Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blue Water trail. July 30

This past weekend, Denise and me, went and did the Blue Water Trail. I only found out later, while on the Ferry from Tobermorey to Manitoulin Island, that this route we are taking, actually had a name. It's one of those things where somebody (I guess tourism Canada) sits down with a map, slap a few highways together, and call it a trail. Me that as it may, it was still a nice route. I guess that's what it's all about.

The route

We left home under partly cloudy skies, but no rain in the forecast. We made our first stop in the Village of Arthur, and Denise had to put on some more layers, since she was getting cold.

Being cold, and trying to put on enough clothes to warm up a bit, would be a constant problem this weekend.

Putting on some more layers

We pushed on to Owen Sound. An uneventful ride on mostly boring straight roads. Most of the roads in South Western Ontario is straight and on a grid system, so none of the twisties that are fun on a motorcycle. But we were on our bikes and not at work, so it was great.

In Owen Sound we stopped for coffee, you guessed right, at a Tim Hortons. They must be putting something in the coffee, That stuff is addictive. Denise also warmed up a bit in the sun.
Next we were heading for the Bruce Peninsula National Park, just outside Tobermorey, were we planned to camp for the night before we take the ferry the next morning to Manitoulin Island. Arriving at the Park, they informed us that they are fully booked and that we will have to find other accommodation. As a rule the Parks keep 20% of their sites open for "walk In's", but I guess we were to late. Maybe we should have planned better, but that takes a lot of the fun away when travelling. Luckily the camping gods smiled on us, and just before we took of to see if we can get on the ferry and make some kind of plan down the road, one of the park rangers came running out and told us they had a cancellation. So we took the spot.

When I paid for the site, I was told that there were 2 bears in the area and food is not allowed in the camp grounds unless it's in a bear-box. I can rent it from them. We decided to camp without the bear-box and ride to Tobermorey (20 minutes away) and have dinner in town.

Checking for bears

The camp site was right at the edge of the park, and if a bear wandered in, our site would be one of the first he will get to. Although we did not have any food with us, we might be food for a bear. We set up camp, and then went for a stroll around the area.

We camped here as a family 6 years ago, and it brought back fond memories of the kids when they were younger.

The ablution facilities

Did I mention before that Denise found the weather to be cold? Here she all bundled up for spending the night in the tent.

We went for dinner in Tobermorey, and wile in town, went to the ferry terminal to see if we can book a spot on the ferry for the next day. We wanted to get on the 11:20am ferry, but they only book 50% of the ferry, and that was fully booked. We were told to get in line the next morning at 7am and see if we can get a spot.

We decided that we will get up when we feel like it and then come to the ferry and take our chance at getting a spot.

We showed up at the terminal the next morning at 8:30am, and had no problem getting a place. We bought out tickets, parked the bikes in line, and went for breakfast wile waiting.

Once we got of the ferry at Manitoulin Island, we started hitting the twisties, and the riding was absolutely great. With a motorcycle you get to go onto the ferry first, and you are also the first to come off. So once you hit the road there are no cars, trucks, or RVs in front of you to hold you up. When the doors of the ferry open, it's like the start of a formula one race. All the bikes take of and keep the throttle pinned open, and go like stink. The first time anyone stops is for a smoke break.

Just after you cross the bridge from the island to the main land, you get the White Fish Fall, and there we stopped for a break and took some pictures.

After we hit the main land, and had some coffee at, you guessed it, Tim Hortons, we spend 3 boring hours on Hwy 17 and then Hwy 69 until we stopped at the French river trading post and Hungry bear motel for the night. We both wanted to spend the night in a bit more comfort. There were no showers at the camp site the previous night, so the in room plumbing was much appreciated.
We has a wonderful dinner, a great room, and some great home made fudge they sold at the trading post.

The next morning woke up rested and took of for Parry Sound. We explored the town and went down to the harbour area. A great little town, but I also got the idea that is one of those places where the rich come to play.

