Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The long weekend – Monday

My last day of the long weekend and since Chad hadn’t been biking much recently we decided to check-out some of Bramptons trails. We quickly found a very nice trail and were having a good time out in the woods. That was until somehow Chad lost the pully of his rear-derrailor. Since a pully is pretty much wedged-in it is a mystery how this happened, but after that ‘amazing discovery’ we headed back to the pavement and back to Chad’s place. After a shower and some grub we decided to drop the bike off at the bike shop, but Chad got a visit from Bell Canada for his spotty phone service. After checking the outside and inside of the house the conclusion was that a combination of multiple lines used in a - let’s say - peculiar way by a previous owner and a sub-par alarm wiring (without effecting the working of the latter…) made for quite a mess. Fortunately "Troy – the phoneguy" fixed it all and we were on our way. Since it was getting close to 4pm and given the fact I had 2 more stops and a 5 hour drive ahead of me it was time to say goodbye and be on my way.

The first stop was a quick drop-off at Chads parents in Mount Hope (Hamilton) and the second stop was at my great-aunt (and Chads Grandma) Truus in her new apartement on the corner of Wellington and Stonechurch, also in Hamilton. She now has a very nice apartment with a very nice view. When everyting is finished that is, since quite a bit still needs to be done. We had some talks and laughs on the balcony before I had to depart for Cleveland. The border was reached at a little after 8pm so all the holiday traffic had already passed and I was – again, surprisingly for the second time this long weekend – able to drive-up straight to the booth and back in the US in 30 seconds flat. Very nice. The rest of the 3 hour drive was pretty uneventful apart from the fact that since it was the 4th of July I had some nice fireworks to look at on the sides of I-90 and at around 11.30 after a good 700 miles I found myself back in Cleveland.

It was a very good weekend, but a bed sounded very appealing and after dismounting the bike I was glad to be home, ready for bed and grateful for spending the long weekend in such good company. Goodnight.

The long weekend – Sunday

After Jason left the rest of us slowly awakened as well to the smell of breakfast. I can think off worse things… Feeding the body was much appreciated in preparation of the spiritual feeding that followed. Since Joel and Carolyn both live outside of Guelph now it took a fair bit of time before they were able to shake loose from the crowd after church ended, but we had lunch waiting so back to house we went. Not quite the standard, but Chinese for lunch was a very nice idea. The afternoon was scheduled for some down-time so we went to Silver Creek park off Gordon street for some challenging rounds of …yep…bocce-ball again. A great game and with some challenging grounds it made for a nice few hours of play-time. All good things come to an end and since Carolyn had yet to pick-up her car at Guelph Line off the 401 before driving to Strathroy (with a stop at her place in Brampton) we said goodbye to Jason and Faye and headed to Guelph Line.

Once on the 401 it turned out that 1 exit past Guelph Line the OPP closed the highway for an investigation and since there are no exits for about 16km (10 miles) between Highway 6 in Guelph and Guelph Line we reached the jam pretty quickly. With some frustration it took us about 2 hours to reach the Guelph Line exit. After saying goodbye Carolyn quickly got in to her car and Joel and I headed to Burlington. Joel wanted to water his garden since it hadn’t rained in three days. Somehow watering a garden seems to make you hungry , so the all-you-can-eat ribs at Montana’s seemed a good way to obey our stomachs. After some good fellowship we decided to pay a visit to my cousin Chad and his wife in Brampton, so a good 40 minutes later we were having some beers and good laugh. I decided to stay since Joel had to work on Monday and with Chad and Lisa both being teachers they had the day (and a few more…) off. Some more beer and conversation brought the day to a good end.

The long weekend – Saturday – A taste of the Fifties

The evening was reserved for a little time-travel; back to the Fifties and the glory days of the… drive-in movie theaters. For me personally it was a first and for most of the group this wasn’t a typical night-out either. After picking-up some grub at one of the local pizza-places we drove up around 7pm. There were about 30 cars ahead of us, so we were doing alright. We parked and brought out the pizza; grub-time folks! About 30 minutes later the gates opened and we got ourselves the best spot in the house. I guess it helped that the other half of the group was first in line… We parked the cars, finished off (most of) the pizza and brought out the games. One part opted for bocce-ball (or jeu-de-boules on steroids for the Europeans among us…), the other made it into a card-night. Unfortunately about 30 minutes after Faye got paged. She is a mid-wife and was on-call for the weekend. The good thing was that they refunded her ticket and while she attended to the page we played some more until the first movie started.

