Freedom Riders Barry and Bev live in southern Ontario and had volunteered to set up and man a club booth (provided free of charge by the show) to promote the Freedom Rally this summer. Several other club people were also planning on going down and back for the day.
Doug borrowed his wife's little Kia for the trip to save us some fuel. He pulled into our driveway right on time at 6:00 AM and we got underway. The only stop on the way out was Timmy's for my black coffee and breakfast sandwich to go. We had slipped back into a March cold snap after the the previous week's above freezing temperatures but, despite it being -15 C (+5 F), it looked like it was going to be a good day to drive.
The 240 mile run down to Toronto was uneventful. We made a stop at Tim's half way down for a pit stop and arrived at the International Centre on Airport Road in Mississauga at 10:25. The last forty miles had been through light snow squalls and sloppy roads. The parking lot was far from full and we parked the little Kia easily. However, there was a large lineup to buy tickets, but it only held us up about ten minutes and we used the $3.00 off coupons Doug had printed from the Internet.
Unlike the January show, which takes up five buildings, this one was confined to only two. There were accessory vendors selling mostly clothes and displays of custom and vintage motorcycles, dealers selling bikes and tourism places promoting their areas. But one of the largest categories was clubs promoting charity rides plus a couple of larger events. The charity aspect has proliferated in recent years and competition among them is intense.
Doug and I explored Building One looking for the Freedom Riders booth. Not finding it, we stopped at the food court for a lunch of Nathan's Famous hot dogs and fries. Then we moved on to the other building, working our way through the aisles until we found Barry and Bev. They were not twenty feet from where we had originally entered the show. The booth was simple but very nice, with the club banner and Barry's 2002 GL1800 for a backdrop. A couple of minutes after we found them, club President Rob, Dan R. new member Paul and a friend of theirs found us.