Canada! Horizons Unlimited Ontario – 2015

I love going to Horizons Unlimited Events. I think their website is an amazing resource for travelers, and their events an excellent change for people to learn how to – if I can be pardoned the expression – get “into the lifestyle.”

I went to the first Ontario meet – which wasn’t the most comfortable event I’d ever been too – but the next two years had been at an actual campground, though late in the year. The campground was used in the summer as a youth camp, so it just wasn’t available until the fall. That meant it was chilly at night, frost in the morning, but it hadn’t snowed.

The fourth event I missed. I broke down on the way north from another event, and couldn’t get there in time. These things happen. Apparently the weather was worse, so in 2015 it was moved to a new location, and to mid summer.

It wasn’t far from where I live (well, 700 miles or so), so I didn’t take a lot of time to get there. Also, Sue wasn’t coming with, and I found I was missing her on these trips, even the short ones. That was something we were going to have to address. 

Crossing into Canada was easy, and the new location was a bit closer. I had some Timbits, drank some soda, made sure I had food, and headed to check in. On the way Curiosity officially rolled over 50,000 miles. The actual mileage is more like 65k, but everyone looks at the Odo, so it matters. I still need a trip meter.

Once I was checked in I found a nice spot by the lake for the hammock. It seems like the number of hammocks at these events have exploded in the last few years, and my later arrival meant some of the nicer spots were gone. I had to settle for one with a nice view, but close to the camp fire. I just had to hope for quiet evenings (yeah, right).

After setting up, I had time to catch the end of Grant and Susan’s presentation (part one) at the end of the first night. Everyone went out to the fire, but the mosquitoes were fierce and we didn’t linger.

The next morning was clear and warm – much different from previous HU Ontario events. More people were arriving, but there was still a lot of tent space. The food was good too, and the presentation ran all day. I went and looked at some of the other tents and motorcycles, sat in one some classes, and helped on a couple when people asked. My schedule was lighter, so I was able to just hang out, talk to people, and relax.

Saturday afternoon we all gathered for a group photo and drone shot. There was some concern the porch would hold us all, and they wanted everyone on the railing, which added a certain thrill. Pictures obtained, everyone went in to eat and catch the last new presentations – or to the camp fire (and mozzies, who remained fierce when the sun went down and wind faded every night).

In the morning I packed up and headed back home. The plan was to ride the whole distance in one day, so there wasn’t much time for pictures – but some things you just had to take pictures of when you see them.

Back in the USA, I was on time and everything was working fine until I was just south of the Wisconsin border when, as I passed under the last Oasis in Illinois, the bike died, suddenly. With a thud.

Curiosity wouldn’t start back up right away and I had a bad feeling. I pushed it up the off ramp and locked up my helmet and coat, headed in for some dinner, and to let Sue know I was stopped. It was late, and she had to be up early in the morning, so there would be no rescue from her this time. I called AAA, learned they would actually tow me all the way home (less than 100 miles at this point), and started a service call with them. It would take more than 2 hours from them to show up, and almost an hour to load the bike (it was his first motorcycle). Then the drive home, unloading the bike, meant I didn’t get to bed until 3am – I had to be up 5 to get to work.

A few days later I started to look at what had gone wrong. When I had been trying to start it, the bike had sounded similar to the time I’d been in Chile and needed to rebuild the top end. This was starting to be an issues with this engine and I was getting sick of it. Then I pulled out the spark plug – 

So it was something more serious this time.

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