Friday, December 31, 2010

Is yellow the new black?

There’s an old adage that says you can never go wrong with a black motorcycle. I suppose it may be because it’s a “tough” colour, intended to strike fear in the hearts of “citizens” everywhere. But it’s more likely because colour is such a personal choice and black motorcycles were the two-wheeled equivalent of beige walls in new homes and apartments – in other words, easier to sell.
I expect that was once true, but is it still?
As I look back over the various rides I’ve had over the years I have to say that black was the dominant colour. I did, and do, own bikes of other colours but when the tank got damaged on my originally gold-coloured CB350, I painted the bike black. My RD350LC was black, as was every one of the several Nortons I owned. The Z-1 was due for a paint job (which would have been black) when I sold it, and my current ride, the Dyna, is also black.  So you could say I’m pretty comfortable with the colour. (I know, purists will insist black isn’t really a colour, but if it’s good enough for H-D to decorate their bikes with I’m happy to call it a colour. But I digress.)
So why is it then that I’ve now become so attracted to yellow motorcycles?
The first yellow bike that really caught my eye was this one, at a dealership in Kitchener. Not pure yellow, it had a green metalflake undercoat and an amazing depth to the paint. The reflected sunlight dazzled as it literally jumped off this yellow Dyna.  In fact it was this bike that first got me thinking about owning a yellow machine.
03_dyna_yellow
Then the 2011 H-D models came out, and right there on their web site Harley-Davidson had this gorgeous Fat Boy on display. No wallflower, the Chrome Yellow colour brings the bike to life, demanding passers-by to “look at me!”.
2011 Fat Boy
And then this Norton Commando shows up in my in-box, combining what is arguably my most desirable motorcycle with a colour that is quickly becoming a favourite of mine.
Norton Commando
Is it all a sign? Is someone trying to tell me something? Could I really live with yellow?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Heart over head

The folks over at Motorcycle Picture of the Day posted this photo of a stunning early-70’s vintage Norton Commando. And my heart rate jumped about 20 beats per second.
Norton Commando
As I have posted previously, I have had a long and somewhat conflicted love affair with Nortons, having acquired my first one in the late 70’s and disposed of my last one in 2001, owning 5 or 6 of the beasts during that time.
Nortons always struck me as purpose built sculptures, designed to evoke the baser instincts, and like moth to flame I would succumb, drawn by the sheer muscularity of that power plant and the raw beauty of the machine itself.
But truth be told, they made better sculptures than daily riders. They were temperamental  machines, prone to shake parts loose at the most inopportune time and the Lucas “Prince of Darkness” electrics virtually guaranteed at least one ride home in the dark every few weeks. With no electric start and a compression ration of 10:1 or so, kicking one to life often resulted in a sweat-soaked start to a ride, and possibly a bruised shin or worse (I once actually drove my knee into my chin as a result of a particularly nasty kickback). And while the isolastic suspension kept the engine vibrations from rattling your fillings loose, it did nothing to prevent the exhaust system from periodically heading south, or the kickstart lever falling off. In fact, nearly every ride ended with a must-do maintenance list of several items needing tightening, repair, or replacement. And duct tape became your best friend.
But as my German father-in-law used to say, “Too soon old, too late smart”, and still, every time I see one of these classics the urge strikes again to own one. Then the head wakes up and says, “Are you nuts?” and reality takes over.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stretch Enfield

Thanks to the folks over at Bikes in the Fast Lane, we have this image of a 3-wheeled Royal Enfield.

Royal-Enfield-Three-Wheels

Why would anyone do this? Probably so they could do this:

5 on a motorcycle

While the location isn’t specified, the background would appear to put the bike in some third-world country where safety concerns are, at best, of little importance compared to the need for cheap transportation. And I for one would much rather be on the back end of an extended seat on the Royal Enfield than perched with my ass hanging over the back edge of a top box, hanging on to the guy 2 places in front of me, and praying the driver doesn’t crack the throttle and wheelie me and my co-riders into a serious case of road rash.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Season’s Greetings

Things are about to get a little crazy here at the homestead over the next few days, so I thought I’d best take this opportunity to wish all my readers and fellow motorcycle bloggers a very Merry Christmas. May your day be blessed with friendship and good cheer. And perhaps, if conditions permit, a brief ride while the turkey is in the oven.
Biker Santa
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The old man on the moped

An elderly man on a Moped, looking about 100 years old, pulled up next to a doctor at a street light. The old man looked over at the sleek shiny car and asked, 'What kind of car ya got there, sonny ?'
The doctor replied, 'A Ferrari GTO. It cost half a million dollars!'

