May is an interesting month. Winter has finally been shown the door although it is still possible to suffer a spring blizzard. But, let's look on the bright side instead, the flowers are coming up and I can get back on my motorcycle.
Time flies, tough to believe it is already been nine years since my two month tour of western Europe and England. Much of the trip revolved around touring the Western Front of World War One. On this date in 2011, I arrived on the old front for the first time in Ypres Belgium. This may sound odd, but I was surprised the country was in color. For years I had only seen old black and white photos. After laughing at myself, I settled down to exploring places which I had read about for decades. If you wish, the story of my trip was published in the Canadian motorcycle magazine Motorcycle Mojo. Here is the link to read the article;
On May 8, 2015, I attended remembrance ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Frezenberg honoring the originals of Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry near Ypres Belgium. My late father served with the Patricias twenty five years and he formed part of the color guard at Frezenberg for the fifty fifth anniversary. The 100th anniversary was an event which I will hold close to my heart the remainder of my days.
On May 7, 1915, a German U-boat torpedoed the British ocean liner, RMS Lusitania just off the coast of Ireland near Kinsale. Of the 1,198 deaths, 128 were Americans and the sinking would eventually lead America into the war against Germany.
May 8, 1945 was VE Day, signalling Germany's surrender and bringing to a close World War II in Europe. Japan would fight on for several more months until their surrender on September 2, 1945. It remains history's bloodiest war and a clash of ideologies would become a Cold War which would last for decades.
Returning to a personal experience, on May 18, 1980 Mt. Saint Helens blew up in Washington State. A good friend was a professional photographer and he asked me to accompany him to shoot photographs of the mountain which yet to erupt. We left Calgary with our motorcycles on the Thursday evening thinking we had time to reach the mountain and return home over the may long weekend. Despite area roads and trails being barricaded for public safety, we planned to skirt them and get within a few miles for the photo shoot.
Luckily for us, about eight the next morning, one of the motorcycles suffered a flat tire just outside of Cranbrook, BC. By the time we sourced a replacement tire, it was five p.m. Knowing we did not have time to reach the mountain, we spent the night in Couer d'Alene, Idaho. The next night we camped at Lake Roosevelt by the Hoover Dam in Washington State. On Sunday morning, we were awoken by what we originally thought were dynamite blasts. Although we were one hundred fifty miles away, the explosion at Mount St. Helens, awoke us. On returning to Calgary, I learned that the people in the campground where we had planned to stay, had been killed. It's not every day a flat tire saves your bacon from a foolish decision.
So keep well and upbeat during these days.