by Nepper, Road Captain
Well I left Chelmsford to ride out to Lively at about 8:45 am, again trying to beat everyone there and wouldn’t you know it I was the 3rd bike to show up. I’m starting to know what the wolf felt like in the story of the 3 little pigs. Sorry, back to the ride.
Jim and Sandy were waiting inside Mr. J’s with Leo and, had I arrived earlier, I guess I could have had breakfast with them but it was really foggy and I really didn’t want to leave home any earlier. When I say foggy, I mean “pea soup thick” foggy. It was risky turning left off the bypass from Chelmsford into Creighton. I won’t complain too much about the cold but it was cold enough to make me run the windshield up on the Vision to keep the wind off my forehead. However, I had to put it back down again because the fog just misted it up and I needed to keep as clear a sightline as possible. Fog, moose, and oncoming traffic, need I say more.
We weren’t there long when Terry and Nicky rode in followed by Ken and Gary Venturi. Make a note. Mr. J’s has a Sunday buffet so unless you get there real early you can’t order breakfast because the kitchen is too busy preparing. Needless to say Terry got skunked out of breakfast.
We weren’t in any real hurry to leave as we were hoping the fog would burn off a bit before we jumped on the bikes. We probably left about 15 or 20 minutes later than planned and by then the fog was definitely thinning so riding was now much safer. We rode out of Lively on RR 55 and although I haven’t been on it in a while I was pleased to see the surface was at least tolerable. By Sudbury standards. When we pulled out onto the highway we pulled in behind a group of Canadian Cruiser riders and followed them to Nairn Center where they turned off at the Esso Fuel Stop. While riding behind them I felt it best to keep a space large enough to separate our two groups to allow any 4 wheeled traffic the opportunity to slip in between us. Their line was pretty long and they were behind a semi so it was no use us trying to pass everything and get separated in the process. Lucky for us they turned off.
We stopped for a minute at the Wendy’s/Timmy’s in Espanola. The stop was more an opportunity to make sure everyone was comfortable with their choice of riding apparel than actually needing a break but it was lucky we did because it wasn’t long after we stopped that Roger pulled in to join the ride. Who knew? It was great to see Roger back up and running after his trouble on the colour ride. Roger was wearing a new rubber tire, breaks and a new front wheel bearing. Good to have you back Roger. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that we passed a dead moose on the side of the road. Poor thing, it must have got nailed in the fog and as sorry as I was to see it laying in the ditch I was happy at least that it didn’t show up unexpectedly in the middle of the road.
Bikes, bikes, and more bikes, all along the way toward Elliot Lake, what a great day for a ride. The colours were spectacular. We pulled into Elliot Lake and I rode straight to the Fire Side Grill. Well sort of. “It used to be there, honest” but now it’s a Shopper’s Drugmart. Imagine my surprise. First I was surprised the hotel wasn’t there then I was really surprised the group still let me lead them out of there and on to the new location back up the highway. We found it but only because some nice old lady recognized that “lost biker look” on my face and walked over to offer directions.
We were joined by a really nice couple on a Nomad who not long ago returned to riding and had come up from Sudbury behind us. The food was good at the new Fireside but we could have just as easily ended up at the Coach House Steak House which is practically next door. Maybe next time. After lunch we gassed up and headed up to the lookout tower about 3 klicks north of town. A great spot for pictures and digesting.
Back toward home. The ride was pretty much your standard “head back home ride” and everything was going great when all of a sudden there wasn’t anybody in my rear view mirrors. My first thought was MUTINY. “I knew it, they lost faith in me over misplacing the restaurant.” A quick U turn on the highway and a short run back to where I learned it was just Terry who forgot to close his saddle bags, drat!. Not quite so romantic as mutiny but still it was ADVENTURE. Bear with me here, there’s nothing on TV and Yollande is out for the evening. We weren’t going to stop until we were back at Timmy’s in Lively but we decided to stop in Espanola to say our goodbyes there. Naturally the parking lot was loaded up with bikes so we filed in and spent some time chewing the fat before we climbed back in the saddle and rode into the sunset. Well okay, technically we were headed in the other direction but who ever heard of anyone riding “out of the sunset.” That there is what I’ll call “writer’s privilege”
Jim and Sandy, Leo, and the couple we met on the Nomad, stayed behind, Roger left for Manitoulin, and Nicky, Gary, Ken, and I headed off. There wouldn’t be any more stops so we just blasted our way back and eventually got separated in traffic. Sorry folks but the devil made me do it. Well actually the devil was riding a Valkarie and he had made a comment earlier about hating to be passed by one of those “other Bikes”. You know, the ones with attitude. So the opportunity presented itself and I found myself compelled to give him what he wanted. “It was his fault officer, I was pushed into it.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I made it back home before 5:30 pm. Just a little too late for supper but just in time for happy hour. We had an absolutely fabulous ride on one of the last of the great days of the 2011 riding season. Our count down ride couldn’t have been better.
Oh by the way. I guess you may have picked up on the fact that Rob wasn’t along for the ride, but that isn’t the only reason we had such a great time. However, even though Rob wasn’t there Roger decided to remember him by graciously dropping his bike just so we could all think about him. So who’s going to drop their bike for Rob next ride? ;-)