Fireworks, Parades, Cars and Motorcycles – Canada Day Weekend in Trent Hills


Our community of Trent Hills is made up of the three towns of Hastings, Campbellford and Trent River, and their adjoining areas. When it comes to celebrating summer, especially on Canada Day, the events are grand, and well-coordinated to enable visitors to sample all there is. We did just that.

Celebrations started early in Hastings. On Thursday the long awaited stainless steel fish was unveiled at Pisces Park, a small patch of green space next to the marina. This six-foot high piece of art, sculpted by Bill Lishman, is to be the first of several fish that will form an icon to represent the fact that in 2012 Hastings won the distinction of being named the Ultimate Fishing Town of Canada in the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town Challenge.

On Canada Day the weather was a little uncooperative at times, so we didn’t go to the morning celebration in Campbellford, but the skies almost cleared up in time for the parade in Hastings at 4:00 p.m. I’m ashamed to admit that I went without my camera, but here are a few photos from last year:

A thunderstorm after that cooled the air considerably and when we walked to the park with our lawn chairs at 8:30 to wait for the Fireworks, Hastings’ big contribution to the celebration, we were dressed in layers. As the sun went down, the wind turned quite chilly, sending Jim home to get some more layers! But, it was worth it.

On Saturday the sun was shining again and the temperatures perfect for a ride on the motorcycle to Campbellford for another annual event, Chrome on the Canal. We found a place to park our bike, and then began the mile or more stroll along the Trent Canal banks to exclaim over the interesting variety of bikes and cars. They ranged from antique to classic, to the latest models. Some were “chopped” (modified); some were restored to original; some were just as they’d been found abandoned in a field or garage.

bikes

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Original Powered Bicycles?

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1948 Indian

IMG_14502015 Indian

IMG_1453A lot of work went into building this one!

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Amazing pin-striping

IMG_1482A few, like this one,were For Sale

On our way back from Campbellford, we turned north off County Road 35 onto Smith Road, a lovely tree lined stretch of curves, and then east onto Concession Road 11 that climbs high over the eskers. This is another recommended route for bikers.

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A Happy Canada Day!

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A Beautiful Day to Ride


At 10:00 am yesterday morning, fourteen motorcycles carrying twenty people set off from Mesa Regal toward the open road.  Jim and I were among them, having just hooked up with a group of regular riders. Most of the bikes were Harleys, but another Suzuki and a Honda were part of our minority. That didn’t seem to matter.

Pat led us out Hwy 60 and then south towards Florence, where we made a pit stop at the River Bottom Grill, and had a bit of time to get to know a few people better. It turned out that Pat and Catherine are from another Arizona city just north of here – Prescott. I told her that I’d lived a good portion of my life in the community of Prescott also — Prescott, Ontario that is. We chuckled over our different pronunciations of the word.

Riders, taking a break

Riders, taking a break

From there we turned west onto Hwy 287 and then south on Hwy 87 through Coolidge. The day was warm and sunny, although a haze of sand could be seen in the distance at the base of the mountains.

Desert Haze

Desert Haze

In a couple of spots the winds got really strong, hampering my efforts to take pictures. We passed fields where cotton had been harvested and clumps that had escaped lay on the ground in a rectangle marking where the bales had sat. I would have liked to pick up a handful.

We continued south until we hit Hwy10 and rode north-west for a few more miles until we reached our destination – Eloy, home of Sky Dive Arizona. No, none of us planned on jumping, but after an excellent lunch in the Bent Prop Saloon & Cookery, we sat outside to watch plane-load after plane-load of braver souls silently and skillfully drift to the ground with their colourful parachutes above them.

Jumping from plane

Look closely. See the man below the tail?

Coming down

Perfect landing

Perfect Landing

The ride home was by a more direct route, and, except for a ten minute delay in a construction zone, much faster. There was some confusion when Pat pulled into a parking lot and we were waved on to follow the next bike in line. We lost a few more along the way, so never got to say thanks for the ride to anyone but Dan. We enjoyed it.

Moving On


We spent a few hours Sunday afternoon negotiating and crunching numbers to see if we could make that purchase on our Wish List happen (we couldn’t thanks to the sales tax we’d have to pay taking it across the border), and we completely forgot about the Vogues concert at 4:00 pm! Oh well, it was raining anyway.

The clouds rolled away in the evening so we took a walk around our camping area to see how many RVs were still there and how many would need to be pulled out of the mud. There were even some that had For Sale signs on them.  They must have made successful negotiations on new ones. The Rally ended that night with another fireworks display.

