The 1995 OVLR Birthday Party
The Ottawa Valley Land Rovers' 12th Birthday Party was held at Silver Lake, Ontario from 23 to 25, June 1995
by Ben Smith
Last year, when I arrived at the old Birthday Party site near Almonte, I found four Land Rovers' worth of people had beaten me there. This year, arriving with Spencer Norcross, who had just arrived from Boston, I found at least twenty Land Rovers already there. Even Ben "the road is my bride" Smith was there fresh from a five-day non-stop trip across the continent. This was not to be the final count. As Bill Kessels later said, "My most vivid memory is Friday night, after having a number of beers, hearing a rumble in the distance. All activity stopped as the rumble approached, and the 101's appeared out of the blackness---not one, but two, driving straight through the field into the centre of the group of us!! Dogs were howling, people cheering---by all accounts this was a religious experience."
Saturday morning, people slowly crawled out of bed, whilst more Land Rovers arrived from the area and from the United States. Even Dale Desprey managed a last moment push late into Friday night and again from the wee hours of Saturday morning to get his rebuilt diesel (aka the "Bug Bomb") running and to Silver Lake. The first light off-road got underway and some twenty vehicles, led by the Rovers North Off-road School Range Rover, snaked across the rough terrain near the Party site, covering many miles in a two and a half hour journey. The only casualty during the off-road was when Bill Maloney crossed what looked to be a beaver dam. Bill came through OK but hi-centered on the diffs and couldn't get enough traction to move, even with no passengers in the truck. There was a log lying in the right-hand rut and Bill managed to ride up on it - but then - just as easy, he slid off it and the log got jammed underneath, maybe on the bottom of his spring U-bolts. He drove along with the log dragging for a bit, then his passengers got him to run up the right side of an embankment and they were able to pull the log out. Poor Bill, he was just aghast about the whole affair!
When we returned to camp, we saw the OVLR Master Chef Bates with lunch all ready to feed the hungry masses in preparation for the afternoon activities: another light off-road and the heavy off-road. The heavy off-road started with a simple crossing of a deep drainage ditch. While the 101's could handle this as a Sunday jaunt, the 88's and 109's had slightly more trouble. With a pair of 101's leading the way, the heavy off-road continued down a hydro cut. The terrain varied from glacially-exposed worn granite outcrops to near bottomless swamp. Led by the 101's, the heavy off-road group nearly made it through, until a combination of the last deep swamp, a parting winch cable, and a fallen tree forced the group to turn back to be back at the camp in time for a feast of chicken, pork and basically more food than was possible for the gathered masses to eat. Dinner was such an event that even an Osprey, passing overhead with twelve inch trout hanging from its talons, was impressed. The dinner led into the traditional partying, albeit sadly missing Bates' fireworks display due to the total fire ban by the Province (there were more than 400 fires raging in Ontario that weekend).
Sunday had a bright, sunny and hot start, with the tired praying to the almighty coffee god who was shortly to come. After the magnificent breakfast, Jason Dowell thanked all of the many people that had worked to make the event the largest and most successful ever. All of the volunteers got some token of appreciation, whether a t-shirt or a Land Rover mug. Later, an auction was held. MC'd by OVLR's auctioneer extraordinary Bates, items from OVLR's long-time supporter Rovers North and, for the first time ever, Atlantic British (Mechanicsville) and Land Rover Canada, were auctioned off. The money resulting from the auction will be invested in the Club trailer, getting us closer to adding some much needed water tanks and some form of coolers. All in all, it was the largest and best Birthday Party yet and it couldn't have come off without the very enthusiastic support of our suppliers and volunteers. Best of all, we are invited back to do it again next June!
Here are some photos from the Light and heavy off road.
1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
1."Dixon Hangs On" Rd (75k) From the light off road.
2."Dave's 101" Rd (221kk) Crossing the stream at the beginning of the heavy off road. Dave was first.
3."Doc's S1" Rd (54k)
4."Ben's 88" Rd (67k)
5."Steve's 109" Rd (112k)
6."Tom's 101" Rd (82k) Tom brought up the rear
7. Dave Lowe's Lightweight. Rd (91k)
8."Murphy" BAS (46k)
9."Power cut" BAS (122k)
10."101s mating" BAS (100k)
11."Fixing the winch" BAS (76k)
12."Power Cut 2" BAS (77k)
The birthday party also was the revealing of the tarps for the club trailer. (47k & 66k for photos)
(photos by BAS)
In one of the more amusing events, 3 am Saturday saw Jon Humphrey (not one our younger members either) learning how to sing and dance "I'm a Happy Little Pixie" and Dale Desprey taking on eight Americans and beating them all in arm wrestling whilst sounding like an Australian. Strange things in the bush? Well, while there are fire hydrants hidden in the middle of the woods at Doc Dolan's Birthday Party location, this one sports manhole covers along an abandoned rail bed.