Summer 2022, Part 5: The Three-Legged Dog Goes North

After having spent a few weeks travelling west from Ontario to Alberta, then through British Columbia, Montana, Idaho, and northern California, I had been very excited to drive south down California’s famous Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles and eventually all the way to San Diego. However, upon reaching the west coast, I had made a critical mistake when manoeuvring my motorcycle on a sandy parking area, resulting in the bike falling over, which broke off its right footpeg.

The broken piece of my motorcycle, a reminder that mistakes can be made regardless of one’s level of experience.

Immediately after this occurred, I suffered a minor nervous breakdown, which was exacerbated by the fact that I was hungry and tired. After panicking for a few minutes, I started to analyse my options for continuing my trip, considering the damage that had been suffered.

To begin, I started by calling a few local Kawasaki motorcycle dealers, to see if they could order the part that I needed. Unfortunately, I was told that the part would take at least a week to arrive, which would mean paying for a hotel for a week (more expensive than flying back to Canada while waiting for the part) and eliminating some remaining parts of my trip due to the lost time. While it would have been possible to try calling every dealer in California to find the part, at a certain point I had to accept that a footpeg bracket might not be in stock anywhere close by.

I left my motorcycle at a dealer who had taken a look at it, and went to find something to eat. It was almost 5 PM, and I still had not had a proper meal. A small sandwich shop was able to put together a glorified container of lettuce for me just before they closed (apparently, they couldn’t do sandwiches without meat and cheese), which gave me something on which to munch as I contemplated my options. I sent an e-mail to, a well-known online shop in the Kawasaki Concours community, asking if, by some miracle, they had the part I needed in stock and could send it to me. However, I wasn’t feeling optimistic, so I tried to figure out what I could in the event that I couldn’t fix the bike where I was.

I had originally been planning to ride south down the coast of California, then all the way north to Canada via beautiful highways running through the national forests in northern California, Oregon, and Washington, before visiting some friends in Vancouver. I considered that the best option might be to get a Vancouver-area motorcycle shop to order the part that I needed, ride north to Vancouver using only the straight, easy Interstate 5 – a ride which wouldn’t require me to keep my right foot hovering above my rear brake lever – and then to stay with friends in Vancouver while waiting for my part to arrive. This plan would also give me some unexpected extra time in British Columbia that would allow me to visit some friends that I hadn’t seen in a few years.

I called Burnaby Kawasaki to ask if they could order the part that I needed. To my astonishment, Burnaby Kawasaki indicated that they normally stocked the part, and that they would have one available by the time I could reach the Vancouver area in two days. Excellent. I immediately paid for it, and started planning my next two days. I would head east to join Interstate 5, then north all the way to Canada, stopping only for fuel and sleep.

Before leaving, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an e-mail back from Oscar of, indicating that the part that I needed was in stock, and that they could ship it to me quickly by express air freight. Had this message come a few minutes earlier, I might have accepted his offer and stayed in Monterey until the part arrived, to be able to continue on my trip more-or-less as originally planned. However, having already ordered the part from Burnaby Kawasaki, and having also become a bit attached to the idea of spending some more time in British Columbia than I’d initially planned, I called Oscar to thank him for his time but decline. Heading north seemed like a good option. Southern California would have to wait for another occasion to be discovered.

Becoming the Three-Legged Dog

I got back to my motorcycle, and got onto the highway. Riding for extended periods without a right footpeg proved to be quite uncomfortable, as the only place where I could rest my right foot was on the rear (passenger) footpeg. This meant that once I started moving on the highway, I would reach my right leg towards the back, and allow my foot to hang onto the right rear footpeg, in a position that somewhat reminded me of a dog with a nonfunctioning leg dragging behind it – thus, the term by which I referred to this riding position became “the three-legged dog”.

After travelling for a few hours, which allowed me to get out of the expensive coastal area, I stopped for the night at a hotel attached to a truck stop. Had I been in better spirits, I might have researched the area and realised that I was only a few kilometres away from Lodi, which might have been a nice place to look for dinner and think fondly of Creedence Clearwater Revival. However, given my circumstances, I was more inclined to simply return to my hotel room and to sleep, which I did quite early.

