Friday, September 26, 2008

The Leaf Run

I got an Email from Terry, Freedom Riders President, late last night. He wondered if anybody wanted to go for a ride to Sturgeon Falls for lunch today. It was cool and overcast, but any ride is a good ride.

Sandy and I put on warm gear and headed over to Petrocan at LaSalle and Barrydowne for fuel. Topped up, we were heading for the Tim Horton's at Levesque, the meeting place, when we pulled right out in front of Terry, who was on his way to the rendezvous point.

At Tim's we waited a bit, but it became obvious that we were all that were coming. This would allow for a more spirited ride than we could have with a larger group. I enjoy riding second to Terry because he moves right along and, after nearly thirty years, I am always sure of what he is going to do in any given situation.

We motored 55 miles east on Highway 17 to Sturgeon Falls. We were the first people at the Chinese Buffet, which had just opened for the day. They don't have a really large selection, but what they have is hot and good. I know I ate more than I should have.

After eating, and not willing to call it a day despite the cool and overcast, we decided to ride north on Hwy 64. The photo shows us riding alongside the Sturgeon River coming into the little town of Field. You can see the patch of blue that kept taunting us. We never were able to catch it.

I first rode this north section of Highway 64 back in 1971 on my 350cc Yamaha R5. It wasn't paved back then and, since I earned the first part of my nickname crashing on gravel, I wasn't a big fan. Now it is a very nice piece of road with nice sweeping curves and very little traffic. What traffic there was didn't stay ahead of us very long, since Terry's motto is "Pass first, ask questions later".

You can note in the above photo that: a) the leaves are changing colour, and b) Terry's '99 Valkyrie is one sharp looking bike.

We reached Marten River, where Highway 64 ends when it encounters Highway 11. This used to be a major location in the fur trade, even boasting a trapper's museum, but now it is just an excellent place for outdoors enthusiasts to get away from it all.

From Marten River, we turned south on Highway 11 heading for North Bay. You can see that they've been resurfacing the road and haven't gotten around to painting in the centre line yet. The rock cut, a small one, is typical of Northern Ontario and the leaves continue to change.

I had one pass along here that could have resulted in seizure of the bike if the appropriate authorities had been around. They only allow 50 KPH over the limit before you forfeit your vehicle and licence for a week. Fifty over comes very easily, especially if you are following a fast moving Valk. Working traffic as a pair was enjoyable, though. I think we have more skill at this than most.

You can see that, coming back to Sudbury on Highway 17, the blue sky was nowhere to be seen. It started getting ominous there for a while, but we got home dry.

I don't know how much more of the season we will be able to get out for day rides, but this was an enjoyable jaunt and we'll take as many more as we can get.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trip Summary - September 11 to 23, 2008

We were only on the road thirteen days, but it seemed longer as we covered a lot of ground. Now we'll dial down to local riding for the rest of the season, however long that might be.

It was interesting posting the credit card charges. The trip started with $1.00 Canadian being worth $.905 US. As we got near the end and the US markets fell apart, we got up to $.94 for a Loonie.

So, dollar up, gas prices down and they just raised the limit on my main Visa card one more time. Strange markers as the economic world goes to Hell in a handbasket.

Trip Statistics

Direct route miles - 3,671
Total miles including side trips - 4,249
Total fuel - 119.42 US Gallons
Overall average MPG(US) - 37.67
Total kilometers on bike at end of trip - 170,943 (106,224 miles)

Trip Map

Grayling Michigan to Sudbury Ontario

We got up a little later this morning. Just over 300 miles to get home and the last day of the season. We had the continental breakfast in the large breakfast area and then packed up in a leisurely fashion.

The Weather Channel said it was near freezing in parts of New England, but we had a balmy 8C as we started north about 8:20. I was glad the beaded seat cover was in the saddlebag, avoiding the chilly breeze under my private parts. My microphone stopped working soon after we started out, so I didn't have much to say as we rolled along at five over the 70 MPH limit.

We made a gas stop at the BP in Indian River and I put Deoxit in all my headset connections. And I was back. Unfortunately, the lower plug that connects to the bike harness has been falling out lately and seemed to be even slicker after the treatment. We fixed this by wrapping a Band-Aid around the connection and I used the middle connection to unhook from the bike. I'll need to find a proper fix before next season.

As we approached the Mackinac Bridge, I didn't feel any of the twinges or trepidation like I usually do. Instead, I was actually looking forward to the crossing. I'm not sure why it was different this time but I sure did enjoy the sensation. When we got there, the wind was behind us, leading to a peaceful transit but I was ready for the wind. The right lane was being worked on and they moved us to the centre grated lane. No problem. I got playing on the grate using the patented Craig Scott weave and, when the paved lane opened up, I stayed on the grating. No tension, no worry about the height. I wonder if this was an anomaly or if I've turned a corner?

The right lane is blocked as we start to climb the Big Mac

Looking down through the grating

One of the awesome bridge towers

In the Upper Peninsula, the road is very straight. Almost like Nebraska. About the only interest we had was looking at the foliage starting to change. In a couple of weeks, this will be awesome.

Some fall colours starting along I-75

We took on fuel in the Soo at $4.09 per gallon. Pricey, but after hearing on the radio that they were encountering gas shortages in the southeast, we're happy to have it. The Canadian Customs booths were backed up as they seemed to be spending extra time questioning people and a high number of vehicles were being pulled into inspection. There was a Natural Resources Conservation Officer checking US bound cars and a large number of Border Officers inspecting cars and trucks. Something was afoot.

Of course, being on the US Watch List causes me no problem on the Canuck side. Sandy gave the officer our Nexus cards, he asked about things we had acquired (about $150 worth, all from the raffle) and then he welcomed us home.

We stopped to see Mom and she made grilled cheese sandwiches and vegetable soup. We had a nice visit and an excellent lunch. Then we headed on east.

When we started this morning, we had a temporary tailwind, but that changed and we again were, as Seger says, against the wind. This beats all statistical probability but we're used to it. The poor fuel mileage on this run might be attributed to wind, temperature and speed but I'm starting to wonder if there might not be a problem with one of the FI sensors, possibly the O2 sensors in the exhaust. At over $150 each, I'll want to check them out carefully before doing anything drastic.

The last three hours home was pretty typical. We passed slower traffic and not much passed us.

Hauling Howitzers near Espanola, Ontario

Trees changing on the Pre-Cambrian Shield

Sudbury looked the same. Despite increased fuel prices and shortages in the US, I paid $1.259 per liter in town, down from when we left. For those who were concerned, the grass had been mowed recently so I guess Rory was here.

Thus endeth the last motorcycle trip of 2008.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Terre Haute Indiana to Grayling Michigan

We got up at 5:30 and had an early continental breakfast. TWC called for early fog but forecast highs in the unseasonable 80's for later in the day. We were on the road by 7:00 AM, still in the dark because it was only 6:00 AM ten miles west of us.

Daybreak over the fog on I-70

As the sun rose, I reached into my jacket for my clip-on sunglasses. These are now somewhere along the side of I-70 because I didn't get them clipped solidly the first time. I am wearing a clip from my old glasses, which are way too big but I bent to fit.

Travel around Indianapolis was uneventful and we found ourselves stopping at a familiar exit up in Warren, Indiana. I was happy yesterday to spend $3.39/gallon on gas in Missouri. Today, Terre Haute was $3.89 and Warren was $3.99. So much for my optimism about prices. Moving from the Mickey D's to the Marathon station, Sandy walked and I dropped her sheepskin seat cover out on the road. She retrieved it before a semi could run over it.

We continued on up to Lansing, Michigan and north on US 127. I scanned ahead with the GPS for a WalMart to get new sunglasses and maybe a seat cushion. It came up blank. No WalMart. Unheard of in civilized America.

This will be the last trip of the season. Although we are ready to go home, I know that a month or two from now the urge to head out on the road on two wheels will take hold and we won't be able to do anything about it until spring. The season was underscored by the maple trees, which have broken out in bright red hues.

Trees near Grayling, Michigan

We stopped in Grayling at our favourite Days Inn. Nice rooms, great WiFi and friendly service for just over $50.00. The moose restaurant next door has new management, is now called the Canadian Steak & Fish Company and is open Mondays. Sandy had lemon garlic chicken with fruit and vegetables from the healthy menu while I had a steak sandwich with 3/4 pound of Angus beef. Very good.

The rear tire is down to 5/32nds after only 7,000 miles, reaffirming my belief that it will not be a high mileage tire. Unless, that is, it wears like an Elite 3 and gets tough down near the end. I won't bet on it, given the way other Avon's wear. The front is doing fine, though, and I can see a Bridgestone rear/Cobra front combination as a distinct possibility.

Sherm posted that he had a flat tire in New Mexico. He got the bike to Albuquerque to a dealership where they refused to sell him a 70 Series tire even though they had one in stock. They did mount an OEM sized 60 Series. Fear of litigation sometimes means the customer isn't always right.

I need to try to be more like Sherm with the camera. He looks at everything in terms of what he can put in his blog, so his photos document where he has been and what he has done. I often forget the camera and miss many opportunities, leaving our blog lacking. Next year. I will try to do better.

Norm posted that Barry Lacarte of Tri-town, STOP Officer of the Year, collapsed at the OFSC convention with a cardiac arrest and, revived by EMT's in the audience, is in serious condition in hospital in Toronto. If you can spare a thought or a prayer, it wouldn't hurt.

Jarvis pointed out it is the Autumnal Equinox. Tomorrow will be shorter than today and so it will go until almost Christmas. We settled in and watched the opening show of Dancing With The Stars. Still sorting out the contestants, but I have to give Cloris Leachman credit for trying out at 82 years old.

I've noticed that my right foot and toe have started to hurt again, just like they did at this time last year. It improved over the winter last time, so I'm not alarmed. Just curious as to whether this is a riding thing or a seasonal thing. I'm not a big fan of getting older and need to get back in the gym as soon as I get home. I told Rainman that I could drop 20 pounds by New Years.

Last day tomorrow. An easy one, so we won't get on the road to early. I wonder if Rory mowed the lawn?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eureka Springs Arkansas to Terre Haute Indiana

We were up fairly early and packed while it was still dark. There was a heavy fog hanging in the air so we went slowly when we pulled out about 6:50 AM, after bidding Sherm and a few other early risers goodbye.

The fog started to break near Branson and things went uneventfully until we stopped on I-44 at the Fort Leonard Wood exit. First, the good thing. The Colt's gas station pumps said they asked for Zip codes for pay-at-the pump. It didn't, so maybe they have a system that recognizes Canadian cards.

Now the bad. When I hit the starter button, all I got was the solenoid click as all the electronics reset themselves due to a break in the electrical supply. Ouch. This happened at Sherm's back in June and we jump started it. No cables here, so I gave it some time and tried it again. Several times. Luckily, it restarted. We moved over to McDonalds for breakfast and my Butler mug, the one that hangs from my handlebars, spewed a coffee geyser all over the table when I snapped the lid down. Spurts are common, but this went on for much longer than usual.

After breakfast, the bike refused to start again. I loosened and re-tightened the battery connections without success and then, suddenly, it fired right up. It occurs to me that both times this happened, Sandy was on the bike and her electric jacket was plugged in. Regardless, when we get home the battery will get load tested and all the connections will get cleaned.

As usual, while we were heading east on I-44 the wind was out of the east, despite the fact that there are usually west winds in this part of the country. Head winds. Always. I started to get really fatigued (probably the two late nights catching up with me) and stopped at a big Shell station for some energy boosters. It took some time because someone who had fueled a fleet of trucks at various pumps was arguing about how much he owed.

We had an idea that we might push through to Auburn Indiana, which would get us home tomorrow. As we rode, and as they forecast storm fronts east of Indianapolis, we decided not to rush it. We stopped at a Super 8 in Terre Haute, just over both the Indiana and Eastern Time Zone borders. We had our hour back even though we had covered just 497 miles.

We walked over to Bob Evans for supper and then came back to the room, relaxed and watched TV. I spent a little time on the newsgroup in a discussion about what a VROC World Reunion looks like and reviewing the details of the new Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager 1700 touring bike announced yesterday. Then we turned in fairly early.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More Eureka Springs Reunion

The day dawned overcast and foggy with a somber grey drizzle setting the tone for the memorial service. It was delayed due to concerns about the fog affecting the memorial ride afterwards, but got underway about 9:00 AM. Moon kept it light on the religious side as we took a moment to remember all the members who have passed on. The addition of X, CYborg, Chuck Burt and Kilo this year made it particularly sad.

To finish the memorial, we climbed on our bikes and, led by a Sheriff's car, rode to Berryville and up a hill overlooking the countryside. In this special setting, Moon said a few words and they cast some of Kilo's ashes to the wind as Southern Draw sang a haunting song. It was extremely moving.

Coming back down, a few of us bypassed the IHS and headed on through Eureka Springs to the Smokehouse Restaurant. Teri Conrad (of Kawasaki) rode with Sherm and we were joined by Stewey, Cheap B and CC Rider. The Smokehouse has huge biscuits, one per diner, and gravy. Many of us opted for country ham, and the lady serving us, 71 years old, is the same one who has family in Chatham, Ontario and who washed my glasses last time I was here. Note to self: bring and old Ontario licence plate next time to hang on the wall.

After breakfast, the others headed back to town while Sherm, Teri, Sandy and I made another loop out by Beaver Dam. We stopped at the dam site overlook and also at the beautiful Thorncrown Glass Chapel. Then we returned to the Stables, having maintained a stately pace the whole time.

Teri Conrad has Lucky Al's attention while Sherm borrows WiFi and Sandy looks on

One of the strangest machines I have ever seen wandered through the IHS parking lot this afternoon.

The original bike was a 1976 Honda GL1000 GoldWing (it was one of the LTD models) with a GL1100 motor put in. The outriggers use two separate motorcycle swingarms and the wheels are newer (1981 vintage) Comstars. The pipes are from a Harley with glass packs and have a unique rumble. Driven from the left, the throttle and brakes are floor pedals while the shifter is a lever with the clutch lever attached to it. There is a tiller for steering. All in all, this is quite the conversation piece.

Ron and Wild Rose arrived from Georgia in their truck to pick up the Lees-ure Lite trailer they had bought from a man in Oregon. Sherm and Chunk both had parts in delivering it to Arkansas. While Sherm worked on wiring the electrical plug, I gave Cheryl a quick demo on setup and teardown. Then they hooked it to the truck and we all adjourned to the Sheridan Ozark Buffet for supper.

After supper, we said goodbye to Slammer and Stewey, who were heading back to their respective hotels and would be departing in the morning. At the IHS, we spent the rest of the evening chatting, subdued because this is the last gathering of the year for many of us. I visited with Kiwi Don for a while. He's a neighbor of Jazzman back in New Zealand and is on a several month long trek across North America. On a previous trip, he rode north all the way to Deadhorse and Inuvik all by himself. Although he appears unassuming, there is a lot more to Don than meets the eye.

We also spent some time admiring the huge Arkansas spiders building webs around various parts of the buildings. Scary looking, these are harmless while the deadly brown recluse doesn't look threatening at all.

I turned in relatively early, hitting the sack about 10:30 in anticipation of an early departure tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Eureka Springs Reunion

The WiFi at the Iron Horse reported by Lucky Al was, like Mark Twain's demise, greatly exaggerated. It turns out that he was connecting to an access point in a building across the street. If we sat out at the end of the motel, we could connect sporadically but this wasn't very blog friendly.

First thing this morning, Sherm headed out to Springdale to see if the Honda dealer there could do anything with his FI (fuel injection) warning light. Sandy and I had breakfast at the Silver Spoke Grill on site and then did a turn from 9:00 until 11:00 AM at the registration table.

About the time we were finishing up our registration shift, Sherm got back from Springdale with the word that it would take hours to diagnose the problem, which would have been cost prohibitive even if the shop had time to address it. They did state that, if the bike was running OK, the problem was likely in the heater and not the sensor and would not pose a problem.

Taking advantage of a window with nothing scheduled, Sherm and I headed into Berryville in search of the public library and a WiFi access point. We found it and the librarian, who was having a birthday, welcomed us. These are usually good places to get on line if you're on the road. I did get some bad news. Biker sent an Email telling me the Steelworkers Hall in Sudbury was on fire. This is (or was) a major local landmark.

Sherm blogs in the Berryville Library

Completing our business, we headed on back to the IHS where Sandy joined us for lunch at the Silver Spoke. We were under orders not to eat anything until we collected her. My bacon cheeseburger had a real beef patty and was excellent. Sandy and Sherm had toasted BLT's.

After lunch, we relaxed in the room for a while. Flamekiller, Rem and Lucky Al were working on a token of appreciation for Moon, who was winding up three years of organizing the ES Reunion. One feature was getting the attendees to sign the VROC banner.

Sherm gets rousted out of the shower to sign the banner as Rem looks on

The banquet at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks began at 6:00, but the group photo was scheduled for 5:30. We arrived about 5:00 just to be safe and found many there already. Because the photo was going to be used by Kawasaki PR, we moved the Tupperware off to a separate location.

GoldWings and a Weedeater sit off by themselves during the group photo

Before the meal began, Lucky Al and I commandeered the podium to pay tribute to Moon. After briefly (remember, supper was waiting) recounting ES history and Moon's contribution, Al asked people to sign the banner and Flamekiller presented her with a plaque. In her words afterwards, Moon acknowledged that she might only be 'mostly' retired.

Supper was great. There were many salads and veggies, southern fried chicken, pork and roast beef followed by a variety of desserts. The staff at the Best Western are very competent and cheerful, which added to the experience. Teri Conrad of Riders of Kawasaki, sponsoring the banquet, sat at our table.

The travelers' table

Our table was interesting. We were a crew of close friends and, other than Sandy and I, nobody was from the same jurisdiction. In the photo, we have Slammer (North Carolina), Coyote (Texas), Wrong Turn (West (By God) Virginia), Cheap Bastard (Alabama), CC Rider (Mississippi), Sherm (Oregon) and Sandy (Ontario). Missing is Teri (California).

After dinner, we started into the draws. We do need a way to streamline this because it cut into our party time. On the other hand, one of the reasons it went on was because there were so many things to give away.

Sherm keeps an eye on his tickets of many colours

My winnings

Sherm, for all the tickets he had laid out there, only won one can of Kawasaki Wipe Down Cleaner. My haul looks good and I did win the Kuryakyn ISO grips, a very nice prize, but I was given the Wipe Down and the Cherry Power washing soap by the raffle officials. I think they are trying to tell me something. Sandy won a Kawasaki Buff, similar to what they wear on the TV show Survivor.

After the drawing was over, we headed back to IHS in the dark. There, people mingled and talked while Karaoke was committed up on the deck. Eventually, people wandered off with CC Rider, Shelby and I hanging on until the bitter end, just before 3:00 AM. Still, this was awfully early compared to the good old days.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Branson Missouri to Eureka Springs Arkansas

We had a fine full breakfast buffet at the Ramada this morning. We'll recommend this as a place to stay when we're in town, a bit more expensive than some but the service and food were also above average. We upgraded the Zumo software on both units last night to the latest operating systems and are good to go for awhile.

Sherm in front of the Ramada in Branson

The long 54 mile ride down through Blue Eye to the Iron Horse Stables between Berryville and Eureka Springs was quite pleasant. There were many familiar faces when we pulled in, which is a good part of the fun associated with our gatherings. On the way down, Sherm's FI light came on again but the bike continues to run just fine.

Stewey shows Sherm a picture on his fancy camera

After getting our gear into Room 2 and waving goodbye to the 'official' ride of the day led by Lucky Al, we headed out accompanied by Coyote (from Texas) on his new Kawasaki Concourse 14, a real serious sport touring bike, in search of Cycle Gadgets. They are a mail order house up on SR 187. The roads were a lot of fun getting there, sweeping corners punctuated by tighter turns. We found the place right next to a KOA campground.

Cycle Gadgets have a small showroom but we were invited to wander their warehouse. I found an upper J&M cord to replace the one I have with a broken right speaker wire. Coyote found a pair of rain gloves. Sherm bought some Plexus plastic cleaner for Shelby,and then he talked communications gear with some scooter riders who pulled in. This year, instead of Corvettes, ES is infested with Burgman and Silverwing riders here for their Scooters in the Ozarks rally. Then another VROCer, Duck from Illinois, pulled in on his GoldWing.

Sherm discusses scooters at Cycle Gadgets

On the ride back, we stopped at the Beaver Dam overlook. They have some serious beavers here. Then we hauled along more of the same kind of roads back to town, grinning all the way.

Skid at the 'Beaver Dam' overlook

Back at the IHS, we realized that we had missed our ice cream stop, so a few of us rode back into town and had ice cream. Then we went back to The Stables, via Walmart, and visited until it was time for the supper BBQ. Things weren't quite perfect because the cook quit during the BBQ phase and a large quantity of the pulled pork and beef were lost.

More visiting and then Rainman and Six Pack convinced Sandy we needed another ice cream run in the dark and shamed me into leading the way. Sherm and Chaz joined us, with Chaz continuing on home for the night.

Six Pack Jack and Sandy at the ice cream shop

After we had ice cream and/or cobbler, Sherm led us back to the Iron Horse where we visited some more with old friends and new, with people eventually wandering off to bed. Flip and I were the last to to turn in about 1:00 AM.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Paducah Kentucky to Branson Missouri

We woke about 6:00 AM this morning to a forecast of clear skies and temperatures in the high 70's. It was still cool, but the prediction put us in a good mood. I took a bucket of warm water downstairs and wiped down New England dirt (rain) and Kentucky bugs. Loaded, we headed west on US 60 in the chill morning air.

We soon had the pleasure of being in three states in a period of three minutes. US 60 crosses Ol' Miss into Illinois and we immediately turned left, crossed another bridge and found ourselves in Missouri.

US 60 was a nice four lane divided road for a long way. First, it was across Mississippi Valley flatlands with cotton plants, then into Missouri style rolling hills and pine forests. Near Winona, it went to winding two-lane road with passing lanes. Additional lanes were being constructed, so this good riding would soon be done away with in the name of progress. There was red dirt everywhere. I have to say I am impressed with the amount and quality of road improvements right across the USA this season.

I had given some consideration to taking the southern route, US 160, which winds its way along the south Missouri border. It is a fun ride. But a VROCer mentioned yesterday on line that it had been freshly chip sealed and so we opted to stick to the main route.

For part of the ride, we listened to Brother Larry on the radio. He was on a Gospel station but wasn't over the top about it. It sounded like he was older than dirt and the music he played, some modern, some Flatt & Scruggs bluegrass, was pretty catchy.

We took US 65 south from Springfield and arrived at the nice Ramada in Branson about eight minutes ahead of my stated 1:30 arrival time. Sherm was already in residence. He just started having a problem with his bike. The FI light was staying on, indicating a problem. We found out how to get the error code, which pointed to a problem with an O2 Sensor heater wire or a sensor failure. We also found that the bike could run safely in this condition.

Unsure of exactly what to do about the sensor, we did what any good VROCer would do. We went out to eat. Here we are at the Golden Corral, where we enjoyed our Seniors Early Bird Special. Wow. Seniors. This being Branson, we also noted that even the Golden Corral has a dining showroom.

After eating, we rode south around SR 165 across Table Rock Dam and then stopped at WalMart on the way back to the hotel. At Wally World, Sherm got a seat pad like Ol' Phart and Tom Miller use and I got a can of Sea Foam gas additive.

At the hotel, we studied some sites and found the location of the O2 Sensors. Sherm found the offending one on the bike, wiggled the wires and wiped off the connector. Bingo, no more FI light. Damn, we're good.

I phoned Mom and we talked about the stock markets. Then we watched news, did blogs and Sandy showed Sherm how to get on Facebook. I still have to update the firmware in my GPS and do some other chores. Tomorrow, we go to ES.

N.B. - I'd like to thank Steve Cifra for the bottle of Deoxit for cleaning electrical contacts that he brought to Bethel. I put some on the pins in Sandy's headset cord and it seems to work well.

And, under the heading of wise ideas, I was in a BP station washroom in Elizabethtown yesterday. On the wall there was a light switch with a big red backing plate. It said that, if the washroom (rest room to you non-Canucks) needed service, throw the switch and it would turn on a light somewhere that would get someone to come and fix it. Excellent.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Charleston West Virginia to Paducah Kentucky

The wisdom of getting across Charleston became apparent as we headed west on I-64. Traffic headed the other way was jammed solid while we highballed it out of there at 75 MPH. Today, Tom was in the lead.

We passed a Rest Area I remembered from our last trip through here. It seems like it was just yesterday, but it was two years ago. How time flies. We made it to Kentucky before stopping for fuel, hoping the prices would be more reasonable here. No such luck.

Fog bank or low lying cloud on I-64

We continued on I-64. With the exception of one localized fog bank, everything was clear. In Lexington, we took the New Circle Road by-pass around the north side of the city. The GPS makes this easy, unlike the time two years ago I had to navigate by map. It's funny that the Interstate doesn't have a direct connection to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

On the west side of Lexington, we passed Martin Castle. Quite an interesting place. Then we headed west on the Blue Grass Parkway to Elizabethtown, Tom's home. After fueling, he took us to the house he built with his own hands. It's a very nice place at the end of a road, very private and replete with three grey tabby cats like the one Sandy used to have. His lovely wife, Denise, came home for lunch and they took us out to Tumbleweeds where Ms. Ruby served us. They introduced her as the best server in the world and I have no reason to doubt them. Denise had to rush back to work but we lingered a bit with Tom. Thanks to both of you for the food.

