Friday, May 13, 2005

Port Dover Ontario – Friday the 13th

Port Dover is a small Ontario town on the shores of Lake Erie. For years now, bikers have been converging there every Friday the 13th in a relatively unorganized celebration of the two wheel experience. Friday May 13th, 2005 was no exception.

A small contingent of Sudbury VROC decided to put in an appearance. Ted and Helena Boyd on their trusty 1999 Nomad indicated an interest. We traveled west with them back in 2000 on the maiden voyage of our trusty 00 Nomad, which was known as The Haze because of its purple colour. They are excellent traveling companions. And Leo decided to fire up his Nomad and join in.

Thursday the 12th was cold and clear. By cold, I mean that the morning temperature was –4C. I took the bike down to the blood clinic to donate since it was motorcycle week there, and had to sit and wait for fifteen minutes until my body temperature warmed up enough to pass the screening. Leo joined me there and when we got back home Ted and Helena were waiting to go. We donned the cold weather gear and headed south about noon.

We grabbed a quick lunch in Parry Sound and headed south on the superslab until we got to what used to be Highway 89. From there, I lead through back roads down and across the Hockley Valley to Orangeville and then cut across through Forks of the Credit. These roads provide some interesting scenery and challenging twists and turns. We then got back on Highway 24 for the run into Cambridge.

Ted and Helena got a room at the Super 8 while Leo came with us to Heather’s apartment. We reconvened, along with our daughters, at the Mongolian Grill for supper. The Grill is a different dining experience where you pick you selection of meats, veggies and sauces and they cook it for you on a large, common cooking surface. We then returned to our various rooms and caught some sleep.

Key time the next morning was to leave Cambridge at 7:45 to make our 9:00 AM rendezvous in Hamilton with more of the Frozen North crew. It was slightly warmer than the day before. Slightly. I expected we would be early, but we actually pulled in right on time. Ace and Guns were already there and Rob from Port Hope pulled in on his new Harley right after. After coffee and a muffin, we left at 9:30 and joined the columns of bikes moving down Highway 6. Backups at traffic lights further along let us see how heavy the two-wheeled traffic was. When we got to PD, the access to Main Street was already shut down. We followed the back street we were direct to until Ace took a turn past a closed street sign and parked in a no parking area of the curb close to an intersection. Ace is our hero.

We walked down Main Street where parked bikes and people covered every available square foot. I don't ever remember seeing this many people here this early. We then went to the foot of the pier and paid our respects to the memorial to the local fishermen lost on the lake. Since the five of us were heading the 350 miles back to Sudbury, we bid adieu to Ace, Guns and Rob and hiked back up the hill to the bikes. We were rolling at noon and cleared town not too much later after threading our way through a phalanx of leather clad pedestrians.

The lineup of bikes trying to get into town was huge. As we went north, more and more were heading south into the biggest two-wheeled traffic jam in Ontario. If you go to PD, go early.

After we fueled in Hagersville, just north of PD, there was a honk when I stopped for a traffic light. There was Rob on his trusty iron steed. He fell in behind us and followed as we threaded the superslab (403/401) through Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga and the north side of Toronto. He waved and continued east when we turned north on the 400. We stopped at the service centre on the 400 for lunch and I talked to a GL-1800 rider from Barrie who had tried to get into Port Dover but given up after getting stuck in the jam.

The ride back was uneventful except for the aforementioned rain and cold. Cold started about Toronto and the rain was off and on after Barrie. It didn't get really nasty, though, until we reached Sudbury.

So another Friday the 13th is in the record books. Why do we do it?
I don't know. Maybe just because it is there.

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