Sunday, September 20, 2009

Camp Dorset Ride

Terry called last night to see if I was up for a ride today. The run to Parry Sound had put me in the the mood so I said sure. I was at the Levesque Tim's having a B.E.L.T bagel when Terry rolled in about 8:45 AM. We decided to head for Camp Dorset and see if any of our friends attending the Ride For Dialysis were still there.

I need to say a word about riding with Terry. We met back in 1981, I think, and spent the next few years, along with Richard (Batman) attending rallies all around Ontario and, occasionally, across the country. We were members of the old Nickel Riders Motorcycle Club, but the three of us often ended up riding together. Terry led, Richard was second and I ran third, all moving as one unit, always at a high rate of speed.

Over the years, we didn't ride together as much. Richard left the club scene and, although he lives in my subdivision, I don't see him often. Terry has slowed down a bit but I have slowed down more. It is nice, once in a while, to ride with him alone. We can capture some of the spirit of the old days, riding fast with style.

Although Terry is slower than the old days, he still moves right along. We started south on Highway 69 at a steady 118 KPH, not quite 30 over the limit. We met an unmarked OPP car south of Rock Lake but he didn't seem to mind our speed, or perhaps he was just traveling. These days, most cars have slowed down up here as well, but today we got behind a Dodge Caliber who was moving at our speed. Then, near the French, we connected with a Jeep moving a bit faster and we picked up the pace. My one concern is to watch that we don't exceed 140 KPH (50 over) because, at that speed, the police seize your licence AND YOUR VEHICLE for a week. Then you can be liable for a fine of $2K to$10K.

We moved along like a tandem ballet, working in and out of traffic with ease, each rider knowing what the other was going to do before he did it. South of Shawanaga, we met four OPP Golden Helmets (the motorcycle drill team) going the other way. Their low speed maneuvers are great to watch. I did spend some time thinking, though. Many people here can ride at speed but have problems with tight maneuvering. The courses teach slow speed control in the parking lot and, it always seems to be assumed, if you can ride slow, you can ride fast. I do believe, however, that there are many who have mastered the art of the traffic cone but still aren't competent at speed on the open road. High speed skill does not imply low speed skill, and vice-versa.

We rode past Parry Sound and took 141 over to Rosseau. Almost there, we came upon three old cars putting along. One looked like it was from the 20's and the other two were so old they had the lanterns for lights. I would have liked to get a picture and really miss having my photographer behind me.

The former Shell station in Rosseau is now the Crossroads Pub & Grill. We stopped for gas but it looks like it would be a nice place for lunch as we ride the great roads all around here.

Terry at the Crossroads with Lake Rosseau in the background

Lake Rosseau is interesting. The cottages (we call them cabins north of here) along the lake are popular with celebrity folk. Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell, Steve Martin, Cheryl Ladd and many others come up here to get away from it all.

We continued east on 141 with no traffic ahead of us. The 50 and 60 KPH marked corners flew by and we had a clear run through the 40 KPH S's at Bent River. Then, the last way to Highway 11, we got behind a line of traffic following an SUV at substantially lower than the limit. There was nowhere to pass and I stifled the overwhelming urge to want to slap someone silly.

At Highway 11, Zippy The Wonderslug turned north while we continued straight through on Muskoka 10. I was now on road I have never traveled before. We wound through Port Sydney and, leaving town, passed a very large doe and fawn standing in a driveway at the edge of the road staring at us. That's how I like my deer, stationary. Or, better yet, as venison. We connected with Muskoka 2 and headed south to Baysville. Winding road, no traffic, a perfect situation. In Baysville, we turned west on 117 to Highway 35 and the little town of Dorset.

In Dorset, we had one problem. The Ride For Dialysis was being held at the Lions Club Camp Dorset and we had no idea how to find it. We stopped at a local OPP office in a mobile building and talked to a volunteer manning the desk. He gave us directions along several back roads and, following his directions, we got there with no trouble. Of course, everyone else had already left although we say lots of beer and liquor bottles outside the cabins. We also saw Barry's Spyder on his trailer and thought about hiding it, but settled for a picture to prove we had been there.

