A few years back I had the idea that my ex and I, my sister and her husband and my mother and stepfather should all buy a piece of property on Gabriola. I set it up, got the ‘rents in touch with a realtor, and we went as a group to look at properties. I had in mind a cheap piece of vacant land. At the end of the day, my mum and step-dad decided that they would buy a more expensive near-beachfront place with a building on it, and they wanted to do it without us.

That’s turned into one of the best things for them (not to mention a great investment) – and we kids still get to use it. And, it’s given the extended family a place to go every summer for a reunion. The grandparents stay at a nearby B&B, and the rest of us camp out. We just hang out and do campy and beachy things as a family. It’s quite a fun and relaxing time.

The view from the place:

Two summers ago I rode over for the first time, before any of my crashes, when my little red bike was still intact. I had great fun riding it around the island’s windy outside road – at least after my uncle got it back to me! My uncle is a pilot and was a bikeless rider – he took off on the Ninjette for a “little ride” that lasted 4 hours – on an island it takes a great deal less than an hour to circumnavigate! He bought his own bike, a Yamaha cruiser, the next summer (while I was in Europe). This time he took off on my bike again, but not for as long – I guess his addiction had been slaked somewhat.

This time I spent more time hanging out with the family – my California grandma was up visiting too. But most of them took off Sunday morning to get back – with the bike I don’t have to worry about ferries (unlike the rest of the poor folk without reservations who had to wait up to 9 hours that day!), so I stuck around and finally got to go kayaking with my step-dad. I almost saw dolphins!

The beach with the tide out:

But I couldn’t leave the island without going around it one more time. And it didn’t take as long as I thought it would, so I also rode out to the lighthouse lookout.

The island seems really small now after the riding I’ve been doing this summer, and the curves seem pretty tame (with a couple fun exceptions) – but going around them I can still taste the remembrance of that first year when it was all new and thrillingly bright. I hope I never lose that entirely

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