We stopped again at Midland, after we had to do some evasive moves on the highway when some moron decided to throw Red Bull cans from his pickup.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Motorcycle Wisdom

Some motorcycle wisdom I found on the ADVrider discussion board. If you ride, you will get this.
If you don't, get a motorcycle and you will soon understand the truth in these statements.

Twelve Important Things My Motorcycle Has Taught Me.
1. The only good view of a thunderstorm is in your rear view mirror.
2. Four wheels move the body; two wheels move the soul.
3. I'd rather be riding my motorcycle and thinking about God, than sitting in church thinking about my bike.
4. Life may begin at 30, but it doesn't get real interesting until about 75 mph.
5. Midnight bugs taste just as bad as Noon time bugs.
6. Sometimes it takes a whole tank full of gas before you can think straight.
7. A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.
8. Young riders pick a destination and go; old riders pick a direction and go.
9. When you're riding lead, don't spit.
10. Catching a yellow jacket in your shirt at 75 mph can double your vocabulary.
11. If you can't get it going with bungee cords and duct tape, it's serious.
12. Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.
13. (Bonus) I've never seen a Motorcycle parked in front of a psychiatrist's office.

Spontanius Weekend Travel

This past weekend we did a short trip to Port Burwell Ontario.
Saturday morning we got up and did our usual work around the house, cleaning and mowing the lawn, and then Denise had this great idea. "Why don't we go camping tonight?" Sold!
About an hour later the bikes were packed and we were off. On our way there we went thro Woodstock, and at one point Denise was falling behind, so I pulled over to wait for her. When I looked back I could see she stopped and was looking at her rear tire. My first thought was, a flat tire, all we needed. Luckily the tire was ok, but the suspension had to set harder since the bike was loaded. What a relieve.
Once we got to Port Burwell we had to decide what we were going to do for food. We entertained the idea of going out for dinner, but in the end we bought food and snacks from the local convenience store, and beer from the LCBO. Then we set off for the Provincial Park.
Once at the park, we unpacked and set up our tent.

With the warm weather, we could not wait to get the beer opened. You know it's important to stay hydrated, and who is going to drink water when there is beer around. Man, Mexicans know how to make good beer. Maybe Corona will sponsor me to travel around and write about their great beer.

We decided to go walk around. We were told there was a trail that will take us to the beach. We found the trail entrance and started going down a steep incline towards a riveen. That's when we got attacked by Canada's national bird, the mosquito. We got out of there as fast we can.

We only stopped to take a few pictures. The scenery was beautiful, but the mosquitoes were ferocious.

Back at our camp site we thought of making a fire with the hope that it will lesson the mosquitoes. I got on the bike to go buy some fire wood.

Great to be riding around with shorts and a Tshirt.

We had our dinner, all coming from cans, but it was good. We got the fire going and just relaxed.
Apart from the raccoons raiding the camp site next to ours, we had a peaceful and relaxing afternoon and night.

The next morning we packed up, went for breakfast in Port Burwell, and headed home. We were home in about 2 hours.
Wat a great, short and inexpensive trip. We are sure to do more of them this summer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Back on two wheels

Happy days! The bikes came out of storage early this year. We had a short winter, so I was riding on March the 6th. There was still a lot of road salt on the road, so I decided to stick mostly to dirt roads. It was still on the cold side, so 25 minutes was the longest I could go before I had to stop to warm up. Here's a couple of pictures to prove I was out with some snow still on the ground.

Wile riding I came across a heard of dear. There was about 50 of them. But by the time I stopped the bike and got my camera out, they were already running away. Here is a few shots that I was able to get.

I must say, what a great unexpected surprise.

Round the middle of March we had some great weather, so Denise and I decided to take the day off and go for a ride to Orangeville. We took all the back roads and had a great time. We stopped at the West Montrose covered bridge to take some picture. I think anybody that has read any of my blog entries is familiar with the bridge. I think I have enough pictures of that bridge to do a photo essay of it. I will not bore you with another one.

I think the problem is that we know every back road, dirt road or anything that remotely resembles a road, in a 200km radius from Kitchener. Time for the big trip down south, I'd say.

On our way back we stopped for a wile in Elora, and took a few pictures of the Grand River coming thru town via the gorge.