'That's a lot of money,' said the old man. 'Why does it cost so much?'

'Because this car can do up to 320 miles an hour!' said the doctor proudly.

The Moped driver asked, 'Mind if I take a look inside?'

'No problem,' replied the doctor. So the old man leaned over, poked his head in the window and looked around. Then, sitting back on his Moped, the old man said, 'That's a pretty nice car, all right... but I'll stick with my Moped!'
Just then the light changed, so the doctor decided to show the old man just what his car could do. He floored it, and within 30 seconds the speedometer read 160 mph. Suddenly, he noticed a dot in his rear view mirror. It seemed to be getting closer!
He slowed down to see what it could be and suddenly WHOOOOSSSHHH!  Something whipped by him going much faster!  'What on earth could be going faster than my Ferrari?' the doctor asked himself.  He pressed harder on the accelerator and took the Ferrari up to 250 mph.  Then, up ahead of him, he saw that it's the old man on the Moped!

Amazed that the Moped could pass his Ferrari, He gave it more gas and passed the Moped at 275 mph. He was feeling pretty good until he looked in his mirror and saw the old man gaining on him AGAIN !

Astounded by the speed of this old guy, he floored the gas pedal and took the Ferrari all the way up to 320 mph.  Not ten seconds later, he saw the Moped bearing down on him again! The Ferrari was flat out, and there was nothing he could do!

Suddenly, the Moped plowed into the back of his Ferrari, demolishing the rear end.

The doctor stopped and jumped out and unbelievably the old man was still alive.

He ran up to the banged-up old guy and said, 'I'm a doctor.... Is there anything I can do for you?'

The old man whispered, "Unhook my suspenders from your side view mirror".

Friday, December 3, 2010

The corn field

corn stubble 2I sit there and stare out over the cornfield, reduced by the harvest to stubble, golden in the late afternoon sun. I imagine a giant hand reaching down and brushing across the earth; it would feel like a 2-day-old beard I suppose.
A large flock of geese arrives, looking for overnight shelter and rest on its way to a warmer winter home. Gliding close to the ground, one by one they flare and half land, half crash to the earth. Comical to watch but even this, it seems, is done in formation driven by instincts we can’t possibly understand.
Near the road is a single corn stalk that was somehow missed by the harvester. A survivor, but winter is on its way so the end was not avoided, only delayed. I wonder if being the last person standing after an apocalypse would be a good thing, or a bad thing. I don’t know. And I don’t particularly want to find out.
Then my thoughts are interrupted by the raising of the barrier as the end of the train finally passes.  Back to the real world, I grab a handful of throttle and ride on, the corn field once again relegated to simply scenery.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cleaning out the gar(b)age

There are lots of signs of winter being on its way here. Aside from the leaves having deserted the trees, the bears going into hibernation, the golf courses all closing, and deer season having come and gone, there’s the annual clean out the garage event.

This is usually triggered by the acceptance of the fact that, given all of the above, it’s time to change the oil on the bikes and tuck them in for the winter. Which is, of course, immediately followed by the realization that the garage is so full of crap that there’s no place to work – and it’s now too damned cold to do it outside – so a clean-up is the only option.

As a firm believer that procrastination is something best left until tomorrow, I am generally quite successful at holding off doing this chore until the last possible minute. But this year I also have a honey-do project (put off from last winter) that requires the relatively unencumbered use of the garage to complete and I’m running out of time (and spousal patience).
But first things first. The order will be: a) tidy the garage; b) put the bikes to bed; and c) build the entertainment center cabinets.

