Contributing Writers John McClean Rick Harding Jamie Ashby Patsie Milne Ann-Marie Cumming Publisher/Editor Jason Milne firstname.lastname@example.org 705.768.7993 Advertising Sales Dave Horton email@example.com
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Did you ever make a bad investment in something? Perhaps it was a stock that for some unknown reason took a nosedive and went from dollars in value to pennies! Or perhaps it was an investment of your time in a relationship, a spouse or friendship that failed and went south. Or you purchased a used motorcycle that turned out to be a lemon. Yikes!! We’ve all experienced these kinds of poor investments at one time or another and when they occur they hurt and we vow to never again let it happen. The same holds true for the small businesses of today. They struggle each day to pay their bills, employ help, deal with government red tape, pay their taxes and keep their customers happy. They are the entrepreneurs of our country. They invest in the economic well being of our society with their passion, their drive, their innovation and their money, through advertising. Advertising is an essential investment that businesses make to get their message across. They deserve a return on this investment. If they see no results from their advertisements they cut back on their advertising budget. Without advertising revenue, this magazine for example would not survive. So please take the time to read our ads and support our advertising partners whenever you can. Mention that you saw their ad in this publication and do what “Honest Ed” was famous for saying. “Don’t just stand their, buy something”! Your participation in this small way will put a smile on every business face, show them their investment is profitable and guarantee our ability to bring you many more issues of Rider’s Quest in the years to come. Dave Horton Meet Dave Horton. He’s the latest addition to our sales team. Dave’s been riding since he was 16 and credits Honda, Suzuki and Harley Davidson as having added to his experience. Last year his Road King took him to biking events in New Liskeard, Thunder Bay, the Ride for Sight in Orillia (as a High Miler), Connecticut and Americade in Lake George NY. David is a member of the Peterborough Ontario Harley Group Chapter 9018, a founding member of the Bobcaygeon Bikefest committee and a volunteer official at “Americade.” Advertising for him is all about customer service and return on investment for the client. The motorcycle industry is a $5 Billion business in Canada. With his years of experience in sales, education and life in general, David knows what it takes to design and communicate a message to effectively tap into this huge market. You can contact Dave at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Member of the CMA, Retreads, and the Northern Old Bastards
Random Meets: Weekend Warriors.
90% of my riding time is spent alone, either the daily commute to work or a relaxing jaunt through the countryside. To be honest I always had difficulty meeting new riders as my timing never seemed to match others timeframes. I struggled with the internal debates of arriving at random locations and meeting complete strangers to do (what I consider) one of the most personal things I spend time doing, riding! Reading and learning what I could about the fundamentals of group riding, I finally felt I was ready. Checking my favourite local motorcycle forum, I found a post from another member planning a ride during the May long weekend, the start location was close to my home in Georgetown and the weather was supposed to be great, so I thought “what the heck” reply and see what happens. I watched the post grow in replies during the week and it looked to be a good turnout. Group ride day finally arrived, having done all required maintenance the night before I was ready to jump on my bike and ride. Arriving early at the start point, I immediately started to worry, “what if no one shows, what if they are way younger than you, what if...” Stowing my worries I parked my SV650S grabbed a quick bite to eat and waited for others to arrive. Fifteen minutes later the first group of three arrived, young guys and new riders. After our introductions and the required inspection of each other bikes, I really started to feel at ease; could this be fun? let’s wait and find out. Within an hour we had a total of thirteen bikes and we were almost ready to roll. Now, the organizer of the meet was a newer rider as well and stated that he was not 100% comfortable leading the pack, since the group was easy going we all agreed that he should give it a shot (what’s the worst that can happen?). I decided early on to hang at the back of the pack to ensure the riders on the lower CC bikes did not get left behind, we traversed the Forks of the Credit and weaved our way through Hockley Valley on our way to the town of Creemore for lunch, not knowing our exact route and only our destination turned out to be a oversight I would not let happen again as this resulted in a few U-turns and about 20 kilometres on unpaved roads, not the best introduction to new riders, I am however extremely pleased on how they handled themselves the rider training courses really paid off for events such as these. Arriving in Creemore at lunchtime we were all hungry and ready to eat. The great staff at The old mill house pub made a huge effort to seat us all (as we had no reservation) and provided us a great meal right beside the historic Creemore Brewery (Note to self, next time take the tour). During our lunch we all chatted about what got us into riding, where we work and family. It was a very enjoyable time and young or old we have a lot in common with our fellow riders. After a good rest we decided it was time to head back into the city, this time we ensured the route before heading out and ensure all agreed. Airport road may not be as twisty as many like, but for our group it was a very enjoyable and leisurely ride home. I decided to lead the pack home, to see how it feels to be at either end of the pack. I kept a good pace and obeyed all posted limits, the pack stayed together and we all arrived safe and sound back into Brampton. At Mayfield I turned right and headed back to Georgetown. Had a great ride! I took some time to reflect on this first group ride of 2012, what did I like, what would I change and here are some personal points I will remember for the next ride to make sure it is enjoyable and safe for all that participate.
