I take my vacation a couple of hours at a time
Tuesday, October 09 2007 @ 12:11 PM PDT
Contributed by: Richard Pitt
Re-post from February 2002
Along with many others who are caught up in the world of technology, I've found myself either too busy or too broke to take a "real" vacation most of the past 20+ years - feast or famine it seems.
The last real vacation with wife and kids was to California in 1991. The last real vacation my wife and I took was to New Zealand in mid 1996 (the kids went to summer camp while we were away).
Since then we've had a couple of weekends visiting relatives here in BC, and I've done a fair amount of travel on business - but all the while I've had my cell phone and laptop with me and have not been out of touch for more than a couple of hours at any one time.
But I get a chance to "go on vacation" for short periods all throughout the year - by grabbing time out of the day and getting on my Honda Goldwing and getting out of town. In fact, I just got back from the first such ride for 2002. 4 hours of cruising around the Vancouver area following my front wheel wherever it took me. Admittedly it was only supposed to be 2 hours, but hey, it was a vacation and so a little slop in the schedule is ok.
Most years I ride all year 'round. I have to say I prefer dry to wet and warm to cold, but as long as there's no snow or ice on the road, I'll go. When I had a side-chair, I was even known to ride when there was snow on the road - although I have to admit that finding snow tires for road bikes is pretty much impossible and the couple of times I've actually been on snow were short rides to see what happened.
I've spent much of the past 20 years working from my home. As a system administrator for Unix/Xenix/Linux systems, I can do much of what is necessary via remote login. As a business executive, I can do correspondence and other functions which don't require face to face meetings as well. This has some drawbacks - one of which is that it is difficult for me to keep to a standard work day - I'm always "on duty".
On the other hand, this means that I can take advantage of short breaks in my business activities to go on holiday for an hour or two. In fact, for sanity, it means I _must_ take a break when opportunity allows.
Here in the Vancouver area we are blessed with weather - not just climate. It doesn't matter much what time of the year it is - it can range from sunny to pouring rain and back again in a couple of hours. We don't typically get long spells of any particular weather - sun, rain, snow, etc. - but instead get days like the past few where (during the winter) it can start out below freezing with ice on the roads, climb to a pleasant 10-15C during the early afternoon, and rain in the evening.
This means that, from my window on the South side of our home, I might see a patch of blue sky in an otherwise dreary day and be able to go chase it for a couple of hours of R&R.
From where we live here in Pitt Meadows, about 40 minutes East of downtown Vancouver, I have a number of different basic rides I can do. Some involve no more than a circle route on the back roads around Maple Ridge and Mission; some involve a trip up the Fraser valley and across one or more of the bridges connecting the North and South sides of the Fraser River; some involve more urban roads in and around Vancouver and the surrounding towns and cities. Occasionally I will dip down into the US and drive through Washington state - from one border crossing to another via some of the excellent back roads in and around Mt. Baker and down as far as Seattle.
In addition to these short rides, I have one day-long ride I have done consistently for the past 6 years. On or about the longest day of the year, June 20-25, I have done a loop up the Fraser Valley, and back down the Duffy Lake road past Whistler Mountain. Last year this included going all the way to Cache Creek and down through Marble Canyon. By the end of June, all but the highest part of the Duffy Lake road is well on the way to summer blooms, and even the highest is usually warm enough for regular gloves. Only once in the past rides have I had to stop and put on a sweater near the summit. That year there was still snow by the side of the road near Duffy Lake.
I know others with road bikes, Hogs, Wings, Vulcans, Valkyries, and all manner of big iron. Many have 9-5 jobs and ride with clubs much of the time. Others are like myself in that they are not on a fixed schedule. Some put as few as a couple of thousand miles a year on their machines, more's the pity. On the other hand, I have put as much as 10,000 a year on mine, a hundred or two at a time.
Other people might take an hour or two to work in their workshop or at a hobby, I take my time on the GoldWing and let the breezes blow the cobwebs out. A couple of hours is like a vacation and I come back with new ideas and fresh energy.