Sandy, Denise and Tom at Tumbleweeds

Tom escorted us back to the Blue Grass Parkway west and said goodbye. We'll be back down here for the Wolfman's Wandering Rally next year. Interestingly, the BGP is marked in this stretch with "Future I-69 Corridor" signs. I guess eventually I-69, a road we often take in Indiana and Michigan, will be continuing south.

In Paducah, I looked for the Pear Tree Inn (owned by Drury) that we stayed at two years ago. That building was something else now and the Pear Tree was next door. It was a change for the better. There is a also a real Drury and a Drury Suites all at the same exit, so they have this place pretty well sewn up. We went across the street to Arby's for sandwiches and then I devoted my evening to catching up the blogs. I had an extra hour since we are now in the Central Time Zone.

It looks like we are on track to meet Sherm in Branson tomorrow. he has a room for us to share at the Ramada. Then we will head down to Eureka Springs Thursday morning.

One bad note. Last night, we heard that Chunk Keisling from Wisconsin, a great guy, had his car stolen in St. Louis. The car was recovered (with some damage) but his expensive camera and laptop computer were gone. I hate it when bad things happen to good people.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Binghamton New York to Charleston West (By God) Virginia

Ike moved past us to the west while we slept and was now gracing Ontario and Quebec with rainfall. Reports were coming in of wind damage and power outages along his path through the US.

I made my daily GPS error early. Leaving the hotel, I didn't realize that the route carried over from yesterday had a via point back along I-88, and the unit tried to send us back east. I caught that but, before I could get it straightened out, we ended up on a stretch of I-81 northbound with no exit for five miles. And a rain shower moved in on this stretch of road before we could get back. Not a good way to start.

Finally, I got us on SR 17 West, a good four lane road. Then we took US 220 south and US 6 west, very nice roads where we dodged among raindrops, never quite knowing where the road would take us as we watched the showers over the hills. South of Troy, Pennsylvania on SR 14, we got the worst shower while following a dually pickup truck with Alberta plates doing 20 MPH under the limit. A Wing's ability to keep the rider dry depends on speed, so we weren't very happy with this guy. In fact, I though "Damned Canuck, clogging up our highway". Maybe I'm spending too much time down here.

SR 14 merged with US 15 south to Williamsport, where severe rain had just passed through. Turning west on US 220, we put the bad weather behind us and continued under partly cloudy skies. In Altoona, we stopped for lunch and gas. The roads were arcane, the McDonald's was closed for renovations and the gas station was almost impossible to get to. I really dislike Altoona.

Two Tupperware Brigade Wings during a quick stop

Tom in our mirror

US 220 took us on south to I-68 in Maryland, where we went west again to Morgantown, West Virginia. There we caught I-79 to Charleston, stopping in Jane Lew for $4.05 gas. Despite falling oil prices, Ike has given them a reason to crank the gas prices up again. Motoring across Charleston, we got a Super 8 room in Dunbar to avoid the morning rush. Our window here had a screen, so we had to carry our gear around the long way. Going back to the desk for more coffee supplies, I met two CMA riders from Erie who were heading for Nashville. One was on a Nomad and said he was the Pennsylvania head of Riders of Kawasaki (ROK). I explained that we were undercover Vulcan Riders and Owners.

After some discussion and a foot patrol of Dunbar, wed decided to ride back to TGI Fridays in Charleston. Tom led and made a GPS error, resulting in a tour of the WV State Police Headquarters parking lot. Sad to say, I felt better now that I wasn't the only one to make a GPS mistake.

I led the way back in the dark and Sandy and Tom went to sleep early while I posted bills and sorted photos.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bethel Maine to Binghamton New York

The morning weather showed that Ike had moved up to Arkansas but there was a tail of rain that circled up through the mid-west and hooked over to New England. There was no way we were getting out dry today. Although the radar showed nothing, there was a light, steady rain falling outside.

Since Tom Miller was heading home to Kentucky, we decided we would ride together. Despite all the places we have been together over the years, and the people we have both ridden with at different times, we had never actually put on any miles together.

Over breakfast, we planned a route. Tom needed to ride through Vermont since it was one of the very few states he hadn't ridden in. I suggested we head west on US 2 through New Hampshire into Vermont and then head south on Vermont 101, a very scenic route. Ol' Phart showed me a road out of Bethel, North Road, that would by-pass the construction zone between there and the state line.

After breakfast, we loaded up and suited up. The rain got heavier as we said our goodbyes and headed out. North Road was a nice ride despite the wet pavement. It brought us back to US 2 near New Hampshire. U-Turn rode with us as far as Gorham, where he headed south on 16 while we continued west.

Crossing into Vermont, it became obvious that the ride down 100 would be neither scenic nor enjoyable. Instead, we turned south on I-91 at St. Johnsbury. We followed the big road down to White River Junction, where the rain let up and we swung onto US 4 west. We made a quick stop at the Visitor Center at Quechee Gorge and then continued the fun ride along 4 to Rutland.

Lunch in Rutland was Mickey D's. We fueled and continued on to Lake George, where I took Tom for a cruise up through town so he could see where Americade took place. Then we got on I-87 and headed south towards Albany.

I hadn't realized that we needed to get on the New York Thruway, a toll road, to get over to I-88. This did, however, give us a chance to use our new EZ Pass transponder. It worked like a charm. Then I screwed up, taking the incorrect road as soon as we got through the toll booth. This resulted in a ten mile trip to Albany and back, along with a second toll, before we finally got ourselves headed west on I-88.

We made a gas stop in Oneonta where I found out that Hess is another one of those gas companies who require a Zip Code to be entered when paying at the pump. That takes them off my preferred list. Then we went on to Binghamton, where the GPS led us to a non-existent Super 8. Then it led us to another that was actually there. The pretty blond teenager working the desk said the Lamborghini and Porsche parked outside belonged to her boss.

We parked outside our room and passed the gear in through the window. Then we rode over to Cracker Barrel for supper. Returning to the room, we checked the weather. Ike was moving swiftly and was expected to pass west of us, heading north, overnight. It's amazing how fast it has traveled today after how slowly it came ashore. Before long, we all turned in early.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Maine Ride

Room 21 at the Sudbury Inn in Bethel, Maine

We were up at 5:30 AM studying The Weather Channel for any information on Hurricane Ike. It was moving ashore very slowly in the Galveston/Houston area and our concern was that we might encounter it early in the week as we move across the country to Arkansas.