Ensure all riders know the route (provide maps if you can) Pick out “stop” spots in case of group separation Know your fellow riders: -How long have they been riding -What do they ride (displacement) -Get contact info (just in case) Pick a leader & tail man (leader should have a GPS device) Stay open minded and have fun!
I knew the first time I rode as a passenger on the back of my Dad’s motorcycle that I too one day would own and be in control of my very own bike. I enjoyed the peacefulness and the scenery even as a small child ( so much so that I often fell asleep holding onto my Dad). If a bike could put me that at ease, and allow my thoughts to become focused on the experience of seeing the world from the back of a motorcycle, then I needed to experience driving this wonderful method of transportation and become one of the many female motorcycle riders of today. So with the passing of some 20 years of a mere thought of owning a bike someday, I decided that now was finally the time......Off to Kijiji I went to discover what the world was offering in the way of used bikes. After I did a bit of research and had discussions about what to look for, it was decided that something affordable, lightweight and not super fast was the way to narrow down my search. Nights of sending e-mails and waiting for responses finally led me to a bike that sounded perfect! Off I went to look at a 2002 Ninja 250R. Upon arrival, I discovered this would be too good of a bike to pass up for me to learn on. Money was exchanged, ownership in hand, I was now the proud owner of my very first motorcycle! Needless to say the ride home without the bike seemed very surreal. In just two days I would return to pick up the bike and take it home as my very own.
I probably looked at the picture I took of the bike on my phone every hour over the following two days, waiting in anticipation. Finally the day came where I loaded up the bike and brought it home. It seemed to fit quite perfectly in my garage, and better yet seemed to fit me perfectly. I wanted to get practicing as soon as possible with my new bike, so I decided to study the motorcycle guide book in order to prepare to pass the M1 written test. As soon as I felt confident with the material, I went to write the test. Writing the test was quite nerve racking, since it had been quite some time since I had really challenged myself with any sort of written test regarding road signs etc. Well, the verdict was in- I passed the test with flying colours, and had that piece of paper in my hand! I felt like a teenager all over again as I exited that building with a grin from ear to ear. On to the next stage.. learning to ride. I had the basics of driving a standard vehicle, and understand the components of shifting gears so I figured that I had a definite advantage. So off we went to a parking lot to try out the first steps to learning to ride a motorcycle and to see if this dream really was indeed worth the wait. I began with starting the bike, taking off, shifting, braking and taking corners at a slow speed all in my first “lesson”. I did really well and felt very good about my purchase after this first experience out. I knew with some more practice, and a great teacher that I would become comfortable on this bike. Most importantly, I was one step closer to “freedom on the road” as I think they say in the biker world..... To be continued
The sun shone in the valley as the many motorcycle riders left Calabogie Peaks Resort on May 5, 2012 to embark in the Second Annual Ride the Valley for Soldier On. After registering, bikers headed out in groups of thirty to participate in the Poker Run. As Popeye (Jamie Sebastian, Canadian Army Veterans Renfrew President) explained the reason for this number of riders at one time is to avoid any possible traffic problems. He also indicated that the OPP are on board as well and the participants ride a 170 km route through the townships of Calabogie, Griffith, Eganville, Douglas, Renfrew and Burnstown. Motorcycling this route has the riders experiencing uncrowded country roads and breathtaking scenery. They travel twisty, curvy highways full of hills and dales and as several riders agree that this is some of the best riding in the Ottawa Valley. Once the bikes leave Calabogie Peaks Ski Resort, the grounds become a buzz of people preparing for their return. The band gets their equipment ready, vendors set up their displays and volunteers prepare a wonder full meal consisting of a Pig Roast and other delicious dishes. The Chair Lift is started to provide rides up the mountain for anyone interested in seeing the magnificent view. Proceeds from this are donated to the cause. Upon the return of the first group of riders, everything is ready to go. The band Firebelly begins to play great Blues music and the participants enjoy the sounds while satisfying their appetites with the scrumptious meal. Because the motorcyclists return at different times there is never a line-up at the food area or the outdoor bar. Also spectators are able to have a good look at the variety of motorcycles in the parking lot. When the last group returned, Popeye took the stage and expressed his gratitude to Liz Murphy of Calabogie Peaks and co-coordinator of the Ride. He also acknowledged the co-sponsors, 101.9 DAWG FM, The CAV (Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle) Units and Beauâ€™s Beer for their contributions. Popeye explained that the Ride the Valley for Soldier On is a motorcycle fundraising event for the Soldier ON Winter Sports Clinic supported by the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiers. He introduced Dan Fleming and Bob Gilmour who are instructors with CADS. Both of these men are Adaptive Skiing instructors who have worked for many years in Colorado. They taught adaptive skiing to injured or disabled veterans in the United States. RIDERSQUEST
