Digger and Hazel had been married earlier Saturday afternoon. It was mix of bikers and medieval themed outfits coming together for a casual and enjoyable wedding day.
As it wrapped up, Digger said he needed to get his 1981 Harley Davidson shovelhead back to his place, just 6 km away. I offered to ride it and he agreed. Dave would ride Graham’s bike and we’d put them both in the shed.
Instead of waiting for the load of chairs to be taken back to the Anglican Church, Digger gave the following instructions: “Go to the light and turn left.” He was pointing right. I clarified. I should have known this wasn’t going to go as planned.
“Go to the light and turn right. There will be lake on your right.” We were up near Algonquin Park and there were lakes everywhere. He assured me, “You can’t miss it.”
“Go to the light and turn right. There will be a lake on your right. There is a curve and my house is just past it so start slowing down. My house is on the right. You’ll see my motor home in the driveway. Just put my bike in the shed. The door will just open when you lift the rope.”
Good enough. Daveand I fired up the bikes and went for our short ride in near zero degree temperatures.
At the light, we turned right. There’s a lake on the right. Here’s the curve in the road. There’s the house on the right, with the motor home in the driveway. There’s the shed. We pull in and turn off the bikes.
There’s a van in the driveway. The shed is locked up tight. I can’t get in. I can see that there are two hooks holding the sliding door securely in place. There’s a silver padlock on the man-door. We wait.
Graham drives by in the truck with the load of chairs bound for the Anglican Church, my wife was following in our van. We wait.
Dave is freezing. I’m wearing my wife’s knit gloves. Classy. Very tough biker.
I called my wife. Voicemail.
I called Tim, another friend who was with Graham. No connection.
I called Graham. No connection.
I texted my wife. Nothing.
Finally, a text from Tim. “Where are you?”
“I think I’m at Digger’s”
“Are you at Hazel’s house?”
“I think so. There’s a motor home in the driveway and a red van. I can’t get into the garage. Maybe wrong house?
Tim texts back, “Run. What street are you on?”
“I turned right at the stop sign and then you guys passed us.”
“Graham is coming to get you.”
We’ve just spent about a half hour at someone’s house, peering in windows, checking all the doors to see if we could get inside. Surely Digger, or Hazel wouldn’t mind.
Dave and I moved the bikes up to the end of the driveway to wait, since we don’t really know which direction to start heading in to find where we are supposed to be.
As we wait, an unmarked OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) Chevy Suburban drives by. I mention to Dave, “Don’t you think that if a cop drives past two guys on bikes sitting at the end of a driveway wearing colours, he would stop and check things out?”
He replied, “Guess not today.”
I text Tim, “K. You want is to wait here…wherever we are?”
The OPP turned around and were now coming back for us.
Tim replies, “Do you have an address?”
The officer pulls in front of us and asks if things were okay. I asked him what road we were on. I texted Tim our address and let him know that we are now with the police.
The officer notes, “That’s a pretty old bike. What kind?”
“1981 Harley Davidson panhead” I say with confidence…Digger had just told me about it earlier in the day. Glad I remembered.
We explained to the officer that we had come from a wedding and were bringing the bike back to put away while the groom left with his bride.
Officer says, “Does the groom live here?”
I reply, “No, apparently not.”
“Do you know who lives here?”
I tried to explain the directions I was given and he agreed that it would seem I was at the right house, but it wasn’t really adding up. A groom named Digger should have been the first clue.
“There have been a number of break ins in the area. I’m not saying it’s you but I figured I should check things out.”
That’s his job and that’s a good thing to do.
“Do you own that bike?” he asks me.
“No. It belongs to the groom.” The groom, named Digger, that I can’t get a hold of.
To Dave he asks the same question. “No.” Remember, he’s riding Graham’s bike.
The officer asks, “Do you have registrations for either bike?”
“No.” This isn’t going well.
“You can see how this is sounding more hokey every time I ask a question right?” the officer asked.
“Yup.” Sometimes the truth is like that.
“Do either of you have a driver’s license?” Finally a question we can answer affirmatively!
He ran our licenses.
And then he got out of the truck. This was it. Dave and I both figured we were getting arrested. We are out in the freezing cold, 400 km from home, apparently lost, at a house who’s occupant we don’t know, on bikes that aren’t ours, without registration, and a friend named Digger.
I explained that Graham was on his way to get us and he could verify that he owned one of the bikes. He pulled up just a moment later. Graham gave his ownership to the officer. It checked out. I asked Tim if he bail money just in case. He seemed…non-committal. There were some jokes told. Graham asked the officer what name I had given him since it came back without a criminal record. It could have gone much worse if Graham hadn’t shown up. I’m thankful for friends.
When everything was cleared up, the officer asked us about our colours and we explained that we were members of the Heaven’s SaintsMotorcycle Ministry. We shared with him what we do, we shared the gospel message and gave him a testimonial DVD to watch later. He thanked us and said that it was good to see some good coming out of the biker culture.
I later said to Dave, “Any weekend we can get out and ride, and not go to jail, is a good weekend.”
Everyone has a story. I expected that the wedding would have been the story, and in a way it was. If it weren’t for the wedding, for Digger’s directions, and so many lakes and motor homes, none of this would have happened.
What shall we do next weekend?