Starting Grid Starting Grid

Run to Maple Bay

October 30, 2005

Before I start this latest tale, I must make an addition to the list of attendees at the June Mystery Tour. I don’t know how, but even with the list in front of me, I failed to include Gary Pargee in his 94 850 Wagon.

Now, on to the latest Island event. Well, it finally happened. After fours years of dry weather for our island events, we finally had one with some rain!

Mystery Tour 2005 - On The Starting Grid
Tour 2005 - On The Starting Grid

Sunday, 30 October 2005 dawned overcast and wet. The thought raced through my mind that this year my 61 P1800 might be the only car on the fall colours run to Maple Bay. Don and Mary Lou Johnston, old Volvo friends we had met at the VSA 1991 meet in Solvang California, had driven up from Tacoma way and spent the weekend with us, hoping to enjoy some of the fine Victoria weather we always brag so much about. So more out of curiosity Lucy and I bundled up our paraphernalia for the trip and, with Don and Mary Lou in tow in their 740T wagon, headed off to the soggy CanWest Mall parking lot. Imagine my surprise when we rounded the corner and saw a couple of Volvos already sitting where we usually rendezvous. Must be just a couple of early shoppers. But no, as we approached we recognized the cars and the brave souls huddled under an umbrella or two (you’ll usually find a couple in most Victoria cars - just in case). And then some more Volvos appeared out of the mist and joined us. The next thing you know, there are thirteen cars lined up for the start! Among them was brother Olof Malmberg in his recently finished immaculate red 544. He had braved the early BC ferry scheduled and arrived on the scene almost like Santa with a load of goodies (read Volvo parts) purchased by local Volvophiles. With this many cars and people I can’t list everyone who was there so I’ll have to limit myself mainly to the newcomers.

In the midst of the various groups of umbrellas I noticed two umbrellas over the open engine bay of Olof’s new toy. Ever the ready mechanic, it seems Peter Landsman had been called upon to offer technical advice on the carburation of the slightly rough running red block Volvo engine. Peering under the umbrellas and over the shoulders of the assembled throng, I could see Peter, sleeves rolled up, gently turning the brass mixture setting hex nuts under the SU carbs. I jokingly called out “ Hey fellas, this is a fun run not a tech session!” Having got their attention, I announced it was now time for the drivers and navigators meeting, which, due to the weather, would be held inside the nearest mall entrance. Some people have a hard enough time reading printed instructions and I didn’t want to complicate matters by issuing them soggy paper with water making the ink run.

They all listened attentively and didn’t ask too many hard questions. Soon it was back outside to the cars in the rain. It was hardly a Le Mans start, but we did sprint briskly through the rain back to our cars, discussed the first few instructions with our navigators, and started easing out of the parking lot onto Jacklin Rd northbound. Everybody made the first few turns OK and the rain seemed to be easing off the further north we went up the Malahat Highway. But just as I was turning off for Shawnigan Lake my cell phone started to ring. Sean Drabbit in the white 1800ES said his instruction page didn’t look right. To make a long story short, Sean had only gotten page two! I guess my printer grabbed two pages at once and the front of Sean’s route instructions got missed. The easiest thing to do now was to let him scoot on ahead direct to the finish line rather than backtrack and try to catch up with us.

We have a number of photos from this event. As soon as they are ready, we will provide a link here.

It was a bit slow going around the west side of Shawnigan Lake. There were about 200 people out road running in the rain for some worthy cause. Oh well, we weren’t in any real hurry were we? Even after the recent wind there were still lots of colourful vistas to take in. And the closer we got to Maple Bay the more the rain eased off. And before you knew it, the waters of Maple Bay were just ahead and around the corner was the Brigantine Inn. There were a few strange (non-Volvo) cars in the parking lot as well as a number of familiar ones. There to greet us were locals Bryan and Aude Volstad and Henning and Monica Kristensen. Down from Nanaimo were Bill and Blanche Paitson and all the way down from Qualicum Beach were Nigel and Linda Smith. All in all about 17 cars and no duplicates. But by far the most unique had to be Nigel’s “345”. Must admit - I’d never seen a Volvo quite like it. And neither had a lot of other folks. If you thought the gathering around Olof’s bright red 544 was something, you should have seen the crowd around the 345. The power train on this little buggy is really unique. Nigel spent some time describing the inner workings but at the end a lot of us were still shaking our heads.

Well, it wasn’t raining at Maple Bay, but it was nice to get inside and get seated so we could order lunch. I think they were ready for us - two large white boards with the specials all listed. Lunch was great, service was great, great to talk with so many friends both old and new. Time flew by and before you realized it our noon meal had stretched out to almost two thirty. Gradually the crowd and the parking lot thinned out and soon we were on the road again. The trip home was an uneventful run straight south down the highway. Every once in a while we’d comment about remembering a certain intersection where we had crossed the highway a few hours before. It was good the get home and put our feet up in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine. We all agreed, it had been another great Volvo day on the island, even in spite of the rain.