Now a garage to me has always been a place where you “do stuff” and you “put stuff”, with “put stuff” generally meaning dropping it where you used it the last time you “did stuff”. So it’s no surprise that 11 months after the last major clean-up it looks like this:

DCIM\100GOPRO

You’ll note the clever use of handlebars as coat hangers and seats as excess storage space. The rest is tools on top of tools, projects un-started and half done, bits of this and scraps of that, future eBay transactions, and so on. And the chair serves as a handy vantage point from which one can swivel around and contemplate the challenge ahead whilst quaffing a pint or two in preparation. It’s no wonder my wife doesn’t like visiting the garage; I’m kind of scared to go in there myself when it gets this bad.

But today was a miserable, wet, windy day suitable only for napping while watching baseball on TV or starting the herculean task of putting some structure into the mess. I opted for the latter. And made barely a dent.

However tomorrow is another day, and since I’m then off to hot and sunny (it had better be) Florida for some golf, I’m going to have to make some serious inroads lest I be faced with the same chaotic scene when I return in a week.

Wish me Godspeed folks, for it’s once more into the breech.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why we have an obesity problem – an apology.


exercise
I recently had this image sent to me as one of those so-called motivational posters. It seemed such a perfect metaphor for a lot of what ails us today that I just had to share it.
Well I was wrong. No sooner had I posted the item than Kev made this comment on my blog:
Actually, while it is easy to make fun of her, the person in that photo is Melissa Hofstetter. The reason she is using the Segway is that in 1995 she was diagnosed with cancer and had to have her left leg amputated above the knee. While she is able to get around fairly well with her prosthetic leg, long distances, and hilly terrain are very difficult for her and often leave blisters and sores. This picture is of her while she was making a trip to Seattle to help take care of her grandniece.

In August, Gizmodo published an apology for previously publishing the image on their webpage with a snarky comment, and an explanation of who she is. It also has a much more detailed description of just who she is and just what she has gone through. Needless to say, she is not the reason we have an obesity problem.

http://gizmodo.com/5602600/i-am-very-sorry-segway-stroller-lady
Thank you Kev. I stand corrected, appropriately chastised, and apologetic. And to all others who periodically read my ramblings, if this image shows up in your inbox one day, you’ll know the background, be wise enough to not pass it on, and be able to go back to the sender with Melissa Hofstetter’s story.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Season’s last ride?

As anyone who lives north of the 45th parallel (or thereabouts) knows, 12 months of riding is available only to those with either a death wish or blood of ice. Having neither, I sadly have to bed the baby for a few months every year while mother nature does her best to drive us all south, or temporarily insane until she is once again beaten into submission by the longer days of spring.
That’s why the last ride of the year is so important because the afterglow has to last for months. So when the rainy weather finally broke and the sun came out last weekend, I took full advantage for “the last ride”.
I headed off to one of my favourite routes through Calabogie and then across along Highway 511 to enjoy some of the twisties that road has to offer.
Last ride
The green leaves of summer had long since fallen to the forest floor leaving the trees as naked as a bunch of freshmen at a nude beach on spring break. Although thoughts of such activity were quickly dispelled by the temperature – a not-so-beachy 5C (~40F). Even the forest looked cold.

Turning southwest at Burnstown, I followed the Madawaska River all the way into Calabogie, at one point stopping at a picnic area to watch the water flow over the rocks while I enjoyed a mid-ride cigar and warmed up in the sunshine. Clearly I was not alone in my thinking as bike after bike cruised by – some solitary, others in groups, all enjoying the day. A couple of sports bikes pulled into the parking lot while I was there, but parked at the other end, afraid of H-D contamination I expect.









At Calabogie I swung southeast onto 511, and that’s where the fun riding started. Highway 511 is one of those hidden gems of a highway that is important enough that the government keeps it well maintained and the pavement in good condition, but it isn’t important enough to spend the money on to straighten it out from it’s long ago origins as a cart path. 511 and I go way back and it’s still one of my favourite routes.
But it doesn’t go on forever, and with the sun dropping lower and lower in the sky and knowing the temperature would quickly follow suit, it was time to start the homeward loop up through Clayton and then back across to Pakenham and home.
Much to my surprise Scoop’s was still open. What would a ride be if it didn’t involve a stop for ice cream – possibly also the last of the year? A double scoop of burgundy cherry didn’t do much to raise my body temperature, but it sure was good for the soul!
As I was having my ice cream, a school bus pulled up. The female driver got out with her last 2 charges – 5 or 6-year-old girls – and bought them both, and herself, an ice cream. I never had a bus driver give me anything but a hard time, and so I told them how lucky they were. They got back on the bus, all giggles and chatter, pony tails and striped leggings, and headed to the same place I was going – home.

