Load It Up, Move It Out, Arizona Bound


Well, that last adventure was a lot of hard work! We are mostly settled in our new little condo and we are pleased with it. What isn’t settled can wait until spring. Now we’re ready for a holiday. I never did get to post the Bikers Reunion article, but it will come.

Tomorrow, once we finish loading up the RV and deliver the car for storage, we will be hitting the road again for our next adventure. The final destination is again Mesa Arizona, but this time we hope we are leaving early enough that we won’t be chased by snow so we can take our time. We want to fill in on our map some of the states that we haven’t been with the motor home. Our sights are set on Memphis Tennessee, New Orleans, and Houston.

Hope you’ll join us on this new journey.

A New Rving and Motorcycle Adventure Begins


When I started this blog three years ago, we had just purchased our first full-size motor home and were out for our first RVing adventure. We’ve covered a lot of territory since then, and the old beast has served us well.

Thor Pinnacle, 1992

The “old beast” now in need of new owners

But it’s now twenty-one years old. Since our plan for this year is a long drive to Arizona to escape the winter weather, dreams of something newer and a little larger danced in our heads.

I mentioned in a previous post that we’d almost bought a brand new “C” Class when we were at the Good Sam Rally in Syracuse this spring, but the reality is that unless we sell our larger-than-we-really need home (and that’s not going to happen any time soon) a brand new motor home will remain a dream. So I’ve been searching online for something that would meet at least most of our wishes at a price we could afford. Last week, I found it! Although Jim was hesitant at first, once he had a look at it (it was local so we didn’t have to travel far for the inspection) he agreed that it would make our next adventure considerably more pleasant, and the price was manageable. We bought a 2006 Damon Daybreak. It’s two feet longer than our old Thor Pinnacle, and it has one large slide, giving us the extra storage space that I longed for, and a little more counter space.

DamonDaybreak

The “new” beast

We picked it up yesterday from the garage where the safety inspection and e-test were done. A new windshield that the previous owner had already ordered was in at a nearby auto glass shop, so we stopped in there before coming home. Unfortunately, because it was pouring rain and they had no space to get it inside, we had to leave it. Today is sunny so I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will be done today. I’m excited!

In the meantime, we emptied the cupboards and drawers of the Pinnacle and listed it for sale. We couldn’t believe how much stuff there was in it! We filled the trunk and backseat of the car three times! Now it’s all sitting in the sun-room, waiting to be methodically organized into the Daybreak. Is it ALL going in or can I cull some of it? I hope so.

RV Contents

Really?

RV Contents

Whoa! Where did it all come from?

Of course we’ll be taking the motorcycle along when we go and we might even have room for the bicycles. We might need them to get around the massive RV resort that we booked into.

Taking the long way to the Bikers Reunion


We’re finally on the road again!

When our biking friends were planning the annual trip to New Liskeard, Ontario, for the Bikers Reunion on the Canada Day weekend at the end of the month, they were quite confused when we told them that we were leaving on June 10th. But it was true. We left home on Monday in the motor home with the Boulevard on the trailer behind. It was pouring rain. Since we hadn’t been able to get away earlier, and we’d already booked ourselves into the Biker’s Reunion, when we read about the Good Sam RV Rally in Syracuse New York, we figured we could combine the two into a three week adventure. We’ve been to a number of Bike Rallies, but never an RV Rally.

Since we weren’t booked into the RV camping site until the next night, we stopped near Watertown NY for dinner at the Cracker Barrel (our favourite family restaurant when visiting the US) and spent the night parked in the parking lot, which is OK with them. It continued to rain most of the night and all the next day. The Rally was being held at the New York State Fair Grounds and much of it was pretty muddy. We were given a spot along the inside race track, which wasn’t very attractive, but the ground was solidly packed gravel which meant that, unlike some of the people who’d paid extra for hydro hook up, we didn’t need to worry about getting stuck in the mud.

RV Parking

RV Parking around the track

Not all of the buildings and services were open yet, so we had no internet access. When the rain finally stopped late in the afternoon, we took our iPad with us on the bike and found free Wifi at the Mall so we could quickly check emails. When we returned we found the gate that we’d entered through in the afternoon was locked! Fortunately there were many volunteers around and one kind soul led us in his car to where we had to cross over the outside track to the inside. From there we turned in the direction we’d driven in the morning only to find that a large section of the inside track had turned into a slippery patch of mud! Not good on a bike! I think we both held our breath expecting to land in the slop ourselves at any moment, but Jim’s careful and experienced maneuvering got us through.

