Monday, July 6, 2009

A ride out to Casselman...

Sunday morning at about 0630hrs, I stepped out onto our back deck in my housecoat and slippers. I was nursing a fresh cup of java and it was one of those early-morning moments when everything felt right with the world. For once, there were no masses of clouds stacked up in the heavens and the sound of rain was nowhere to be heard. The sky was blue, the air was cool and moist and I had a hankering to have breakfast out. It seemed like forever since the weather had been decent enough to ride in.

I had asked my better half if she wanted to go with me, either on the bike or to follow in the van. Again, she declined under the pretext that she did not trust my recovering arm. Besides, after recently deciding to get the house ready for sale, she presumably had a mountain of things which she clearly thought she could get done in the time it would have taken to go for breakfast. Fine... I don't know who she thinks she's fooling, herself or me. She is simply afraid to get back on the bike with me. She will always be afraid to. Now that she has seen me hurt, I suppose my aura of invincibility is gone. Maybe she finally realizes that all the horror stories she's heard are true. Those cagers ARE out to get us... It's time to think about getting rid of her riding gear. God knows she'll never be able to ride on her own, for the very same reason. Fear. Ah well... Her loss. It's a sad thing.

As it stood, it was just as well. I have always loved early morning rides. Something I had been unable to organize with the two of us going. Riders, regardless of sex or age, are low maintenance creatures. It doesn't take us an hour or two to get ready to ride. That's time that's way better spent in the saddle than in front of a mirror. Of course, our definitions of what constitutes 'early', have always been at odds. Be that as it may, I quickly got dressed and rolled Baby out of the shop. It was 0715hrs when I thumbed her to life and backed out onto the street.

I headed East down Innes, stopping in at Blocklbusters to return two movies from the previous night. The crisp morning air felt good. I could hardly wait to get out into the country. Back out on Innes, I motored along sedately, beating the light at Trim. I next took the right-hander at Mitch Owens, which would take me as far as Embrun. I took my time, settling in at a comfy 90kmh. Everywhere I looked, the fields were lush and verdant. It smelled great!! I was alert for deer, but unfortunately there were no sightings on this ride.

I rolled into the big left-hand turn at the end of Mitch Owens, which leads onto Rte. 33. This road then turns into Rte. 28 when it crosses the 417. I stopped at the Ultramar service station there, as gas was selling for 0.896 a litre. I topped up Baby and we got back on the road. I noticed that this entire stretch had been resurfaced lately and it was a very pleasant ride. Within 10 minutes, we had reached Embrun.

From Embrun, it was a quick left-hand turn onto Rte. 3, which would lead right into Casselman. This was a pretty little road and I didn't even mind slowing down as I passed through the town itself. The roads were in good shape and I busied myself playing the 'dodge-the-manhole-cover' game. Once outside town, I brought her up to 90kmh and we loped along at a pleasant pace. It had been some time since I was last on these roads. I believe it was my first time back in this area since the accident. It was very much like visiting an old friend. The roads were the same, many in better condition than I remembered them. The area itself though, looked different. Fuller, greener... more alive, for some reason.

I rolled through Casselman a little after 0800hrs. It's a pleasant little town and has the North Nation River running through it. My destination for this morning, a quaint little restaurant just off Highway 417 called 'Brian's', came into view. I hung a left at the lights just before the on-ramp to the 417, followed by a sharp right, which led me into the parking lot. Brian's is bracketed on one side by a gas station and on the other by a Tim Horton's. There are usually a number of riders stopped for either Brian's or Tim's. It's a popular oasis for those who love running the country roads up in these parts. I parked Baby along side 3 other bikes, two Kawi crotch rockets and a Triumph Speed Triple.

The place was bustling, even for this hour of the day. I guess country folk don't tend to sleep in around here. A darling little girl led me to my seat, in a corner which used to house their Sunday-morning buffet. I exchanged nods with the three riders who owned the bikes outside. Hmmm... Guess there was no buffet here anymore. No matter. I plunked myself down and scanned the gathered assembly of patrons. The three other riders were sitting around the corner from me, just outside if my field of vision. So much for friendly banter...

By 0825, I at least had a cup of coffee in front of me and was awaiting to place my order. For as full as the place was (there was a family of seven sitting at a long table next to me...), there was only one greeter and oner wait-staff to take care of the tables, 70% of which were full. I had a feeling it was going to take a while. I finally got to place my order by about 0900hrs. I was on my second cup of coffee at the time. I ordered a plate called the Sahara. For all of $9.47, it contained 3 eggs, 3 sausages, 3 bacon, 1 slice of ham, hash browns, beans and toast. As a side, it came with 3 french toast and syrup. I'll have to tell ya right now, I couldn't finish it all... It was pretty tasty, although the eggs were done longer than what an easy-over ought to be. But hey... that's splittin' hairs.

Definitely well fed now, I paid up my bill and headed back outside. The air was a little warmer than it had been, but still wonderful for riding. It was all of 1015hrs and I decided to retrace my steps for going home. I flashed Baby up, backed her out of her spot and off we went. What a great feeling as we headed out over the bridge which spans the North Nation River. I remember thinking: "What are the less fortunate people of the world doing right now...?" We headed back out along Rte. 3 and at approximately 7km outside Casselman, Baby's odometer rolled over 58,000kms. Another milestone. I debated pushing on to Russel before heading North again, as I do like those roads that wind through those large, open fields. But as I came up to the turn-off for Rte. 28, I leaned Baby to the right.

The rest of the ride was totally uneventful and relaxing. The remainder of the afternoon was spent doing littyle odds and ends around the house. By 1830hrs, I figured I had spent enough of the day inside. I got changed out of my working gear and back into riding clothes. Once dressed, I took Baby for a little romp along Innes, through Cumberland and down Dunning Road to Old Montreal Road. From there we hung a left and headed back into town. Saw a large doe as we came up to Trim Road. We carried on until we were now on St.Joseph. I love travelling that section as it is filled with the aromas of so many restaurants and eateries.

Hitting Jeanna D'Arc, we turned left and headed back up to Innes, where we hooked left again and headed for home. Just a short little romp in the cool evening air, but one which did wonders for me. Now I was ready to settle in for a movie and the remainder of the evening...

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