The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

Technology to me has always been the great leveler.

Not in its inception but in its adaptation. As we have seen, this can lead to good and bad things. Still, it allows me to publish my books worldwide in both written and audio format. It’s allowed film I’ve written to be shot and distributed also worldwide (though limited scope).

I can format my book for any platform including print. I have a complete digital darkroom for turning my photographs into something worth sharing or at the very least leaving a memory for my friends and I in its best possible looking format. I also have a very powerful editing suite of tools at my disposal for creating video with some impact (more on this in a bit).

The programs I use in my day job allow me to build and test machine components for fit and stress before a single piece of metal is cut or welded into its final form and then do a cost analysis on that machine. Technology allows me to hand write notes that are then dated and stored for later viewing. I can take a 3D pdf model out to the production floor and show the person building the thing I designed, exactly what I am talking about.


The real thing, not a concept.

Still, for all of my work in the virtual, there is great satisfaction in doing things in the real. In fact the only reason I’m successful in the virtual is because I’ve spent many years doing things in the real world with the tools at hand and the sweat of my brow. There is great satisfaction in that. Knowing that when you talk about certain things, you come at it from a point of experience and past effort, not one of theory.

Which brings me to the bit about video.

I’ve been shooting on a Canon DSLR for about 14 years. Before that I shot on SLR Cameras and 35 photographic film. One of my feature films was shot digitally the other on Super 16mm. DSLR Cameras have come a long way since then.

Hell we shot my first short The Provider on Beta.

Compare that to my own efforts shooting my flight in a Lancaster Bomber and recently a PB5Y Canso.

The Lancaster was shot with a Canon 7D and a Sony action cam and the Canso footage was shot with a Canon 7D Mk2 and the same Sony action cam with some fill in footage from a Canon T2i.

Ironically though the video on my YouTube Channel with the most views is of the Fairey Firefly at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum folding its wings. Which I thought was strange until I recently learned it’s the only flying example of the aircraft left in the world. So now it sits at just over 64K views, which is cool because as a lifetime member of the CWHM, I really want to promote the museum and the great work they do there.

But it’s also got me thinking about adding a vlog component to this blog as well. Which I think is really more about me getting off my arse and adding more content on a more regular basis than I have been. It’ll also give me an excuse to get out to the CWHM and shoot some cool aircraft running up and flying over. After all, what’s the good of having a 500mm lens if you don’t get to use it.

Something else I discovered today is that a lot of the cooling issues we used to have with the sensors on DSLRS in video mode have been fairly sorted. So before when you could expect to get ten minutes of video before an overheated sensor would crop up, now you can get over an hour. Which is good news for me (though I sense a few 2TB portable drives in my future).

I’ll still be writing on the blog of course but I’ve got a few things I’d like to cover in a vlog including what it takes to put out an audiobook (or three).

You can find all of my books on Amazon and Audible.


Better late than never. Audio production took a little longer than expected on Devil’s Ante, the sequel to Devil’s Gambit but it was worth it. Edward James Beesley did a fantastic job as always on the project and I’m lucky to have him involved. This is my third audiobook offering and I’m still learning the ins and outs of the format.

You can find the Audiobook at:


Nook Audiobooks



Librio FM

It’s also live with iBooks, Playster, 3M/Bibliotheca, Baker & Taylor and Overdrive!

So help a brother out and give it a listen and if you like what you hear, Buy it! And please, leave a review. Nothing can live in a vacuum and reviews are the air that keeps an author’s work alive.

Star Wars Helmet

I’ve been looking for an open face helmet for a while now and this year, HJC released a series of superhero and Star Wars licensed helmets. So yes, I bought this one (and it was on sale!). The only stumbling block? In the superhero helmets, the Ironman helmet should be a modular one.

Find joy anywhere you can and don’t read the comments section…

I’m still having a tough time being as productive as I want to be but that’s probably just my brain being an ass. I’m halfway through the reedit of Augmented and I’m trying to make it better fit the narrative I want to tell. “Fail, Fail more, fail better,” as the saying goes. At the same time, I’m doing the base work for Devil’s Due, fleshing out the character notes and such.

