2011 Island Fall Colours Run

2011 Island Fall Colours Run

October 23, 2011

What a gorgeous day Sunday, 23 October turned out to be. The previous two days had been showery and a bit wet, normal weather for southern Vancouver Island most people would say. But true to forecast Sunday morning dawned sonny and bright for our Island Fall Colours Run.

My schedule for October was pretty full. I returned from work in the arctic a few days late on Saturday, 8 Oct which left only one day to unpack, repack, detail my 61 P1800 and load the car. Lucy and I then caught the 10 am ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles for our drive down to Malibu, CA and the VSA west coast meet celebrating the 50th anniversary of the P1800. I was a little afraid that if I didn’t show up with my 50 year old P1800 VSA would burn my membership card! I’ll save the details for another story, but suffice to say it was a terrific meet and a fun 2500 mile round trip drive. We arrived back in Victoria on Thurs 20 Oct having caught the Coho ferry out of Port Angeles a day early. While we were away Chris and Marja Blasé had been passed the secret route instructions and pre-drove the route just to make sure everything was in order. Sunday morning rolled around all too soon.

Want to be a Volvo
“When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Volvo” A_Smart_Volvo_Wannabe.jpg

The rendezvous for our run was the Tim Horton’s coffee and donut emporium on Millstream road just north of the Trans Canada Highway in Langford. I thought we were getting there early at 0930 for the advertised 1000 am start. But as we pulled in to the parking lot it was hard to miss the faded red 122 in the lot. And it was even harder to miss Henning and Monica Kristensen standing nearby. But what was that car? Instead of their normal Volvo they were driving a black and white Smart car! Ahh – but there was a big sign in the back window: “When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Volvo”. OK, we’ll let them join the drive in their wannabe Volvo seeing as how they had driven all the way down from Duncan/Maple Bay.

Bill Paitson and Jerrilyn Tyler came down from Nanaimo in his pristine blue S90 [above]. FULL SIZE.

65 122 owned by George Barstow.
Landsmans' bright yellow 73 1800ES [bottom]! FULL SIZE.

I just had time to grab a coffee and get back to the parking lot to find it filling up rapidly with a wide variety of Volvos old and new. Mark Pacey brought a very shiny and very black and very non-stock under the hood S70. Bill Paitson and Jerrilyn Tyler came down from Nanaimo in his pristine blue S90. Jill and Dave Bone brought the youngest attendee - 3 ½ year old daughter Kaylee in a ruby red 96 850. Bjorn Olsson drove his 68 544 but was without his regular navigator Kjellaug. Al and Audrey Larmon brought what is becoming a rare bird these days, a 69 164 which they had recently done a total restoration on. Michael and Brenda Kelly arrived in their 70 144, still sporting it’s original and shiny paint. Although they knew the route, Chris and Marja Blasé still joined us at the start with their 84 760T. It turned out that the owner of the earlybird red 65 122 was George Barstow who has residences in both Seattle and Victoria. He had heard of the meet through the Puget Sound club and wanted to give us a try. George’s car had been a regular at Landsman Motors for years so George took out a membership with VCBC – welcome aboard George. Of course, who could miss Peter and Pavla Landsman in that bright yellow 73 1800ES! In almost matching 123GTs, Gordon Murray and Lars Junkers joined the assembly and to round out the 122 group, Joel Friesen and his friend brought a 66 122.

Murray and Junkers
Gord Murrayand Lars Junkers 123GTs: book ends! FULL SIZE.

As soon as we had all had a chance to grab a coffee and exchange greetings it was time for the driver’s meeting. Once the safety items were emphasized and the reminder about the prize one could be awarded by the local constabulary for those who tried to arrive too fast, the route instructions were distributed to the navigators and crews were told to man their vehicles. It wasn’t quite a Le Mans start as there was still some coffee to be finished and as the organizer I wanted to be near the last in case anyone called my cell phone for an interpretation of the instructions (while not admitting to being “lost” of course). The initial part of the route was primarily highway to get us north of more traveled area and into the rural setting. The date for this year had been pushed back into later October due to other scheduling conflicts and nature had done well with the extra time. As can be seen in the pictures from the photo op just outside Cowichan Bay, the fall colours had truly arrive. There were a lot of yellows and oranges on the route and the deep reds of the maples were just coming into there own.

Bob's 1800.
Bobs 1800. FULL SIZE!

But at the photo stop things were starting to get out of hand. It was supposed to be just a brief pause to take pictures, but I noticed that a few hoods were starting to go up and the boys were gathering around leaning over fenders in greater numbers. A few gentle reminders about being late for lunch didn’t appear to be having any effect, so to hurry things along I fired up the 1800 and made some noise exiting the parking lot. He who was supposed to be last was now going to be first.

A spectacular drive.

The last bit of the drive from Maple Bay down to Genoa Bay is really quite spectacular in the rural fall. A bit narrow, twisting and turning, quickly turning from tree covered to open pasture then back again just as quickly. All too soon I was pulling in to the parking lot of the Genoa Bay Marina and taking the number one spot just outside the front door. Inside I meet our host, Gord Rumley, manager of this rather well kept little secret and was soon sipping on my second cup of Joe while I watched for the string of arrivals. I had phoned Gord on depart with our numbers for lunch (23) but had to add one more when Cliff deSchepper arrived with his 66 122 (automatic). It seems Cliff also owns a property at Genoa Bay, had driven up in his truck, and then driven the last few hundred yards in the Volvo. OK, I guess that qualifies so he was allowed to be number 24 on the VCBC guest list. The food was wonderful, the camaraderie great and after lunch a few strolls around the marina to admire the boats and float homes was definitely in order. Comments on the order of “I’ve lived on the island all my life and never knew this was here, this is great” were heard more than once. Looks like we may have to do this again.

My thanks to all those who participated, this was a great turnout – 15 cars and 24 people. Special thanks to Gord Rumley and the Genoa Bay Café for hosting us and serving such wonderful food. And finally, a big thank you to Mother Nature for providing a splendid selection of fall colours from her palate.


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