Terry at Camp Dorset

Back at Highway 35, we decided to ride home through North Bay and stop at the Chinese Buffet in Sturgeon Falls for a late lunch. We rode north on 35 and then got involved in some traffic heading back to the city from Algonquin Park on Highway 60. Don't let me get started about slow-assed tree huggers holding people up by driving 10 KPH UNDER the speed limit. We did some aggressive passing and got to Huntsville before most of them. From there, where most vehicles turned south, we went north and blasted up Highway 11. This is mostly four lane all the way to North Bay and we made good time.

West on 17, we got to Sturgeon Falls between buffets. Although the lunch buffet wasn't out on the table, they gave us the list of items and kept bringing us things we asked for until we couldn't eat one more thing, all for the low lunch buffet price. That's why we go here. Terry picked up the tab. Thanks for lunch, buddy.

Terry at the Chinese Buffet in Sturgeon Falls

From Sturgeon, we highballed it back to Sudbury without incident. It was a great ride with great company on a great day.

Today's Ride

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

ORRA Meeting in Parry Sound

The Ontario Road Riders Association (ORRA) was having its (sort of) quarterly meeting today in Parry Sound. This is about as close to Sudbury as I ever expect to get and I had notified the club to see if anyone would go, since I was supposed to be in Maine.

I am not, however, in Maine this weekend so I decided I would ride down. First I met Rob, Chantal, Dan and Tracy at the eastern Tim's. They were heading for Camp Dorset where a number of members had gathered for the weekend to raise money on the Dialysis Ride. They were heading out via North Bay and would, hopefully, connect with me in Parry Sound about 4:00 PM.

I was on the road at 9:20 with a clear sky and an 8C temperature. Nippy but nice. My first task was to negotiate my way around a nasty little wreck right in front of the OPP detachment. two cars on scene and they could have walked.

I had breakfast at the Hungry Bear Restaurant at the French River. A simple omelet and coffee was good enough for me. As I rode further south, it surprised me how many trees had not started to change colour yet. Maybe it would be a late fall, he mused hopefully......

There were many boats being towed south. I guess people are closing things up for the winter. I was surprised to see gas in Nobel was 89.9 cents because it was 99.9 when I left Sudbury. There is something about this 100 miles that seems to inflate fuel pirices.

I got to Don Cherry's in downtown Parry Sound in lots of time. Kevin (ORRA President), Marlene (ORRA Comptroller), Mike (old friend from Ottawa) and a few others were there. Shortly after, Lea (Freedom Riders VP) arrived. He thought I would be in Maine and I forgot to update the club as to my change in plans. No problem, though, because Lea also represents the Sudbury Toy Run.

I took two tasks away from the meeting. One, I need to write down my memories of the founding of ORRA since I am one of the few remaining people who were there at the very beginning in 1980. Two, I volunteered to set up an online forum for ORRA representatives. The next meeting is November 14th in St. Thomas. Although it won't be riding time (I don't think, anyway), it will be Port Dover Weekend so we might make it down there. Rob called to say that they were way behind, time wise, and I should forget about the planned rendezvous.

After the meeting, Lea and I talked to Kevin for a while out on the street before getting some grub at Tim's and heading north. I made it down and back on one tank of gas and was happy that the low fuel light on the bike and the GPS warning were triggered within a half mile of each other.

We arrived home without incident and Sudbury gas was still 99 cents. Go figure.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Maine Trip Cancelled

We spent some serious thought deciding whether to go to Maine or Arkansas, since they were on the same weekend this year. We picked Maine.

Now, with the change in the medical situation, it would not be a good idea to go across the border for a time. The Warfarin treatment isn't stabilized and we need access to a lab on a regular basis. Additionally, an unstable pre-existing condition wouldn't be covered by our out-of-Canada health insurance.

With a sad heart, I called the Sudbury Inn to cancel our room. They have a long lead time on cancellations, but said they would likely be able to re-sell the room with no cost to us. I thanked them and said we'd see them next year.

It's unfortunate to miss a trip but that is small potatoes compared to sandy's health. We're fortunate they found the problem and that the system worked for us this time.

There will always be more rides.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to the ER

They called Sandy from the hospital this morning to schedule the lung scan. At first, they asked her to be there by 11:30. Then they called back and said there was a cancellation. How soon could she get there?

