Official news and information site for the International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians (IFMR) for the Rotary International Convention in Montreal, Canada, June 20-23, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Having a Wonderful Time but can't keep up in the blog

   We have arrived at Prince Edward Island and are having a great time; but we've had several days with little or no internet access so it's been impossible to keep up with the blog.  I'll have to add more info to fill in the blanks when I have time AND internet access.  Meanwhile, here's a photo of the entire group taken just before we left the Hotel Normandie in Perce, QC.  Some of our European riders will be leaving the tour soon to return home so we wanted to make this photo before they leave.

    We've had mostly good weather; but the last 36 hours has been soggy and overcast from Gaspe, QC, onward to PEI.  However, it appears that the sky is beginning to clear and we hope for good weather for the next several days as we head for Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail tomorrow.  Tonight we are headed to the Lobster Supper at New Glasgow, together with a group of local Rotarians.
    We have had great fellowship 'meet and greet' opportunities with local Rotarians all along our way.  We had lunch yesterday with Rotarians in New Richmond, QC, then had breakfast this morning with Rotarians in Bathurst, NB; and tonight we had Lobster Supper with PEI Rotarians. Here's a photo of our Dutch and Belgian tour members enjoying the lobster supper.  It's been a great fellowship trip! 

     Check back in a couple of days and perhaps I'll have been able to fill in some of the 'back story' with more detail.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Days 2 & 3 -- From Quebec City to Parc Gaspecie

Our first stop after leaving Quebec City was at the Canyon de Ste Anne, a spectacular gorge and  water falls about 30 miles east of the city near the village of Ste Anne de Beaupre.

   From this point onward the road became increasingly mountainous and scenic.  We stopped briefly for lunch at La Malbaie and rode on to the historic village of Tadoussac, one of the earliest French settlements in North America, where we visited the historic Catholic chapel de Tadoussac, which dates from the early 1600s, then continued on to Forestville, where we spent the night.

   With such a large group (over 20 motorcycles), it can be difficult keeping everyone on course, especially when changing hiways.  At times the group could be spread out over more than a mile of highway.  Here's a photo taken near Baie St Paul, QC, when we stopped to make sure everyone was accounted for before turning off onto a secondary hiway for the ride thru the mountainous Les Eboulements region. 

   This morning we crossed the St Lawrence River on an hour-long ride aboard the catamaran ferry from Forestville to Rimouski, then followed the south shore of the river to Matane, where we had lunch.  By mid-afternoon we arrived at the spectacular Parc Gaspecie and checked in to the world famous Gite de Mont Albert, surrounded on all sides by high mountains and forests.  Later we enjoyed a luxurious four-course dinner in the hotel's 4-star dining room.  Here is a view of the mountains surrounding the hotel in the Parc Gaspecie.

 So far we've had great riding weather, occasionally under overcast skies, but without any rain.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tour Day 1 -- Great ride, great fellowship, and no rain!

  The weather forecast for today was for rain; but it proved to be merely cloudy and we made the first day's ride from Ste Eustache/Montreal to Quebec City safely and without getting rained on.  While the tour leader went to check on routes to exit from the city without getting trapped in rush hour and construction zones, most of the rest of the group gassed up their motorcycles and rode to the Old Town area to explore for a couple of hours.

  Here are some photos taken as the group loaded their motorcycles in the morning to begin their tour, as well as from a stop for a rest break along the route.

   In the evening the group attended a fellowship with Rotarians from the local Quebec club, who provided a bus to transport the group to and from the fete/dinner.  A group of visiting Rotarians from France also attended the event, which was held in nearby St Nicolas,where the club sponsors a special camp "Grand Village" for handicapped children and adults, which provides respite for parents and camping experience for the participants.  We had a great fellowship dinner, enjoyed a songfest around a campfire with the campers, and a fireworks display to celebrate St Jean Baptiste Day, the national holiday of Quebec. It was a great evening of international fellowship.

Above, campers enjoying a songfest with a folk singer.  Below, Quebec PDG Yves Fecteau welcomes IFMR-NA president Bob Shriner and the IFMR tour group to Camp "Grand Village" at the dinner.