Devil’s Ante is finalized as far as the audiobook goes and is in the last stages of production prior to release. I’ll post up the date when I know it. One of the things that came out of the process is I’d like to explore some shorter novella length works specifically designed for release as audio experiences. These will most likely be dual narrated with a male and female voice actors (nothing against my current narrators and their female character voicing). It’s an experiment but I think it’ll be an interesting one.

So yeah, the joy thing.

I just went to Chris Hadfield’s Generator Toronto show on Thursday night. This is a show with music, poetry, science being presented by a series of speakers asked to attend. It’s produced by Chris’ son Evan who pointed out that with no advertising and no idea who would be showing up, we managed to fill, The Royal Thompson Hall. This year’s theme was creativity. The sub theme as always is – make the world a better place and the sub sub theme is – we’re all in this together. I’d also add that the sub sub sub theme is love and curiosity > hate and intolerance. You’re also encouraged to do something because even doing a small thing builds on all of the other small things to make a big thing in the end.

Social media was also not seen as a plus and yes, I do get the irony here but we saw how it was and is used to manipulate people. Imagine if Hitler had Twitter or a Facebook page? Mussolini would be bragging about making the trains run on time…

You get the idea.

I had hoped by now we’d be beyond judging somebody by the color of their skin, the clothes they wear or even what God they choose to worship or not but people keep banging on about traditional family values which is at best a social construct steeped in nostalgia and at worst an outright lie. This of course doesn’t stop a small vocal minority going on and on about it like the sky is falling because somebody’s family doesn’t look like Ward and June Cleaver.

I’d rather we look at people and see, they’re happy and if they’re struggling, maybe try to help out. You know like that one book everybody is always going on about says to (well at least the back half of it, that front end is pretty bloody). I know things seem pretty dire right now and they are, they are but constantly feeding yourself off of the bleed and lead news cycle isn’t going to help your head. Talking to your neighbors face to face though, that could make all the difference in the world.

There’s a joke I tell every now and then. “Hindsight is 20/20 and all you see is an asshole.”

I’m not a huge fan of New Years even though my wife and friends do have a pretty fun time at our annual get together at our friend’s house where they host a murder mystery.

I’ve always preferred December 21st otherwise known as the Winter Solstice because it means every day from there, will be slightly longer and we move towards the warmth and color of Spring, from the monochromatic grays and whites of Winter.

The holidays are hard. Still hard after all these years because there will always be an empty place at our table.

2017 was not an easy year. I don’t think it was an easy year for anybody with a heart and a brain.

Isometric Overview Top Right w Frame

It may not look like it but there are hundreds of hours invested in this image.

My day job was pretty chaotic and that certainly spilled over into my creative endeavors. My own medical conditions  were causing me a lot of trouble as well, from just being worn out a great deal of the time to some pretty serious neuropathy in my legs which has faded but has not gone away.

For a bit there, it seemed like most of what I went after, just crumbled to dust in my hands. For the first time in a while, I felt like I had no purchase on things. Which when you feed that into your own self doubt, is not a good thing. See we forget how hard things are. Even when we’ve done them countless times before. I think your brain glosses over the details to protect your heart and by the time your heart figures things out again, you’re up to your neck in it.

Even this year’s trip ended up being a test of endurance in the end. Apparently, it’s a lot easier to endure in the desert than through torrential rainfall on a motorcycle. Hard rain even became an issue for me on my trip to Spain but at least on that day, I had the good sense to turn around instead of my usual pushing ahead and damn the torpedoes.

Still, I’m not whinging here. Yes it was a tough year but I still got to ride some amazing roads. I saw real Roman Ruins which were beyond my expectations. I got to travel with friends and see others I hadn’t seen in a while and catch up. Even after knocking four flavors of shit out of her, nothing serious on the bike was damaged.


Halfway to Bamfield on one of the toughest bits of gravel I have ever ridden. We stopped here and tightened up everything would could see that had come loose on our bikes.


At least I didn’t break my foot peg this time….


Having a go at a natural peat bath after we got on the wrong trail.


I also got to fly in a PBY5A Canso, a long held dream of mine.

And I got to meet my cousin and attend her wedding in Spain, which is definitely a country I want to explore more of.


My Cousin Lucy


Her and Chano emerging from the chapel.


The narrow and steep streets of Banos De Montemayor

Those Roman ruins I was talking about.