P.S. The weatherman is calling for double-digit temperatures for next week – very un-November-like. Another last ride perhaps? We live in hope. But I know for sure Scoop’s is now closed for the season, so it just won’t be the same, whatever happens.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I’m going back.

I’ve been known to be a little forgetful on occasion so it was no surprise that I had left my sunglasses at the gas station where we filled up.
I didn’t think much about it at the time because the sky had clouded over and the sun wasn’t really a problem, but several miles down the road the sun came out again and I realised what had happened. Unfortunately we were on a 4-lane highway at the time, with exits few and far between, so I pulled up ahead of Charlie who was riding his BMW K757-A with German-engineered dirt under the fenders and flagged him off into the next rest stop.
“Charlie, I forgot my sunglasses back at that gas station.”
“So what would you like me to do about it?” Charlie was always a very sympathetic sort.
“I’m going to go back for them.”
“Hey man, it’s 15 miles back and there’s nowhere to turn around. Forget ‘em.”
“Charlie, those are expensive glasses. I’m not leaving them there.” The most expensive pair of sunglasses Charlie ever owned were the plastic $3 reading glasses from the Dollar Store that he darkened using a felt-tip marker, so he was having difficulty relating.
“Well shit man, if you’d take care of your stuff this wouldn’t happen.”
“Charlie, I just forgot them on the counter, that’s all. I’m going back.”
And so it went, back and forth, with me taking the lion’s share of abuse for being “so f’ing stupid”. But finally he relented and agreed to ride back with me “just to keep you company”.
It was another 5 miles before we hit an exit where we could turn around and 20 miles back to the gas station. All the way I could see Charlie up ahead, just shaking his head, and I figured I’d never hear the end of it: a waste of time and gas for a lousy pair of sunglasses left on the counter by an idiot.
Finally we pulled into the gas station and parked out front. And as I was getting off my bike to go inside Charlie said to me, “While you’re in there could you also get my credit card?”
Bastard.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The pipeline workers – A tale from the road.

We’d decided to take the weekend to go for a ride back to my home town. I hadn’t been there since leaving for school many years earlier and the missus wanted to see where I grew up, why I’m not sure because I didn’t particularly want to see it myself.
Ottawa-Temiscaming - Copy
Right after work on Friday we headed out, me on a brand new RD350LC that I wanted to stretch the legs on,and her on her trusty CB400F. By about 8 PM we were in Mattawa, hungry, and looking for a place to stay.  As I’ll explain later, the memories of that night are somewhat fuzzy, but I seem to recall the place we chose being called the Mattawa Motel though I’ll stand to be corrected on that. Anyway we got a room and had a good dinner in the dining room before heading to the bar for some refreshment.
That’s when the trouble began.
Except for the bartender and an older guy sitting alone at molson golden stubbya table the place was empty. We headed for the bar and ordered up. Molson Golden was the tipple of choice in those days and so we had him pop a couple of stubbies for us.  Soon enough we’re chatting to the bartender and tell him we’re going up to Temiscaming and why. He says to the guy at the table, “Andre, isn’t that where you’re from?”, and then, to us, “Andre’s the owner, he used to live in Temiscaming.”
With that Andre came over and asked our names. I told him and he said, “Your father’s name Fred?” “Yes.” “Bien maudit, I used to cut your hair. Do you remember me? I was the barber there and your dad used to bring you in when you were just little. Me and your dad, we used to go fishing.” Then he told me his last name which brought the memories into sharper focus.
Now that we were friends with the owner, or more precisely my dad had been friends with the owner, he felt obliged to buy us a round for old time’s sake, and another as we got caught up on all the news from the past 15 or so years.
About 9:30 a group of six or so very big guys came into the bar. One asked the bartender who owned the bikes parked outside. He pointed to us and I thought we were either going to get the crap kicked out of us, or be told they just ran over one of both of the motorcycles in the parking lot.
But no fear. They came and sat at the bar beside us. Being ‘friends’ of the owner, and somewhat a novelty (not too many women rode motorcycles then) we were introduced to each in turn. We found out that they were working on a nearby oil pipeline and were all staying at the motel where the bar had become a sort of home away from home. They ordered up their favourite beers, 2 and 3 at a time, paying in cash from huge wads of bills (Friday was payday) – including a couple more pints for us as well.
It soon became clear that our money was no good in that bar, but in turn we were expected to at least try to keep up. Round after round would appear as the stories of being migrant pipeline workers, hundreds of miles and months away from home, got longer and ever more ridiculous in the telling. We gave it  a hell of a shot, but sometime after midnight with 10 or 12 empties in front of each of us (Canadian beer – 5%!) I lost track. It was one of the few times I can recall that I was actually happy the bar closed at 1:00 AM.
At breakfast the next morning we both commented on how we were feeling surprisingly good, all things considered. So we packed up and headed out. But I expect  the reason we felt as good as we did was because we were still officially DUI. Fortunately we weren’t stopped, didn’t fall over, and riding and the sun soon burned most of the alcohol out of our systems.
We got into town and parked on the main drag to the curious looks of locals wondering who the strangers were. I recognized no one, and no one recognized me – 15 years can be a long time in the life of a small town. I pointed out some of the sights and hangouts from a misspent youth which took all of about 2 hours (small town, few sights, youth not that misspent) before we turned around and headed back home.
When we hit Mattawa I was actually feeling pretty good, so I suggested we perhaps stop at the Mattawa Motel for a quick pint on the way by. That’s when I got one of those don’t-even-think-about-it-if-you-ever-want-to-have-sex-again looks.
Apparently I had weathered the storm much better than the missus.hangover

