Third Entry, There’s signs for you everywhere.

Get lost on Purpose

Alright, so I know I said I would start on the Mecca of crossing Canada next. I’m far too excited to share something that is seemingly so trivial. Signage. Signage will make you or break you. On more than one occasion I’ve been cooking in the sun or freezing in the rain with a sign in hand and hours pass. What’s wrong? Why won’t people stop? Why can’t I score a ride? I have no idea.

There isn’t a particular tried and true science to sign making, nor is there a specific way to always secure positive repertoire from the public. Your best bet is to just wing it. Be yourself and be ready to adapt to the area. A simple direction works awesome most days, others it acts as an invisibility cloak. Specifics? That’s great too if you’re on a single highway but as soon as you find yourself in a weaving spider web of trans-Canada, side highways, byways and detours you’re going to have a long day. Or are you?

This is such an ever changing matter, I can’t promise you a damn thing and that’s okay. You’ll figure it out.

So for those of you who know me, I don’t really speak French. I put forward a serious effort during my days leading up to Quebec. I spent 4 days in Montreal (It’s unreal, you gotta go!) and 7 days in Quebec entirely. I had no idea how to be funny when it came to the Canadien culture. I guess I made out all right.

I met some great people too! From crazy stoners who drove 40km/h over the speed limit all day, a successful Entrepreneur and inventor of the 100% Canadian Tomahawk Electric Super car named Mario and a very honest and welcoming friend Oliver who invited me to stay in his Grandfathers cabin built in the sixties. Thanks Oliver, it was cold that night.

Find the Super Car here:

http://dubucmotors.com/

So that’s not even about the sign. You can’t Hitch on main Highways in Quebec. On-ramps are as far as you can go. The police can and will remove you and ticket you. I was lucky and got through without a problem. That’s still not about the sign. I guess what I’m trying to say is this time the sign didn’t even matter. Everyone who stopped told me they didn’t even read it. Kinda weird Quebec, kinda weird.

So yeah, this is pretty self explanatory, GP or Grande Prairie. I stayed with my sister the night before in Edmonton and since Albertans are very straight to the point and just need a quick answer GP was sufficient. There isn’t a lot to say here. I ended up far off course on Highway 2. Some random dude felt the need to tell me “Dude you’re lost! You aren’t on the highway to GP!” I know. Thanks dude, I know I have to take a range road south for forty minutes. I looked at a map this morning. Take what you can get. Don’t expect to go straight to your destination every time, that’s half the fun.

This one was pretty funny. Not funny because of the sign. Funny because I texted me friend Brent in GP while I was in Nova Scotia and asked if he could hook me up with a place to stay in Antigonish. His parents took me in. I texted him all night telling him about how silly he looked in his family pictures and joked that I was sleeping in his sisters bed. I actually was, she wasn’t around that night so they set me up there instead of on the couch. Thanks!

Arts and Crafts are awesome. Even if you’re just scribbling with a permanent marker on a sheet of Styrofoam you found in the Garage. North, great direction. Sydney, destination. Straight forward again. No problems here. Another easy day where people knew where I was headed. Rides weren’t terribly hard to come by and there were a lot of friendly faces. Great people out here but I’d suggest coming earlier in the year. As you can tell by the background no matter how welcoming you try to look the fog still paints you as an axe murderer straight from a 70’s B rated movie. Leave your axe at home kids, especially when you hit the road at 6:30Am.

My all time favorite sign. I’m doing this again. This was one of those times where the sign really, really came through. I made it to Fredrickton NB by mid day and lacking a new sign I sifted some recycling bins behind a fast food joint and sat myself by the drive through scribbling as I do. You get funny looks when you do that, I do it on purpose now because I think its funny. Easy way to get some folks to buy you food without asking too. Thanks again, the world is amazing.

So I’ll say my ears were ringing by the end of the day. I have never been honked at, hollered to and waved at so much in my life. Everyone loved this sign. It’s a part of Canada I’d like to go back to. I was picked up by such a vast array of people who all said something along the lines of “I stopped to pick you up because your sign is great, I’m always worried I’m going to pick up someone who has a bad attitude and no sense of humour.” I felt great.

My first ride was actually two Brothers and the Girlfriend. Super cool people, both covered in Tattoo’s, drinking beer in the back seat and smoking like a chimney. They offered me beers, gladly accepted. Then I learned the older brother in the front seat just got out of Jail. I congratulated him on making it back out to the real world. It was awkward.