After doing this for so long, Dan and Bob decided that this program should be offered to Canadian Veterans. They worked very diligently and were instrumental in initiating the Adaptive Ski Program to Calabogie Peaks Resort. They provided some of the history behind Soldier On. It was founded in 2007 as a joint venture of the Canadian Paralympics Committee and the Department of National Defense. It is aimed at improving the quality of life of Canadian Forces personnel who have suffered major injuries. The Soldier On program encourages ill and injured CF members to attain and maintain a healthy and active life style. It promotes increasing personnel independence by developing new skills and in achieving goals. This program furnishes an opportunity for them to socialize and explore common interests and share learning experiences. Funds raised by the Ride the Valley for Soldier On combined with money donated by several sponsors provides resources to ill and injured military personnel to fully and actively participate in physical fitness, health promotion and sports activities. Dan and Bob explained that two workshops that last a week long have been held at Calabogie Peaks. This past winter eleven disabled Canadian Forces Personnel participated in a five day Adaptive Ski experience at Calabogie Peaks. As they pointed out, this is the only event of its kind in Ontario. Also more than sixty-five others, mainly children from the Association for Community Living participated in a weekly Adaptive Ski Program. To see the amazing photo coverage of Soldier On Winter Sports Clinic 2012 visit Calabogie Peaks Resort website www.calabogie.ca Another highlight of the day was meeting one of the participants of this tremendous program. Dale is an amputee who was able to ski alone by the end of the first week of instruction. He amused the crowd with the story of how he lost his leg and ski while going up the chairlift. Volunteers were available to rescue it and himself and a successful ending resulted. This great day was winding down with the presentation of several door prizes, a silent auction and a 50/50 draw. Music continued to play as goodbyes were shared and everyone left Calabogie with a sense of great accomplishment.
ur route begins just east of Bancroft off highway 28 through picturesque rural communities of Fort Stewart and Boulter. I grew up in Barry’s Bay and my parents still live there. Whenever I go visit, I invent a new route to get there. Some routes have taken me 2 days and it’s only a 2 hour drive normally. This is one of my favourite routes and you will see why.. It’s very action packed with sights and great twisty roads. From highway 28 we turned north on Fort Stewart road and not far off the beaten path you will come across your first of many stunning views, from the edge of the road you look over a valley of untouched forest. RIDERSQUEST
Heading further down the road you will come into Fort Stewart and then Boulter, not much happening here but there is something nice about that when just 5 minutes ago I was fighting traffic. The road is in fairly good condition and fun to navigate through. For the next few kmâ€™s you will see old homes, working but old school farms, views of the valley, and iron bridges that cross the York river. Our next turn is right onto the 517 but before you do take the left across from the 517, its a small dirt road but it leads to a very private park and beach with not a cottage on the lake. Heading north on the 517 you will first see a road sign that shows your in for a twisty ride. The road is ok with some new sections and a few rough bits but you will likely be the only one on the road so a few pot holes will be your only obstacle. About halfway up the road you will come across a road called Craigmont 13
Rd. and for those that donâ€™t mind a dirt road it is worth the adventure to explore this once booming mine town. In 1900 mining operations began by the Canada Corundum Company and the settlement was at that time the worldâ€™s largest corundum producer. Sadly in 1913 a fire destroyed the mill resulting in job loss and gradual decline. By 1921 Craigmont was a ghost town. A small community remains along County Rd. 517 with some of the original buildings and ruins on private property. I spent almost an hour walking around the ghost 14
town looking for sign of the old mine but with no luck. It was certainly not a waste of time. I did find a river that ran through a cave and the cave was right under where I had parked my bike, neat find. The road is sand so if you do venture down the road take your time and somebody with you. Getting back onto 517, the road is narrow and feels like a small country road that will dead end at a small little cottage or an old farm house but it doesnâ€™t, it winds through the woods and eventuality opens up to farm fields atop of the rolling hills. The views from here are amazing and the road
twists and turns all the way down the side of the hill into the hamlet of Combermere in the Township of of Madawaska Valley. Combermere is best known as home to Madonna House but the community hosts a farmerâ€™s market and provides access to numerous lakes and rivers for cottagers and tourists who visit the area. Combermere also is associated with the sinking of The Mayflower and will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the sinking in November 2012. As you ride through you will note the remains of a tornado that moved through this area in August 2006.
Acres of land were flattened and groves of century old pines were destroyed. There is a great rest spot at the end of the 517 that is the resting place for the remains of the “GENEVA”. The Geneva was a 45’ steam powered boat that was used to move the corundum ore from the mine in Craigmont to the railway in Barry’s Bay. The park also a nice place to watch the boats go by on the Madawaska river. Getting back on the road we cross over the Combermere Bridge and pass a small cemetery we turn right onto Old Barry’s Bay Rd. which is a twisty road that passes through an old Kashubian area known as Kazuby. Our first stop here is the Crooked Slide Park, probably one of the nicest parks in this area. It has been restored and is a great example of how the loggers would move logs down small rivers to the mills. A great place to have a swim, cool down or explore the trails around the park. From here we head east through Kazuby, the road is a “gem”, it has a few rough spots but it is a quite road and is full of twists and hills to keep you on your toes. We pass by old farms and barns that are decorated with Kashubian art, this area is rich with Polish history. The road ends in the small town of Barry’s Bay.