I dropped her off at the front door and then took the van over to Bell Park where I parked in the main lot, watched a squirrel gather nuts and read a magazine. She called me after a while to say that I should come over to the hospital because they had found some blood clots in her lungs.

I walked the quarter mile to the General where the security person ushered me into one of the examining rooms. Sandy was there waiting for a pharmacy to get back to her with regard to starting Warfarin treatment. Warfarin is an anti-coagulant more commonly known for its use as a rat poison, but it has beneficial medical treatments as well. Dosage is critical to avoid excessive bleeding, so they don't just give you a prescription and send you away.

While we were waiting, this cute young female doctor asked if one of the medical school interns could practice on Sandy with a small ultra-sound unit they use in the ER. They came in and he did a bunch of scans, pointing out the various internal body parts to the approval of the young lady supervising. Then they went away and we got moved to the internal waiting room, much like the Group W Bench. We had fun meeting new people and talking about Life, the Universe and Everything.

We had been there quite a while when I grabbed the orderly acting as the traffic director. I pointed out that we were supposed to be waiting for pharmacy and, if they screwed up, we could be here forever since the ER wasn't tracking us. He left and the doctor came in, surprised we were still waiting. Then we were called to a phone to talk to someone from pharmacy, who said we should have been sent up there. They booked an appointment for the next morning but said we could come up to the 6th Floor and get some literature on the treatment.

When we got to the pharmacy, where they operate an Anti-Coagulation Clinic, the young lady said maybe we should just go ahead and do everything right now. That sounded good. We spent quite a while going over the nuances of blood thinning. Bottom line was that they would give a dosage of Warfarin for a period of time, Sandy would then have a blood test to determine her INR. INR stands for Internalized Normalization Ratio, a measure of the blood's ability to clot. Normal is between 0.8 and 1.2 but they want hers between 2 and 3. After the test, they will contact her to adjust the dosage. Until the Warfarin kicks in, I will have to give her daily injections of Lovenox, , a Heparin type drug, injected subcutaneously in the stomach. This should only go on for a short time.

After the Warfarin dosage is stabilized, Sandy will be handed off to our family doctor for the rest of the treatment. He will attempt to determine the cause of the clots and future strategies will depend on what turns up.

With all the information in hand, we stopped at the drug store and picked up the needles (all set in ready-to-go packaging) and the meds and headed home.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

RIP David "57 Dave" Small

'57 Dave - Luckenbach Texas - April 2005

We got word via Joker on the VROC newsgroup that '57 Dave, from Florida, died in a motorcycle accident in Indiana. The details aren't important except to say that Dave and a friend were riding down the road when a fluke chain of events caused a vehicle to cross the centre line and hit him. Dave was 70 years old.

Dave wasn't an official VROC member but he was Joker's regular riding partner. We first met them at the same time at SEVROC in Suches, Georgia back in 1999. I remember sitting around the bonfire where Dave mentioned that he graduated from high school in 1957. Judge piped up with "1957? I was BORN in 1957!" Thus, he became '57 Dave, the Harley guy who rode with Joker.

Dave rode to Texas with Joker in 1995. The last night, Joker said they would be leaving early in the morning so he took me up to their room to say goodbye to '57. This underscored why one should always knock, because we caught Dave changing. I could have been spared the sight of his skinny butt in those jockey shorts.

The last time I saw Dave was in Kentucky at WWR in June. I didn't recognize him at first because he had cut what was left of his hair really short. We didn't get much time to talk this time but always figured there would be time later. It goes to show that you just never know.

'57 Dave may not have had an official VROC number but he was every bit as much a part of our family as everyone else. Rest In Peace, David Small. We'll miss you.

More Valley East Days

Sandy was feeling much better this morning. No pain. She stayed home while I went to the Freedom Riders meeting.

