Summer’s done—time to hit the beach. Hmmm, that sounds a bit unfitting; allow me to explain. Calendar-wise, the end of summer is still a couple of weeks away. But it being past Labour Day, and with kids back at school, the summer switch has been toggled to off in Ontario's beach towns—making it a perfect time for a moto beach hopping excursion. It just so happens that I have a 2016 Kawasaki Versus visiting my driveway for a week, and as a gracious host I feel the need to show my guest around. A couple of days of sand, sun and 1,000 km of open road sound like just the ticket.
Perhaps the most famous beach in Ontario. Just a couple of days ago, this place was abuzz with thousands of beachgoers and the smell of suntan lotion. Today, finding a parking spot was a breeze (lol). Wasaga Beach is no stranger to the two-wheel moto crowd, hosting an annual motorcycle rally that attracts thousands.
Taking your bike to the beach takes on a special meaning at Sauble Beach. This is the only beach in Ontario that I'm aware of where you can ride on and park your bike next to your beach towel. Keep in mind that it’s paid access during the summer. The sand can be soft—be sure to bring something to put under your kickstand so your bike won’t fall over. That said, it’s so cool.
The rest of the day is spent with Lake Huron over our right shoulder as we make our way south.
Southampton's maritime-like atmosphere is soul-warming: historic cottages, white sand beaches and grand lake vistas. The town’s history, which stretches back a hundred years, reflects proudly in its charm. We hug the coastal roads as long as we can, as they twist and turn amongst manicured cottage front lawns on one side and grass-covered sand dunes on the other.
Back on Highway 21 for day one’s home stretch. On the map, the next 50 km shows four turns; welcome to the Ontario prairies.
We drop our bags at the Blue Water Motel in Grand Bend. The motel’s sparkling blue swimming pool is just what the doctor ordered after a 10-hour day on the road in what felt like 40°C temperature. Dark clouds threatened rain all day, but the temperature was stinking hot, leaving little doubt it’s still summer. The town’s main street, lined with beach theme storefronts, and the beach itself seem restfully at peace, a far cry from the energy of just a couple of days ago.