Barry’s Bay is a community in the Beautiful Madawaska Valley. This area has several undeveloped pristine lakes and rivers that flow through it. A railway station was built in 1890 and restored nearly 100 years later. The historic train station is home to the South of 60 Arts Centre, a host of a variety of Art and Craft Shows, musical events and festivals. Barry’s Bay is a bustling small community that boasts of many restaurants, motels, two hotels, retail stores as well as quaint gift shops. Its population doubles each summer as it attracts many tourists because of the great resorts and Inns that can be found around its many lakes. This area was first settled over a hundred years ago with other communities that we will visit as we ride the famous
Opeongo Line. Barry’s Bay also served as a standby base for the Canadian Military during the world wars. Local workers and lumbermen were reformed into soldiers to help contribute to the war efforts of Canada in World War II. The community dedicated a park including a monument to honor the construction of the Canadian Avro CF-105 Arrow and the chief test pilot, a local resident named Janusz Zurakowski. In Barry’s Bay is the historic wooden Water Tower which is the last remaining one in Ontario and the only one in Canada that still stands on a wooden base. Barry’s Bay recently welcomed participants of the Great Race Vintage Car Rally. All participants stopped to have lunch before proceeding on their journey.
Following a similar route as the vintage cars we come to the community of Wilno. It is nestled in the rolling, picturesque terrain of the Madawaska Valley which is shaped largely during the demise of the Lauren tide ice sheet at the end of the last North American Ice Age. Wilno is the first and oldest pol-
ish settlement in Canada. The original settlers in this area were mainly Kashubian/Polish origin and the heritage club created the beautiful park in Wilno which has a museum displaying the Kashubian/Polish culture. Across the highway is the well known Wilno Tavern and Restaurant. This is a popular place to taste wonderful cuisine including tradition Kashubian and Polish dishes. There are also some quaint boutiques to visit while you are there. Taking the first right after the Tavern we turn onto the Opeongo Line or County road 66, the scenic countryside
we see several Holy Crosses erected which also is part of the Kashubian/Polish heritage. Another common site along this route is the many stone fences that still abound for several kilometers among the wooded and majestic hills. After enjoying the fantastic scenery we arrive at County Rd. 68 which takes us to another ghost town of Rockingham.
Continuing on the Rockingham Rd. we eventually arrive at Highway 515. We turn left and head east to Palmer Rapids. This community is well known for its annual Twins Music Festival held each July. In 1872 Palmer Rapids was named after a farmer who settled in the area in 1848 and also for the rapids. This area is popular for its white water canoe and kayak training along the mighty Madawaska River. It is home to several thriving Canoe and Kayak and wilderness Adventure industries. 21
It was a happening settlement in the 1800â€™s but now is a quiet rural community that boasts of the famous historic Rockingham Church. It was built in 1875 when Rockingham was a thriving community but was abandoned 60 years ago. A post and beam structure, the building is a unique survivor of its kind in Renfrew County and the oldest remaining building of its kind in the area. Understandably it is a popular subject for our local artists.
Leaving Palmer Rapids we turn onto the 514, this road is yet another “gem” road and one of my favourites. It has a little of everything from great curves, great old barns at the edge of the road to amazing views. The 514 takes us through the rolling hills of Schutt and on to Hardwood Lake. This area boasts of 60 000 hectares of undeveloped, diverse natural crown lands. Thus bringing us full circle back to highway 28 where we started. I’m sure I will say this many times in the future but this is my favourite route to date, from its twisty backraods, amazing views, historic little villages, unique rest stops and the friendly people we met along the way it had everything and everything was great.. I won’t stop looking for new ways to ride up to see my parents but I think it will be a tall order to beat this one.. JM RIDERSQUEST
The history of this town traces back many years; to the early 1950’s first for mining. Huge uranium deposits were found within the earth. The population rocketed to over 20,000 people. Mining companies were heading north, building mines and creating a town in a sheltered valley in what would have been the middle of nowhere at the time. Hence a community was born. However, with almost all mining towns the life is based on product demand. Then, in 1962, the United States announced that they would no longer purchase Canadian uranium. The population plummitted just as quickly as it had grown, to under 6,000 people by 1970. In the late 70’s, Candu, Canada’s own reactor was introduced to the world and Elliot Lakes’ uranium was needed to power it. Once again the boom was on and the population exceeded 30,000 people. The community became a city. But, again fate was against the town. By 1990 the uranium was almost gone and low prices were the final blow. The city’s population dropped to under 4,000 