Wednesday, 20 May 2009

'I've Bin To Yahk 'N Back.'

I've been to Yahk and back.  
Yahk, British Columbia, Canada.
A small town located 70 kilometres (44 miles) southwest of Cranbrook, British Columbia.  
Just another sleepy little town one could easily drive right by.  Then again, the enticement to stop and purchase a world famous: 'I've Bin to Yahk 'N Back' t-shirt can prove too hard to resist.
This most certainly proved to be the case as far as we, my partner Veronica and myself were concerned.   So we purchased two t-shirts and thought, 'what the heck, let's stay the night in the local campground'.  So we set up our tent and proceeded to do some wandering around.
In the distance, we could could hear the ever increasing thunder from the oncoming freight train. Realising that there was not much happening in Yahk; we thought it would be fun to watch the train as it clattered ever closer.  Boxcar after boxcar passed by.  It seemed to take ages until finally, boxcar, boxcar, caboose.  Soon the caboose was a distant speck and tranquil silence returned.
So that was the thrill of watching a train go by.  It was now time for us to get settled in for the evening at the Yahk provincial park campground.  Ah bliss!  The evening was drawing in, it was time to relax, to absorb the wonders of the natural environment.  The gentle breeze rustling through the trees, the soothing sound of the rushing river, the occasional crackle from the campfire, the distinctive roar of  Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  The what?
A group of bikers had descended upon the peaceful and serene camping community.  Were they quiet and unassuming?  Did they discreetly set up their tents without causing attention?  Did they heck.  These dudes and chicks were ready to party man!
So did we hide in our tent?  Or did we pose proudly in front of our 1973 Dodge Polara (our very own 'Smokie and the Bandit mobile')?  Well, maybe just a tiny bit to our own surprise, we posed beside our gas-guzzlin' beast of a car.  Hey, check us out bikers.   Suddenly the song 'Born to be wild', by Steppenwolf, started blasting in my head.
We were well and truly observed by them and they invited us over.  We thought it best that we take something to drink over to their campsite.  Anyway, being of generous nature, they proceeded to offer us beer after beer after...Then they noticed the bottle we had brought over.  "Hey man, how about sharing some of that vodka with us?" said one of the guys.  'Whoops', I thought, 'now we may just have a slight problem'.  The vodka bottle was actually full of water. We had used the empty vodka bottle to use for extra water supplies.  I explained this to them and suddenly a new song came into my head, 'Born to be mild'.  Stay calm and hope they will see the funny side of this.
They all laughed and some guy handed me yet another beer.  We had a great time that night, a memorable night that taught me some valuable lessons.  We cannot judge others by perceptions or misconceptions that have been ingrained into us by ignorance and assumption.  Yes they were loud, but I know they meant no harm to anyone.  They were just a bunch of folks having a good time.  Indeed, they were a group of friends who shared the freedom of the open road.  That, to me, is a great ideal.
Somewhat groggy, we woke up the next morning in our tent.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing, all was at peace with the world.  The bikers had gone but the memory of that brilliant night still resonates to this very day.  If you ever manage to visit Yahk, purchasing an 'Ive Bin to Yahk 'N Back' t-shirt is a must.   


  1. thanks ,gary ,asyou know ,i very much relate to this post,both as a biker ,and as aperson used to discrimination, and prejudicehaving been turned away from many places ,just for riding a bike,there are parallels to be drawn as to peoples reactions to those of us who are open about our mental health problems,the perceptions, are raaely the reality people actually experience,given the chance,i remember one huge guy in denims ,very loud ,and intimidating,initially,turned out to be one of the sweetest,most,real people i have known.stereotypes .huh,who needs them!

  2. Loved your post as always, and wondered what would happen next! Glad it went well.....
    Reminded me of an incident when travelling through the bush - I was in 'first' class and the native Africans were in something that was referred to euphamistically as 'third'. Single track and we had to pull into a siding about midnight, the sound of the animals hunting, all the usual and mysterious night sounds, hot and simmering. Then the men in the 'third' began to sing, deep and resonant in the thick hot dark, rising and rising in power,in unison, then line after line answering one another, an amazing sound of such emotion and depth, the words stirring the soul.
    Don't know why your story made me remember this, but it did..Carole.

  3. Hello my friend,
    Stereotypes, who needs them? Quite right. To judge people based on appearance and misconceptions does little to further the pursuit of an open mind.
    I must say that those bikers were a good laugh. Sure they were loud but they did calm down when they realised that other folks were trying to sleep in their tents.
    Inconsiderate they were not, friendly and in awe of nature, they most certainly were.
    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Kind wishes, Gary.

  4. Greetings Carole,
    I think that is the beauty of our blogging interaction. It can bring back memories. I am so pleased my blog made you relive what sounds like a remarkable experience.
    Thank you for sharing that story, Carole.
    Kind wishes your way, Gary.

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  6. Dear Gary,
    Great to hear about your travels in Yahk. At first I thought it was just your accent and you meant "New Yahk", as in "New Yahk, New Yahk, what a wondeful town...", etc.
    But anyway, another entertaining blog but with a serious point. As sufferers of mental ill health, we both know alot about misconceptions and misperceptions and unwanted prejudice, so this blog was a timely reminder for me that perhaps we all sometimes need to check ourselves when first evaluating others and to try our best not to be judgemental.
    Yours with Warmest Wishes,

  7. Dear David,
    Oh my. Do I sound like a New Yahker? Hmmm. That reminds of a place I once visited named 'Biggar'. Biggar, Saskatchewan, a small prairie town. The town's motto? Thought you'd never ask: "New York is big, but this is Biggar."
    Misconceptions, perceptions, assumptions are something that many of us with mental health issues have had to contend with. David, as we both are trying to eliminate the unfair stigma that still surrounds mental health issues; I hope that my blog draws attention to the fact that stereotypes are unfair.
    Thanks for commenting David. Hope to see you next week.
    Kind wishes, Gary.

  8. I am also trying to do away with my judgmental attitude. Thanks Gary for reminding me of one of my vows.

  9. [“We cannot judge others by perceptions or misconceptions that have been ingrained into us by ignorance and assumption.”]

    Gary, I am inclined to agree with your assesment. However in my own situation, community, and socio-religio groups, I find that awareness is the key. It is missing from the daily life, and thus the same atrocities that were committed fifty years back, might continue today. How often I watch as a person experiences what the “judged” person has experienced before they are able to come to an understanding of what ‘judgment feels like..
    You’ve placed a very important lesson within a wonderful, lighthearted blog. It is sheer delight that your Yahk can bring us back to respect for each other. Should I ever make the trip, I’ll buy the shirt! :-] Dixie

    Excuse my earlier deletion; did not mean to 'Yahk your train.' :P

  10. Hi Jun,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. It is very much appreciated.
    Passing judgement without knowing the facts, can be all too easy. We can just assume that the 'hype' we hear about individuals and their chosen lifestyles, must be true.
    I prefer to talk to people and see the person, not the misleading, unfair stigma.
    Thank you my friend. Kind wishes, Gary.

  11. Dear Dixie,
    How good are you? What an excellent comment. "Awareness is the key." How very true Dixie.
    You would think that humanity would have learnt lessons from the atrocities of history. Ignorance, bigotry, go hand in hand. It is time we took time out of our busy lives and saw the person, not the stereotype.
    Thanks for mentioning the t-shirt. Would be interesting to find out if someone visits Yahk and mentions they read my blog. How neat that would be if they said my blog was the reason they wanted to purchase one of those 'world famous' t-shirts. Hmmm..klahanie might get commission for each t-shirt sold? lol
    Thanks Dixie, your kind interaction means a great deal.
    Respectful thoughts your way, Gary.
    Must go now. Otherwise I might just yahk, yahk, yahk for ages....

  12. I'm hoping you'll write your memoirs one day. I'll stand in line to buy a copy.

  13. Hi Joylene,
    Wow. Thanks for commenting on this now archived posting.
    That's very kind of you to want to buy a copy of my memoirs. I've been blessed with some wonderful experiences.
    Kind wishes and a, 'I've Bin To Yahk 'N Back', t-shirt, your way, Gary :-)


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.