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I’m still in the Garden City

May 20, 2007
BC Legislature

The British Columbia Legislature in Victoria (Orin O’Neill photos)

I wake up to the staccato pop-pop-pop of a 2-stroke engine, the sound tinged with a slight ringing. Yes, that’s one of the bikes in the rally. I feel pretty good, even though last night it seemed everyone wanted to buy me a shot of Jaegermeister. I was worried my head would explode, or something.

While every other day of the Cool Hand Rally 2007 mostly escaped the rain, today the forecast said, in a word, rain. Last week the forecast said rain, rain, rain and rain, so I don’t mind.

I arrived at Pagliacci’s, the day’s first meet-up point. The itinerary said breakfast would be at 9:30, but I was there early because I thought I might beat the crowd. A group of scooterists showed up shortly after I did, apparently thinking the same thing. Except there was no crowd, and the door said their normal opening time on Sunday was 10:00 am. Yes, this meant scooterists were actually early for something.

Pagliacci's

Anyway, Pagliacci’s not only has great food, the menu is a hoot as well. For example, their omelette selections are named after the Marx Brothers: the Harpo omelete’s description says it’s best ordered using sign language.

There’s no rain yet. Over at the B.C. Legislature, marching band standards like “Tequila” fill the air as high school bands practice for tomorrow’s Victoria Day parade down Douglas Street. As scooters trickle in to the designated spot at the Causeway, the skies darken. By the time we’re ready to leave, it’s raining.

This time we head west on Belleville and around the west side of the Legislature campus. More bands, and parkinig lots full of Budget rental trucks, which is probably how these bands got their equipment here. The group stops at an Esso station so those who need to can gas up. The PX still has half a tank, but not knowing how long and how far we’ll be riding, it wouldn’t hurt to top off. I fill the tank almost to the lower edge of the filler hole, because I expect to burn a lot of gas quickly. And when it’s time to leave in the morning the tank should be close enough to full to get back home without a fuel stop.

We swing by the Canadian Coast Guard base before heading out on Beach Drive. We’re taking the same route I rode on Friday, so this will be easy. Or at least easier to navigate in the rain because I know where the road goes.

Wet pavement

The nice smooth, dry pavement of Friday takes on the look of nice wet, slippery pavement today. Our pace is reasonable (maybe because the people in the English Country Estates we pass would probably call the cops if it weren’t), so I can concentrate on being smooth. Shift carefully, don’t make sudden moves, and above all be aware of who and what is surrounding you, and you will be fine.

Now if I could only find a helmet visor that is truly fog-free and water repellant. I have to ride with the visor open because the water drops and condensation make it almost opaque if I close it. I’ve tried Rain-X on the outside, and skiers’ goggle anti-fog on the inside. You usually aren’t going fast enough for Rain-X to work, and the anti-fog seems to trap moisture, making the condensation droplets bigger. At Spring Scoot, I won a pair of close-fitting goggles that can be fitted with prescripton lenses, but said lenses are $135. No money in the budget for that yet, and as we approach summer, maybe no need.

The rain is really coming down as we arrive at Gyro Park. Shortly after we pull in, Mr. Tubesteak arrives; we will be chowing down on many varieties of hot dog prior to the awards presentations and raffle.

Lunch is served

Allstate Bill won an award for being closest to the spirit of Cool Hand Rally 2007 by bringing an actual parking meter head with him. Unfortunately, he left before they announced his name. Maybe someone will get it to him before we head home.

I didn’t win any of the raffle prizes, but it’s just as well… the PX has no room for anything beyond what I took with me from Seattle.

With all the prizes gone, Johnny says, “hey, it’s @#$%ing cold… let’s get outta here!”

On the access road, a Honda Odyssey blows by with six inches to spare. Obviously, Canada has its share of jerks, too. Favicon

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