Think spring! Ontario’s flower is the trillium, and in spring you can see hundreds or thousands blooming on the forest floor….would you be interested in a Saab Club of Canada drive to see them?
Approximate date would be early or mid May. The little rascals are more sensitive to Mother Nature and the warmth of spring than they are to Saab clubs. Drive would be from Stoney Creek to St. Catharines along back roads, with three or four stops. In addition to trilliums, we will see a number of waterfalls. Estimated time would be approximately three hours. Hopefully the weather will be warm enough that convertible owners will be able to do some top-down driving.
Some walking will be required. The best trillium viewing area will have mud and rocks. However, there will be at least one trillium area that is fully accessible for everyone.
We can also extend the drive to include some attractions in the Niagara Falls area, such as Welland Canal viewing, tours of generating stations, or the Butterfly Conservatory. Please leave your comments and vote in our poll!
We certainly got what we asked for with respect to winter weather! The high winds and drifting snow on Sunday put both our cars and our drivers to the test. The event was a success with 6 cars and 10 participants, a good turnout considering the very challenging weather.
This is a reminder that the Saab Club of Canada’s winter driving event, “Saabs in the Snow”, is set for this Sunday, January 19th. We will get in a lot of snow-covered roads in some very scenic locations around Beaver Valley.
NOTE: the route’s conditions will be checked today (Friday January 17th). Hopefully all will be good, but keep watching the website and your Saab Club of Canada e-mails in case we have to postpone the event due to bad conditions.
The meeting point is Coffee Time, at the junction of Highways 10/89 and County Road 124 (ex-Highway 24) on the east side of Shelburne. The Coffee Time, is paired with an Esso station on the NE corner. Departure time from the meeting point is 11 AM. We should be done and back in Markdale on Highway 10 by 4 PM at the latest. The drive includes a stop for food at a unique diner.
Proper snow tires are mandatory. We will be driving on snow-packed gravel roads, with some steep gradients and sharp curves.
Please note the following:
Bring: a snow shovel (but you won’t need it!), a warm coat, and high winter boots to handle the snow: we will have photo stops
Washroom facilities are non-existent in the backcountry in winter. Modify your coffee drinking accordingly. There may be one or two stops by a frozen port-a-potty at the side of an inaccessible snow-covered parking lot. That’s where the winter boots come in.
We will visit a country store that sells excellent apples and other fresh local items.
The weather forecast is for the event is: Cloudy with 70 percent chance of snow. Blowing snow. Windy. Low minus 8. High minus 2. Blowing snow may affect the routing. If we are very unlucky, roads may be closed–something we can’t tell ahead of time.
Despite all the above, the event is about having fun driving in conditions that are absolutely not like a slush-covered 401 in rush hour. It should be fun, so please join us.
Thanks for everyone’s interest–we’re going ahead with this event.
At this point, Beaver Valley is in a commanding lead in our poll, and there is an excellent country market stop we can make (I have been buying apples from there for years), as well as a lunch stop that I am very sure you would never stumble across on your own (it was recommended to me at the market).
As we have seen in Eastern Canada recently, weather is unpredictable. For this event, we don’t want “too good”–warm and sunny will just make a mess–and we don’t want “too bad”–the roads will be closed, dangerous, or both. Therefore, I am proposing that we have an event date and a weather alternate: January 19th as the event date, and January 26th as the alternate seem to be the best choices.
If the weather is okay, but the roads are really bad, Tiny Beaches remains a viable alternative.
Because the weather and road conditions can change dramatically over just a few days, we will have to have a GO/NO-GO decision fairly close to the event. In addition to posting here, I am looking at ways for interested people to register for e-mail updates. Further details will be posted early in the New Year.
The Saab Club of Canada is planning a winter driving event. We will get out of the grey salt slurpee that all our urban areas turn into a few minutes after snow falls, and enjoy some scenic driving, as much as possible on white, crunchy, wheelwell-clogging snow–weather permitting, lots of snow.
In fact, I was so glad I got the winter tires on the car Saturday before the weather got too abysmal, I took a drive up to Beaver Valley on Sunday. These are actual shots of an actual Saab on actual back roads in Beaver Valley!
The event will likely be on the last Sunday in January or the first Sunday in February, a.k.a. the coldest time of year in Ontario.
You will absolutely need proper winter tires to participate in this event. Membership in the club (unlike other social events) will also be required.
Due to the possible conditions and situation of this event, both of these conditions are mandatory.
So set the seat heat to the level you want (or, in a Saab like mine, just turn it on), feel the tires bite on the hard-packed snow of rural roads in midwinter, and enjoy the drive.
Here’s a quick explanation of the choices in the poll below; I think all would be planned to be around three hours, or four hours max:
Beaver Valley Back Roads: we will travel over backroads which are open and plowed, but being gravel are not salted or sanded. There will be some very steep and curvy sections to test your traction (control?). Let me repeat, though, these are ploughed public roads. I have driven them in winter in my 1978 Trans Am. Saabs should have no problems.
Starting point: Shelburne
Finishing point for lunch: Meaford or Thornbury on Georgian Bay
Speed and roads: varies, from quiet 80 km/h county roads to twisty ploughed backroads at 40 km/h
Tiny Beaches: we will travel through the various beaches north from Wasaga Beach via shoreline cottage roads. There will be snow-covered sections. We will pass a number of empty, snow-covered parking lots. No one would want to have a bit of fun driving around on an empty snow-covered parking lot would they?
Starting point: Wasaga Beach, or possibly Stayner or Angus
Finishing point for lunch: Penetanguishene or Midland
Speed and roads: mostly 50 km/h cottage roads, hopefully snowy. Like this year’s fall colours tour, basically.
Snow Belt Highways: fastest and least challenging driving, heading generally northwest on some kind of loop. Honestly, I hope you don’t pick this. I can suggest some routings if you want to go on a solo excursion.
Starting point: Orangeville or Fergus or Shelburn
Finishing point: it would be nice to have lunch in Southampton, Port Elgin, or Kincardine, but I suspect that that leaves too long a drive home
Speed and roads: 80km/h on provincial and county roads, hope they’re not icy
Which "Saabs in the Snow" event appeals to you?
Beaver Valley Back Roads (60%, 9 Votes)
Alternate 1: Tiny Beaches (27%, 4 Votes)
No thanks, I'll curl up by the fire with a good book (13%, 2 Votes)
With all of the changes to Saab in the past few years, and with many of us now keeping our Saabs longer as a result, you may be wondering what is the best way to obtain parts these days. Are dealers still a reliable option for parts? What about independent repair shops, the Internet, Saab Owners’ conventions and even eBay and Kijji? How worried should I be about shipping and customs fees? In our first ever Parts Panel we have invited several experts in obtaining parts for recent and vintage Saabs to share their experiences and advice.
Markus Halbmeier – Parts Manager, Budds’ Saab
Scott Hutchings – President, Saab Club of Canada
Christian Skovbjerg – Owner, Aktive Motors
Ed Trejis – BOD Member, Saab Club of Canada and Website Saab Parts Discussion Moderator