Fireworks

Fireworks

The departure on Monday morning went smoothly. Unlike we had expected, the RVs started drifting out in stages so there wasn’t any congestion when we got away at about ten o’clock. The sun was hot by then. By noon we were once again established, this time at  Ferenbaugh Campsites, five miles north of Corning, NY. Hungry and in need of groceries, we struck out on the bike, heading towards Corning we thought, but we’d turned in the wrong direction so had lunch, did banking and bought groceries in Watkins Glen instead. We’d planned to visit the State Park there another day and had not gone prepared with cameras, so we returned to camp to enjoy nice leisurely showers before carrying the dirty laundry down the hill to the Laundromat. Not an exciting day, but after a week of dry-camping (i.e. without electric, water or sewer hook-up) it was pure luxury! We even had unlimited internet. (Well, I thought we did until I tried to post this blog with more pictures. Had to switch to Verizon and limit pictures.)

Today (Tuesday) we turned in the right direction and got ourselves to Corning and the Corning Glass Museum, which has replaced the Steuben Factory. We were there from 11:00 am until 3:30 pm, learning all kinds of interesting facts about glass components, fibre optics, the development of fibre glass insulation, and watched a Glass Blowing Demonstration, a Flame Working Demo and a Glass Breaking Demo, and took lots of pictures. We resisted buying anything in the Gift Shop although the glass flowers were very appealing – too tall and fragile for an RVing life though.

Glass Flowers

Glass Flowers

We took the free shuttle bus downtown to explore this heritage town (some interesting architecture here) before grabbing dinner for two at Holmes Plate 54. Once again we returned home with enough food for another day.

Plan Changes


It looks like our RV adventure has to be postponed because of a family responsibility, so my travel writing for a while will be about the interesting things to see and do in our local area, and shorter excursions on the motorcycle.

Last week we went on our first official “Tour Riders” ride, but it was a short ride because storm clouds were threatening. “The Tour Riders” is a group of bikers that originated thirty years ago. It used to be a more formal club with monthly meetings and membership dues and many organized rides, including an annual “Toy Ride” to collect toys for the local Children’s Aid Society. Most of the original members have moved on, and the ones remaining are retired seniors whose only agenda is to get together on the first and third Tuesday evenings of the month throughout the riding season and go for a ride that ends either at an ice cream parlour or a coffee shop. Someone takes the lead and the others willingly follow on a mystery ride. Younger members who like this casualness have joined the ranks. New members are always welcome to join. Just show up at 7:00 pm and introduce yourself!

Last night was a beautiful night for a ride. Nine bikes with eleven riders met at our usual spot, The Peterborough Zoo parking lot, and headed off towards Stoney Lake. Jim and I, on a Suzuki Boulevard, led this time (as we often do as Jim has been riding in this area since he was sixteen and knows the back roads very well).

On the move photography is often blurred.

On the move

The sky was blue, the air was sweet with the fragrance of budding trees and freshly mowed lawns, as we wound our way past soccer and soft-ball players on the Trent University campus; past horses in the fields, log houses and modern estates. Following us were Yamahas, Harleys , Suzukis, and Hondas, as well as one Victory and a Moto Gucci. The sun flickered through the trees as it made its slow descent over Stoney Lake.

The road ahead

Lots of turns

Lots of turns

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Water is high and fast on Stoney Lake this year

Water is high and fast on Stoney Lake this year

We almost made it around the lake when the joy was interrupted by an unwelcome event. When making a left turn, the Victory slid on the sand that had accumulated at the corner and went down, sliding unceremoniously into the ditch and taking the rider with it. Sand on the road is a dangerous thing for bikers! Fortunately, with the efforts of four men, the bike was retrieved and the rider, although shaken and dirty insisted he was unhurt. In any event, he refused offers to call for paramedics or tow truck, and climbed back onto his bike and headed for home, which wasn’t too far from where we were. The obvious damage to the bike was a broken gear shifter, which meant he rode the remainder of the way in third gear. BIKERS! We followed him to his turn and the couple who knew him best followed him home to make sure he made it. They met up with us at the coffee shop in Lakefield. We were all left a little shaken and lingered perhaps a little longer than usual before climbing back onto our own bikes and heading home.

We’ll meet for another ride in two weeks. We hope Bob will be able to join us.

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.

The Last Sunset


Tonight we are at the Westfield KOA, NY. We took our time today and by the time we got this far it was just too far to go to get home at a decent hour, so we stopped in at this lovely site on Lake Erie. This is the end of this adventure — we should be home tomorrow afternoon.

We left Pigeon Forge after lunch on Monday and got as far as Renfro Valley, Kentucky before stopping at the KOA.The drive was hot and uneventful, as was the next day, when we drove through to Columbus, Ohio. The traffic was heavy when we arrived in the outskirts of the city and there were some very rude drivers on the road.  When we were driving in the right-hand lane, passing an exit ramp, a woman in a van to our left suddenly decided she was going to go off at that exit. She pulled in front of us and stopped dead in our lane because the exit ramp was already full.  She waved her hands at the driver of the car beside us, motioning him to back off and let her in! What nerve! It’s a good thing that Jim had already slowed down to a crawl because of the already slow moving traffic (turned out that there was an accident up ahead, causing the jam). So many people don’t realize the weight of a 32′ motor home, pulling a bike on a trailer.  We can’t stop on a dime!

