This year I was on my own. Having just acquired a Ford Explorer, I decided to add some camping equipment and ‘rough it’ at the 2002 GCMR. With Wing in tow, I departed on Friday, August 2. However, all did not go according to schedule. I ran into trouble getting packed and ready on time, and knew that I would miss the good doctor from TN, Stan Bise (aka Flying Doc) at the appointed time, I-81 rest stop. Fortunately, Stan did what I advocate; wait a bit and leave. Being one hour off schedule, I made the stop and continued on, trying to catch up. That never happened, as catching The Flying Doc with a one-hour head start is like trying to catch a greased pig at a county fair. Oh well!
Eventually, I crossed the border having changed some US dollars to Canadian. Gee, that Canadian stuff is so pretty; reminds me of playing Monopoly. On to meet Paul at Timmies in Kemptville. Only one small problem: The sign for Kemptville is south of highway 43, so I naturally followed the sign! Into the town; no Timmies, just a Godfathers Pizza. OK, time to ask directions; small town, someone must know. Into a local IGA; politely ask a local about Timmies…
Me: Excuse me sir (attention getter), I need to find Timmies to meet someone.
Him: Let’s see…. Timmies…no, can’t think of any Timmies….
Me: Well, is there a information center or something nearby?
Him: Well, up on highway 43…..
Me: OK, 43 rings a bell; how do you get there?
Him: See where that blue car went (pointing)?
Me: OK, great! Thanks!
On the way to hwy 43 there was a local GM dealer. They must know! So, drifting into the President’s office at the dealer:
Me: Hi! I’m visiting and need to find Timmies to meet someone.
Pres: Timmies? (puzzled look) hmmmmmmmmmmm…
Me: Well, how about a local phone book? We can look it up.
Pres: Have that right here…(pages flipping…) no, can’t find a listing….
Pres: I know! (gets on PA system) This is the Pres; anyone who knows where Timmies is, give me a call.
(several minutes pass, continues with phone book, phone silent…)
Pres: Well, we’re not having much luck with that (knack for the obvious!)
Me: (thoughts racing, mentally reading Paul’s email…’Timmies, you can’t miss it!’ Synapses fire rapidly in brain, associations, food, FOOD! GCMR!)
Me: By chance, is there a Tim Hortons in town?
Pres: Tim Hortons? Yes! Right up on hwy 43 in the shopping center.
Me: Thanks! That has to be it!
And so it was that the small town of Kemptville did not know the nick name…..
On to Timmies and Paul was not long in finding me. Responding to the greeting, ‘Hey baldy!’, I greeted Paul with a shoe-fly pie. Couldn’t bring the doughnuts, as freshness would have been expired. So, on to Hilliard’s Hippie Haven we went and set up camp. After selecting a space for easy Wing unloading, my camping spot was finished.
That evening, Paul, Al & I went to dinner. Since Paul knew the place well, we had deluxe service. Next to us were Joy and Mark, who were in the bar after not finding us! They expected Wings, but we had arrived by car, as some of us wanted spirits with dinner. So, we moved over for dessert and conversation. After dinner, Leo showed up on his Wing, and we returned to Paul’s to tell stories around the campfire. OK, so there was no fire and we used the kitchen table!
Now camping is something I haven’t done in years, so when I awoke at 5:30 AM on Saturday, I made a beeline for the bathroom. After the shower & clothes, Paul was up. ‘Did I wake the others’, he asked. ‘No, I wanted to be first in the bathroom!’, I replied. Soon the others were up, and we headed for the group at the Bel Air Motel. Shortly after our arrival, I met up with Stan & explained the delay. No matter, we were all here now, and the group formed up for travel to breakfast.
You might think that the US group, having traveled long distances, might revel in a Canadian eatery for breakfast. The surprise: Breakfast at Dennys. Hey! We have them all over the USA! Surprise #2: Grits were on the menu. Well, that makes it OK! EH? You betcha!