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall spectacular

While there is plenty to recommend living here, one of the great negatives is the short riding season. If you’re a wimp like I am (hey, I earned my stripes; I’m just older and smarter now) who doesn’t care to ride in the snow, on frost-coated roads, or in freezing rain or sleet, the riding season is about 6 months long, with rides on both ends of that spectrum being few and far between.
However that doesn’t keep us from hoping for that one last ride of the year when Indian Summer is in full swing, the sun is shining brightly on the yellow and red and orange of the forest in its full fall livery, and the temperature is somewhere above absolute zero. But this year, with near-record rain for much of August and all of September, I was almost ready to give up, thinking perhaps it was time for the fall oil change and then beddy-bye for the next 5 months.
Then came this past weekend.
The (Canadian) Thanksgiving long weekend is usually marked by extremes here. It’s either absolutely miserable with leaden skies and any combination of rain/snow/sleet, or it’s spectacular with clear deep-blue skies and mild temperatures. This year we lucked in to the latter with a fantastic 3 days of sun and mid-40’s temps. And though other commitments kept me occupied for a lot of that time I did get out for a short 2 1/2 hour ride.
Here’s some of what Mother Nature had to share.
 
Mushrooms on forest floor
Saw these mushrooms beside the driveway as I was heading to the garage.
Sugar maple for web
Sugar maple at the end of the lane.
Snye Road for web
Snye Road.
Laneway coming home
Coming home to our lane in full colour…
Doe and fawn in laneway
complete with doe and fawn as welcoming committee.
And barring an amazing turn in the weather over the next couple of weeks, that’s going to be just about it for this year, so I might as well give her some fresh oil and cover her up with her winter blankie. Perhaps that’s a job for tomorrow as the cold and rain is expected to continue for a few more days at least.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kill a biker? Well that warrants a slap on the wrist for sure!

Motorcycle Crash Eighteen months ago I posted about this accident, where an unlicensed, uninsured motorist left an injured motorcyclist dying on the pavement and drove off. The rider, Claude Dorion, was found by a passerby, bleeding on the sidewalk, and died 4 hours later in hospital.
Well today, justice (of sorts) was finally meted out in an Ottawa courthouse. The driver, William Davis, was sentenced to a year in jail and handed a 3-year driving ban.  According to the reports Davis was sentenced for leaving the scene of an accident, making an unsafe turn, driving without a licence and operating a vehicle without insurance. It’s worth noting that none of the charges related directly to killing another person. No charges were laid for vehicular homicide or dangerous driving causing death, which to my way of thinking should have been the case here – along with the aforementioned charges to which Davis pleaded guilty.
blind justice Davis got off far too lightly in my opinion. His year in jail will, in all likelihood, be significantly reduced for “good behaviour” and/or early parole. And with a history of driving without a license and without insurance it’s far from certain that the driving ban will have any affect whatsoever. It’s a sad day for justice indeed.
To read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Victim+family+cheers+driver+fled+scene+after+killing+motorcylist+away+jail/3657925/story.html