As it is with every year, I’m looking to get more of my writing out there. We’re just finishing up the final stages of the audiobook version of Devil’s Ante. Augmented my next book, a military scifi set in the near future is about halfway done and I’m chomping at the bit to get started on the finale to my Devil series – Devil’s Due.

A new year lies ahead. Lets make something good of it.

Talk about an aptly named post. I’m really sorry I haven’t gotten to the rest of the story before now but it’s been a tough few months mentally for me and generating the energy to complete this ride report or anything really has been tough. That being said, it’s not like some neat stuff hasn’t happened either but as usual, it’s the darker stuff that gets to you.


So after Mark and I left the Cathedral of Trees, we headed for Mark and Mya Turchyn’s place in the Cowichan valley. The day was nice and dry and even a bit warm the closer we got to their place. They live on the side of a hill and it was more than a few twists and turns before we found ourselves in front of their house.

It’s always a treat to see good friends and to be honest both Mark and I were a bit sore and tired from the Bamfield to Port Alberni section of the trip from the morning. So we shucked off our riding gear and set about catching up.

We even found time to blast some of the dirt off of the bikes. Later on we had a cracking home-made meal and when it was time for bed Mark grabbed the spare bed (by mutual agreement) and I racked out on the floor of the den on my sleeping pad. My leg was giving me grief and I was popping Advil like Pez to stay on top of it.

The next morning Mya and Mark fed us a great breakfast and we bid them farewell as we headed up to Nanaimo to see our friend Brad and his family. Kelly was due to join us in a couple of days and we’d resume heading towards the far northernmost  point of Vancouver Island. It was a short ride, something that I was okay with for a change and we found a decent hotel just off the main highway. We arranged to meet Brad later that day after he got off work.

Brad took us for a few pints that afternoon at a really good pub and I enjoyed a cider (Strongbow) while we caught up and shot the shit. Then we went back to his place for a nice bit of Barbecue.

The next day Mark went off to visit some family and I took a bit of time to explore Nanaimo and track down a 6mm nut and bolt to reattach my chain guard which had come loose during the trip out to Bamfield.

Lots of float plane activity in the harbour.

Some of the art installations along the waterfront were pretty cool.

I managed to find my nut and bolt at Tuff City Powersports, they didn’t even charge me for it. Mind you I also picked up an additional cargo net while I was there too. My fastener issue resolved I hit up the good will for a pair of swim trunks. My hotel had a hot tub and I fully intended to make good use of its warmth. Later that night we were going to join Brad for an open mike night he goes to at another local pub.

I always enjoy live music, especially when it’s your friend up there.

After the gig we went back to Brad’s place and Mike came over. He and Brad have been friends for a long time and literally live just up the street from each other. What I didn’t know is that Mike and Kelly grew up in the same area together. So as we were meeting Kelly off the ferry the next morning we decided to surprise Kelly at lunch with Mike as they hadn’t seen each other in a few years.

Waiting for Kelly to show up.

Yeah, we still look good.

After lunch Kelly Mark and I formed up and headed for Uclulet and the next phase of our trip.



Devil’s Ante my latest book is available in paperback and for Kindle at Amazon, if you enjoyed my previous work, please pick up a copy.


Sitting at the Dragon’s Mouth, Yellowstone National Park, 2008

You guys might have noticed a lack of postings as of late. There’s a few reasons for this. I’ve been fairly open about my own mental issues over the course of this blog and some of that plays into this but I’m going to talk about the cascade effect of things and how they can trip us up.

Last year in November, I was diagnosed as a type 2 Diabetic. Not much of a shock as I’d been feeling odd for a while and finally got myself into a doctor to confirm it. There were of course lifestyle changes. Sugar got booted and I’m trying to watch my carb intake (though it’s proving to be the harder monkey to get off my back) as well as do some exercise. Some things of course now made sense, like how a small cut would take forever to heal and how I seemed to bruise even more easily than before. My blood work had also come back with high cholesterol so my doc put me on an anti-statin, which truth be told brought my numbers right back into normal ranges. The thing is, you know those American drug ads where they list all of the side effects of said drug being advertised? They’re not messing about. One of the side effects of my particular drug was lower leg and joint pain. The trouble is I also suffer from Arthritis in my shoulder and knees and I’m not unfamiliar with being in a general state of aches and pains. So when my legs started to hurt a bit, I didn’t exactly pass it off but I didn’t give it anything more than a general sort of status in the catalogue of, “Places on my body that hurt.”

