Friday, August 14, 2015

Walton Racing

video
I had never been to the Motorcross Races at Walton until today.  It was a great few hours, and something I enjoyed quite a lot.
This is just one of many heavy, heavy duty rigs that was representing.  Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, etc., all had rigs this size accompanying.  And you know what?  You know what all the rigs were having done to them?  They were all being washed!  3, 4, 5 fellers power washing and scrubbing.  It was a bit unusual, but I understand.  And the amateur contraptions were all fifth wheeled trailers with sleeping quarters and 4, 5, 6 bikes and various parts within.  This is way more $$$ (investment) then some AAA hockey tournament in Toronto....

I went with an unlikely fellow, Jeff Thuss and his son, and he assured me this was going to be quite exciting.  He had been there the previous day or two watching different classes of races and classifications of bikes and such.  He had to return for the mayhem, and indicated that I might enjoy it too. 

As soon as we got there we went straight to the starting line.  A more senior race was starting.  I was a bit confused because some of the bikes were stickered 450cc, and some were 250cc.  So in the end I am still not even too sure what I was watching at what time.  The program didn't list the size of the engine displacement, rather terms such as MX1 or MX2A and so on.  I also want to say some of the races were 4 stroke engines, then the others were 2.  So to be honest I was quite out of my schema of knowledge, despite having logged well over 50,000km of riding across both directions in Canada and down into the United States.  But it is different.  The similarities end at 2 wheels and a helmet whilst comparing what I do, and what I watched.

The track is about 3km in length.  There are countless ups and downs, twists, and technical corners that a skilled motorcross rider must take into consideration.  The start is challenging because of the close proximity to each other rider, but usually out of the course many riders find their pace and there wasn't many tightly packed packs during the 5 loop circuit.  What was also of note, was the deep gauged ruts in the corners.  Ruts that would have been 80cm deep!  I guess the benefit is that once you get your wheels in them it isn't very likely you'll pop out.  But man were they deep.


The other big thing I noticed, which was also very similar to the mountain biking I did last summer out in Rossland, was you have to let the bikes do their thing.  Keep speed up too!  Let the suspension handle the bumps and crevices.  Look ahead...  Look ahead.  You have to completely trust that the bike will roll over what it is supposed to roll over - and don't fight the bike, let it just do what it is meant to do.  I may not be explaining correctly, or as clearly as I would like, but you can't fight and try to muscle out on the course, rather be smooth and have a nice touch.  I really think or thought it was like mountain biking in that regard.

I would definitely try to get back.  On Sunday afternoon the real show begins. The fellers who make their living, so to speak, at this thing take on Walton and I can't help but think it will be much louder and much more exciting then I already witnessed.

To finish off the day the family and I walked down to the beach for a swim.  The lake was quite cool actually.  I jumped in first and made like it was no big deal....  Shelly and Molly got quite the chill.  I do it all the time - fool them like that, and they always seem to fall for it....  Great picture taking Shelly!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Detroit

From east side of Canada, down to south central Canada, I hit the road once again, KTM style this time, and made the 260km easily on Saturday morning.  First stop was gas, then the bank, and a coffee, then a washroom break, and then finally to Puce Road by noon.  Nothing is easy when one is traveling.

So some friends from high school try to go to a Detroit Tigers game each summer.  I haven't ever been able to make it with my own family travel, (not being invited?), or prearrange plans, but this year I was able to make it.  I mean, I had just got back from a 5 day boys trip already.  What would another day make?  (Major payback to Shelly...)

So without issue I was in/near Belle River and sipping a beer and eating a hamburger.  It was one o'clock.  The troops were starting to rally, deodorant was applied, teeth brushed, the best clothing worn, and passports in hand.  It was off to the Windsor - Detroit Tunnel.


The boarder crossing was only mentionable for one reason.  The really nice border patrol officer asked what we were planning on doing for 4 hours in Detroit prior to the baseball game starting.  We chirped out how we didn't have a concrete plan, but would obviously go to The Detroiter, Cheli's, Old Shillelagh's, and so on.  We asked her what she would do.  She said she would probably go to Old Shillelagh's if she was with her Irish friends.  It was a you-had-to-be-there-moment because, well, it is quite possible and reasonable that she has lots of Irish friends, but she was black and didn't fit the mold having lots of Irish friends, or even being interested in going to that type of bar....  It was funny at the time.  She was very nice, and let us proceed into the good ol' U.S. of A without being frisked or to provide a DNA sample or anything like that. We did bring an illegal over the boarder!  Take that D.O.H.S. First stop was Jacoby's.


