tossed with real mozzarella and just incredible crust.

NY Pizza, now that’s a pizza pie.

I got to see some friends, met Fuzzygalore who has a great blog and is an avid rider/nice grrl, my BFF from Grad school and a close cousin of mine who has had a very serious illness most of her adult life.  Now that’s a wake up call.  I have felt sorry for myself throughout the year but when you sit down to someone you care about, who has been so sickly it puts things into perspective.  I hope when I move back I get to spend much more time with her in particular.  I have learned more than ever to open up more and been told I still need to work on patience.  I know I overwhelm myself with what needs to be done to close the chapter on Canada to make a smooth transition to the States.  It’s hard not to when I am a stereotypical type A, but over the next few months will continue to reflect and make subtle changes to my personality traits. 😉

Westhampton Beach, LI

I toured around Long Island with a friend of mine who lives out east.  Got to see Westhampton, haven’t been there in ages.


While home I revisited Stony Brook as I always do,

Stony Brook Harbor

St. James and the surrounding area as well as eastern Long Island like I have said.  Even though I grew up here just like on the bike seeing things as adult on my own, exploring makes me appreciate where I grew up.  Now, Nassau County and closer to NYC it’s nuts.  The traffic, the roads and thousands of people  make me feel a little claustrophobic.

The Eagle wings flap at noon

My home town has been called a snow globe village.  It does appear to look that way and I like it.

SB Harbor

The weather in New York was pretty good.  Rain one day then cool and partly cloudy/sunny.

Stony Brook Mill Pond

When I was a kid we used to skate on this pond.

doe a deer

Deer are a dime a dozen on Long Island but my parents and I never get enough seeing a little herd with bucks show up in their yard.

My humble house where I grew up

Although we kids bust on my folks for not renovating our childhood home, I have to say it is rare these days that someone can say they lived in the same house all their life and their parents still to this day remain there as well.  A true home.  Pretty grateful for that.

While driving around I came across these “little” houses on a horse farm near Head of the Harbor on Long Island.  If anyone wants to know what my dream house looks like it’s this in a nutshell.  Thanks Pam for showing me these bungalows.

my dream bungalow

I am a bit of a dreamer, and I would love once settled somewhere on the coast to be able to build a house just like this…a bungalow with a 4 season front porch and a craftsman feel.

front porch so perfect with stone fireplace.

On this note I will end this long post.  I guess reminiscing about my Fall has made me feel thankful.  I still worry about my future.  Not sure why.  I guess living a life full of unknowns, starting over at my age makes me nervous.  I am really a glass is half empty type of person until proven otherwise.  All I know is this has been a long year but short and fast in so many ways.  I feel as though I never had a partner for 18 years, that is a blur believe it or not.  I can see someone else coming into my life but ask me months ago and I would have said NO WAY.  I don’t think I need a partner but I do miss having that one person who cares and loves you like no other.  I do have my bike…;-)  I know my family and friends love me too…going back home was a good thing and now I just need to figure out how to get there.

The plane

The flight home was uneventful and came home to my dogs who I have not seen for 2 weeks.  We all got into bed at around 0300 and had on and off again naps.  Now on to winter riding trips. The end for now.  Leslie

Memory Lane Stony Brook Mill Pond

Author: advgrrl

Avid ADV rider! This Blog is all about the adventure in adventure riding. Researching new bikes, routes, accessories, learning about other riders and hopefully a great place for others to comment and explore with me. PLUS, up and down's, wildlife, my dogs, my life!

27 thoughts on “2014 – A Year to Forget but I am still THANKFUL…”

  1. Enjoyed the blog, you’ve done so much this year, even though it’s been a tough one. Next year can only get better!

  2. I enjoyed reading your blog post. The coldest I rode before was about 0C, but that was only for two hours per day with 8 hours in between. I cannot imagine riding for 4-5 hours at a time in that weather. That is also on a K bike that has a taller windscreen than the GS. Plus, no chance of ice. I am just completely humbled.

  3. I enjoyed reading your blog post. The coldest I rode before was about 0C, but that was only for two hours per day with 8 hours in between. I cannot imagine riding for 4-5 hours at a time in that weather. That is also on a K bike that has a taller windscreen than the GS. Plus, no chance of ice. I am just completely humbled.

  4. These past 12 months have awakened a sleeping giant. You are just starting to see your own greatness. Look back and learn but keep moving forward with love and possibility in your heart.

    Great post.

  5. I think you miss your “Mommy”! 2015 will be a good year for you; I can feel it. Stop by Michigan next time. There is a “circle tour” around the whole state and along the Great Lakes. It would be a good trip for you some day.

  6. Hopefully 2015 will be a much better year. I really enjoy your ride reports and as well as the other trip posts. At one time I was thinking of one of the BMW F GS bikes and enjoy all of the accessory posts. Nice post, keep them coming!

  7. As always your blog is honest, the photos (which are captioned- Love That ) are always very well constructed and full of content, The spirit which sometimes vacillates, still grows stronger as time and the miles pass. Ride Safe – Oh and the glass is neither 1/2 full nor 1/2 empty – It is simply the wrong size – perhaps you have already changed the container. We are only imprisoned by the walls that WE build. Riding is who I am, Living is what I do. Best of Luck as 2015 slips in on each of us on winters snow.

  8. Great entry Leslie, didn’t get a chance to read it until today. It seems you are finding peace within yourself and starting to become more optimistic towards the future which is a world away from even a few months ago. If you do move away from the LM I hope it’s not before the next time I visit my parents in Abbotsf*** (as we lovingly used to call it) – I’m long overdue a trip!

  9. I loved reading your blog to, Leslie. I am quite confident you’ll do OK. You are one of those that bounce back just fine. Just keep calm and grab the opportunity when it comes along. Seasons Greetings from the Netherlands!

  10. Every road has its good stretches and its bad stretches, every now and again we come across potholes but that doesn’t stop from enjoying the ride. Have a great festive period and I wish you all the best for the new year

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