Outlet stores on the river bank in Elora

The gorge from the foot bride

I think by now everybody is tired of hearing me complain about the long and cold winter in Canada. To be able to get out on the road in winter time, and doing some adventure travelling, we went and bought us a 4 wheel KLR (aka Jeep Wrangler).

The new monster

Last weekend we just went riding around close to home, and updated our dirt/off road riding skills. Doesn't Denise look pretty cool on her bike?

Monday, January 18, 2010

My First Bike

With snow on the ground, ice on the road and very cold temperatures that can freeze the balls of a brass monkey, there is no motorcycle riding at the moment. Every time I go in the garage and see the bikes, I long to be out on the road, but that will have wait, at least till the middle of March.

With that said, we decided we have to do something motorcycle related, even if it's not actual riding. The Toronto motorcycle show was on this weekend, so we decided to go have a look. You could see that all motorcyclists in Toronto are feeling the same as me and are suffering from the winter blues, since they were all at the show, and the place was packed. I must say it wasn't a great show but there were lots of bikes, and that is always good.

One of the exhibit areas was reserved for vintage and restored old motorcycles. And that's where I saw it. My first bike. You know that nostalgic moment when you realize that it was the best bike you ever had. You know you will never have a bike that can make you feel the same way, that bike did.

I got a similar 90cc Honda, shortly after my 16th birthday. It was sitting in somebody's garage, and was not used anymore. It was still in relative good shape, so I got it with some help from my dad. This bike spelled one thing, FREEDOM. You can go where you want, whenever you want.

This one at the show had some slight differences from mine. This one shows 90cc prominent on the side, but mine did not have that drawback. You must understand that being a 16 year old in South Africa, that was a big deal. You were allowed to get a 50cc motorcycle when you turn 16, but you were only allowed to ride anything bigger than 50cc after your 18th birthday. So by law I wasn't allowed to ride this bike, but the cops were never the wiser. It looked and sounded just like a 50. But it didn't go like a 50. It was a lot faster. Well in my mind it was. It had 3 gears, but no clutch, so shifting was faster that my friends bikes. I can still remember dicing home after school, and smoking all the 50s. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
The other difference was that mine had 2 separate seats for the driver and the passenger. You would lift up the driver seat, and the gas tank and filler cap was under the seat. It had no latch to keep the seat down. You just used your butt for that. However, when I took it off roading, and you stood up on the pegs, that seat would be bouncing up and down like a toddler on a trampoline. Fuck, that was a lot of fun.
When I turned 18 I bought a VW Beatle, and the bike was not that cool anymore. I always thought it was pretty cool, but maybe only for me. I could never get girls to go on the bike with me. It sat in my mother garage, and I think my brother sold it to buy a new bike for himself.

There was another bike, very similar to the one I had. This one had the leg guards removed. I guess to shave some weight off. This one was actually used to do a cross Canada trip. You can see that some modifications were made, but it shows you can do a long trip with any bike. If I may use the title of a Lance Armstrond book "It's not about the bike".
I think if you have the time and the right mind set, you can do any trip on any bike. I actually saw a tv show of 4 guys doing a trip in Mongolia on these kind of bikes.

The white PVC piping in the back, is actually an extra fuel tank. Not sure if the blue bottle is Nitrous oxide or not. But it would be very cool to have N2O on a bike like this.

I especially like the way he constructed a map holder with PVC piping that you then wrap the map around. Not as sophisticated as the map rollers they use in the Dakar, but it will pretty much do the same job. I just love this kind of stuff.

There were some pretty cool looking custom bikes at the show as well. Nothing as cool as my 90cc Honda, but not everybody will agree.

I did like the paint job on this bike. I liked the Canadian maple leave theme done in the Fall colours. I thought it was fitting for a Winter bike show.
The way the yellow transition into brown on the cylinder heads are done very well, and you can see this was done by a very good artist.

This bike was also pretty cool, but I'm not sure how much fun it will be to ride it.

The plan is to go to Wolf BMW in London Ontario on February 20 for the maintenance seminar for the BMW F650GS.