After my trip out to BC where the pain in my right knee was bad enough it was making it hard to sleep, I started physiotherapy and a few other things at the clinic to bring me relief and while they all worked temporarily to relive my pain, I wasn’t getting better. In fact my general pain levels were going up. Sleep was starting to be something that happened to other people. Add to that the rest of the things I was trying to get done, like publish the next book in my Devil’s series and release another audiobook and there you have the recipe for hard times in your head.

I was having a difficult time putting thoughts together. My writing productivity dropped off the chart. Where I used to be able to bang through a thousand words in a little over an hour, I now struggled (and still struggle) to put out a lousy few thousand words a week.

It became painfully clear, I needed a new approach to my Cholesterol levels. So now my doc has me off the anti-statin and onto large doses of B3 which I take with an Aspirin because it, “Makes you feel flushed.” Actually, it makes you feel like Fire Ants are having a go at you under your skin. Apparently it’s a vitamin, you’re supposed to ease into, not just say, “Fuck it, let’s do this,” and clang it down your pie hole. I’m still working my way up to the dose my doc recommends just 100mg to go.

So between the pain, the meds, the lack of sleep and the other general BS that is our lives, the blog took a hit as far as content generation goes. I’m trying to work around all of this and get back to my old self but I’ll be honest, it’s a daily struggle right now to stay on track . I’d hoped for a better opening month for Devil’s Ante but frankly it hasn’t been there. Still, it took three months for Devil’s Gambit to take off. I’m hoping the sequel will follow a similar path.

And here’s hoping I get back to being the guy in the picture below.



Mark’s having a look at my dodgy back brake, which had been giving me issue since the start of the trip. Turns out when I reinstalled my rear wheel, I hadn’t seated the rear brake block correctly and it wasn’t in its bracket properly… Oops.

Welcome back. Sorry this is taking so long to post up. Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Still a bit stiff from our ride out from Bamfield to Port Alberni, we stopped for some Subway (my go to for road food) before gassing up the bikes and deciding we’d hit up our friends Mark and Mya Turchyn just outside of Duncan for a place to crash or the night. But first we decided to visit Cathedral Grove, one of the last stands of older growth forest on the island. After all, it was only 23 minutes away according to the GPS and it was just after lunch.


And it would have taken 23 minutes if it wasn’t for this guy in front of me. Look, I get it, enjoy your ride but FFS you’re on a highway, please, please, please, go the speed limit not 10kmh under.



Yep, we hit the back end of this guy on a section of road that was very hard to pass on. Add to that because he was so under speed, there was a line of frustrated traffic behind Mark and I, which starts to become a bit risky as those in four wheels start to lose their patience. Add to that that at every slight twist, turn or corner in the road, this guy hit the binders. Which you can see in every shot my helmet caught of him. So please, to this dude, take a course and learn how to use your throttle and body position to put you into the corner safely and with confidence. Because riding like that is anything but.


Brake light


Brake light


Brake light


Finally a section I could get past him. Unfortunately, it took Mark a few more corners to achieve the same.

Cathedral Grove is a busy spot with traffic slowing to let people pull out and for pedestrians to cross the road.


The nice thing about bikes are we don’t take up too much room.


I know it doesn’t look it but this is a really big tree.


Mark caught me eying up the shot. I used my Canon G-16 a lot because my 7D Mk2 was buried under a ton of gear on the back of the bike. Still, for a point and shoot it’s versatile, handy and allows me to shoot in RAW in full manual mode.



I told you, it was a really big tree…


I was waiting for the Face-hugger to pop out of this one.



This shows how the Cedar has a wide but not deep root network.


We hung out at Cathedral Grove for a few hours and got our fill of big trees (something Ontario is missing) and even though it’s a busy place it’s spread out enough, it doesn’t feel saturated with people, unless you’re looking for parking.

Back on the road, we powered down the island towards Duncan and our friends Mark and Mya, where we had a great time catching up and a good home cooked meal. Mark got to crash in the spare bedroom and I racked out on the floor of the den.


