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McLaughlin Buick Club of Canada

The 2014 Fall Safari

Getting together is fun but to really be part of the goings on having a car makes a world of difference. The Ward's were really looking forward to this tour since Homecoming. Due to an assortment of car problems, they ended up attending both the Spring tour and Homecoming in their daily driver, so were anxious to get at least one tour in with the car. All week the weather forecast was for a warm, dry weekend and sure enough Saturday morning measured up, with the promise of spectacular colours to be seen.
The weather absolutely co-operated on this tour! It was sunny and warm both days, with few clouds. The tour was arranged to start in Orangeville then drive across some very hilly and twisty roads to our lunch stop in Fergus. Everyone made their way to the starting point at Tim Hortons. Even though it had been less than two months since Homecoming in Muskoka, it was catch up time and it was great to meet new friends and re-acquaint ourselves with those we knew.
At the appointed time, Keith gathered us up and handed out a detailed instruction booklet to guide us along the way. Off we went taking back streets and side roads to get out of Orangeville. We had been warned of a section which was unpaved but by spreading out and proceeding slowly we all enjoyed the super views. We headed south, west, north then west again over quiet country roads to The Brew House on the Grand, beside the river in Fergus. The building itself is an old mill with thick stone walls and plank floors I think all of us would recommend this eatery to our friends. No one seemed to be hungry when we left.
There were many great moments to enjoyed on the tour, but Nigel and Nancy Townsley would tell you, "the highlight for us was our ride with Bob and Doreen Ward, in their stunning 1937 limo! They invited us to join them for the drive from our lunch venue in Fergus, to Acton. We were thrilled! During the ride, we learned some interesting facts about the car, including its history. Bob and Doreen were gracious to answer our many questions. It was fun to see the admiring looks on faces, as we passed through towns and villages. I think they may have wondered how 'important' the car's occupants were, especially if they noticed Bob sporting a chauffeur's hat!"
After a delightful lunch served by Claudia, we got back in the cars and followed more twisty scenic roads to Acton, for a brief stop to absorb the wonderful leather smells and sights at the Olde Hyde House.
Then moving north and east, we made a stop at Beaumont Mill Antiques & Collectables to browse the "treasurery". We did find a couple of Durant hubcaps labeled as 1928 and a very beat up McLaughlin hubcap. Outside was a very rough Ditchburn boat which someone had "some-day" plans for. Having seen at Homecoming, in Muskoka, what is required to bring these boats back to their original glory, that "some-day" is a long way off. But it certainly is a place loaded with all kinds of interesting "stuff". It gets scary when items you have at home appear on antique store shelves.
From the antique shop we continued once again up steep hills, past the Sheridan Nursery farm and onto Mayfield Road, then down McLaughlin Road and into Brampton to a very nice Best Western Plus hotel. This would be our home for the night. Oh, ya! Dinner too. Dinner was on our own and because we'd had such a good lunch we all headed in different directions for different sizes of meals. The hotel was a busy place with three tour buses in the parking lot, which usually means a lot of people in the breakfast room in the morning. We lucked out and most of the tour bus people had left when our gang came down.
Sunday, turned out to be another bright clear day with a high forecast at 29o. We lined up the cars and headed we headed west along Queen Street to Mississauga Road, a short drive across a bridge then onto Embleton Road, which stretches across Mississauga changing names a few times. At Appleby Line we turned left and headed down a hill, under the 401 and up a STEEP hill to the top of the Escarpment. Once again the colours were spectacular.
Keith had told us about a section called Rattlesnake Hill, which he said was very winding, very narrow and very steep. About three miles away warning signs began to appear stating that the road was un-suitable for trucks and busses. As we got closer the warning signs became more ominous, now trucks and busses were forbidden. The signs got closer and closer together. Then we were there! It was VERY WINDING, VERY NARROW and VERY STEEP and VERY TIGHT TURNS! Quite a workout with 138"wb car without power steering. The view from the top is wonderful. It was a little hazy but we could see the lake and the Toronto Skyline.
Despite the fact it was actually a two way road, a couple of cars coming up thought it was their private slalom course. However we all made it to the bottom in one piece ready to continue on. Continuing west and south we started to see signs for African Lion Safari which is located well away from any inhabited areas. Started in 1967 it has now grown to cover 3km2 with over 1000 exotic birds and animals. We arrived, paid our admission, parked and made our way to the optional tour bus-no one wanted to provide souvenirs of our Buicks to the monkeys.
Some of us had visited there many years ago and some of the gang had never been there. We enjoyed a bus tour of the many different areas of the park with a very informative driver/guide. After the bus tour we had time for lunch prior to watching the elephants take a swim. We enjoyed a boat ride and a train ride while at the Safari. At this point some headed for home, others made their way to the flea markets at Aberfoyle and/or Freelton, searching for those missing treasurers.
What a wonderful time we had. Thank you Keith and Wendy for provided us with two days of nice scenic driving with good food and interesting stops. If you didn't join us you certainly missed a good time.
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