The anticipation in the hotel lobby was palatable. 2016 is the second year for our Hagerty Maple Mille Ontario event, and the field is full of first-time entrants. The opening pages of the route book, describing our style and important details, were being scrutinized, and discussions about odometer accuracy were overheard. There was no fear, however, as multi-tour veterans were busy ensuring everyone a working odometer isn’t needed.
Particularly excited to start the event were John and Marci Hinde, having driven their Intermeccanica 356 all the way from Vancouver BC to run the Hagerty Maple Mille, their fifteenth event with Classic Car Adventures!
Our driver’s meeting covered the usual items, including our style of driving events, the yellow card system (used to keep driving styles ‘in-check’), Hagerty’s roadside assistance program and some suggestions for lunch stops. Nearing the end of the driver’s meeting, a time when Dave traditionally puts on his “lucky flannel”, the group was introduced to the lucky flannel, carefully sealed in a plastic bag. In recent years the lucky flannel has become the ‘unlucky flannel’, bringing rain and snow whenever it has been worn. So, for the Hagerty Maple Mille it is safely sealed in a bag, hopefully keeping the weather at bay!
Our start out of Peterborough was grey, and the roads damp. We had some rain overnight, and a slight mist in the air. Perhaps Dave should have just left the ‘lucky flannel’ at home?! But as we ventured out of town, winding our way past the Warsaw Caves, the weather began to improve.
By lunchtime, in Madoc for most of the group, the sun was beginning to shine and convertible tops began to find their proper place, folded up under the boot. We drove for a couple of hours, enjoying tight twisty backroads and open flowing roads through historic fields before turning north on “Buckshot Road”. Here the event came to a surprising halt. Unbeknownst to the route master, Buckshot Road was closed this week for culvert replacement!
Classic Car Adventure routes are always kept a secret until you receive a route book, and once you do there are easy to follow turn-by-turn directions. While we do print maps in the book, they are more to show you ‘where you’ve gone’, vs ‘how to find something’. A closed road, with a less adventurous crowd, could leave you stranded.
But Classic Car Adventure’s guests aren’t ones to be defeated. If a carburetor clogs, five cars will stop to diagnose and repair. Electrical problem? Six repair kits will be opened up to keep you going. Closed road? Well, we’ll just sort out a re-route. Some cars turned around to help others avoid extensive back tracking, while a re-route was determined. Once Dave had confirmed the re-route, friends were text messaged, cars were sent back to re-direct those still coming and a double sweep system was formed. The true adventure spirit of the group was instantly visible, and together everyone ensured no car was left behind.
The sun was out, the roads were still winding (a little) and we all arrived at the hotel without problems. True, we may have missed some twisty roads that were in the original route, but it didn’t matter. There were two more days to explore, and time before dinner to enjoy a post-drive beer with friends. Some old, some new, but all of us equally adventuresome.
Photography for the Hagerty Maple Mille is provided by Ralph Saulnier Photography