Author Topic: A voice from the past  (Read 12321 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ed Deak

  • Member
  • *
  • Join Date: Jul 2008
  • Posts: 2
A voice from the past
« on: 15 Jul 2008 at 03:01 »
I sent the enclosed letter to the London Douglas Club some weeks ago, but received no reply.  Is that Club dead?
They're still advertising memberships.

Dear Friends, 

My wife, Marta, and I are Hungarian born, but have lived in England  at Hardwick, nr. Cambridge from 1948 to 55, when we came to Canada.

We bought our 1951 MkV from the Claude Ryan store in South London in Jan. 1951.  The bike was originally registered at Holyhead and had 534 miles on the clock. 

Subsequently, we joined the Club, in 1952, and have been the "Cambridge area representatives" until we left,  and crossed Canada in 4 weeks, from Montreal to Vancouver, long before the Trans Canada Hwy was built. The story of our trip was featured in the New Conrod at the time.  By then I had a very serious spine problem that started a week before we left Hardwick, when I bent down and couldn't get up again, so I was in pain all the way and although I registered the bike and passed my test in Vancouver, I couldn't ride again. After that the bike was stored for all these, now 53 years. 

I gave the bike to the Williams Lake , BC. Museum a couple of years ago and they would like to enter it in some parades, but as it hasn't ran for 53 years, it will take some work and effort to get it going again.  We live on a small ranch, about 55 km from town, and are now 81 and 80, but luckily,  our partner in the land, Roger Mayer, is a highly skilled, certified Swiss trained master mechanic, who can repair just about anything.

 I have a few parts we brought over at the time, but may need some more and was wondering whether you can help us out with advice on where and how we can buy the books and the parts, payable with VISA. ? The engine is sound and has compression.  Roger is away till the end of Aug. when we'll take a closer look as to what we may need, but at first glance we'll need new Amal carb. floats, needles, tank shutoff valves and silencers. We would place any order in Sept. after Roger comes back, but in the meantime I would like to know what and where we can buy the parts ?

If you have any of the old New Con Rods , from the early 50s,  in your archives,  I designed the front cover and did a number of drawings, apart from the Vagabundus pieces, only Vic Twyford knew who the writer was?

All the very best and cheers ,  Ed Deak.

Box 9, Big Lake Ranch P.O.   B.C.   V0L 1G0     Phone :  250 243 2263,    Email :  [xxxxxxxxxxxxx]



[email address removed from body of post for security.  15jul08, -Doug, Site Moderator] 

« Last Edit: 15 Jul 2008 at 04:50 by Doug »

Offline Doug

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 4321
  • Location: Glen Mills, PA, USA
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #1 on: 15 Jul 2008 at 05:01 »
Ed,

The club is still alive and well, membership now around 1100-1200. Not sure why you have not had a reply, but a number of members participate in this forum so you should get a response now.

There are presently unresolved insurance issues with supplying some spares to North America, so getting parts may pose a problem, depending or what is needed to put the old bike right again.

As for books, there are reprints available, see forum advert  here and for some supplimental technical info on the postwar series see this article here that has a further link to a PDF document. As well as lots of posts about postwar models and all aspects.

Welcome to the Douglas forum and I hope you and your friend find the information you need. Also once you connect again with the LDMCC, a few articles about the early days would be well received and of interest to us newer members.

-Doug

Offline Dave

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 3956
  • Location: Australia
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #2 on: 15 Jul 2008 at 22:37 »
Ed sent in these photos and notes.

Quote
1.  Leaving Hardwick, about the middle of April 1955.  We rode to London and stayed with club member friends, the Sewells.

2.  Vic Twyford and Kathleen Farrell met us the next morning and we rode to Graeme Brown's at  Godalming. From the left: The first two are unknown, then Vic, Graeme,  Ed,  Bill Philips, Marta,  Kathleen, Lawford Brewer. Another club member met us there    and  we rode to Southampton, where we stayed with his family  overnight, then boarded the ship the next morning, for 10 days at sea.

