I met Doug when I started to attend College Park church in Oshawa. He ran the video webcasting department and I was joining the team to help out a bit. He showed me the ropes and seemed to welcome the relief. I really don’t remember what we talked about those first few Sabbaths, but we got along okay.
I was at College Park for a couple years before Cynthia and I started a family and we began attending a church in Brooklin. Before we left I learned that Doug was into motorcycling and hiking. I thought, “what a shame, I’m into those things too and we could have hung out. Oh well!”.
It wasn’t till some time later that I ran into Doug and we made plans to do a BMW motorcycle demo ride together. That sparked several more demo rides at various motorcycle dealerships over the years, but it’s the prospect of a bigger trip that would make Doug someone I would call a friend and someone I would miss when I left on this long journey.
One day I expressed to Doug my interest to drive to Newfoundland and cross it on ATV. That plan changed to a motorcycle as the primary vehicle after I sold the ATV.
I tried to do it on a small motorcycle that year but cancelled the trip after an uneventful crash just kilometres from my house. I then bought a proper touring bike and began planning the trip again for the following fall, only this time Doug talked about coming along.
He wanted to ride the Trans Labrador Highway as the trip of a lifetime. Doug had a habit of taking long motorcycle trip while I just rode to work occasionally.
Even though my original plan did not include taking the Trans Labrador Highway to get to Newfoundland, I thought I could go that route if it meant I had company along much of the way, which would make the wives feel better for safety reasons as well.
We began planning in the spring and by fall we were all set to go. I had not spent more than a few hours with Doug before so 2 weeks with him would truly show how good this friendship could be, or not be.
The trip had it share of stresses due to the rough road conditions and long days, but aside from annoying Doug a couple of times we did alright as friends. I grew quite fond of him and his stories. In fact, we had headsets where we would talk to each other for 8 hours or more, each day as we rode. We shared how we felt along the way and what we thought of the treacherous parts of the road as we went through them. It meant a lot that we were able to talk that much to one another and I only hoped he would not get sick of me. There was one point near the end of the 800km gravel road where it was very dusty so Doug went far ahead to give me less dust in the face. The headsets would not reach over some hills and I would feel alone for that moment when I couldn’t hear him.
Doug had to leave for home earlier than I did so I crossed much of Newfoundland by myself. His wife and daughter were visiting family in Arnold’s Cove and I was able to go meet them. They gave me much needed rest from the bike seat and held me up for a couple of days. It was a really nice part of the trip and only made me more fond of Doug.
Although I never got to go hiking with Doug we would often tell each other about hikes we did and how our old bodies don’t do so well the following day.
I know that if I suck around, Doug and I would do a few more short trips on motorcycle and certainly some hiking in the Adirondacks. We also talk about doing a mountain climb in the future on a prominent summit somewhere on the continent within our skill level. I think with Doug it can certainly happen.
It may seem like bikes or hikes are what keep us as friends, as if those interests removed would not hold us together, but I think once you spend that much time on a trip with another person, and go through those obstacles obstacles like we did, you are more tightly bound by that experience.
I will miss my friend Doug and look forward to the possibility of future adventures.