I've met some great people through motorcycling. But, one person for me stands out among all the others - this is a friend I met on the about.com motorcycling forums back in 2006 when I first started venturing into riding. We both started riding about the same time, took the MSF courses about the same time, bought bikes at about the same time and have had many other shared experiences throughout these past few years. We even upgraded our bikes recently at the same time. We've been each other's conscience along the way - reminding the other to look out for this or to pay attention to that or 'What the heck were you thinking!'.
Sharon lives in Chicago and I live in Niagara Falls and between our busy schedules and the distance we've never managed to meet up. But, we have stayed in contact and write each other about our motorcycle experiences and other topics daily. This year we made it a point to finally meet in person and we set aside a week to do just that. It was this weekend and we decided to meet in Amherstburgh where Sharon needed to do some research on the underground railroad in Canada. Sharon is a sociologist with an impressive list of academic achievements.
What a weekend! I left my house in Niagara Falls on July 4th at 11:30 am and rode mostly superslab the 400 kilometers to Amherstburg and arrived at about 3:30 that afternoon. The B&B we stayed at didn't open up until 5:00. I waited the hour and 1/2 outside. The B&B hostess was very nice and the house was very cool - included a turret! Sharon didn't arrive until 5:30 - she said she got caught in a few parades along the way. From the moment I met her that evening it was just like catching up with an old friend. Instantly we started talking about the bikes and the ride. We stayed outside for a good hour talking about motorcycling and our new bikes! Even the hostess came out and was wondering what was up.
Later after settling in, we had dinner and continued to speak of motorcycling, our bikes and other topics. Our hostess is also a rider, although she doesn't currently have a bike (she says the B&B eats all her spare cash) - we got along famously that night and chatted away the evening talking about politics, motorcycling, Canada, motorcycling, US, motorcycling and such.
The next day, Sharon and I woke early and chatted away the morning waiting for breakfast. We spent the day riding together - Sharon isn't much for group riding but she made this exception. It was a lot of fun - Sharon is a well trained and very professional rider. She handled that BMW F800St like a pro - outstanding form. She's made two previous trips around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and it showed on this ride. We made it to Leamington, Ontario - took a break at a craft fair and found an Elvis impersonator. Then we returned home and enjoyed the ride. Spent the evening chatting and talking to the hostesses friends. Before we knew it was 10 o'clock and we hadn't eaten dinner. The hostess suggested we go into town and there was a Buddy Holly impersonator. All three of us went to town to see that and had a bite to eat.
Sunday morning arrived too soon and it was time to make plans to head home. Sharon and I agreed we are going to make time every year to meet up. It was so much fun. I took the long way home to savor the memories of the weekend - I avoided the superslab and road along Lake Ontario on Hwy 3. Blue skies - bikes everywhere. Perfect. I saw a wind farm in various stages of construction - hope for the future.
The Versys is great as a sport tourer - great fuel economy, very comfortable seat, a blast when passing slow vehicles, confident at any speed. Ocean made the 1000 kilometers I put on her this weekend a dream. Very happy with this bike - my F650Cs would have been very painful on this journey. Next week I'm off to West Virginia for a week of motorcycling. Can't wait for that one.
Here's some pics: