This year our Club Fun Run activity has exploded to 14 Runs. They have proved to be so popular, they are wait listed in no time. As a yearlong resident of Muskoka, organizer of two Targas in Muskoka and several Muskoka charity motorcycle rides, I decided I would set up the first Muskoka Summer Fun Run to allow others to experience a Fun Run. I set the number at 45 cars and within 12 hrs of our email blast, we were wait listed. Dare I expand to 60 cars-why not? A few challenges however, now I needed to have a second lunch stop. I had initially arranged with the Touchstone Resort on Lake Muskoka as the lunch stop. Having organized a previous Fun Run where we had lunched at the Marriot Red Leaves in Minett on Lake Rosseau, why not again. They were delighted to have us. So on to my next challenge. As I was dividing the cars into four groups, I needed three other Group Leaders. So my thanks to Ernst Johle, Peter Helston and David Walker, all Muskokans, for stepping forward. It is not true they were coerced—well maybe a little. I also want to thank Yousry Bissada for stepping into Peter’s role in the pm.
Now I needed to plan 8 routes. This was fairly straight forward given my past experience. It was however interest- ing at lunch when one participant remarked: “I have had a cottage here for years and didn’t know these roads existed”
With all the planning done, now to keep one’s fingers crossed for good weather. The long range looked good but on the Friday before, we had torrential rain and thunderstorms. But Saturday dawned with a wee Scotch mist with the promise of a sunny hot day in the forecast. We had set 8.30 as the arrival time at our farm just outside Bracebridge and true to Porsche precision, the driveway was filled right on time with models of all descriptions, not only sports cars but a Panamera, two Cayennes and a Macan—55 cars in total—three canceled and we had two no shows.
I will let the other Authors pick up from here but would like to acknowledge and thank my wife Sheila for all her support and work in hosting the 108 participants.
Part Two –A page from the diary of a Muskoka Summer Fun Run Participant by Joanie Bercovitch
8:45 a.m. We arrived at the farm of Walter and Sheila Murray. The mist was beginning to clear and so was the early morning fog in my head as I had a coffee and a timbit served by two cheerful young women, Stacey and Carolyn Johle. I asked them how they got involved in the Run. “Walter asked us to help…and because he loves us.”Carolyn replied.
9:30 a.m. Walter held a driver’s meeting in the driving shed. Fifty eight drivers were divided into four colour coded groups heading out on two different routes. Our group leaders were Peter and Carol Helston. They started weekend Fun Runs in 1995 to promote social get togethers for Porsche owners. The meeting ended with Walter asking the group to tell him 3 words before we left the building. Guesses shouted out included “thank you Walter”, “don’t get lost” and “follow your leader.” The man races cars! He expected to hear “START YOUR ENGINES!!”
10 a.m. As we headed down Hwy 11, the sun broke through. The tops were down and the engines roared. The car in front of us, a red Boxster S, license plate PANTHRRR was driven by Joann Van Engelen of London. It was her first Run. She was looking forward to the fun of running with the Porsches! For three hours Peter guided us through 2 lane country roads with sharp turns and rolling hills. Speed limits were respected! Muskoka Beach Road had the added challenge of hikers, bikers and dog walkers. The Porsche parade was appreciated by the residents. As we drove by them we received a thumbs up.
12:30 p.m. We stopped in Bala, Crancapital of Ontario, for a pit stop. What a nostalgic 10 minutes…the dances at The Kee, the chocolate chip cookies at Don’s Bakery, the Bala Falls.
1 p.m. The Marriott Red Leaves in Minett was our lunch stop. The hotel sits high above Lake Rosseau. The patio view was the perfect setting to meet new members over lunch. We enjoyed the company of Cecily and Michael Savoie of Toronto at our table. It was their first Run experience. Cecily thought it a breathtaking experience and Michael, a close second to his thrilling track days at Mosport with Walter as his instructor. My curiosity took me to the table beside us where I met a couple who visited all the way from Tokyo, Japan. Shojiro and Taiko Gocho were travelling with the Provinz editor Randy and wife Michelle who were driving a Cayenne with Florida license plates. They won the prize for distance…both guest and car. I thought for a minute that news of Porsche-Muskoka hospitality had spread worldwide! The social side of driving a Porsche in events like this is half the fun. Cal and Susan Balcon of Oakville, first time Fun Runners, found that out today as Cal remarked how welcoming the members were on such a fantastic day.
2:30 p.m. Driving through the Precambrian Shield was remarkable. The hills were high, the rocks jagged and majestic, the lakes deep, the curves…hold your breath. It’s all about the drive. A must do again!
4:30 p.m. Our leader for the afternoon, Yous, guided us back to Walter and Sheila’s for a wine and cheese reception. The hospitality continued. And what a picture in the yard! Shiny Porsches lined up to be admired and owners happy to tell the story behind their car.
5:30 p.m. All good things come to an end. Morley and I were so grateful to spend a day in Muskoka with Porsche people. Note to self: Must tell everybody about the Muskoka Summer Fun Run at Bracebridge.
Part Three – Green Group Leader’s Report by Ernst Johle It’s not often that we set our alarm clocks in our home on our days off.
It’s not often that it pours rain the night before a Porsche event either.
5:45 a.m., the lights are on, yesterday’s work is scrubbed off and I’m out in the driveway washing our P-Car in advance of our first midsummer Muskoka Fun Run.
Our Commander-in-Chief has strict instructions to arrive no later than 8 a.m.
We’ve been late before and forgoing one snooze cycle is much less painful than the humiliation tardiness can bring to bear.
You here, you there, get them to sign this waiver, put the dots on the upper left corner, park them over there, don’t forget this, do this, get that, and whatever you do… And so starts our morning as run group leaders. Our Commander is busy doing what he does best…
Boxsters, some with stripes, some without, Caymans, Cayennes, 911’s both air and water, and now Panameras and a Macan S, to be sure. All file in one by one, curious to our intentions. Various metallic colours and darker shades to white are punctuated with the summer brilliance of a yellow, rag top reds, and a classic dove blue 3.2.
Hello. Good Morning. How are you today? Would you like a coffee or a tea? Nice car, and so our introductions are made.
It’s really quite easy to be a group leader. We meet and greet, ensure first of all they know what groups they are running in, get our guests safely parked, communicate washroom facilities and refreshments, introduce ourselves and others, try to open the lines of communication and welcome our guests. Our leader after all, organizes such events with military precision.
With the size of the event, and the sheer number of participants, time passes with the same ease as the increasing summer sun. An 8:30 arrival time, yields a very relaxed 10:20 first group departure.
Now, to read the route sheet. Bracebridge, Rosseau, Huntsville, South Portage, Port Sydney, Utterson, Windermere, to lunch at Touchstone for noon. “Robin, to the Batmobile.”
We stop 1/3 of the way through our route to check to see if the current pace suits all participants and are delighted to hear that a couple of our co-pilots may have already digested their last coffee. One bathroom break, coming up…in 20 minutes, you’ll have to hold it.
It’s almost noon and we’re just turning around after a minor miscue by yours truly and we’ve got about ¾ of an hour of driving to go. By this time, our pace is being set by the beautiful summer weather in Muskoka and the relaxed environment it can create. Phone call to Dilon… we’ll be a bit delayed… okay? No problem, take your time, drive safe.
We arrive to lunch shortly after the bladder buster road rashers, aka the Yellow Run group. Their team leader David seems very proud of his group’s accomplishments.
Lunch is relatively swift considering the number of menu options offered to us at Touchstone and the size of our groups, approx… 56 for lunch.
We venture off in a southwesterly direction trying to juggle requests for fuel and coordinating early exits to meet prior commitments at home from some of our longer distance visitors.
We stop for a brief moment in the heat of the day at the Torrence Barons, known for its complete absence of artificial light, a preferred star gazing destination. Allowances were made for an easy exit onto Hwy 11 and pleasant goodbyes to 3 of our group members. Now north, for only a bit farther.
Into Gravenhurst over some unfinished rural streets to our final twisty road then up the highway for a few moments until we arrive to the welcome of some cold beverages and delicious snack food. Our hosts anticipation of our needs is bang on.
Truth be known, the best part of the day, is what my mother-in-law has always referred to as the remains of the day. Good cars, good food, and great company. The cars, the corners, the sounds, judging arrival times at destinations, balancing A-Type personalities within their cars, all take a back seat to just getting to know someone a bit better and sharing a smile, a laugh and the eager anticipation of next time. Next time, I’m pulling up a chair so I can stay longer.
This comfortable feeling can be enjoyed at a social, a DE event, a Fun Run or any number of UCR events. We are so fortunate to have such a vibrant organization that continues to attract individuals that are so generous with their time. For that, we are grateful.
Thanks Walter! Thanks for the chat, Mike!