Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

DesTination: Venise, Quebec!

DesTination: Venise
With a forty percent chance of showers I must confess I was weary about our ride being cancelled this morning. By 07:30am it began to rain heavily despite blue skies and white clouds above! Regardless, whether the official ride was cancelled or not, I was determined to go out anyways and enjoy what I suspected would be a sunny, dry day in the end. Fortunately, our fearless leader, Steve, rose to the occasion and felt the same way. Our destination was Venise, Quebec which is literally just a stone's throw away from the U.S.A. border. Armed with a Kriega waterproof bag, a rain kit and of course in lieu of recent arguments with my beloved Serenity, my tools including my volt meter and jump cables. It's not a grudge, it's just a lesson well learned!

Remarkably this was my first official ride with the Dragon Riders in about a month! Since my last ride to the Bassin de Chambly, Quebec, the group has ventured outward to such destinations such as Americade, The Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne and bike week at Laconia. This is not to say I haven't been riding at all, on the contrary actually. In between trying to figure out why Serenity was just not that into me I have been on several unofficial Dragon Rides with a couple of people including Steve and Bobby the Bobber. I also have been meeting up with some noobs for one on one rides; an opportunity for cyclists with learners licences in Quebec to get a chance to practice their skills without the pressures of group riding.

The rain stopped as quickly as it had begun and the sun was out in full force. By 08:30am the streets were already dry and I was already feeling uncomfortably hot in my Belstaff leather jacket. I set off to collect my learner, Fuad and his Kawasaki ER-6N motorcycle. By the time we arrived at our meet up point at Moe's Bar and Grill, nearly everyone had arrived including a few strays who cancelled their plans for today to join our motley crew on account of, ahem, rain.... riiiiggghht! It suited me just fine as it had been ages since I had the chance to ride with some of these lovely fellas.

This included some familiar faces to you by now such as Bobby the Bobber and his H-D 48, Raffi and his BMW K1300GT, Emil was on his reliable 1984 Yamaha Maxim 400, Michel sneaked into the ride unaccompanied on his Ninja 400R (cheeky bugger!) and Steve was on his chromed Yamaha Road Star! I also had the pleasure of meeting for the first time two new fellas. This included Geoffrey and his Kawasaki Vulcan 800 and Richard, who stole the show today by showing up with a brand new Suzuki M109 that he had just collected this very morning! Is there anything more exciting than taking your very first road trip with your new bike the same day that you collected it?

Geoffrey -
His Kawasaki 800 is BEGGING for
a Blue Collar Bobber Kit!
Richard -
His Brand Spanking New Suzuki M109!
The ride to Venise was probably the most scenic of any ride I have ever had with the Dragon Riders to date thanks to Steve's route planning. We found ourselves immersed in greenery where just a few short months back snow had blanketed the back roads making it passable only to cage drivers, trucks and the odd snowmobile, the latter is a past time in Quebec only surpassed by motorcycling during the summer months! Canopies of trees hung overhead at certain points along our trip that provided us with a sense that we were somehow riding through a forest not unlike our ancestors must have done on their own steeds just one century ago.

Living in Montreal, Quebec, it's easy to forget that Canada has one of the lowest population densities in the world averaging at just above three people per square kilometer! It's not until you leave the city that you are reminded of the fact that Canada is predominantly devoid of human structures as you ride along coming across the odd town, house and of course the many farms that make the backbone of this nation. With a population of just over thirty four million people compared to the United States for instance with a population of just over three hundred and eleven million it's something to think about when your riding a bike that could possibly leave you stranded! Lakes and rivers abound, however, and you can appreciate why the Quebecois only have to go an hour or so outside of town to consider themselves on vacation.

