October 16, 2005
The Fraser Valley Toy Run
Since I bought my bike exactly one year ago, I have been waiting in anticipation for the toy runs. The Vancouver Toy Run was 2 weeks ago and it left me with a positive feeling. Because I had enjoyed the experience so much (even if it did mean riding home in the rain…yet again…), I was eagerly awaiting the Fraser Valley event.
My bike insurance expired the day before the ride, so I purchased a day permit just to be able to participate. It costs $32.00 with full coverage to be able to use the bike for one day.
I did a little bit of fundraising at work in the form of a 50/50 draw and added some cash of my own to donate to the event. I didn’t have time to shop this time. Besides, I kind of went overboard on the Vancouver event.
I had asked dr_bar if he was interested in joining the Fraser Valley ride and he replied affirmatively.
“Rain or shine?” I asked.
“Rain or shine”, he said.
“Ok, then I will buy my day permit” I responded.
Oh, oh, the forecast was for rain. Oh well, I had plenty of experience in the rain now and I had decent rain gear…..
Some members of both the riding clubs I had joined were also going to go so we made arrangements to meet up and ride together as a group. One of the members lives not too far from me, so he invited dr_bar and me to go to his place for coffee before the ride so that we could ride out together.
The morning of the ride, it was pouring….and pouring…..and pouring…..I kept looking out the window hoping it would stop because I knew the Southern Cruiser folks were canceling if it rained. The fellow I was supposed to meet cancelled going on the ride, but her still wanted to make breakfast, so dr_bar and I arranged to meet close by and have breakfast with him.
He made a pot of good coffee and bacon and eggs for breakfast. I must say, it was awfully decent of him.
We could not linger because dr_bar and I had to get to Abbotsford to meet up with the Northern Stars members so we could go together as a group to the starting point of the event.
(It just goes to show you us Yamaha riders are tougher than Harley riders….cause it was the Harley riders who cancelled.
Given that it was still early on a Sunday morning, traffic was light. I was glad for that because we had to make up some time. It was raining quite hard but because of low volume of traffic visibility was ok. For once I didn’t dawdle near the speed limit. Even though it was raining hard, riding on the freeway from Surrey to Abbotsford is mostly a straight road and as long as you kept a really huge following distance you could speed quite safely.
Ok, I admit it. I was speeding.
But I was on a mission.
When we got to Abbotsford, I signaled for dr_bar to take the lead, because I was not sure how soon our exit was coming up. Dr_bar was more familiar with it so he would be able to slow down on time. I then moved to line 3 and dr_bar moved up to dominant lane position. We got off the freeway and made our way to the Auto mall. I kept trying to motion to him to go to the Tim Horton’s. He kept right on riding around the whole Auto mall all the while I kept waving and signaling and beeping the horn and waving some more. He never looked back in rear view mirror so I finally accelerated up beside him and yelled at him…..”WE ARE SUPPOSED TO MEET AT TIM HORTON’S.”
He rolled his eyes and said,”Why didn’t you say so?”
I had actually told him but like so many other poeple, he sometimes does not listen. Sometimes he and others have a tendency to talk right over you and they never really hear what you say.
I then took the lead and got us to the coffee shop. We parked our bikes close to the others and just as we were going to go in to find our group a couple of police officers came by. They asked us if we going on the toy run. They were quite impressed by the fact that we came out despite the rain. We asked about the starting point because we had been told it was at the Auto mall, but we didn’t see hundreds of bikes around. The two officers told us it was up on a road called Blueridge. They were actually assigned to do traffic control up there. We thanked them for the info and went inside to find our group. We told them about the starting place being different so we had only a few minutes to spend inside before we all got suited up again to brave the elements.
The two folks who live in Abbotsford knew where the particular road was so they led us there. We arrived in good time and were about ¾ of the way back in the line of bikes. We had bit of waiting around because the riders from Mission had not arrived yet. It gave me an opportunity to take few photos. Finally the riders from Mission arrived led by someone dressed in a Santa suit. The Mission riders pulled in behind us with the exception of a few of the leaders. They squeezed past us to go to the front. They did not look like nice people. I suppose looks are deceiving.
Suddenly there was a roar of hundreds of motorcycle engines coming to life so everyone scrambled back to their bikes to get ready for take off. At last we were moving.
