Bill Maloney's Account of the Birthday Party
It's always great to find myself in Canada in June at the Birthday Party. Familiar faces, familiar Rovers, and just plain good fun. This year I arrived on Thursday so I could enjoy the lake and area on Friday, but it rained cats & dogs Thursday night into late Friday morning. About the only thing you can do in these conditions is to head across the street to the restaurant. But this has its advantages, as damp OVLR members dribble in and out all morning and I got to see and talk to more familiar friends and faces than I would have otherwise.
The weather was more cooperative on Saturday and in the morning I decided to ride along with Fred Dushin in his IIA 88 on the light offroad. The route took us along now familiar logging roads through the Canadian national forests past bogs, ponds, and beaver dens. The route was pretty sedate with some occasional muddy patches until we came to the portion where the beavers had built a dam across the road. This was not terribly exciting until one member who shall remain unnamed began to dig away at the dam and unleashed a torrent of water (to everyone's amusement).
I hopped in with Eric & Ann Zipkin in their Series I 80" to get ahead for some interesting photos. Eric selected third low and plowed ahead through the torrent of water rushing over the dam and down the trail directly at us. The 80" groaned and thunked as it's flat springs allowed us to contact every rock along the way, tipping us this way then that as Ann (who has very nice legs by the way) was unceremoniously slid into me. Hmmm... an 80" is more fun than I thought! As we reached the dam we reared up and paused for a moment as the wheels spun, then bit, and we were up and over and back on dry trail (somewhere along the way we hammered the 80"s fuel tank as it was seeping fuel afterwards).
Fred's crossing was just as entertaining with wheels spinning as he crested the dam, then up and over. Both my rides had passed me up so I hitched a seat in Ben Smith's 5 speed Disco which carried him up from Texas. And hopefully back again. All I can say is that it is astonishing how smoothly Ben's plushmobile can handle a rough trail. We just about floated along getting up to around 35mph on the straighter bits and quickly caught up with the rest. Soon we were back at the beginning of the loop and the trail back to camp to the left. So right we went to do it all over again.
Back at the main site to keep the kids happy & occupied, Matt Peckham, Jean-Leon Morin, and Bruce Fowler donated their Land Rovers to the Kids Painting Party. A variety of water soluble paints were mixed and given to the kids with brushes and away they went. Some adults were seen getting into the act too. I especially liked the faces painted onto the windshields. The Aboriginalish door designs were especially amusing.
George and Joanna Bull were on hand (sans their 101 for a change) and told tales of getting the door on their 101 painted in Africa. George wanted the artist to paint pygmies on the door. The artist explained that the door and the pygmies were black and he could not paint the pygmies on the black door. George asked for white pygmies. The artist argued that pygmies are not white and he would not paint white pygmies. Fortunately George and Joanna were eventually able to charm (or more likely harass) the artist and George had his white pygmies. Joanna, growing tired of this (or just plain tired) invited George back to the campsite for a nap. George, on a roll, had no time for napping leaving Joanna disappointed. Little did Joanna realize that she need only ask and a line of OVLR club members would have quickly formed for some nap assistance. OVLR club members can be very helpful to other members in need!
Early Sunday I took advantage of Dixon's offer to use his canoe (and this year he actually remembered to bring a paddle!) and set out onto the lake just after dawn. It's a gorgeous lake, and I could see easily 15' down to the bottom. It was crystal clear. I didn't see many fish but did see one very large snapping turtle. Which was very cool as normally back home as soon as they see you they head for the bottom and after about 5 or 6 feet they disappear into the weeds. You could watch this guy all the way to the bottom.
Sunday morning Jeff Berg did a bang up job of hosting the auction. Jeff was heckled, and hackled right back. Rovers North, Atlantic British, Great Basin Rovers and others donated parts & accessories that were much appreciated. A set of break proof rear axles donated by Great Basin worked their way up to $500 Canadian. Jeff, disgusted (they were worth quite a bit more) harangued and harassed the bidders until the bidding got going again. Thanks to Jeff, the virtual gavel fell at $720. Jeff's efforts and prevailing despite the oppressive heat that day was also greatly appreciated.
Sunday afternoon Fred Dushin headed home then quickly arrived back at the site in his IIA 88. Apparently Fred was losing power once he got up to speed. I offered to check the dwell to start off with. I did what I could but contributed little as a quick test drive showed it made no difference. Others helped check spark and Eric Zipkin pulled the fuel line and checked the fuel pump output which was also fine. A crowd had gathered and Ted Rose suggested that the main jet be pulled off the Solex and checked for dirt. I figured it meant pulling the top cover off the carb and no new gasket was available but Ted brandished a wrench and unscrewed the jet from the side of the carb. It was really quite handy. And sure enough there was a piece of dirt in there which he blew out and replaced the jet. Another test drive showed all was well and Fred was on his way.
The crowd steadily thinned through the afternoon as folks headed off to be home in time for work Monday. I was fortunate to be able to stay and enjoy the hospitality of the Zipkins & Bruce who offered way more than enough for dinner as we sat with Jeff and Ben at the lakeside and watched the sun set. I was sorry to see it end and as always look forward to next June in Ontario with the OVLR gang.
From the July 2001 OVLR Newsletter