 So for the next little while we just hopped from bar to bar, enjoying a cool libation or two, and getting hyped for the game.  There was definitely a buzz for the Tigers everywhere we went.  Lots of jerseys, hats, and people who had one mission - go to the game. And I haven't been following the team, or baseball really at all, but I don't think they are doing that great and aren't really keeping a winning record.  No one seemed to care from what I could tell.  We got into the game just as the first introductions were announced, and the pitcher was ready to throw his stuff.

The long and short of the game was that the Tigers beat the Boston opponents by a score of 6-5.  There were a few home runs, strike outs, walks, fly outs, ground outs, and so on.  I bought a 50-50 ticket.  It paid out $20,000 or so.  I matched one number correctly out of the 7 listed; the first one.  We stood which wasn't so bad.  And that is about it.

After the game there was no real rush.  An amazing fire works display lit up the sky, and we were similarly lit and getting a few more drinks at an outdoor patio.  By midnight we made tracks back to the car, went through the tunnel with nary a car in sight, and went to the Kildare House.  Despite our stomachs being full of drink, they were empty of food.  So a late night fried fiesta awaited.  So good, yet so bad.

 Of course there are a few more stories of this happened and that happened, however they wouldn't interest anyone reading this.  One guy's shirt made a memorable impression, but was left to the garbage collectors in Detroit to sort out...  And then trying to trade a shirt away...  Doing laundry before leaving for the game - lots of clothing stories I suppose....  It was a great time.  We all had a great breakfast scoff in Belle River down at the marina, and then I hit the road to return to where I came from.  That is it.

And Wally is seven months old today August 9, 2015 - Good on you Wally.  7 months old and the crying hasn't let up whatsoever!



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Halifax Summary

If you are traveling for 3 or 4 days I do recommend having a blog for each day...  It is so much easier to put things to paper when the ideas and events are fresh in your mind.  I have not done that.

The Halifax trip was awesome, but I did not do what I know to be a suggestion and good advice for those who like to summarize and account for activities and events on a trip.  I will try my best. 

So Thursday night was great, but we got stuck on the airplane, on the runway on the airplane, for 3 hrs without moving.  That was not great.  We finally had wheels up at midnight, got to Halifax after 03:00 local time, a cab into the house, and it was 04:00 and we were quite tired from nothing.  Bed.

Friday morning was a biggish sleep-in until after 10:00.  A few of us went for a run - Then showered and had some grub downtown.  By 1:00 pm we had 70 cans of beer with us, a huge bottle of Bailey's, some food provisions, of course, and back at our rental house (6048 Pepperell) ready to take on the entire Atlantic Fleet.  Instead of doing that, we got into those Olands, Alpines, and Schooners, and by 4:00 we made it back downtown to check out some of the Halifax Busker Fest.  Not being too interested in sword swallowing or stilt walking - we went pub hopping for the next few hours.  There was a crew that including Dan, James, Dave, Gary, Matt, Rich, Sviene, and myself....  We acted and behaved just well enough for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.  Plenty of drink and food followed.  Of course - more needless bar hopping, music finding, and girl chasing for some = not me though. 

Friday was also memorable because each one of us had to buy a wedding gift still, or get a hair cut, or get something to wear, or this, or that....  I got my hair cut.  It did not surprise the stylist that the wedding was but 24 hrs away, and I was in the position with my hair that I was in - she said something like, "I am not surprised....  I have had grooms in here on their wedding day..." 

Rich and I = The sign was very for-telling because the night would soon be a mess for some.  But not us.


On Saturday morning I sort of got up early - another 10:00 am start, and did a sort of  Joel Plaskett and took the Dartmouth ferry - but took it to Dartmouth rather than to town.  I was off to Park Avenue to find the MacLeods.  I suppose I should have announced I was coming, because when I got there they weren't home.  However, their friendly neighbour said they would be home soon enough so I ran around Banook Lake for a loop and in 25 minutes, sure enough, they were home when I finished my exercise.  I got a tour of their house and neighbourhood - new to me, and had another brewski or two.  I made it back to our residence and began to fresh'n up for the reason I went out to Halifax in the first place - Andrew Coates' wedding.

Wedding was alright.  It was in a Catholic Church by Maitland Street.  It was fairly quick and nice.  Nothing too mentionable happened.  But wouldn't you know it we had 90 minutes or so to tick away before the reception and we went to a house a few hundred metres away to have a few beer.  And it was a busy place.  About 20 people made their way into this couple's place.  We were drinking a craft beer called Propeller.  By 5:00 cabs were called and it was off to this naval facility for the cocktails and reception.

Alex and Crystal rocking the reception:


The long and short of this part of the trip = it was great.  The facility was beautiful.  Food was great.  Drinks were cold.  Speeches were funny.  Entertainment was terrific.  It was a great, great, great night.  You would just have to be there - but what can I say?  It was live music, an open bar, great food, people letting go....  It was super fun.

