Sudbury ride troop –
Rob and Chantal Lemieux, Terry and Patsy Appleby, Dan and Tracy Remillard, Dan and Yollande Nepssy, Don MacInnis
Members in attendance at Port Dover –
Jack and Cathay French, Rick and Sharon Barrowcliffe, Ruth Barrowcliffe, Gord Bailey, Terry Emerson
Report : Nonfiction (well mostly anyway but we’ll let you figure it out)
We got underway Thursday morning at 8:00 am from the Timmie’s parking lot at the Four Corners in Sudbury. The weather was amazing.
Our first stop was the French River Trading Post and just as we pulled in, Leo and Doug pulled in behind us. They would ride with us for a way then head off to their own destination. Terry had a bit of a trailer hitch problem but he and Rob fixed it quickly and he was able to continue without further incident. Next intermission was to be at the Information Center just past Parry Sound on the 400.
Little whoops here, we nearly missed that turnoff. Every once in a while you need a little shake up to get everyone’s attention. That’s our story and Rob is sticking to it. We all refueled and took a bit of a break while some of us added a little supplement to the early breakfast we already had. Before leaving home Yollande and I had discussed taking the back roads through Southern Ontario farm country, partially because she is still a bit jittery riding in a group and also because we don’t prefer the big highways. However, we were riding at a reasonable speed and it was getting hot so we decided to stay with the gang all the way and get there quicker. HA!!! Next stop would be on the 400 at the service center just before Canada’s Wonder Land.
Wow !!! Now it was warm. Refuel, then lunch at the service center, and water, water, water. After our lunch we took out the map, decided on our route, reset the GPS, re-verified with each other that we all knew the selected route, settled on taking the 407 to save time, and off we went, Rob in the lead. Did I mention Dan reminded us not to get lost, because that is a key point in this tale. There were lessons to be learned this weekend and we were ripe for learning.
We were somewhere on the 407 when Dan, Tracy, and Don disappeared from my mirror. I think that’s when Yollande said something like “why are we here, this is the wrong way.” I can sometimes be a great follower, even to a fault. I can blindly follow a leader while not paying attention to where we are going. We were soon on the 401, I believe somewhere around Milton, and traffic was really slowing down and becoming bumper to bumper. The outside temp indication on my bike was reading 37 degrees Celsius and we were coming to a stop within a very long lineup on the freeway. Rob and Chantal, Terry and Patsy, Yollande and I sat on our bikes cooking while turning our tires ever so slowly it seemed only to ensure we roast them nice and evenly. We kind of thought we might be where we weren't supposed to be according to our plan, too. Is that called being lost? Someone said earlier that “you’re not lost if you have a full tank of gas”. We were still full so maybe we weren't lost yet. Lesson #1 Learned.
Somewhere up ahead there had been an accident because emergency vehicles kept rushing by us in the emergency lanes. It was about then that Rob grew a set, or maybe he just got bored, and decided he was going to use the emergency lane and get the heck off that frying pan. Terry and Chantal followed. I, on the other hand, worried about a white vehicle I could see in my mirror that looked like it was edging forward in that lane. The set I was sprouting quickly shrunk back to sit where I had placed them when I pulled my pants on that morning and I waited to see who he was. He finally did speed up and passed me, with his flashers and siren wailing. Yollande and I decided to wait for a while longer until traffic started moving again. We knew we were okay because we had a map, water, a GPS, and a full tank of gas. Dan said “watch where you’re going, don’t count on the leader”. Lesson #2 learned, late.
Traffic finally started to move again and, once I knew where we were, I set our direction to head into Dover via a route I had used in the past. We were pretty sure everyone but Don had a GPS, however we thought he must still be with Dan and Tracy so we weren't concerned. The rest of our ride to Dover was pretty uneventful so we just enjoyed the ride all alone on our “group ride” despite the heat. ;-)
Cathay, who was already in Dover, had sectioned off a corner right at the front of the park where we were able to set up our tents under some shade trees. This proved quite problematic for her and those folks who arrived early as they had to fight off all other comers who wanted our club spot, so we owe them big time. Our campsite proved even easier for Yollande and me to find because Don, Dan, and Tracy were there waving us in. Yup!!! Don got there first, ahead of all of us. Did I mention Don had no map or GPS. He just followed the route we had all decided on when we were stopped on the 400. Apparently he also learned lesson #2 faster than I did.
