Saturday, July 9, 2016


    Years ago, in the olden days, I used to run back and forth to the hot spring campsite on a Honda CT70 mini-bike. It was low to the ground and automatic, and I could ride it with an arm-load of firewood or buckets and perfect for the task. I put 1000 miles on the odometer just between here and the campsite, a kilometer each way.  Back then there was a family come up from Squamish pretty regular to enjoy camping at the hot spring, they had a youngster along that they would turn loose on a little Honda 50 mini-bike. Robbie his name was, he'd go around in circles in the campsite while his folks were down in the tubs. It worked out pretty good as they could hear the putt-putt-putt going around in circles and knew where he was. If the noise went silent, all that was required was to track him down and add more gas to the tank, whereupon the putt-putt-putting would carry on again. 
   Often I'd be down there on my CT70, doing my rounds at the campsite and I'd hear this peculiar noise behind me. I'd turn around to find this pip-squeak following me around on his mini-bike with his helmet bouncing up and down on his head. I recall I brought him down here one day to see the collection of vintage Hondas I had at the time. I think it may have had a profound effect on his head.
    Over the years I've sometimes wondered what became of the young lad and his bike. More than likely the cuteness finally wore off, traded-off for a newer model, neglected, or who knows what became of the little bugger.
But I was even more curious at what might have become of the mini-bike.

    So a week or so back I'm sitting around here waiting for something to happen, when I hear this peculiar noise coming in the driveway, the putt-putt-putting coming to a stop outside the front steps.
"Are you Robin?" a young man asks.
"That depends..." I offered.
"I'm Robbie, and you probably remember my bike!" he says.
Well danged if he wasn't. He was camped-out down at the hot spring and brought his old bike along to come down and see if Old Man Trethewey was still around, bringing along his cycle-mama.

Robbie and his little bike, and his bike-chick, Ebony.
Get your motor runnin'.....
....head out on the highway....

Well how silly is that, keeping your silly little bike all these years, ...some people.
Oh wait a minute,  I still got mine too!

Pulling Together Canoe Society, Stop Over.

    The Pulling Together Canoe Society organizes a week plus long canoe journey every year that came through this way a few days ago. It's origins go back to the Vision Quest Journey of 1997, when RCMP and First Nation members, in an effort to improve relations between the two, first piled into traditional canoes and paddled the West Coast of BC. Talking, camping, telling stories, getting to know each other, and stopping at First Nation communities along the way.  
   The Pulling Together Society has taken the idea forward and for 16 years has put First Nation youth and law enforcement officers together on a Journey I bet none of them ever forget. 
For a number of years there was interest in bringing the Journey this way, but the logistics were going to need some sorting out, with the fast-moving river, and the more or less dead-end road for the support vehicles, for a start.  The society, with help from the nations along the route managed to get it all together this year for the first time. They got a grand send-off on the Birkenhead River last week, then traveling down Lillooet Lake and just into the Lillooet River. They had to take-out there and load onto trailers to portage around this lower stretch of river that was too dangerous for canoe navigation. They headed down-valley to the host community of Skatin where a short lay-over and some festivities and high-class entertainment were planned.

They arrived en-mass at Skatin and took over the Head Of The Lake School facility.

   I chatted a bit with a member of the Vancouver Police, he was one of the organizers and on his 6th PTCS Journey. He told me there were about 15 canoes this year, the number varies every year between the First Nations, RCMP, and various police agencies participating and I estimated with the paddlers, support vehicles and crew, there were probably 200 souls involved with the trip this year.
Half serious, I asked one of the Abbotsford Police if the paddlers rode in the canoes when their strapped on the trailers.
"That might violate a statute." he said.

   I had been contacted by the organizer to supply some high-class musical type entertainment for the days activities. Instead, I rounded-up some of the local boys, and we got together for the day, calling ourselves 'The Paddling Wiburys'.

I had a volunteer drum-tech to help set-up my kit, young Dakota is from Vernon and already has several Canoe Journeys under his belt. The weather had been a little cool and I mentioned to him it was too bad it wasn't nicer. "No way." he said, "Last year it was sun the whole time and we cooked!"

The Paddling Wiburys were a big hit with the old rock and roll standards, we had a salmon join us on stage, and the obligatory cheesy drum-solo thrown-in at the end of the last set.

    The next day, after eating, resting-up, a much deserved soak in the hot spring, and being entertained to some degree, the 2016 Canoe Journey continued on it's way, by trailer down-valley to the next host-community of Douglas, which had bought a canoe for their youth to participate in this and future events. The canoes were to be unloaded there at the head of the lake, and the Journey would be resumed, following a traditional canoe-route down the long and often rough Harrison Lake, into the lower Fraser River and ending up in Mission BC. a few days later.
    From what I've heard, like most any Journey of note, there was some rough-water and difficult times, inclement weather, a few blisters, lumps and bruises, and a few cold dunkings too, but along the way, after 'pulling together' for over a week, I'm sure both sides have a much better understanding of each other.