Huntington, Quebec
We found ourselves passing little villages like Huntington, Quebec to get to Venise. True to my chosen pseudonym, along the way I inevitably found myself covered in not only spattered bugs but unfortunately, bird shit as well! Given my penchant for finding humor in the mishaps of my friends I suppose this was karma, so I didn't fret too much about it. Still though, I'd be less disturbed if not for the fact I didn't know what it was at first and wiped the substance from my foreheads and licked it thinking it was rain?! Live and Learn... live and learn... sigh. Upon our arrival in Venise we ate at Pizzeria de la Baie. What made this particular place special was the spectacular view! The Missisquoi Bay provides ample opportunity for cooling off after a long and hot ride for those intrepid enough to get their skivvies off and jump in! For the less adventurous types there is the restaurant of course where people can enjoy a cold one along with some good food and if your lucky...some good company too!

Venise, Quebec
Baie Missisquoi Bay
Our Fearless Leader, Steve
& Richard...
Who got lucky in a way every man would love too today!
Serenity on a well deserved break!
Michel -
He's laughing now but wait
until he finds himself lost and alone....
Chevy Nova on Steroids...
Large Wheels Save Lives?
Venise is littered with mountains and scenic routes ideal for motorcycling. 
An Electric Chopper...
Bashful Fuad...
For those of you who have been helping me out with Serenity, you'll be pleased to know that I haven't had a single problem with her since figuring out why she was giving me the silent treatment last week. However, despite not having any electrical or mechanical issues I did sense she was still holding a grudge of sorts. Despite having put well over one thousand miles on her since installing the new Redefined Headlight with HM1 Mount the damn thing decided to lose tension today and with every mile, particularly on highways, the headlamp itself began facing downward - not unlike my disapproving wife when I whisper naughty things in her ear! So off to Canadian Tire I must go tomorrow (yet again) to purchase some more Blue or Red Lock Tite. (Note to Self: keep an extra tube with me at all times!) Other than this annoying and continuous mishap throughout the day I am pleased to say that she is behaving lady - like otherwise. Unlike Bobby's 48 that seems to share my opinion on white jeans and duly squirts them with oil whenever she can! Gotta love a Harley with taste! ;-)

As we started back home we decided to take the scenic route and found ourselves on familiar grounds once more as we pulled into St. Jean Sur Richelieu. There we stopped at Resto-Bar Bouchard for a few drinks again and some of us even got in touch with our feminine side!

Raffi - The Godfather
Bobby the Bobber -
(Apparently Raccoon Eyes Are all the Rage for H-D Owners Now!)
Photo © Steven Houle
For All You Nay Sayers Out There:
Its Non-Alcoholic Lemonade of Some Sort...
Photo © Steven Houle
Ladies of the Evening....
Nine hours after we had begun our journey this morning and still there was not a drop of rain to be seen...well, bar the occasional bird shit hitting some poor unsuspecting motorcyclist! (I'd have preferred the rain...) Fuad, Michel and Emil did really well as learners today and are improving with each outing. Steve seemed oblivious to anything other than the road ahead of him as he went along as happy as any cyclist could be, with his music blazing for all to hear from two chromed speakers (as if they would be anything other than chrome!), Geoffrey seemed lost in thought, perhaps dreaming of what Blue Collar Bobbers has to offer his Kawa whilst Raffi and I had the chance to get re-acquainted after having gone so long without riding with one another. Richard handled his new bike like a pro and you would never have guessed he had just picked it up this morning from the shop! In fact, you might say he was brought to tears at one point but that's for him to know and his friends to find out! ;-)

Someone from somewhere once said that "four wheels move the body and two wheels move the soul." If riding can be described as a spiritual experience than I suppose I would go as far as to state that I adhere to "church of two wheels". As July slowly creeps up I find myself already dreading the day I have to put Serenity away for the winter, although, probably to her relief. There never seems to be enough time in life to do the things we love, so when we do get a chance it's all the more bittersweet. There was nothing particularly special about today itself. Still, I find myself ending the day thinking that somehow I will probably remember it for the rest of my life. It's the little things that remind us of how precious time is, especially when spent in good company.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing Bug;) nice pics! it looks like you guys had a wonderful ride... I'm kinda jealous lol