Wednesday was a warm sunny day again and there were a few activities for the early crowd so we familiarized ourselves with the lay of the land, bought our souvenir t-shirts and attended a couple of seminars. One seminar was all about travelling by RV caravan to Alaska, put on by Fantasy RV Tours. That could be one for our Bucket List! We toured some of the new RVs on display and found a new one to put on our Wish List. That night we rode into Syracuse for dinner at the Dinosaur BBQ. The restaurant was crammed with other like-minded souls who thought it a good night to enjoy the nice weather. We were told we’d have an hour wait before getting a seat. There was lots to see among the many posters and artifacts on the walls and ceiling, and interesting people-watching to do. Before we knew it, we had a high top table for two right in front of the bar. We ordered the rib dinner for two and it was well worth the wait. The price was right too – about what we’d pay for one dinner back home.

Dinner at Dinosaur BBQ

Dinner at Dinosaur BBQ

Thursday the indoor exhibits (i.e. vendors) were open, and since it rained all day again, the building was packed with shoppers. That’s where we spent most of our day and a chunk of money.

Today the sun shone on us once more. And more RVs had arrived. It was a day of seminars and searching for our “matches”. In our registration package we were each given a numbered sticker that we were to wear everywhere, along with our ID badges. The purpose of the numbers was to search out the three people in the crowds who would have the same numbers. Although some people got creative and wrote the numbers out on large posters, or lists that they attached to their hats, most simply stuck them to the ID badges that hung from a lanyard around their neck. We heard one man comment, “I haven’t looked at anybody’s face in three days!” There are prizes to be had if you can find your match. With Jim’s help, I found one of mine this evening, so I’m now the proud owner of a T-shirt that reads, “I Found My Match” and my name will go into a draw for one of the $5,000 worth of prizes. We still haven’t found Jim’s “match”. Better luck tomorrow.

We watched a parade of couples line up to be “Re-hitched” in the park, some in wedding gowns and suits, others in comical attire.

The evening ended with a concert in the band shell by none other than Mr. Vegas himself, Wayne Newton. He still puts on an impressive performance, backed by a large band of musicians and two backup singers.  Unfortunately, his voice betrays his age.

Tonight we finally have internet connection in the RV through a Verizon card, but data is limited so photos are too.

If It’s Friday the 13th, It Has to Be Port Dover


Every other day of the year, Port Dover, Ontario is a quiet little fishing town located on the north shore of Lake Erie, but on any Friday the 13th the population explodes, especially if the 13th falls on a hot summer day! That’s the day that bikers (motorcycle) congregate, arriving from miles away, a tradition that began with a few biker friends in the early 1980s and rapidly caught on. Estimates for visitors that day range from 150,000 to 200,000.

We hadn’t been there for a few years, but after an offer from my uncle to visit him in Kitchener the day before and leave for Dover from there, we decided to make the trip.

The day was already very warm when we left Kitchener at around 9:00 am. Never having approached Port Dover from that direction before, Jim was making use of the GPS, but that’s more difficult on a bike than in the car. At one point, going through Brantford, he pulled into an exit lane at a traffic light before immediately realizing that that wasn’t where he wanted to go.  The traffic was stopped, so he eased back into the driving lane, having to share it with the vehicle that had been in front of us, because the gap had already been closed. Is it unreasonable to believe that the driver of the next vehicle would hesitate just a second when the light turned green, and let us back in? We didn’t think so, but apparently the old girl in the SUV thought we had no right to be there.  She drove straight ahead past us, ignoring us completely! Five minutes later she pulled into the Casino parking lot. Oh, so that explained her urgency! Those slots will wait for no one!

It wasn’t long before the roads began to fill with other bikers and we knew we were on the right path. We drove through the town of Boston, where the church had signs welcoming bikers for lunch.  Although it was still only 10:30 am, many had stopped there for a break.

