Monday, October 27, 2008

A very good weekend...

Okay... so it rained for much of Saturday. We all knew what to expect so I made plans accordingly. My honey was actually off this weekend, which was quite a surprise, actually. We hooked up with some old friends of hers on Friday night, for pizza and conversation. Nice couple. I'm hoping we get to do it again.

Saturday, we worked in a walk in the late morning and ended up getting caught in the beginning of the rains, as we made our way back from Rockcliffe Park. My arm was complaining as we made our way back into the van, but the heat soon took care of that. We grabbed a quick brekkie at the Tim Horton's drive thru (what did we ever do before those breakfast sandwiches???) on the way home. I decided to get some physio done then, as my better half headed out for some shopping with her daughter, I closed up to play some XBOX 360. After all... there are an amazing number of evil forces out there that need to be dealt with, if our life and liberties are to be maintained.

I have spent countless hours traveling the globe, conducting covert and overt ops. I have rapelled from helicopters, parachuted behind enemy lines, have been delivered by small boats, armored vehicles and tanks. I have fast-roped down the face of colossal dams, crawled through jungles, taigas, deserts and ruins, as I confront and dispatch armed miscreants of all nationalities. Muslim extremists, Chechens, Russian Ultranationalists, North Koreans, greedy North and South Americans... all wielding vast arsenals of cutting edge weaponry, including small arms, heavy weaponry, aircraft, armour and renegade MRV nuclear weapons. All this I do at great personal peril, without ever once expecting a thank you from the oblivious civilian population.

I have seen many of my fellow warriors mowed down in battle, but still I forge ahead... I myself have felt the Reaper's touch on many occasions, whether through over-exuberance, misadventure of singular stupidity. I have survived on the occasional bite of cold Kraft Dinner sitting on serving trays, or warm drinks long past their prime of effervescence... a sip of forgotten coffee... cold as the blood of these our cyber-enemies. Through unimaginably trying circumstances I have battled alongside the forces of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six - Vegas and Vegas 2, Ghost Recon 1 through 3 (Advanced Warfighter), Call of Duty 1 through 4 (Level 2), Gears of War, Army of 2, Battlefield Bad Company, the list goes on...

So, much of my Saturday was spent completing the Intermediate level of Call of Duty 4. I cannot tire of that particular game. It is simply so well done, the graphics so awesome...small wonder it won Game of the Year in 2008. And the harder the levels, the more enjoyable the gameplay. I look forward to obtaining my own XBOX 360 system when 'the kids' move out...

Sunday was... well, sunny! So much so that we decided to take a little road trip. First (following a quick stop at Timmie's...), we took a ferry ride from Cumberland over to Masson-Angers, to investigate the flea market. It's always an enjoyable little trip, though as the price per passenger vehicle has now climbed to $8.00, it's actually cheaper to drive into town from Orleans, cross over the bridge to Gatineau and head East from there along the 50 to Masson. Seriously... that doesn't take $8.00 worth of gas, even at today's prices.

Returning from Masson, we decided to take a trip down Route 31 (Bank Street), to pay yet another visit to McHaffie's Flea Market, just 2 miles North of Morrisburg. It just seemed to get sunnier and warmer as we motored along at an unhurried pace. We saw many folks out on their scooters, enjoying what turned out to be a perfect fall riding day. As we passed through Winchester Springs, we came upon a particular white-framed house which is always wonderfully decorated for every holiday and special event of the year. Halloween of course being no exception! They had done a fantastic job of decorating not only their house, but the front yard as well. At my wife's suggestion, we reckoned we simply couldn't pass by without taking at least a couple of pictures. The shots turned out great and we were happy we had decided to stop.

Arriving at the flea market, we toodled around for a little bit, my Honey obtaining information on the prices for renting a table there and about their waiting list. We browsed around upstairs and downstairs before deciding to head home. We bought a bushel of beautiful Cortland apples on the way out, for a mere $10.00, which we proceded to munch on as we made our way back to Orleans. They were delicious! Firm, sweet with just a little tang and so juicy! Yummy!!

I had appraised my better half that I intended on taking Baby out for a quick romp, if the weather was still holding by the time we made it home. As we made our way back, I could see the masses of dark clouds moving in from the Southwest. The sun was still out and the temperature was still warm enough and I figured I could squeeze in a quick ride to somewhere. As we arrived home, I headed to the shop to get it some physio exercises before heading out. I have found that some stretching exercises help, just before taking the bike out, as they limber up my arm and shoulder. Having completed these, I went back into the house to brief my spouse. I told her I planned on taking the ride I never finished on the 20th of July. I was going to ride along St.Joseph, through the intersection where all the bad shit happened, along the Parkway to downtown. From there I would head out along Colonel By to Hunt Club, then complete the loop by heading down River Road to Rideau Road, left along the Ramsayville Road, etc...

She watched me back Baby out of the barn, the wind picking up and gusting now as I slowly crawfished down the driveway. She shot me a worried glance and told me to ride safely. I assured her that I would be fine as I switched on the ignition key and that I would ride "like a little old man". I thumbed the starter and Baby sprang to life instantly. She remained in the driveway, watching me until I snicked Baby into gear and trundled off. God knows I appreciated her concern and love her for it, but fear is a loathsome emotion. I despise it. It paralyzes a person, suffocates them... can stop you dead in your tracks and not allow you to progress any further in your life.

I'm not a superstitious person, but I felt I had to go through that ill-fated intersection as soon as I could. If for no other reason than to take the curse off it. It was the old analogy of 'falling off a horse' all over again. I refused to allow it to hold any power over me, to colour my emotions one way or the other. This was the whole reason behind this particular outing. As I weaved down Jeanne D'Arc on my way to St.Joseph, I was perfectly serene. Again, my shoulder and arm gave me a little grief on the right-hand curves, but I ignored it. I was focused... in the zone. Arriving at the lights marking the intersection with St.Joseph, I patiently waited for the left-turning arrow. It came and I wheeled to the left, picking the inside lane this time and checking my speed. There were several cars behind me but I was not about to be pushed around. I held my speed at a sedate 65-70kmh. I scanned all lanes ahead, Eastbound and Westbound. There were no cars waiting to turn left. Had there been, I most likely would have laid on my horn, just to make sure I had their undivided attention. The green light held for me at Youville and St.Joseph and we sailed through the intersection without incident.

It was done! The demons had been banished. I would never have to think about this intersection in a negative light again. I carried on to the Parkway and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I passed many fellow riders and was able to prop my left hand up on the handlebar at an angle that I could shoot them a 'stationary wave'. They saw it and returned it. Excellent! It was getting darker and more blustery as the time wore on, but clad in my Joe Rocket ballistic nylon jacket and riding pants, I was toasty warm and weatherproof. I knew I could smell rain in the air, despite what the 'weather witches' had said about rain only arriving later on in the evening. An old salt can't be fooled. I decided then to make a loop around 47 Clarence and head back home, after a brief stop at The Lookoff. The ride back was every bit as enjoyable and I actually kept my speed below 80kmh.

As I arrived back home, the garage door opened and there stood my Honey. She has developed a sensitive ear for the sound of Baby's thumping 1800cc V-Twin engine. She is very considerate about getting the garage door for me, when I return from my travels. She was happy and relieved to see me back, safe and sound as it were. I had ended the day on a note I could be happy with. I had no sooner parked Baby in the barn, than it started sprinkling outside. I smiled as my spouse advised me of this. Score another one for the Old Salt. All in all, it had been a very good weekend.

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