Home > Day to Day > From the Meaford flood to the Tottenham party animals

From the Meaford flood to the Tottenham party animals

The last question I asked Hugh Timmerman was: “Are we going to get any rain?” His reply? “No rain for the next few days!!” (His emphasis.) I believed him. Hah!

Chris will be leaving us in Toronto.  Too bad — he is a good egg: passionate, opinionated, positive and funny. So he got a cake, and we got to partake. Time to bed down.

I woke up with a start: a huge crash reverberated  just outside.  I pulled down the eye shade an peered at the tent’s ceiling: all looked OK. Except I got this strange feeling. So I removed an earplug. The rain outside was deafening! Not the lightening and thunder we cowered under in Neys, but far more water coming down, in torrents. I stared up at the tent fabric getting pummeled from the outside, and then I did the only logical thing: I went back to sleep.

Awake again at 06:00 — still raining cats and dogs. Ric and Graham were speaking loudly… outside! Why are they out in the rain? Back to sleep. And the same rain intensity continued right through till 09:00. At that point I recalled Gay’s observation at the cottage: when it storms early in the morning the rain seems to go quiet around 09:30, for around an hour. So I got ready — dressed, stowed away as much of my gear as I could, sat and waited.

09:30 — the rain let up. I shoved every sopping item into the wet bag, added everything to the pile at the back end of the truck, stuffed down some GORP and a grapefruit and was ready to roll. And then the reality around me hit home. What crashed was the cover over the kitchen: the aluminum legs buckled under the weight of the water that had accumulated on the tarp! The whole thing was a write-off. And where the Three Mouseketeers had set their tents last evening there was now a miniature lake, perhaps 30 cm deep! They had dumped all their gear in garbage bags and had left, very early, in search of a dry breakfast! Camp staff were running about, apologizing for the ‘worst rains and floods in the history of Meaford’ and assuring all campers that their fees would be refunded. I just watched, stunned, in silence.

Owen had been ready for a while, so we left. And we decided to dispense with Bud’s twists and turns, sticking to Hwy 26, aiming for Collingwood. Traffic was thick — perhaps people getting an early start to the long weekend. We stuck close to the tattered road edges as the cars whizzed by.

Quad double-Macs for me — to make up for no breakfast. A new record…low? I was so hungry! And the coffee was very good.

Bill dropped by. He did not approve of my suggested route, which would bypass the climbs altogether. He thought I would take Airport Road. I chose to go along the lake to Wasaga Beach, then south on County Road 10. The weather kept improving and got downright hot. Southbound traffic was light. The Niagara Escarpment to our right, fields and horse enclosures and an interview near Camp Borden with Arlene at 680 News and more fast cycling and a guy in a big SUV towing a boat swings back forgetting about his naval attachment and nearly takes out Owen, missing him by perhaps 10 cm!

A small jog and we were on Tottenham Road! With each ‘Line’ representing a mile we knew we had to cover 8 miles to get to Line 4. No sweat. Well, actually, lots of sweat — it was sweltering. A nice OPP officer pointed us to the Tottenham Conservation Area. A long ride inside that area, including a couple of ‘could this really be it?’ hills and steep drops, and there was the truck! Next to a large pavilion. (We asked two 10-year-old kids on bikes about the “pavilion”. One of them said: “I will help if you give me the definition of a pavilion”. I guess we were tired — we were stumped! And then we just started laughing and rode on!)

We spread our tents and sleeping bags etc on the expansive grassy area under the blazing sun. Then we did likewise for all the other riders’ gear. And just as we finished I saw a Mercedes station wagon approaching on the dirt road: Inese and Erik had arrived to pick me up for dinner at the Stone House. With them was Sam(antha), Inese’s niece. I gathered some laundry and clean clothes, as well as a pillowcase full of laundry from Landen, and settled into the EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE front seat  of the AIR CONDITIONED car. And as Erik drove away my legs involuntarily started pedaling! LOL

In two words: Great evening! The company, drinks, appetizers, awesome food, hot shower, cold clothes wash, … I felt totally taken care of. Which was exactly what I needed! So thanks again, Inese and Erik!

Back to the campground around 11:30 pm. The area next to ours, which had been empty when I left, was now occupied by about 10 assorted cars and their occupants: adults and teenagers and younger children. Music was BLARING – I could not discern the language.

And this went on throughout the night. Requests to tone it down fell on deaf ears. There was no ground staff to be seen. The din penetrated my earplugs. So I just kept meditating: tomorrow I sleep in my own bed!


Chris with his “Good bye and good luck” cake — before the flood…


Four of our teammates’ tents floated in this puddle — over 30 cm deep!


Flood’s aftermath: waterlogged gear spread out to dry in Tottenham

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