Home in Vancouver Canada for Christmas

I was really looking forward to going home for Christmas to visit family and friends.

Buying Spree

One of the first things to do was go on a buying spree for not only Christmas gifts but also things I needed to replenish for my adventure. But first was to see a doctor and dentist. The doctor was easy, and I got prescriptions renewed and a 6 month supply of medication purchased.

With the dentist I got my teeth cleaned. However, he also advised that I really needed a tooth pulled and an implant put in 🙁 Well … that was going to have to wait. No time to do it now and I wasn’t feeling any pain anyways. This could come back to bite me 🙂

One of my biggest purchases was a new phone. If you remember, mine had gotten water inside and the screen wasn’t working.

Visiting Family and Christmas

Getting medical checkups, and buying stuff, was the dull part of Christmas. The best part was visiting family, especially my 3 kids, spouses, and my 2 grandkids. Well ….. soon to be three grandkids 🙂

One evening we went to the Stanley Park Christmas train. Very cool …. both the weather and the park. Not use to cool weather after being in heat for such a long time.



And of course there was celebrating Christmas 🙂





The second best part of Christmas was the food … homecooking. My diet on the road is crappy. I know. I eat a lot of processed foods and once in a while I venture out on my own to eat a good meal at a restaurant. This isn’t the same as home cooking though. So I really enjoyed the Christmas meal made by my ex-wife. Thanks!

Visiting Friends

Visiting friends was also a priority. First, was a dinner with old high school friends. Some I hadn’t seen since high school over 40 years ago!!

While at home I took a bit of an excursion for a week to Vancouver Island to visit friends. For the 2 years prior to my adventure I worked at the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner in Victoria on Vancouver Island. So it was really nice to visit with some of my former colleagues.

I also went up island to visit another former colleague from my Abbotsford Police Days.

Panic and Stress

Interrupting my good time was an email I received on my first morning on the island. It was instant panic and stress that would stay with me for weeks. In my next blog post I will reveal what it was all about.

In any case, I made a conscious effort not to let it interfere with the enjoyment of being home.

Coming to an End

My Christmas vacation was coming to an end. One last meal with my kids and their families and it was time to go.

As far as social media goes I was pretty much dormant over Christmas. There were a few reasons for this. Of course I was busy. But also my life appeared to be in a state of transition and stress due to that email.

My Route on December 8, 2017

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My Location from December 9, 2017 to January 9, 2018

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There Is No Place Like Home

From San Jose I rode a short distance to Alajuela, Costa Rica, so I could catch a flight home from the nearby San Jose airport. It turned out that the flight back home to Vancouver, Canada, and the flight back, were not as routine as I thought they would be.

Alajuela Airbnb

In Alajuela I rented an Airbnb for a month, including the 2 weeks I would be at home. The cost was under my accommodation budget and had a secure place to store my motorcycle. Perhaps I could have found secure parking at a cheaper cost, but this was a place I could stay for a few days before leaving and a known place to come back to without have to move everything a couple of times.

Flight Home

For the first time, I used the Uber app to get an Uber ride to the airport. Unlike most things in Costa Rica, it was cheap! Although the driver was preoccupied with sex. I guess when he found out I was traveling alone he thought that was what I would be interested in talking about.

I got to the airport and my gate on time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same thing about my flight 🙁 It was late. I was taking a flight from San Jose to Houston and then Houston to Vancouver.

Soon I heard my name called on the intercom. Yup … My flight was so late I would miss my flight to Houston. I had two choices, catch a flight tomorrow from San Jose, or go to Houston and catch a flight home tomorrow from there. I decided just to start all over again tomorrow.

Copa Airlines was pretty good in their response. They escorted me past immigration to get my luggage, then past Customs. I then met with a ticket agent to reserve my flights for tomorrow. The best deal was a 4 am flight to Panama City, then to Houston and finally Vancouver. The first 2 flights were in First Class.

With that settled they got me a taxi to a nearby Best Western where they gave me a $12 meal voucher.

By 6 pm I closed my blinds, set the alarm for 1 a.m., and went to sleep.

1 a.m. came early 🙁

The first 2 flights were good. But by the time I got to Houston I just didn’t want to go any further.

I arrived in Vancouver at 10:30 and was so glad to be met by my daughter. A long day!

Kids and Grandkids

The main reason for going home now was to be with my kids and grandkids while it was still summer in Vancouver. By far the hardest part of my adventure is being away from them for extended periods of time.

