...and then the rains came...
The August long weekend marks a now annual trip to Presquile Provincial Park for some camping. Its seems
the weather gods are also wishing to make their own tradition to mark our voyage. Torrential downpours! We assembled as planned with a departure time set at 4-5pm on Friday. Around 4:15pm our last member rolled in as he comes in from out of town yet we still had to wait for others to arrive, not in the club, but coming for the ride. Surely enough...
just like last year as we waited the clouds got more... apocalyptic.
Last year we hit the road and the forecast said “less then 5 milometers” of rain. Very manageable we though. We turn out of the drive way and it started to spit. We got to Lakeshore, some 2 minutes away, and the streets were flooding! None of us had warn proper rain gear as we were checking the forecasts like crack addicts and no one was predicting anything severe. We start our way up the on ramp to the Gardener Expressway and what I thought was road was a small lake, a small lake that was now sending a tidal wave over the right side of the column. I looked back and saw everyone made it though and we laughed as we were all already soaked. We make out way to the Expressway and then an 18 wheeler hits another road lake and covers the left side of the column. This continued for 4 hours.
This year we though the odds were low that the same would happen. Once again checking forecasts before climbing onto the bikes. We were more prepared this year. Had a better plan for every eventuality, or so we thought. If we left at 4 we would miss the rain but surely enough we didn't get out till 5:15 and the rains kept a coming! It took 45 minutes alone to get to Scarborough. Once on Kingston Road we had to pull over as we had some new riders with us and the rain was getting hard and people wanted to put gear on. Good thing we did seeing as the weather gods felt that last years rain wasn't enough to welcome the Devils Progress on their trip. No no no this year they uped the antie, HAIL! Paintball sized hail to be exact. Thankfully we were off the bikes for about a minute as the hail began to pelt everything in existence.
We still had hours to go. Accommodating the VP's brother who just got a motorcycle 3 days before and against all of our advice got a 250cc we opted for the scenic route. Well after 5 hours and only 3/4's the way to our destination which is 2 hours away we all decided “401 and now!”.
We roll our convoy onto the 401 and not to long after I see the VP, who is riding with his brother deeper in the pack, pulls out and flags me to pull off the highway. I think his bros bike just can't handle it. So on the next exit ramp we start to make our way off. Then as we are making our way off the Sweep flies up and signals us to say on the 401. I don't know whats going on back there so I decide to pull off so I can figure out what the issues are. Unfortunately the last minute desperate signal to stay on the highway confused the member riding beside me and BAM! he slams into me thinking we're going to stay on the road. My bike veers to the left which luckily I had space to recover. I look back while this is happening and see my brother wobble and then lay the bike down low side. A shower of molten red sparks fly off Shockers ammo box saddle bags. It looks like he's looking right at me and I notice the expression on his face is no fear, not anger and not even pain but extreme disappointment. Then like some motorcycle ninja while sliding along the road he just stands up and walks to the side of the off ramp with motorcycles swerving around him and his bike which is spinning like a top. Thankfully he is fine with just a sprained finger from trying to pull his clutch in and the bike had nearly ignorable damage.
We hit the highway again for the final cold damp leg of our journey. Once again we arrive just as the park office is getting ready to close. We settle up with them and make it to our site to once again set our tents up in the black of night.
When it comes time for us to head back out at the end of the weekend, we all turned our phones on and desperately tried to get signal to see what the weather was looking like. I was hoping that the weather I saw days before set for Monday had dissipated or shifted days. NOPE! As we started to pull out of the campsite the rains came. By the time we got to Brighton everything was soaked and then BAM I hear a rear lock up and a bike go down. Another new rider we had tagging along for the ride dumped his bike. Thankfully we were only doing 40 at the time and he was uninjured and the bike was a road side fix but for all the runs we do and then kilometers we put on every year we have never had an accident or anything close to one. This trip we had nearly three when it was all said and done. I was getting fairly frustrated with the weather at this point.
Surely enough the weather hadn't given us everything it had got at this point. Hours spent in downpours. Ones eyes purely fixated on the road and getting there. I leading the pack now spent my ride fixated in my mirrors praying everyone just stayed together as the rains got harder. When we hit Toronto the rain had stopped its relentless deluge. That is of course unless you're Shocker. He had to ride home out which is outside the GTA. Three hours after he left us I get a text that read “I drove through a river... I mean it was up to my tail pipes easy and I had no idea where the road was... it smelt awful to... and people are dicks... and the line up of cars was massive!”. He had been passing through Burlington and at that time it got 2 months worth of rain. As if his weekend hadn't been wet and accident filled enough mother nature had to stick it to him one last time!
Hopefully come next year the rains stay far away from Southern and Eastern Ontario. If not Mother Nature, the Weather Gods and I are going to have a talk!
* We would also like to apologies to those bikers who we didn't get to meet up with over the weekend. With everything that was going on and the need for our gear to dry we decided to hang around the camp. Hopefully soon we can get together and ride! *