I don't think people started waking up until 11:00 am on the Sunday morning.  We ate at a restaurant around the corner called Freeman's, and by 2:00 we were set to go to the beach.  So on Sunday we went to Crystal Beach which is about 30 minutes outside of the city.  It is on the North Atlantic ocean so the water temp was quite cold - in the 60's, but the air temp was nice.  We had a great few hours just catching some rays and hanging out.  On Sunday night we all went to the Upper Deck or Lower Deck or some place or other and saw the band Signal Hill....  Good times again.

Dave and I rocked out the speedos:

On Monday morning I hit up a 6 mile running race in Dartmouth.  I guess it was their 110th annual or something - All I can say about it is I won....  I won my new age group!  I was the first 40 - 49 athlete.  That is all I can say about the race.  Despite all my boozing and late nights I figured I would be a bit more representative in regards to my overall time - but I wasn't.  I went to the well early in this race and not much was there.  Oh well.  I ran 33:40.  I hit halfway in 32:30 pace....  So - ya....  Got to get some workouts in - and some hard ones at that...

Monday afternoon finished off this a nearly cart-blanche tour of Canadian Naval vessel 336; the HMCS Montreal.  The long and short of this story is a former Lancer track athlete who is buddies of the guys I was with is an officer on the boat.  It was his day off, the boat was docked, the boat was empty, and he is able to give tours....

This was rather interesting = A full narrated/guided tour with a passionate officer.  We got to go the the bridge, the engine room, the computer room, the diving locker, the helicopter bay, its eating areas, and so on, and so on.  I would say we got to see 80 percent of what was allowable.  No cameras or cell phones were allowed on board.  It was quite neat to say the least.  I can't begin to write or recap what was described, but it seemed like a great way to end the trip.  

Sviene and Sarah:

Flight home was anti-climatic - Back in Goderich by 10:30 pm Monday night. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Just Passing 40

See - I don't look much different.  These donkeys with me however is a different story..

Although it was two weeks ago, I celebrated my 40th with a bit of fanfare, but no pictures or photographic evidence of it.  The run down of the party incorporated a 40 minute run at 4:40, followed by a few jumps off the pier, then some beverages, appetizers and snacks before I grilled some dinner for 20 weird and wacky people who made their way over....  It went into the wee hours of the nite and next morning, and by all accounts it was a super fun time.  I look and feel mostly the same as when I last wrote anyway.  So not too much has changed, though I have been busy.

Out at the farm I have been hand bombing trails through the bush....  I don't know why I am doing it with such a labour intesive method.  If I have learned anything recently it is machinery is magic.  Machinery make work soooo much easier.  I am using a chainsaw, but I need a back hoe to really get my trail forged.  And the mosquitoes have been difficult to work with.  They make horrendous company.  However it is moving along well.

Another project I nearly have done is refinishing a deck out of the bedroom.  The old top was rotten and used, although the frame of it was quite useable.  So I fancied up a nice design and just completed the top part of it.  Next is the stairs and the railing.  I will do the stairs myself, and get the railing done/made by a neighbour who is a blacksmith; he has a metal forge out of town and it is right up his alley to get a safety net around it.  It is quite good so far, but I will get a picture when it is all complete.

I put brakes on my motorbike the other day and it wasn't too difficult.  Of course I had my pal Drew quarterback the process...  But I did a lot of it myself and could definitely have a go at another set if I needed, and had the proper tools.  Drew and I went out for breakfast afterwards; him on the Harley, and me on the KTM.  We went to Bartliff's in Clinton which is always a great feed.



The weather has been smashingly great around here lately....  I am off to Halifax this weekend...  I am getting myself a mid-life crisis guitar as a birthday gift - I haven't got it yet, but and super excited.  I would much rather buy a used model of what I am after, but because they are so unique, there just isn't the one I want for sale.  Lots like it, but not exactly the same.  So I may just buy new?    Anyway the guitar has to be a Gibson - J-45 Custom Mystic Rosewood Ltd. Edition.  Not a regular J-45, not the Ice Tea or the Vintage Sunburst...  Just the Mystic Rosewood.  They are rare and expensive enough, so ya - We'll see. If you know of anyone with this exact same guitar - I would gladly buy it off them.
I know my buddy Stan would be very happy about this purchase and would give me the thumbs up!  I am too ashamed and almost embarrassed to write how much they cost - so I won't. 