The best part of the Saturday ride was following our esteemed leader, Lenny. Nice roads, and we didn’t have to know the route. Leo and Doc served as road guards, blocking intersections where possible in order to keep the group together. OK, Leo & Doc wanted these jobs so that they could fly by to catch up behind Lenny! Over very nice roads, through the country we went, with only an occasional turn around…. The breaks were scheduled around Timmies and gas stops. Chatter on the CB was endless.
Then there was lunch for the entourage, and they were ready for us. Had to pace ourselves, as ice cream was later! After lunch, more country touring over hill and dale, and along a river that kept appearing, a few U turns, and the famous ice cream stop. I guess things do go father in Canada, as a one-scoop cone was huge!
Onwards to Paul’s for dinner, we passed through a town where Lenny informed us, ‘I’ll be living here soon.’ As I looked up, I couldn’t believe what I saw, so I had to ask him, ‘You’ll be living in a Pharmacy?’ After all, that’s what I saw when he announced it!
Home at Hilliard’s, the party was on. What did we see but Scarlet, and her new owner, Greg. Now Greg had come with guitar and serenaded us with tunes, one about Pappy in particular! I did notice that Scarlet seemed to be riding higher than when I was at the Alamo 2000…..
After the feast to feed us twice over, the Wings headed out except for the hardy campers at the commune. Time to catch a few ZZZ’s for Sunday.
Let’s see; worked before, will work again, get up without waking anyone and you get the bathroom. When the others were late in rising, I figured that moving the Wing with the exhaust on loud might work…. So, up again, we headed off for breakfast at a local establishment. This time, Canadian bacon was on the menu.
After breakfast, Lenny again led us through hill & dale, beautiful roads and country, until we ended up in a small town for Beavertails. Seeing that there were two specialty choices on the menu, I had to make the sacrifice and try them both. First, cheese, butter and garlic! Had to wait for that one to cool. Second, creem cheese and green onions! It was a tough choice, but the cheese, butter and garlic was the best for my taste.
The last leg of the ride included a tour through the park in Ottawa, then a tour across the river in Quebec with a stop at a scenic lookout. Here we posed for a group photo taken by a volunteer. Using three cameras. Two pictures each!
Dinner was at the Cock & Bull, back in town. The only rain in the event happened while we were inside. Dinner, dessert, then sadly, we had to say good-bye to a fun weekend. But first, how about a demo of picking up a Wing? Yes, by request of Muffy, Stan gave the proper instructions and demo. Just remember not to roll it on the other side!
Now, this was my second time in Canada, and again the weather was hot! After coming home, the weather was great! Today is in the mid 70’s with low humidity. Then I figured it out: If I attend the GCMR, I break the heat wave! Note to self: Attend next year, someone has to do it!
Now it was not true that Lenny got lost. He just got confused sometimes. Art & Annie planned the route, but since Annie has her own ride, Art traded the Wing for a Vulcan 1500. With no CB to Lenny, I can understand the missed turns. However, this does have advantages, as we got to practice U turns. Note to next year’s attendees: Take the MSF ERC so that you will be proficient in turning around!
Also, those names for the tour, such as Lenny’s Lost Lemmings, were in poor taste<G>. OK, so we all had some fun. Lenny, those were just signs of our affection for ya, eh?
We all owe a round of thanks to the Ontario group who put on this event, to our lovable Lenny for leading, our road guards, those who put the route together (Art & Annie), Paul for the camping space & being our cook, etc. Any omissions are not intentional. However, how about planning other events? Maine Lobster Run? (Jim Beachy will attend that one!) Maryland Crab Cake Run? PA Dutch Smorgasbord Run? Cabot Trail Run? Do you get the idea of ride to eat, eat to ride?
Epilog: It was nice to put names to faces, knowing the person on the WOTI group. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten most of the names! So, we’ll have to keep doing this!