GORE BAY—The ‘Boys of Summer’ chose to make their 50th annual motorcycle trip to Manitoulin Island, staying in Gore Bay and spending three days on the Island armed with many side-splitting stories of past trips. Almost all of the Boys of Summer live in southern Ontario and have had a wide variety of careers from teachers to production control managers, insurance managers and many more professions.
“Our group call ourselves the ‘Boys of Summer’ and the original members made their original trip 50 years ago,” stated David Slote. “I wasn’t part of the original group, there are still a couple of guys that have been on most of them; the ringleader didn’t come on this trip. But we have one guy that that been on 49 of the 50 trips.”
“There are eight of us on this trip and some of them have never known the guys who were on the ride the first year,” said Mr. Slote, a retired teacher who noted, “I came on in the 1970s.”
“We make this trip once a year in the summer,” said Mr. Slote. He pointed out that it used to be the boys would take the road trip from their native Canada to the US in search of winding roads, good greasy spoons and friendly faces.
“Now because so many of our group have health issues, our wives won’t let us leave the country,” quipped Mr. Slote. “One of the guys who goes on these annual rides moved to Truro, Nova Scotia but still takes part,” he added.
“I moved to Truro (Nova Scotia) four years ago to be closer to family,” said Tom Kayser. “I bought another motorbike last fall with the intention of taking part in this year’s ride. It took me three days to get here.”
Mr. Kayser had been on the groups’ second trip in 1968, but he noted “only one guy with us this year has been on 49 of the 50 trips.”
That would be Ray Rogers (76) who is retired from McDonnell Douglas Corp. as a production control manager. The first ride was to Illinois. “That was the year one of the guys suggested we go to a motorcycle race. We went back three more years. Then we started to change the focus of the summer trip.”
“Our group has a wide variety of employment backgrounds,” said Mr. Kayser. “Our only connection is that we all own and ride motorbikes. We enjoy riding our motorcycles with a group of pals every year.”
“We’re all looking for a place where we can get adult beverages,” quipped Mr. Rogers.
Mr. Slote had first got involved in the annual ride after, “I had moved to Toronto and a friend of mine worked with one of the original guys who went on the ride and he introduced me to the rest of the group.” He said, “they all used to race motorcycles.”
“When the group first started out they would go to places like West Virginia, Maine, and Maryland,” said Mr. Slote. “This is our third or fourth trip in Ontario.” He has been to Manitoulin several times in the past.
Glenn Moore who worked for Imperial Oil in Campbellford, Ontario, also lives in southern Ontario. He has been on 33 of the 50 rides the Boys of Summer have undertaken. “I first started with the group in 1985. I worked with a guy who was part of the group and that is how I got involved. I got introduced to the group and I was asked if I would like to join them on their ride.”
With a laughter in his voice Mr. Moore said, “I crashed my bike on the first ride, but they kept inviting back every year. I had a second crash too, on another ride,” he quipped.
“We pick a new spot to visit each year; it’s just a lot of fun to go on trips like this with your buddies,” said Mr. Moore.
Mr. Slote explained, “I know Stew and Marlene Burns” of Gore Bay, we stay in the same trailer park in the winter as they do in Florida. They have been encouraging me for a few years for our group to come up to the Island and they would organize some things to see and do on the Island.”
While on their trip to Manitoulin Island the group stayed at The Inn at Gore Bay. “It is a great place and the quality of the place and the service is way above our usual accommodations,” said Mr. Slote. “We’ve had a great time on the trip and visiting the Island. Stew and Marlene are putting on a barbecue dinner for us tonight (last Thursday),” he added.