The Dreaded Family Holiday

September 1 2008

It is hard somedays to please everyone—and just when you think you have it figured out to the very last detail they go and throw a wrench your way. What I am referring to in particular is travelling with a family on a motorcycle.

Years ago I learned to ride and bought a motorcycle so that I could ride with my husband and not have to sit on the back. It was very enjoyable, while it lasted.

A few years went by and along came our daughter—parenthood happened, a bike was sold to make time for strollers and playpens, then tricycles and two wheelers, skateboards and rollerblades. Before we knew it a day came once again when there appeared to be room for another motorcycle to re-enter into the equation.

Glenn’s bike was outfitted with a custom-made seat that sported armrests and a safety harness and away they went. Dad and daughter enjoying the ride while I was left at home or following in the truck. I’m sure you know where I’m going here. Right back to get mom her own bike once again so she is not left out.

One of our most memorable bike trips was back about four years ago when Glenn owned a BMW K1200 GT. We packed up the bikes and headed east. At this point Emily was still ok travelling with mom and dad and I think she actually enjoyed our company—maybe we were still cool back then. Riding on the back of dad’s bike was made a bit more enticing by attaching a DVD player onto a backpack that Glenn then wore. That summer Emily enjoyed travelling for days on end as long as she was able to watch movies along the way. It was quite a unique idea and a lot of people took photos of us as they passed by. We took our time and camped every night by the campfire, watched movies by the campfire and cooked our dinner over the campfire. All was well, holidays were fun.

As we noticed Emily changing her ways and not having as much fun with things that used to entertain her, we needed to come up with some innovative ways that might keep her travelling with us for a bit longer. Glenn traded in his BMW for a cruiser which came with a stereo, speakers, comfy seat, armrests, backrests, tons of storage and it was smooth sailing once again, or so we hoped.

That really didn’t last too long before the attitude kicked in. “Nope, not going on any bike trips until I can ride my own bike!” was the reply we got when asked if she wanted to head west on a trip with us last year. Try as we might we could not change her mind. I do have to say here that I can see her point. This summer while in New Brunswick at Atlanticade I opted to ride on the back of Glenn’s bike thinking I could take some photos or video along the way as we rode alongside the Bay of Fundy—that did not work out well with the potholes on the road making it uncomfortable and impossible to take a decent photo. I as well, feel it is better to drive than be a passenger.

Needless to say, that trip west was a ride Glenn made by himself as Emily and I stayed home.

Another year has gone by and it is much the same story. Now we have totally lost our cool factor and she no longer wants to hang out with us, let alone travel for days on end with us. With her years of off-road riding experience, the thing that interests her now is street riding, but only on her own bike when she is 16.

We did however, manage to make a family trip to Newfoundland and we all enjoyed it immensely—even Emily seemed to have a great time even though she had no cell reception the whole time.

We stayed at Marble Mountain a couple nights and walked to the top of a waterfall that had an area you could swim in. After speaking with some of the locals we were told that if we climbed up even higher on the river bank we would come to another set of falls and could also swim there. Here we found an amazing view and the climb proved to be a great adventure that we will remember for a long time.

We drove to Gros Morne Park and spent a couple nights at the Red Mantle Lodge and watched whales in the bay as we ate our breakfast. These are things that as a family you cherish as it is hard to drag your kids with you when they turn 15 or 16.

We then headed to Western Brook Pond and took a 45 minute hike to catch a boat tour and enjoyed the spectacular scenery.

We made our way to Springdale, Newfoundland and as night was drawing near we did not want to be on the road for danger of meeting up with one of 100,000 moose that live on the Island. They warn you over and over again on the radio to drive with high beams on—except when on-coming traffic is approaching—and to slow down at night to avoid tragedy.

We figured it was time to stop for the night and found a place to stay called the Riverwood Inn. Here we were welcomed by Danny, our host who made us feel immediately at home. Since the kitchen was about to close we were quickly offered dinner and had a place set out on the patio for us to eat at.

We dropped our bags in our room and made our way to the deck to see what the place had to offer. As we ate dinner we overlooked a picturesque river—with a fisherman down the way enjoying the peaceful evening. We chatted over a few glasses of wine and were served up the best lasagna I have ever had. Emily was happy—all was good. I’m sure the computer, high-speed internet and plasma tv in our room may have had a bit to do with the great attitude she possessed at this time but I like to think she actually was enjoying our time together.

This seemed to be a summer of little riding for me but at the same time an opportunity to capture one of the last family trips we will be taking. Our children accumulate baggage along the way, as we do as parents. Summer jobs, friends, cars, bikes, beaches, camping, parties—and in the mix is little time for mom and dad.

Sure there was a lull in my riding time this year, but it did not really bother me. I am actually more than curious to see what next year will bring. Is 2009 going to be a time that Glenn and I will be riding alone as we did 17 years ago, or instead of two bikes travelling for a holiday, will there be three. After all, Emily is now studying to get her license and may wish to join us for the adventure.

We will not call these trips a family holiday, it will be a family ride—or maybe we will just call it a ride and secretly I will know it is still a family holiday. That just may allow us to not only extend our riding season, but extend our family time as well for another year or two.


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