After the meeting, I went back to Hanmer to work the Action Sudbury booth again. This time, I was a STOP Officer in uniform. Biker was there all day and several other STOP Officers, including Jason, Trevor (Flash) and John. It was a quiet day, probably due to the organizer's decision to cancel the beer tent. The only really busy time came as the parade arrived. We met a lot of people in a short space of time. Normie showed up at the end, back from the OFSC AGM. He helped tear down the display, which we loaded in Biker's vehicle. Then we adjourned to Tim's for coffee before heading home.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Action Sudbury, Emergency and Trucker's Visit

I may have mentioned Action Sudbury before. It is a Sudbury group started by former mayor Peter Wong back in 1984 to combat drinking and driving. Normie and Biker have been members for years and I have now joined them representing the Freedom Riders. I don't actually have to represent anyone to belong, but the club is very firmly against drunk driving. This only makes sense because drunk drivers will do a lot more damage to a motorcyclist that they will to people in a car.

Action Sudbury works on both education and supporting enforcement initiatives. We get funding from a number of sources including working at our local charity bingos. One aspect of the education component is to be visible at many local events. Today, we were off to Valley East Days in Hanmer to set our display up in the show in the Centennial Arena. We would use this as our venue to promote the idea of Safe and Sober Driving with anyone who would stop and listen. For enticement, we had lots of nice giveaway items.

Biker, Mary, Special Constable Real and Chairman Ron

Action Sudbury ladies Bea, Mary and Rollie

One of the other displays involved a young lady selling vibration exercise machines. I just had to wander over during a quiet period and try it out.

Shake, rattle and roll

Shortly after noon, I got a call from Sandy. She had developed a cough over the last few days and was now experiencing sharp, stabbing pain in her chest whenever she breathed. Not wanting to take chances, I excused myself and headed home to take her somewhere and get it checked out.

Thinking it might be pneumonia, we stopped at the walk-in clinic that was adjacent to an X-ray facility. There was no one in the waiting room, so Sandy went right in. The doctor couldn't hear anything in her chest and the X-ray department was closed on weekends, so he suggested we go to Emergency.

The Emergency Room at the General Hospital has a new procedure. Instead of registering and waiting for triage, you take a number. They call you into triage and then register you. Sandy went in after only a few minutes and then never came out for a long time. When she did, she told me that they had done an ECG, X-rays and blood tests and we were now waiting for the results of the latter. We waited for a long time.

During our time sitting there, our neighbor Gwen's son Nigel brought his wife Maggie in. She was on her annual 100 Km bicycle ride to Killarney when she passed out near her goal. She had several injuries but was ambulatory. They needed to wait for results of tests to see if there were any additional injuries as well as to determine the cause of the blackout. We passed the time on the benches together (new ones and quite comfortable) talking about all manner of things.

It was several hours before Sandy was called back in. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Bourdon (former ER chief and now acting Chief of Staff, working ER in his spare time because he likes to) came out and led me back to one of the examining rooms. He thought it was probably a chest infection and prescribed antibiotics, but said that he wanted to be safe. In case it was a blood clot, he wanted a lung scan done on Monday. He also arranged for an immediate anti-coagulant needle just in case. With that, we left.

The last part of the evening was all too brief. Jacques (Trucker), a VROC friend from Quebec, and his daughter Julie (Pole Dancer) from Ottawa had come to town for a ride. They were staying at the Cardinal and Gary picked them up for a tour of town. We met them at the Tim Horton's on Lasalle where Sandy and I grabbed a bite to eat. They had never heard Stompin' Tom Connors song Sudbury Saturday Night so, as we hung out in the parking lot, I put it on the van stereo and gave them a treat.  Imagine hearing Sudbury Saturday Night for the first time on a Saturday night in Sudbury.  It was good to see the two of them. I was sorry we couldn't have spent more time together, but Jacques will be in Maine next week so we can have that long talk we have both been looking forward to.

Biker, Trucker, Sandy, Cheryl and Julie at Tim's

From Tim's, we headed home for an early bedtime.

Monday, September 07, 2009

West Montrose Ontario to Sudbury Ontario

We were up and had the trailer torn down and everything packed by 7:10 AM. It was a little easier because I had dismantled and stowed the awning and poles before supper yesterday when everything was nice and dry. Next, we had to re-open the trailer so I could get my sunglasses out of my vest.

We had coffee and toast in the big tent, talking to friends and not really wanting to leave for the last time. Finally, about 10:00, we got underway under blue skies. The weather was exceptionally good for the final hurrah.