3,4 & 5.   The bike now.









« Last Edit: 23 Jul 2008 at 07:18 by Dave »

Offline eddie

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2006
  • Posts: 1710
  • Location: Hampshire, UK
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #3 on: 16 Jul 2008 at 07:41 »
Hi All,
          A little more info regarding photo 2.  The chap on the left, we believe, is 'Charlie' - who worked in Graeme's workshop for many years. 'Bill' Philips is actually Allan Phillipps and the Mk in the centre - with the extra plates on the front mudguard - is the one which Allan and son Trevor used when they moved to Canada in the late forties/ early fifties. Allan's granddaughters still have these plates listing some of the places visited.
       Come on, Ed, dig out some more of these photos. Lets discover a bit more of the rich history of our Club. Lets share the info before it is lost for ever!
       Look forward to seeing more little 'gems',
                                              Regards,
                                                        Eddie.

Offline Ed Deak

  • Member
  • *
  • Join Date: Jul 2008
  • Posts: 2
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #4 on: 16 Jul 2008 at 15:05 »
Hi Eddie,

I had a reply going, when my machine decided to "update" itself and wiped out the whole thing.

Of course, I knew all the time that it was Alan Phillips, but made a typo error, mixing the name up with somebody else.

I have all kinds of photos of our trip and negatives, but not the 35 mm kind, which was too expensive for us at the time. These are called, I believe # 127.  Have a friend in Edmonton, Alberta, who's into photography and will ask him whether he could print them ? 

Also, have to figure out how many scans I can post at a time?  Would appreciate instructions on this point.

If you want to see a bit more of our Canadian adventures, on 4 wheels, but still in motorsport, go to google and type in "Shell 4000 Car Rally", which used to run 4,000 miles across Canada in the 60s. I drove the official photo car with photographer Bob Ragsdale and we were the only car, other than competitors, permitted into the special racing sections.  Many of the photos are mine.

In 1966-67-68, I captained the Nissan factory team, winning the Manufacturers Team Prize in 67, just about on my 40th birthday.

Now, I have to quit and leave for town on our mid month shopping day.  55 km each way to the nearest town, Williams Lake, and we can afford to go only twice a month in our 1980 Chev. 3/4 ton with a 7.5 litre engine. Need it for bags of feed and supplies and to pull a stock trailer about twice a year. We practically count the gallons per mile. 

I'm very glad Dave gave me the info that put me on this list.

Cheers, Ed.

Offline Dave

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 3956
  • Location: Australia
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #5 on: 16 Jul 2008 at 20:52 »
Quote from: Ed Deak
Also, have to figure out how many scans I can post at a time?  Would appreciate instructions on this point.

Ed,

Using the  "Attach" function when you post a message, you can attach up to 5 images per post and you can make multiple posts. Or if you email them to the address shown in this topic, you can send any number you like and we will add them to your post or topic.

Dave


Updated details for emailing photos - Dave, 11Feb2021
« Last Edit: 11 Feb 2021 at 08:02 by Dave »

Offline Dave

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 3956
  • Location: Australia
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #6 on: 23 Jul 2008 at 07:16 »
Ed sent in another batch of photos with this message. Thanks Ed.

Quote from: Ed Deak
In my first posting to this blog I mentioned  our 1955 trip across Canada, from Montreal to Vancouver, in 4 weeks, long before the Trans
Canada Hwy. was built and have received  several requests for more photos.  I'll have a try with these 6 and if they work out OK, I'll
continue sending them in batches of 6.

Note to Roger Gibbard.  Many thanks for your email, Roger. I've tried to reply in detail, but for some reason my postings keep coming back
as "undeliverable".  I'll have to send it to you through this list, as it is about Duggies anyway.  Please drop me a line, on this, or try another email address.

Cheers, Ed.

