Hello and Goodbye - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

January 30, 2024

Hello and Goodbye

We did not deliberately decide to be on the road most of the time. There was no big decision or selling of the house. And there still isn't. What we are doing is just following what seems natural. It's the same "system" we used for getting married, 56 years ago, for moving from city to city or job to job, or for having children. Whether natural or deliberate, we now have something like 36 trips documented on Cycleblaze. But we also love our garden, and the often foggy island where we live, and our friends and family. We need time for these too. Because of this we do a lot of counting on our fingers, looking for months among the limited supply of 12 on offer each year, to fit things in.

This time around, we have had only three weeks between coming back from Yucatan and heading off to Valencia, Spain. It's tight, because we want to be back in time for some gardening. But again, our devotion to that is suspect, because we plan to bug back out to Europe in August, before many vegetables and certainly apples, plums, grapes, and peaches have had time to reach maturity.

We have been using our three weeks to reconnect with pieces of home, while plotting our escape with tracks and maps for Europe.  We have written to friends and family around the world, and we have roamed around our Island in the fog, absorbing the cool and the moisture, and peering out through it,  looking for local birds. We  had meetups with three or four local  Cycleblazing couples, because what would you want to do in a three week break from cycling, but talk about cycling.  Oh, I know, talk about photography and computers - we had meetups for that too.

The Classens (Kathleen and Keith) are famous for their Poking Around Europe series on Cycleblaze, which is now up to the eighth iteration. The Classens' tracks from Poking Around 7 helped us a lot in our first foray in Portugal and to Seville in Spain. This last Fall, in Spain, the Classens were orbiting all around us, but a meetup  never quite happened. We fixed that by getting together at a cafe near our home, called the Drumroaster. But our usual place for meeting the Classens is the  bakery Fol Epi, or the cafe beside: Fantastico. These spots are the closest to meeting in Europe, since the quality of food and baked goods there is well above the majority of spots in Victoria. That is, sort of normal European.

The Classens, of course, will always arrive by bike, and dressed in chic yellow!

Heart 7 Comment 0

The Prices (Jim and Sue) are avid kayakers and hikers, but they are also Cycleblaze authors, with five blogs. They have been to Cuba, where we too hope to go one day. Oh, we still have their Cuba books on loan. Oops.

Our favourite spot for meeting the Prices is the Willow Street Cafe, in Chemainus. It's in a heritage building that we really enjoy sitting in. And they have a sort of non-yeast cinnamon bun that is rather good. The Prices have also frequently brought us real cinnamon buns from Old Town Bakery in Ladysmith. This is not to say that we only think of the Prices in terms of buns, far from it, because they are wonderful people. 

Heart 5 Comment 0
The Prices often look like this.
Heart 6 Comment 0

More than once the Paxmans (Erika and Marvin) have scooped the tattered remains of a Grampies expedition from the airport. We are glad to see them, not only then, but over the thirty or so years that they have been our friends.  Paxmans too are Cycleblaze authors!

A Dodie pumpkin pie is worth dropping by for.
Heart 5 Comment 2
Karen PoretLike how your hummingbird feeder is INSIDE the window! Now that’s real cozy ;)
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretThat one is the spare, kept inside for warmth, and alternated with the other to prevent freezing.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago

For some reason we don't have photos of family members that we also met up with. Family - you are no less special!  With our "new" interest in birds, we find Dodie's sister Karyn and husband Erhard a great info source. Their house has bird ID books, and a feeder by the window which by virtue of being in Victoria has a slightly different mix of birds from what we see. Erhard is a super bird photographer, and can always show us inspiring shots captured locally.  Erhard is using an SLR with 500 mm lens. That produces the equivalent of 10x zoom, which seems to indicate that that is good enough. It's deceptive, though, because the high quality camera supports much more enlargement than does our toy camera.

Another family member with a bird angle is Joni, who got us started with gifts of bird books, and the introduction to eBird and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

And almost last, something they were wondering about, we have Sandra and Marius. Sandra and Marius came into our lives over 15 years ago from near Leipzig, Germany. Leipzig, and family there, came to be a home base for our cycling in that part of the world.  Sandra and Marius also frequently find themselves shuttling the Grampies to or from the airport.

Sandra and Marius
Heart 4 Comment 0

Although almost none of the Cycleblaze authors are actual media personalities or have published formal books, the world of the Internet can make some rather well known. Certainly for us, who have read very many of the blogs, Cycleblazers are stars, who we are thrilled to meet. The ones on this page are just some that live nearby, but we are always angling to bump into some on the road. When that happens, the conversation is always animated, though the subjects are so predictable. 

It turns out that this is not the first time we have written about meeting up with friends and family before a trip. It seems we wrote that just last time! But we do have a bit of news to add. Last time we got a goodbye wave from our friend Sandra, and from James (who I started off calling "Sweet Baby James", but who is now three!)  

Sandra and James
Heart 5 Comment 0

Sandra at the time was cooking up baby Anna. But Anna is out now, and soon, we hope, ready to wave to the Grampies on her own!

Anna - we'll see you in many future years.
Heart 7 Comment 0

Having now touched base with family, with friends, and with nearby other cyclists, we  feel ready, not to mention supported, to head out on the road once more!

Rate this entry's writing Heart 13
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Jacquie GaudetYou might be interested to learn that Al and I first met the Classens in the queue with our bikes, waiting to board the ferry from Sidney to Friday Harbor in the summer of 2014. Kathleen and I talked about our then-new bikes (her Surly, my Co-Motion), that other site, and the Grampies. I've no idea what Al and Keith talked about.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago