Trip 3: Bourget, Gatineau and Mississippi Mills

I left Toronto on a very wet Wednesday morning, keeping my fingers crossed that the new hydraulic configuration for the clutch was going to behave as it should. For the first part of the drive it was just a mess and the wipers were going full time. By the time I got to 115 and headed up toward Peterborough things were looking up and Babe and settled into a smooth groove with her purring along at around 62mph (100 km/h) and me enjoy the tunes coming through the stereo. She does have a good sound system! Then it was onto highway 7 all the way east with only one stop for fuel along the way. I rolled into Bourget around 6pm and finally found Jackie’s place… she lives on the edge of town and is between a forest and a farmers field (well almost, there are a few other houses around : ). I met her two sons (Alexander and Connor) as well as her pooch Drako. And got a tour of her house which is a nice bungalow on a good sized plot. Here’s a shot of her jeep and Babe at the side of her place.

Babe meets the pirate Jeep
Longo-Ciprelli and Hughes

A little socializing, a nice dinner and before long it was time to call it a night. It was wet out and the forecast was for rain overnight so I didn’t pop the top, just made me bed and crawled into it. And sure enough it was grey and wet in the morning. Jackie was already up (of course) and coffee appeared in front of my eyes as if by magic. Then it was time to get on the road and make my way to Gatineau for the “Crono Gatineau” which is the first of the two races I’m covering. I got there around 9:30, lots of time to get my media credentials and check out the course and warm up area. The field was limited to 36 racers and they were sent of in waves of a dozen each at 11, 12 and 1pm. Shooting an ITT is not really all that exciting and it’s a challenge to get distinctive shots. Here’s one I like, it’s of Jeanne Longo-Ciprelli almost at the finish with Clara Hughes in the background almost catching up to her (Jeanne started a minute before Clara).

Frank’s shop

Another fine dinner with wine back at Chateau Bourget, another quiet sleep in the camper (with the top up this time). I was booked in to see Frank Condelli (a great guy who also happens to be a mechanic who specializes in Vanagons) around 8am so I just got up and hit the road around 6:30. Coffee in Almonte and there I was. I had wanted Frank to give Babe as thorough a check-up as he could in a short day however the first thing we started in on was the clutch. It was just working in the morning when I started up, and all of the action was at the bottom of the pedal stroke. It took most of the morning to nail it down, and included replacing the master cylinder and adjusting the push rod.

His wife Rita made a delicious quiche for lunch with asparagus fresh from their garden, and even made part of it vegetarian for me when she learned I didn’t eat meat.

Frank, putting the horn back on Babe

After lunch Frank got down to looking at all the twiddly bits, finding a few things to improve on as he went along and finding a couple of things I will want to look into sometime this summer. Overall he liked what he saw and I was happy with his overall view of my camper. He did recommend getting a Krown treatment to keep the body as solid as it is and even recommend the folks he uses down in Carlton Place. I was headed that way anyhow so I dropped in on the way and they were able to fit me in with only a 1/2 hour wait. I was on the road with a freshly treated Babe by 4:30.

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