Photos:

1.  The Nottingham section, with whom we had very friendly relationship, came to Hardwick, Cambs. to say goodbye to us.  I can't remember all the names, but the guy on the right, with his arm lifted, was Dave Beal, with his wife Rita, then Marta.  The Club rep. Freddie Mills is above Dave.  They were a great group, always full of jokes and laughter.  We visited each other several times.




2.  After we left Hardwick we spent the night in London with fellow Club members,  George and Mrs. Sewell. The next morning Vic Twyford and Kathleen Farrell came to lead the way to Graeme Brown's at Godalming.  Riding with Vic was quite an experience. I rode pillion with him once when we took our bike to Graeme and it gave me a few grey hairs.  Following him through the London traffic was something else.  He was a dispatch rider during the war and picked up a few questionable habits. How he survived his way of riding I'll never know.  One of the greatest people we've ever known. This photo must have been taken by Kathleen, as she isn't in the picture.




3.  Leaving Sewell's place in the South of London.




4. We stayed with a fellow Club member's parents in Southampton to board the ship the next morning.  Unfortunately, I don't have their names.

It was the Greek Line ship "Neptunia", an old, 10,000 ton Dutch coastal passenger ship with a hundred layers of paint covering up the rust, starting from Hamburg. The vast majority of the passengers were Germans, with only a few boarding in Southampton.  From there we went across the Channel to Cherbourg, where a lighter brought out a few from France, then to Cobh, Ireland, a very beautiful, picturesque bay,  where another lighter brought out a few more.

All told we were at sea for 10 days. Apart from the chief officers, the crew were all Germans. The food was great, the weather also cooperated all the way, so we had a very pleasant trip and a great holiday, across the Atlantic.  Certainly beat today's air travel.




5.  The bike being unloaded in Montreal April 28, 1955.

We left Montreal on the 30th, my 28th birthday, and rode to Ottawa, then to Pemberton, Ont. where Marta had some friends she was working
with in England.  From there we went to Peterborough and stayed the night with Allan Phillips' friends, then off to Niagara Falls all tourists have to see.




6.  Welland Canal near Peterborough, Ont.


Offline Dave

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 3956
  • Location: Australia
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #7 on: 01 Aug 2008 at 00:05 »
Ed sent in the next installment of photos from his 4000 mile trip across Canada in 1955. He writes "The whole story appeared in the New Con Rod at the time, but no photos were ever sent, as there was no way to publish them."

Photos

1. View of Niagara Falls.

We rode across Toronto, with our feet hardly touching the ground, except at traffic lights and continued South on a beautiful, 4 lane road to the Niagara Falls, where we spent a couple of days, doing the usual tourist movements. The country was full of so called "cabin courts" at the time.  Some were quite elaborate, like the one we stayed at Niagara, but  usually petrol stations, or farms had 2-3 small, wooden cabins, very simple, clean and cheap.  In most cases we were the only occupants even in larger cabin courts,  being very early travellers in the season. The price for a night was usually from $2 to $5, whereas the then upcoming and being built motels were already the charging around $15 to $20 for a night.

All the cabin courts have long since disappeared, wiped out by the usual "regulations" forced on humanity by big business.




2.  Marta looking at the Falls.




3.  The Trans Canada Hwy. was not completed yet and no connecting roads existed on the North side of Lake Superior. Most people went South through the USA, but we were determined to cross the country by an all Canadian route and the only existing road at the time was way up North,  137 miles of gravel without any human habitation between the small towns of Hearst and Long Lake. or Long Lac, Ontario.

Of course we knew all about this as we have been getting ready for the trip for 2 years in England, collecting all the information and maps we could get hold of, sent to us by governments and people we contacted through motorcycle magazines.  We were even reading Vancouver papers for a whole year before arriving there.

This photo shows one of our stops going North toward Huntsville.




4.  Marta and the Duggie having a bit of a rest at one of the thousands of Ontario lakes.




5.  The road North between the solid walls of the endless forests. I wonder whether they've been logged off by now on the way of "globalized wealth creation"?