Mark and I also tackled my rear brake and got that back in form so no more nasty clacking and clunking from my rear if I hit the rear brake. At this point, the weather was nice, sunny and warm but there were literally storm clouds on the horizon, with rain forecast for the coming days. At this point, we were slightly ahead of schedule days wise but I was looking forward to taking a couple of days off and resting up in Nanaimo to see Brad and his daughter Hope, who I hadn’t seen since she was a toddler. My leg was also not getting any better and the pain in my knee had also moved into my upper thigh and hip. Advil was becoming a steady diet for me. After a few hours on the bike I needed to stop and walk around just to ease things up.

Still, it was good to catch up with Mark and Mya as I hadn’t seen them since we’d visited when Mark was posted to Ottawa.


Washing the mud and dust of the last few days off of the bikes. If you look, you can see how dirty the water in the gutter is.

After a killer breakfast and a late start the next day, we headed back up the island to Nanaimo. I wanted to see Brad and Mark wanted to see some family so we were going to split up for the next day and meet back together in the evening. Kelly wasn’t due over until the Friday morning and seeing as he was coming into Nanaimo anyway, we decided to hang about and wait for him. Truthfully, I needed the break to try and get my leg back into a little bit of shape for any more of the big rides. I was also finding the pace of this trip a bit rough as I think because I ride solo for the most part, I enjoy the freedom this imparts. I can set my own pace which I’ll admit is slowing down a bit as I get older.

During last year’s trip, I had a good week and a bit before meeting up with Kelly in SLC and then we based ourselves out of Moab for the rest of the week with only a short jaunt over to Colorado Springs for the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb section of or ride. With Moab as the center, we could go out and do stuff with the bikes as lightly packed as we could make them, which really made a difference. On this trip, it was every stick of gear on the bike at all times, which doesn’t make for a light ride at all.

Deep down though, there was a small voice in my head that was expressing worry at what was coming up. I knew at least one section was going to be really technically difficult and that didn’t fill me with a warm fuzzy feeling.


Now to book news:

Devil’s Ante will be released the first week of September on Amazon and Createspace. Reliance will be released in audiobook format around the same time. I’m currently working on Augmented, a military SciFi novel I hope to finish in the Spring before I dive headfirst back into Sean Addison’s world in Devil’s Due.

You can check out all my books at my author page.


Today I finally got to fly in the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s PBY 5A Canso. I’ve been waiting for her to become available for flights for a few years now. I’ve always loved the PBY 5A and have dreamed about flying in one for years.


Sitting by the port side blister. I’m holding the rail above me to keep from bouncing up off of my seat.

Weather delayed my flight a bit as a few rain cells moved through the area. It was pretty windy on the ground which promised some rougher air up above but I’d learned from my flight on the Lancaster and had popped a couple of Gravol prior to the flight. Though with the engines on the wing above the airframe, there’s no exhaust leaking back into the fuselage.


Floats down. For a second I was hopeful we’d do a water landing…

First off the take off is something else. When they set those Twin Wasp Radials to full power, the sound of them goes right through you and the plane fairly leaps into the air. I was surprised to see the pilot and copilot’s controls are shock mounted so they bounce around a lot. I thought I had video but the CF card on my 7D mk2 pooched when I tried to upload the data. I thought I had the cards set for dual recoding but apparently I only had the CF card set to record video. I still have my head cam footage and as soon as I edit it, I’ll post it up.


Facing forward, you really are well exposed in the Blisters.

The flight was not quite as rough as the ride in the Lanc but it was pretty bouncy. The aircraft feels pretty nimble as it seems to pivot around the center support under the wing. The pilot remarked later when we were on the ground that he really had to be on top of the rudder.0P8A2694

The flight might only have been 20 minutes but it was time well spent in a fantastic aircraft. My pilot had just flown back from Bejing. Yesterday he was piloting a 777 with fly by wire and CRT screens telling you everything you need to know. Today he stepped back in time to 1944, what a rush that must be for him as well.

I’m moving back the release of Devil’s Ante to September to fine tune some of the bits of the book before release. Thanks for your patience…

By this point in my trip log, you’re probably wondering why I’ve labelled this, “The art of forgetting.” Well as any of you who’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know I’m originally from BC. The Fraser Valley to be exact. After my family emigrated to Canada we stayed in Vancouver for a year and then moved out to Abbotsford where I stayed until the end of 2001 when I moved across the country to Mississauga, where I’ve been ever since.