I spent the early part of the morning working on an analysis of the Freedom Rally financial results to send to Terry so he would have it for tomorrow's meeting. I took the computer down to breakfast where the early crowd commandeered the big round table in the middle. I had a carnivore omelet (lots of meats) and Sandy had blueberry pancakes. Both were good but she wasn't able to finish hers because of the size of the serving.

After the rain yesterday, and the washout of the ride last year for all but the most determined riders, the good forecast today was welcome. We were supposed to depart from the Irving gas station on US 2 east of town. Keith K was the ride leader, as usual, and we were only a few minutes late getting underway.

Sixteen bikes set out on the ride. Amazingly, sixteen bikes returned after seven hours and almost 220 miles.

The group conducted itself quite well. I tried to do a map, but I accidentally wiped my trip log on the GPS and there is no way I can figure out where we did go except to say that it covered a lot of Maine back roads. Many of the roads showed severe frost damage, which was what caused me to start looking at after market suspensions two years ago. The ride on Traxxion was a lot better this time around. On the plus side, I did see evidence of a lot of road rehabilitation. Certainly a lot more than I see back home in Sudbury.

Near the end of the ride, we all stopped at what they call Height of Land overlooking Mooselookmeguntic Lake. Maine names are even better than Northern Ontario names.

In this beautiful spot, I said a few words and cast some of Kilo's ashes (brought by Steve C) to the wind. Since this was my first time scattering ashes, I'll share a tip with you. I was chagrined but I'm sure Kilo would have laughed out loud when I neglected to check which way the wind was blowing. Sorry about that, Mark. And Ray. And Chris.

Back at The Sudbury Inn, we found a large gathering of people preparing to celebrate a 60th anniversary. Multiple generations. It's a good thing that, while on the road, we had phoned to make dinner reservations that we forgot to do first thing in the morning. I'm not sure how the anniversary crown felt about seeing the horde of bikers pull up, but we were on our best behaviour.

We killed some time at The Suds Pub and then were ready for our seating at 6:45. Brother Bear and Laurie, their nephew Rick, Brad and Judy, Don (new guy), Sandy and I made up our eight. Sandy had a chicken dish while I selected the sirloin steak. Food was good. Unfortunately, we were all put on one bill. Rather than fuss with it, we just divided it by eight.

While dining, Don told me that he wasn't a Donald. It was Don as in Spanish nobility. Or, I countered, Don Corleone. So I christened him The Godfather. I think it's a fine nickname. We'll see if it sticks.

It was apparent that the ride must have tuckered out most of the people. A few of the regulars set up a poker game in the breakfast room, some of us talked bikes for a while and the rest disappeared. I was one of the last to turn in at about 11:00.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cornwall Ontario to Bethel Maine

We were up before 6:00 AM. The radar showed that the rain from the west was almost upon us. We had a quick breakfast next door where the Jazz Magnolia restaurant used to be. Fruit and a muffin despite the full hot buffet laid on for both the guests and the you hockey players, but we have to watch our weight. Then it was on to The Border.

I stopped first on the Canadian side to see how to enroll in the Traveller Declaration Card Program so that we could still use a Canuck NEXUS lane if we had something to declare. Cornwall has no NEXUS lane and so, while they had heard of the program, they could not help me. On to the US side.

We entered a regular lane and presented our shiny new cards. After a moment, the agent asked me if I crossed the border a lot. I acknowledged that I did. Then he asked if I ever had trouble crossing. I told him not until last Tuesday. He said they would have to do some things to clear the alert my name had generated and directed me to the side while he took our ID's inside. Once inside, I had to fill out a written declaration and then I opened the various luggage containers while an agent did a cursory search. Then they set us free. In fact, they seemed almost apologetic about having to bother us.

It looks like this stop and search thing is going to be a regular feature of our border crossings from now on. The CNN article last month referred to James Robinson's having trouble flying. It looks like that data has now been connected to the land crossing terminals as well.

Across the border, we ran east under grey skies. Between Chateauguay and Champlain NY, there was a guge new wind farm. I saw at least 50 large wind turbines where, only a tear ago, there had been none. We continued on to Rouse's Point, crossed Lake Champlain into Vermont and then worked our way over to I-89 south.

From 89, we went across country on Vermont 104 and Vermont 15. This road wound across the countryside in a most pleasant fashion. The only problem was a minimum of places one could pass, especially since the green Vermont license plates mean that the driver is in no hurry. Vermonters are very polite but they never seem to hurry.

Just before we reached US 2, the rain started. It had been cool and damp all morning, but we were lucky up until now. We stopped at the intersection at Joe's Pond Cafe, a small operation with gas pumps that said "Pay First! Unless we know you." While getting the rain gear out, we had grilled cheese sandwiches and coffee. Fed and suited up, we continued on.

The rest of the ride was wet, but uneventful. US 2 when you enter Maine is the worst pavement I have seen in a long time but, as you approach Bethel, major roadwork is underway. We road some wet, greasy mud for a little bit but I'm sure it will be very nice when it is done.

There were no bikes at the Sudbury Inn in Bethel when we arrived at 2:00 AM. I checked the date, went inside and found we were the first to arrive. Joe and a group arrived soon after, while U-Turn and Tom Miller weren't far behind.

Steve Cifra, U-Turn and Brother Bear outside the Sudbury Inn

More arrived as we adjourned to The Suds Pub downstairs for "fruity rum drinks" and some food. This will be out home for the rest of the evening.

Sandy, Brother Bear, Laurie, Rick, AC and Morrey in The Suds

Sherm called from Holbrook Arizona as I was typing this. He's with the Foree's and will be planning a route to Eureka Springs around Hurricane Ike.

Time to go back to the party.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sudbury Ontario to Cornwall Ontario

The first day of the last trip of the season.

The day started off with some thoughts back to this date in 2001 and how the world changed on that day.

I started early and posted the Freedom Riders books. I've been putting the job off for no particular reason but, if they are posted, I can generate the statements while I'm on the road, perhaps getting them out before the meeting Sunday morning.

After getting the books done, I packed in my usual five minutes and then checked the bike. The tires were both reading low, probably a result of the 8C temperature. I topped them up in any case. While I really like these Avon Cobra tires for grip, they look like they won't last all that long. That will make for a tough decision when it comes time to replace them.

Leo called while I was checking tires. He'll ride with us for a ways. Mattawa, he thinks. That's 120 miles east.