Once again I felt the thrill of being part of something so big. I didn’t care about the rain. It wasn’t cold out, the roads were blocked off for us, people were out waving at the procession and the route chosen was very nice.
All ten or fifteen minutes of it.
It seemed like we had no sooner started that we were there. After parking we joined the rest of the throng and made our way inside the building.
The organizers had tables and chairs set up. There was coffee and juice and doughnuts and muffins. Everyone who had donated got given a ticket for some prizes. (Of course none of us won)
The MC pulled ticket after ticket until all the prizes were gone. The prizes had all been donated by local community businesses. The community sure pulled together for this. Unlike the Vancouver run where it’s more like pulling teeth to get the city to help.
Finally it was over and time to leave. The couple who lives in Abbotsford invited our group back to their place for lunch. I should mention that our group consisted of 7 adults and 2 children. Anyway, the Mrs. had left a crock pot full of soup on in anticipation of having us over. We all gladly accepted. We followed them through Abbotsford dodging cars and other bikers who were in a hurry now that the event was over. After parking our bikes and hanging up all our raingear, we went into their nice cozy living room. The Mrs. had the soup ready along with some buns and a fresh pot of coffee. And…she had even made a fresh apple crisp. It was served fresh from the oven. It was so-o-o-o-o good.
Gavin left to go home to Langley and dr_bar and I headed back to the freeway to ride towards Vancouver. It was raining even harder than ever now. I was riding well, but I was quite tense. The traffic was very heavy now and the rain was so hard it was like hail. Visibility was almost zero. I made sure I kept a huge following distance but it still was not enough to improve visibility. Aside from the rain, the spray from all the traffic added to the fog like conditions. This will give you an idea of what I am talking about. If you look you will notice how the tail lights behind the bike are barely visible. I rode with high beam on and had on my bright yellow raincoat and some reflective bands.
Finally at 200th street, I turned on my signals early enough to let dr_bar know I was exiting the freeway. He followed me off the freeway and to a parking lot. He thought maybe I needed fuel, but I told him it was too hard to see. I said I was having too difficult a time riding because of no visibility. I was too tense. I recognized that I was “white knuckling” it under my gloves. I asked him if we could find a slower route to go the rest of the way.
I told him though that if he wanted to continue on the freeway, he could and that I would be fine to go a slower way home. He said he would ride with me. We headed north on 200th and turned west onto 96th. Even though the rain was still pounding, it was easier to see because the traffic was lighter and our speed was slower. We rode through Surrey to the King George Highway and over the Patullo Bridge to New Westminster. At the crest of the hill where I usually turn to go home, I headed west and dr_bar headed east. We “beeped” and waved and went our separate ways.
When I arrived home I immediately took my bike to the car wash area. I left it there to cool for a few minutes while I went inside my apartment to hang up all the rain gear and let the helmet and things drip into the bathtub. I then collected all my cleaning paraphernalia and went back to the garage. I hosed off the grit and grime from the day…well actually from the last few days….I had ridden up the coast on Wednesday…in the rain and then got caught in the rain on Saturday evening….I sprayed the bike with the Simple Green and gently washed away all the dirt. After drying it off I polished the chrome and polished the paint and polished the windshield….using the appropriate product for each….and then parked it up against the wall with my car in front of it. If I am not going to ride it for a bit it can at least look good sitting there.
Ahhhhhhh, now for a hot shower and a nice cup of hot tea.
I just simply cannot afford the insurance right now, so I had to park it. I will, however, buy an occasional day permit so I can ride on a really nice day.
A fellow I met from the club said it was too bad I decided to park it for the winter because he figured there would still be some good riding days. I hinted that if he gave me some notice I would get a permit to go for a ride.
Depending on the weather conditions next weekend I may ride to Princeton with the group. It’s the annual end of season lunch meet. There will be riders from all directions converging on Princeton. However, if conditions are bad I am allowed to go in my car. I have been invited to carpool also but I would rather be invited to ride pillion.........
We shall see…..
Now that I am not riding every spare moment I might actually get my place tidied up. It won’t get tidied by itself and if I would stay home once in a while it wouldn’t get in such disarray.
I will upload the few pictures to my photo bucket album later and then make a post with the links.