At the Afghanistan Memorial at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum    
This past August I had the absolute honour and privilege of riding with members of 3 C.A.V. the Motorcycle Riding Club that I have been an honorary member of for 11.5 years of the 12 they have been in operation.

This was the first time I had gotten to attend The 3 C.A.V. Gathering.

I felt like a school kid! Riding with the C.A.V., no matter what province I have been to or what unit or units I ride with, is probably the SAFEST and most joyous group riding I have ever taken part in.
I WAS SOOOO looking forward to this event.

Earle "Grizzly" Eastman (L) making a presentation to
ROME Unit President Barry "Brutus" Drews (R)
On Thursday morning I was up and out of my girlfriend's place in Salmon Arm and off to Kelowna bright and early.

I stopped in at Konquer  Custom Motorcycles and they squeezed me in for a quick oil change.
The service there is always awesome!

They got me in and out within an hour and I made it to the Tim Horton's on Old Vernon Road in plenty of time for our scheduled meet up.

It felt like old home week, all of the hugs and smiles, well, you know how it is amongst friends both old and new!

After our ride captains gave us a quick briefing on the roads we would be riding and the stops for fuel we would be making, we were off under sunny skies.  By the time we stopped in Merritt however, we had been riding in the rain for about a half hour. Nothing serious, spitting on and off with intermittent showers, damp but not horrible.  At the gas station we joked about Trapper riding with us in spirit. Trapper, the Founding President of C.A.V. is notoriously known as the rain magnet by many of us.

Traffic at the top of the Coquihalla was at a standstill as three lanes of traffic merged into one. There was construction between two bridges up ahead and that construction zone was over 15 kms long, all up hill, and the rain began to fall and then it became a torrential downfall.

Two and a half hours of stop and start riding, standing in three inches of rain in the truck ruts with
nowhere to go, how much fun was that!?!

As we finally got back to riding, we were in the slow lane for a good portion of the way as we simply couldn't see where we were going, we were riding in the clouds, and the driving rain with our glasses and goggles getting fogged up. It was a scary arsed ride to say the least! Oh and those lovely automobile drivers that were out that day were so terribly considerate, they must not have thought we were getting wet enough as they kindly splashed us as they went by.

As my group pulled into Hope, we came on to the on ramp only to see a bike on its side. It was one of our guys, but it turns out his bike had rolled off the kickstand. Whew!

With a bad crash on the edge of Hope, making it so no one could leave town towards Abbotsford, we decided to stop at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #228.

We were welcomed with open arms! Our
Lou & Chuck - in the dart throw at the rodeo games!
dripping wet clothes were stripped off and thrown in the dryer and towels were handed out to those in need.

Hot coffees and beverages all around, pizzas ordered in and stories and tales of other hard rides abounded.

I called Cindy Koszegi of Hope Optical and asked if she had a place for some of us to stay for the night, turns out I was the only one to stay behind. Once the highway reopened the other 17 riders, some with passengers headed out to their hotels. My health has been rather precarious all summer so I elected to ride out in the morning.  I am so glad I did!  Not only did I get an awesome visit in with Rudy and Cindy, but I had a good sleep and dry clothes to start the day off in.

As luck would have it, I never got rained on again the rest of the weekend.

As I rode into the gathering spot, the farm of a Silver Cross family, I had a grin on my face.
I parked and it was hugs and laughs all around.

"Bubbles" roasts a wicked pig.

I got to finally meet people like Barry "Brutus" Drews, the president of the unit hosting the gathering, ROME Unit, and Cynthia "Lou" Starchuk, president of Groningen's Unit out of Saskatoon, Allan "Sensei" Plett President, Agira Unit.  I met all sorts of new friends and hugged so many old ones!

Some were missed though, my brothers from Regina in particular couldn't make it.

With the registration kit I was given, was a toque and a beverage ticket and some raffle tickets for door prizes along with an itinerary.

I grabbed some breakfast and read up on what to expect.

After all of the presidents and the national reps got done their meeting, we saddled up and headed to the Afghanistan Memorial at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum in Langley Township.

 The memorial is beautiful and even though the trees that line the entry aren't mature, one can envision what they will look like when they are.

It was a touching time as various unit presidents and National reps made small speeches, it was impressive to watch the units fall into line when the "Drill Sergeant" hollered. It was moving watch Grizz and Maddog lay a wreath and it was wonderful to take the group photos and see all of those wonderful smiling faces.

Once we arrived back at the farm, lunch was served, cold cuts and salads, fruit and coffee all courtesy of the amazing volunteers whose smiles just made a person's day.

The rodeo games had everyone hooting and hollerin and laughing like school kids. It's so awesome to see that, too many of our veterans and serving soldiers and first responders have had the joy sucked right out of their lives, but not on this day.

Soon it was time for "Bubble's" famous Honey Jack marinated pig. OHHH MYYYY, was that good.
Served with salads and potatoes, beans and beverages, the meal was absolute perfection.

After the pig roast came the presentations and they were many. A silver cross family was brought into the C.A.V. family, another silver cross family was honored and thanked for the use of their property.  Members of C.A.V. received various honors and we got to hear from the new
National President, Earle "Grizzly" Eastman.

I was starting to feel unwell. It really was too soon after being in hospital and all of those tests to be going on a hard ride like this one from Grande Prairie Alberta to Abbotsford BC turned out to be.

I said my goodbyes before the bands started up and headed off to my friend's home for a good night's sleep. I proceeded to sleep off and on for the next three days, hence I never made it to the farewell breakfast! Some company I was!

I am so grateful to have gotten some time with these amazing people.
If you are military, former military, first responder or just a civilian who wants to support the same causes and ideals that C.A.V. has, go check them out at

To see more photos from the 3 C.A.V. Gathering visit:

Until next time, ride like everyone around you is blind and cannot see you.

Don't forget - Canada's MOST Rider Friendly Community Contest is looking for you to nominate your community - it's EASY to do!

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider


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