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wishing all my Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful day here – perfect for one of those scenic fall rides. After the turkey is in the oven, of course.
Turkey in oven
Hope you have a great day wherever you are, and however you celebrate!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ride like a bird

One of the joys of living in the country is the variety of wildlife with which we share our little piece of Eden. And while watching the birds at a feeder a while back it DSC_3970 - for weboccurred to me that we two-wheelers have a lot in common with our feathered friends.
Being able to fly is a primal urge, seated deeply within each of us. Everyone has dreamed about being able to fly, to soar among the clouds, diving, swooping, and being carried on the wind.
As kids we’d all, at one time or another, play at flying. Whether pretending to be a fighter pilot engaged in mock battle or just a jet-plane  taking us to new adventures, we’d tilt and turn, arms outstretched, as we imagined the freedom of flight and the possibilities it offered.
And who can ever forget the feeling of awe looking down at the ground the first time they flew?
So we ride.
It’s the closest we’ll ever get to 3-dimensional travel without actually leaving the earth. Like that kid playing at airplanes, we tilt and lean as we dive into a corner or swoop through a series of twisties. Even flying down a lonely stretch of highway, wind in your face, it’s easy to imagine losing that oh-so-tenuous contact with the ground and simply lifting off the pavement.
It’s a sense of freedom that you just cannot experience on 4 wheels. Which may be why so many drivers  seem resentful, even angry, as they see us ride by, realising they are forever solidly attached to terra firma in their minds, and their lives.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pre-1916 Cannonball Endurance Run

image Image from Cannonball Run site.
The Pre-1916 Motorcycle Cannonball Coast to Coast Endurance Run officially starts tomorrow from Kitty Hawk.
Congratulations and best wishes to all who are participating. We may not be there physically, but we will be with you in spirit every thrilling mile of the way.
Godspeed to all the riders. Ride safe and have fun.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Escaping Crab Fest

There’s this annual event in the Missus’ family at which all the female members get together to bitch about their husbands, each other, and anything else that’s pissing them off at the time, hence the title “Crab Fest”. So for those gourmands out there who thought this post was about seafood, sorry. Males are not invited, except for the spouse of the host (moi) who refuses to give up his bed for any other woman.
So as an uninvited-but-you’re-stuck-with-me guest, my main function was to stay the hell out of the way and keep the wine cellar stocked, both of which I was very happy to do, the first for obvious reasons and the second because I managed to slip a couple of bottles of J-D into the order and no one was any the wiser.
But today I did manage to escape for a nice long ride – about 300 kilometres, or 200 miles worth.
Came across these fine folks out for a patriotic ride not too far from home. Clever use of old mufflers and exhaust pipes, but I’m not sure why they have tails. Monkey riders perhaps?
Crossed over to the Quebec side of the river on the Quyon ferry.
Had a nice rest stop all to myself on a high point of land rising above the valley farms below. Unfortunately the surrounding forest prevented any good scenic views.
 
Came upon this covered bridge.  For those whose French isn’t up to par, the sign says it was built in 1898, is 497.3 feet in length, and is the longest covered bridge in the Province of Quebec. It doesn’t actually go anywhere, but I had to cross it anyway. Surprisingly, the wooden tracks were worse than any grated bridge I’ve ever been over for moving the front end around. And the trough in the middle of the two wheels tracks was about 8” deep – don’t want to go there.
 
I made the acquaintance of Bud and Betsy, a couple of roadside hay bale characters  suitably accoutered for the upcoming local fiddle competition. According to the old fellow who put them together, he dresses them up in appropriate finery for Halloween and Christmas as well. May be worth another trip in a month or so.
Last stop: Eganville, a small community on the Bonnechere River first settled almost 200 years ago as a lumber town. Now the centre of a tourist and cottage area.
So to paraphrase the MasterCard ads:
Ferry toll: $3.75
Gas: $12:35
200 mile trip on a beautiful summer day: Priceless.
Capture

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Motorcycles I understand. Women not so much.

I was washing the bike the other day, giving her some of that TLC she needs every so often to keep her happy. The missus walked by and said, “You never treat me like that any more.”
So I turned and gave her a soaking with the pressure washer.

Now it seems she didn’t want to be treated “like that” after all, and I’m in trouble again.

pressure wash

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer getaway

Before heading down to Port Dover for the Friday the 13th celebrations, I spent a little time at a cottage on Doe Lake up the Huntsville area with my brother, fishing and doing some riding.
The fishing wasn’t so great (at least for me), but the riding was excellent.
My favourite road was Highway 518 which is  60 kilometres of twists, turns, hills, and valleys, and seemingly unknown to the rest of the motoring public. I would have thought it would be a sports bike magnet, but we didn’t see one other motorcycle the two times we rode it. All we had to watch out for was moose (didn’t see any, although there were plenty of warning signs) and various roadside attractions that would catch my eye. Here are a couple of my favourites.
Blue tricycle on 518. Just sitting on a rock in front of a home beside the road.
Some very nice rock art. Also on 518.
Tom Thomson bronze sculpture in Huntsville.
Lunch on the patio overlooking the canal in Huntsville.
(It wasn’t just beer… we did have some food as well.)
Taking a break beside one of the many lakes in the area.
It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Port Dover – Friday the 13th

Port Dover MapLocated on the north shore of Lake Erie, Port Dover Ontario is a sleepy village of about 6,000 permanent residents, except for Friday the 13th. On every Friday the 13th since 1981 bikers from across Canada and the US converge on Port Dover for a 1-day rally. This past Friday was the 50th consecutive rally and one of the most  successful with some estimates putting the attendance in the vicinity of 175,000 visitors and close to 100,000 bikes.
Intending to beat the crush we left Waterloo at 7 AM for the 2 hour ride there. It was a beautiful morning with temperatures in the low 20's (Celsius) and the morning fog still burning off the fields gave the ride a bit of an ethereal feel to it. After the requisite stop at Tim Horton's for a coffee, we rode into Port Dover at about 9:00, just 2 more bikes in a steady stream of motorcycles pouring into town.
Rather than spend the next hour riding around looking for a parking spot in the heart of downtown, we opted to support a local charity and pay for parking about a 15-minute walk from the centre of the action. But even at that early hour, on-street parking was filling up fast and so we had lots of bikes to look at on our walk into town.
I'll get to the pictures in a minute, but before I do I'd just like to say how refreshing it is to experience an event like this in a community that supports the rally and goes out of its way to welcome the visitors drawn to the event, either as riders, or as spectators. Sure there's a ton of money to be made so it may not be that altruistic of them, but even so it's nice to feel welcome. And in turn the vast majority of bikers return the favour, being respectful of the town, its citizens, and the authorities attempting to keep everyone safe in town and on the roads.
All in all, a great day.
112A steady stream of bikes rolling into town.
Some had real women on pillion, but this guy apparently made his own.
  Not sure how far he rode on the tractor saddle. 
Surprisingly few of these. But lots of everything else.
One of the coolest bikes was this 1936 (I think) Nimbus. The owner would start it up periodically so you could watch the exposed valves and valve springs clattering away. Very neat.
098And for the budget crowd there were even chopped electric bicycles.
062 Some incredible paint work on display. While not my personal style, the Spider Man crotch rocket was an amazing piece of custom work.
097   Every street heading into downtown looked like this – for a mile or more in some cases.
115Lots of people walking, gawking, and buying stuff… lots of stuff. Apparently they ran out of souvenir t-shirts by 2:30. Fortunately I had mine by then. :)
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And no Friday the 13th would be complete without “Thong Man”. No idea who he is, but he’s at every event in some sort of thong-based costume. This time it was as the Energizer Bunny, complete with pink bunny ears, a tail, and a little drum. Last November it was Santa. Simply more proof that it takes all kinds.