Editor's Note: Let's face it—for us fans of life on two wheels, Canadian winters are pretty long. Sometimes you just can't wait to get riding season started. Moto-enthusiast Rex Wood braves a bone-chilling ride in Ontario's early spring weather for a rewarding ride to Manitoulin Island...and thaws out just enough to tell the tale!
Mario Patry of Superdelsol met me at my place on May 14th at 7:30am. Last week the weather was 25 degrees out so we booked off the the 14th and 15th thinking it would be warm. Wrong! It was 0 degrees outside and with the wind chill on the bike I'm sure it was minus 10 minimum. We gassed up at 7:45am and hit Highway 17 at 8am.
First stop was in Sudbury at Royal Distributing to replace my worn out gloves and warm up a bit. 30 seconds down the highway was a Tim Hortons so we headed there for some more warm up time. We ran into a couple local bikers and exchanged stories about road trips taken while enjoying our medium double-doubles. After a good 45 minutes of warming up we hit the road again headed for Manitoulin Island.
About an hour later we made it to the McKerrow Esso where I gassed up the small gas tank of my Suzuki dr650 and Mario the gas tank of his Honda cbr900rr . Next we headed over to the Tim Hortons next door for another much needed warm up time. After a sufficient amount of warm up time passed we were off again headed onto the island. After stopping in some random scenic places for photo and video shoots, our first stop was in Kagawong at Bridal Veil Falls. Kagawong is an Ojibway word that means "where mists rise from the falling waters." I've been here a couple times before but this time had the most water roaring over the falls and what looked like some rather large trout swimming at its base.
Janet Head Lighthouse in Gore Bay was our next stop. It was built in 1879 and automated in 1955. We gassed up at the Shell just up the road from the marina and headed off for South Baymouth. Unfortunately the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry wasn't running yet (we were 3 days too early) so we did a little backtracking and stopped at the Buckhorn Motel where we met owners Cathy and Ameal who set us up for the night in room number 8.
We had originally planned on sleeping in our tents but the unusually cold weather turned us against the idea of freezing our behinds off at night too. And besides, the weather network said we were in for a rain storm.
After checking in we borrowed a couple movies and went back to the room to watch them and the Ottawa / Pittsburg hockey game.
Time for bed zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Woke up at 8am, showered up, packed the bikes and went for coffee with Ameal in the main office of the Buckhorn Motel where we talked about all sorts of things ranging from music to our days working the bar scene (I was a doorman at Fannys, North Bay's local strip club).
We hit the road around 10am and headed for 10 mile point. After doing the tourist thing we started back for North Bay, stopping in Espanola for some McDonald's and to do a little updating to my Facebook page showing off some of the things I had seen over the last 24hrs. We got back to North Bay around 3pm, Mario rode home and I unpacked my bike and headed in to start making plans for my next road trip...
Interested in having an Northern Ontario adventure of your own? There are lots of amazing routes to discover in the area. From the convenience of the Georgian Bay Coastal Route to the more ambitious ones like the Lake Temiskaming Loop Tour and the Highway 11 From Nipigon to New Liskeard, the near north has got you covered!