We stopped at Derek Roberts in Waubaushene for fuel and a Subway sandwich. We were going to stop again at the excellent chip stand in Pointe Au Barile, but it was just too crowded so we continued on home. It was still sunny and 25C when we pulled into the driveway about 3:00 PM.

Thus endeth a great Labour Day tradition. Heather noted that all she has ever known on that weekend was Cyclefest, especially considering their first attendance was when Sandy was pregnant with her and Kim. No matter what we do, it will be different. Thanks to all the people over all the years who helped organize the rallies so we would have a place to go and meet our friends.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Cyclefest - Day 3

It started out as a foggy Sunday morning, and I slept in until after 8:00 AM. Then I wandered over to the big tent for coffee, a bagel and some conversation with friends. A big topic was what would happen to Cyclefest next year, when the Waterloo Wings were supposed to be handing the organizing reins over to the Southern Cruisers.

Foggy Campground or Brigadoon?

As the fog dissipated and the sun came out (can you believe more sun?) Kim and Mike showed up with Jolene. This was her first introduction to the motorcycle crowd and everyone made a big fuss.

Mike and Kim with Jolene

Jolene with Mom, Grandma and Aunt Heather

The bike never moved all day. Sunday afternoon, they always hold the field events so we settled in as usual. Everyone has a front row seat for the slow races, water balloon tosses, hula-hoop throws and other challenging games. Fun was had by all.

During the day, Heather, Tom and Sandy went down to the other end of the field for some photos in front of the famous covered Kissing Bridge.



Appropriate, considering the background

The last night of the rally culminates with the banquet and the awards under the big tent. Ian fooled us this time by having us enter via the front side of the tent after those of us with experience were skulking around the back. Nice move.

The caterers were on time and the food was, as usual, excellent. We had roast beef, chicken, spareribs and a rolled rib concoction that is always a favourite. After the meal, we settled in for the awards. They gave out awards for the winners of the field events, poker run and observation run as well as recognizing the youngest, oldest and furthest.

Then they presented the attendees pins, significant because this was the 30th Cyclefest. As a special treat, these awards were given out by our dear old friend, Daphne, a regular from the good old days. Unfortunately, "she" isn't looking any better but you have to love the stockings:-)

Daphne at the microphone

In fact, only Bob Collins from Oshawa has actually attended all thirty. More of us have made 29 and they were bumped to 30 by the committee, although they forgot Sandy and I during the presentation. No big deal, we know we were there and K&M promised we'd get the pins. The only Cyclefest I missed was when I went to the legendary VROC V2K in Durango, Colorado. That would be the same weekend Sandy and my Mom were moving the girls into their university dorm.

Next, Sandy and I were privileged to make a surprise presentation, at the request of Ian the Rally Chair, to Kevin (Daphne) and Maysey recognizing their roles in working on every one of the thirty Cyclefests. I'm not sure exactly what I said, but we all got choked up a bit. These folks are very special, great friends and loyal, steadfast club members.

Lastly, Rally Chair Ian got up to speak. He finally confirmed what some of us suspected, that the agreement with the Southern Cruisers to continue Cyclefest had not gone as they had hoped and the Waterloo Wings were retiring the event after thirty successful years. They hoped the SCRC would take over the weekend and the venue for an all new rally next year. We'll wait and see how things go, but we need our Labour Day gathering.

One strange thing happened after the awards as we made our way to the fire. I met two couples wearing 30 year pins. We had been sharing the same campgrounds for 29 out of 30 years and had never met before. They are from the Gravenhurst/Port Sydney area and I'll be sending them information on next year's Freedom Rally. The fire was kind of bittersweet as we knew that this was the end of an era. We talked about all the good times and what we might do in the future. Finally, I toddled off to bed about midnight.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Cyclefest - Day 2

It was the first official morning of the rally so we had coffee, toast and bagels in the big tent.  Then we registered, getting our arm bands and goody bags.  Heather and Tom were going to a wedding and came all dressed up.  My plan was for us to hit the spectacular brunch at the Black Forest Inn before they had to go.  Heather and Tom will be getting married here in late October.  That went out the window when I was told I was expected to lead a group on the poker run.