The weather patterns of the Lower Mainland of BC and the GTA are very different. Things tend to move in from the West off the coast and then get trapped against the mountains. You can get used to almost constant rain and BC rewards you with great beauty with its ready access to wilderness. Weather out here in the GTA tends to be always in a hurry to get somewhere else. So while it can be energetic, it doesn’t tend to hang around too long. Though up north along the top of Lake Superior, I once got caught up in a two day long thunderstorm.

The thing is, you forget how taxing BC weather can be. How hard you have to work on a wet track (as opposed to a dry sandy one) and how cold can seep into you and stay no matter how many layers you pile on. As I reflect on a number of my trips, I can safely say that some of my most challenging moments have happened in the mountains and of those, three of the most challenging happened in the mountains of BC.


The next morning Mark and I grabbed an excellent breakfast at the cafe next door to the Motel, loaded up the bikes, paid our bill and headed out. In order to get to Port Alberni, we’d have to back track about 40km to get to the Y split we’d taken a picture at the day before. I was starting to have real problems with pain in my right leg, mainly my knee and thigh. I was popping Advil like Pez and had even resorted to using topical pain ointments to try and find some relief. Once I was moving, it wasn’t too bad but trying to get comfortable to sleep was a problem. Fatigue is not your friend on these type of excursions.DSC05435

We stopped at this lake on the way out. To be honest I didn’t even remember riding by it the previous day. It’s just past where we saw the Sikorsky helicopter.DSC05451

As you can see the gravel gets a lot deeper towards the edges of the road. You’ve got to be careful though as if you stay in the middle of the track, you can get creamed by oncoming traffic around the corners.DSC05476DSC0564719225995_10159040797130529_5670584190461047719_n

Bridges like this are a bit unnerving as the guard rail is only about a foot and a half high and it’s a bit of a long fall if you muff it. At least it isn’t a metal grating on the deck surface.DSC05441

And here is where my fatigue, pain and PTSD decided to join forces. For the most part I haven’t had any flashbacks in over ten years but I think it had to do with the shifting light on the track. Dark, light, dark, light that made my brain decided to see a pattern and give me something to make the pattern make sense. For a few seconds I was convinced there was a full sized black pick up truck parked across the road in front of me. I knew it hadn’t been there a second ago but it’s a hard fight between the lie your brain is telling you through your eyes and the logical part that says, “There’s nothing there.”

I’m up on the pegs and going at least 80kmh telling myself, “It’s not real.” over and over and holding my line. It was a long few seconds before my brain snapped back into gear. Still, not being able to trust your reality isn’t fun. I didn’t tell Mark. In fact I kept this moment to myself for the rest of the trip. Of course after this day, we never saw enough sun to make the changing light an issue again.DSC05443DSC05478


At this point I think Mark had had enough of eating my dust. I was still recovering from my earlier hallucination so was pretty happy to let him lead for a bit.




Taking breaks is critical, especially on these types of roads. We’re only twenty five km from Port Alberni but little do we know, it’s going to end up being the toughest part of the ride.


We’d been following these guys for a bit and were happy to see them pull over to let us by. We didn’t realize they knew what was coming up.


Almost instantly the gravel got a lot deeper and looser and the washboarding increased.


Now I’m in the center of the track just to keep out of the deep stuff.


But even that isn’t a guarantee.


Now it’s deep in the center…


Is that Tarmac… Blessed tarmac?


This is the look of, “Can you believe that shit?”

I’ve ridden lots of places in Canada and the US and that last 10km to Port Alberni was some of the worst gravel I’ve ever been on. Hands down.


The guys we’d passed earlier pulled in behind us and we had a brief chat about how crap the road was. Everybody we met on this trip was super friendly and always up for a bit of a chin wag.


We made it to Port Alberni and grabbed some lunch at a local Subway, pretty much my go to for road food. You can see my runners strapped to my larger dry bag. They’d made it no problem and were almost dry from the day before. Mark is inspecting my rear brake which I’d been having problems with. Turns out I’d not installed it correctly when I put my wheel back on so it was banging about. I don’t use my rear brake much so we decided to fix it later in the day once we were at Mark and Mya’s in the Cowichan Valley later that afternoon.