VIPs, ordinary Rotarians and motorcycle riders all visited the IFMR booth

Past RI President Cliff Dochterman stopped by the IFMR booth on Wednesday morning for a brief visit during his House of Friendship tour on his 'motorcycle'.  He's shown here talking with Bill Luring, IFMR-NA member from Vermont, who was helping man the booth.

Below, a pair of Rotarians from Bangladesh stop to have their photo taken with Bob Shriner, as did hundreds of other Rotary visitors from all around the globe.

Above, DG Ron Marion, from Bob's home district 7610 in Virginia, tries to pose as a motorcyclist during his stop at the IFMR booth.

During the convention we met and talked with hundreds of Rotarians from all across the world, including many IFMR members from other parts of the world.  We also added 35 new IFMR-NA members who joined during the convention.  We were especially pleased to enroll a number of new members from Canadian provinces as well as from various parts of the US.

Wednesday was the final day of the convention and we closed the IFMR exhibit booth, as did all the other hundreds of groups who had exhibit booths in the House of Friendship.  Tomorrow we leave on our tour of Atlantic Canada!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day Ride to Mont Tremblant

  On Monday we had wonderful weather and a great ride to scenic Mont Tremblant resort area about 90 miles northwest of Montreal. Bill Smith led several of us on a series of backroads thru the fields and forests of Quebec to the internationally-known ski area and summer resort. We had a great lunch in a sidewalk cafe, walked around the village, took a few photos, then rode on a different set of roads back to the Imperia Hotel, where we had another great dinner with the other IFMR members who had gone to the RI convention sessions while we were out.
   Here are a few photos from our day trip

Monday, June 21, 2010

IFMR booth attracts wide range of visitors

  Once the House of Friendship opened to a flood of visitors, the IFMR booth and its motorcycle display attracted much attention.  Many Rotarians who visited the booth said they had never known that a fellowship for motorcycle-riding Rotarians even existed and were interested to know about it.  Over 20 new members of the North American chapter of IFMR were signed up by Sunday evening.
   The motorcycle in the booth was also a magnet for visitors, many of whom wanted to be photographed on the motorcycle.  Here are several photos of visitors to the booth.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

IFMR booth at House of Friendship readied for visitors

    On Friday and Saturday, before the start of the Rotary International convention, Raymond Plue, Ken and Jean Brandt, and Bob Shriner set up the IFMR booth in the House of Friendship to welcome visitors to the convention.  The booth's displays includes a top-of-the-line Honda Gold Wing provided by Hamel Honda, the dealership that also is providing rental motorcycles for the IFMR "Atlantic Canada" tour after the convention.
     Here's a photo of the booth after it was completed but before visitors began to arrive.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Visit the IFMR booth #2227 in the House of Friendship during the Montreal convention

IFMR will be well-represented at the RI convention in Montreal . The IFMR booth will be located in the House of Friendship at booth #2227. Plan to stop by and visit. If you'd like to purchase additional IFMR patches, pins, or reflective decals, they will be available. There will also be a few IFMR Montreal 2010 souvenir polo shirts available, but supplies are limited.

*** IFMR 8" Embroidered Patches - C$8
*** IFMR Enameled Pins - C$5
*** IFMR Reflective decals - C$2
*** IFMR Membership (includes patch, pin, and decal) - C$15
*** IFMR Montreal 2010 Souvenir Polo Shirt - C$40

If you would like to help man the IFMR booth on Sunday or Monday, we could use your help both days. Your help in setting up the booth on Friday afternoon (June 18) and dismantling it at the end of the convention on Wednesday afternoon (June 23) would also be welcome.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Important Additional Information for IFMR Tour Riders

Greetings/Bonjour IFMR Tour Riders

We are now only a week away from the start of the trip to Montreal and less that two weeks from the start of our IFMR "Atlantic Canada" tour. All but a couple of minor details have been finalized and I'm ready to leave for Montreal this coming Thursday. I've just finished updating the Itinerary Summary and the Key Contacts List, which I am sending you in an email. Please print copies of both documents and this message and bring them with you, so that I won't have to carry copies with me on the motorcycle trip to Montreal..

