Yesterday morning, Helen and I started off on our first Road Rally.  I’ve never been on one, and Helen told me last night that the last time she was on one, she was in an accident (totally NOT her fault, BTW).

We, well actually, I, enrolled us in the “non-competitive” rally.  I thought that for our first, we should just enjoy the drive.  God knows what happens when my competitive fuse is lit, so I quite maturely, I think, decided that we’ll do that “nice drive to Niagara” challenge.

Well, funny enough, it’s Helen who put an end to that nonsense.  While queuing in line for the ladies restroom, Helen spoke with some women who had picked up their “Rally Forms” for the competitive drive.  She looked at ours, and said “this is lame, no clues, or challenges, just a drive”.  So we decided to improvise – instead of doing the lame drive, we would take the competitive challenge, but not be timed, and not actually compete for the prizes.  Sweet.

It actually made the drive alot more fun.  And, unfortunately, slowed me down, and kept me at times going SLOWER than the traffic behind me.  Hey, you try finding the “copper mailbox” at 70MPH.  We started the rally at Legendary Motor Cars in Halton where we were treated to a continental breakfast, and a fascinating tour of their restoration facilities.  And their showroom, Oh My God.  Helen doesn’t know this, but I smuggled out one of their current offering/price lists in my underwear.  And they have a beautiful F40.  It’s also the home to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame.  Will I see Matthew on the walls there one day?  Who knows!

It was a bit rainy as we started off (at 9:57am, according to my “we’re not really competing, but I just want to know” wife).  The first challenge was “Something a giant chocolate Easter bunny would leave”.  No fricken clue.  Ok, confession.  I hadn’t quite grasped the “slow drive == better observation” concept, as I headfaked my traction control through my first corner.  Sweet start, IMHO.

I won’t take you through the whole adventure, but a couple of key points need to be made.  First, I have found, thanks to this rally, some INCREDIBLE roads around the Halton/Niagara Escarpment area.  Wow.  You have to experience this stuff for yourself.  I’m going back often.  Second, when I see “Road Closed” at what I believe to be the “first opportunity to turn left”, I’m assuming the Rally organizers know about this closure.  <insert ASS U ME reference here>.  That “little” issue had us driving down  HWY 8 looking for a stop sign (the obvious idiocy of that task didn’t make itself apparent to me as I was driving).  So anyhow, we had a wicked backtrack involving U-turns and Queen E runs.

The rally ended at Vineland Vinyards, a beautiful setting.  Vineyards surrounded by Ferraris is a site to behold.  We were all enjoying the food and wine sampling, and touring the production facilities.

Alas, time was marching on, and I wanted to get us to Niagara Falls before the weather turned again.  We took the scenic route through Niagara-on-the-Lake, and eventually arrived at the Sheraton Fallsview hotel.  Did you know that every Friday and Saturday night there are fireworks over the Falls?  Neither did I, but don’t tell Helen because I have her convinced that I did ;)

Our room was right at the top.  Penthouse level.  There are only 2 rooms there, and it’s so exclusive that not even the elevators go there!  When I made the reservation, all I asked for was a Falls view room.  I will attribute the complementary upgrade to Sophia!

So, we’re now finishing breakfast, and getting ready for Track Day!  Sophia will enjoy the legendary turns and hills of The Mosport International Raceway today.  I can’t wait!