Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Ride That Should Have Been!

Bike In Distress
We have all been there.  We get excited in the planning, mapping and the anticipation of the ride. We look forward to the experience of the journey into the unknown. We look forward to the free open road and we know that in the future we will be able to tell the story and share our adventure with anyone who understands what it means to be free on a motorcycle, and with anyone interested enough to view our pictures and hear about our adventure... after all, the ride itself is only part of the fun. This ride plan started in early spring. Bug Spattered Jacket, and Junkyard Villain had discussed taking an overnight ride into Eastern Ontario to continue our discussion on our joint project we are working on, and to just ride.

We had chosen the Ride The Highlands Route "Rideau Ridge 21", had booked a night at the Sharbot Lake Inn and we were both equally excited about getting the chance to take our first "big ride " of the season. Since there is a two hour ride in between our perspective homes, Bug rode into Montreal Friday night and the plan was he'd crash at the Villains place so they could leave early the following morning so they could get in more miles of freedom.

The route plan had us avoiding all highways (or as many as possible) after we got off the island of Montreal. We would be riding back roads into Ontario from the Quebec boarder and taking Route 340 headed west into North Lancaster which becomes the 18 and riding into through farm land, and small villages that remind me of my childhood summers living in the Laurentian Mountains.

Once we got to Martintown we would head up the 20 to Apple Hill, and then left on route 43. We would have stayed on the 43 right into Merrickville to visit the Blockhouse National Site. The plan was we would have explored the Locks, had lunch and then headed back on the road and taken the 15 South to the 16 still headed southwest past Eastern Corners and into Japer, Ontario. At this junction, the route had us headed northwest up the 17 and into Smith Falls (Really nice town) and worth the visit. After a short visit in Smith Falls, the plan had us back on the 15 South going through  the towns of Lombardy and Portland, Ontario and turning right on the 42 through Newboro and into Westport.

The plan had us taking a short break in Westport to stretch the legs, hydrate and shoot the breeze and then get back on the bikes and head west along the 12 which then would become the 8 (Westport Road) all the way into Godfrey, at which point we would head North along Road 38 which would pass through the towns of Parham and Tickborne and then right to the doorsteps of our little Inn.

We would have had a nice meal, talked about the ride, sat by the lake while we sipped a coffee or tea and call it a night. Day 2 of the ride plan had us headed North along the 38 after a hearty breakfast to the 7 east. This is a beautiful stretch of road which I have personally taken on numerous occasions and I was looking forward to stopping at a little rest area just west of Silver lake just for a picture of the bikes with the lake in the back ground.

From the rest area, we would have continued along highway 7 to the 36 in Maberly at which point, we would head south all the way back to Westport for a leg stretch and then the plan had us headed back North on the 10 headed into another beautiful town of Perth, Ontario. After  walking around and visiting Perth, we would head back onto the 1 South back and onto the Rideau Ferry, and then in and through Lombardy.  My intent was keep heading south until the 1 turned into the 29 and we got to the old highway 2 which would bring us along  the water of the St Lawrence River. I've taken a short jaunt on the old #2 as far as Cornwall, but headed home this way would have had us in Brockville and I had thought would have made for a nice leisurely ride but We did not get to do any of this  ride for one simple reason.

We all have those friends who knock Harley Davidsons... we've all heard the jokes and personally I don't take them seriously, but here is what happened. Bug and I hit the sheets early, we got up and raced out of the house. No Coffee, No Tea, No Breakfast, we got on our bikes... Bug's 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer lovingly called "Bella" cause frankly, she is a looker....and my 2005 Harley Davidson Heritage Classic (Which I have never named) and we both needed petro, so we headed to the station to fill them up.

The plan was that we'd get gas and then stop for a light breakfast down the road. So, we fill up our bikes, and we pay the lady...then we smile at each other with anticipation that the moment has arrived and we're gonna ride...I turn the ignition and that's when it happens. My Starter is FRIED! I could not believe my ears when I heard the noise the starter was making. I am no mechanic... in fact, I have no real skills at understanding anything mechanical, and I don't know how I knew it, but I looked at Mario, and said.. my starter is blown.

To be honest the disappointment that immediately overtook me was short lived because the one thing I've learnt in my years is that the best way to handle any situation is to roll with the punches, adapt and make a new plan. I really did feel bad for my friend Mario....aka: Bug Spattered Jacket, he was ready to go and my bike wasn't.

It is important to note that since I've owned this Harley, it is the first time she has given me any trouble. I have taken care of her with proper maintenance by some experienced and hard working individuals. I have not ridden her hard, or put any extra stresses on her, but at 12 years old she is bound to have some wear and tear and it was going to happen at one time or another that I would have an experience I would have preferred not to have. I am just glad that this did not happen while I was in the middle of nowhere on some back country road that hasn't seen traffic since the fall of last year when the farmers collected their hay.

So, here we are...early Saturday morning with one bike down and two disappointed bikers.. My insurance company provides me with roadside assistance, so I dialed the number and was told someone was coming to get me. I told Mario that I was sorry and that he might as well head home, but he waited with me, and then I realised that I needed to decide where to bring the bike, so I texted a friend whom I trust and who has his own shop.

Her head hung low
My friend Robert is a private man, so I am not going to embarrass him other then saying he is a friend whom I look forward to get to spend more time with. Up at 8AM on a Saturday, he came to pick me and my Harley up and will do me the honour of installing a new starter in this old girl so I may ride free again.


  1. Just getting to spend any time at all with you is a win Mr. Hart! I am only sorry that it couldn't have been longer. Looking forward to riding with you again (for longer) in future! ;-)

  2. Good write up.. but u never mentioned if u miss the old school kick starter ;) ... gotta say.. that started lasted way more than many..

  3. This was such a sad, wistful read! I'm so sorry you didn't get to go. Maybe your guardian angels decided you guys needed to be close to home last weekend.

    1. I agree Jen, Everything happens for a reason.

  4. It happens to all of us sooner or later. Great story