Dan and Tracy arrived behind Don because Dan’s bike developed a heat problem. It turns out that was why he disappeared from my rear view back on the 407. Dan figures a new piece of bling he had added to his bike was restricting air flow to the radiator and the hot weather combined with the strain of pulling a trailer may have been a little too much to cool the bike properly. Lesson 3 “Chrome don’t bring you home”. Lesson learned, part removed.
Our lead bike Rob, followed by Chantal, Terry and Pat, finally pulled in last so our group reached our destination. Lesson 4 “Don’t lose the group or your way when leading a group of riders or someone will write about it and tease you for a very long time”. Lesson learned ? We’ll see what happens next ride. ;-)
Our campsite was well occupied. Jack showed up later and Cathay was working the site so she dropped by. Gord and his son were there. Rick, Sharon, and Ruth were there. Now I have to apologize for forgetting everyone else’s name and I’ll blame it on being a newbie in the club as well as my age. Sorry people. Terry Emerson and his friend came in on Friday to guide the clan into Niagara. Somebody was thinking or maybe they knew something we didn't. ;-)
We had supper Friday night at the Erie and most of us pigged out on Perch and Celery Bread. Good stuff. I should mention the restaurant was air conditioned which seemed very critical to us at the time. It had cooled down by the time we were done so we toured the town a bit before going back to the park for a little liquid refreshment and a much needed rest. Someone in the park decided it was his duty to wake us with his loud pipes every hour or so, all night long. He would rev the shit out of his bike showing everyone how he could make flames shoot from his pipes. There is a good bet that his bike is currently being rebuilt in some shop right now. Lesson 5 “Don’t hold your throttle wide open for long periods of time trying to impress people who are probably not real impressed anyway”. Lesson learned – doubtful LOL.
Friday morning we found a great breakfast deal at the Anglican Church on Market Street, and it was air conditioned. Take note, air conditioning was real important by now. Friday was hot and it was a day of walking the town, seeing the sites, buying stuff, and some even took a boat cruise on the river. All the usual PD 13 stuff. Some thoughtful person turned on a garden hose at the nearby market building in our park so a few of us took advantage of a free cold shower during the heat of the day. Motorcycle Mojo Magazine came to the park. They seen our Freedom Rider sign and approached Jack who graciously acted as our club ambassador. He talked the club up for us as well as put in a good plug for our annual rally. Way to go, Jack! We hope to see something about it in an upcoming issue. I hold a subscription and just received my latest issue in the mail today so, unfortunately, it didn't make it to the press in time and won’t help this year's rally. There were no fires allowed in the park so Cathay lit a potted candle and we all sat around the fire Friday night drinking beer and shooting the breeze. Friday night was relatively quiet in the campground.
Saturday we were all up bright and early to break camp before noon. Yollande and I had a very busy schedule ahead of us so we opted to ride home a day early instead of going on to Niagara Falls with the rest of the group. We took the back roads home avoiding all the “Saturday Wasaga Beach traffic” and had a wonderful ride back under blue sky all the way. I checked in with Rob via email Sunday night and they made it to Niagara, meeting up with Gary Lamarche at Shaun’s as planned, then headed back Sunday.
I hope I didn't make this sound like we didn’t have a good ride because we did, we had a ball. Losing our way was part of the fun because we all joked that it would probably happen even before we left and it did. It’s all about the journey, not the destination, so we just extended our journey and made the best of it with good friends and now we have better stories to tell.
I have to put this in here. In the photographs Yollande is wearing beads, we all know how you normally earn them in New Orleans, but in this case she only had to fill out a survey to earn them. Honest!!! Our dog is pretty small at our house and I don’t prefer sleeping in her house so I needed to make that very clear to everyone as I already forwarded the photos to Jim to post and forgot about the beads. And that’s our story and we are definitely sticking to it.
Check out the Photo Album