We were surprised at how quickly we were ushered into Port Dover by the many teams of police officers directing traffic.  On previous visits we usually were slowed to a crawl for over an hour before even catching a glimpse of our destination. Perhaps arriving from the west had it’s advantages. Bikes lined every street; homeowners rented spots on their lawns for anywhere from five to ten dollars for the day, although I suspect that not many stayed put for the whole day.

Paid Parking

How to make a few bucks on Friday the 13th!

We were fortunate enough to find a just-emptied parking spot on the street in the downtown area, and it was right near the port-a-potties so I could slip in to change out of my heavy jeans and shoes and into shorts and sandals. It was hot! After applying a generous dose of sun screen and donning hats and sunglasses, we began our wade through the mass of bikes and people — handle-bar to handle-bar, shoulder to shoulder.

The crowds

The crowds

For the next four hours we toured the streets, seeing strange bikes and awesome bikes, and some weird sights as well.

Skull bike

Someone had a lot of time on his hands!

Purple Paint Job

Nice work!

Nicely dressed Harley

Nicely dressed Harley with trailer

Playboy Bike

Playboy Bike, first in a grip-to-grip row

Burgman Trike

Not an event for only macho bikers! Love their spirit.

Tim Horton's Drive Thru

Tim Horton’s Drive Thru

AIDS Awareness Mascot

AIDS Awareness Mascot

Dover Fashions

Dover Fashions

More Fashions

Bikes, Babes and Tatoos

At lunch time we headed for our favourite restaurant for a feed of Port Dover’s famous Yellow Perch. However, this time the line up was out the door to the street so we thought we’d find something else.  Well every restaurant had an hour wait.  We finally settled for some very good homemade pulled pork on a kaiser served from a street vendor who offered a few tables in a parking lot.  And we drank many bottles of water!

At 2:00 pm we decided we’d seen enough. Much to our dismay, it took a whole lot longer to get out of town than it did to get in. Streets were blocked off, forcing everyone to follow a big loop around town before reaching an exit, and then we weren’t on the highway that we wanted so we had to drive a few more extra kilometers before we got heading towards home.

At Haggersville we experienced the usual delay, the one we’d missed on the way to Dover this time. There are three traffic lights on the highway going through the small town of Haggersville, and they aren’t co-ordinated. On a day like Friday the 13th, when the usual traffic probably quadruples, this causes major back-ups of bikes sitting sometimes through three red lights before finally getting through the intersection. The rest of the trip was pretty much the same — stop and go all through the Greater Toronto area. We stopped in Oshawa for some dinner at 7:00 pm and were really glad to pull into our own driveway at 9:00 pm.,  exhausted. It was a fun day.

Avoided the Rain Again


Monday, May 14th, 2012

The sun was up when we were today, so we got ready to leave early, before the predicted rain could ruin the day. We’d seen an ad on TV about the Weave Shops out on Pawleys Island, further south of Murrells Inlet, so that was our destination goal.

We detoured off the highway to go into the town of Murrells Inlet and did the “Marsh Walk”, a couple of very long piers that traverse the marsh lands in the inlet. We had a lunch of chicken salad melts at one of the several restaurants along the shoreline pier before getting back onto the highway and on to our destination. The fair weather stayed with us and we soon found the Weave Shops. Actually, the only weave shop there was the one in which hammocks are hand crafted. That was interesting to watch. There was also a woman weaving beautiful baskets from sweet grass and pine needles, while sitting on the porch in front of a clothing boutique. We investigated the candle shop and the outdoors shop and I peaked into a couple of the clothing shops while Jim waited on the porch. No sexy pants today, just a $20 pair of white capris.  We found a couple of unique toys that the younger grandchildren will have fun with when they come to visit us. You might have noticed that we aren’t big-time shoppers.

Hammock in Progress

Hammock in Progress

Smelling the Magnolia Blossoms

Smelling the Magnolia Blossoms

From the Weave Shops we turned off the highway and onto Pawleys Island, an original area of large clapboard “cottages” backing onto a long stretch of beach. We went out to the beach to take pictures and I couldn’t help but think “what a great writers’ retreat one of these places would be!”

Cottages on the Beach

Cottages on the Beach

As we finally turned back towards “home” we turned off the highway once again at Murrells Inlet, further south of where we’d been earlier, and there we found a large contingent of motorcycles, vendors and music. Of course we had to stop to take in the sights and sounds and share a cooler – not big drinkers either.  There was lots of partying going on. I wondered how some of these partiers were going to get home safely.