So I REALLY enjoyed spending time with them. Going to English Bay, Ambleside Park, White Rock, Langley, Stanley Park, bowling, picnics, patios … Of course there was a lot of swinging, see-sawing and digging in the sand with the grandkids. So much fun.

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Van 10

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Van 1

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Here we were watching kids jump off of the pier at White Rock along with watching crabbers bring up their catch.

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White Rock

I went once with my grandkids to White Rock, but I also managed to sneak off to enjoy it on my own. It is definitely one of my favorite places in the world.

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Surreal Experience

One thing I made time for was to see friends who I hadn’t seen since high school over 40 years ago! A very surreal experience. My high school experiences are a bit of a blur now. I don’t remember a lot. But seeing Ralph, Colette and Eileen brought back memories, as did looking through old school yearbooks. I haven’t been in touch with many from high school since those days, but they had been. It was fun hearing about people from years ago and where they are now. Amazing how far we have all come and the experiences we have had. Hard to believe. I think time and experiences tend to mellow us from those crazy high school days. There seemed to be all these group statuses back then. At least that was my perception. But not anymore.

Anyways … thanks Ralph, Colette and Eileen for the good time and for your support. The nicest people ever.

Flying Home

My 2 weeks at home went by fast. Thanks Mike, Amy, Mia, Ben, Car, Ian and Nick for such an enjoyable time and your hospitality.

My flight back to Costa Rica was Vancouver to Los Angeles to Panama City to San Jose. As I checked into my Air Canada flight to LA there was a problem already. Their screen said I needed to show a ticket onward out of Costa Rica. I explained to them that my motorcycle was in Costa Rica and I would be riding it out of the country. I was just away for 2 weeks to visit my kids. They were good about it and let me through, but warned I could be sent back to Panama by Costa Rican immigration.

As a precaution I booked a hotel in Panama to show immigration that I was planning to leave the country.

In LA I had to walk to a different terminal to catch my Copa Airlines flight to Panama City. LA is my least favorite airport in the world. The walk seemed to take forever as I went through tunnels, and up and down escalators. But I finally made it to the gate.

As they started to board the plane I heard my name called on the intercom. I went to the desk. The clerk said I needed to show a ticket out of Costa Rica before I could board the plane. Once again I explained my circumstances. Unlike Air Canada, they didn’t care. I HAD to show a ticket out of the country or I couldn’t board the plane. A hotel reservation was not good enough. It had to be a ticket proving I was going to be leaving the country! I continued to argue that they never cared about this when I entered the country on my motorbike. The clerk said I was just wasting time and advised me that even a bus ticket out of the country would work.

The pressure was now on. The plane was boarding as I scrambled on line to purchase any bus ticket out of Costa Rica.

I heard them directing people to take my luggage off of the plane!

I found a bus ticket on line! They would send me an invoice and I would have to pay it and then they would send me a ticket via email. That all takes time. I begged them to hurry. The invoice came, however, when I tried to pay it I couldn’t. It wanted a Paypal account, even though I was paying by credit card, and for some reason I couldn’t access my account.

By this time everyone had boarded the plane. The last call was made. It looked like I would miss my flight and be stuck in LA. I let out a huge sigh cuasing everyone to look at me. The clerk came over to me and said, “show me what you have.” I showed her my invoice.


September 10, to Nicaragua, that’s all she needed to see. She didn’t need to see how I paid for it. Of course I hadn’t and never would. So all I needed was an invoice of a ticket leaving the country that I never plan on using to PROVE I was leaving the country. It all made no sense. But at that point I didn’t care. I rushed onto the plane.

In Panama City no one asked me the same question.

In Costa Rica as approached customs I felt like I was a criminal and could be sent to jail ha ha. I got up to the booth and the agent only wanted to know how long I would be there. That was it. He gave me 90 days and I was off!

The whole thing was stupid. The world is not made for long term motorcycle travellers. It is only made for vacationers or immigrants.

Now the big question was whether or not my luggage would arrive since I heard them taking it off. It did! When I saw it I was so relieved. I made it back.

My Route on August 13 2017

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My Location from August 14 to 16, 2017


My Location August 17 to 31, 2017


Hiatus Hernia Surgery

With the wedding now past, I turned my attention to my need for hiatus hernia surgery. My lingering fear was that I would be put on a waiting list and I wouldn’t have the surgery for months. Meanwhile, my bike and belongings were in Oaxaca. The temporary import permit for my motorcycle expired on March 28. I needed to have it out of Mexico by then.