people. This was the second time that the town was destined to be a ghost town. Like many abandoned mining operations built during booms, there are many ghost towns in Ontario. Many are listed on your Ontario Road Map, or just google Ontario Ghost towns. However, you will not find Elliot Lake listed. The town was given life by a new means. Almost a paradox, the Ontario and Municipal Governments decided to stop the town’s impending doom. Instead, seniors were asked to bring life back to Elliott Lake by creating a retirement community. After all, the town was already complete with Municipal services such as water and hydro, shopping centres, homes and apartment buildings, an airport, schools and a hospital. Everything was already there, it was already built, but updating would be in order, and it was done. However the Welcome sign did not say “bring your sick and feeble”, it said, “come and experience the NORTH”. An ambitious advertising campaign showing lakes for boating, rivers for fishing, mountains for hiking, snowmobiling and RIDERSQUEST
ATV climbing and the thousands of miles for camping and hunting. This sounds more like a destination to head for, just list your hobby, pick your season and go for it. This is actually what has happened. People have moved out of the big cities looking for a relaxed life style with all the amenities and they want them at a reasonable cost. Now the welcome sign has been modified to read that you’re supposed to be 55 or retired, but I don’t think it’s working. Maybe; no this is the third life for a city, tourism and history, yes, history. The mines needed to be decommissioned safely and the environment needed to be returned to it’s natural state. Today companies here are world leaders in decommissioning mines. Elliot Lake has a solid population of 11,000 and growing. In fact, this is why I’m letting you know about this place. First of all it’s off the beaten path, located off #17 about two and a half hours west of Sudbury and three hours east of Sue St. Marie. The second reason is that the town is set beside a group of roads that create a loop. The local tourism group has created the Deer Run Trail and have been handing out information at many of the bike shows. I headed out from the house on Friday around noon and decided to head north up the 12/169/69 combination. I had a destination to get to. No, actually it was more like a case of mental frustration, a hard week, the bike was giving me a hard time as it would not start when it was hot and the skies looked like they were going to open up at any time. Maybe the weather man got it right this time. I had to get the negative crap out of my head. As always the hum of my inline four, fresh air, although you could smell the moisture in it, I soon found the peace I was looking for. The Fall Cranberry Festival was already in full swing in Bala so stopping for pictures at the damn was out of the question. Note that the hot cranberry cider is amazing and look for the guy selling maple syrup in the ugly bottles, yes that’s what he says people remember. Heading out of Bala I realize that I’m still dodging the dark clouds from the west overhead.
I really like the old roads; the slower pace lets you take in what is around you and #169 does not disappoint. The 169 merges into highway 69, bypasses Perry Sound but the construction is still going on. I know a place to stop in about a half hour, 40k north up the road. I pull into the Moose Lake Lodge & Trading Post. The big red sign on the east side of the road is a welcome sight. It’s just north of #529. I have been stopping here for years, picking up nick knacks and gifts. Sometimes I just stop to stretch my legs. Who am I kidding? I must admit I drool over the fudge but usually refrain and for a guy with a sweet tooth that’s a big deal. Okay I cave in when it comes to their butter tarts and coffee. Richard and Anne Kaster have been the owners for the past 10 years, however the Post has been operating for 50 years as of 2012. My wife say’s I’m hooked and laughs when I tell her I stopped at the lodge. On this trip I found a motorcycle, just like a KLR650 made out of metal painted black. I had to have it, right ? I have stopped many times at the Grundy Lake Provincial Park exit at #524 for gas before, but this time it was not open. Maybe they had closed for the season. They also have an ice cream stand, yummy. Further up the road I came to the French River. Take the time to check out the visitor centre and cross the bridges. After all, it’s time for another walk. My next stop was for gas in Sudbury, The Big Nickel as it is known for. I filled up and headed west on #17. Go west I say, go west ! Sorry, my mind just shot into a western movie. However, I do not see beams of sunshine streaming through the clouds, I feel raindrops on my helmet and are slow to work their way to the sides of the big wind screen before blowing off. Georgian Bay is to the south and a glimpse here and there gives you an idea of it’s immense size. It seems that in no time I am at the intersection with #6. I can’t get over the view before me. I must be in a movie. Dark menacing clouds are everywhere but a huge ray of sunshine has locked on to this intersection. Any trace of rain has vanished. The temperature just came up 10 degrees. This can be a very busy intersection. Head south to Manitoulin Island and your luck might have you checking out the mighty MS Chi-Cheemaun.