Heather and Tom all dressed up

So while the kids went on to savour brunch, I dialed in the GPS, registered for the poker run and assembled the troops.  The run was actually a poker/observation run.  The observation part involved looking for answers along the road to clues given on the route sheets.  Finding the answer was only part of it.  Then you need to reproduce it as faithfully as possible on the paper.  We won our share in the old days when Ray Snowden, the master of the observation run, was setting courses.  These days, we are old enough to let others do all this work.  The poker run was good enough for us.  But it wasn't a conventional poker run either.  In one of those, you get cards.  Here, Rally Chair Ian goes to Toys 'R Us and selects diabolical kids games for us to play.  Lawn darts, tennis balls, nerf guns, ring toss and pretty much every other game of skill are out there to be tried.

We had a good group for the run.  Fred on his Wing, Peggy on her Yamaha cruiser, Jerry and Keitha on their hog, Ed and Betty on their GL1800 and Rich and Lynn on their GoldWing trike.  After signing in and drawing a gumball from a little bingo device (points awarded based on the colour), I took the lead and we headed out on the day's adventure.

As leader, I now had two choices.  I could have Sandy tell me each turn on the well laid out route sheet and keep track of the mileages, allowing us to reach each checkpoint as intended.  Or I could look at the sheets and see if I could determine where the checkpoints were and take my own route.  I am not a conformist, so Plan B looked good to me.  Nobody else in our group was looking at their sheets anyway.  The rules don't say you CAN'T do this and, whatever is not expressly prohibited must be OK:-)

Before we got up to speed, we stopped in the very pretty subdivision right next door to visit Fred's special ladyfriend Ginger.  Fred and Ginger.  It actually took me a year to get it.  She would normally be riding with us but had just had back surgery during the last week and was recuperating at home.  It was good to see her, although we didn't stay too long because we didn't want to tire her out.

From Ginger's, I saw that the first Checkpoint was at Chicopee Ski Club in Kitchener.  Chicopee was significant in the history of Cyclefest because the rallies from 1980 until 1997 were held there.  There was some discussion about which year had been the last, but I know it was 1997 because that was the year I wrecked the GL1500 on the way home.  GoldWings can't really fly, especially when they go off a cliff.

At one point, near the Waterloo Airport, I came upon a right turn quite suddenly and signaled my intent to turn.  I looked in my mirror and saw Peggy, riding second, admiring the scenery and totally unaware of my intention to cut right across her path.  Discretion being the better part of not becoming a 911 call, I made an instant division to cancel my turn while indicating to the rest of the group where the turn was.  Peggy was soon back with me and we made a U-turn to get back to the rest of the gang.  I'm glad I looked back.

It was good to see the old ski hill again, even if the field we camped in was gutted.  I see they now have water slides.  The checkpoint was around the front and the challenges involved throwing disks and and other things at various hoops on the ground.  The smaller the hoop you hit, the bigger the score.  I didn't hit much.

Bikes parked at Checkpoint #1 with Chicopee Clubhouse in the background

Our crew trying their hand at the games

From Chicopee, I scanned the sheet and saw the next checkpoint was at the Tim Horton's at the corner of Myers and Water Streets in Cambridge.  I knew a nice road leading there and ignored the route sheet.  We took King Street across the 401 to Fountain and went west to the traffic circle seeking Blair Road, the nice, winding route I wanted to introduce everybody to.  Murphy kicked in, however, when we went around the circle and the Blair exit was marked "Road Closed".  With tears in our eyes, we retraced our steps along Fountain Street, again passing a very raunchy dead skunk that we thought we would never see again, and reached our destination via downtown Preston and downtown Galt.  We reached the checkpoint before anyone else and confused the volunteers working there by arriving from the wrong direction.

After having some fun and scoring poorly at some more inane games, we stopped at the adjacent Timmie's (which is half way between Kim and Mike's place and the apartment building Heather used to live in), and had some wraps and stuff.

