We just spent a delightful dam day riding north and west from where we live looking for water themed locations for this year’s Lobo Loco all-season Water is Life rally.
If you find that your riding is a bit aimless, or you’re always showing up at the same places over and over, a long distance rally is a great way to break those habitual rides. You get a theme and some specific targets, but you also get some special monthly targets in this rally. It runs from May to October, so you have lots of time to get points. You can set up rides with intention and ride as hard as you like. Some people go and go if they’re all about the points (and have a lot of free time). I’m more about the exploration and photography opportunities, even more so If I’ve got a pillion along, but you can do it however you like. My son and I have done this a few times now, and my buddy Jeff and I have had some epic rides, but this time it was all about my wife and I getting points and spending some quality time together.
For May the water specific theme was dams, so we went looking for the damned things in our area. It’s amazing what you can find when you ride with a purpose. Only fifteen minutes from home we were stumbling across secret Mennonite fishing holes at the Woolwich Dam, and twenty minutes later chatting with dreadlocked sports bike riders on the Conestogo Dam causeway. We bumped into a number of riders on the trip and always suggest they look up the rally as a way of extending their riding destinations.
Further north we stopped just past Harriston (after getting a photo of their water tower), and got lunch at The Red Caboose. If you’ve never had an Ontario chip truck lunch, this would be a great place to start. Everything is grown in the fields around you (including the beef). It’s what you’d expect to pay for a burger and fries, but this’ll be the first time you’ve ever had something this fresh. Some fancy burger joint in Toronto will but sriracha on it and charge you five times as much for something that tastes half as good. The fries actually taste like potatoes. We would never have stopped there had we not launched ourselves on this exploratory rally adventure.
With our stomachs full of goodness, we continued north. After a water tower hit-and-run in Clifford we eventually found ourselves in the place where government cuts made the water kill people: Walkerton, Ontario. We got to the Walkerton Heritage Water Garden only to discover it wasn’t running – a local walking by told us they weren’t turning it on due to new cut backs. Thousands got ill and e Coli in the water killed seven, and now a similar government has cancelled the memorial to what their predecessors did – I imagine they’re thinking this is best not remembered. The irony runs thick, unlike the water in the monument. The local said the politicians all spent more time making sure they weren’t liable than they did actually trying to solve the problem. Walkerton is now a vibrant community that has bounced back from this tragedy, but the damage runs deep, and more cuts are coming.
We left the park in a sombre mood and headed through the lovely town before striking out east on Highway 4. Another water tower hit and run in Hanover and we were on our way to Durham and the ride south to home.
I’m sure I’ve passed through Durham before, but have no memory of it. It’s a pretty little town in rolling Niagara Escarpment country. Alanna eagle-eyed the Garafraxa Cafe on the main street and we pulled in for a caffeine boost to get us home strong. Things looked promising with an Italian coffee machine that looked like a Vespa scooter and a proprietor who knew what he was doing with it. It ended up being one of the best Americanos I’ve ever had.
We pushed south to Holstein Dam while picking up water towers in MoFo and Arthur. Our last stop was the Shand Dam that created Belwood Lake just down the road from our home in Elora. To maximize points you want to get your bike in the photo and have signage and the dam itself in one of the two photos. I find the Ricoh Theta 360 camera handy for doing this because it grabs everything at once, but many others just use their smart phone camera and get a lot more points than I do. Naming conventions on your photos are important too – you lose points handing things in the wrong way. Having Alanna along really helps with this as she actually reads the instructions.
this point we’d been on the road for well over six hours and were ready
to go put our feet up, fortunately our circuitous route took us in a
big loop back home:
All told we think we cracked a thousand points on this ride, and discovered all sorts of strange little spots we’d have otherwise missed. The Water is life Grand Tour full summer rally is running from May to October, so you’ve still got tons of time to sign up and give it a go. If it grabs you, Lobo Loco is also running more intensive weekend and one day rallies throughout the season.
Lobo Loco Rallies on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LoboLocoRallies/
Like the page and see what’s going on – there is a vibrant community of riders involved with this.
Lobo Loco Homepage: wolfe35.wixsite.com/lobolocorallies
Includes the intensive weekend events as well as this season’s grand tour. You can sign up on there through RideMaster – the same group that handles Iron Butt Rallies (if you want to get really serious).
Some dammed stops on this year’s Grand Tour Rally:
Stop One: Woolwich Dam & Reservoir
|Getting signage with the name on it counts for points!|
We went a bit overboard with this one. It was our first stop, it was a lovely dam surrounded by Mennonites fishing and we wanted to make sure we got the required things in the photos (and they are many!)…
You will need to have the following in order to collect points:
A) A photo of the dam itself
B) A photo of signage indicating the name of the dam, or a photo indicating the name of the town the dam is in
– We will accept a “Welcome To”, City Limits, or Town Hall sign.
C) The GPS coordinates, approximate street address, or nearest cross street to the dam
Your motorcycle MUST be in at least one of the 2 photos.
You will receive the highest points ONLY for whichever you achieve for each individual dam:
99 points – motorcycle with the dam (which I think we got with the bottom one with me standing with the bike in front of the gate)
66 points – motorcycle with the dam signage
33 points – motorcycle with the town signage
… but I think I like the one with us leaning over the dam more. Sometimes the photographer gets in the way of the rally requirements.
#loboloco Water is Life Rally 2019 Summer Woolwich Dam #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
We found a squirter at the Woolwich dam!
Stop 3: Conestogo Dam
#loboloco Water is Life Rally 2019 Conestogo Dam #motorcycle #rally #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Gotta get that signage in for maximum points.
Stop 8: Holstein Dam
… that was a buggy one. Dam in photo, check, rally flag, check, bike in photo, check!