We were back in Myrtle Beach, on Hwy 17 again, when we stopped for dinner and stuffed ourselves once more, this time at the Seafood Buffet. The sky was dark with clouds when we left there, but we made it home before the rain struck.

Another awesome day.

If You Don’t Like the Weather, Wait a While


Sunday May 13th, 2012

Well, before we could finish breakfast this morning, the rain had begun and the winds were howling.  Soon the light mist turned into a torrential downpour so it seemed it wouldn’t be a day for either the beach or the bike. What do you do on a day such as this when you live in a motorhome and your only means of transportation are motorcycle, bicycle or feet? This was the first time that we’d encountered this problem.  We were fortunate on our last adventure that the only days we had of rain were ones that we were traveling anyway.

We listened to music, read, answered emails and tried not to trip over each other.  After lunch I was tired out and had to have a nap!  When I awoke the rain had about stopped so we got out our gear, ready to take off on the bike. Before we got out the door, the skies opened again, but it lasted for only a few minutes. We headed out the highway and soon drove out of the rain entirely.

Again we went in search of the biker activities, this time further south towards Murrells Inlet.  We found one advertised venue, Jammin Leather, but there wasn’t much happening there either. At the Rally Centre next door I was almost convinced to buy a sexy pair of stretch pants with mesh and sequined cutouts on the legs. They were very comfortable indeed, but somehow they looked more like they belonged on the woman wearing the half-unzipped leather vest opened low enough to reveal her ample and rounded cleavage.  In fact, she’d just bought a pair, and assured me that they looked great on me.  Perhaps if Jim had shown some encouragement I might have been persuaded, but, although he agreed that they looked good, he doubted that I’d wear them much. I don’t know, he might have been wrong, but $50 was a lot of money to spend to find out so I left them on the rack.

Further down the highway, at the SB&B Bar (for those of you who really want to know what those letters stand for, put your imagination in the gutter – the rest of you don’t want to know), we found some biking vendors and some music, but after a short stroll through we’d had enough.  Instead of seeking out more rally venues, we became regular tourists again.  Further along the highway, an enormous upside down house captured our attention and we were drawn into a village called Broadway on the Beach.

Broadway on the Beach is a sprawling complex of boutiques, restaurants, bridges and entertainment. By the time we had entered, we were ready for dinner. Chef prepares dinner The Yamato Seafood and Steakhouse of Japan looked promising, so in we went.  We were a little surprised when the host said there would be more people coming to our table. Once in the dining room we discover that it was a traditional style Japanese restaurant where our food would be prepared on a hot grill, the centre piece of our dinner bar. A young family of six joined us. It was great fun watching the meal preparation and the reaction of the children when the grill went up in flames! And what a delicious meal of chicken, scallops, fried rice and mixed vegetables,  preceded by a yummy clear soup and a small garden salad with a unique choice of dressings. We enjoyed some very unfamiliar flavours. Flaming Grill

 

 

After dinner we wandered around the village, peaking into some of the shops, getting a closer look at the Upside Down House, gasping as some brave souls climbed to the top of a high deck to catch a zip line that whisked them through the air to the other side of the lake. I shuddered at the sight of the multitude of carp in the lake, scrambling with mouths open and fighting with young mallard ducks to capture the food pellets being dropped off the boardwalk. As the sun disappeared the lights of the carnival rides and the Dungeons and Dragons-themed miniature golf course dazzled the night. It was nearly 9:00 when we left for home.

Upside Down House

For a Mother’s Day that started out poorly, it turned out to be one of our best days,  despite being so far away from our children.

Heading out Again


My best laid plans got derailed again with family crisis, and a short-term out-in-the-real-world work contract. Although many a post about things that caught my attention were often swirling through my brain, they never made it here.

But that’s all going to change, I promise! This week we’re readying the motor home and the new motorcycle (a Suzuki Boulevard C50 for those of you who are bikers) for another adventure.  This time our first destination is Myrtle Beach for Bike Week. We’re looking forward to the warmth of the sun and the breeze on our faces, after a month of mostly dismal weather here.

So stayed tuned for the reports on all the sights and sounds as we head out in six days.