Saturday, July 28, 2012

DesTination: Memory Lane

My Grandmother and I
Heading towards the true, north, strong and free I found myself on the road riding towards memory lane. Riding on instinct I followed the 40 East Bound for just over an hour. Doubt began to settle in and just as I was about to pull over for directions I came upon the sign for St. Gabriel De Brandon. It's been over fifteen years since I had last visited and the experience was marred by the fact that I had gotten lost on the way down. It wouldn't have been so bad but I had a friend with me who was less than impressed with my navigational aptitude at the time. I remember feeling dissatisfied with the experience overall as a result. Determined not to make the same mistake this time I set off on my own with no one other than Serenity for company.

My Grandfather
St. Gabriel De Brandon was my home away from home for nearly a decade whilst I was growing up. My grandparents owned a chalet atop of a small hill overlooking Lac Maskinong√©.  Like most families during the 1970's and 1980's owning a summer home was not so much a luxury as it was a way of life. The chalet itself had the bare necessities - no hot water, no television, no heating, and basic electricity. New episodes of MASH, The Jefferson'sAll in the Family, TAXI, Cheers and Welcome Back Kotter were the top television shows of the day. Atari was a new wonder at a retail cost of no less than five hundred dollars you can bet there were no video games either. The Montreal Expos were alive and well and the Montreal Canadians were feuding (as always) with the Boston Bruins. Having grown up at the tail end of an era where kids were actually expected to play outside and we were called back home not by cell phones but rather through our parents' bellows through an open window it's a wonder sometimes that the world I live in today is actually the same one that I grew up in.

Adventure Awaits!
I never thought I would return
to this spot with a motorcycle!
My days were filled exploring in and around the forest's paths and inevitably, despite my best efforts not to, I found mischief to get into wherever I went. Tree houses were built not by contractors but by small boys and girls and of course they were precariously unsafe. Our neighbors were not strangers but friends or at the very least, acquaintances who kept an eye out on your property for you or in my case reported anything I would do back to my family. When not exploring the woods I was swimming or playing on the beach for hours on end. Later, if I was lucky, we would tuck into a hamburger at Zombie's restaurant just across from Lac Maskinong√© followed by a slush puppy.

I digress. Riding solo to and from St. Gabriel De Brandon today gave me something that group riding just can't, namely freedom. Freedom to lose myself in not only the anticipation of returning to a place that was truly so profound in my life as a child but equally as important, it allowed me to explore parts of my former childhood in such a way that no 'sane' motorcyclist would normally venture with a Suzuki Intruder 1400! The ride was serene and undoubtedly the itch to return to someplace familiar to me was nothing if not bittersweet. I find it difficult to express in words what it is that drives us to visit our past. However, in doing so sometimes it is the only way one receives the strength needed from such journeys to move forward. Without further ado I present to you a video I compiled today of today's motorcycle trip:
Memory Lane...


  1. Hi, YouTube is not liking me, I get the following message when trying to watch it: 'This video contains content from SME and EMI, one or more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds;.
    Where does the name Serenity come from for the bike? The series Firefly?

    1. Guess you will have to have a look at it when you arrive here at the end of August! I am surprised though, the songs I used are so old now... Strange! As for the name of my bike, the idea came to me from the Serenity prayer, my mother's favourite. Hope your well, we can't wait to see you soon!

  2. Really enjoyed your trip down memory lane, Mario....Hope all is well.

    Mrs. Webb

  3. 4 Thumbs Up! Awesome Video!

  4. Cool video, glad you had a nice ride, St-Gabriel is a nice area indeed!


  5. Nice Job again with the video my friend. I wish I could be long side with you through all your adventures. Soon buddy soon.


  6. Nice video there Mario. It's good to see you're out and riding. Looks like it was a really great day for it too. Wish I could've been with you, but it was a solo ride and that's okay too!

    See ya 'round!

  7. Hi mario,

    your video was very interesting!! If that place you talk of was your grandmother Madge, then we took her there one time. I’m quite sure of it! Many many moons ago!


  8. Hey Bug that was pretty cool. I was born and grew up about 40 miles south of Riviere-du-Loup P.C. on the U.S. side. Spent many many weekends in Quebec City and riding all around that area. Favorite ride is from Quebec City along 138 on the north shore of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Fjords of North America, Saguenay National Park, Lac St. Jean is probably some of the most beautiful areas this side of the Atlantic. Take the road from the town of Saguenay to Tadoussac (173) and you've ridden one of the best riding roads anywhere. Keep going NE on the 138 up to Baie Comeau having the seaway right off your right hip the whole way then take the ferry back to the southshore. Go up to the Gaspe or head back to Quebec City. Nice 3 day trip.

    Was up there last summer but couldn't ride because of rains that would never stop. Nice to see the landscape as you were riding around. Identical to where I grew up. One thing I saw missing from your video though. NO bugs splattered on your lens?? Ride safe, moose suck.


  9. I miss your videos...