But first we were going to visit some old growth forrest in Cathedral grove…


Just to keep you guys in the loop. The sequel to Devil’s Gambit is now finished and through all of its edits. Devil’s Ante will be released in the first week of August.


Devil’s Gambit continues to sell well in its new audiobook format and we’ll be releasing Reliance also in audiobook in August as well. The audiobook for Devil’s Ante will be released in October… Just in time for Christmas.


At the split on the way to Bamfield

I don’t have any shots coming out of Lake Cowichan but we were just down the road from the local Timmies so we got some hot tea in me and some coffee in Mark and after a quick about face, some gas in the bikes before tackling the gravel section that was going to take us to Bamfield proper.

The original plan was to hit Bamfield for lunch and then double back and head to Port Alberni. It’s always good to be optimistic but reality does have a habit of giving you a good smack if you push things too far.

We left under leaden skies with the promise of rain. By the time we were one third of the way up the side of the lake, that promise was delivered on. I’m not a fan of riding on gravel in the wet as you have a hard time judging your line and the depth of the pot holes, you’re trying to avoid. I think Mark gave up trying to keep to my line and chose his own after I made some pretty bad choices to get through some of the gnarlier sections.


Trouble was it would dry out for a bit and then we’d be right back into the wet.




On the drier sections it was a pretty good ride but on the wetter sections it tended towards being muddy and slippy.


We’d foolishly left our rain layer off because it was just spattering but once the cold set in it was time to throw on some rain gear. We stopped by a grader parked by the side of the road to kit up.




Eventually we outlasted the weather and things began to dry out again. The track was getting pretty heavy on the wash board and it was taking a toll on the bikes and on us physically. My right knee especially.

There was a brief respite from the pounding when we came across a semi paved part of the road. At the end of it we met up with a young guy riding a bike. We stopped for a brief chat and he expressed a hope the paved section would continue. About five minutes after we left him, we took a left turn up a steep hill on the road that went to Bamfield and the track degraded into much deeper and looser gravel. We heard later that he’d finally made it into town around 9pm.


DSC05133As you can see, the road quality really degraded. At this point, both my mirrors had shaken themselves loose and were pretty much useless. I didn’t know it but I’d also lost the retaining bolt on my chain guard. Mark was having a hard time with his luggage breaking loose. I didn’t realize it at the time but my luggage was rubbing hard enough on my own frame to chew through the side of my 35L Bag. Impressive because it was also strapped down to my bike by a cargo net. Securing our gear was going to become an obsession on this trip among other things.DSC05044It also didn’t help you were constantly going around these guys as they crawled their way to the coast.DSC05090It was cool riding by this Skycrane and it’s crew though. Too bad they weren’t ready to fly yet as that would have been some neat shots.DSC04987DSC04984

The road down to Bamfield is fairly steep and the sides are deep sandy gravel. By the time we arrived in the town, I was done riding for the day. We had time, Port Alberni could wait.


I guess there’s more than one place to sleep in Bamfield but this place is the first one you come across and it’s fine. I was so done, I didn’t even ask how much it was going to cost.



The bike, parked and filthy. I’ve zip tied on the chain guard. Zip Ties, don’t leave home without them! And only use the black ones as the clear ones break down in sunlight.

We had one of the best meals of the trip here. The cook at the place next door to the motel really knew what he was doing. Now I’ll admit, we were pretty hungry but it was delicious.

Our riding for the day done, We decided to go for a hike out to a lighthouse mentioned on a local map. It was about three or four kilometers away. It would have been great if we hadn’t missed the right trail head and ended up on the West Coast Trail instead.

It was pretty boggy and because of all the rain really saturated in parts. We were a good few kilometers in when I went off a log and lost not one but both my shoes in the peaty murk. The one shoe I found right away but the other took a good twenty minutes of rooting around to locate it.

Mark was good enough to take a shot of me up to my knees, literally, “In the shit.”


It was a long squelchy walk back to the motel and It took me a good thirty minutes in the shower to get the peat washed out of my runners. I gave up on the pants and wrapped them up in a plastic bag to be dealt with at a later date.

Dinner was pretty good and the local color was entertaining. Afterwards we walked down to the jetty and took some pictures.


We didn’t know it yet but the next day was going to be one of the toughest of the trip.


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