At about 9.30pm the Longest Yard was the first movie of the 4-movie-all-night-line-up; the Longest Yard, War of the Worlds, Sahara and the Honeymooners. We knew we were not staying for the latter two and with the temparature gradually getting down to about 14 C (or 54 F) we were glad we made that decision. During the two movies everybody gradually turned from a summer butterfly to a winter cocoon, but we stayed out and had a blast. The Longest Yard was definetly a pleseant surprise, while War of the Worlds was a bit of a dissapointment. This was a general feeling among the entire group. At about 2am we made our way back because- after some shut-eye - Jason was expected to be at chuch the next morning at 9.30am since he was on Usher duty.

The long weekend – Saturday – Wedding blues

Since Joel and his fiancee Carolyn are in the middle of planning the wedding, they had a follow-up visit planned at a hall somewhere in/around Guelph (exact location will not be mentioned…). We ran a little late, but while coming up with some questions to ask we made it in time. The good thing was that the hall was about ready to host a wedding reception that evening so we had a good look at how they dressed-up the hall. It looked really nice and after getting most of the answers we headed back out before the guest of the wedding arrived. This hall will be the location for Joel and Carolyn’s wedding reception but the name and location of the hall (and the location of the photos...) remains a closely guarded secret…at least untill the invitations are sent out.

The long weekend – Saturday - Biking

Saturday was bike-day for Joel and me. The girls went Garage-saling and Jason had to drop off some hamocks up north. If it was that simple it wouldn’t warrant a story, but it wasn’t. I brought my bike and Joel was to borrow a bike from Jason and Faye. Faye asked us if we could pump-up the rear tire and get a valve adapter since the paretta valve on the tire didn’t fit their pump. We should be able to get it done at the bike-shop at the corner of Gordon and Nottingham (in Guelph). It was 9am and off we went to the bike shop. Bike shop closed. Didn’t open until 10am. Okay, two options; wait an hour or see if we could get either a valve-adapter or a pump at Canadian Tire. We opted for the latter and came back with a pump.

The pump worked and we were pumping away when disaster struck; a piece of the valve fell off. Given the small size of the paretta valve a small part of that is really small and its brass colour gave it perfect camouflage in the grass… After 10mins of painstackingly crawling through a small section of grass we found it only to conclude that the part didn’t fall off, but broke off. Great. It was now about 10am so a second trip to the bike shop was planned. We quickly found out that we needed a new inner tube and for a small fee the shop was willing to install it as well. That gave us some more time to kill and we put that to good use to stawl around the Farmers Market across from the bike shop (you gotta love small towns…). We found some good cherries and after another 30 minute wait at the bike shop we went back to the house with a bike ready for some biking. However, in the meantime it was 11.30am and we hadn’t done a single bit of biking. Back at the house the girls were already back from their shopping spree and we didn’t leave yet. Anyway, after sharing the story and some laughs we loaded up the bikes and drove to the Guelph Lake conservation area to do some biking.

We parked the car at the trail-head on Victoria Road and biked on some nice trails. After a while the trail narrowed quite a bit and became very poorly maintained. We apparently missed a turn-off or something since the trail we were on now looked as if nobody in the last two years followed a similar route we did. When we hit the part where a machetti was more appropriate than a mountain bike we took the adjecent road and turned on to Jordan baseline and ended-up biking all around the lake without another trail entry point. Too bad, but we still got a good work-out. After stopping for some directions (I know, two guys mountain biking that are stopping for directions must either be really lost or just fed up with the pavement since they apparently missed all the trail entry points). For us it was the latter and 10 minutes later we were indeed back on the trails. By now we were coming close to our 1pm deadline so after a few more minutes on the trails we drove back to the car, loaded the bikes back up and headed back to the house for a much appreciated shower. Not quite the biking trip we wanted, but we still had a good time.

The long weekend - Friday

This year we had the good fortune that both the Canadian and US independence days where in the same weekend. It gave me another opportunity to visit my friends and family north of the 49th.

I left Friday after work having already loaded up the car with my bike and all the gear in the morning and headed for the Buffalo – Fort Erie border expecting a bridge full of holiday traffic. I was wrong. There were some lines on the way, but they were for the tolls on I-(1)90 and for that I have EasyPass…;-). At the border I was able to drive straight up to the booth and was cleared in under 30 seconds. I arrived in Guelph at my predicted time of 9pm. Not bad for what the AAA proclaimed the busiest driving day in years.

I met up with Joel, Carlolyn and their friends Jason and Faye to watch the fireworks at Riverview Park. It was a bit breezy and a little colder than expected, but some of the fireworks were pretty amazing. At Jason and Faye’s we played some carts and snacked up a bit before switching the lights off…