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Posted on Jul 4, 2015 |

A Bitter Sweet Symphony

A Bitter Sweet Symphony


I don”t know if epic adventures always start this way, but it seems that for me the opening couple of hours set the tone for the entire trip.

And what an opening it was.

I left Ottawa at 0715 in crisp 12 degree temperatures with a bright sun shining and promising to warm the day.

I rode the 417 east, planning to get off at highway 138 and head towards Cornwall where I would grab the 401 to Lancaster. Because that was the route that I often travelled when trying to make Lancaster quickly.

This morning, however, I kept on riding right past the exit for Cornwall and instead got off at the McCrimmon road / highway 34 exit, journeying back some 32 years as I headed south through Alexandria, passing my old high school – Glengarry District – and thinking that it used to be so much bigger.

The smell of fresh cut hay made me nostalgic – thinking of boyhood adventures on local farms with childhood friends – but only for a moment.

The perfect beauty of the moment was too much for old memories to stand against, and they were quickly returned to their rightful place, certain to return again whenever I need them.

I arrived in Lancaster at 0830, parking at the Tim Horton’s to await the arrival of my travelling companions – Michael Fritz and Jeff Luttmer.

As far as starts go, this one was perfect.

The 3 of us hit the 401 around 0930 and made our way towards Montreal, taking the new toll highway 30 that brings you around Montreal without needing to fight with the sometimes god-awful traffic.

Even so we still managed to pull somewhere in the neighbourhood of 6 U-Turns. Let’s face it – travelling across Quebec can be challenging at the best of times, and if you are at all familiar with Quebec construction you know that the best of times was in the early ‘70’s. Since then, the construction has been pretty unbelievable.

Lady Garmin got so tired of trying to re-calculate that I am sure I heard her say something like ‘screw this, you’re on your own’, lol.

Navigational errors aside, it was a great day of riding. We stopped when necessary – lunch in St. Hyacinthe, a couple of gas stops, and by 1735 we were pulling into ADV Flagman’s driveway where we were to be put up for our first night on the road.

As good as the day – and the ride – had been, I was not prepared for the reception that awaited us.

Flagman – known to the rest of the world as Claude-Olivier, and his wife Annie met us in the yard as we pulled in and directed us to park our bikes in a garage that is easily big enough to turn into 3 apartments.

Annie cooked up an incredible supper of chicken brochette, rice and broccoli, and we found ourselves thinking that it might be better to stay for 2 – or even 3 days…this was much more luxurious than we expected our Trans-Lab highway adventure to be . . . Annie suggested that if the deck got built at the back of the house, we were more than welcome to stay – and Claude-Olivier even mentioned how close the nearest lumber store was, hahaha.

Claude-Olivier and his family could not have been more generous hosts. I am typing this at an impromptu work station set up for me by Annie, with the help of their 2 adorable kids. I find myself feeling like I have a debt on the books – and should Flagman and his family ever find themselves in the Ottawa area and in any need, that debt shall be paid.

I should mention that this guy is a little bit of a motorsports fanatic. He is currently designing / building a trials-bike course, has held enduro races on his personally laid-out enduro course, and has plans to build a motocross track in the back field.  Flagman Motorsports Park may not be far down the road . . .

Claude-Olivier showing Jeff the 'trials-bike course' he's building

Claude-Olivier showing Jeff the ‘trials-bike course’ he’s building

My words have not done justice to the friendship and hospitality shown to us by this incredible family, and this has been a completely new experience for me. Hundreds of ADV members have likely had similar experiences, and that is a testament to who we are, we band of inmates who find our peace and purpose all really only making sense when we are on 2 wheels, flying through the gravel – over the sand – in the mud – through the twisties – on our motorcycles. Our home-away-from-home 2 wheeled tickets to adventure. And to life.

What an amazing, amazing day #1.


I hope that this too-late-and-too-tired-to-post entry a least conveyed a little of what today was like.

Did I mention that it was amazing?

Up next . . . There May Be Some Rain.