Silence for a few minutes. I had to know.. I asked if he was going to change now. He said yes. He’s never going back. He’s going to live a true and honest life. Good on you man, you got this. I just wish prison was about rehabilitation instead of punishment. Maybe one day.

Summing all of this up; it doesn’t matter what your sign says, how its written or what it’s made of. People will read You, not the sign. Exude positivity and keep that smile on. Be kind, be welcoming and don’t ever let the road knock your spirits down. There are people everywhere who will and won’t give you a ride. The ones who will usually don’t even care what you have written or even if you have a sign. So knowing that just go have fun with it. Enjoy yourself. Don’t take life too seriously, nobody gets out alive anyways.

 

Second entry, Finish the Disposible Camera.

“No Hitchhiking, Pickup is Illegal”

You can probably tell by now, I think the rules don’t really apply to me. I’m not interested in living an average or normal life anymore. I have no interest in the day to day grind, the rat race or working just to pay my bills. It’s absurd that so many are destined to achieve so little and become sucked into this never ending trap. Get out, go adventure, push your limits, see the world and get out of your comfort zone. Take the risk! Heck, even explore your own backyard. These next few posts are going to focus solely on exploring my own back yard. This post in particular is based in Southern BC and Vancouver Island, next we move onto the Mecca of hitch hiking and travel a; Cross-country Canada excursion.

Unknown lake, Gold River, Vancouver island.

I decided it would be a very easily accomplished task to hitch and Travel from Vancouver to Gold River in one day, It’s a little over 300km. A brisk summer 7am start really woke me up and sharpened the nerves for the day ahead. Transit, More Transit, Trains, Seabus, Wheel bus and a Ferry. Highlights? Nothing other than Vancouver living up to its standards of eccentric locals. I swapped change with a Girl wearing a fantastic Drag-queen Beavis and Butthead sweater. She was pretty cool. If memory serves me right her name was Chelsea. Thanks for breaking up my change! Glad I didn’t have to drop a loonie instead of a few quarters. It adds up. The ferry ended up being a total bust for rides. A lot of folks turn their nose up quickly to anyone looking for a ride. That’s alright with me. So I guess I had better hike. If any of you have ever off loaded in Nanaimo you know the hill I had coming for me. It’s a sweltering 30 degrees and the humidity is killer. You don’t get Island humidity in the interior. It nearly killed me. Doesn’t matter though, gotta go. Halfway, find blackberries +10 stamina. Two thirds and you notice apples in the gutter across the road. Weird. Oh no, wait. That makes perfect sense. There’s a huge apple tree. I grabbed about a dozen apples and packed them away for later +5 weight.

I could ramble on about this day forever. I haven’t even hitched a ride yet. Nanaimo from the ferry isn’t a geographically friendly place for hitchhikers. There’s a ton of traffic but you have to walk almost 10km to get to the edge of town. You will get discouraged. You will get upset. You have to understand that all those cars you see are local. Folks on their lunch break, Grandma going to see her Grand kids and High schoolers just out for a rip as they skip class. I’m still baking in the sun but at least I’m entertained. I’ve found a set of lights at a 3 way intersection and have a great sign showing I’m headed north. People are pretty friendly, jokes back and forth between them and myself at every red light, I make faces at people and watch them go red because they don’t know what to do. Marco Polo? Yeah, even that. I grew up and learned things like not to wave at hitch hikers, don’t look at them, definitely don’t pick them up and ignore them at a set of lights. For me now, that’s all bogus. I haven’t even scored a ride yet and all the interactions between myself and these random people I’ll never ever see again made my day. I could spend a week sitting here without a ride and I wouldn’t even be upset. I was having a riot.

So did I score a ride? Of course I did. Only after the next ferry rolled up. Before that I actually had two other guys hitching walk up to me the same way I came. We talked for a few minutes and I asked if they had any apples. They burst out laughing because they also found the tree and the three of us shared that we all thought the exact same thing. It was probably the heat stroke setting in but we all had laughed ourselves silly hanging out there. They went on their way after a few, I wished them well and said If I could swing it I’d convince someone that stopped to pick them up too. Anyways, I got picked up about five minutes after they left. I could still see them walking. No seats. I felt pretty bad. No biggie though. They will understand. Good luck guys. I know it worked out.

A lovely old lady headed to a friends near Campbell river was invited out sailing. That’s what had brought her that way. She stopped and invited me along solely because she had been there before. Just like 90% of people who stop, they once hitched themselves. Every one of them is a phenomenal person in their own little way. Stories of a thousand years are shared with you. These people just want to talk. They want to know you as much as you want to know them. They want to know if you’re okay. They want you to know they aren’t okay. You help them just as much as they help you. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to tell anyone everything I talked about with these random souls I’ll never see again. Probably not. There’s a certain beauty in the informal counseling you receive when you know you will never see them again.

So yeah, I made it. It also made me. Vancouver island is beautiful. I try to see it as often as I can. I slack off sometimes and there’s a few years in between. That’s okay. It’s always home. After I made it to Campbell river a short walk brought me to the mouth of the Gold River Highway. Slim pickings and a dwindling hope for a ride pushed me to walking. Good idea, this road is beautiful. I’d walked around 5km when I was finally picked up. Great guy, He was a forestry worker from Gold River, chain smoked like a two stroke. Fitting. Really cool guy. He grew up in GR and pointed out all these cool places he had been to, hiked to the top of and random facts only a local would know. I got a lot of recommendations from him about the area. Thanks for the help. Ps: I forgot your name.

Made it. Bought him something to drink at the gas station as a thanks. In small town fashion he knew exactly where I was headed and dropped me off right at my friends door. Weird, but I get it.

Tree Island

Let’s fast forward a few days.

Comox Valley. I grew up here. I lived there for nearly 12 years. Another “Have to see” on the island. Helps I still have hundreds of friends there. Just like any small place you grew up in the dreaded “I’m bored, what should we do?” was looming overhead. Try growing out of that, its nearly impossible. I decided to come prepared this time. I knew there would be a stunning meteor shower for about 2 months this summer. It just so happened that the 2 best predicted days to view started tonight. So I suggested camping. A quick search of the area and some conversation lead us wanting to stray from the normal campground scene. Too many people, too much light, noise and no fun. Corbin has a Canoe. We have been friends for almost 10 years and have never once even touched it. Game on. Let’s go to Tree island (Actually called Sandy island for you who aren’t local) Two whole hours of looking for paddles and cleaning spiders from the canoe. I have never seen more spiders in my life and even though I’m not afraid I’d rather not deal with that again.

It’s about 6km each way from Royston to Tree island. We got passed by a sail boat running its trolling motor, twice. Just as the sun had set we made it to the island and set up camp. Meager rations for dinner was fine, too hot to eat anyways. After dinner we wandered all over the tiny island and really enjoyed ourselves. There were about 10 other people scattered across and that’s fine by me. Nobody wanted to talk. Neither did we. Why else would you come out to a secluded island? Sun down. We set our cots out on the sandy beach and talked late into the night. Huge meteors, whipping tails and enough light to illuminate things around you. This was one of the most amazing shows of the big universe around us I have ever seen. Go watch meteors, drink beers, Smoke, Dance and be lazy around the fire. Remember how small you actually are.

Between the Valley and Victoria where I stayed with Scott (The 86 Master) I made my way to Tofino. Not much to report. I didn’t even stay 24 hours. The coffee was good though. Locals don’t care for anyone with a backpack. They’re sick of the tourists. Good hikes, great beaches to scream at the pacific ocean for 20 minutes with nobody around. You’ll always feel better after that. I slept behind a dumpster. You won’t feel better after that. Hitched out in the morning. I’m going to Ucluelet next time. I’ve heard its Little Tofino. Tofino ten years ago. I guess I had to learn for myself. Caught a ride in my first Motor home with three Spaniards! Great people. Super friendly. Funny too. They made me get a picture with them before I left. I had to fake a smile. I wasn’t feeling too good that day. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go home, get drunk or jump off a cliff lacking water beneath. Weird day.

Things got better. I caught 8 separate rides from the Valley to Tofino, Four on the way out. The phrase of Seniors “Hitch hiking on Vancouver island just ain’t what it used to be.” To this day I still don’t know what they meant. Was it easier back then? Is it easier now? Hell, I stood roadside for around 7 minutes all day. Not bad man, not bad at all. Guess hitching on the island used to be hard? I’m still confused. I’ll have to go back just to get my answers.

Is that an AE86?

