Beautiful Bon Echo (plus Buses and Bikes)

This past weekend was Buses at Bon Echo which is an event I haven’t been at before. Having just come back from Watkins Glen I wasn’t sure if I was up to back-to-back bus events. Plus I was signed up to cover the Hillybilly Hustle cyclocross race for on Sunday. Andrea had some things already lined up for the weekend so she was not going to be able to make it. Ultimately I decided that since it started on Thursday I would go up for two nights and be home on Saturday (as well as make it to the race).

It’s been a long, long time since I was last at Bon Echo and I only had some vague memories of how beautiful it is. I know Steffan was born so it’s less than 30 years ago however I’m not sure Kayla was around yet which would make it 25 or more years ago. The drive up was uneventful and the weather was a mix of sun and cloud with the occasional drizzle. Until I got to the park… as I was pulling in to register the skies opened up and let loose a torrential rain. The sound of a very close thunder-clap echoing off the Bon Echo rock was astonishing. Fortunately, that passed almost as quickly as it arrived. As the sun was about to set, the clouds parted and I was able to get a few nice shots. Here’s one I like and I’ve uploaded a larger version which you can download to use as a desktop background if you like…

The rock at sunset, Mazinaw Lake

There were only Benda and John along with Frank there when I arrived. A few more volks showed up during the day and evening so a small group hung out at the campfire. It was a calm evening and early night, cool enough to appreciate a campfire yet still warm enough that everyone was comfortable.

The next morning started out overcast and wet from an overnight rain however the sun came out in the morning and stayed out for the afternoon. It was a good time to get out on the lake for a paddle and I took Frank up on an offer to head out with him and Hunter. Nice chat, nice scenery, a good workout… it’s been a while since I’ve done much paddling so a few muscles got a workout. The wind started to pick up while we were out and the tailwind made it easier to get back. That boat really is a challenge to steer though and all that wind made it tricky. Here are a few shots I took during the day.

Morning sun, Mazinaw Lake
Misty morning, Mazinaw Lake
Rain, Mazinaw Lake

The wind continued to pick up and with it came more rain. The temperature dropped dramatically and everyone decided it would be a good time to hop into their campers and make some dinner. People were continuing to arrive during the day and evening however the turnout at the campfire was small on Friday night. This was the first time I’ve really had to use the Sunlite heater in Babe and I was really glad to have it!

In the morning, people were wandering around with hot beverages in hand seeing who all had arrived. It was beginning to look like a good gathering and the campsites were beginning to fill up with buses. A couple of campers were wandering around taking photos (using medium format twin-lens reflex film cameras) and had no idea what was going on. They saw a few together and thought some friends had met for the weekend however as they walked around the campground they kept seeing more and more. Kelly and her friend Sarah had never been in a westy so I invited them in to see what they’re like. They were impressed and promptly began thinking about how they could get one instead of sleeping in “Astrid” the Aerostar van… who knows, we might see them in a bus for the 2012 edition :-). I also gave them the Digital Scavenger hunt list as a way for them to get a little extra park history (I think that hunt is a great idea, I had a lot for fun looking around for interesting ways to photograph the clues).

After breakfast and wandering and chatting it was time for me to pack up and hit the road. I had brought Greg’s stuff along as he was going to drive Frank’s new Ducati up however with the turn in the weather Frank called it off. Greg was sorry to miss out on the weekend but it was a sensible thing to do. On the drive back I must have seen at least 6 buses on the highway, all headed in the direction of Bon Echo, and from the photos I saw of the Saturday night crockpot dinner it looks like they had a great turnout despite the cold weather (lots of down vests and wool mitts in the pics).

Sunday was race day… still cold, forecast had rain likely so I took the Jetta instead of Babe for the drive up to Duntroon. I brought my rain gear and my camera rain gear and by the time the last race was on I was glad to have it all with me. Even so I still got soaked and cold and I know the racers were glad to have completed the event. Lots of numb feet and hands that couldn’t shift gears on top of some very slippery sections of the course that resulted in numerous crashes. Here’s a sample photo from the race to wrap up this entry, if you’re on Facebook you’ll find a small gallery online at
and I have a full gallery on

The Hillbilly Hustle CX race

Next up is Vermont… a four day trip with Andrea to enjoy the autumn colours and some mountain biking on the Kingdom trails. Stay tuned for that trip report.

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