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The Shameless Traveler Visits Ontario Motorcycle Country

Myself sitting by the harbor at Lion’s Head

Part 1 - From Ohio to Ontario

Epic motorcycle adventures await in the north. For this travel blogger, the trip has just begun...



Editor’s Note:  Stephen Bischoff is a traveler, in every sense of the word. He doesn’t just visit places, he inhabits them, living by the old Buddhist teaching that, “Today is worth more than two tomorrows.” He’s practiced stick fighting in the Philippines, chanted with monks in Tibet, ridden his motorcycle in the United States, Mongolia, China, Vietnam and this year, Northern Ontario.

 

As an aggressive traveler and motorcyclist, I’m always looking for the next unbelievably beautiful location with an array of lonely roads. Who isn’t? There’s one place that has been on my radar for a long, long time, a ride I’ve been thinking about in the back of my head, like an itch needing to be scratched, the greatest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior. 

After putting together a route and getting some plentiful and much needed info from websites like gorideontario.com, ridealgoma.ca, ridenwo.com and ridelakesuperior.com, I shot out of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA and was on my way. I want to quickly make a point before this week long series of articles continues: Canada actually cares about motorcyclists. That is no joke; the aforementioned sites were put together in part by the Canadian and Ontario governments to encourage people to ride on their already massively awesome roads. It’s nice when a hotel or restaurant is biker friendly, but when an entire country takes steps to make the people on two wheels feel welcome, well I must say it is a sight for sore eyes. Other countries in the world should start taking notes.

Back to the ride, I left the cornfields of sunny Ohio on what would be a roughly 2,800-mile (4500km) journey and roared right into the unforgiving rainy gridlock of Detroit Rock City Michigan. This was a scenario I would not repeat on the way home, and for those riding through that general vicinity, I advise taking one of the much more convenient roads around Detroit, like US-23 to avoid the mega-headache of bottlenecking construction and traffic.  

My exodus from Detroit, through the border crossing into Canada, was like riding out of motorcycle hell into the pearly gates of motorcycle Heaven. Traffic disappeared, the rain cleared up, the sun came out, and the roads suddenly became well maintained and smooth as a baby’s bum.

The next roughly 200 miles up King’s Highway 21, as it is known, left me feeling like, pun intended, royalty.  The further North I went, the more beautiful the ride became.  Ontario 21 not only took me through the sweeping Ontario countryside full of windmills, but also led me right up the edge of Lake Huron.  The last time I encountered such formidable roads along a massive body of water was on US-1 on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in California. It was shocking for me to realize riding like this had been only a few hours North of me my whole life. 

ForestRoad
I recommend the scenic pull offs so you can ride roads like this. 

After nine hours of riding, and with the night fog rolling in, I settled into my warm room at Lion’s Head Beach Motel and Cottages.  Remember I was telling you Ontario was biker friendly? Well, the management here made sure that I had a room with easy motorcycle access. Not only that, but after a hard day of riding, the shower was hot and had plenty of water pressure, which for me was a huge bonus. 

The next morning I awoke to find the fog had cleared and my cottage sat on the shore of the Bruce Peninsula, which had absolutely breathtaking views of the cliffs standing guard at the edge of the lake. I was definitely no longer in Detroit. 

Lions Head Coast
The coastline in Lion’s Head, Ontario. 

I headed over to Taylor Made Bed & Breakfast for just that, some breakfast.  An absolute mega-spread awaited me with home made muesli, a meat tray including prosciutto, a plate of several unreal local cheeses, pots of coffee, jugs of juice, and the Grand Cru was the Eggs Benedict.  Sometimes you don’t realize that the best breakfast might be the first one of the trip, and at Taylor Made B&B that was the case.  Food is nothing without company and the owners of the B&B, Dave and Barb, were superstars, especially since they cater specifically to bikers.  Being hardcore motorcyclists themselves, be prepared to hear some great stories of their adventures on the road. Barb herself has ridden all over Europe and North America; this lady has got some props. Dave had tons of great route advice, including hidden places to check out like the 10 mile overlook and a little Indian pull-over stop called the Lone Wolf Drive Thru that had some of Canada’s best fish and chips in a little camper called the Chip Wagon.  The fish is fresh-caught from the lake every morning, which means that the fish was biting worms only hours before you ate it.

EggsBenedict
Good Looking Eggs Benedict at Taylor Made B&B
 
LoneWolfChipWagon
Fish & Chips at the Chip Wagon, "DO IT!" 

After a short, but incredibly beautiful ride, I arrived at the Manitoulin Island Ferry, where I would set out on the next part of my route: the epic roads of Algoma Country.

 

To read Part 2 of Stephen Bischoff’s epic 4-part journey, click here. (Part 3 and Part 4)

Lions Head Rearview
Hard to leave Lion’s Head with this in the rearview. 

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