6.  The communities were getting smaller with longer distances in between. From my diary: "May 7.  Raining and howling. Delayed start until midday. Forest country again. Lumber mills, isolated and deserted cabins.  Road rough at places, but mainly good. Hit a bump and stretched the chain. Long stretches of gravel."

At one point we stopped for lunch at a small cafe and some long distance truck drivers started talking to us, which was quite usual, as we were causing quite an interest and attention everywhere we went.

One of the drivers suggested that we should stop at a Shell station, store, cabins and cafe, called Tricketts' Place, before we reached Cochrane.
Turned out to be an excellent advice.  They had two cabins and we rented the small one. It was raining and hailing, but I managed to adjust and grease the chain.  When we woke up the next morning it was snowing that kept coming down all day.  The Trickett family put is into a small cottage with a good stove, without any extra charge, and later took us for a 150 mile ride in their new Dodge station wagon to see the country. Stayed another day until weather cleared.

Ed Deak.




Offline Dave

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 3956
  • Location: Australia
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #8 on: 08 Aug 2008 at 22:02 »
Ed has sent in another set of photos and notes from his 4000 mile trip across Canada in 1955. He writes...

My last posting ended in Trickett's Place, South of Cochrane, Ont.  We spent another day there waiting for the weather to clear, then took off to Hearst,  and the big adventure in Northern Ontario, which was, at the time the only connecting link with with the West. Most people went down through the USA, but we wanted to do the trip on an all Canadian route. It was Tuesday, May 10, 1955.

From my little diary: "Dull, rainy day, but we're off to Hearst. At Cochrane the gravel road begins and keeps on for 53 miles, then about 35-40 m. of good road, then gravel again. Use very little fuel, though in 2nd and 3rd gear all the time. Rain continues and it is very cold. Passed Kapuskasing and over a power dam. Road not too bad, but landscape and villages are depressing. Slept in Waverly Hotel at Hearst. Typical pioneer town. Mileage 150."

Photo 1.  The road somewhere between Cochrane and Hearst.

We've been warned about the road between Hearst and Long Lake, gravel all the way, between solid walls of forest on both sides. There weren't supposed to be any settlements for over 130 miles and  vehicles had to register with the RCMP, before they entered the road in Winter.

From my diary: "Off to Longlac. Few lumber camps along the route. Road rough at places.  Gas at 27 and 67 miles. 2 miles of pavement at 61 m."




Photo 2.  The road between the  walls of trees.




Photo 3.  Lunch at Skunk River.  A very nice spot and a change from the long miles between the solid walls of the forest. At places the small trees grew so tight together that one couldn't even walk in between them.  We got our small Primus stove out and brewed up a cup, when a car drove up and couple came down on the other side, with the same idea in mind.  We waved to  each other and that was when we first came across the North American campfire pyromania.  The guy got a small axe out of the trunk , gathered some dry branches, chopped them and built a fire to make their coffee.  We couldn't figure out why, but since then we have seen it everywhere we went. Camping is very popular, especially in fancy campers with all the facilities, yet, millions of acres of forests and grasslands are burned up every year, all across North America, because campers must have their fire, or else they'd be deprived.

We rode across the village of Long Lake and stopped for the night at Mac's Tourist Camp.  I had to pour the sand out of the air filter Alan Phillips mounted on the bike at Graeme Brown's and blessed the sidecar sprocket that permitted us to creep along in higher gears.  The mileage was 138 miles.




Photo 4. Very rough sand at Klotz Lake, Marta had to walk.  I couldn't keep the bike upright with the two of us and all the luggage, so I was creeping along for a distance and then waited for her to catch up.  At one point I misjudged the distance and when I stopped and looked back, I could see her small, black figure stumbling along in the deep sand.




Photo 5.  Camping at Helen Lake.

We started off the next day in beautiful weather  on good roads over a hilly landscape toward Nipigon Lake until we came to a very nice government campsite on a small peninsula at Helen Lake. It was so inviting that  we decided to set up our tent and camp for the night beside a real Canadian lake we've been dreaming about for years. Beautiful lake and sunset, nobody else around. We were sitting on the shore and watching large fishes swimming between the rocks.  This time we also cooked our dinner on a campfire, but in a proper concrete fireplace.  Woke up at 2:30 am, frozen stiff.  It was far too early in the year to camp in Northern Ontario. No choice but to build a fire in the fireplace and huddle around it until the morning.  That was the last time we camped on the trip and haven't slept in a tent since then. Mileage 114.




Photo: 6. A doggie welcome at Port Arthur, now Thunder Bay, with two towns united.





Offline Dave

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 3956
  • Location: Australia
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #9 on: 24 Aug 2008 at 23:14 »
Ed continues... "My apologies for dragging this thing out for so long, but around this time of the year we're buried in work, getting ready for winter,
which means about 5 months of snow cover around here. I hope to finish this story with one more posting.

On Friday, May 13, 1955, we passed Nipigon, then Port Arthur. The roads were very rough at places, which is quite common in Canada in the early Spring, with the frost breaking them up, sometimes for long stretches.  We stayed in a very delightful and friendly, log hotel in Upsala.  I passed the place in the mid '60s again in cross Canada car rallies, as the captain of the Nissan team, and saw the sad ruins of the same hotel after it burned down. Mileage 160.

Photos 1 & 2.
We continued in good weather on roads full of potholes and long stretches of gravel.  Lunched at a beautiful camp/picnic site at Raleigh Falls. The road was so rough at places that one of the silencers fell off. Stayed in a cabin at Eagle River. Mileage 162.






Photo 3.

We passed the 2,000 mile mark of our trip on our way to Winnipeg.  A car was following us into town. Turned out that the driver was a Canadian Navy sailor who was serving in Portsmouth, England, home on leave.  Picked us up later with his girlfriend and took us to our first drive in cinema.  Very friendly people all around.




Photo 4.

Saskatchewan.  Endless Praeries.  We could still see farm houses abandoned during the depression, in some cases the curtains still waving in the wind, behind broken windows.  Stayed at Welsh, in a very nice cabin with gas in the kitchen.  Mileage 156




Photos 5 & 6.

The road was very good to Swift Current, then extremely bad at places. Long stretches of construction and gravel. Marta had to walk again on several occasions, as I couldn't keep the bike upright.  There were dead straight stretches for 10 to 30 miles, until we reached Calgary and passed the 3,000 mile mark.





Cheers, Ed Deak.
« Last Edit: 16 Sep 2008 at 10:50 by Dave »

Offline Dave

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 3956
  • Location: Australia
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #10 on: 16 Sep 2008 at 11:13 »
Ed has sent in the final installment and some stunning photos from his 4000 mile journey across Canada in 1955. He writes...

Saturday, May 21 1955 was a rainy day, so we spent it in Calgary, looking around. At the time Calgary was still a real cow-town, now a major oil capital, with the highly profitable Alberta oil sands polluting the world's environment.

Photos 1 & 2

We left for Banff and the Rockies on Sunday the 22nd It was  a cloudy miserable day, including rain and snowstorms.  We were looking forward to seeing the Rockies for years, but all we could see were low clouds. Now and then the clouds broke and we could see some of the mountains. The area is a major national park with the animals protected and for the first time in our lives we could see deers, bears, moose by the roadside, looking for handouts from tourists.

At that time the Trans Canada Hwy was still not completed and there was only the so called Big Bend dirt road between Golden and Revelstok, still closed at that time of the year.  We turned left in a snowstorm at Vermilion pass and stayed in a cabin court for the night, hoping for the weather to clear.





Photos 3 & 4

We woke next morning under a considerable snow cover, with more coming down, but the road only had slush and so we took the chance
and proceeded South toward Radium Hot Springs and  Columbia Lake, the origin of the mighty Columbia River, now blocked up with some major
hydro dams. Mileage for the day was 181.