Jerry, flanked by Lynn and Ed, gives me the eye at Tim's
Betty is on the left

The fearless leader (who could lose a few pounds)

From Tim's, I led the group up Franklin and took them across Avenue Road, where there are some very fancy mansion type homes.  Then we headed up Townline and across the 401 on CR 32.  I didn't realize 32 went this way and now have a better shortcut to Kim & Mike's from Guelph.  We rode through Maryhill, went by the renowned Waterloo Region Model Railroad Club headquarters (they model the Sudbury Division of the CPR circa 1975 on a five level layout) and up to CR 86.  A left here took us right back to the campground, where we signed in and I made two more futile attempts to score points with a nerf gun and something else.  It spit a little rain just after we got back.

The (Unofficial) Poker Run Route

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The ride over, we settled in for a quiet afternoon visiting and socializing.

Peggy and Fred relaxing in front of Fred's trailer
(Fred is in amazing shape for an 80 year old)

Bob & Martha

For supper, we listened to a recommendation made by fellow Freedom Riders Jack and Cathay.  They suggested a place their lovely daughter works in Alma, Marj's Village Kitchen.  Sandy went with Maggie and Joe in their van while Peggy and I rode.  Alma is a crossroads, and Marj's is not well marked.  The sign is even parallel to the road, which makes it hard to spot.  But the locals know it.

Peggy in front of Marj's in Alma, Ontario

While we were waiting for a table Gabby and Mabel (who have been eating all their meals here since they found the place) arrived with a lady friend.  When they gave us a table for six, we offered Gabby's friend a chance to sit with us, which would  make it easier for Gabby and Mabel to get a table for two.  Sure enough, they got it right next to us.  The food was great, the prices were reasonable and the server was fun.  They have an attached bakery but I was a good boy and didn't bring any treats home.

After we ate, Maggie, Joe and Sandy headed out.  Peggy and I waited a bit for Gabby to ride back with him and spent time talking to the owners of several old cars who had stopped in to eat.

Old cars in Alma

On the way back to West Montrose, Gabby led.  He missed the turn to Elmira and we took a detour through Floradale.  Not a bad ride.  We got back in time for hot dogs and corn (like we needed any more food) and the evening entertainment, an ABBA tribute band.  We listened a bit and then adjourned to the bonfire for some camaraderie.  As the evening wound down, the fog started to roll in.  I made my way to bed about midnight.

The Supper Run to Alma

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Cyclefest - Day 1

We woke up this morning to another clear day.  By the time I was up, Sandy was already next door having coffee in Fred's trailer.  I wandered over and enjoyed a Fred McMuffin for breakfast.  This consists of an egg cooked between two pices of bread in a sandwich maker.  Very interesting.

Today, Heather and Sandy were driving to Ingersoll to get a marriage licence.  The reason for the drive was because they price was half what they would charge in Kitchener.  It's a provincial document so I don't know why the discrepancy but it was large enough to make the road trip worthwhile.

With them gone, Fred and I decided to take a little fun ride to the Hockley General Store for coffee.  We went up the usual back roads to Orangeville and then, because of the 16 construction, we took the new Orangeville By-pass around town and connected with the Hockley Road.  I was just through here yesterday but I love this road  and it's better without the trailer.  The speed limit is 70 KPH and the corners are interesting at 10~20 over.

The store was pretty quiet.  We had our coffee and then decided to try to find a way to hook up with the Forks of the Credit Road, another motorcyclist favourite, without going through the construction on Highway 10.  The road through Alton to Highway 24 and then back to McLaren Road appeared to be just the ticket. It came down on the Forks Road just at the start of the good part.  We cruised through the twists and the famous hairpin at a moderate clip and discovered a large number of bikes stopped at Belfountain.  Back through Erin and Eramosa, we arrived back at the campground before Heather and Sandy.

When the marriage crew returned, Sandy and I drove Tom's car up to the Canadian Tire in Fergus looking for a large awning tent.  The screen awning we had before ended up with a broken pole last year, something that pleased us since the thing was a major bear to set up.  We wanted something light and simple but checking there and at the next door Zeller's turned up nothing.  We did get water, new mats for the camper trailer and a sandwich in Elora so the trip wasn't a complete waste.

Back at camp, we helped Maggie set up her monstrous shelter the same as we do every year.  Luckily, she has the myriad of different types of poles numbered to make the job possible.  Tom showed up after work and the five of us went back up to The Gorge for our traditional Friday supper.