I didn't really get anything for my birthday actually - well plenty of booze from people who came over to the party - which I said don't bring, but I did run out of beer so Liesa, Jen and Rhonda save my skin with 40 Keith's for my 40th.  I did get a really cool mirror from Shelly though.  It was a birthday gift of course, but I got it early.  Anyway the mirror is custom made and its perimetre and inlay is a bicycle wheel with spokes.  It is pretty awesome and I am going to hang it in the music area of the house.
I thought a lot about two people who died in the last two weeks or so.  Dan Boyce and Danielle Mathias.  They had absolutely nothing in common with one another, other then the fact they both died, but, I don't know why, but I thought about it, and was upset and sad for the people around them because I know they were two great people.  I know the people around them knew that, but still, it is nice to go to these visitations and just lend a hand and say it is a terrible loss.  I will make a point of getting something short in the mail to the Mathiases, and think about Danny the next time I play hockey. 

I will have lots to post in a week with a recap out to Halifax....

Sunday, July 12, 2015

5 years

We started out like this:

When we got married it was this:


And we have ended like this:

With these donkeys:
That is 5 years right there.  Shelly and I went out to Benmiller Inn for dinner to toast and celebrate.  Diane Grail came over to save the day for us as she braved child-minding duties for a few hours.  It was a fantastic night out, and a fantastic five years.  They both went by very quickly.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Georgian Bay


Molly and I started off the summer holidays with a mini vacation with Marsha, Alden, Loch, dad and Wendy up to Tobermory, ON during the past few days.  The weather wasn't that great, but we still managed to get involved in northern Bruce County excitement.  I have been up there a few times, but never at any length.

We made a point to get over to Flower Pot Island.  It is 6km off shore, and about 500 hectares in area.  It isn't inhabited, but there are a few campsites, an operative lighthouse, and a home to a  variety of snakes and other critters.  It is also part of Parks Canada - so lots of seasonal federal employees who care and uptake the island with trails, railings, stairs, and the like.  Of significance is the flower pot looking rock formations that time and weather have eroded away to their current state.  There are also some caves on the island too.  This is a must see on any Tobermory adventure.

The trip ended with a visit down Dorcas Bay Road to Singing Sands beach.  It is on the Lake Huron side of the county.  Its highlight is a very nice beach with a sand bar that extends hundreds of feet out into the lake. It is another place I haven't been too.  The other turned quite quickly while we were there and it sort of forced us to move on.
All in all it was a good trip.  It was interesting with all the kids and the different personalities and dispositions of everyone - adults included.  But we came back no worse for wear, and with a lot of stories and photos to share.

Friday, June 26, 2015


This has been a mighty big month of posting and exploits - Wow!  The summer, and my 14 month sabbatical is just beginning too.  All in all it has been a busy week and lots of things seem to be happening.


There was an airshow in town this week. The iconic and distinctly Canadian Snowbirds did those maneuvers, rolls, and flips that they do.  I would say it was highlighted by two jet fighters however.  I think I am writing it correctly when I say there was a CF-18, as well as an F-18?  I don't know the lingo.  But they each screamed and screeched over the town of Goderich and rattled many-of-houses in the process.  It was pretty cool indeed.  One of the jets used Lighthouse Street as an indicator to fly westward over the lake whilst I was sitting in the front lawn.  I would guess its elevation to be 500 feet or more - but it sounded and felt like 50!  And that piercing/searing sound after it passes....

That was Wednesday.  While running home on Tuesday the Snowbirds flew over me while on the trail running in.  Again, it just seemed like they are only a few hundred feet above me.  I had quite the view.  As for pictures - terrible quality/framing, but you get the idea.  I never did get a picture of those fast jets.

Last night I attended and voted in my first ever political candidates meeting.  I am a card carrying NDP member.  There was the Huron Bruce nomination meeting for the upcoming fall 2015 federal election.  There were about 125 - 150 people there and Gerard Creces was voted in to be the NDP candidate for the riding.  Good luck to Gerard and his team!


Today is it.  The last day of work for 14 months!  I don't really have too many obligations - well no obligations as far as I am aware of, until September 2016 with the AMDSB.   14 full months off.  I have continually been enrolled in a deferred salary plan where 20% of my pay is withheld for 4 years, and on the fifth year I get paid all that 20% which has accumulated.  Another way to look at it is stretching 4 years worth of pay over 5 years, and one doesn't work that fifth year.  So ya!!!!  It is fantastic.  Absolutely a terrific thing to do.  So I am pumped up and excited for this.

I ran out to school this morning.  Okay, I ran some of the way to school this morning. The school is about 17 miles from home, and I made 8 miles or so before my ride arrived...  Beautify morning in the country.

The front of the house is looking pretty good with some colour.  We've got a few flowers in and keeping the weeds to a minimum.