There are a number of other things I want to tell you about now; and I'll be reminding you of them again during the tour.

We want to start every morning on time in order to complete the day's journey -- and especially lunch stops -- close to the scheduled times. Please be fueled and ready to depart at the time indicated. If your motorcycle needs to be refueled every 150-180 miles (245-290 km), plan to refuel at every lunch time.

Most Canadian highways have 100 km/hr speed limits, though major highways often have higher speed limits. Police are generally tolerant of 5-10 km/hr above the posted limit, except in towns and school zones. While on the highways the tour group will generally travel at about the same speed as other traffic. Riders who wish to travel faster or slower than the tour group, or want to make their own side-trip, are welcome to separate from the group, but they must tell the tour leader before doing so and they must plan to arrive at that evening's motel not more than 30 minutes after the group's scheduled arrival time.

In Quebec and some other parts of Canada, groups of motorcycles traveling together are required to ride in a 'staggered' (alternating left-right-left) pattern for safety and maintain a safe distance between motorcycles. However, when the group is riding in towns with traffic signals, members of the group should try to stay closely together to avoid getting separated by traffic signal changes and other vehicles.

Riders should remain alert to the location of the riders behind them, especially when the group turns at an intersection. Make sure the rider behind you sees you making the turn before you proceed. If necessary, wait until the rider behind you reaches the intersection and starts the turn. Otherwise, that rider and the riders behind may become lost.

Canada has lots of large animals -- especially deer and moose -- that may suddenly cross the road and can cause very bad accidents. Even smaller animals can be dangerous to motorcyclists. BE ALERT! Especially in wooded or mountainous areas.

Due to recent financial restrictions, Quebec Tourism recently stopped providing road maps free to tour groups. However, visitors centers will provide road maps free to individual visitors. Bill Smith advises that there is a Quebec Tourism visitors center near the Hotel Imperia, where tour members should be able to obtain road maps for their personal use during the tour. Arrangements have been made for road maps of the other provinces along the tour route to be provided to group members when the tour arrives there.

The Itinerary Summary and Contact List I've sent you provide useful information about each day's travel, lunch, dinner, and lodging; but circumstances may change and adjustments may be required as the tour proceeds; and there are many details not included in these summary documents. To make sure all riders have a clear picture of any changes and of other interesting details for the next day, the tour leader will have a short meeting of all riders every evening before dinner to review and discuss the next day's activities. Be sure to attend these meetings.

We have two major ferry rides -- the first crosses the St. Lawrence River on Day 3 and the second crosses the Bay of Fundy on Day 11. It is necessary to arrive at the ferry terminal an hour before departure to provide time for check-in and boarding of all vehicles and passengers. DO NOT BE LATE ARRIVING AT THE FERRY OR YOU WILL BE LEFT. Advance reservations for each rider and motorcycle have been made for our group; and credit cards can be used to pay for the ferry fare during check-in.

There is also one long toll bridge, nearly 10 miles long, between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (PEI). No toll is collected when crossing to PEI; but a 'combined toll' for both trips is collected before vehicles are allowed to cross the bridge back to New Brunswick. Credit cards can be used to pay for the bridge toll at the toll booth.

If for any reason you decide to leave the tour at a different time or place than originally planned, be sure to notify the tour leader (and Vince Byrne) so that existing reservations can be cancelled. Otherwise, you will be billed by the hotel as a "No Show"; and some hotels require at least 48 hours advance notice to cancel without fee.

At various points during the tour we expect to be joined by local Rotarian motorcyclists who will ride with our group for a few hours or a few days. We welcome these Rotary fellowship opportunities, as well as the opportunities for our tour group to participate in several local Rotary fellowship events along the way. Please make our temporary tour members feel welcome.

I think this is going to be a Wonderful IFMR tour, and we all want to make it a SAFE one. Don't hesitate to ask me questions at any time. I look forward to seeing all of you VERY SOON.

:-) Bob Shriner
IFMR Tour Leader