On the way back, I decided to ride over to St. Jacobs to see if I could connect with the Ice Cream Run, which sometimes goes there.  No luck, but on the way back out Northfield Road from Conestogo I met a group of motorcycles heading towards Waterloo.  It was too dark to see who they were, but how many groups could there be out here, right?  This must be the Ice Cream Run.  I turned and followed them into Waterloo and found out that I had (once again) made a bad assumption.  ASS_U_ME.  I had joined the Southern Cruisers Motorcycle Club Chapter 270 out of Kitchener on their Friday night ride.  Heather and Tom rode with them last year and I got to meet Road Captain Moe, of whom they had spoken highly.  But this wasn't my party so, after a few words, I headed back to the campground.

This was the official first night of the rally and the corn pots and wiener roast were going full blast when I got back.  Unlucky for me, the Ice Cream Run had gone the other way this evening and was already back.  I had some hot dogs and joined the crew around the bonfire, catching up with old friends and making a few new ones.  It was a full moon but everyone was well behaved, unlike the old days.  Old man that I am, I was in bed by 11:00 PM.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sudbury Ontario to West Montrose Ontario

In the couple of days at home alone, I managed to attend an Action Sudbury monthly meeting and work a Bingo for them. This is a very worthwhile organization promoting safe and sober driving.

This morning was clear and sunny. We have been making the Labour Day pilgrimage to Cyclefest in the Waterloo area for 29 of the last 30 years. There wasn't a big rush, so I took my time getting ready and hooking the trailer up. I got underway at about 9:40. It was unusual to be towing the trailer without a passenger, but Sandy was already down there.

South of Rock Lake, about 30 miles from town, I came upon a scene where two northbound vehicles were off the road and sitting upright in a marshy area. Without any information, it looked to me like they might have bailed when confronted with passing traffic in their lane. The police and wrecker were there and the constable looked like Francis, our former STOP area OPP coordinator.

I had more problems getting the cruise control to engage but no longer think it's a contact issue with the button. There are a number of interlocks in the system preventing the cruise from engaging or disengaging it in certain circumstances. I think one of these interlocks may be malfunctioning intermittently because I downshift and upshift and all is well again. It's sad how dependent I have become on that little piece of technology.

When I got it working, I set the cruise at 100 KPH by the GPS. This was slower than I normally travel, but it would save fuel with the trailer on and seemed to work very well with the southbound traffic.

I stopped for fuel and food about 250 KPH out at Derek Roberts's Esso in Waubaushene. I had a double stacked ham and swiss from Subway and talked to a striking Inco mason from the smelter who was making ends meet by working for the City for a while. I took this opportunity to wipe the coffee off the 'tank', a common Wing problem if the Butler mug leaks, while dodging a large number of yellowjackets. Seems they are all over the place this season.

The 400 southbound was one lane almost all the way from Highway 93 to Barrie. It wasn't a problem today but I think Labour Day Monday might be interesting. I stayed on 400 all the way to what used to be Highway 88, then headed west through Beeton and the Hockley Valley. Dufferin 16 around Orangeville was gravel as they were resurfacing it, but I didn't know until I was on it.  I won't go back this way.

I rolled into West Montrose Family Campground at 3:20 and found Fred's truck and trailer set up in the usual place. No Fred, but I assumed he was out on the bike. I managed to get the trailer and awning set up next to his trailer before Fred returned. Tom came out about 5:00 and set up his new tent (the one they had at the Freedom Rally). I still really like the way it goes up. Then he had to head for Toronto for the evening.

Heather called to say that she and Sandy wouldn't be to the campground before they went to their dress fitting in Elmira. That was at 7:30 and, not wanting to starve, Fred and I decided to go the The Gorge restaurant in Elora for supper. It was a short ride and I had to go to keep up with Fred, who is 80 years young but still gets down the road really well. I had veal Parmesan while Fred had chicken Parm.

Back at the campground, Heather and Sandy finally arrived. Sandy critiqued my setup, but I chose not to hear any criticism. Heather decided she would spend the night at home (about 20 minutes away) and, with no fire because this wasn't an official rally night, w turned in quite early.

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