To fill the morning, Sandy and Heather watched a TV series of TV shows on brides and their wedding gowns while I blogged. Then we made a run over to the TD Bank so I could get some cash, Heather could do some Association business and Tom could pick up his car the the Hyundai dealer next door. On the way back, we stopped at the Pancake House Restaurant for a late breakfast. This place had very generous portions, the food was good and prices were reasonable. Thanks for the grub, Tom.
We left for the show at 2:00 PM. A traffic snarl-up on the 401 saw us get off on Mississauga Road and follow Derry Road to the International Centre. On the way, we had to make room for a couple of fire trucks that were in a hurry to get somewhere. We hoped it wasn't the show and it wasn't. They turned north on Airport Road. At the Centre, we found a parking spot not too far from Door 1 and found no line-up to buy tickets. This was unusual.
I think we entered Building 5. Almost at once, we ran into Jack and Deb, rally friends from London who ride with the CMA. Then we met our friend Di, who is now wearing a CMC (Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers) patch from their Barrie chapter. Di is one of the Fry crowd but has been out of organized riding for some time, so it was really good to see her back in the game.
We were surprised to see a large part of one of the buildings given over to new and used motorhomes. There were used and new Class C and Class A units including one diesel pusher. and the prices were good. I judged there were even some better deals than the one I got last fall. Oh well.
Walking around, I judged there were substantially less booths than in prior years. Despite the inclusion of the RV's and other non-motorcycle displays, there was still an open feeling and the crowds were down as well. In fact, the usually crowded food court was 2/3rds empty and you could have swung several dead cats in Building 1 where the club displays are usually packed in.
In building 1, we stopped to talk to the GWTA rep about Wings and passed some time with Steve, an old acquaintance who was manning the Americade booth. We also bought new Big Skinny wallets. I needed one because it was time to retire my STOP badge wallet and I had so many cards that it took a second wallet to keep them all in line. Without the badge, all my cards fit in the new folder with room to spare.
Probably the best booth in the place was the one designed by VROC member Dave (Rudeboy) for the Canadian Sidecar Owners Club. The theme supported our military and the sacrifices they have made on behalf of us all. Although Dave wasn't able to be at the show or dinner today, my hat is off to him and the other CSOC members who put this all together.
After a few hours wandering about, we had our fill of the show. With the apparent decrease in both exhibitors and attendees, I have to wonder if it is a sign of the current economic situation or is this event losing out to the December show, which is a flashier deal downtown and is supported by the manufacturers?
We left in time to make it to the Mandarin for 6:45. Guns normally organizes the dinner but wasn't going to be here, so Tom took over. He had a reservation for 7:00 and, when he checked in, they said they would call us then. Unlike prior years, we were down to seven with the four of us, Mike (RCAF) from Ottawa and Roger (Big Grouch) and a friend from Windsor.
Mike arrived just before 7:00. Something must have happened to Roger because it turned out he was conspicuous by his absence. We stood in the crowded waiting area listening for our group to be called. Something didn't go right and Tom and Mike took turns checking with the lady who was keeping the list. She kept saying "You're next" but they kept calling other parties. I have no idea what was up with that but finally, after 7:30, they called one more (not us) group and we got fed up. After a few words to the lady at the podium, who didn't seem to care, we left and went over to the Woodbine Racetrack and Slots for their buffet.
One funny thing. Heather got pulled aside as we entered Casino and carded. The security guard thought she might not be of age to enter a gambling facility. He was very surprised when her Driver's Licence indicated she was 29 and would hit the magic 30 in three more weeks. As for Heather, she wasn't sure whether to be annoyed or pleased. This beats her Mom's record of being carded on her 25th birthday.
The Woodbine buffet didn't have nearly the choices the Mandarin does but it was good and the price was less. The roast beef, especially the second serving hot out of the oven, was excellent. As usual, i ate more than I should have. I was amazed at how many people were there, dressed to the nines, playing the slot machines. I hope they spend lots because the government is the beneficiary.
After we ate, we headed back out to the van, walking gingerly because there was some very slick ice in the parking lot. The trip back to Woodstock was uneventful and we arrived home about 10:45.
Thanks to Tom for doing the organizing and Guns for all the years he put this dinner together. I think, though, that the Mandarin has worn out its welcome and Heather says they will check out some other alternatives for next year. She will also be writing a nasty letter to the Mandarin management, something she does quite well.
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