We left at 9:15. The temperature had climbed to 13C and we faced a rare east wind. Whichever way I go will determine the (head)wind direction. Riding was good and, in Mattawa, Leo decided to continue on another 60 miles with us to Deep River.

Highway 17 between North Bay and Deep River is a mixed bag. There are a lot of stretches of new pavement that is excellent. Between these, old pavement isn't broken but it is very rough and choppy. Makes for an interesting ride.

In Deep River, we fueled at the Petrocan and then decided to eat in the attached restaurant, which none of us remember seeing before. Toasted westerns, fries, and I had chicken gumbo. Thanks for getting the tab, Leo.

After lunch, the red BMW headed home and we pushed on. Immediately, we found the first one lane construction zone. This was the first of many, all the way to Arnprior. I guess if we want the roads improved, this is what we have to put up with for a while. I did notice that the attractive young ladies who usually flag these stretches were missing, replaced by much less attractive guys. Maybe they went back to school?

The O.P.P. have started patrolling highways with aircraft again. They have marks painted on the highways, but only in very limited sections. Today, I realized that each one of these sections has "Patrolled by Aircraft" signs at each end. That will make it easier to know where they are and adjust speed accordingly.

Ottawa was busy. I almost got clipped on a lane change when a car sped up right into a spot I was moving to. Other than that, we got through without incident. On 417 east of Ottawa, we noticed they have moose and deer crossing signs displayed together. This is the only place I've seen this.

We got off 417 near Casselman and too 138 south to Cornwall. All the road work in town is now done and is it ever nice. The Days Inn had a room, but the Jazz Magnolia, the restaurant next door, had closed. It was now a training facility for three high school hockey teams who attend boarding school and live on the second floor of the Days Inn. Things never stay the same.

Luckily, Casa Paolo was right across the street. It is well furnished, the staff are efficient and friendly and the food is good. A bit pricey but, in this case, you get what you pay for.

We had rolls (light enough to float off the table), Caesar salad (just the right amount of bite) and home baked lasagna (superb) which Sandy is enjoying above. This was followed by one lemon mousse, which we shared.

There were a lot of bugs today, so I wiped down the bike. Then I posted the bills. For those into numerological portents, I fueled twice today. I Deep River, I had covered 300.2 kms and took 18.528 liters. In Cornwall, I had covered 300.1 kms and took 18.528 liters. I spent a few moments looking at the bills, thinking my eyes were playing tricks on me.

Then it was an evening of paperwork, blogs, photo cataloging, bike club books, route planning, etc. I'll try to get to bed as early as I can. Tomorrow, we get to try out our new NEXUS cards.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

NEXUS and The Watch List - Redux

I mentioned earlier that I had applied on-line for NEXUS cards for Sandy and I to facilitate our border crossings. I also mentioned how, the day after, I found out in a CNN article that James Robinson was on the US Terror Watch List.

I found out last Friday that our applications had been tentatively approved. Yesterday morning, I tried to book appointments at the Soo, Michigan, NEXUS Centre on-line, but the system was down. I phoned and got us appointments for today at 2:00 and 2:30.

We took the van and headed out early, just missing Rabbi's departure for Edmonton when we got to Mom's. There was ample visiting time and I set her up on Facebook before we had to leave for the border at 1:00 PM. I left early because, the last time, we were stuck on the bridge for 45 minutes. Today, no line. None. We pulled up and had a choice of three empty booths, so I took the middle one.

The Border Agent took our ID's and asked the purpose of our visit. I told him we were going into his office for NEXUS interviews and he told us we'd have to go through the toll booth and park around back. But we didn't because, just after he said that, some kind of warning tone started to go off in his booth and he said that someone with my name was wanted.

A second agent entered the booth, looked at the screen and commented that I wasn't black. I told them I had seen my name in conjunction with the Watch List on CNN and had an idea what was going on. The second agent, with a third one for backup, walked beside me to the impound area where he politely asked us to get out of the vehicle, leave the doors unlocked and go inside the building. He told me to take our NEXUS paperwork.

The folk inside were friendly. I told them we were there for the interview but that my name had come up on the list as well. One officer said that wasn't so good, but they were still very pleasant. After about ten minutes, one of the outside agents gave me the thumbs up and told me we were free to go. I asked if I could leave the van there and then head back afterward without paying the toll. He said he wouldn't have a problem.

There were two NEXUS windows. The first one was manned by a Canadian agent who checked our papers (passport, birth certificate, DL and a utility bill to prove residence), filled out some forms and took our pictures. She gave us all the rules for the Canuck side. The second window was manned by a US agent who gave us the US rules, scanned our index fingers and prepared our cards. The computers weren't being co-operative, but they got the job done and we thanked them profusely.

The cards will allow us to use dedicated NEXUS lanes when they are open, usually at rush hours, as long as we have nothing to declare. We hold the card up in front of a grey box as we approach the NEXUS booth and, by the time we get there, our photos and details are already on the screen. If we have declarations or the lanes are closed, we can still use the cards as ID at the regular booths, eliminating the need for birth certificates or passports. They are also good at airports (where equipped), although we need to stop by one of them to get our iris scans done. She was clear, though, that if we ever have our cards seized for breaking the rules, we would never get another one.

New cards in hand, we made a U-turn on the bridge plaza, short of the toll booths, and headed back to Canada. We couldn't use the NEXUS lane because our data wasn't uploaded yet and it wouldn't be open for another 15 minutes. The bored border agent was singularly unimpressed with our cards and sent us on through without even looking at them.

We drove straight back to Sudbury, arriving about 7:00 PM. We'll see on Thursday or Friday at Cornwall if the card will trump the watch listing, or if we will be invited to the impound area again for another search. The agents in the Soo weren't sure.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sudbury to the Soo and Back

My brother Dave (Rabbi) has been visiting Mom in the Soo for the last month and I still hadn't gotten down to see him. Also, Mom hadn't had her motorcycle ride yet this year, so it was time to go for a ride.

Despite prior good forecasts, the weather radar last night had shown a squall line approaching from the west. Luckily, by morning, it appeared to have gone through. Despite a solid headwind, the 300 km ride down Highway 17 to Sault Ste. Marie was uneventful. The only point of interest was a brush wolf (Algonquin or eastern wolf) that walked across in front of me near Walford.

I arrived at Mom's at about 11:15 AM. Rabbi and I spent some time visiting. He's looking good, and a whole lot better than back in 2005 when he was suffering from undiagnosed Addison's Disease. The meds that make up for his dysfunctional adrenal gland seem to be doing the job. We talked politics, work (his, not mine), fishing, golf and other things.

