W ell, it took a worldwide pandemic to force OVLR to miss not one, but two summer solstice Birthday Parties, but we gathered our resources and managed to organize a late summer edition for 2021, held [this past week] from Sep 10-12 th. As per usual, 3 then 4 of us took time off our busy schedule (well 1 anyway)and arrived on Thursday the 9 th to start the early setup and inspect the site (for the third time)
Dave Pell Kevin Newell and I took the country roads from Kanata/Carp area and enjoyed the winding, hilly route through Lanark and Playfairville, while pulling two trailers. The weather was sunny and windy, with a hint of rain so we started by docking the Albatross and unloading and erecting the canopies. Just as we got rolling Fred Barrett arrived from his place 15 minutes away, which gave us another hand and things went more smoothly. It did sprinkle a bit, but we finished that and proceeded to out campsites up the hill to build our camps.
After a hearty dinner and a cool evening, we settled in with the owls and coyotes at night, and woodpeckers and squirrels at dawn to grab a few hours of sleep in the expectation that others would arrive in the morning. We started brewing coffee at 6:30.
Fred came back a bit later that the morning and Dave Pell, Kevin Newell and Fred Barrett went off to run Dodd’s Lake. No sooner had they left but people started to trickle in and choose their campsites. I was content to sit and process the arrivals. The afternoon was spent greeting people,discussing the trails, and just socializing.
The Dowell’s arrived during the late afternoon, possibly before the Perth siesta time was over. McD was supposed to be with them, but family commitments interceded. This actually was the case with several other members who also had to postpone their arrival. Friday evening was “BYOD” bring your own dinner and then gather around Kevin’s campfire in a can. This is where the half-truths get turned into memories, as if they had actually happened. Long lost members were pilloried and vilified for their transgressions, although several were remembered for their positive contributions.
Saturday morning at 7:00’ish we proceeded to start the coffee brigade, roust the sleepyheads, and get breakfast going. Several members VOLUNTEERED to help, Russ King, Rick Wood and Roy Parsons come to mind, and with a little prodding, Peter started cooking his specialty, egg/ham/cheese/ English muffin delights.
When everyone had their fill, Kevin and Dave orchestrated the Drivers’ Meeting, describing the trails, their level of difficulty, the likelihood of pinstriping or worse, the expected duration and such. We broke up into three groups of roughly the same size and the vehicles lined up with their respective leader. Chris Dowell, Dave Pell and Kurt Schmidt led their gang off to Dodd’s Lake, Ernie’s Land and Bolton Creek, I think in that order. The plan was to run one trail, then reconvene at the main site for lunch, then choose a second run if there was interest - which there was. I think it was Kurt’s group that ran Bolton, then the K&P to Sharbot Lake, then back through Dodd’s Lake, thus doing a trifecta.
The water level at Bolton was hub high, a litte mud and water on Dodd’s, the K&P was mostly dry, and Ernie’s was pretty dry and still rocky. The afternoon entertainment highlight was a leaky rear bearing on Terry Ratchev’s Defender. At first it was a suspected water ingress through the breather, butwith a field triage, it was confirmed to be the bearing andseals. Digging through the available parts and tools came up with a set of bearings, grease, hub tools and impact wrenches, hacksaws, brake cleaning fluid and safety glasses. The inner race was prtty much heat welded onto the stub, and despite much sweat and pounding, it was only when Fred B. came to the rescue and took Terry and his hub off home where awaited the required angle grinder that the mission was accomplished.
While the job was wrapping up, the remaining groups filtered back into camp for a break before dinner. This was a meal catered by Bytown, ribs, chicken, baked spuds, salads, fruit, pastries and drinks. It was amazing after a day outside. Side note: Tess and Jeoren, our gracious hosts, have closed down the Fall River Restaurant, so we had to revert to Bytown. Whether they stay in the area next year is an unknown, so more changes may be coming.
Another campfire night and sleep filled with coyote yipping brings us to Sunday. Peter Gaby, Andrew Jones and Rick Wood set to work on breakfast while Dave and Kevin prepared the auction items. All items were donated by club members, as due to the pandemic we did not wish to pester our usual sponsors given the uncertainty of even holding an event, especially with our expected attendance. There were some good bargains, some happy buyers, some happier donators, as they now had more room in their garages for more stuff. Andrew Jones did a great job of wrangling loonies 5 a a time from the gang, despite the catcalls, and the lion’s share was bought by the Speedies, as usual.
As Dave collected the payments, it was all handson deck to reduce the canopies to pieces and store them back in the trailer. Followed by a cleanup and final packing of everything. The gang dispersed one or two at a time until it was only the Ottawa area people. With the usual goodbyes and best wishes we all headed on our way. Sunday after we were all packed, the Speedies and Terry Ratchev headed out to run Bolton Creek before going home. In summary we had a good mix of veterans and rookies, quite the breadth of LR vehicle models, great weather and a wonderful time.
Until the next event, Happy Trails. TK