This is another way to head to the north or south if you’re looking for another way home. I considered stopping for a coffee but keep on going. Maybe my luck will keep up. I’m just an hour away from Elliot Lake. Just west of Spanish and east of Cutler I stop at a Native Indian site overlooking Georgian Bay. Here the trees are windblown and take shape as seen in many historic paintings of the north. The area is open with a large playing area and shelter. This is also a site of history. A huge 5’ monument has been placed here honoring the natives that have given their life for this country. The stone lists no names but only the wars they fought in. I took a few minutes to take in the sacrifice all veterans made to give us our freedom while sitting on a bolder overlooking the Bay. The drizzle of rain started, so I knew it was time to get going. Before leaving I stopped again at the marker to say thank you. I hope they heard me. I started my bike and headed westward again. Within a few minutes the rain came down making it look like an old grey wool blanket was being held up in front of me. My Tour Master Rain suit is keeping me dry for now. I take my time avoiding the rivers of rain water on the roadway. There is no view to enjoy now, I want to look at the bay and the surrounding rock formations, but I can’t. I know the gremlins are out and would love to grab hold of my front tire but thank fully the Metzler ME880’S are like gum stuck to a hot road. In this rain I have a couple more hours to go. I have made reservations at the Hampton Inn in Elliot Lake. I have stayed here a couple of times before this weekend so I knew what to expect for a comfortable weekend. A king size bed, enclosed swimming pool and an exercise room, you can start your workout when you want. I’ll be in the pool. I hear it calling me after a long day on the bike. Okay maybe a hot shower would be best given the amount of water now contained in my clothing and filling the insides of my boots. Funny how my boots have no water on them but they seem to be filling up. I don’t mind wet clothes but HATE wet feet! It’s Friday night and I know where I want to be for dinner. I have plans to meet up with some friends. Sure enough I come up to my exit and need to head north on #108. The rain stopped about 20 minutes ago and I have lowered the zippers
hoping to dry out the collar of my jacket. However the northbound ramp is blocked A few minutes later I was in Elliot Lake, parked in front of the Hampton Hotel right on the 108 just past the Esso gas station, museum and beside McDonalds. I was greeted by Sue with a big smile and hello and given my key in a flash. I headed for my room, dropped my gear on the floor and headed for a shower. I had been on the road for about eight hours. I think I’m starting to get old. Maybe I’ll just order another new seat, my Corbin has over 100k on it. I would like the heated seat option. Ya, that must be it, the seat’s worn out. I had plans for dinner just ten minutes north of town at the Dunlop Lodge. The Lodge overlooks the lake so the views from the dining room are also great. Friday’s special is all you can eat Pickerel Fish Fry. I must admit I’m a meat and potatoes guy. Everyone else had the fish and of course I gave it a try. It’s fine was my response to everyone whom just shook their heads and thought I was nuts. After all, that’s why they wanted to eat here. Saturday is Prime Rib night, COUNT ME IN! The road in is a little rough as it is gravel, so go slow and you will be fine. After dinner I returned to the hotel for some much needed rest. It’s 7am and the alarm clock is going off. I so wanted to sleep in but today is going to be a long day. I cleaned up and headed for the ground floor. That’s where they keep the 3 pots of coffee on brew. I grab a cup before bothering to take in the food on hand. I have only been drinking coffee for 10 years but I just can’t start a day without it now. I fill my plate with bacon, eggs and a diet waffle covered in maple syrup. Hey it’s the weekend so no calorie counting going on here. I want to be on the road by 10am. The old Kawasaki comes to life and I wipe the dew off of the seat. I head north passing Miners Memorial Park on the right and the centre of Elliot Lake to the left. The north side of the lake is where you find the industrial part of town. Do not speed here as you need to make a sharp right turn and climb a somewhat paved road to the Fire Tower Lookout.
There’s lots of parking at the top. Picnic tables and benches are provided. Now if you’re in great shape you can climb the tower to take in the 360 degree view. Given the breakfast I had I opted to stay on the ground, just kidding. On a clear day you can see the North Channel of Lake Huron and miles of trails created by snowmobilers and ATV riders. You could spend hours up here with a pot of coffee and a camera. I travel back down the road leaving the bike in 2nd gear, therefore avoiding the usage of brakes. I head north and start to climb. The road has been cut through solid rock. Just past the 1st rock cut you can pull off to the right; it’s a flat area to park in. Walk south and you are on top of the 1st set of rock cuts. In the distance the town and trees look like they are from an HO train set. Elliot Lake is actually built in a valley sheltered by walls of rock covered by trees. Jump back on your bike and continue to climb for another half kilometer popping your ears as you climb. This is when you realize how high you really are. This is where the road name changes to #639. I have no idea as to why. Please note that what you climb up also requires the same decent and the road drops just as fast and makes a sweeping turn to the left. On the right side you will find the entrance to Mississagi Provincial Park, with complete facilities. You’re about 25k up the road at this point. On this side of the ridge the view is more like that of a desert. Spruce trees are growing in sand. The road is built high above the surrounding area so going off the road even with a dual sport bike could result in serious damage. In some areas frost damage has taken it’s toll on the road so enjoy the views but pay attention to the road. A little further up the road you will find the biker friendly Laurentian Lodge. I am sorry to say that I have not stayed or even eaten here as the place looks great. A wedding had taken over the lodge and restaurant for the day when I dropped in. Here the road is smooth and level with the surrounding ground or sand. Heading further up the road will bring you to the junction of #546. Take a right turn and you will be 30k into the interior of the north. It’s time to hone in your survival instincts that you might need on the TV show Mantracker. This is pure unspoiled wilderness with some hunting lodges thrown about lakes.
