Sunday 19th August 2001, Beamsville ON
We had been in touch with Theo Meester, who had kindly offered to show us the Niagara Peninsula. We were looking forward to the 450-mile ride to Ontario, and we amazed the household by being packed and ready to leave at 8.30 am, just as Deborah arrived back from Cape Cod with Delia.
It was just a case of hitting the mileage today, so we had no plans to deviate from the Interstate. We had made this particular trip once before, very early in our trip, and we knew that we should easily be able to arrive in Beamsville, Ontario, by 6pm.
As luck would have it, however, the weather had changed. The wind increased, and, as we stopped for lunch at a service area on the Interstate, Brigid pointed out some threateningly dark clouds. To John’s annoyance (he was hungry) Brigid started to unpack her rain gear, and pulled out her red PVC poncho to cover her backpack. At last with everything water-proofed and stowed to Brigid’s satisfaction, we were allowed to eat.
As we emerged from the restaurant, Brigid had to admit that she might have been wrong. The clouds seemed to have dispersed and no rain had fallen. But only minutes later, the skies darkened again, and the rain started. Lightly at first, then torrential, until we had to take refuge under a bridge while John changed into his rain gear, and covered his backpack.
We rode on a distance, and the rain eased off a little. But we were both wet and uncomfortable. Brigid was soaked through and cold. We stopped at a service area for a reviving cup of coffee.
Brigid began to peel off layers of drenched clothing. Her (supposedly waterproof) Frank Thomas jacket was dripping, and colour from the plaid lining had left hideous streaks of green and brown all down her white T-shirt. Even John had to agree that she couldn’t very well arrive at the Meester’s in that state. A complete change of clothing was called for.
The rain had cleared temporarily for our arrival at Southridge Farm. But it didn’t look as if it would stay dry for long. Theo escorted us to Cor and Alice VanDorp’s B&B, and talked ‘horses’ with Cor while we showered and changed back into something approaching human.
Back at the farm, we kept Theo and Alma up far too late, watching the Mother Road Rally video, and chatting and laughing about our various adventures since we had all parted company in Ontario, CA. When, at last, we were too tired to make sense of the conversation, Theo lent us his car to get back to the VanDorp’s.