It’s been a week on the road and we’ve covered ~ 2,400 miles from Cleveland to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. There have been no mishaps to report less Steve narrowly avoiding a high speed encounter with an antelope just outside of Calgary. Both of our hearts have been successfully transplanted from our stomachs back to our chests. That was a close one. Feet I tell you, feet.
It all started easy enough. We tore out of C town Friday morning around 8:30 and hopped on I-90 east bound to the Peace Bridge border crossing into Canada. Of course, we were both selected for “random” search. After a little poking around and dutiful questioning it seemed the border patrol fellas were more interested in our trip and bikes than whether we were doing anything wrong. I was taken aback by how quickly their demeanor changed from serious to jovial. We’re all just people, right?
From the border we headed North passing Toronto to the West and up the peninsula towards Tobermory. We had originally planned to camp in Bruce Peninsula National Park that evening, but the ferry schedule and availability dictated that we were to ride like hell to make the 8:00 PM ferry. And make it we did, with about 25 minutes to spare. With almost 12 hours on the bikes, 450 miles, and a border crossing behind us we were beat. Fortunately, I smuggled a little rum in a water bottle. When added to a fresh Coca Cola from the boat’s cafeteria it made the perfect concoction to soothe our aching bodies as we enjoyed the first sunset of the trip from the deck’s of the Chi Cheemaun. What overland trip is complete without taking your motorbike for a boat ride?
We arrived on Manitoulin Island at 10:00 PM. I called ahead to make sure the closest campground to the ferry terminal would hang out and wait for us. We pitched our first camp of the trip in the dark and enjoyed our first canned chicken and sausage gumbo by lantern light. Off to a good start.
Heading North from Manitoulin Island I planned a little detour across Fox Rd. (check it out on Google Earth) to begin Steve’s off road familiarization course, The above picture doesn’t do it justice, but what a fun detour of loose gravel and dirt winding its way up and down the hills for 40 miles in the middle of nowhere.
After our Fox Rd. adventure we caught up to the Trans Canada highway (17). I’m not sure why we don’t have any photos of this absolutely amazing 1000-mile stretch of road, but I’m assuming it’s because we were having such a good time riding it that we simply forgot to take photos. It was winding, fast two lane that seemed to stretch on forever. I’d never heard of this stretch, but it’s a motorcycle dream and certainly one of Canada’s best kept secrets.
Unfortunately, it dumps out into the great Canadian prairie. Let’s run through that real quick.
300 miles of Prairie ahead…
400 miles of Prairie ahead….
300 miles of Prairie ahead…
I’m not going to lie. While the 1000 miles around the North shore of the great lakes were some of my favorite days of riding… the 1000 miles across the great Canadian Prairie were some of my least. It was hot, 80+ degrees in the afternoon with the sun beating down on you all. day. long. The road is straight, very straight. You start to zone out after 6 or 8 hours and that’s the last thing you want to do on a motorbike. It’s exhausting.
At the end it’s all worthwhile. I remember that first time, as a young man, driving across the middle of the country for days and finally seeing the Rocky Mountains rise out of the Colorado plains. I was filled with the same sense of awe and accomplishment this week finally seeing the Rockies rise from the Canadian Prairie.
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