The dirt road ends at Mount Lake. The dirt is still holding the water from last night’s rain and shows no trace of recent human travel. I suggest taking a left turn and you will be facing a sight that will surely bring a twinkle to your eyes. Two signs, the 1st flat green sign reads Iron Bridge 56k, the second just ten feet behind in vibrant MTO yellow, Winding Road 53K, Yup, that’s what it says. I just had to take a picture of this. About 2k down the road the road crosses over Willy River on an old steel and wood bridge and then follows it on the west side. The road sweeps from side to side with no major changes in elevation. The sound of the river and the smell of the trees really puts one at ease, the closer the river the louder it is but somehow remains calming. The forest is becoming mixed again with more birch and maple trees. The thick dew fills the air. Some 30k down the road we cross over another one lane steel and wood bridge. The sign says Little White River. About 10k down the road the river widens, mud flats holds pools of water. At this point it would appear that the Endikai Lake supplies the river. In many places you can clearly see that the river has changed it’s direction due to the spring water flow. The road is paved but looks like plans are under way to resurface it. The road continues to keep you interested with continuous sweeping turns, no need to speed so take your time to enjoy. South of Constance Lake the road starts to give up her curves as habitation creeps in. Cottages line the lakes on this road less traveled. Up to this point I had only had 2 pickup trucks pass me going north with hunters and their gear. In another 10k I was in Iron Bridge. I stopped at the Biker friendly Red Top Inn for a coffee before heading east on #17, back to the Hampton Hotel. It’s time for a swim. I have been out for about 7 hours. This is supposed to be a 3-4 hour tour with stops. Gilligan’s Island theme song just started up. I must be in need of something... a bigger lunch bag. Saturday night was upon us and so was my hunger. Sue at the front desk had mentioned a place that had been renovated and seemed to be a hit with the locals. The FireSide is in town on the east side on 108, so that’s where we headed. Dinner was amazing.
The meat falls off the bones if you order the ribs, I had a steak AKA roast. Did someone lose a cow about a month ago? I think it’s on my plate as the potato and veggies were on another plate. Of course I had dessert, I can’t remember what it was but I did share it. I had too. After all I had to ride back to the hotel. Sunday morning came at a slower pace, it’s 9am, not 7am. Breakfast is still on so I grab the coffee and a table by the TV when a lady from the food area asked if I would like some eggs as she will make them for me. Seems everyone else has eaten. What can I do but say yes thank you, right? I head down the street to the museum and local gallery centre. I found a piece of pottery that will make a great house warming gift. The fellow minding the store was a local photographer checking his proofs of an event he had photographed. Paul Kazulak photos can be found in all of the Elliot Lake information packages so stop in and see him and his work along with local artist at the gallery. I headed back to the hotel and checked out and headed south on #108 at #17 I went west. Yes I was going the wrong way but only for a little while. I was heading to Spragge, Paulina’s Cafe for lunch. The trip home was what I had hoped for on the way to Elliot Lake. Clear skies and gentle winds with my rain suit packed away. I took the same way home. I had to add an extra stop in Bala for a cup of Cranberry Cider. I usually try to head north a couple of times a year, missing some rallies and group rides because it’s worth being here. On the roads less traveled.
Lets be honest here, I’m shallow. It sure is a bitter pill to swallow when you realize after all these years that I am a strictly a product of my environment. Like a chameleon, I find myself morphing in and out of moods and personna that best fit the physical situation I am in. I wish I could be more temporal like the guys in Tibet that sit on mountain tops and maintain a steady course, but I cant and I don’t. Let me give you a few examples. Riding my Goldwing: I wear my sensible helmet, sensible riding boots, sensible looking jeans and sensible looking jacket, not full blown ballisic hardware but all in all pretty sensible stuff. The tunes are always on and cranked up a little louder than necessary and like in my high school days cruising up and down Kent street I secretly hope that the great riding tunes like
Road House blues or anything by the Stones or CCR is on and up. I have tricked myself into thinking that listening to something somebody else has produced will make me look cooler. More times than not a passenger, one that compliments the rider, usually more than one bike sometimes several, sensible formation riding no slouching. Goldwings are always clean, no stickers on the bike, ever, moderate amount of patches, usually just one big one. Tattoos, if there are any they are sensible. When you come to a stop, and when its time to enter the bar or restaurant, the helmet goes into the trunk. Moderate sex appeal. Riding my BMW GS 1150: Wouldn’t be caught dead without a higher than usual quality full coverage helmet, full kevlar top and bottom reinforced boots, reflective vest, no patches ever, don’t care if you have ridden that sucker to the Arctic circle or down to tierra del fuego, no patches please but lots of stickers on the bike, probably no tattoos, can’t say, we never take off our ballistic clothing. And me, I’m precise. I ride precise, look precise, hell I even talk precise. My movements on and off the bike dictate function at its best. When I arrive at a gas station or restaurant I appear overly courteous, not prone to chit chat and will use
five words when ten would do. I scoff at the missiles on the road, in fact sometimes I relish the idea of projectiles and inclement weather. I display an air of competency can’t recall ever seeing a passenger on a GS. No formation riding because I have never seen more than 3 in a group ever. When entering the restaurant after dismounting a GS series BMW it is perfectly acceptable to wear the helmet into the facility and take if off once inside. The walk from the GS to the restaurant is quick and purposeful never never never any slouching. We BMW peopled don’t slouch. No sex appeal. Riding my Drifter or any bike made by Harley Davidson: Boy have the folks who designed the early Drifters and or Harley Davidson done a marketing job on me. Leather, thick and black, wouldn’t be caught dead with a full coverage helmet, especially if its white. Black half helmet, heavy buckled black boots, gloves with maybe some fringe, no tunes, loud pipes, sunburned face is a bonus. Patches, lots of them, and lots of buttons too, all souvenirs from a meet or a rally. Tattoos, lots of them multicoloured, everywhere, even the men. When I stop at the lights I have that feel. If I smoked it would be a great time to flick down the butt and grind it out with my boot. A stop at a gas station or restaurant demands a slow demeanour, it will take a harley guy or anything that looks like one about three times longer to dismount than a GS or Wing guy. Lots of bikes in the group, sometimes over 50, don’t recall ever seeing formation riding. After dismounting there should be lots of time to tinker. If you have a passenger now is the ideal time to touch and feel and court and group talk. Slouching is a must, you must slouch, its mandatory, its part of the package, I think it is on page 14 of the manual. Gobs of sex appeal. Sport bikes: I don’t have one unless a 650 SV cuts it. If I did have one though I just couldn’t
exist without a one piece multicoloured Dainesse leather riding suit complete with those little black rubber things on the knees. I just couldn’t cut it for a few reasons. Firstly being about 35 pounds overweight and in my late 60s, I don’t think Dainesse has anything for me. Secondly, these guys wear helmets that make it impossible to tell who the hell they are, they fill up with gas, don’t come in the restaurants, do a few circuits around the pumps then bugger off. Tattoos, probably not, they are never in one place long enough to get one, besides no one would ever see it , they never stop. Lots of sex appeal but only to the under 30’s crowd. Riding my Ural with side car: Boy are these guys eclectic. Full coverage, full open face, shorty or half helmet, doesn’t matter, a first world war leather aviator helmet if it was permitted. Jackets, don’t know, whatever is handy as I or they go out the door.
Maybe hunting jacket and construction or military boots and pants, a mish mash of everything, no tunes, no formation riding because I have never seen more than one at a time on the road, don’t recall ever seeing a passenger, pay at the pump, eat at the side of the road, probably dried meat and cheese hacked up with there 35 year old swiss army knife. I just don’t know what to wear or how I am supposed to play this part, I just don’t know but I like it. Tattoos, who knows, maybe lots, maybe none, if they had one it was probably put on during the Crimean war or a tribute to grampus, who knows? Sex appeal, don’t know, could range from zero to a hundred, I just haven’t dialled this one in yet, might never. My shallowness being a product of what I ride morphs into my cages. When I am somewhere in my Fargo, I feel more hillbilly, I drive slower, listen to Hank Williams or Buck Owens, wear fringed jackets and early 60’s grebe Kodiak’s and talk to everyone. When I’m in my 61 plymouth it’s tie die and shorts.
Now that I have laid my soul bare I’m gonna point a few fingers out. Have you ever noticed if a couple pulls up at a light in lets say a wonderful black 55 Chev, 2 door post 409-409 4 speed stick chrome reverse wheels etc, ever notice what they don’t do? They don’t smile and wave they stare grim faced ahead, black stingray wrap around sunglasses frowning, never an acknowledgement. If you compliment them you might get a polite nod and that’s it. I would think that when they get home they are wonderful people, but for now they have a part to play. This game isn’t limited to cars, its speed boats vs old wooden yachts vs sea-doo’s vs sailboats vs punts vs canoes all these boat people have a role to play and they all do it very well. Take a 30’s something guy in wet suit on a sea-doo and then put him on a 1926 38foot Ditchburn with other people in period clothing and presto, a different person, he is really the same person but now different. He acts differently, talks differently, we humans act the same with aircraft and transport trucks and heavy equipment and horses and dog sleds, and bicycles, everything that moves us. Try this one, put on a tuxedo, then put on biker garb, then dress up like the guys in top gun then rent a full cop uniform, then write me and let me know what that all felt like. We are a product of our environment. We have been around about 800,000 years but have been privileged to be motorized for only about 100 of them. There you have it folks, I told you I was shallow and that I have bought into the package. When I see you on the road I will try my best to greet you but the degree of that greeting depends on what I am on or in. I know in my heart that about 99.999% of the readership out there is way more mature than me, but for you 0.01% that acknowledge your role in this play, we will get through it. That’s the way I see it anyway. Rick