Visiting my daughter :-) Pulling a Neil Peart :-(

Trip Start Jul 26, 2009
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Trip End Aug 05, 2009


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Where I stayed
At a cottage

Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I figured I needed to finish my blog. I struggled with the question of whether or not to tell everyone about my bone-headed stupid move at the very end of my trip. But what the heck...

So, Aug 5, awoke at Hilton Beach to another beautiful day and Shawn and I talked about the riding ahead. We had agreed that we would push through...we were close enough that we knew one big ride would do it. I wanted to visit my daughter (Hi Melissa! :-) who has been working all summer as a life guard at a family camp near Eganville, Ontario. It's called Red Pine Camp (www.redpinecamp.org).

We rode, and it was bittersweet. We both knew our big adventure was coming to an end, but we also knew there were loved ones awaiting our return (not to mention the creature comforts of being in your own home again).

As we approached Red Pine Camp, we made one last impulsive decision to take a side road at Lac Dore. As usual with these snap decisions, it turned out to be a good idea. We pulled up next to an old abandoned school house..."One last roadside stop?" "You bet!". We parked the bikes in the long grass at the foot of the front steps leading into the old school house. Photo op! We sat on the steps, remembering the best parts of the trip, had a pint, and took a bunch of photos. At one point a couple walked by on the road. At first, I thought they might give us a hard time about trespassing. But Shawn lept up and asked them if they'd snap a photo, and they obliged. Looking through the camera lens, then man suddenly lowered the camera. "I feel as if I know you from somewhere", he said. I looked and recognized him as one of the men who work at Red Pine Camp taking care of the grounds and facilities there. We had a chuckle about that, they took some photos, and soon enough Shawn and I were on the road again, for the last kilometer of our shared riding.

It really was a little sad to part ways. We sat astride our idling bikes at a remote intersection. I shook his hand and thanked him for inviting me on the trip. He turned left, and I turned right.

When I got to Red Pine Camp I was so excited to see my daughter! I hadn't seen her *all summer*, and this is the first time she's been away from home for an extended period. When I found her, after several minutes of wandering the grounds, she was doing *exactly* what I expected...sitting in the tall life-guard's chair, scanning the lake and the group of campers and water skiers in front of her. You're not really supposed to talk to anyone when you're on duty, so I had to be satisfied with a quick bright smile from her and a few quick chats. I didn't want to get her in trouble, so I settled in to wait. Finally, after 15 minutes, it was time for the life guard rotation, and I'm sure I embarrassed her with a big hug! :-) We got to catch up, and she's been having a fantastic time, and I'm so happy for her!

Then, after too short a visit, I had to leave. There's a gas station just up the road from camp. I pulled in, still in a daze and thinking about my daughter. I grabbed the nozzle...my tank was half full, but I wanted a full tank for the ride into "the Pontiac" region of Quebec, to a cottage near Ladysmith, Quebec (or Shawville, Quebec, if your map isn't detailed enough to show Ladysmith). As I was finishing filling the tank, the attendant there said "Buddy, does your bike run on *diesel* ?!?!" Oh !@#$%^&*!. I said a lot of very very bad words (sorry Mom).

Side story: When he was telling me about his motorcycle trip, Shawn had loaned me a book called "Ghost Rider", written by Neil Peart (drummer for Rush). It's an excellent book, about his motorcycle odyssey, which he undertook to try to find himself again after suffering great personal tragedy. This is the book http://tinyurl.com/ov3gpw Anyway, in one of the early chapters, he describes the hell he went through trying to repair his bike after accidently filling the tank with diesel. So maybe I was in good company?

The folks at the gas station couldn't produce a siphon or even a length of hose. I was very unhappy with myself and my situation. Glancing at a nearby pickup truck, and hoping to borrow a length of garden hose, I said "Are you folks local?". They saw that I was unhappy, and asked me what the problem was. I explained (embarrassed), and the driver said "Oh, Cam can help you!". Her young lad jumped out of the back seat, full of enthusiasm and excited at the chance to help. He jumped into action, showing me which hose needed to be disconnected in order to drain the tank. But we encountered many problems, not the least of which was the lack of proper tools (my bad!). Finally, after much deliberation and a few failed attempts to do things the right way, we decided the only option was to *tip* my precious motorcycle onto its side and drain the tank from the fill hole on top! My beautiful, as yet unscratched, never been dropped, motorcycle. Sigh... Ok, let's do it!

Cam Marshall, of Killaloe, you are one of the good guys. On my trip, again and again, we met great people. They often helped with bits of advice, suggested routes, road and weather advisories, etc. This is the first time that I really needed serious help, and Cam and his mother, aunt, brother, sister, were all inconvenienced for quite a while in order to help me, a complete stranger who was responsible for his own predicament. There are so many people in this world who are inherently good and willing to help, and it makes me happy. When I asked what I could do in return, they said "oh nothing at all...just do the same for someone else someday". I nodded "Pay it forward...ok :-)"

I finished the day with a long, very very cold solo ride in unfamiliar territory. Highway 148 in Quebec. Construction. Fog and mist. Exhaustion. The last kilometer of the ride down a very hilly cottage road, on dirt and gravel, finally arriving at the cottage at midnight, shivering and exhausted. And completely happy! What a great trip!!

Be good!
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