It’s March 15, and I’m once again at the airport, heading to Vancouver. We just had another blast of winter which crippled Toronto Pearson Airport two days earlier. Luckily today is cold but clear with not a speck of snow in sight. Checking in with my sister, Glenna, in Vancouver, she tells me to leave the boots, mitts and coat at home. In Vancouver it is already spring. I can’t wait.
Although the five hour flight seems long, it gives me a chance to unwind and think about the days ahead. You see this trip is not supposed to be for anything motorcycle related, but to be support for my brother, Warren, who is undergoing a kidney transplant—my younger sister, Gayle is going to be the donor.
My brother headed west when Gayle was only six years old, and through the years she has never been able to spend a great deal of time with him to really get to know him. When we were growing up he was always into customizing cars and also spent a lot of time drawing some fantastic illustrations influenced by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. I remember this, but I doubt that Gayle remembers much of the crazy drawings Warren did.
We are all very proud of Gayle and the operation has been a success. To those of you who I introduced Warren to at the Abbotsford Bike show in January, thanks for your kind words of encouragement—it all helped.
This trip to Vancouver fell on St. Patrick’s Day weekend and since I had arrived a couple days earlier than required, my sister, Glenna and I spent some time wandering the downtown core. Since we live such a distance away, we only see each other perhaps once a year, if we’re lucky. We made the best of our time, stopping in at various pubs along the way to get warmed up when it started to drizzle. It was at one of these pubs we heard about a St. Patrick’s Day Parade scheduled for Sunday at noon.
We had not actually planned to stop and watch the parade, but head straight to Granville Island, but we soon found ourselves accidentally in the middle of the whole thing. We were intrigued by the calibre of the costumes and the number of people lining the streets—from Irish Dancers to horses with shamrocks painted on their butts, to the Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill Team. Yes, it seems like every trip somehow turns itself into a motorcycle story just waiting to happen. Now how could I resist asking if I can at least sit on one of the Road King’s lined up the street. It’s been months since I’ve seen a motorcycle out and about, but in Vancouver it was a fairly common site. I glanced around and found Eric tying up his boots. He graciously let me sit on his bike when I asked—hey, he even took pictures for me! Since I did not expect to be working while in Vancouver, I only had a small digital camera but the photos turned out not too bad.
The parade soon began and Glenna and I watched most of it, then tucked into another small pub and watched the rest of it through the open double doors before finally heading to Granville Island.
Vancouver was a great city to visit and everyone was very helpful, when we looked lost. I was dismayed at the number of homeless people, but I guess that comes with having nice weather year round.
Although spring was in the air in Vancouver, it certainly did not follow me home. There was yet another two feet of the white stuff waiting for me, along with a winter coat, boots and mitts. MMM
Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill Team
The Drill Team was established in 1954 by Sgt. ‘Cookie’ Ryan and the members of the traffic section. They were trained by the late Trev Deeley, he was the only civilian to have ever ridden on the team and was awarded special Constable status at the time, which allowed him to take part in the activities.
Displays during the 50s and 60s involved acrobatic riding and were a familiar sight at parades and stadium events. Their current riding display has evolved into a series of high-speed manoeuvres that demonstrate the team’s extensive riding skills. If you google Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill Team you will see some great photos of them in action from the early days to present day.