I kept mulling options in my mind. Take a chance and fly down there and ride my motorcycle back home? This would end my trip 🙁 Perhaps I could just leave my stuff there and beg for mercy when I left Mexico with my bike. Then there was the issue of where I would stay while waiting. I couldn’t stay with my son in his small apartment long term. It was all very depressing.

Surrey Thoracic Surgery Group

My surgeon was Dr. Wen from the Surrey Thoracic Group in Surrey, BC. A lot of my fears were relieved when I had my pre-operative appointment with him. He was so kind, understanding, and accommodating of my predicament. We spent a long time with his assistant trying to figure out ways to get me in for surgery fast. No matter what though, if an emergent case came in, eg. lung cancer, I would take a back seat. We finally decided on a plan. I was booked for surgery in 2 weeks.

As luck would have it, the day before my scheduled surgery it was cancelled 🙁 We needed to work out another plan. One option was to book me into the hospital. Once there I would become a priority so to free up my hospital bed. Another Dr in the Thoracic Group, Dr. Ashrafi, had surgery time coming up that wasn’t booked yet. I took it and hoped for the best.

Jim Pattison Centre

The day before my scheduled surgery I wasn’t to have anything to eat, and I had to attend the Jim Pattison Centre for blood work, xrays, CCG, and appointments with a nurse and the anesthesiologist.

The blood work turned into an ordeal. I can’t remember how many vials they took, but at one point I got faint. Many years ago I use to faint with needles. However, 15 years ago, after a month in the hospital with pneumonia and getting many needles, this went away. But it came back today.

There was quite the response to this … nurse, security, attendants, code blue, and a CCG. Well, at least I got my CCG without having to wait ha ha. I think it was all because of not having anything to eat and the stress of my situation.

After a bit of rest I was onto my other appointments. This was an all day event.


The day finally arrived and no cancellation. The two biggest fears I had about the surgery was the anesthesiologist putting a mask over my face to put me out, and having a tube put up my nose into my stomach and waking up to that. I let them know! ha ha. I just hate anything over my face. I panic. The nurse gave me some ativan while I waited.

I walked into the surgical room and layed down on the bed. I could feel panic starting at the prospect. The anesthesiologist was no wear. I just wanted this over with. Finally she came. Instead of putting a mask over my face she gave me an injection into my IV tube. I was out.

The next thing I remember was being wheeled into a room. My hands were velcroed to the bed. I wanted them loose! The attendants were yelling at me to stop pulling the tubes then ha ha ha. They undid my hands and I could feel them pulling the tube from my nose that led to my stomach. I felt relief at that.

The next thing I remember is being in the Thoracic Ward in the hospital.

Hospital Recovery

I was in a daze for the most part as I recovered in the hospital. Lots of medication and only liquid food. The nurses were great. For a couple of days I had a student nurse and I was her only patient ha ha. So lots of attention.

They were going to release me until a complication developed. I got Arrhythmia. This required more drugs and more time in the hospital in the hopes it would go away. It did.

I finally got to go “home.” Home meant to my son’s place. I don’t have a home. Although home is really where ever you are when you are a traveler.

Home Recovery

My son Nick is one of the most caring and loyal people you will ever meet. Many people would not know that about him. For the next 5 weeks he would be nurse Nick.

Nick picmonkey

His place is not big. I slept on the floor. But I was very comfortable there.

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I spent my time watching the news, getting sucked into meaningless Facebook debates about Trump, watching Netflix, going to Starbucks, eating a fluid diet, and watching old time TV shows.

It was nice though being able to spend time with Nick. And a couple weeks later Carllee and Ian when they returned from their honeymoon.

I was also able to stay long enough to be there when my oldest son, Mike, and his family moved back to Vancouver from London, England.

Two days before I was booked to fly back to Oaxaca I celebrated my grandson’s first birthday 🙂


Back to Mexico

The time had finally come to fly back to Mexico. My 2 week trip home for my daughter’s wedding had turned into a 2 and a half month ordeal.

I had mixed feelings. I was becoming comfortable where I was at. And I especially enjoyed being with family. It was hard to leave. At least I was going back to familiar territory – Oaxaca.

My Location from January 15 to March 13, 2017


My Location for March 14, 2017


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