We enjoyed a great meal at The Cracker Barrel and didn’t feel like going any further, so with the permission of the manager we set up for the night in the parking lot. There was some shade and we were the only ones in the large lot after the restaurant closed at 9:00 pm. At 9:30, just when we were thinking of going to bed, a semi pulled up right beside us, left his engine running and his lights all on, including his signal lights, and crawled into his sleeper cab and went to sleep! If you’ve ever been parked next to one of these for any length of time, you know all about the many loud noises they make.  If he had to nap there, could he have not at least had the consideration to go to the other side of the lot? We debated about pulling out and trying the Walmart lot instead, but I was too tired.  We were thankful to hear him leave an hour later.

Tonight, after a dinner of left overs, we  took a walk to the park across from the campsite to capture some pictures of the sunset over Lake Erie.

Sunset over Lake Erie

Last Sunset of This Adventure

Sunset over Lake Erie

Sunset over Lake Erie, Westfield, NY

Sunday in Dollywood, Yes, we went to Dollywood


I was looking forward to going to Dollywood, just to see what it was all about, but I really doubted that we would need the two-day pass offered for half price at the KOA office. We bought it anyway. Once again I had a preconceived idea of what it would be like, especially after seeing the main drag of Pigeon Forge — glitzy and loud.  Again, I was surprised, this time, pleasantly.

Almost at the door of our campground, we boarded the Trolley car that travels around the town, picking up people and delivering them to the various tourist venues. The cost, just 50 cents per person each way! It wasn’t worth putting on gear and taking the bike up the hill for that price.  Besides, it was threatening rain, and we did get some during the morning.  That meant not such a crowd of people and no long waits to get into things.

Trolley

Trolley

There are no flashing lights, nor garish billboards at Dollywood, and it’s located well off the local streets so doesn’t create a distraction. Dolly has done it up very tastefully, making use of  naturally treed land,and various artifacts from the days of her childhood. The  price of tickets is much less than what we’d have to pay at Canada’s Wonderland, or Disney World, and it’s not all about rides and carnival games.

Welcome

Welcome, to Dollywood

Our first stop, after grabbing a coffee at the Sandwich and Pastry Shop, was The Front Porch, a covered outdoor theatre area extended from the front porch stage of the replica house where Dolly was born. For a half hour we enjoyed listening to the sweet harmonies of Dolly’s Uncle Billy Owens, her cousins and niece, accompanied by Dolly’s Family Reunion Band.

Dolly's Family Reunion Band

Dolly’s Family Reunion Band

From there we walked to the train station to catch a ride around the park on train, pulled by an original coal-fired steam engine. Jim especially enjoyed listening to the whistle tunes played by the engineer.

Steam Train

Steam Train

When we disembarked, we took a ride on the authentic looking, although synthetic, old style carousel at the Country Fair. It didn’t matter that we were the only adults that had no children to accompany 🙂

There were only two things at the park that cost extra. The first one, of course, was food, and that was expensive — $21.00 for two pulled pork sandwiches with a small bag of potato chips and one ice tea for lunch. The rain had finally stopped by the time we finished eating and we strolled down to the Wilderness Pass, where the roller coasters, zip lines and a few other challenges were located. The Wild Eagle looked like a “must do!” Up we went, and down we went, hanging on for dear life and enjoying every minute of it. I can’t believe I’m saying that, since even as a child and up to the time of my mid-life turnaround, I would never go near anything more “scary” than a Ferris wheel! At Timber Canyon we survived another roller coaster ride called Thunderhead. It was at first easy until we were suddenly plunging head first into a coal mine shaft! Yikes! It was as rough ride and not nearly as much fun as the Wild Eagle. We asked about doing the Zip Line, but since there was an extra charge of $30.00 per person, we passed.

Wild Eagle

Wild Eagle

Wild Eagle

Wild Eagle,Flying off the edge

There are lots of little shops and restaurants in the park, but we went into only one shop — Dolly’s Closet, a ladies clothing and accessories shop, where I expected the quality items to be much more pricey than they were.

We toured the Chasing Rainbows Museum, and hoped to get a peak inside Dolly’s touring bus, but it wasn’t open that day. There were a few things that we could have gone back to see and it would have been nice to listen to some more music, but by five o’clock we’d had enough and caught the trolley back to camp, sticking to our original plan to leave on Monday. It was another great day.

Village Square

Village Square, Dollywood

One of Many Ponds

One of Many Ponds

Tonight, Monday, we are at another KOA at Renfro Valley, Kentucky, on our way home.