Valens 2011 tour report

The touring season is closing in on us but we had a wonderful summer-like tour in September hosted by John, Gary and Wesley McBride out of the Valens Conservation Area Campground. While the evenings were a mite chilly (just ask the tenters Tom & Robyn), the days turned out to be warm and sunny. We even travelled with the top down as the sun was bright but not too hot. It was great!

Most tourers arrived Friday and were able to enjoy the campfire and camaraderie in the evening and prepare for the weekend tour.

Saturday morning began cold and cloudy but the 16 cars and occupants were eager and on the road early on the way to Dutch Mill Country Market. There was just about something for everyone here including breakfast and then it was on into the City of Hamilton for a tour of several fabulous venues. First it was to the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre which housed quite a good collection of artifacts showing the evolution of change particularly in the industrial side of Hamilton as well as to see how we have come in our relationship between industry and its workers. Always an insight. Then it was on to the HMCS Haida, a Tribal Class destroyer from the second world war. Each person who boarded was given a Station Card reminiscent of days when she was an actual “in use” destroyer. Did you know that a “sparker” is a radio operator!? Then it was on to the good part – Hutch’s – famous for their fries and ice cream. Need I say more? While the roads in the industrial section of Hamilton are, to say the least, bumpy, I believe that the trip through town to the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology was well worth the trip. Hamilton was one of the earliest cities to pump water from Lake Ontario to its then 7,000 residents in the early 1900’s. The guides at the museum were extremely knowledgeable and even showed us a tour “backstage” in some of the warehouses containing several steam etc. related equipment. Our tour wound us up at the Sunset Villa Restaurant where we were served a fabulous roast pork dinner complete with Danish Apple Strudel. Yummy! We finished the day touring back to site and enjoying a huge bonfire (with lots of chip, cheesies....)

On Sunday morning after muffins, fruit and coffee we were off again in the warmer sun. We travelled to the Brantford Twin Valley Zoo. Now, we live probably 35 km from this zoo and have never heard of it, but I heartily recommend it to anyone especially with little kids. The exhibits are great and the grounds are well cared for and they have regular shows in the summer months. We saw lots of “lions, tigers and bears oh my” and enjoyed a private show including a snake (Dean didn’t like that one), turtle, wolf, lion and tiger (baby ones mind you). Our next stops were a couple of flea markets and browsing is always fun even if you don’t buy anything. The drive today was gorgeous and again the weather contributed greatly to that but we then found our way to The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. This was truly fascinating to visit this rescue facility and to see and hear the dedication of folks who care for and protect these animals. As all good things must come to an end it was back to the site for a farewell dinner of chili, rolls and lots of extras.

Thanks so much to the McBride’s for a wonderful tour. I think all of the cars performed admirably but understand that Ron had a bit of an altercation with the crank. Hope your wrist is fine Ron.

Take care and see you down the road, Yours in Model T’ing, Jo Eagles