The country was beautiful in the Spring sun and we were very happy to having it chosen  for our future home.  British Columbia is the size of Germany, Switzerland and France combined, with 90,000 lakes and still only about 4 million people and some of the most fantastic landscapes on Earth.

The traffic was very light, the roads pretty rough at places, excellent in others and we were enjoying every moment of out trip, with every turn bringing more beauty.






Photos 5 & 6.

There was still no major road between the towns Rossland and Trail, only a twisty gravel road, called the Cascade Road, covering an aerial distance of 10 miles in 40. It went up one mountain, then down into a valley, then over another mountain before reaching the plateau at Grand Forks.






People used to go down to the USA to cross the area and everybody was warning us against taking it on a motorcycle, but we wanted to do the trip on Canadian soil and took the chance. There were still a lot of snow piles at the side of the road, but it was a very enjoyable trip over hundreds of hairpins, up and down. It was no trouble at all, we really enjoyed the ride, stopping to take a photo now and then.

Never dreamt it that eleven years later, during my long distance car rally days, I would cover that road on a number of occasions, both in training and in competition, at racing speeds as captain of the Canadian Nissan factory team.

We ended our trip in Vancouver on Saturday, May 28 1955, exactly four weeks after we started in Montreal, having covered 3,950 miles at a cost of $206. Today we couldn't do a single day for that kind of money.

We settled and lived in Vancouver for 24 years. It was a very pleasant place for a long time, but by the middle of the '70s, it was becoming a real, overpopulated, "world class" dump and we wanted to get out.  We bought our present land, 120 acres of forest and meadows in the Cariboo country of central BC. about 55 km from the town of Williams Lake in 1975 . It took us four years to roll up everything in the city and move up in 1979.

Started to build a large house and setting up an organic farming operation, when we realized that we won't get paid for the business we sold. Lived in three small cabins, with our son, without electricity, phone, or running water for 8 1/2 years,  building fine custom furniture with a small generator, but we made it and now we have all the comforts, surrounded by beauty and quiet, all around.

At 81 and 80 we still work hard, seven days a week, on our farm work, building things in our shops and on our art, but we've never been happier and more content in our lives, as we are now. Never went back to Europe, Marta hasn't bee back to Vancouver for 28 years and I for 20 and don't miss any of it.

I haven't been able to ride a motorcycle, due to  a back injury, since we arrived in Vancouver in 1955,  but we could never part with our Duggie,  now in the Williams Lake Museum.  The bike hasn't run for 53 years but we intend to put it back into running condition, so it can be used in some parades.  We now have a Swiss family as partners, and a large repair shop on our land.  Our friend, Roger, is a genuine master mechanic and we're looking forward to see the bike running once again.

Ed Deak,  Box 9, Big Lake Ranch PO.  V0L 1G0, BC. Canada.

Offline graeme

  • Master Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Oct 2004
  • Posts: 613
  • Location: Hobart, Australia
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #11 on: 23 Sep 2008 at 07:22 »
Thanks for putting up these wonderful pictures and story Ed. I am always inspired by people's tales of adventurous motorcyle journeys - and in your case a very adventurous life as well. Long may it continue!

Graeme

Offline Doug

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2004
  • Posts: 4321
  • Location: Glen Mills, PA, USA
Re: A voice from the past
« Reply #12 on: 24 Sep 2008 at 01:33 »
Wow! No way I could travel for four weeks across a continent on my Mark 3.

I suppose the New ConRod of the mid-fifties was just a few sheets run on a duplicator. I seem to recall legends of a hand cranked machine in back issues I have from the early seventies. So not surprising they could not run the pictures. Even today with a bigger, better New ConRod, they would not be able to fit all those interesting pictures in.

I doubt there are many Marks out there that have made such big trips.

-Doug

 

motorcycle