Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dover Bound

Sudbury Ontario to Cambridge Ontario

Port Dover is a sleepy little town of 5,500 on the Lake Erie shore. That is, it is sleepy most of the time. However, on Friday the 13th, Port Dover becomes the destination for over 100,000 motorcyclists from Ontario and places beyond. This odd ritual started back in 1981 when a small group of friends made it there destination. Since then, the idea caught on beyond all expectations. This Friday the 13th, we decided to pay it another visit along with daughter Heather on her Honda Rebel.

This morning, we were up at 5:30 AM and looked outside to see a persistent rain. I spent some time loading Mapsource, the Garmin route plotting program, on both the desktop and the notebook. I had several problems with getting the notebook to see the CD on the desktop and then I couldn't load routes to the GPS until I went to the Garmin site and updated the program. Eventually, I got it all working the way it should and I plotted routes from Cambridge to Port Dover, Dover to J&J's Cookhouse in Burlington and then back to Cambridge, all using back roads.

At 9:15, we donned our rain gear and headed out through town to avoid the construction between us and the by-pass. On Highway 69, northbound traffic was heavy for a Thursday. I held to 110 KPH true and, near Rock Lake, the rain eased up. We went through alternating patches of wet and dry pavement all the way to Nobel, where I spotted an unmarked cruiser coming up behind us and stuck to the 70 KPH the signs demanded. The Nobel Tim's was very busy, as usual, and we continued on to the new one south of town.

After a quick comfort stop at Tim's, we were getting ready to roll out when a young Japanese tourist lady asked if she could take our picture. She said her husband rode a Ducati but that her bike was a Honda. We were happy to let her photograph us.

South of Parry Sound, we had a large black cloud ahead of us. Luck was on our side as we slid by behind it with only wet pavement to mark its passing. Then, south of Waubaushene, we got off the 400 and headed to Wasaga Beach and J&R Motors. The GPS helped me find the back roads that took us around the Beach traffic. Our J&R stop was to get Quicksilver reshod with new Bridgestone tires.

After looking at the tires and talking to Ed the English Mechanic for a few minutes, we got out of the rain gear and John loaned us a bike to go to Stayner for lunch. The bike was a Triumph Tiger, a whole different experience from the Wing. It was very tall and there was no backrest for Sandy. I thought it was fun to try out, but it wasn't the type of bike I would choose.

After lunch, we returned to the shop and hung out watching Ed and John work. Ed changed the tires, the oil, the final drive oil and, after inspecting them, the rear brake pads. I had a new set in my magic trunk. The originals had lasted over 108,000 Kms, so they didn't owe me anything. We also met Len, a Victory rider from the Soo who bought his bike at J&R and takes it there for service. He had left the Soo this morning and ridden heavy rain to Sudbury. In Stayner, the weather was now excellent.

The bike was done about 4:00. We got on the road carefully, breaking in the new tires and brake pads. In Stayner, the GPS sent me to a non-existent gas station. Another POI down the tubes. We headed down Airport Road and across Hockley Valley to Orangeville. Then it was down to Fergus, through Elora and into Waterloo. We had to go to Tom's place looking for Heather because I had forgotten my keys to Heather's apartment at home. Unfortunately, Heather was at her apartment. After seeing Tom, we decided to meet and the Mongolian Grill in Cambridge for dinner.

Riding into Cambridge, we were faced with extremely ugly black clouds just south of us. There were wall clouds and lightning. Since the area has seen tornado warning twice this week already, I was a little concerned. I didn't let it get in the way of enjoying supper, though. While we were eating, it rained. By the time we were done, so was the rain. Sandy went back to the apartment in the Grand Am with Heather while I rode the bike. At a cross street, I passed Mitch and Jane (remember them from French Connection) on their trike. I waved but had no opportunity to stop.

At the apartment, Heather had no Internet since she is moving soon and turned in her DSL modem. When I turned the computer on, it did connect to someone, somewhere so, asking no questions, I got my mail and VROC posts. We planned an early start and it wasn't very late when we turned in.

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