The next day, I woke up early. By 7:30 AM, I was feasting on dry cornflakes accompanied by white bread with jam, and a few minutes later, I started my long journey for the day. The sweltering heat (hitting as high as 37 degrees Celcius) was almost unbearable in the heavy protective riding gear, and I had to stop almost every hour to drink some cool liquids. Because I stopped so frequently, I did not even eat a proper meal, instead just purchasing and eating a Clif bar at each rest break. The hours slowly crawled by, with my music and podcasts serving as welcome distractions from the discomfort of riding for hours on end under the hot sun all while holding my right leg on the rear footpeg (and getting some unpleasant leg cramps) for long periods. Despite the discomfort, I was able to appreciate the landscape in western Oregon, consisting of beautiful forests that were entirely different from the eastern Oregon “badlands.” Around 8 PM, I reserved a hotel in southern Washington, and after arriving there a few hours later, I had yet another gas-station dinner, and collapsed into bed.

Waking up in Woodland, Washington, I had about a five-hour trip ahead of me before reaching Burnaby Kawasaki. After an uneventful ride and border crossing, I had picked up my new footpeg mount from the motorcycle shop by 4 PM. Installing it in the parking lot was easy.

With the installation of the new footpeg mount came the end of my time in the bizarre “Three-Legged Dog” position, as I was now able to rest my foot in the proper position and use the rear brake pedal. I was now a four-legged dog… or a two-legged, two-armed human. The name “three-legged dog” didn’t make sense in the first place, of course, as the position had looked more like a four-legged dog male dog taking care of an essential bodily function, but “the pissing dog” sounded much less charming.

The Four-Legged Dog Goes West – Vancouver Island

During my trip north from California, I’d gotten in contact with a longtime friend, Callum, who I’d known since my pre-teen years growing up in Ontario. After moving to Alberta in 2012, I had only seen Callum on one or two occasions when he had spent some time in the area, but by 2022, it had been quite a few years since we’d gotten together. Callum had been living on Vancouver Island for a few years, and had long suggested that I come to visit, so this seemed like an ideal time to do just that!

After repairing the motorcycle, I drove to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassen, and by 7 PM we had started the roughly 90-minute journey Swartz Bay, on Vancouver Island. Having fixed my motorcycle problem, and looking forward to a weekend spent with my friend, I was able to completely relax and enjoy the beautiful evening and sunset on the Pacific.

After leaving the ferry, I had to drive for about one hour to meet with Callum in Victoria. During this time, twilight turned to darkness, and by the time I reached Victoria, the sky was almost black. After arriving at the address I’d been given, I was concerned by the lack of visible activity in the house, which was all dark seemingly lifeless. I tried calling Callum repeatedly, receiving no response. After standing outside for several minutes and being unable to reach him, I realised that I might need to come up with some sort of alternate plan. Perhaps a problem had arisen, and in that case, I would need to find a place to stay.

It was already late enough that I would not be able to find campsites in the area, and hotels in Victoria were ridiculously expensive, charging over $200 for a night. I drove through the downtown aimlessly for a few minutes, trying to figure out what to do, and eventually stopped my bike close to a grassy spot that seemed to serve as a homeless encampment. I was seriously examining the possibility of pitching my tent in the encampment and staying there for the night, but before I could start unloading my bike, I received a call back from Callum, who had not answered my previous calls due to having passed out from jet-lag following a flight back to Canada from overseas. With contact re-established, I happily headed back to Callum’s place.

The next morning, Callum and I packed some camping supplies into his Subaru and headed off to spend some time outdoors. We would make our way to the Sombro Beach campsite on the west coast of Vancouver Island, do some hiking along the coast, and end the day with a pleasant campfire looking out at the ocean.

The next morning started out with some nice, spooky fog. I walked around the beach to explore what I could see at low tide, and was happy to find some tasty seaweed. There were bits of it all over the beach!

After packing up our tents and returning to the car, we headed back in the direction of Victoria, stopping for a tasty brunch in the tiny town of Shirley at their “Shirley Delicious Cafe” (where I saw a sign in the window advertising a local “Goat Yoga” weekly event – nothing should be a surprise anymore…), and exploring a complex with a bunch of abandoned buildings showing a variety of graffiti of varying levels (and often, as I’d come to expect, insulting “JUSTIN-CASTRO-TRUDEAU”, to borrow the words from one of the less creative works of art).

This was my last evening on Vancouver Island, as the next day, I’d return to the mainland and finally start heading back towards the east. I hope to return to Vancouver Island to spend more time there. The people are welcoming, and the scenery is stunning. That would have to wait for a future though, as the east was calling to me, and I was obliged to heed the call!

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