Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Port Dover Chronicles

By The Lost Motorcyclist March 2011

I have been going down to Friday 13th in Port Dover for many years now, and one question keeps popping into my head. Why did all these other people decide to come here? I know why I did. Because of all the other crazy people. But it's actually quite easy for me, I live just 90 km away. In Port Dover I see licence plates from all over, even California! So today I came across a story on the Internet written in French by someone who lives in Quebec, which I will relate in English here. (the Google translation is too silly to get the actual meaning) The link to the original version is here

He rides a Harley, no big surprise there.

"Thursday, October 12 a day like many others in my life. I get up as usual. That sounds like a song. I take my coffee as usual, I walk my dogs as usual, I read my emails as usual and the rest of the day goes on as usual. Chantal goes to work as usual, I am left alone as usual! Night falls as usual, anxiety grips me as usual, At one A.M., I am preparing to go to bed as usual, I turn on my computer to see if I have friend(s) as usual. There the usual stops!!!!!

On a biker site I rarely visit is an article that'll change my usual routine. What happens every Friday 13? A mega gathering of bikers in Port Dover. I never heard that name in my life. Where is it? How many km.? These are the first questions that crossed my mind, a simple mouse click here I am on the site. In two minutes and 30 seconds my decision is taken: I am going for sure, I have to see this! ! From a look at Map-Quest I am now informed that I have to knock off more than 800 km to Port Dover, That's nothing, I say to myself with an air of assurance. We are in autumn, nights are cool, but properly dressed it'll be alright, why worry. Here I go checking my stock. A quick inventory of what I need: camera, gum, chocolate bars, cloth to clean the bike, and a map. All this is already in my saddlebags. More importantly what am I going to wear to be comfortable? Voila: I'm dressed and ready. All that is left is to inform Chantal of my plan for this weekend. A phone call and I am knocked flat on my ass! "Where are you going? Are you crazy? Leaving in the middle of the night with this cold weather?" Queries fly at me, but my answer is clear and determined: Well yes I'm going, I just decided that about 45 minutes ago and nobody will make me change my mind!! Ok she says,, but at least wait until I get home from work. Of course, I will finished preparing and when you arrive I'll take off. I was completing my preparations, 2:30 Chantal arrives, I put on my suit, my balaclava, helmet and a big kiss and vroummmm the engine starts. We're off. A strange feeling comes over me, I'm alone with my bike on the road and I feel FREE. After a few stops for petrol and pee, and coffee to keep me warm, and having already encountered wind, rain and snow, I finally arrive in Port Dover and another strange feeling of satisfaction and inner peace, yes I did it. I did it, sometimes under the bewildered looks of people wondering who is this crazy guy wandering around by motorcycle when they are all wrapped up in their cars with the heater in the carpet! I get a certain pleasure from it of course. I love the bike, it is what keeps me going, what makes me push myself ahead, and sometimes nothing else. I met some wonderful people there. I lived full, beautiful emotions. I charged myself up with energy transmitted from these people I never would have met without this decision. A little crazy for sure. But I experienced this weekend some very special things that I have not the words to express. I had to do it, to live it in person, in order to know what I could feel on this trip! I cannot wait for the next one. Do it at least once in your life, you will surely not regret it."

OK so there is one answer. Now I wonder why the other 99,999 bikers went to Port Dover.

Picture: My own picture of Aug 13th, 2010 in Port Dover.


  1. You state that the Google translation of the original is 'too silly to get the actual meaning' ...

    'Thursday, October 12 a day like many others in my vie.Je get up as usual it looks like a song that, I take my coffee as usual, I leave my dogs as usual, I take my emails as usual and the rest of the day goes on as habitudeeeeee.'

    Interesting, isn't it, how just a few words ('looks like,' 'leave') can radically confuse the translation. Makes one all that more skeptical of the 1989 Giga Text boondoggle. It wouldn't have taken an extensive proof of concept study to reveal that automated translation of Saskatchewan's legislation to French was technically unfeasible at that stage of technology.

    In any event, thanks for the translation. I'll bookmark this for May 13, 2010 when it's raining and cold and I'm having trouble motivating myself to get the bike out ... for an insignificant 90 Km run   ;-)

  2. The song being referred to is "Comme D'habitude" ("As Usual"), a French song from 1967. Paul Anka heard this song in 1969. bought the rights to it, rewrote the lyrics and gave it to Frank Sinatra. We know this song as "I Did it My Way". Of course, much of that reference cannot survive in translation. Wikipedia My Way

    Video from 1967