Victoria rocked. Scott is a full time student and enrolled in engineering. Great guy all around. He’s single ladies. Just saying. We ended up spending 3 days hanging out and exploring the area. He was really thankful I showed up because all his local friends never wanted to explore. So we really hit the nail on the head this visit. Bro dates are rad. We almost got pulled over within 300 feet of where he picked me up. He blasted the 86 wide open and we got a warning siren and cherries from a cop in a parking lot. Lucky. Last time I rode in/drove this car it had a 4AGE 20V engine. Mind you, that’s iconic but damn was it slow. The Beams swap livened this thing right up. That’s what this car needed. I was in heaven when we got to Scott’s place. The back yard was full of drift cars and projects, 2JZ Lexus out front, BRZ in the driveway. Pretty kick ass dude. So we actually took out the BRZ the next day. Ever done the Port Renfrew loop? Do it. We nearly cooked the brakes out of the little Subaru and pushed the thing to the edge. We spent hours on back roads without a single soul around. Scott isn’t much for drifting but I still coached him on some hair pins. We had a great day. It was time for me to go. Once home we hit the road and he dropped me off at the ferry. Great visit. Can’t wait to do it again and I’ll bring out the 240SX!

Interior time. Lots of family time. Lots of hiking and adventures. Great times all in all. Can’t wait to get back and explore more of the interior. I’ve been planning some fantastic multi day hikes, camping and off road adventures.

Made it!

Drag racing and off roading with Dayne and Pascale to finish off my summer in BC was phenomenal We had a really great time together and I can’t wait to do it again. #WaterlowRacing is an up and coming great. I’d keep your eyes out for them if you’re at the Osoyoos 1/8th mile in the coming seasons.

More to come. Thanks for reading.

 

“Hold on, don’t turn around I have to tuck it”

Sorry about this last one. He wouldn’t stop pestering me until he could pose just like the girls on the Mud flaps. Enjoy bleaching your eyes for the next 48 hours.

New Faces, Lots of Places, Amazing Spaces.

Here we go. Post one.

I have hopes of this being the start to a never ending book of adventures, places close, far, foreign and domestic. Stories of Hardship, Love, Success, Failure, Thrills, Spills, Close calls and lazy days. You might recognize my name, Dayne had mention of me in the summer of 2016 and since then a lot has happened. Stories with and without Casa Waterlow. I’m going to start off with a bit of a back story here, lets reel this back to July 2016 when everything changed forever…

I had decided a few years prior to move to Northern Alberta in the pursuit of wealth (Bad idea, Don’t bother) and I finally broke free. Working in an Automotive shop can be very rewarding. That is unless that shop goes bankrupt. Now normally that’s not such a big deal for someone, it’s just a job and you can find work anywhere. That’s probably how things should have gone except at that point in my life I had been 23 for a month, I was burnt out. I had all I could handle and I needed out. I decided a week before I received that dreaded phone call to do something I had always wanted to do; Hitchhike. Away I went. I left Grande Prairie to deliver the Rusty and Trusty 72′ Dodge Power Wagon to my Dad down in Grand forks. Now that was easy. The next week was a roller coaster. I spent some time with my Brother Sage and his Girlfriend Melissa, we spent a night at Idabel lake Resort which was phenomenal. After that I met up with my At-the-time girlfriend and after a night in Kelowna started my real adventure. Hitch hiking is amazing. It can be the most amazing experience of your life if you’re ready for it. I can’t tell you how you will know you’re ready but when you are you will know it’s your time to go.

Anyways, I’m getting much too far into detail. Let’s keep this first one Simple.

The first person I rode with hitch hiking.

Week one: Start hitchhiking, Travel Vancouver Island, Have uncountable Epiphanies, Take ferry back to Vancouver, Get phone Call Shop is closing, Proceed to freak out and break down, Go to brothers house, Proceed to freak out even worse, Call At-the-time Girlfriend, Freak out worse, Break up with At-the-time Girlfriend, Drink Sake from Japan with brother, Get shitfaced while simultaneously crying and laughing like a maniac, Realize freedom is at your finger tips, Freed myself.

 

Week Two: Adventure with Brother and Melissa, Hitch home, Freak out more, Go back north, Pack everything, Move out, Store Everything, Start fresh.

Finally at peace.

In 14 days my past 3 years of hard work and dedication was entirely gone, finished, over. Aside from the friends I made and the pictures I had you could almost say it didn’t even exist. But it does, it’s part of who I am today and I don’t regret that in the slightest. Now we’re on the next chapter of my life. I have a lot to catch up on over the next few months and a lot of work lays ahead. I’ll keep things coming as I can. The adventures and stories I’ll share with you intertwine with each other like the weave in a scarf and are full of twists and bends as a that road follows the coast.

I feel better than ever.

Thanks for reading, Lots more to come, please bear with me too as I have never written for it to be read and I’m starting a long journey of learning. Any and all constructive criticism is appreciated.