Then it was time to take Mom out for her ride. We got her installed on the back seat of the Wing and got Sandy's helmet on and headset connected. It was brisk as we went up the Second Line, Old Garden River Road and Landslide Road to the Sixth Line. I never even knew there was a Sixth Line. Then we took a short jaunt up Highway 17 to Heyden, where we saw a good-sized pair of delta wings on a flatbed truck. Back down 17 (running to the red-line in the first two gears, we went home via Fourth Line and People's Road. Mom seemed to enjoy it and I really like getting her out when I can.

After a bit more visiting with Rabbi, I headed for home about 3:00 PM. Again uneventful, but I caught up with those delta wings, escorted by two of the most professional pilot car drivers I have ever seen, near Spanish. I raised them on the CB and found the wings were destined to become part of a brand new Challenger jet. I never knew the wings were assembled elsewhere since this is the first set I've seen on the road.

I got in about 7:00 PM, dry all day.

Monday, September 01, 2008

29th Annual Cyclefest - West Montrose Ontario

The 29th Annual Cyclefest. Who would have thought, at that first gathering the Waterloo County Touring Club organized at Chicopee Ski Club in Kitchener back in 1980 that it would still be going on after all these years.

Sandy and I only missed one over all the years. In 2000, I headed to Colorado for VROC V2K while Sandy was helping the kids move into residence at Wilfrid Laurier University. There are a couple who haven't missed any. Back in 1998, the event moved from Chicopee to West Montrose, near Elmira and, somewhere in there, the WCTC folded up and the Waterloo Wings (with some carryover members, took over.


We left about 9:30 AM under grey skies towing the camper trailer. Yesterday, I changed the bike oil and put new tires on the trailer. We stopped at McDonalds in Parry Sound for lunch and then continued to West Montrose via Highway 89, down through Orangeville and Fergus. It spit a little as we neared our destination.

Fred from London (remember he helped Heather practice for her licence) had his trailer already set up so we moved in next door. Fred is the fittest 80 year old I know.

Tom came out and we set up camp in our usual location, right next to Fred. It's still pretty quiet since the rally doesn't officially start until tomorrow. It started raining later so Heather brought her car and took us to supper in town. They forecast clearing for tomorrow as we turned in about 9:30 PM.


Heather was working today. Fred fed us breakfast, a concotion of tomatos, eggs and bacon all done in one pan. Then Tom came out and Fred and I took him on a ride through the Hockley Valley and back through the Forks of the Credit. We stopped at the bike accessory shop in Erin on our way back.

It started raining as we neared camp, so we stopped at Tim's in Elora. So much for the clearing forecast. Tom went to his office and home, while I rode to the campground with Fred and Sandy. Then I went alone to Tom and Heather's place, where I helped him ferry bikes over from his mother's garage. I returned to camp and Heather and Tom arrived later. So did Kim and Mike and our friend Maggie.

After helping Maggie set up her day tent, we all went out for our traditional Friday dinner at The Gorge Restaurant in Elora. Heather, Tom and I were on bikes, the rest in a van. While we were eating it started to rain quite heavily. After supper, in the dark, the rest left while the three of us suited up. About the time we started out, the rain eased so it was only wet, warm and dark as we rode carefully through the deer crossing zones. We heard after that the Ice Cream Run to St. Jacobs got drenched.

The bonfire, corn and hotdogs went on throughout the evening. About midnight, Terry, Ed (from the Waterloo Wings) and I were the only ones left at the fire as the fog descended so we called it a night. Then I got lost in the fog looking for the outhouses. It was that thick.


We started the day with coffee in the big tent, visiting with various people. The weather had improved. Then Tom, Heather, Sandy and I started out on the poker run.

Rather than follow the route, we checked the directions on the GPS and went cross-country. Campground to Elora for water tower pictures (Tom and Heather's current quest), to Checkpoint #1, to the Black Forest Restaurant for buffet brunch, straight to Checkpoint #2, to Tom & Heather's condo, to Mrs. Sittler's (Darryls' Mom) bakery in Conestogo to camp.

The Poker Run checkpoints involve games of skill. Here, at Checkpoint #2, Jack Matheson gets us to throw things in a strong wind. It didn't work so well for most of us. I'd be happier drawing cards.

At the campground, we skipped supper because of the brunch but got into corn and hotdogs later on.

How can we go wrong with Superman as our corn cook?

Again I was up at the end, as the bonfire was abandoned about 1:00 AM. We don't party the way we used to.


Dawn broke clear and sunny, albeit with a heavy coating of dew. Today is games day. Kim and Mike (sleeping at home) brought us all breakfast from McDonalds.

The campground looking first towards the big tent and game area and then back towards the Kissing Bridge.

It got hotter and hotter as the games progressed. Slow races, hoop throws and a new thing with a barrel and a rope tested the riders' and passengers' skills. We watched and visited. Then, while they were still dry, we took down awnings and screens.

Robinson Clan Cyclefest Group Photo

The big supper got underway at 6:30 in the big tent. It consisted of rolled ribs, turkey, mashed, gravy, veggies, cabbage rolls, cake and coffee. Excellent meal. Then the awards. Heather got her 25 Year Pin (one year behind Kim due to a trip to the Azores). Terry & Amber tied for first in the Observation Run and Terry and Patsy won the Hoop Toss. The Southern Cruisers, with 31 attendees, won Large Canadian Club and Terry and Patsy also won furtherst travelled in Canada.

There was some concern about continuation since the Waterloo Wings are burning out, but it looks like the SCRC are stepping up to ensure that Cyclefest continues.

There was some singing around the fire tonight. Eileen plays and watches Howard pick the banjo while Leo strums in the background. I sang more than I should have. Then, about 1:00 AM, I once again found myself one of two people left at the fire. Partyers Were Us.


Heavy dew this morning. We folded up camp, said goodbye to all and headed out about 9:45 AM.

Thanks to Ian, Kevin & Maysey, Ed, Mitch & Jane, Butch & Rose and all the others who made this another outstanding success. We are looking forward to the 30th.

We stopped for lunch at The Haven restaurant in Pointe Au Barile, 75 miles south of Sudbury. The food wasn't bad.

Normally, we'd be headed to Indiana from Cyclefest but that isn't happening this year and wouldn't have fit our budget if it was. Instead, we got home, set up the camper to dry out and stowed all the gear for winter. The remaining travel this season will be by bike alone.